Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Unbelievable? Conference

85 Comments:

Blogger seanrobsville said...

Not sure about the other religions, but Buddhism is quite compatible with reason.

22 April 2012 at 10:09  
Blogger graham wood said...

"Not sure about the other religions, but Buddhism is quite compatible with reason."

Answer: That depends entirely on who is doing the reasoning.
By contrast Christianity is reasonable once it is understood that it is based wholly on God's revelation of himself in the Christian scriptures, and supremely in Jesus Christ alone.

22 April 2012 at 10:15  
Blogger gallybalder said...

Ok then - homo sapiens, our species modern humans have been around for 100,000 yrs but god hangs about and suddenly decides 97,000 yrs on to interfere and make himself known to us! Reasons to believe?

22 April 2012 at 10:53  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Graham Wood
"That depends entirely on who is doing the reasoning. By contrast Christianity is reasonable once it is understood that it is based wholly on God's revelation of himself in the Christian scriptures, and supremely in Jesus Christ alone."

But no argument built upon this foundation is likely to convince followers of other prophets, such as Mohammed and Joseph Smith, let alone atheists or agnostics.

The foundational claim of all religions, even more basic than the belief in gods or a God - or their infallible prophets - is the claim that the human mind has a non-physical dimension (the 'soul'). This is in stark opposition to the scientific materialism currently being preached by militant atheists.

Although all religions claim that humans are more than biological machines, as far as I am aware only Buddhist philosophers such Alan Turing and Alan Wallace have seriously challenged this materialist worldview. Christian apologists seem to be still mired in their century long battle with Darwinism.

22 April 2012 at 10:57  
Blogger graham wood said...

Sean Robsville said:
"But no argument built upon this foundation is likely to convince followers of other prophets, such as Mohammed and Joseph Smith, let alone atheists or agnostics."

Biblical Christians understand very well that reason alone will never convince followers of "other prophets" - they do not claim ability to effect that for a moment.
If a person becomes a Christian believer it is solely because of the sovereign operation of the Holy Spirit in his/her heart first, and with the conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
As Jesus himself explained - without the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the New birth there is no salvation.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"

22 April 2012 at 11:16  
Blogger Gareth said...

@gallybalder -

Before you run that argument too far, go to this website: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ , scroll about a quarter of the way down and look at the graph of the population of the world throughout history.

Then, reflect on the fact that there are no recorded histories before *about* 600 BC.

Then, reflect on the fact that the Bible says that God's nature and power "have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world".

22 April 2012 at 12:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Men do not evaluate the evidence and then choose to disbelieve. They choose to disbelieve and then they evaluate the evidence. They are like men who shut their eyes tight and then say "Where is this light you keep talking about?" Rebellion is at the very center of man's nature. He suppresses the truth, and substitutes a lie. It makes no difference if he lies to himself by deifying a rock, or deifying an animal, or deifying himself. It's all a manifestation of the same rebellion.

carl

22 April 2012 at 14:33  
Blogger Albert said...

There are times, Carl, when you sound just like Blessed John Henry Newman (for the record, I could hardly pay a greater compliment).

22 April 2012 at 14:53  
Blogger Albert said...

Seanrobsville,

as far as I am aware only Buddhist philosophers such Alan Turing and Alan Wallace have seriously challenged this materialist worldview. Christian apologists seem to be still mired in their century long battle with Darwinism.

Are you serious? Etienne Gilson, Alvin Plantinga, Ed Feser, John Haldane, Daivd Oderberg, Eleanor Stump, (in fact, all Thomist philosophers), J.P Moreland and numerous other Christian philosophers all tackle this point. And while we are about it, atheist philosopher, atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel has a new book coming out which aims to expose the falsity of materialism.

22 April 2012 at 15:05  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

graham wood said...

You saved me from writing. Your comments are so right. Becoming a Christian is not a head assent, it is a heart assent to the convicting prescence of the Holy Spirit.

22 April 2012 at 15:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

Carl @ 19:33: nicely put Sir.

22 April 2012 at 15:49  
Blogger David B said...

Ridiculous and contemptible.

David B

22 April 2012 at 16:03  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

What really astounds me when I listen to these debates is quite how genuinely crap Atheists are at debating the existence or otherwise of God.

Dawkins is perfectly useless; no worse then useless, he is often positively damaging to the credibility of his own apparent cause.

Dawkins does not even attempt to convert his audience to his way of thinking. All he does is insult the obvious intelligence of his opponents, and that of up to 75% of his usually post graduate audience.

