The last few years have witnessed a great revival in the United States, as people have gathered to hear a message of sin and repentance proclaimed by spiritual leaders like Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X.Kendi. While the antiracist, antisexist, anti-oppressive message of the Great Awokening is allegedly secular rather than religious, its promises of equity, diversity, absolution, and inclusion have captured the imaginations and allegiances of everyone from scholars, to H.R. administrators, to entertainers, to mainstream journalists.
As many cultural commentators have suggested, we are witnessing the emergence of a new, secular religion, which views all reality through the lens of oppression, power dynamics, and social justice. But many people are also noticing a dark side. Last summer, the Smithsonian Institute released an infographic describing “rational, linear thinking” and “cause-and-effect relationships” as attributes of “whiteness.” Public school trainings accuse educators of the “spirit murdering of black and brown children,” and the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals announced a “gender-inclusive language” policy that replaced the word “breastfeeding” with “chestfeeding.”
Worried by these developments, we join with classical liberals, moderates, and conservatives to oppose the growing illiberalism we’re seeing in our culture. But while secular liberalism is in many respects a procedural set of principles (with an assumption of moral authority) for settling disputes through open dialogue and the rule of law, the ideology of the moment is a grand metanarrative about reality. Trying to oppose an epic metanarrative by appealing to abstract principles may be a fool’s errand. As Christians, we believe this ideology is best challenged not by the secularism from which it emerged, but by an older vision—the one preached by Christianity for thousands of years.
Second, Christianity knows that we’re all seeking moral justification, whether we explain it with religious or non-religious language. In other words, all of us are seeking to be considered “righteous,” “good,” and “worthy.” While many accusations of performative “virtue signaling” are, no doubt, accurate, some people actually believe what they are saying. When they loudly lament their whiteness, abase themselves for the smallest infractions (microaggressions), and promise to “do better,” they are motivated by the same drive that led Medieval peasants to wear hair shirts, kiss cathedral steps, and buy indulgences.
Christianity doesn’t scoff at this impulse, but redirects it. Our deep, human urge to be justified, to be declared righteous, can ultimately only be met by God’s forgiveness. It won’t be achieved through a never-ending cycle of grievance and absolution.
The unremitting bitterness and mercilessness of cancel culture flows out of this ideology that draws a sharp line between the bad people and the good people. In contrast, Christianity draws a line between the bad people (all of us) and Jesus. Our hope is not in that we have lived up to God’s righteousness, but in that Jesus did so on our behalf, in his life, death, and resurrection. Thus, every Christian has reason to be overflowing with gentleness and grace: the one who has been shown mercy, shows mercy.
Christians understand C.S. Lewis’s warning that “spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.” Hence, we believe that the true, Christian story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most effective and complete way to dislodge the mythos of critical social justice. But for those who believe that no such transcendent story exists, fighting wokeness will be an uphill battle.
Judaism and Christianity hold that people are not basically good. Leftism holds that people are basically good. Therefore, Judaism and Christianity believe evil comes from human nature, and leftism believes evil comes from capitalism, religion, the nation-state (i.e. nationalism), corporations, the patriarchy and virtually every other traditional value.
Judaism and Christianity hold that utopia on Earth is impossible — it will only come in God’s good time as a Messianic age or in the afterlife. Leftism holds that utopia is to be created here on Earth — and as soon as possible. That is why leftists find America so contemptible. They do not compare it to other nations but to a utopian ideal — a society with no inequality, no racism, no differences between the sexes (indeed, no sexes) and no greed in which everything important is obtained free.
Judaism and Christianity believe God and the Bible are to instruct us on how to live a good life and how the heart is the last place to look for moral guidance. Leftists have contempt for anyone who is guided by the Bible and its God, and substitute the heart and feelings for divine instruction.
Now for some past posts/uploads of mine… in full….
A NEW RELIGION
This is a great article via the WALL STREET JOURNAL. I clipped the base of the article as it might not be viewable at WSJ’s website. A great and insightful read (h-t to Dennis Prager):
When a mob at Vermont’s Middlebury College shut down a speech by social scientist Charles Murray a few weeks ago, most of us saw it as another instance of campus illiberalism. Jonathan Haidt saw something more—a ritual carried out by adherents of what he calls a “new religion,” an auto-da-fé against a heretic for a violation of orthodoxy.
“The great majority of college students want to learn. They’re perfectly reasonable, and they’re uncomfortable with a lot of what’s going on,” Mr. Haidt, a psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, tells me during a recent visit to his office. “But on each campus there are some true believers who have reoriented their lives around the fight against evil.”
THESE BELIEVERS ARE TRANSFORMING THE CAMPUS FROM A CITADEL OF INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM INTO A HOLY SPACE—WHERE WHITE PRIVILEGE HAS REPLACED ORIGINAL SIN, THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF CLASS AND RACE AND GENDER ARE CONFESSED NOT TO PRIESTS BUT TO “THE COMMUNITY,” VICTIM GROUPS ARE WORSHIPED LIKE GODS, AND THE SINNED-AGAINST ARE SUPPLICATED WITH “SAFE SPACES” AND “TRIGGER WARNINGS.”
The fundamentalists may be few, Mr. Haidt says, but they are “very intimidating” since they wield the threat of public shame. On some campuses, “they’ve been given the heckler’s veto, and are often granted it by an administration who won’t stand up to them either.”
ALL THIS HAS BECOME SOMETHING OF A PREOCCUPATION FOR THE 53-YEAR-OLD MR. HAIDT. A LONGTIME LIBERAL—HE RAN A GUN-CONTROL GROUP AS AN UNDERGRADUATE AT YALE—HE ADMITS HE “HAD NEVER ENCOUNTERED CONSERVATIVE IDEAS” UNTIL HIS MID-40S.
