Monday, August 31, 2009

Islam, Submission With No Peace Pt. 1

Biblical truth is challenged like never before. Although this is highly disputed, many speculate that the fastest growing religion in the world today is Islam. With over an estimated 1 billion adherents statistics are that by year 2025 over 30 % of the world's population will be Islamic or under Islamic rule and that Islam will eclipse Christianity as the world's largest religion at some point between now, then or shortly thereafter.[Barrett & Johnson's estimated in an article in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research that the number of Muslims would grow from 1.22 billion in the year 2000 to 1.89 billion by 2025...Author Samuel Huntington predicts that "Muslims in the world will continue to increase dramatically, amounting to 20 percent of the world's population about the turn of the [21st] century, surpassing the number of Christians some years later..."]

Does Islam have an answer that is unknown to Christianity? Is Islam, especially that practiced within traditional Islamic countries somehow superior or more satisfying than the teachings of Christianity?

In the next couple of posts, we will look at what Islam teaches and contrast that to the bible and the biblical record. We are quickly approaching the 9th month which is the most holy time of year for the Muslim called Ramadan. So this information, especially at this time, promises to be an intriguing and eyeopening mini-series. For those observing or relating with someone who observes Muslim and Islamic tradition, I hope that you will better understand some of the traditions and possible worldview that many believers of Islam share. Let's begin:

What Is Islam and Where Did It Come From?

It was in the 9th month of approximately 610 AD, when a man known as the prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632), (assured by his wife Khadijeh that he was a prophet and an apostle (Rasoul)) received a special revelation and words from who he believed was the angel Gabriel. These words came to him while he was in a trance or a trance like state or condition. The words he received were recited and written, thus Quran means "recitation" The words were written down by those who heard him or were present when these episodes occurred. In fact here was the message from the angel:

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Earnestly Contend For The Faith

This post was updated 10/5/2009
1 Pet. 3:15~"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:"

New Bethel Ministries isn't the average duck. That ministry happens to have a Minister that places a strong emphasis on the ministry of apologetics. Being able to give a reasonable answer to them that ask is among one of the more important duties and obligations of the modern church, however it is also one of the most overlooked functions within the local church.

What many Pastors are not aware of, is that every member, including children, should be prepared to defend and answer their faith. While many of us teach bible stories in cute cartoons with little emphasis on historical settings or actual evidences for faith, the world seeks to dupe our children and members of the real substance of scripture, through theories such as evolution, documentary hypothesis, form criticism, and philosophical beliefs such as relativism, cognitive psychology other post modern ideas. All of these things are merely attempts to seduce the mind and reduce biblical truths to myths with no real substance or extension in time and space. Unfortunately, many of our members are not able to know the difference or adequately demonstrate the historicity of the biblical record. Many attending church regularly can't point to the vast amount of evidences that exist both for God, the historical Jesus or Christianity in general.

So far as the future of the church is concerned, facts are that too many of our youth are leaving the church and never coming back because they have never learned the essential truths of the historic Christian faith, and or never experienced the life changing power of God for themselves. According to America's Research Group which surveyed evangelical believers ages 20-29, only 55% of that group attended services regularly during high school years, but by college only 11% attended church regularly. In other words there was a 44% decline in church attendance as these young adults got older. In a study of youth between 18-23 years of age less than one half of one percent of Christian youth held a biblical worldview. A biblical world view is described by Barna as the following:
1- Believing that absolute moral truth exists;
2- Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles
Principles:
A- Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic;
B- a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works;
C- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and
D- God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

According to Parchment & Pen.com 65 to 94 % of high school students stop attending church after graduating. They go on to say that leaving church is many times the first visible step in one’s pilgrimage away from Christ. According to The Barna Group many of those that leave the church (to tune of 20 million per year) depart discovering what is called a more universal revolutionary approach to serving God not defined by any particular church group.

Why? Sometimes it's due to plain old hurt and mishandling of the people of God that has taken place in many churches. Then there is secularism, religious pluralism and ecclecticism that has taken center stage convincing many that there are multiple paths to salvation pronouncing that Jesus is simply "a way" to the Father or peace with God and the universe. Politically, it's "en vogue" to place all religious ideas on the table, taking only the best virtues from all and creating a new world religion where everyone is accepted and where only a "positive" message is enjoined.