Dawkins comes over as a sixth-form bully with absolutely no redeeming intellectual or otherwise qualities. He has the man management or persuasive skills of a true sociopath, which is of course not so surprising.

But what I cannot understand is Dawkins seeming lack of any knowledge of his opponents arguments, or even a fully functioning debating strategy.

To badly quote John Lennox quoting someone else.

"No one would believe in the type of God the likes of Richard Dawkins do not believe in."

What arguments he does come up with could only impress the already converted, lazy, uncaring or unthinking.

He must have heard the well tuned arguments for the existence of God hundreds of times by now, but to my knowledge has never made any kind of serious attempt to counter them.

One might have thought that these traditional and scientific arguments now combined would have at least humbled this school yard thug somewhat, but Dawkins simply carries on most arrogantly with his materialist propaganda regardless.

Dawkins clearly has a larger agendas to promote. An agenda where the existence or otherwise of a creator, is only an important but supporting player in the main show.

Darwinian Evolution, and TRUTH.

God either is, or he is not.

Jesus Christ is either the father, the son, and the holy spirit or he is not, therefore either a very important guy, or one hell of a fat headed liar, and a clearly sad and sadly over rated individual.

As we all must understand a belief in the existence of God, and being a Christian do not of necessity go together.

However a religiously held belief in Darwinistic, ( therefore a purely material, natural and terrestrial ) explanation for existence, and one in Atheism, and other forms of Social Darwinism like for example Nazism, Communism, Corporatist Capitalism and Social Democracy are indispensable blood brothers of polemic dogma joined at the hip.

Darwinian Evolution either happened as so, or it did not.

Mankind cannot now, nor will at any future time, conclusively prove the existence of a supreme universal law giving intelligence to be a horrendous lie, vile disinformation or a woefully insufficient explanation, but he can and has proven Darwinian Evolution to be all of these things.

Darwinism, and now Dawkinism makes Atheism look bad.

For this they should both be encourage to further exertions, but for nothing else.

22 April 2012 at 16:14  
Blogger Oswin said...

David B @ 16:03 : forgive me if you have been asked before; but which 'cult' were you involved with?

22 April 2012 at 16:33  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

Sean Robsville

Buddhism is compatible with reason providing we carefully select certain bits. The Kevatta Sutta and many others are good counter examples. This is what the blessed One said:

"There is the case where a monk wields manifold psychic powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.

There are of course many definitions of what "rational" is, but Sam Harris et al would have trouble with this, wouldn't they?

22 April 2012 at 17:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

No, no, no, no, no. This cannot be. You should tell me that I sound just like Calvin. Or Zwingli. Or Beza. Or Owen. Or Edwards. Or Spurgeon. Or Van Til. But you can't tell me I sound like Roman Catholic. That is just ... inconceivable.

carl

22 April 2012 at 18:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

You should tell me that I sound just like Calvin. Or Zwingli. Or Beza. Or Owen. Or Edwards. Or Spurgeon. Or Van Til.

I would never be so unkind - I hold you in too high regard. (Although I actually quite like Van Til!)

you can't tell me I sound like Roman Catholic. That is just ... inconceivable.

What, like a Virgin giving birth, you mean?!

22 April 2012 at 19:27  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Albert and carl

Good to see you two hitting it off so well.

Maybe you can help answer a question I've posed several times.

To what extent can or does the predominant culture of a country obstruct or facilitate the workings of the Holy Spirit?

I know and accept the Holy Spirit conquers all and God's plan is preordained. However, as people we are given free will to respond to the workings of the Spirit. We therefore have to have the capability of recognising God and His call and a willingness to affirm.

We all come from a generation where belief in the Christian God was part of the fabric of our society. To some extent we were 'hard wired' to see God in action in the world and within ourselves. Certainly my own upbringing took for granted the existance of God and family, school and church life had a certain rythm in tune with this. Without this, after my time of rebellion, I may not have had the capacity to experience Christ and be drawn back to Him.

What of those today who are raised in an individualistic, anti-theistic, anti-christian climate? Family life, school life and church life have all radically shifted. The sacraments of Baptism and marriage are no longer taken seriously - if taken at all. I suspect it is as difficult to bring an atheist committed to empiricalism and rationality, to God as it is to shift belief from pagan gods to God.

The follow up question is, given all the above, to what extent will salvation depend on Baptism and a concious acceptance of Christ?

