Archive for Theology

Dr. John MacArthur on the False Theology that causes Medical Neglect

// March 4th, 2014 // No Comments » // Ethics, Theology

I’m learning and growing intellectually in the area of biomedical ethics. Here is one particular issue that I’ve heard about recently that is in my thoughts. I hope that studying and analyzing cases such as these will help me to connect with and relate to patients and be able to provide them with wise counsel and guidance.

Please watch the video and read John MacArthur’s response.

Dr. John MacArthur said it best in his responses to Nancy Grace regarding this issue.

Dr. MacArthur:
“I would agree with you, Nancy, 100%. When your style of parenting results in the unnecessary death of your children — that is criminal behavior in every sense. You know if you go back to the Old Testament God condemned the Canaanite civilization because they offered their babies on an alter and incinerated them to pacify their God. That was paganism at its worst. Now we have people who have some kind of religion that they call “Christianity” that ends up with their children being dead? First of all that’s criminal behavior and secondly it has nothing to do with Christianity. Nothing whatsoever. The Bible never tells parents to do anything but to care for their children, to raise them in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. Jesus picked up little children and blessed them and said “Of such is the Kingdom of God. Parenting is about protection. Parenting is about preservation. It’s not about living out some bizaar, aberrant religion that ends up in the death of your children.”
“Well hopefully these parents will be removed from these children because these children are vulnerable. I read a comment by the “pastor” of their church that has managed to brainwash in this kind of stuff, that “If another one of their children get sick, they won’t take that child to the doctor either.” If ever there was a situation where these parents need to be removed permanently from their children, it is this one.”
One of the reasons why people mock Christianity is because they have to cope with these horrendous misrepresentations of Christianity. The whole faith-healing movement is a scam that divests the poorest (the people with the least resources and [with] the most desperation) of their money, at the behest of a healer or a church healer like this guy — they become rish, they become prosperous on the backs of desperate people who seek something that they cannot deliver. Look, miraculous healings do not happen at the hands of these supposed healers and by these mechanisms. It’s a scam, and it preys on the least of these. It preys on the most desperate people. This is not Christianity. You know, people don’t counterfeit brown-paper and sticks. They counterfeit the true. And there is a true Gospel and a true Christianity and what it offers is salvation from sin and eternal life — not some supposed healing in the body.”

 

What you’re hearing about in this video is not a religious rights issue but one of false theology coupled with medical neglect. Unfortunately, there are some in this country that reject modern medicine and proper medical care guided by a false doctrine. For most people their definition of “religion” does not include a distinction from “true” religion versus “false,” which can often be a complex issue to handle in terms of analysis from biomedical ethics and philosophy. One must employ Theology in order to rightly divide the aspects of this issue and so Dr. John MacArthur was brought on board. He explains that parents have in the U.S. ‘freedom of religion’ and the authority to raise their children but at the same time are compelled morally by conscience to do what is right for their children.

Whenever freedom of parental authority conflicts with the objective moral right, doing what is right should always prevail. When parents choose to do what is not in the best interest of their child it is neglect, and they do not live up to their role as parents. False religion introduces confusion to parenting — in this case it injected neglect. “20,000 children each year die from this type of medical neglect.” Theologically, there is nothing wrong with Antibiotics. The New Testament in the same passages that allow us freedom to now consume foods once condemned by the Old Testament in Leviticus gives us freedom to use antibiotics. Theologically there’s nothing in the Bible that restricts the administration of pharmaceuticals as a medicinal treatment. Where do people get the idea that it’s wrong? False doctrine in a false theology.

My Thoughts: I think that the best idea is not to condemn parents that make choices such as these but to actually staff Medical Chaplains that are highly trained in Theology and Ethics to be able to provide right theological guidance to parents in decision-making over the health of their children. These can also help to identify signs of medical neglect and, just as with a suicide case, determine the proper course of action when patients make decisions that could negatively affect the health of their child.

Thank you for reading.

Scutum Fidei – Update to a Popular Symbolic Graphic

// June 28th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Apologetics, Theology

There’s a popular graphic that I used in my writings on the doctrine of the Trinity that illustrated the Trinity very clearly. What it illustrates is perfect: it illustrates the teaching of the biblical, historical Trinity without it getting confused with common unbilblical heresies or anti-Christological variants (such as Unitarianism, Modalism, Eutychianism, Nestorianism, Oneness, etc.). The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can each be called GOD; But, the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and so on. In other words, each individual Person is and can each be called God (and is God), but each Person remains distinct. (Theological Note: This is never to be thought of as an icon or image of God Himself (which would be a graven image) but an illustration of the teaching of the Trinity itself and how we understand it.)