2 Tim. 4:3-4 ~"3-For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4-And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

President Barack Obama is an expert at this type of tactic, placing all religious faiths on the same plateau and calling all faiths "great" simply because of the ability to lead and draw masses. What is effective for politicians is not effective for ministers seking to serve the Lord and uphold truth. I don't believe that God's preachers can be in political office, there is far too much compromise of essential truths necessary to lead politically. Nevertheless, being able to give a reasonable answer for the Christian hope has never been more important in history.

This is why I recommend the following conferences this year for all leaders who want to take more of an active role in preparing their entire church for 21st century ministry:
The Apologetics Institute 2009 Nov. 13th and 14th 2009 New Life Christian Ctr. Smithsville, Rhode Island. $79 registration for the entire conference.
Featured Speakers: Dr. Chuck Colson, Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Patrick Smith, Dr. Os Guiness

The National Apologetics Conference, Nov. 13th and 14th 2009, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC. Various registration amounts for various parts of the conference.
Featured Speakers: Dr. Hank Hanegraaf, Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Dinesh D'Souza, Dr. Gary Habermas

The Evangelical Philosophical Society's 7the Annual Apologetics Conference,  Nov. 19-21 New Orleans, LA. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary 3939 Gentilly Blvd New Orleans, LA 70126 Prices begin at $20 per individual top out at $30. Special rates and discounts for groups.
Featured Speakers: Dr. J.P. Moreland, Dr. Timothy McGrew, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Greg Koukel, Dr. Paul Copan, Dr. Gary Habermas, Dr. Patrick Smith and many more.
The bad news is that two of these conferences are on the same date. The good news is that resources will be made available so that you won't miss the topics that are of most importance to you and your ministry even if you can attend neither. It's my desire that you'll continue to be strengthened in your faith knowing that there is just NONE like Jesus!

Blessed!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Former COGIC Pastor Now A Catholic Deacon


"It was never about going to heaven or knowing the Lord. Those things were accomplished while I was in the Pentecostal church. It was simply coming into the fullness of the Christian faith."~ Deacon Alex Jones, St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Community former Pastor Of Maranatha Christian Church Detroit Michigan.

A friend presented a DVD for my review called "No Price Too High, A Dinner With Alex Jones". The DVD centered around a former COGIC Pastor (Alex Jones) turned independent, and eventually turned Catholic. This particular DVD was a conversation over dinner in which there were questions and answers about why he and most of his church changed from a decidedly Protestant/Pentecostal belief system to the world's oldest and largest Christian Church, the Roman Catholic Church.

Deacon Jones' story was especially interesting to me personally because our church, at one time, held services in a Catholic church. It was at that time that we gained the opportunity to meet some of our fellow Catholic believers and established a relationship with many new Catholic friends. I also took the time to study many Catholic beliefs, practices and dogmas and drew my own conclusions as to what the church actually represented. In addition Alex Jones was a former COGIC Pastor which is very interesting in light of COGIC's current dealings and political situations.

This blog post is not about bashing or exposing Alex Jones. There is nothing to bash or expose in my opinion. However, this post is about drawing a sharp and distinguished contrast between Roman Catholic authority, theology and dogma and the rest of Christianity.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sin, Mistakes & Jesus

Heb. 4:15-16 ~ "15-For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16-Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

As I continue in the series I've subtitled "Atheism's Greatest Hits" It's my intent to present arguments and the resolution to those arguments so that Saints who are unfamiliar with these subjects won't be blindsided with attempts to undermine the Christian faith. We'll continue in this series by addressing and answering the question Did Jesus Make A Mistake?
We will deal with biblical inerrancy in a future post to refute the current demonically inspired lies regarding the reliability of the biblical texts themselves. For this writing I would like the critic to assume that what has been documented by biblical authors is fully accurate as written as I only wish to deal with the specific point of Sin, Mistakes & Jesus Words.

A Humanly Fallible Jesus?
Apostate Professor Of New Testament Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, asserts in his book Misquoting Jesus that his faith and belief was wrecked when he realized that Jesus made a critical mistake in reconciling Mark 2:26 with 1 Sam. 21:1-6, by claiming that David and his men ate the showbread "when Abiathar was the high priest." He goes on to claim that scripture records that when the event took place Ahimelech (Abiathar’s father) was actually the high priest. Therefore either Mark was wrong in his recounting or Jesus was wrong in reciting the passage. Either way, according to him, somebody was wrong.