22 April 2012 at 20:36  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Oooh, Dodo is now like a giant shaggy wolf! How cute, rather reminds me of our family pet...

22 April 2012 at 20:57  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I know this was answered recently in a different context but thr mysteries of God can be equally complex.
Depending on the Armenian or Calvanistic view you take but God would want everyone to be saved but he knows that not all will take advantage of his saving grace.
He also therefore knows who will be saved. Salvation comes through a complex reaction between the Holy Spirits work upon the individual drawing them to accept Jesus as their Saviour.

22 April 2012 at 22:08  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 April 2012 at 22:09  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Anna Anglican

Dodo is now like a giant shaggy wolf!

Yeah, I was actually thinking more along the lines of Pomeranian.

[Whistles innocently]

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:12  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Anna

Why, thank you. I'm trying to cultivate a friendlier approach. Just remember though, wolves have negative symbolism in Christianity (enter Ernsty and len to point this out) and can bite.

Here's a little quote from Lord of the Rings. It's random but when I read your blog it came to mind.

Samwise Gamgee:

"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy?

How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.

Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something."

22 April 2012 at 22:15  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Following;
Baptism never is part of the work of salvation since salvation can't depend on works. Baptism is an acknowledgement by the regenerate that they are truly born again.
So First is the call of God by The Holly Spirit followed by the response of the individual.
As Christians, we do not know who will be the redeemed so we preach to all. Was it Spurgeon who wrote that if those who were the elect had a yellow stripe down there back, he would lift up their shirt tails.

22 April 2012 at 22:15  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl
Get somedecent specks!

22 April 2012 at 22:18  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

To what extent can or does the predominant culture of a country obstruct or facilitate the workings of the Holy Spirit?

You have the relationship backwards. There are no random molecules in the universe. The current culture is a result of the Decretive Will of God, and works to fulfill His perfect purposes. God cannot be frustrated. It is simply not possible. His Decretive Will is always fulfilled exactly as He intends. That is why He is the Sovereign God.

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:18  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Integrity
And those to whom no one preaches? Or those whose ability to understand is so perverted by the world? What do you say about them?

22 April 2012 at 22:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Lots of Pomeranians think they are wolves. But take heart. At least you aren't a cat.

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Wow Dodo, that's quite a question!

The key move for a Catholic is to ask whether someone is culpable for their ignorance of the truth. It's pretty obvious that some people are not - e.g. those who have literally never heard the gospel. You have given an example of someone, for whom fairly hearing the Gospel may be beyond their capacity. If so, then they are blameless for their lack of faith (in contrast to someone who refuses to believe because they do not want to). And if that is the case then we can hope (and pray) for them.

See the Catechism 846-848 and also Hans Urs von Balthasar's Dare We Hope That All Men be Saved? for a very enlightening discussion of the biblical evidence.

22 April 2012 at 22:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

And those to whom no one preaches?

Read Romans 1. There are no innocents. Every man stands condemned, and rightfully so. The general revelation of creation declares the power and glory of God such that men should recognize and worship the God who made them. If that were the end of the story, we would all be condemned. But God chose for Himself a people from before the creation of the World. He guarantees that He will seek out, and redeem and gather that people. He guarantees that none of those given by the Father to the Son will be overlooked on the Last Day. There is no contingency in the identity of the Elect. No one will ever say "If only someone had taught me, I would have been saved." If he was one of the Elect, then it is guaranteed that someone will go and preach to Him. That is what Jesus said:

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:38-40”

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

There are no random molecules in the universe. The current culture is a result of the Decretive Will of God, and works to fulfill His perfect purposes. God cannot be frustrated. It is simply not possible. His Decretive Will is always fulfilled exactly as He intends. That is why He is the Sovereign God.

This is true in an absolute sense. However, Dodo is still on to something because scripture says Do not quench the Spirit and it is clear that, although sin happens within God's providence and sovereignty, nevertheless it is against God's will. Hence St Paul tells us God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, nevertheless, scripture is clear about the real possibility of hell.

Sadly, I am not going to be able to continue this tomorrow.

22 April 2012 at 22:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

It sounds like you don't think Christ died for all.

22 April 2012 at 22:34  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Albert
I agree with the Catholic position and one prays it also applies to the innocent who die without Baptism. It is a very generous doctrine and reflects an understanding of the infinite love and mercy of God.

I'm interested in how the various branches of protestantism respond to this. The more fundamentalist schools require a spiritual rebirth. Others claim if God has called you He will get through.