The Original Graphic

File:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg

It’s called the Scutum Fidei, or “Shield of the Trinity,” and its history in ecclesiastical iconography dates back to as early as the 12th century. This popular image that marks such an important and pivotal Christian teaching essential to salvation. has made its way onto the Wikipedia page for the Doctrine of the Trinity and is recopied, re-tweeted, and placed as a status widespread among social networks. I wanted to update this image without reducing its simplicity. The font as you can see has serifs, but I wanted to update the font to something that is a bit more aesthetically pleasing to further the already large distribution of the graphic.

Here’s another representation of the Scutum Fidei that I’ve found (on the right):

This image is great, but I think that the more simplistic version of the image is more popular and more widely spread throughout the internet. So, I set out to recreate this popular graphic, another goal being to make it a vector image that anyone can download here and modify to suit their needs for their church’s website or blog.

Brief History of the Scutum Fidei

Source: Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_of_the_TrinityShown here is the earliest verified version of the Scutum Fidei, originally written in Latin in early the 1200’s AD. It was meant to be an illustrated summary of the 6th century Athenasian Creed. Its name came from a version of it with the likeness of a ‘shield,’ though it was never used on a shield. It gained great widespread exposure in the mid-13th century, climaxing in the 15th and 16th centuries, until the 17th century when it declined in use…until closer to our day in the 19th century.

Today you can see this popular image poping up all over the internet and believers begin to study the Christian faith and understand once again the essential teachings of the Bible.

Image Source: Wikipedia

 

Recreating a Popular Graphic

Here I detail my attempt to provide an update to the popular graphic that’s being passed around the internet in our day.

Tutorial-1-2

So how did I do this? I did this in Xara X1, a British piece of software and a very overwhelmingly underestimated graphics program that I’ve been using for over 10 years now. Stylistically, it’s a vector-based graphics program that can be used to create very complex or very simple graphics very quickly. The program itself uses very little memory. It can be used in combination with Adobe Photoshop and other industry standards to create stunning, clean results. The graphics it creates are highly scalable, allowing shapes and images to be resized easily, and the program offers tools and features that in my experience other graphics programs haven’t implemented yet.

Step 1: I first tried to create the basic outline of the graphic and see what I could do with it. After conceptualizing my wireframe I decided to start over and create an equilateral triangle (with the QuickShape Tool which draws polygons) as the base in order to set the circles at equal distance at the nodes of the triangle.

Step 2: I then used the Rectangle Tool to draw the connecting lines to each circle, rotating some, and filling the center with transparency to eye the distances and make connections at each node. This was used also to create the “Is” lines.

Step 3: I then filled in the transparency with white once I could judge the proportions were correct to create the solid image.

Step 4: The last step was to add the font. I chose Franklin Gothic Book since it is sans serif but still retains the look and feel of a serif-styled font. The spacing of each letter of the font is slender/slim, and it compliments the circular element within the design very well. I left the “Is”s slightly larger than the “Is Not”s Lastly, I added a border in the background.

All in all, I think it turned out greatly and I’m satisfied with the results. This is the finished product:

 

Trinity Graphic sans Border

Without Circular Border

Trinity Graphic

With Circular Border

Trinity Graphic Alpha sans Border

With Alpha Transparency

Here are the images with and without the circular border in the background. Now to give visitors and passersby free creative reign…

Distribution

Feel free (moreover, encouraged) to distribute this image is widely as you would like and to use it creatively wherever necessary. Attribution or credit to this page on this site is optional. Also, feel free to download and use the vector graphic in other formats the same way.

Download the Vectors

Right-click and choose ‘Save As’ for the following vectors:

[1] Scutum Fidei:
.ai, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif [300 dpi], .tif [200 dpi], .xar

[2] Scutum Fidei without Border:
.ai, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif [300 dpi], .tif [200 dpi], .xar

[3] Scutum Fidei with Alpha Transparency:
.png

[4] Scutum Fidei with Alpha Transparency without Border:
.png

[5] Working File (Used to create the overall graphic, with steps saved):
.xar

Other formats can be made available upon request.
Isaac

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Faulty Presupposition

// May 14th, 2012 // No Comments » // Hermeneutics & Biblical Interpretation, Popular Issues

There’s an article on Bill Nye the Science Guy’s critique of Genesis 1:16 at a community college lecture series. He quoted the text and explained how the “lesser light,” assumed to be the moon, referred to in the passage was a reflector of the sun’s light rather than a “light.” This article appears in “Think Exist”: an atheist website that requires you to donate a dollar to them before registering an account to make a comment on an article (I found out because I tried). Bill Nye was off, and here’s why.