“What we’re beginning to see now at Berkeley and at Middlebury hints that this [campus] religion has the potential to turn violent,” Mr. Haidt says. “The attack on the professor at Middlebury really frightened people,” he adds, referring to political scientist Allison Stanger, who wound up in a neck brace after protesters assaulted her as she left the venue.
The Berkeley episode Mr. Haidt mentions illustrates the Orwellian aspect of campus orthodoxy. A scheduled February appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos prompted masked agitators to throw Molotov cocktails, smash windows, hurl rocks at police, and ultimately cause $100,000 worth of damage. The student newspaper ran an op-ed justifying the rioting under the headline “Violence helped ensure safety of students.” Read that twice.
Mr. Haidt can explain. Students like the op-ed author “are armed with a set of concepts and words that do not mean what you think they mean,” he says. “People older than 30 think that ‘violence’ generally involves some sort of physical threat or harm. But as students are using the word today, ‘violence’ is words that have a negative effect on members of the sacred victim groups. And so even silence can be violence.” It follows that if offensive speech is “violence,” then actual violence can be a form of self-defense.
Down the hall from Mr. Haidt’s office, I noticed a poster advertising a “bias response hotline” students can call “to report an experience of bias, discrimination or harassment.” I joke that NYU seems to have its own version of the morality police in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. “It’s like East Germany,” Mr. Haidt replies—with students, at least some of them, playing the part of the Stasi.
How did we get here, and what can be done? On the first question, Mr. Haidt points to a braided set of causes. There’s the rise in political polarization, which is related to the relatively recent “political purification of the universities.” While the academy has leaned left since at least the 1920s, Mr. Haidt says “it was always just a lean.” Beginning in the early 1990s, as the professors of the Greatest Generation retired, it became a full-on tilt.
“Now there are no more conservative voices on the faculty or administration,” he says, exaggerating only a little. Heterodox Academy cites research showing that the ratio of left to right professors in 1995 was 2 to 1. Now it is 5 to 1.
The left, meanwhile, has undergone an ideological transformation. A generation ago, social justice was understood as equality of treatment and opportunity: “If gay people don’t have to right to marry and you organize a protest to apply pressure to get them that right, that’s justice,” Mr. Haidt says. “If black people are getting discriminated against in hiring and you fight that, that’s justice.”
Today justice means equal outcomes. “There are two ideas now in the academic left that weren’t there 10 years ago,” he says. “One is that everyone is racist because of unconscious bias, and the other is that everything is racist because of systemic racism.” That makes justice impossible to achieve: “When you cross that line into insisting if there’s not equal outcomes then some people and some institutions and some systems are racist, sexist, then you’re setting yourself up for eternal conflict and injustice.”
Perhaps most troubling, Mr. Haidt cites the new protectiveness in child-rearing over the past few decades. Historically, American children were left to their own devices and had to learn to deal with bullies. Today’s parents, out of compassion, handle it for them. “By the time students get to college they have much, much less experience with unpleasant social encounters, or even being insulted, excluded or marginalized,” Mr. Haidt says. “They expect there will be some adult, some authority, to rectify things.”
Combine that with the universities’ shift to a “customer is always right” mind-set. Add in social media. Suddenly it’s “very, very easy to bring mobs together,” Mr. Haidt says, and make “people very afraid to stand out or stand up for what they think is right.” Students and professors know, he adds, that “if you step out of line at all, you will be called a racist, sexist or homophobe. In fact it’s gotten so bad out there that there’s a new term—‘ophobophobia,’ which is the fear of being called x-ophobic.”
That fear runs deep—including in Mr. Haidt. When I ask him about how political homogeneity on campus informs the understanding of so-called rape culture, he clams up: “I can’t talk about that.” The topic of sexual assault—along with Islam—is too sensitive.
It’s a painfully ironic answer from a man dedicating his career to free thought and speech. But choosing his battles doesn’t mean Mr. Haidt is unwilling to fight. And he’s finding allies across the political spectrum.
Following the Middlebury incident, the unlikely duo of Democratic Socialist Cornel West and conservative Robert P. George published a statement denouncing “campus illiberalism” and calling for “truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought and expression.” More than 2,500 scholars and other intellectuals have signed it. At Northwestern the student government became the first in the country to pass a resolution calling for academic freedom and viewpoint diversity.
He offers this real-world example: “I think that the ‘deplorables’ comment could well have changed the course of human history.”
This is about how Kundalini Yoga and Yogi Bhajan are now seen accurately as a cult that harmed people in many ways, and they are still doing damage, though many of the victims don’t realize it when it’s happening.
(BTW, some of the photos used in Vice’s documentary are my wife’s)
(This was originally posted in 2010, brought here in 2012, updated 5-1-2015)
(Keep in mind the above critique is by a Sikh, not a Christian)
Shame on 3HO for NOT acknowledging innocent kundalini yoga students raped & abused by Yogi Bhajan! (Go to this forum to talk to and see ex-members talk about this abuse. If you’re having a problem signing into the website be sure to click on as a guest using the red button in the far bottom right of the screen.)
I have personally heard stories about Yogi Bhajanbecause of close family members that use to be involved in this breakaway form of Sikhism.
Having an extensive collection of comparative religious texts that deal in some-form-or-fashion with Sikhism mainly and 3Ho to a lesser extent, my understanding of this “sect” is unfortunately deepened via the personal stories of anguish below, merely confirming that which is already known.
Articles like these (See: BRITNEY SPEARS) are rare due to the small nature of this “sect” and people assuming it is part of the world religion of Sikhism.
