Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thoughts on Understanding the Bible

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29 NASB

Often I hear people in the context of discussing GOD's sovereignty and man's will, claim that the way the two fit together and how they relate is a mystery. To this I say, "Rubbish!" Before I go further I must say that I am not here making the case for either a reformed or arminian perspective on GOD's sovereignty and mans will. I freely admit that I am reformed and believe that is the only biblical and consistent view of GOD's sovereignty and mans will. What I am saying is that those who say that we really can't know the truth on some subjects in Scripture is wrong, sinful, and holding a mean view of God communicating with us.
To support this claim I quote Deuteronomy 29:29(see above) and 1 Corinthians 2:10 NASB "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God." We find the biblical text stating that the things God has revealed to us by His spirit in His word. If he has revealed these things to us then does it not follow that we can know what he has revealed? If not then what is the point of divine revelation? In other places in the Bible we find where GOD speaks of giving us(His people) a mind and heart to understand, ears to hear, and eyes to see.
To deny that we can understand EVERYTHING in the divine text is silly, pernicious, and dangerous. If we are not able to understand the things God has revealed to us on things like eschatology, mode of baptism, the relationship between GOD's sovereignty and mans will, then what makes us think that we can understand the Gospel? In saying that there are things revealed in Scripture that we just can't know people start down the slippery slope of what I would call scriptural agnosticism. I believe that by denying you can understand what is revealed in GOD's word you make a path for people to become emergent postmodernists or to go Roman Catholic. Neither of these directions is some place we want anyone to go, because of the heresies present in those places.
I am not damning people who say such things to hell, but I am trying to uphold GOD's glory and LOVINGLY rebuke those who say we can't understand everything in Scripture or slap the mystery label onto hard truths.
In Christ, Aaron

Saturday, May 14, 2011

GOD's Justice

Atheist Sam Harris and Christian William Lane Craig recently had a debate on, "Is good from God?". Dealing with whether or not God was necessary for there to be real, objective, morality. I do believe that God is necessary for objective morality. During the debate Sam Harris brought up the idea of hell and tried to use that against Dr. Craig's position by saying that if God is truly good then He can't throw people in hell and remain good.

However Mr. Harris misses the point. People are not thrown in hell for no reason. People are thrown in hell because they are in rebellion against a just God. Because God is just, he punishes ALL sin. This justice is not bad, it is right, good, and proper. For example, say a man killed his wife, but the judge let him go without any penalty. You and I would not like that, it would not be right, you and I believe that evil should be punished. Now think how good God would be if he did not demand payment to be made for our sins. He would no longer be good, he would be evil.

Now how then can any of us be forgiven for our sins if God must carry out justice on our sins, if those sins need to be paid for? The answer is Jesus Christ, he came from the Father full of grace and truth, he died on a cross to pay for the sins of sinners, on the third day he rose again, leading captives to sin out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Christ became sin for His people so that His people would not taste the death(punishment) due to all who sin. He became our substitute, that is how we can be forgiven(justified) before a holy and righteous God.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I opened my email today and noticed that a viewer had asked when I was coming back. To be honest I had forgotten about this blog and I apologize, I'll make posts more frequently from now on. I would like to post one of my favorites scripture passages and provide some commentary. The passage is Lamentations 3:1-32
1 I am the man who has seen affliction
   by the rod of the LORD’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk
   in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
   again and again, all day long.
 4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
   and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
   with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness
   like those long dead.
 7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
   he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
   he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
   he has made my paths crooked.
 10 Like a bear lying in wait,
   like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
   and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow
   and made me the target for his arrows.
 13 He pierced my heart
   with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
   they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
   and given me gall to drink.
 16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
   he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace;
   I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
   and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”
 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
   the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
   and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
   and therefore I have hope:
 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for him.”
 25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
   while he is young.
 28 Let him sit alone in silence,
   for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
   there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
   and let him be filled with disgrace.
 31 For no one is cast off
   by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
   so great is his unfailing love.

