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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Doctrine of Perspicuity, Part 1

This comes from an article I wrote in 2008, but I still see this objection raised time and time again.

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Recently on the TheologyWeb forum, a (reputed) Christian made the following charge against me regarding my explanations of the use of riposte in the Bible:
Ordinary believers are unable to discern the true doctrine of Riposte (insult) which requires JP Holding's Hebrew and Greek language skills to discern. He said of one protagonist "his knowledge of the Bible is essentially zero -- save what he reads of it in English." This contradicts the doctrine of perspicuity, which says that ordinary believers can understand the teaching of the Bible without needing a superior to tell them what it means.This critic is not alone in making such appeals. One website discusses the "doctrine of perspicuity" thusly:
The question is asked, "Do you really understand the Bible? How can you be sure that what you think the Scriptures say is in fact what t…

Dr. John Lennox: Video - Christmas for Doubters

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John Lennox is a wonderful spokesman for Christianity. In many ways, he is the one Christian apologist who has acquired the mantle of C.S. Lewis in the way that he is able to take points that are sometimes difficult for those unfamiliar with thinking about Christianity and reduces them to simple arguments using metaphors and examples that anyone can understand.

Since it is the Christmas season, I thought it worthwhile to point a video by Dr. Lennox entitled "Christmas for Doubters." In the video, he responds to the idea that the early Christians believed in the Virgin Birth because they were too ignorant to understand how babies were conceived. Rather, by comparing the accounts of the birth of Jesus with the birth of John the Baptist, Dr. Lennox shows that those who wrote the Gospels understood that the authors of the Gospels did have an understanding of where babies come from, but that they understood that the births of both Jesus and John the Baptist were outside of ordin…

Harry S. Truman's Christmas Greeting

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From time to time, it is helpful to look back at the manner in which the country formerly recognized and cherished our Christian roots. Of course, today it is difficult for any Christian in government to say anything that would seem to promote the true meaning of Christmas, but it wasn't that long ago that Presidents and others in government would freely recognize the birth of Christ without fearing organizations like the AHA or the Freedom from Religion Foundation arguing that it violates the Constitution.

One such occasion not so long ago, shortly after the United States Supreme Court stepped in and redefined the Establishment Clause in Everson v. Board of Education (1947) but before the implications of that decision became manifest, was Harry S. Truman's Christmas address in 1949. Bill Bennett reproduces a portion of the speech in a Christmas email I received today. The speech seems a far cry from the typical, non-specific holiday greetings we receive from Presidents toda…

Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 4 and Last

A Brief Review of Arguments Evangelicals Use to Support the Virgin Birth

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Christianity Today published an article on December 20, 2017 entitled The Virgin Birth: What's the Problem Exactly? by Mark Galli. In the article, Galli set forth in a very concise form the arguments by those who contend that the Virgin Birth was either not true or not part of the earliest teachings of the church, and the responses to those arguments by those who support the historicity of the Virgin Birth. Since I had never seen the arguments set forth in this fashion before, and since Christianity Today articles drop behind a paid wall after awhile, I wanted to share the summarized arguments on the blog. Galli writes:
For the fundamentalists, the Virgin Birth is a consequence of belief in inerrancy, Christ’s deity, and the belief in the miraculous. This is one large reason why it was singled it out for defense. A lot depended on this doctrine. The main lines of liberal argument against it were:
1. It is not mentioned in the rest of the New Testament; Paul, in particular, d…

Christmas and The Crucified God

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Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 3