Another popular criticism extends from the use of the term "this generation" in Mt. 24:34 ~ "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." The critic asserts that this passage is referring to the Great Tribulation and Judgement (Parousia) of the end times which would occur within a 40 year time frame. Further the critic asserts that there was a further promise of impending judgement upon Caiphas (Israel) in Mark 14:61-62 ~"61-But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62-And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

The assertion is that since the world yet exists Jesus was wrong about the impending judgement of the world and therefore made a mistake or certainly no less than mis-spoke and is simply a failed doomsday prophet as a result.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Where Are The Prophets Now?

2 Thess. 2:10-13~"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11-And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12-That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

The nation's recession continues with high unemployment, record foreclosures, and an astounding national debt that has just exceeded $11.8 Trillion and is expected to surpass $12.1 Trillion by as early as October 2009. According to current studies Medicare will be insolvent by year 2017. Then President Barack Obama is insistently pushing for more govermental control of the healthcare of the nation's citizens. In light of this the over 45 Million individuals who receive Social Security/Medicaid are at risk that they will totally loose whatever benefits they are receiving within their lifetimes. So far as retirement benefits for those with 20 or more years left until retirement age, my advice is that you/we create another source of wealth for yourselves that will meet future needs because under current numbers there won't be enough tax base or resource to provide post retirement benefits for us at all. On top of all that, what we know as dollars, may be worthless in a short period of time due to rampant debt and global insecurity.

What Is This?

Knowledge of these things is not a fear tactic, it's a reality check. One needs not peer into the spirit realm to see and know the reality of many of these things. For the church and to the believer we have an assurance that God will provide and that we will be sustained:

Phil. 4:19~"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The foundation of the true believer is secure and steadfast in Christ Jesus as he is the Rock upon which our hope, faith and trust is built.

Mt. 16:18~"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Unfortunately, there is another agenda that has seduced many in the church and continues to be a problem. It's the "snakeoil" salesmen that promises the miracle cure for whatever ails. Remember, from the secular point of view it's called control the masses. It begins in 2 parts:

1- Control the money (as the Federal Reserve CARTEL does) and
2- Control the mind, wellbeing and placement of the people by mass appropriation

We'll address the secular aspects of this more specifically in an upcoming post, but what makes all of this especially traggic is that the post modern church has seemingly, deliberately mimmicked many of the same techniques that scular society employs when it comes to the seduction of the minds of the people.

Let's Look Back

Many of us remember that 2007 was supposed to be the "Year Of Supernatural Release" or "The Year Of Freedom" associated with the number 7 and the year of jubiilee.(???) Then 2008 was the "Year Of New Beginnings" (one year after the 7, which somehow completed a cycle, and then at eight we start all over again...???) There were prophecies that went out all around the country and everything was "Howdy-Howdy!" If the ministry wasn't "grand" it was insignificant. If the bank account wasn't "deep", you weren't living up to your "God potential"

Similar to the materialistic teaching and "pimp daddy" preaching of the late Rev."You Can't Loose With The Stuff I Use"Ike, the messages then were as they are now: prosperity, sow, gift, seed, plant, harvest (in order to sow, gift, seed, plant and harvest again). The prophets were receiving all time high PROFITS. Many with personal jets "for the work of the ministry", starting banks, proclaiming a business for every one in the prayer line, a multimillion dollar venture for every adherent that would "sow a seed to meet the need", a new multimilliondollar home for all, a new luxry vehicle (Esc'y-Esc'y), a special "money anointing" for those who needed cash and supernatural "debt cancellation plan" for all them that would only, believe and "speak it into existence". Times were grand! Hopes were high. Notes were signed. Debts were piled up.

In his 2004 booklet "How To Be Rich And Have Everything You Ever Wanted" defrocked and resurged false prophet Robert Tilton stated that his message "declaring the 7 decrees of abundantly more" was "one of the most important messages that I have ever been sent by God to deliver." You mean Mr. Tilton placed this message on the same plane as the message of the cross? If it was one of the most important certainly it's up there, and especially since he preaches nothing else on his infomercial but propserity, we can safely say that this message is probably one of his ONLY messages therefore being at least equal to the cross in his mind.