….Bhajan taught, among other things, that he could see auras and see into the future. But perhaps his most outrageous claim was that he was the official religious and administrative leader of all Sikhs in the Western world. I am told that most legitimate Sikhs avoid any association with Bhajan’s group, and that Yogi Bhajanism is by no means representative of the five-century-old Sikh tradition whose homeland is in the Indian Punjab.
Further below I merely produce parts of the articles from REGISTERGUARD, in the hopes that it adds to an understanding of this movement (maybe a previous innocent naiveté, a, postmodern “who are you to judge” attitude) and how many lives it affected.
One should note that with extreme political ideologies as well as religious ones,
the family unit is broken up, either to bolster the State (communism, fascism, socialism), or a way for one man or a small group to control many (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Jim Jones, etc).
Remember, for instance, in the novel Animal Farm when the offspring of Jessie and Bluebell (two characters in the story — dogs) were taken away from them by Napoleon at birth and reared by Napoleon to be his security force. These dogs are trained to be vicious, going so far as to rip many of the animals to shreds including the four young pigs, a sheep and various hens. Similarly, as the sign over Auschwitz entrance to the medical facilities reads:
“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel.” ~ Adolf Hitler, A sign of his quote hangs on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23.
It is — the breakup up the family unit — a means for a person to control another. Isolation, separation and alienation leads to the group becoming a substitute family. Members are often encouraged to drop worldly (non-members) friends, may be told to change jobs, quit school, give up sports, hobbies, and the like (source).
Here is some great insight to this dilemma of people stuck in a cult (applicable to political extremes as well):
Milieu Control – the control of the environment including information, associations, time, and energy work to exclude any opportunity for opposition while also promoting the ‘party line’.
Mystical Manipulation – this is the ‘higher calling’ for the follower to be a part of a utopian goal which requires his full devotion. The followers see the leaders as having achieved this higher calling hence they are worthy to be followed.
Demand For Purity – the utopian goal can only be achieved by purity of devotion. Any failure to succeed means impurity exists somewhere and will be searched out by those in control.
Cult of Confession – Failure to succeed means confessions must be made. Any weakness or failure, real or perceived, are to be confessed for the sake of the group. Even confessions where no wrong was actually done can spur the group to more purity.
Sacred Science – The ideology, doctrine and mission of the group are so sacred that they must not be doubted or questioned. To do so is one of the worst offenses possible. However, without the option of questioning, a lie cannot be uncovered.
Loading the Language – Certain words and phrases are so loaded with meaning that stark choices are implied leading to the end of critical thinking.
Doctrine Over Person– What you see, hear or think is irrelevant in the face of the groups doctrine. You must submerge your opinions in the group’s worldview.
Dispensing of Existence– Only those who are committed to the group are valued. Those who oppose or betray the group can be dismissed, defamed, disfellowshipped, or killed.
May I also add that in these types of “religions,” there is no love story entwined in it. The video to the right is a “parable” of sorts on Christ sacrifice for us… it is the Cosmic Love Story that IS the Good News. I have a longer post explaining core Christianity a bit better (how we view our relationship to God), to wit:
In our busy schedules choose a single verse from each section and on Monday study that single verse about our sinful nature. Use an online resource such as Blue Letter Bible to read a commentary on it or Bible Gateway to read a version you haven’t read of the verse. (Or one of your home resources… whatever the case may be.) On Tuesday take a verse on forgiveness (mine, or one that has hit a cord with you over the years). Etc.
By Friday, T.G.I.F. takes on a new meaning. The following week, do the same, but with a different verse. Habits.
A slow, painful awakening led Premka Kaur Khalsa, a top secretary in Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh organization for almost 20 years, to leave the religious group in 1984, she said.
Premka Khalsa, 66, said she could no longer participate because of the inconsistencies she said she had witnessed between the yogi’s behavior and his teachings — the deception and abuse of power.
In 1986, she sued Yogi Bhajan and his Sikh organizations, settling out of court. In court papers, she alleged that the married yogi had sexually and physically assaulted her, that he was sexually involved with other secretaries and that, as the head of his administration, she worked long hours for little or no pay.
The organization’s religious leaders vehemently deny those allegations. Its business leaders did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Kamalla Rose Kaur, 55, another former member of Yogi Bhajan’s 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) who wrote for a grass-roots newsletter in the community, said a light switched on for her when she was researching and writing about religious groups and thought, “Hey, we’re acting a lot like a cult.”
Former member Guru Bir Singh Khalsa, 60, who had been appointed a “lifetime minister” by Yogi Bhajan, said he received a wake-up call in the early 1990s, when Sue Stryker, then an investigator with the Monterey County District Attorney’s office, laid out evidence linking members of his spiritual community to criminal activity. Stryker, now retired, said a member of Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh community pleaded guilty and served time in prison for a telemarketing scam that bilked seniors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
These and other ex-members of Yogi Bhajan’s organization say they aren’t surprised by events unfolding now, six years after his death. Legal disputes threaten to splinter the community. Allegations of the yogi’s past wrongdoing are resurfacing. And the future of the Sikh organization’s businesses are in question.
The outcome will ripple far beyond the religious group, whose companies have become intertwined with the local economy and business community.
In Multnomah County Circuit Court, the group’s religious leaders are suing the group’s business leaders over control of the community’s multimillion dollar businesses, including Golden Temple natural foods in Eugene and Akal Security in New Mexico.
“Organizations/cults that have charismatic leaders and their followings, once their charismatic leader dies, this is generally the kind of thing that occurs,” Premka Khalsa said.