22 April 2012 at 22:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

It sounds like you don't think Christ died for all.

I do not. Christ died for the Elect. If He if fact died for everyone, then we would all have to be universalists because the sin of every man would have been propitiated on the Cross. The death of Christ actually effected salvation. It did not effect a potential salvation to which all men by exercise of their libertarian will could appeal.

This btw is the dreaded 'L' in TULIP.

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:41  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl

Yes but no wolf sees itself as a Pomeranian.

Besides I'm not really a wolf, silly, I'm a Dodo in disguise.

22 April 2012 at 22:41  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

The more fundamentalist schools require a spiritual rebirth

Every Christian believes this because Jesus flat out asserts it in John 3. Being 'born again' is a sovereign act of God in the life of a believer. It is the moment of transformation from death to life. Everything in the Christian life proceeds from this prior fact - repentance, faith, sanctification. These things are manifestations of the spiritual life we have been given. We repent because we are given spiritual life. We exercise faith because we are given spiritual life. As breathing is to physical life, so faith is to spiritual life. It is something a living being does by nature. But it depends upon the prior establishment of that new nature.

carl

22 April 2012 at 22:48  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl said ...

"This btw is the dreaded 'L' in TULIP."

Indeed and a doctrine that limits God's saving Grace.

I'm not a theologian so ill-eguipped to pick it apart but doesn't 'limited atonement' run somethinglike this:

On Calvary Christ took only the sins of the elect upon Himself, providing a full and effectual atonement for their sins. He did not provide only the potential for atonement, but actually provided the effectual atonement. His death secured everything necessary for salvation and this includes faith, which the Spirit graciously applies to the lives of the elect. Though Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient for the entire human race, it is only imputed given to the elect and hence the atonement is not limited in its power, but in its extent.

The reason for this limited or particular nature of the atonement is that were Christ to sacrifice and die for someone who did not choose to be saved, it would make Christ’s work a failure. Thus the scope of Christ’s atonement is limited to those who are predestined to salvation and the primary benefits of this work is given only to those who believe.

Does this mean all innocent children are damned? That all those who have never heard the word of God are damned? Those whose capacity to understand and respond to the Holy Spirit is impeeded? These are not people who freely chose to ignore Christ and wilfully reject Him.

22 April 2012 at 22:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 April 2012 at 23:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Does this mean all innocent children are damned?

There are no innocent children. Did God spare Sodom for the sake of the children within it? Why did he not spare the city for the sake of ten righteous if there were innocent children within its walls?

That all those who have never heard the word of God are damned?

Yes, that's exactly the issue I covered above re Romans 1. Those who haven't heard are not guiltless.

Those whose capacity to understand and respond to the Holy Spirit is impeded?

Think this through. Your position leads to the natural conclusion that abortion is the best means of evangelism ever devised by the church. If what you say is true, then the most humane and merciful thing a man could do for his child is murder that child at birth. For consider. You have just said "Those who cannot understand get a free pass." Well, then, according to your own logic, you simply subject your children to the risk of damnation by letting them live. Do you see how insane this is? Why do you think abortion is such a monstrous crime?

These are not people who freely chose to ignore Christ and wilfully reject Him.

It is the nature of unregenerate man to rebel against God. Every single mother's son of us.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8

The sin nature of a child is seen immediately at birth. Why do you think God in His wisdom made that child helpless? Because if that child could act on his untrained natural will, he would kill his parents for a Popsicle.

carl

22 April 2012 at 23:11  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Ps

And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said:
Take ye, and eat. This is my body.
And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.
(Matthew 26:28)

But Peter said to them:
Do penance, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.
(Acts 2: 29-40)

I used to get into terrible bother at school over these biblical passages as they do appear to support limited, predetermined election and salvation.

Not so, says the Catholic Church, as redemption through the Holy Spirit can be gifted to those who through no personal fault are not Baptised Christians.

22 April 2012 at 23:21  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Calvanism is intellectually rigorous, unlike so many protestant sects, and I respect it for that. However, I reject this notion of eternal damnation for aborted children and for those who die unbaptised or those who are not culpable.

Do you believe those who died before Christs sacrifice were released from the underworld?

The concept of "untrained natural will" is interesting. Children are also very responsive to love because of their helplessness and are socialised over time. This was my original point about the importance of family, school and community life in assisting or hindering spiritual development.