In his letter attached to the book Charlatan Tilton says:

"...Jesus is going to cause what you give to be given back to you and MORE. You must plan a seed to receive a harvest. Plant a seed of $30 or $60 or even $100. Or pay a tithe and believe god to fulfill His word of riches and wealth to be in your house (Ps. 112:3). And believe as King David did in Ps. 118 when he prayed, "Oh God, SEND NOW PROSPERITY!"

Twisted context and scriptural manipulation is what we see most abundantly in the life of false teachers like Tilton. Not to mention the personal committments gone awry.

Then Reality Does Set In

Now some years later many of those that gave significant dollars and resources remain unfulfilled. Many of those prophesied up businesses either never materialized or went bankrupt. Homes have been forclosed upon, and cars have been reposessed. Some were even waiting by the mailbox for that "supernatural check" to cancel the debts after sowing their seeds, but only more bills came. Then others who were waiting for their healings slipped further into their medical conditions some paying the penalty by waiting too long to receive adequate medical care and therefore costing their lives.

These circumstances are sad and happen to many of us, and some of them are nothing to be ashamed about in and of themselves. But then others could have been prevented by listening to sound council instead of listening to wolves in sheeps clothing. It should be no surprise that a sinner can prophesy and sound good:

1 Sam. 18:7-12~"7-And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8-And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9-And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10-And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11-And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12-And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul."

Even Saul with jealously, hatred and murder in his heart was bound and overwhelmed by an "evil spirit" to prophesy.

Even at yet another time Saul and his men werre overcome and prophesied even as they sought to kill David.

1 Sam. 19:19-24~"19-And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah. 20-And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21-And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. 22-Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah. 23-And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24-And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?"

We should note that the "gift" is not the only consideration that should be had. The quality of the word of God and the lifestyle and integrity of the vessel should be the greatest considerations. Now many will say that "prophecy" doesn't exist as a modern gift or if it does exist it doesn't men to foretell it only means to forthtell. I don't want to necessarily open that can of worms in this post but the critic (the cessationist)is hardpressed to set forth a truely biblical hermenutic that would support either of those propositions especially since the New Testament church was specifically engaged in this gift even during the post-apostollic period.

More specifically for this post, what we should ask is this: Where has the prophet been since all of this trouble has arisen and why didn't the prophet have a word warning us that we'd be in this condition?

Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, I Know!

1- Many of these persons that we call prophets weren't saved to begin with and certainly had no connection with God to know what was coming. Then secondly, unfortunately, many of the prophets (who were once saved) were seeking PROFITS and adding to the delusion of the people of God.

You see in most prophetic schemes "the blessings don't flow unless you sow"...In other words the money has to come under control of the prophet. This always leads to the security fo the wellbeing of the individuals and eventually the controlling of the actions of the masses. When those two things are combined within a person who is irresponsible and not saved, it is always a dangerour coctail of spiritual intoxication and a seething cauldron of sin waiting to happen.

Seeking PROFITS:

Similar to the hip-hop entertainer who sometimes create multiple personalities to deal with their issues, some prophets are not just one, but two also. In fact, Masterprophet Bishop Mar Elijah Bernard Jordan founder of Zoe (Gk: The god kind of life) Ministries prophesies for a fee. This is what his website says about Bishop Jordan's gift:

"Bishop Jordan is a modern-day prophet whose ministry is absolutely astounding! Like Nostradamus, Bishop Pike, and Edgar Cayce, the accuracy of the gift that operates in Bishop Jordan will astound you! He is known to predict exact names, dates, and times of events both individually and globally! His visual perception is so exact that he is able to give accurate descriptions of locations that are pertinent to the recipient of the prophecy! Bishop Jordan differs from those who can operate with extra-sensory perception, for his calling as a prophet endows him with a degree of authority. As a prophet, he can truly decree a thing and see it established---just like the prophets of the Scriptures! He is not one just to give information, but he is also known to create miracles and circumvent events merely by the power of his speech!"

"merely by the power of his speech" Wow! Why go any place else or to anyone when we can hang around The Masterprophet and he can shape reality for us through his speech? He is the world-speech-bender almost like Naruto.