“It’s the meltdown of a cult,” said Kamalla Kaur, who spent nearly 20 years in 3HO, and now runs an Internet forum for ex-members. “They actually kept it together longer than we expected.”
Steven Hassan, a Massachusetts-based author, counselor and former leader of the Moon cult in the 1970s, said he has counseled about two dozen former 3HO members, including leaders, over the years.
“The group, from my point of view, was always about power and money,” he said. “(Yogi) Bhajan is the consummate … cult leader. By not specifying someone to take over, there often are these kinds of political battles and meltdowns — people basically being greedy like Yogi Bhajan was and wanting more of a slice for themselves.”
Watching the business leaders back away from the group’s religious practices, some former members said, reminds them of what they experienced when they decided to leave the group.
“You go through stages of discovery of how you gave away your power and were deceived,” Premka Khalsa said.
“Once the person who is defining your reality — the charismatic leader — once he’s not there continuing to enforce the beliefs, then your eyes start to open,” she said. “You see things in a different way, and it can be disillusioning.”
Premka Khalsa said that’s especially true for the yogi’s secretaries, such as herself, who sacrificed much of their lives to serve him.
“I met him at 25,” she said. “I was 41 by the time I left, so my life of family, child bearing and (being) productive in the world, that whole piece was gone. Nothing was put into Social Security, and I walked out with the clothes on my back.”
The women in his inner circle “were denied having a personal relationship with any other men,” she added. “Some of us wanted to get married and have children, but we got sidetracked into agreeing to forego that with the intention of serving something bigger than us. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.”
In her 1986 lawsuit, Premka Khalsa alleged that Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her from November 1968 to November 1984.
McGrory, the religious leaders’ attorney, said his clients deny all the allegations in Premka Khalsa’s lawsuit, which “were never verified or substantiated.”
In court papers, she alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with various female followers, and that he ordered her to coordinate his sexual liaisons, including orgies, with other secretaries, which she refused to do.
The head of Yogi Bhajan’s administration, and an editor and writer for his publications, Premka Khalsa said she worked on average 10 hours a day, five days a week. She alleged that she was paid $375 a month — only in her last three years with the group.
“It was another part of how he kept us bound,” she said. “We didn’t have independent resources. He had a fleet of cars — one of which was mine to drive. And he had properties to live on, but they weren’t mine. You had few independent resources, so it made it hard to live out on (your) own. He did that with lots of people.”
Premka Khalsa alleged in her lawsuit that Yogi Bhajan called her “his spiritual wife, destined to serve mankind by serving him in a conjugal capacity.” He said if she did so, he “would care for her for all of her natural life,” she alleged.
When Yogi Bhajan died in 2004, his wife Bibiji Inderjit was to inherit half of their community property, and he designated that his half go to Staff Endowment, a trust to support 15 female administrative assistants.
She said she was with the group from 1975 to 1985. In her 1986 lawsuit, she alleged that starting in 1978, Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her.
The lawsuit alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with Guru Amrit Khalsa, as well as various other members of his administrative staff.
Guru Amrit Khalsa’s sister also alleged that Yogi Bhajan did not compensate her for skin and hair care products and snack foods she had developed and turned over to him in 1983 and 1984, after he had promised her an ownership stake or other payment
“Sikh means seeker of truth and therefore I was just a seeker of truth,” he said. “The reason I wanted to put those documents on the Internet was to just turn the light on in the closet.”
“Yogi Bhajan had a dark side, and I think a lot of people don’t want to see it because of what that means about him,” Guru Bir Khalsa said. “I know, for myself, I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to see it. It’s kind of tough when you think you’ve invested as much as you have into something.”
Bottom line with comparing healthy religion to a cultic idea of financial commitment:
Religious leaders regard their followers as being individuals who need protection and assistance, while cult leaders tend to regard people as a resource to be exploited. It seems to be the standard practice that cult victims will end up with no money. But people who become religious are often encouraged to adopt practices that can increase their income (e.g., by avoiding alcohol and drug use). Most people who regularly attend church and who are in a good financial position are expected to donate 10% of their income – which still allows them to have a good standard of living.
I want to leave the reader with this thought by Robert Hume. In his book, The World’s Living Religions, he comments that there are three features of Christian faith that “cannot be paralleled anywhere among the religions of the world” [I can add here, the cults either]. These include the character of God as a loving Heavenly Father, the character of the founder of Christianity as the Son of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Further, he says:
The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strong-minded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshiped, even with multitudinous idols.
All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.
Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.
Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.
a small portion of a documentary about Bhagwan Rajneesh (an Oregon cult):
(For those readers interested, I debated a Sikh — not a 3Ho member — and we spoke about truth… since he was a seeker of it. Portions of this debate are reproduced here: FIRST DEBATE; SECOND DEBATE) <— this is a very old blog I had from a LONG TIME ago. Sorry for the neglected format).
I love Propaganda’s above presentation. It hits all the points in the below video. You see, a life lived without the GOSPEL MESSAGE infused into your walk makes a truly lost soul where in the end nothing you do amounts to anything important. It mirrors naturalism in that all your actions… and humanities collective achievements, are all for nothing. Except, unlike naturalism, you live with this consequence in some form — ETERNALLY.
Josh McDowell put it best on why there has to be judgment for our sins, let me paraphrase him with this story of a judge and his daughter.
There was a district court judge who had been on the bench for thirty years, he was a just judge. He has never taken a bribe, always handed out judgment and leniency in a fair and balanced way, only within the parameters of what the law allowed. In other words, a just, righteous member of the legal system as well as the community. One day while in session, his only child, a daughter, was brought before him with a traffic violation. She had broke the law and was arrested for her excessive speeding. What was he to do? He loved his daughter immensely, so he could fine her only one dollar and no jail time. But this would mean he would be an unjust judge, not worthy of the position he holds.
