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

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jury Duty

Instead of an 'actual' blog post today(for now) I'll leave you with this song and the lyrics, the song is called Jury Duty and it is by a Christian ska band called the Orange County Supertones,  if you don't like the music at least consider the lyrics particularly "every single moment whether sleeping or awake is Your creation and what you’ve made is good"

5 am on Tuesday
Why am I up so early
Drive out to Santa Ana ’cause I’ve got jury duty
No breakfast short tempered
And I cut my head shaving
Ten miles out I hit traffic
Some days just aren’t worth saving

You know I haven’t had the best of days
But I want to stop and thank you anyway

At the courthouse I waited
And waited then I waited
At lunchtime my car stalled out
I couldn’t get it started
Had a book by C.s. Lewis
I finished the last page and
Slept on my desk for three hours
Just like my high school days

Cuz every single moment whether sleeping or awake
Is your creation
And what you’ve made is good
I don’t always thank you for the rough days and
The hard times in my life
Even though I should

Got home and decided I’d be in a bad mood
My shy and quiet wife said she didn’t like my attitude
Got a call from my mother
Forgot my sister’s birthday
I’m a lousy older brother safe to say I’ve had a bad day

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Something to Chew On

"Selfishness withers and dies in view of the cross." That is not an exact quote and I don't know who said it first, but there is much truth in that statement. I know this both theoretically, which is too say I know it to be true in both mind and experience. How often have I been prevented from sin or omitting duties by thoughts of Christ and him crucified. How often have I started down a path  of sin, and God would come along and stop me dead in my tracks with thoughts of the cross of Christ. If you are having trouble with sin, go to Christ. If you would be free from evil, think on, meditate on, and gaze at the cross! It has been a great help to me in overcoming spiritual sloth and indifference.

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him." Isaiah 53:3-6 NASB

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Theology Matters

Theology matters. I say that because so many people seem to think it is unimportant, when in fact it is extremely important. Too often professing Christians say, "Don't give me doctrine just give me Jesus." But the minute you say something about Jesus, what He did or what He commands us to do, you are speaking theology. Before I go on, let me explain what theology is, it is the knowledge of God. It is what we think/believe about God, who He is and what He has done.
  • Theology is important because it is either true or false and thus either pleasing to God or displeasing(sinful) to God and sin merits God's wrath.
  • Theology is important because it has practical implications. If I believe God is displeased with stealing then I will not steal. If I believe that salvation is found only in Jesus and not in Hinduism, Islam, etc. I am going to Christ for salvation and going to point people to Christ, not to Mohamed, Buddha, or Oprah. I could go on with the practical implications.
This has not been exhaustive by any means, but I think it gets at the issue(s) as to why theology is important. I hope it was understandable and glorifying to God. If you have any questions ask! =)

In Christ, Aaron

Post Number One

This is my first post, as you can tell. First a bit about myself: my name is Aaron, I'm 19, a college student, farmer, hunter, brother, son and most importantly a Christian. I'm going to use this blog to talk about various topics such as theology, agriculture, politics, hydraulics, music,  and whatever else may cross my mind.