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. *** 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

Dr. John Lennox: Video - Christmas for Doubters

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

Harry S. Truman's Christmas Greeting

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

Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 4 and Last

It’s time to close out with Phil, who seemed to be getting as fed up with reality as I was getting with his nonsense. Rather than answer one point of my analysis, he says, “I will simply believe the text and take God at His Word rather than answer a hypothetical.” And: Again, this is a man-centered hermeneutic that leads to the utter dismissal of the text in favor of the latest cultural or modern day positions which are subject to fluctuate.” – after he trammels decency with the laughable notion that God must have taught Isaiah the full truth about the Earth’s flat geography. He closes with this howler: This exchange can be summarized as simply as this: James Patrick Holding - Let God's Word be accommodating to man and his understanding of creation which is subject to change. vs. Let God be true and every man a liar. So with that, anything else? Phil wrote this silly stuff, along with a couple of other articles “refuting” opponents like the Blue Letter Bible and An

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

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 particul

Christmas and The Crucified God

Christmas, God talk, incarnation, Jurgen Moltmann, Matthew Lamb, Solidarity with Victims, The Crucified God, The Christian part of Christmas, that's the nativity scene with no trees or elves. That's the part you go to chruch to talk about. Show some mangers and some wise men and play the drummer boy song (eeeeee can't stand that son, p-rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum...enough already!) and you've done your bit for Christmas. I actually love Christmas, I like the manger and the baby and all that. Yet that is not what it's about. The entrance of Christ into the world in a lowly birth, worshiped by wise-men and heralded by angles and a star, those are nice folk tale elements. That masks what it's all about in the guise of cute fluffy heart warming imagery. Christmas is about the birth of Christ, God come in the flesh, and that signals to us the death of Christ; its meaning, it's end, it's un-final end and new beginning. The birth heralds more of

Fun with Flat Earth Fundies, Part 3

Phil’s next objection is so weird that it’s hard to know how to answer it. I pointed out: ..oceans are not part of the semantic range of ’erets. Therefore, 'ends of the earth' must refer to the shoreline, that is, where dry land (erets) meets the sea. This is indicated most clearly in Proverbs 30:4 (KJV), 'Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth?' The connection of the binding of the waters with the 'ends of the earth' indicates that what is in view is the shoreline of the sea." Phil replies: In Job 34:10-11 it reads: "And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?" If the ends of the earth refer to the "shoreline" how does one explain the seas which wrap fully across the earth in places such as in the southern hemisphere where they are not "stayed?" O