This is one of my most favorite passages because it reveals the great hope that there is in God, though He causes us to suffer, though He sometimes hides from us, and though He does not answer our prayer. As we hear in places such as 1 Peter 4, Romans 8, and here we find that God is not a careless vine dresser. He does not do anything if it will be spiritually detrimental to us, His people. I cannot express how lovely this passage is, I take great joy in that God is sovereign over our afflictions. I love that it is He who causes us to suffer, not someone else, there is so much hope in this. And too top it all off we have God being gracious to us, "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion..."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Critique of Sorts

A man I know has left things unsaid when it comes to as to why Christ had(Christ did not have too) to die. The reason He gives is routinely because it was prophesied beforehand. While this is technically correct in that order for God to remain true to His word, Christ would have to die, because God determined that it would happen. Some things are left out that I find most important when it comes to why Christ died on the cross. These are God's glorification in punishing sin and demonstrating his love towards unworthy, vile creatures(such as myself). And according to Romans 3:26, " that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

I think these reasons are missed because people tend to have weak or just plain wrong views of God's perfect justice. That's my honest opinion, feel free to critique.  I hope I was exalting of God and understandable.

In Christ, Aaron

A Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giving Thanks

As I type this I it is currently 1:35 am in the midst of exam week, I have two tests remaining. One is a math test and the other is a hydraulics test, I ask for prayer that everything would go well and that I would do well on the tests. So far things have gone well.

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB

In this post I'm giving the command to give thanks some thought, this includes the why and the what of giving thanks/being thankful.
The whys
  • God has commanded us to do so
  • It glorifies God
  • Not only is it commanded for us to do, but we should give thanks because in ALL things God is glorifying Himself, therefore we should be thankful because He is glorifying Himself.
The whats
  • for God himself
  • material possesions
  • the Gospel
  • for allowing us to live
  • for allowing/causing us to enjoy Him, life, etc.
  • for justifying, sanctifying, and one day glorifying us
  • for good times and bad times
I admit this wasn't exhaustive and maybe could have been written better. But thank God I typed anything at all  ;)

In Christ, Aaron

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Herman Bavinck on Molinism

I'm guessing most of you have heard of Molinism, which is an attempt by non reformed folks to try and harmonize God's sovereignty with libertarian free will in humans. It ultimately ends up undermining God's freedom and foreknowledge. William Lane Craig is the most well known, and modern proponent of Molinism.I gleaned the following paragraphs from Jamin Hubner's blogpost on via Ryan Hedrich's blog entry at

But the Jesuits, entering the discussion, brought change.

...Though in fact opposed by the Thomists and Augustinians (e.g., by Bannez, the Salmanticenses [Carmelites of Salamanca, Spain], and Billuart), this theory of middle knowledge was also hotly defended by Molinists and Congruists (Suarez, Bellarmine, Lessius, et al.). Fear of Calvinism and Jansenism favored the theory in the Catholic church and in a more or less pronounced form gained acceptance with almost all Roman Catholic theologians.

...Now with respect to this middle knowledge the question is not whether things [or events] are not frequently related to each other by some such conditional connection, one that is known and willed by God himself. If this is all it meant, it could be accepted without any difficulty, just as Gomarus and Waldeus understood and recognized it in this sense. But the theory of middle knowledge is aimed at something different: its purpose is to harmonize the Pelagian notion of the freedom of the will with God's omniscience. In that view, the human will is by its nature indifferent. It can do one thing as well as another. It is determined neither by its own nature nor by the various circumstances in which is has been placed. Although circumstances may influence the will, ultimately the will remains free and chooses as it wills. Of course, freedom of the will thus conceived cannot be harmonized with a decree of God; it essentially consists in independence from the decree of God. So far from determining that will, God left it free; he could not determine that will without destroying it. Over against that will of his rational creatures God has to adopt a posture of watchful waiting. He watches to see what they are going to do. He, however, is omniscient. Hence, he knows all the possibilities, all contingencies, and also foreknows all actual future events. In this context and in keeping with it, God has made all his decisions and decrees. If a person in certain circumstances will accept God's grace, he has chosen that person to eternal life; if that person does not believe, he or she has been rejected.

Now it is clear that this theory diverges in principle from the teaching of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Certainly, to their minds God's foreknowledge precedes events, and nothing can happen except by the will of God. "Nothing, therefore, happens but by the will of the Omnipotent." [Enchiridion] Not the world but the decrees are the medium from which God knows all things. Hence, contingent events and free actions can be infallibly known in their context and order. Scholasticism, admittedly, sometimes already expressed itself on this point in a way that was different from Augustine. Anselm, for example, stated that foreknowledge did not imply an "internal and antecedent necessity" but only an "external and consequent necessity." And Thomas judged that God indeed knows contingent future events eternally and certainly according to the state in which they are actually, that is, according to their own immediacy, but that in their "proximate causes" they are nevertheless contingent and undetermined. This, however, does not alter the fact that with a view to their "primary cause" these contingent future events are absolutely certain and can therefore not be called contingent. And elsewhere he again states that "whatever is was destined to be before it came into being, because it existed in its own cause in order that it might come into being."