Bishop Jordan is like "Nostradamus", "Bishop Pike", and "Edgar Cayce". I was familiar with the other two individuals and know that they rendered nothing that was subject to Christ in their works but I wanted to know more about Bishop Pike. He was an American Episcopal Bishop. To commend Pike, he was a desegregationalist, however his spritual practices and doctrines were unbiblical. In fact he was a proponent of what we know know as gay inclusion and also one who was caught up heavily in spiritualism and was even "poltergiested" according to his own accounting. He wrote a book called "The Other Side" in which he documented his expereinces after the drug overdose of his son and he also preformed a seance with his dead son through an apostate preacher named Arthur Ford on television. The Masterprophet is like him? God help us please!!!

There's a second aspect of development of this personality. This is what the website says about Mar Elijah's duties:

"Mar Elijah flows with the wisdom and insight of the prophet Daniel, of whom the Bible says understood all the sciences. In their time and season, Moses and Joseph also understood the prophetic sciences of their day, enabling them to overcome their obstacles. The Neophytes under The Prophetic Order of Mar Elijah are trained not only to hear the voice of God and articulate it accurately, but are taught scientific ways of mind renewal and development using the Word of God and proven technique sciences."

Mar Elijah is like Daniel, he says that he was assigned to raise up 300 "neophytes" before the year 2000 as the "foundation stones", and the gifts he shares with the neophytes (foundation stones) is to teach them ways of "mind renewal and development using the Word of God and proven technique sciences." Just in case you couldn't get through the jargon this is called mind contol.

I thought,"a neophyte"??? This is the definition I find for that:

"A beginner; A novice (recent convert), a new convert or proselyte; A name given by the early Christians, and still given by the Roman Catholics, to those who have recently embraced the Christian faith, and been admitted to baptism, especially those converts from heathenism or Judaism; A plant"

The question is, does a neophyte (one who is a recent convert) really need to be involved in controlling the mind of others? In fact does the ministry at any level need to be involved in mind control techniques? I suppose you can answer those questions for yourselves...Or better yet let the word of God answer it for us:

2 Cor. 4:1-2~"1-Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2-But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."

One thing is certain, God is not and will not use these mind control agents, and they render no glory to the Lord through their works.

Then there are others such as West African Prophet Thomas Manton IV who also Traffics Pornography Once again these are real lifes issues and noone is immune to problems, however one wonders is the PROFITIC ministry only a cover for many of these guys or what? Prophet Manton was so influential that leaders of countries were making decisions based on his word and in some cases having people executed. Here's what Bishop Mutthee had to say about seeking to get into this prophetic gift:

"According to Thomas Manton IV’s January 2004 prophecy, the Lord is turning our night into morning. Within days of the prophet prophesying a political leader would die, one suddenly died in a road accident. God has greatly used Prophet Thomas Manton IV in Kenya and many other nations. Things have actually happened as he declared they would! I believe this same prophetic anointing shall flow into you as you go through these prophetic revelations word-by-word!" ~Apostle Pastor Mutthee – Kenya

Then there's probably the grandmomma of them all...Juanita Bynum III. No wait it's only II for now...Act 3 is on the way! According to Gcmwatch.com, Juanita Bynum II is glad for the dollars and praises whosoever gives them even if their lifestyles aren't biblical. In this case she was more than happy to praise homosexuals for their support, calling them children of God, without hinting they they must repent, leave homosexuality and be saved. Juanita yet breathes out her false prophecies on her web radio network and website but don't expect to find insight on how to come out of sin and be free of false prophetic influences. That would be a prophetic violation.

In short there are 2 standards that I am interested in when it comes to the modern day prophet. 1- Are they biblically centered? and 2- Do they live what they teach? and I'll add a third, are they glorifying God or are they glorifying themselves? In short these guidelines should be good guidelines for any servant of God assessing the value of the ministry from which they partake, but especially that of the prophet. The weak and vunerable would do good to stay away from these wolves and those similar to these. They are popping up everywhere, saying promising words collecting money and leaving individuals broke and frustrated. Remember, they only have the power that you give them and their works will be judged.

We'll conclude with the words of the Apostle John regarding this issue:

1 John 4:1~"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."



Blessed!
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Evil, Who Knows It And How? Pt. 2

This article is continued from Part 1 found HERE.
The Complete article is available at The Dunamis Word 2.

III: Can Them That Are Lost Confidently Know What Evil Really Is?