So instead, he fines her 500 hundred dollars and three days in jail. He is heart broken, but that is what the law requires. Just as soon as his gavel hits the bench, he rises from his chair, removes his robe of authority, steps down from the raised platform to come around to the front of the bench. He, with a tear in his eye, throws an arm around his daughter, whom he loves dearly, and with the other hand pays the fine and puts himself in her place in the three day sentence. This is TRUE love, and TRUE justice.
In the same way, the just God of the Bible is our judge. He would be un-worthy of our worship and honor if he acted any other way. He has pronounced death as the judgment of our rebellion and sin [Death and hell are merely eternal separation from him, and because of that, there will be gnashing of teeth]. As our heavenly Father, who knew us before we were in the womb, he loved us so much (His creation) that he stepped down from his heavenly throne to the earth and paid the price for our infractions against the “court.” No other god in history in any other religious belief cared so much as to offer the only acceptable (free of sin) gift, Himself. This is the beauty of the Christian faith.
The Gospel STARTS with a terrifying truth, that is,
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it was necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
God doesn’t put people he loves in “hell”, those people choose that place as a replacement for God’s already done work on the cross. I firmly believe that if you were able to go to hell and ask someone there if they would like to change their mind and accept Jesus, they would respond in the negative! Why? Because they would rather have eternal pain and “hell fire” than to acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Even Stephen Hawkings gets this distinction (from an old debate):
One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate,” given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.” In other words, do we have the ability to make moral life choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms? Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”
Mortimer J. Adler points out in his book Ten Philosophical Mistakes that without true choice, free will, nature disallowes any talk of moral categories. He says “What merit would attach to moral virtue if the acts that form such habitual tendencies and dispositions were not acts of free choice on the part of the individual who was in the process of acquiring moral virtue? Persons of vicious moral character would have their characters formed in a manner no different from the way in which the character of a morally virtuous person was formed—by acts entirely determined, and that could not have been otherwise by freedom of choice.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim rings just as true today as it did in his day, “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right. This same strain of thought caused Mussolini to comment, “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”
Notice that Mussolini agrees that might makes right. There was another bad boy on the block in those days, his name was Hitler, who agreed when he said, “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality… we will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence – imperious, relentless and cruel.” Again, the rejection of moral absolutes creates what? Young people who will scare the bejesus out of the world. (Take note of the rise in youth violence in our school system.)
But what is this “absolute” that Mussolini referred to as “the immortal truth?” What is the “stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality” that Hitler removed in order to created a nation of hate mongers? Heidegger, In Being and Time, discussed the problems facing men living in a post-Enlightenment secular world which he called“the dark night of the world.” A world in which the light of God had been eclipsed and in which men were left to grope around as best they could, searching in the darkness for any scraps of meaning that might be found. Is it any wonder then that Heidegger backed the National Socialists (Nazis) for most of the 1930’s. society – a world without God in other words. Heidegger called this situation
Apologist, lawyer and theologian John Warwick Montgomery references this choice in a quick blurb about the existence of evil and a good God:
Opponents of theism have perennially argued that the natural and moral evils in the universe make the idea of an omnipotent and perfectly good God irrational. But if subjectivity (and its correlative, freewill) must be presupposed on the level of human action, and if God’s character as fully transcendent divine Subject serves to make human volition meaningful, then the existence of freewill in itself provides a legitimate explanation of evil. To create personalities without genuine freewill would not have been to create persons at all; and freewill means the genuine possibility of wrong decision, i.e., the creation of evil by God’s creatures (whether wide ranging natural and moral evil by fallen angels or limited chaos on earth by fallen mankind).
As for the argument that a good God should have created only those beings he would foresee as choosing the right – or that he could certainly eliminate the effects of his creatures’ evil decisions, the obvious answer is (as Plantinga develops it with great logical rigor in his God and Other Minds) that this would be tantamount to not giving freewill at all. To create only those who “must” (in any sense) choose good is to create automata; and to whisk away evil effects as they are produced is to whisk away evil itself, for an act and its consequences are bound together. C. S. Lewis has noted that God’s love enters into this issue as well, since the Biblical God created man out of love, and genuine freewill – without the free possibility of accepting love or rejecting it. Just as a boy who offers himself and his love to a girl must count on the real possibility of rejection, so when God originated a creative work that made genuine love possible, it by definition entailed the concomitant possibility of the evil rejection of his love by his creatures.
The choice is yours….
….All your answers will not be magically swept away, but you will be on a road of deeper understanding and a spiritual journey that includes love in it. No other world religion has this type of love story in it. Here is a witnessing situation that includes the above thinking, it is instructive to show how wide the divide is between us and our Lord:
This may seem simple, but the Roman’s road brings you to the sinners prayer. God has so wired you and this cosmos that He responds to this simple prayer
In a presentation that I gave in a Sunday class at church (and added media to here), I end with this wonderful video that encapsulated the Gospel message the most effectively — in my minds eye:
In our busy schedules choose a single verse from each section and on Monday study that single verse about our sinful nature. Use an online resource such as Blue Letter Bible to read a commentary on it or Bible Gateway to read a version you haven’t read of the verse. (Or one of your home resources… whatever the case may be.) On Tuesday take a verse on forgiveness (mine, or one that has hit a cord with you over the years). Etc.
By Friday, T.G.I.F. takes on a new meaning. The following week, do the same, but with a different verse. Habits.