And what's "insane" about the possibility of salvation for the aborted or the still born? No sane parent who believed in God would murder their child to guarentee it passage to Heaven!

I prefer the Catholic teaching:

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation"
(Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 16).

22 April 2012 at 23:39  
Blogger Oswin said...

Gordon Bennnet! - I'm agreeing with Dodo here!

23 April 2012 at 01:23  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin, not with me but with the Catholic Church.

23 April 2012 at 01:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

I prefer the Catholic teaching

I am sure you do. Now, if only Catholic teaching had some vague connection with Scripture.

Do you believe those who died before Christs sacrifice were released from the underworld?

Every man who is saved is saved by the same means. Some looked forward to the crucifixion. Some look back. The sins of David were propitiated in the same way as the sins of every man who has lived since the days of Rome. Those who die in faith go 'paradise' to await the resurrection. Those who die without faith go to 'hell' to await the resurrection and final judgment.

And what's "insane" about the possibility of salvation for the aborted or the still born?

And so you introduce the word 'possibility.' I have every expectation that God can save the pre-born just as he did with John the Baptist. But it is not a guarantee. There is no Scriptural basis to say that the pre-born get a free pass. There is no age of accountability in Scripture. There is no point before which we are not held to account. We don't become sinners when we sin. We sin because we are by nature sinners. As it is written "In sin did my mother conceive me." The contrary position is founded upon a romanticized view of children. It derives from the fact the adults mistake helplessness and lack of guile for innocence.

No sane parent who believed in God would murder their child to guarentee it passage to Heaven!

Is it? Didn't Paul say he would willfully be damned if it meant saving his fellow brethren? What is insane about guaranteeing your children's eternal salvation. You have no answer to this. That is why you reacted as you did. You attempt to dismiss top avoid answering.

carl

23 April 2012 at 05:19  
Blogger IanCad said...

It is too early in the morning to give a robust challenge to Carl's zeal for Predestination. I will yield the platform to him for the moment. Perhaps a post germaine to the subject may emerge later.
Since returning to the UK I have listened with some regularity to the "Unbelievable" debates. Let me say that Justin Brierley is a class act. A truly superb moderator.

23 April 2012 at 07:12  
Blogger Battersea Boy said...

I think it's unbelievable that Clapham Junction railway station, which was in Battersea when I grew up near there in Meteor Street, just off North Side, Clapham Common, has somehow miraculously been moved three (?) miles south west of its former position from Battersea into Clapham!

23 April 2012 at 07:24  
Blogger len said...

Dodo(22 April 2012 23:39) don`t you mean 'devious' not rigorous?.

Dodo.... weren`t Christians warned about wolves?.Have you' come out 'at last.

What`s Albert and the Inspector coming as?

23 April 2012 at 08:08  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Predestination negates free will. No free will means we do not worship, merely follow instructions. God wants worship, not mindless automatons. Ergo no predestination.

HOWEVER!

God exists outside of time and space (yes, I know God is everywhere, but he existed before time and space did) and thus he already knows the end, because he sees it at the same time as he sees the beginning. And because he created all he knows how the inner working of all creation will interact and thus how humans will act throughout history. He literally knows us inside out! (Or should that be inside AND out?)

Therefore everything is predestined, from a non-linear (i.e. outside of time) perspective, as it is all happening at the same time. Yet from a linear perspective it most definitely is not because God gave us free will to choose.

As an additional argument to the saving of children who aren't old enough to make an informed decision or anyone who never hears the Good News, can I ask if anyone here knows when the final question of who we serve is asked? Personally, I subscribe to the image that C S Lewis creates at the end of The Last Battle, where all the dead see Aslan and they either fear and hate him (thus not entering Aslan's country) or they fear and love him (and so enter Aslan's country). After all, why give people a choice if you're not going to give them at least 1 glimpse of the truth? (please note that is in no way an argument in favour of the existence of purgatory)
And, after all, if we are all judged on the same level then what but those that died before Christ?

Finally, Christ definitely DID die for all! That is the Biblical position ("Christ died once for all upon the cross") so that is where we must start. However, to remove the idea of universalism we must think of Jesus' death as that of a present which we know at least something about at the point that it is given (because it is eternally given) and we can choose to accept or decline it. The gift is there, it will not be taken away, but the only way for it to affect a person's life is for it to be accepted.