The doctrine of middle knowledge, however, represents contingent future events as contingent and free also in relation to God. This is with reference not only to God's predestination but also his foreknowledge, for just as in Origen, things do not happen because God knows them, but God foreknows them because they are going to happen. Hence, the sequence is not necessary knowledge, the knowledge of vision, the decree to create (etc.); instead, it is necessary knowledge, middle knowledge, decree to create (etc.), and the knowledge of vision. God does not derive his knowledge of the free actions of human beings from his own being, his own decrees, but from the will of creatures. God, accordingly, becomes dependent on the world, derives knowledge from the world that he did not have and could not obtain from himself, and hence, in his knowledge, ceases to be one, simple, and independent - that is, God. Conversely, the creature in large part becomes independent vis-a-vis God. It did indeed at one time receive "being" (esse) and "being able" (posse) from God but now it has the "volition" (velle) completely in its own hand. It sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God's will. The creature is now creator, autonomous, sovereign; the entire history of the world is taken out of God's controlling hands and placed into human hands. First, humans decide; then God responds with a plan that corresponds to that decision. Now if such a decision occurred once - as in the case of Adam - we might be able to conceive it. But such decisions of greater or less importance occur thousands of times in every human life. What are we to think, then, of a God who forever awaits all those decisions and keeps in readiness a store of all possible plans for all possibilities? What then remains of even a sketch of the world plan when left to humans to flesh out? And of what value is a government whose chief executive is the slave of his own subordinates?

In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide. It is not God who makes distinctions among people, but people distinguish themselves. Grace is dispensed, according to merit; predestination depends on good works. The ideas that Scripture everywhere opposes and Augustine rejected in his polemic against Pelagius are made standard Roman Catholic doctrine by the teaching of the Jesuits. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol II, p. 199-201)
I'd say that was pretty good, eh?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Musings on Biblical Worship

On Friday I had the opportunity to engage in some discussion about biblical worship with a friend and a newly made acquaintance. Most of it revolved around people who have different tastes when it comes to worship(those words make me uneasy because worship is about God, not about our preferences). Think hymns or contemporary praise songs(cps from here on out), a capella or instrumentation, etc. Now I believe that hymns and CPS are valid forms of worship, as long as the lyrics are biblical and you can understand the words. I realize some of my fellow reformed brothers and sisters will disagree me, and I can partly see why. I would also like to add that this isn't something I have devoted a great deal of study or prayer to(which I should).

Here are some thoughts listed in no particular order
  • I do not think things like being slain in the spirit, writhing uncontrollably, or acting like animals is true/acceptable worship to God, mainly because I think these activities violate the fruit of the Spirit self control, they just seem plain old disturbing, and because you don't find them in the Bible.
  • I think the regulative principle of worship(RPW) holds water, because it doesn't let anything not seen in the scriptures enter the worship service thus leaving out certain unholy things like writhing uncontrollably or acting like animals. Also once something like RPW is agreed upon it effectively ends all dispute over hymns vs. contemporary praise songs and what instrumentation if any is acceptable.
  • My understanding of biblical worship is rudimentary and centers largely around the text John 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." I take this to mean that worship must be the following things, truth-true, compatible with the Bible, and in spirit-one must be sincere, one needs be a Christian to truly worship God.
  • Again while not holding to RPW, several things may drive me down that path. One being I'm a monergist(Calvinist, sovereign gracer), and hold to covenant theology. Another is the question of, where does one draw the boundaries in worship? For instance I think it's ok to sing hymns, etc. in worship but I don't have any express command to do such a thing, or a prohibition against it. On the flip side I think writhing uncontrollably is sinful, but I don't find a specific scripture against it(unless I'm missing something). In other words, how can I support one form not found in the Bible, while denying another form not found in the Bible? I think you see my issue there, if not ask.
To wrap it up my concern is this, that I worship God in a true and acceptable way, that you do the same, and that God be glorified by us willingly. These are my thoughts, biblical correction is welcomed, as well your honest thoughts. This is something that is important to get right. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section. I hope I was humble, loving, understandable and glorifying to God.

In Christ, Aaron