Link: http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/bill-nye-bood-in-texas-for

Interesting article, but the problem with people that find issues with the Bible is that they don’t take the time to form a right hermeneutic in order to interpret the text. A Hermeneutic is a correct literary interpretation based of a particular text based on its given genre, its historical background, and its grammatical background. There are certain contexts that must be considered when interpreting a text.

It’s a fact that the gentleman that wrote “The God Delusion,” Richard Dawkins, actually knows very little about theology at all besides his limited exposure to Christianity through a Roman Catholic upbringing (which is not exposure Biblical Christianity), yet feels he has the authority (and audacity) to write a book critiquing theology. Just being an expert in a certain field does not make one an expert in other fields. Authorities are authorities, but their words are still subject to scrutiny, and this is the case with Bill.

Here’s the correct interpretation. The primary purpose of Genesis is NOT expository but declarative. Its intention is not to give an exposition of how things works but simply to declare and state an obvious fact.

If the Bible would say, “the sky is Blue,” Bill Nye might say, “Well, it’s not really blue, it’s actually the particles of dust in the air catching light and reflecting the specific frequency of what the rods and cones of the eye in the retina would cause us to perceive as blue, and other animals perceive it differently.” But, that does not detract away from the specific fact that the Bible has an audience of readers who would look up at the sky and see the color blue! It doesn’t matter HOW it works, it’s simply making a declarative statement.

You have to remember that the priorities of God in the Bible are different than man’s: The Bible spends but 31 simple verses declaring creation and yet 7 whole chapters on the engineering specifications of the construction of the Mosaic Tabernacle for worship because God esteems we understand holiness when approaching Him for worship even more so than understanding creation and how it works. God’s priorities are different.

Now, knowing that Genesis 1 is primarily declarative, let’s re-read Bill Nye’s quoted text:
Genesis 1:16, “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

There’s no conflict with the science behind how it works if you simply step outside and understand that the moon, regardless of the mechanism of whether it reflects light or shines its own light (the mechanism), can be observed as luminescent to observers. It’s simply declarative: the moon shines as a light. Saying that the moon is a light is sort of like saying the sky is blue — no matter the mechanism, it’s simply a declarative, observable truth.

Therefore, the text holds together quite firmly. The problem is not with the passage in Genesis but with the presuppositions that the reader carries into his or her interpretation that cause him to perceive the text differently than what was originally intended. Scripture has but one clear meaning, which is easily skewed if you approach it with all kinds of hostility and expectations of finding issues. But, correct interpretation and scholarly investigation will always prove the validity of the scriptures. The text is not inaccurate at all when properly interpreted.

It’s also interesting to note that the passage never identifies the greater and lesser lights as the sun and moon.

Also, if you think critically, the article ridicules the people of faith for having a sense of discernment. I think it’s obvious that what they were angry about was the fact that he stopped to critique the Bible, not that they didn’t believe the science behind the moon’s luminescence, which is common knowledge.

To paraphrase Charles Spurgeon, “Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.”

The Biblical Christian – A Series on Reformed Theology

// January 16th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Reformed Theology

Part I – Introduction to this Series

Introduction

This study is on Reformed Theology. It was written to properly introduce the reader to what it is, and to defend it against its opponents. 2 timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NKJV) The Apostle Paul in this passage states clearly that the scriptures can be used to demonstrate doctrinal teaching, because the Bible contains doctrine – formal arrangements of teaching regarding specific topics. We can derive doctrine, or Bible teaching, from the scriptures. It is also useful for what’s called “reproof.” A reproof is a conviction, like a rebuke, that shows a truth beyond dispute. It’s to say, “There’s no way that this can’t be true, and here’s the evidence.” A correction is setting something straight – it is fixing error. It is to these concepts that this writing intends to appeal in order to show the biblical truth of Reformed Theology.