Everything in the natural world (HIS creation) only has extrinsic value and goodness as declared by God himself. This is called a metaphysical value statement. Extrinsic values are derivative values, therefore intrinsic values preceed extrinsic values. This is the problem with idol worship or any exaltation of "things" above God, as those "things", idols or whatever they may be have no intrinsically good value. Their value is only given and accounted for based on subjective ascriptions of value. This concept should also give additional insight into the writings of Paul in Romans 1:25 when he said:

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

The "creature" here represented men and mankind as well as the pleasures of this world. In reference to natural things one does not normally say that there is an "evil" tree or an "evil" rock. Once again, the identification that a tree or rock is not evil in and of itself is an ascription of value to that object. The rock or tree only becomes evil when their use is perverted or corrupted in some manner. For the Christian this is confirmed within the creation when God said this:


Gen. 1:31 ~ "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good"

God declared that everything that he had made was good from the time that he made it. By declaration of God this is an example of the creation being declared extrinsically good. This is called an extrinsic value declaration.

What is unaccounted for by the philosophical crowd is the difference that came into existence after the fall:


Genesis 3:17-19 ~ "17-And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18-Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19-In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

By the exercise of the freewill that God had given to man, the very creation that God had made and called good, had now been cursed. Please note extrinsic value of the creation changed so much that even the creation itself cries to be redeemed as noted by Paul in Romans:

Romans 8:22 ~ "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Spinoza Unraveled:

In Spinoza's understanding as referenced previously within this article, "evil" would only be applied to something after the consideration of the benefits to which those actions are applied. Corruption of what is good was not a consideration for Spinoza. All was purely based on a persons relationship to what was done. For example, killing, though generally held to be "evil", under certain circumstances may not be "evil" because it may be for self-defense or self preservation. Therefore the concept of klling may not be thoroughly or absolutely evil.

The little trick here deals with the "own temperment" part of Spinoza's statement. This rests upon a persons basis for carrying out the action. Using killing as an example again, under Spinoza's construction, "evil" would not be applied to killing if killing were in line with the killer's own standard of moral justification no matter what suffering results from the action. In fact in war killing is praised as long as the enemy is the one killed. Therefore, the act of killing takes on a relative and subjective position and moral value under certain circumstances.

Another example may include a person who steals out of what they think is necessity for their family to eat. Although thievery is wrong in some cases it may be looked upon as a noble and sincere action to prevent further uncomfort or evil from occurring.

The Christian must admit that these statements seem to be a highly plausible statements and ones that appear to have validity. God who abhors murder also told the children of Israel to possess the land of promise and in many cases kill or destroy all the inhabitants of the land.

Deut. 9:3-4a ~ "3-Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. 4-Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: "

The critic happily assesses that even God's moral values are subjective and based on his whims or are arbitrary in nature, but is that really the case?
First, God has declared that he is the Lord and he changes not:

Malachi 3:6 ~ "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

Heb. 13:8 ~ "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Being the only uncaused cause, God's steadfastness is clear. God's nature remains the same. God's intents remain the same from all etrnity. What the critic misses is that God has also said that he abhors evil and the sin that man continues to choose. Remember, God had a disdain for sin before sin even existed. Being omniscient he accounted for it before the world was founded as jesus was a "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". (Rev. 13:8) The people in Caanan were idolotrous and full of all the sins that God said he despises. The elimination of sin, would not have been a violation of God's nature or a subjective value change of God's nature but was fully in accord with the nature of God. Look at what he said in the same verses of scripture regarding Caanan's destruction:

Deut. 9:4b-5 ~"4b-For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. 5-Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

God's righteousness cannot be separated from his nature. He has eternally set forth the standard of righteousness and his "temperment" is made known from the beginning. Therefore he is consistent in demanding justice for sins committed and that consistency overrides what men call moral subjectivism.

So the view of the world regarding "evil' is all based on concepts of subjective rationalism and those concepts do not and cannot apply to God as his standards have been set much further than what men have traditionally given him credit for. As you can see, to not have an understanding of the objective nature of the morality of God only leads to blatant absurdities.

Possibility vs. Actualization:

The duality of 'good versus evil' is expressed, in some form or another, by many cultures. Those who believe in the duality theory of evil believe that evil cannot exist without good, nor good without evil, as they are both objective states and opposite ends of the same scale.