WE ARE CALLED TO CHECK IN
A verse that calls us to “check in” so-to-speak, is 2 Corinthians 13:5 ~ I will read from a paraphrase of this verse, however, feel free to click on the link below to see the paraphrase next to my favorite versions:
Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
Even one of the greatest Repormers mentioned this “preaching the Gospel to ourselves” aspect of our faith: “We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day” ~ Martin Luther.
ALL HAVE SINNED (#1)
Proverbs 21:2 ~ “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.”
Proverbs 16:2 ~ “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD evaluates the motives.”
1 Samuel 16:7 ~ “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
2 things to glean from these:
1. Divine involvement in man’s heart is not limited to kings or priests;
2. A person may think nothing is wrong with his conduct, ahem, but God may.
The proud heart is very ingenious in putting a fair face upon a foul matter, and in making that appear right to itself which is far from being so, to stop the mouth of conscience. ~ Matthew Henry
How many righteous persons are there?
Romans 3:10 ~ “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
Bill Cosby teaches us about this malady we have from the earliest age (and he is a debased sinner as well, in need of a savior):
As an aside. Something that Bill Cosby said above struck a cord with me. He mentioned that the only time a child tells the truth is when they are in pain. So do we ~ often times ~ as adults. Here is the C.S. Lewis quote that came to me when I watched this:
We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities, and anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (NY, New York: Touchstone, 1996), 82-83.
4 The actual sins that men commit are the fruit of the corrupt nature transmitted to them by our first parents. By reason of this corruption, all men become wholly inclined to all evil; sin disables them. They are utterly indisposed to, and, indeed, rendered opposite to, all that is good. (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; Jas. 1:14.)
5During this earthly life corrupt nature remains in those who are born of God, that is to say, regenerated. Through Christ it is pardoned and mortified, yet both the corruption itself, and all that issues from it, are truly and properly sin. (Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:18,23-25; Gal. 5:17; 1 John 1:8.)
Hank Hanegraaff explains WHAT sin is and is not:
R.C. Sproul, a theologian of report, helps us define what TOTAL and UTTER “depravity” means:
…There is a distinction which I have found to be helpful: total depravity does not mean utter depravity. Utter depravity would mean that every human being is as wicked as it is possible to be, and we know that this is not the case. As much as we sin, we can always contemplate sinning more often, or more grievously than we presently do.
While some will not support my posting of this next video by Mark Driscoll… I understand. But he has done a lot of good explaining of core doctrine that assists us in understanding concepts, like, TOTAL DEPRAVITY:
Jeremiah 17:9 ~ “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?”
Sproul has a wonderful ministry, and he [Sproul] has asked ~ rhetorically ~ how: anyone could be involved in believing in the value of human worth and at the same time believing in TOTAL depravity? He responds:
The very fact that Calvinists take sin so seriously is because they take the value of human beings so seriously. It is because man was made in the image of God, called to mirror and reflect God’s holiness, that we have the distinction of being the image-bearers of God.
But what does ‘total depravity’ mean? Total depravity means simply this: that sin affects every aspect of our human existence: our minds, our wills and our bodies are affected by sin. Every dimension of our personality suffers at some point from the weight of sin that has infected the human race.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it was necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
This is the summary of the entire chapter. Paul painted the choice in black and white. The choice is ours—sin and death or free grace through Christ and eternal life. It is very similar to the “two ways” of OT wisdom literature (Ps. 1; Prov. 4; 10–19; Matt. 7:13–14).
And, we must always keep in mind that we are judged righteously by our Triune God:
Never put someone to death unless 2 or 3 witnesses:
“But never put a person to death on the testimony of only one witness. There must always be two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 17:6); “For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28).
“…yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.” (International Standard Version [ISV])
— According to the text in the ISV, Christ’s faith — not ours — does the justifying. It is His focus of attention, not ours, that does the work. (The “onus” then is put in proper perspective.) As an example from one of my favorite verses, Philippians 1:6:
“I am sure of this, that He who (a) started a good work in you will (b) carry it on to completion until the (c) day of Christ Jesus.”
To be clear:
(a) HE started the Good work [salvation]; (b) He will carry it out; (c) He will complete it.
It is ALL a work of Christ!
In-other-words, we will join the 24-elders in Revelation in throwing our crowns at Jesus feet, for all the good “WE” did was in actually Him working through us by even creating these… good works in our heart, and the will and drive to do them for His glory:
“There will be no jarring note in Heaven, no whisper of human merit, no claim of a reward for good intentions—but every crown shall be cast at Jesus’ feet and every voice shall join in the ascription, ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name be all the glory of the salvation which You have worked out for us from first to last.’” ~ C.H. Spurgeon
Romans 6:23(b) — “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
For those that do not know, I am a three-time convicted felon from many years ago. I like to say I am a retired felon. While in Jail I had to realign drastically the direction I had traveled. I didn’t realize it then, but I was preaching the Gospel to myself by studying Hosea. The Lord told the prophet — literally —
“Go, take to yourself a wife who will prove to be unfaithful.”
And if you think about it, we are all unfaithful to God in some way: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And we break our marriage contract with the Lord, it is the Lord who is faithful and bridges the gap we cannot:
“The LORD said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes'” (Hosea 3:1).
[David offered raisin cakes to the starving (1 Sam 30:11-12); at the celebration of the return of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam 6:18-19); Abigail made for David’s troops (1 Sam 25:18). What was once good in the Lord’s eyes man will surely corrupt.]
Jeremiah 15:19(a,b) ~ “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘If you return, I will restore you…‘”
This implies we will fail, and He knew it, and yet chose us.