23 April 2012 at 09:39  
Blogger mikez said...

Mikez

Charles Hodge held that those who die in infancy - and I suppose aborted babies come under same heading - are not 'without excuse' (Rom. 1:20), so, being unable to reason, will be saved. Our Sovereign God knows who those are and are therefor included in His elect :
WCF 10.3 " Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word."

23 April 2012 at 10:51  
Blogger David B said...

@Oswin

Transcendental Meditation.

There have been and remain worse cults, and most practitioners of the meditation are no more cultic than the mass of occasionally churchgoing Catholics or CoE people.

However, at the centre, where Maharishi was treated as infallible and where I spent a few years, it was very cultic.

David B

23 April 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Youthpasta
>God exists outside of time and space

You might find Richard Swinburne disagreeing with you on that one.

23 April 2012 at 11:44  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

I wonder how many sceptics would turn up?

23 April 2012 at 11:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I do not. Christ died for the Elect. If He if fact died for everyone, then we would all have to be universalists because the sin of every man would have been propitiated on the Cross.

Actually, I thought that probably was going to be your point of view! You can guess my response: limited atonement seems contradicted by (for example) 1 Tim.2.4-6:

God our Savior [forgive the spelling!], who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all

or again St John says:

he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

And in Romans we read:

For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.

Now, if the doctrine of limited atonement is necessary because otherwise we would all have to be universalists because the sin of every man would have been propitiated on the Cross but the doctrine of limited atonement is false, doesn't it follow either that we must be universalists, or that the doctrine of atonement you have put here, is false?

23 April 2012 at 12:05  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dodo.
Being raised in a religious or some other belief can indeed provide a foundation for ones future.
But even Those whose background is one of non belief, Atheism or Agnostic will have learned or reasoned from their youth & experiences, what they accept or believe is the truth. In the same way, people of different faiths & denominations adhere strongly to the teaching that they received as children. even to the mindless persecution & murder of others who don't hold to the same beliefs as themselves, (e.g the Apostle Paul).
But God is not frustrated by this & as in Paul's case can effect a change of belief, mind & heart that will save anyone from the error they originally believed & produce a saved, born again believer who is a true Holy Spirit filled lover of God. Removing all the prejudice & hatred that once motivated them, then replacing it with God's own love & desire to see all mankind saved whatever the personal cost.
This I know to be a fact, as it is my own experience & that of many others.


Blessings. Preacher

23 April 2012 at 13:26  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Jocelyn - Well he'd be wrong, given that God created time and space. Kind of impossible for this not to be the case.

However, don't forget that I did say that God DOES ALSO exist IN time and space.

23 April 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

I wonder how many sceptics would turn up?

None, I expect. Sceptics tend to have their minds dogmatically made up before they examine the evidence.

23 April 2012 at 14:19  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

well they aren't going to be "giving a sceptical world reasons to believe" if no sceptics turn up..more a case of preaching to the converted. I do wish people would not use such absurdly grandiose PR statements..having said that, it looks interesting.

23 April 2012 at 14:28  
Blogger Albert said...

No, I don't think so. It is interested in arming Christians who do meet sceptics in their daily lives - giving them ways of responding etc.

23 April 2012 at 14:49  
Blogger Preacher said...

This sounds like a good presentation, but we must understand that we are individually responsible to interact with others to bring the Good News to those who don't know or believe it.

I believe that the Almighty fashioned a Warrior nation in Britain. That it consists of English, Scots, Irish & Welsh. Many originally the cream of different nations who were assembled for His pleasure & purpose to reach the World with the gospel. They went out armed with the Word of God, to reach the lost & destroy the devil's plans.
Born of the Holy Spirit in the Fires of Revival, these Warriors set the captives free & established foundations of faith throughout the World.
If our desire is to see God's Kingdom established on Earth, as it is in Heaven. We must all be ready to emulate them & not draw back.

Blessings. Preacher.

23 April 2012 at 14:56  
Blogger David B said...

Albert, on the contrary.

Many sceptics of my acquaintance have been open minded enough to abandon the positions they had been indoctrinated into because they have examined the evidence, and found it wanting.

David B

23 April 2012 at 15:01  
Blogger Albert said...

No David, scepticism is a difficult philosophical position to take because it requires a level of certainty about something, by which other things are critiqued. I do not speak against all sceptics, but in my experience sceptics tend simply to critique only what they want to. It's a form of special pleading on the whole. Note also the adage:

an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man.

23 April 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger Oswin said...

David B @ 11.08 : Thank you David.