In the Christian worldview evil exists as an exercise of the human agency of free-will. This thought is highly effective when one realizes first that freedom is not about having unlimited choices. Freedom is about having the unfettered ability to make a choice. God made man free moral agents and beings via that process he also extended to man the opportunity actualize evil. Therefore, God by creating free moral agents also created the possibility of evil, however man made the actuality of evil by the exercise of his free-will. For God to have created without the ability to do evil would have been manipulation plain and simple and would have destroyed free-will and freedom alltogether.

God could also not have created anything, however that sentiment completely overlooks the fact that what God did create was good and without corruption, therefore God did not create and is not responsible for the actualization of evil in this present world. In short, God certainly created the possibility of evil, however man made evil the actual reality and his choice even effected the echosystem or the natural world in which we live.

Summary:

I propose that evil exists in our world today and that we recognize evil as either corruption or perversion of what is good.

I propose that "evil' cannot be distinguished as 'evil' in an of itself without the light of God through the inner conscience indicating what is good and therefore without corruption.

I believe that all men have been given some sort of illumination of conscience due to the fact that the light has entered into the world from eternity through Jesus.

I propose that since the Holy Spirit is present in the world today to "reprove" the world of sin thereby revealing the moral standards of God to both believer and nonbeliever alike.


It is evident that the world has labeled and branded actions as either "evil" or "good" because of the Holy Spirit's intervention. However, many of those standards have been made to be subjective by sinful man and fail to address the intrinsic nature, value actions or essence of what is being observed.

The atheist has been blinded to the fact that the only way he/she can recognize evil is because of the objective standard of God's good and the recognition of the effect of sin upon what is good and pure.

I propose that since evil does exist, it can only be revealed and known to be evil as a result of God's good, and HIS intervention in the current world, and that Christians are best suited to distinguish it because of the acceptance of the objective moral standards of God.

Blessed!


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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Evil, Who Knows It And How? Pt. 1

Gen. 3:4-5 ~ "4-And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5-For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

The Atheist Bus Campaign proudly hails that humanity doesn't need to worry because there is" probably no God". The American Humanists claim that we don't need God to be good and that individuals can just "be good for goodness sake". These statements assume that belief in God is nonessential to life and that an individual can discern and know what is good on their own. The problem is that in order to be good one must also know what is bad or evil and be able to distinguish the difference.

The focus of this article is to examine the human epistemology of good and evil. This is better stated as how and on what basis do individuals know what is good or bad. This article will look specifically at the knowledge of "evil" and how evil is discerned both in the life of the Christian and in the life of the unsaved or atheist.

I intend to ask and answer the following questions in this article:

1- What is evil and where does it come from?

2- How does one come to identify what is evil?

3- Can them that are lost confidently know what evil really is?

4- How is the Christian concept of evil superior to the atheistic concept of evil?

I: What Is Evil And Where Does It Come From?

In many philosophical circles, evil is defined as morally objectionable behavior or that which causes harm destruction and/or misfortune. For many, it is said that evil emanates from immorality which is the quality of not being in accord with standards of right. Evil is equivalent to being wicked or possessing iniquity.

Throughout history, it has been thought that unpleasurable things are evil. In fact the Plato's (428-347 B.C.E.) view of evil which was gained from his teacher Socrates (470-399 B.C.E.) he stated that the only reason why the pleasures of food and drink seem to be evil is that they result in pain and deprive us of future pleasures. {Plato Progaras, 353e}

Socrates (in Plato's early work) argued, that which we call evil is merely ignorance and that good is that which everyone desires. Benedict de Spinoza said that the difference between good and evil is merely one of personal inclinations:

"So everyone, by the highest right of Nature, judges what is good and what is evil, considers his own advantage according to his own temperament... ."

If you are careful to notice, the term "evil" is normally used as a descriptive based on concepts of relativistic or subjective thought. In other words "evil" according to most, is only "evil' as it relates to its relative position to an individual, culturally acceptable standards of the community or personal moral assessments. In other words "evil' as it is described in modern society is nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

Philosophically Speaking:

There are generally three types of evil pointed to in most circles:

1- Moral Evil ~ Evil as a result of choice of moral agents

2- Natural Evil ~ Evil that occurs as a result of natural circumstance beyond our control

3- Non moral Evil~ Evil that occurs as a result of accident or neglect.