George Gilder enumerates a law that goes well with the Refiners Fire hymn. In an Interview with Dennis Prager Mr. Gilder enumerated a law of Information Theory*, and thus economics:
“A fundamental principle of information theory is that you can’t guarantee outcomes… in order for an experiment to yield knowledge, it has to be able to fail. If you have guaranteed experiments, you have zero knowledge”
*(the mathematical theory concerned with the content, transmission, storage, and retrieval of information, usually in the form of messages or data, and especially by means of computers)
a) Peter was not backslidden or apathetic; b) It was Paul’s general encouragement to fan the flame/keep the fire burning brightly
2 Corinthians 4:16 ~ Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
“…renewed day by day.” Almost like a Jewish Seder which Paul would have been familiar with. Like the Passover Seder, for instance, that helped keep the identity of the Jewish nation for almost 3-millinea, we need habits that keep our identity as owned by Christ, daily. Are we equipped for the task?
“…but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” We have “to take some responsibility in that renewal. The continual brightening of the inner flame that God has given to us is related to God’s own equipment for us. God does not equip us with weakness, but with power. He does not equip us with hatred, but with love. He does not equip us with self-destruction, but with self-discipline.”
Romans 8:15 — “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
John Calvin, the great Reformer, says this of the above Romans thinking:
He now confirms the certainty of that confidence, in which he has already bidden the faithful to rest secure; and he does this by mentioning the special effect produced by the Spirit; for he has not been given for the purpose of harassing us with trembling or of tormenting us with anxiety; but on the contrary, for this end—that having calmed every perturbation [(pûr’tər-bā’shən) mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation], and restoring our minds to a tranquil state, he may stir us up to call on God with confidence and freedom. He does not then pursue only the argument which he had before stated, but dwells more on another clause, which he had connected with it, even the paternal mercy of God, by which he forgives his people the infirmities of the flesh and the sins which still remain in them. He teaches us that our confidence in this respect is made certain by the Spirit of adoption, who could not inspire us with confidence in prayer without scaling to us a gratuitous pardon: and that he might make this more evident, he mentions a twofold spirit; he calls one the spirit of bondage, which we receive from the law; and the other, the spirit of adoption, which proceeds from the gospel. The first, he says, was given formerly to produce fear; the other is given now to afford assurance. By such a comparison of contrary things the certainty of our salvation, which he intended to confirm, is, as you see, made more evident. The same comparison is used by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews [Hebrews 12:18], where he says, that we have not come to Mount Sinai, where all things were so terrible, that the people, being alarmed as it were by an immediate apprehension of death, implored that the word should be no more spoken to them, and Moses himself confessed that he was terrified; “but to [Z]ion, the mount of the Lord, and to his city, the heavenly Jerusalem, where Jesus is, the Mediator of the New Testament.”
MARTIN LUTHER tells us we have to preach this to ourselves constantly… because it is SUCH GREAT NEWS we seem to view it as unbelievable:
Grace in the Reformation
Luther’s Reformation message of salvation by grace alone could hardly have looked more different when compared with that old pre-Reformation teaching of his about salvation by grace. This is how he began to talk: “He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.”4 Here grace is not about God’s building on our righteous deeds or helping us to perform them. God, Luther began to see, was the one “who justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5), not one who simply recognizes and rewards those who manage to make themselves godly. God is not one who must build on our foundations; he creates life out of nothing. It meant that, instead of looking to God for assistance and then ultimately relying on himself, Luther was turning to rely entirely on Christ, in whom all righteousness is achieved. “The law says, ‘do this,’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘believe in this,’ and everything is already done.”
Here Luther found a message so good it almost seemed incredible to him. It was good news for the repeated failure, news of a God who comes not to call the righteous but sinners (Matt. 9:13). Not many today find themselves wearing hair shirts and enduring all-night prayer vigils in the freezing cold to earn God’s favor. Yet deep in our psyche is the assumption that we will be more loved when (and only when) we make ourselves more attractive—both to God and to others. Into that, Luther speaks words that cut through the gloom like a glorious and utterly unexpected sunbeam:
The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it…. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good. Therefore sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.
In Reformation thought, grace was no longer seen as being like a can of spiritual Red Bull. It was more like a marriage. In fact when Luther first sought to explain his Reformation discovery in detail to the world, it was the story of a wedding that framed what he said. Drawing on the romance of the lover and his beloved in Song of Solomon (especially 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his”), he told the gospel as the story of the “rich and divine bridegroom Christ” who “marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness.” At the wedding a wonderful exchange takes place whereby the king takes all the shame and debt of his bride, and the harlot receives all the wealth and royal status of her bridegroom. For Jesus and the soul that is united to him by faith, it works like this:
Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?
In the story the prostitute finds that she has been made a queen. That does not mean she always behaves as befits royalty but, however she behaves, her status is royal. She is now the queen. So it is with the believer: she remains a sinner and continues to stumble and wander, but she has the righteous status of her perfect and royal bridegroom. She is—and until death will remain—at the same time both utterly righteous (in her status before God) and a sinner (in her behavior).
That means that it is simply wrong-headed for the believer to look to her behavior as an accurate yardstick of her righteousness before God. Her behavior and her status are distinct.
The prostitute will grow more queenly as she lives with the king and feels the security of his love, but she will never become more the queen. Just so, the believer will grow more Christlike over time, but never more righteous. Thus, because of Christ, and not because of her performance, the sinner can know a despair-crushing confidence.
Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, “If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his.”
For the rest of his life Luther took this message as good news that needs continually to be reapplied to the heart of the believer. From his own experience he found that we are so instinctively self-dependent that while we happily subscribe to salvation by grace, our minds are like rocks, drawn down by the gravitational pull of sin away from belief in grace alone. So he counseled his friend as follows:
They try to do good of themselves in order that they might stand before God clothed in their own virtues and merits. But this is impossible. Among us you were one who held to this opinion, or rather, error. So was I, and I am still fighting against the error without having conquered it as yet.