23 April 2012 at 17:24  
Blogger len said...

The hardest thing in the World is to approach the Truth of God as revealed in His Word with an unbiased mind. The carnal mind the' natural mind' of man is opposed to God.The' natural man' is in rebellion against God and will not submit his mind to the mind of God.It is only when fallen man submits his mind to the mind of God that revelation is given.

So most people (all people?) come to the Word of God with presuppositions and if God`s Truth does not line up with their' sense of logic , scientific theories, or indeed even' religious Dogmas' then the Word of God will be rejected or 'amended to suit whatever they want it to mean!.
God revealed Himself to mankind through the Scriptures and through the Living Word... Jesus Christ. It was the search for independence, a search for 'wisdom other than God`s that led man on the path to chaos.Each man has a 'good idea' of what is right for himself and others.
The' wisdom of man' has led to chaos, endless wars,false religions, in fact total disaster for humanity.
Mankind has gone forward in leaps and bounds with technology, medicine etc but the negative side of 'technology' is the enormous destructive power that man has at his disposal.
The only solution to the predicament of man is offered to all by God through Christ Jesus.I repeat Jesus Christ is the only solution.

23 April 2012 at 19:44  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len bleated ...
"Dodo.... weren`t Christians warned about wolves?.Have you' come out 'at last."

Are you really so boringly predictable? As I said earlier:

"Just remember though, wolves have negative symbolism in Christianity (enter Ernsty and len to point this out) and can bite."

What a silly man you are. I'm really a Dodo in wolve's clothing.

23 April 2012 at 20:07  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl asked ...

"What is insane about guaranteeing your children's eternal salvation (by killing them). You have no answer to this. That is why you reacted as you did. You attempt to dismiss top avoid answering."

For goodness sake, the answer is self evident - 'Thou shalt not murder'. To usurp God's role in determining the life span of people is a grevious evil.
I doubt very much this is what St Paul had in mind!

Would I voluntarily seperate myself from God for all eternity and suffer eternal damnation to save another? That is surely a question that in itself might lead to insanity. Would you do such a thing?

The quote from Paul is surely absurd if taken literally? It is a passionate expression of his desire for his Jewish brothers to accept Christ. The selflessness of this desire is from grace; but Paul would have known God never saves one person by condemning another. God never wills that we ignore or lose our own salvation in order to save our neighbour or our even our children.

You have such a bleak view of human nature. Do you really believe people are born totally depraved?

24 April 2012 at 01:10  
Blogger len said...

Christ died for the sins of the World , that means every human being on this Planet.But will all accept Jesus`s as the Only Way to acceptance with God...Sadly no.....
Some will deny the reality of Jesus Christ ...others will prefer to make themselves'acceptable' to God through their own 'good works'(which is also a rejection of Christ)

Are all the aborted,those who die in infancy condemned to Hell by an angry God?.Certainly not!.

There is an' age of accountability' with God where one KNOWS one is sinning(through the conscience)and obviously the aborted and those who die in infancy have never reached the age of accountability.


Jesus makes the command "You MUST
be born again"and anyone who wilfully disobeys this command does not come under His Jurisdiction.
That is why Jesus will say to many religious and secular people relying on their own goodness"I never knew you".

This quite plainly means" I never had a relationship with you."

24 April 2012 at 07:47  
Blogger len said...

Are people born basically 'good' or are people born with a predisposition to sin.?

This is a vital question for everyone on this Earth.

Because if we are born' basically 'good' then all we need to do is to avoid sinning to' be righteous'in the eyes of a Holy God.

Immediately the flaws appear in the 'basically good' argument.Man wants to' be good 'but there is something within him that prevents this!.This is the unresolved struggle with many religious and secular people they want to be good 'but cannot consistently be so!.So they either give up trying to' be good' or become hypocrites!.
Paul reveals this struggle."So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me."(Romans 7:21)

God`s answer to this dilemma is to give man a new spirit and a new heart(born again)and to leave the old sinning nature behind.
Religion attempts to convert the old nature to make' him good' but God tells us this is a futile exercise.
Saul(Paul`s old name and old nature) was a' highly religious' Pharisee who did all the' works of the Law 'but he never knew Christ, never had relationship with Him and would have been one of the people excluded from Christ but for his 'born again' experience.
If one is relying on his being a 'good person' to be right with God then the Words of Jesus should be considered "There is none 'good ' but God alone"

24 April 2012 at 08:05  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len
What comes across in your posts is a deep fear and uncertainty about salvation. Behind the proclaimations that you have been "born again" and therefore "saved", one senses an anxiety about this.