Augustine To The Rescue:

St. Augustine, in his defense of the faith "On The Morals Of The Manichaens, [5.7]" set forth the concept that evil is not the absence of good, as is commonly taught in philosophical circles, but the corruption of good. His argument is summarized as follows:

1- Corruption is a general definition of evil.

2- Corruption, which is not a substance, does not exist by itself but in what it corrupts.

3- Corruption is only identified when whatever is corrupted by it looses integrity and purity.

4- That which has no integrity or purity cannot be corrupted.

5- Therefore for anything to suffer corruption or perversion implies the presence of integrity, purity and ultimately good.

In the Christian worldview evil is better stated as being the corruption of good or of what has integrity and purity, not the absence of good. In other words evil cannot be identified unless it is set against a standard that is not corrupted to begin with.

In some cases evil is the lack of an appropriate relationship between good things. Example, Boots are good, a persons face can be and is generally good, but a boot on a face is an inappropriate relationship especially when there was nothing done to deserve it.

Evil can also be the lack of something that should be there in relationship between good things. For example, the husband that mistreats his wife or father that abuses his children. He does so because he lack the love that he should have for his spouse and children, while at the same time he may either love someone else or love some other activity that assists him eliminating or lowering his love for his family. The problem is not that there is no love, love exists, but there is a serious lack of love or maybe even hatred for what should be loved.

II: How Does One Come To Identify Evil?

The Philosophical Dilemma


I point out yet another philosophical dilemma regarding evil. This deals with both the ethical view of evil and the epistemological understanding or awareness of evil. That epistemological understanding of evil simply asks or seeks to find out how one knows or identifies evil.

Views on the nature of evil tend to fall into one of four opposed camps:

Moral absolutism holds that good and evil are fixed concepts established by a deity or deities, nature, morality, common sense, or some other source.

Amoralism claims that good and evil are meaningless, as there are no deities, no moral ingredient in nature. Amoralists tend to apply a homo economicus style of making decisions in their lives.

Moral relativism holds that standards of good and evil are only products of local culture, custom, or prejudice.

Moral universalism is the attempt to find a compromise between the absolutist sense of morality, and the relativist view; universalism claims that morality is only flexible to a degree, and that what is truly good or evil can be determined by examining what is commonly considered to be evil amongst all humans.

Value Statements

The view that something is either good or bad of itself is called intrinsicism. Intrinsic values are nonderivative values. In other words something is either good or bad without regard to who or what it is good or bad to or for. There is a problem with intricism. Anything good on its own has nothing to compare itself to. In other words there is no contrast offered by which something that is truly good without respect to whom it's good to can really be assessed as being good. Therefore intrinsic worth is a circular argument in many cases.

This is where it gets interesting. For one to identify evil, one would also have to assign or have assigned a set of values as a contrast to the assessment being made. Those values may be based on subjective or objective means, but there is a value relationship and value assertion nonetheless, otherwise there can be no identification of anything evil or corrupt. Current philosophical understandings of intricism do not address this particular issue and fail to account for initial value judgements and assertions. This is done primarily due to the belief that community in many cases, is responsible for value judgements. This thought is probably one of the worst of all arguments and certainly has shown not to be the case. Why? First, because nearly all cultures, varying as they may be, and in some cases not in touch with either at all, hold to certain standards and values in high esteem that are seemingly universal, such as charity, selflessness, nurturing of others etc. These standards are always held out as being virtuous from culture to culture without having been derived from any particular culture or social setting.

Secondly, value assessments and judgements are made regularly regarding these matters outside of community from culture to culture and third, if one says that good values are learned from family and maternal "passings on", then one is right back where we started asking for the first cause of the value judgement ie: where did your mommas, mommas, momma get that from and then where did they get it from. A trail of infinite regression that leads back to a beginning either way where a standard was set forth.

Fourth, the bible accords that God is the only intrinsically good being. For something to have intrinsic value means that it can be valuable or not, good or bad, without reference to who it is good or bad for, and without reference to the reason it is good or bad. Although this statement for a philosopher is a self-defeating, in our current condition, we can identify good when we identify evil since evil is the corruption of what is good. In the case of God he is self-ascribed as the self-existent one who is good.

Exodus 3:14 ~ "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

Blessed!

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