Some people tell me that the doctrine of the Trinity is unbiblical because the scriptures never mention or contain the word ‘Trinity.’ I often mention to them that even the word ‘Bible’ isn’t in the scriptures as that isn’t a term the scriptures applies to itself, yet no one will dispute the use of this term to refer to the scriptures. Where does this term come from? It comes from ‘Biblos’ in Greek, which means ‘Books.’ It’s in verses 2 Timothy 4:13, Revelation 20:12, Acts 19:19, and John 21:25 to refer to something else. Why do we use the word “Bible” to refer to the scriptures today? It is because of church history. It is a historical term that Believers have accepted. It is a referential term. It is merely a word we use to refer to something. Is the word Bible in the scriptures used to describe itself? No. Is it safe to use this word to refer to the scriptures? Why, absolutely. Is the word ‘Trinity’ in the scriptures? No. However, the teaching of the Trinity – that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet God is one Being – certainly is in the scriptures. Therefore, is it safe to use this word to refer to this teaching in the bible? Yes it is. There is no harm in using referential terms to refer to Bible teachings. We use them clarify what we mean when we refer to Bible teachings or concepts in the Word of God. Church history is a history of men of God rightly dividing or ‘cutting straight’ the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). This was done so as not to entangle ourselves with the common errors of interpretation and twisting of scripture of wolves throughout history. Though nothing outside of God is inspired at all, clarifying what we know is inspired by referring to proper teaching and interpretation specifically certainly is right and intended by God (1 John 4:1-4). The verse references weren’t in the original manuscripts. The Old Testament books appeared in a different order than we have it ordered in our Old Testament. There were no headers above passages introducing areas of scriptures as we have in our Study-Bibles. However, these are all legitimate uses if the Word of God is being rightly divided, cut straight, or the interpretation of the Word is provided for its reader more accurately with the sense that what’s in the text is authoritative and inspired and everything else is not. A “Theology” is a systematic arrangement of Bible teaching. And it will usually include referential terms to those teachings. We need not be afraid of these terms when tackling the “Biblicity” of Reformed Theology — to coin a neologism and ironically create an adjective referential term to describe it.

We may worship together, we may open the scriptures together, and together we can talk about God. However, I’ve found that there are certain scriptures that many of us can’t talk about together. And there are certain parts of our study of God where we can’t go with many of us. For what I’m about to present to you, many of you may take heavy offense. I’m reminded of the passage in Luke where Jesus is reading to His hometown congregation from the passage in Luke. He declared that He was there to fulfill the passage He read to them. Everyone marveled in awe at what he said and at his amazing voice. However, at his next statement, they drove him out of the congregation and to the edge of town, and nearly off of a cliff. Now, what offended them? It’s debatable as it’s not directly explained in the passage what part of his statement offended them or why they were so angry with His statement – whether it was because the widow of Zeraphath and the guy with leprosy were both Gentiles or because of the seeming impartiality of God to only relieve some and not others or do miracles to only some. But, it’s clear that they were offended when Jesus tried to explain or interpret scripture. They disagreed with His interpretation. And who tried to drive Jesus off of a cliff? Those dear members of His hometown that saw Him grow up, witnessed Him take care of his mother and family as the first son with the birthright, those who had routinely seen Jesus at the synagogue week after week. I consider that likewise this will probably be the case with me at my attempt to interpret or explain scripture on this most offensive topic. And, like Jesus, I must learn how to take offense, continue to deliver truth, and praise God – whether I pass through the crowd or am driven off of the cliff.

Familiarity will always be a great enemy of God’s work as people cling onto the old wineskin and prefer the taste of old wine over new. Contrary to what our worldly conformity and conventional wisdom may tell our senses about old wine, we find that with Jesus the new wine He created at the Wedding at Caina actually tasted sweeter than the old and exactly the reverse was true. However, we find in His actual words that both the wine and the wineskin alike needed to be changed. In the same respect, we must conform to the scriptures. It is not the scriptures that must conform to us.

Oftentimes truth is very difficult to bear. We see a Job facing a reality where all 10 of his children were killed along with all of his livestock. He could look into a stream and see as his reflection a man covered from the top of his head to the soles of his feet with worm-filled sores that disgusted everyone. That was cold, hard truth. It was neither pleasant for Job to hear nor easy for him to hear as even a devout man who feared God.

To some, Christian Theology seems like a race for influence. Who can take a newborn Christian first and teach them their persuading influences over theology?

For a lot of people, this is a refutation and clear defense against Reformed Theology. However, it doesn’t work when one inspects the object of what it is. Let’s appeal to an extreme example of a counter-Christian cult. We can clearly see that the Oneness Pentecostals are in error. Why? It’s simply because the Bible disagrees with Baptismal regeneration. Everyone of their interpretations of the verses they address is an eisegetical perversion of what is there when that verse is isolate. The co-text surrounding the verse and the context of the entire passage and book clearly defeat this doctrine. Therefore, one of the major tenets of Oneness Theology is defeated.

Now, let’s look at Calvinism’s scriptural underpinnings. When one goes to study Reformed Theology, whole chapters of the Bible can be exposited to prove it. All of Ephesians 1 speaks of Election. All of Romans 9 speaks of Limited Atonement, and so on. Reformed Theology, to those who disagree with it, isn’t as easily dismissed because it is expositorily scriptural. While people who are in error have certain verses that they can pick here and there to quote, the Reformed Christian has whole chapters and books. And, in their proper context. How can this be error? It’s the case of a resistance of people to believe the rightly divided Word of God. Why? Only because it’s hard to believe.

More to come on: Reformed Theology