You know you still sin and have not been transformed into a saint. Like all of us, everyday involves surrendering ourselves and carrying our particular crosses. What does this mean for you? Your obsessive misrepresentation of "religion" and "works" in Catholicism betrays this uncertainty.

24 April 2012 at 17:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, anyone noticed how when Len is posed a question, he answers it threads later. You see, before he can copy and paste it, he has to find it first. Gotcha, you finger pointing fraud…

As the song goes, “saddle up and ride your weasel”…

24 April 2012 at 18:06  
Blogger len said...

Dodo you couldn`t be more wrong!.(24 April 2012 17:14)

It is Catholics who have no assurance of salvation( and Muslims).

If you die with un- confessed sin(or even if you have the temerity to leave the Catholic Church what happens to you then?.

24 April 2012 at 21:23  
Blogger len said...

Inspector you missed your time!.

You would have been in your element during the inquisition.No wonder your nickname is 'Vlad the inspector'.

You really need to 'get born' again and leave that loveless shell of a man that you are far behind.

.

24 April 2012 at 21:28  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

You've asked these questions before - do pay attention to my answers. Your avoidance of my question underlines your own insecurity.

A sin does not have to be confessed to be forgiven before death. One just needs to ask God for forgiveness. So far as leaving the church goes, do this and your soul is in peril. One would be seperating oneself from the Body of Christ.

Now what about you? Are you a saint who never sins now you have been "reborn" and "saved"? Is your nature radically transformed that you are no longer tempted?

Do answer.

24 April 2012 at 21:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len, You really need to 'get born' again and leave that loveless shell of a man that you are far behind.

The Lord of hosts knows who is with him, and who would exclude others who would be with him. Better you had not been born at all, as scripture tells us...

24 April 2012 at 21:50  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

He's just confused and anxious, that's all. So desperate for certainty he has to believe in a one off event that he has no ability to resist, transforms him once and for all, and ensures him heaven. And I don't think he actually believes this. That's why he's so spiteful towards Catholicism.

24 April 2012 at 22:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, he plays a dangerous strategy. He denies the Christ to us earthly wretches who would receive Him. God alone knows where his soul will finally dwell forever...

Not sure where that came from; maybe the Holy Spirit had something to do with it...

24 April 2012 at 22:58  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Who knows how God will judge any of us? Let's pray He will look kindly on him although he will have to account for the wreckless lies he spreads about the Catholic Church and answer for any harm perpetrated. A long term in pergatory perhaps, along with you and me. Mind you, at least we have indulgences available to us throught the Church.

24 April 2012 at 23:52  
Blogger len said...

We have already been judged as to how we received or rejected Jesus Christ.

Those who pervert the Word of God will receive the harshest Judgement of all . The Pharisees were the only people Jesus condemned.

As' purgatory 'is a Catholic invention (perversion of God`s Word) it doesn`t worry me in the slightest!.The though of spending any amount of time with either of you is quite frightening though!.

The' torments of Hell' would be knowing that you had been deceived by a religious organisation which had lied to you!.

25 April 2012 at 08:13  
Blogger len said...

Jesus says "You must be born again" This is a statement you will need help to misunderstand!.

Is being born a lifetime process? Are you STILL being born from the first time?.(Poor Mothers a lifetime of giving birth to one child!.)

Being born is an event !. Being born again is an event!.

Jesus was never confused and would never have used the analogy of birth to signify a' life long process!'.

25 April 2012 at 08:19  
Blogger len said...

Dodo your attempts at 'amateur psychiatry' are laughable. I imagine you as a Inspector Clouseau - type figure.

25 April 2012 at 08:24  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Carry on with the defensiveness, it's very revealing. Not at all certain, are you?

25 April 2012 at 09:01  
Blogger Tony B said...

Must...unsubscribe ...

25 April 2012 at 09:09  
Blogger len said...

Dodo (,25 April 2012 09:01)

Ever heard of' projection'...a term used in psychiatry?.

25 April 2012 at 19:17  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Yes, indeed! The very term. In combination with the displacement onto Catholicism you show, it's an impemnetrable sheild behind which the real you lurks.

It does mean your cats are safe for now.

25 April 2012 at 19:44  
Blogger len said...

Dodo.. you been drinking?.

28 April 2012 at 06:50  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

It might help you clear your head if you had a good night out with some mates. No religion, mind.

28 April 2012 at 20:29  

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