Therefore, my dear brother, learn Christ and him crucified. Learn to pray to him and, despairing of yourself, say: “Thou, Lord Jesus, art my righteousness, but I am thy sin. Thou hast taken upon thyself what is mine and hast given to me what is thine. Thou hast taken upon thyself what thou wast not and hast given to me what I was not.”
Michael Reeves and Tim Chester, Why The Reformation Still Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2016), 84-88.
Okay, what does “forgiven” mean? And, how does this change our position with God?
We have all heard the famous saying, “Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you absolutely do not deserve.” This comes in part from Hebrews 4:16:
“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”
Now the gracious invitation is extended: draw near with confidence to the throne of grace. Our confidence is based on the knowledge that He died to save us and that He lives to keep us. We are assured of a hearty welcome because He has told us to come.
….We can go into His presence at any time of the day or night and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. His mercy covers the things we should not have done, and His grace empowers us to do what we should do but do not have the power to do.
In Genesis 8 when Noah sacrificed clean animals to God, “the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma.” Christ is the last Adam, thee final sacrifice that ends all sacrificial offerings, and we see in 2 Corinthians 2:15 the “…we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” You see, we are covered in Christ’ offering and are thus pleasing to God.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Even in failure and time of testing and trials we have a line to divine joy. Consider James 1:2-4:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (HCSB)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (The Message)
Of verse two my first owned (and still a favorite of mine) commentary says this:
The Christian life is filled with problems. They come uninvited and unexpected. Sometimes they come singly and sometimes in droves. They are inevitable. James does not say “if you fall into various trials” but when. We can never get away from them. The question is, “What are we going to do about them?”
There are several possible attitudes we can take toward these testings and trials of life. We can rebel against them (Heb. 12:5) by adopting a spirit of defiance, boasting that we will battle through to victory by our own power. On the other hand, we can lose heart or give up under pressure (Heb. 12:5). This is nothing but fatalism. It leads to questioning even the Lord’s care for us. Again, we can grumble and complain about our troubles. This is what Paul warns us against in 1 Corinthians 10:10. Another option—we can indulge in self-pity, thinking of no one but ourselves, and trying to get sympathy from others. Or better, we can be exercised by the difficulties and perplexities of life (Heb. 12:11). We can say, in effect, “God has allowed this trial to come to me. He has some good purpose in it for me. I don’t know what that purpose is, but I’ll try to find out. I want His purposes to be worked out in my life.” This is what James advocates: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Don’t rebel! Don’t faint! Rejoice! These problems are not enemies, bent on destroying you. They are friends which have come to aid you to develop Christian character.
God is trying to produce Christlikeness in each of His children. This process necessarily involves suffering, frustration, and perplexity. The fruit of the Spirit cannot be produced when all is sunshine; there must be rain and dark clouds. Trials never seem pleasant; they seem very difficult and disagreeable. But afterwards they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by them (Heb. 12:11). How often we hear a Christian say, after passing through some great crisis, “It wasn’t easy to take, but I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything.”
William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2218.
In another commentaries summing up of verse three, we see perseverance is key to our joy as well, but this takes time and is something not magically infused at the outset:
…But James’s readers knew the good reason God allows such trials (v. 3). God intends for them to result in a mature and complete faith; perseverance is faith’s first product. But perseverance is not a minimal virtue. Rather, it is elemental to that fortitude of the soldier who braves all in his life-and-death struggle on the field of combat. Praised by Paul (1 Thess 1:3) and by the author of Revelation (cf. 14:12), perseverance characterizes the godly both before and after Christ. The gradual and painful acquisition of this virtue is also unmistakable. Perseverance, though essential to faith, is not infused immediately in a moment of conversion. Only through great ardor and the stumbling pursuit of the goal laid before it and only through sustained service in spite of opposition does perseverance come.
Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 61–62.
Paul surely knew by heart this verse:
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me.
We should then have a definition of o-u-r-s-e-l-v-e-s… as Christians, that bring to bear the gift we should now be celebrating, here, Martin Luther in his Commentary on Galatians, offers a good definition of a Christian. In this definition we see the totality of the above study of Romans Road ~ exemplified:
“We therefore make this definition of a Christian: a Christian is not he who hath no sin, but he to whom God imputeth not his sin, through faith in Christ. That is why we so often repeat and beat into your minds, the forgiveness of sins and imputation of righteousness for Christ’s sake. Therefore when the law accuseth him and sin terrifieth him, he looketh up to Christ, and when he hath apprehended Him by faith, he hath present with him the conqueror of the law, sin, death, and the devil: and Christ reigneth and ruleth over them, so that they cannot hurt the Christian. So that he hath indeed a great and inestimable treasure, or as St. Paul saith: ‘the unspeakable gift’ (2 Cor. ix. 15), which cannot be magnified enough, for it maketh us the children and heirs of God. This gift may be said to be greater than heaven and earth, because Christ, who is this gift, is greater.”
I have, for some reason unknown to me, many run-ins with Black Hebrew Israelites. God, either through my personality or bringing these people to my cyber door step, allows prolonged conversation with these very earnest people. This is one guy I like, he is witty, funny, and entrepreneur, but he is lost, lost, lost. I will not post our entire conversation, but I will shorten it to some of the important exchanges to allow others to add some responses to their apologetic repertoire. (You can read the entire thing here if you so wish.) This conversation may seem choppy, again, I am shortening it, but there are some nuggets of thinking one can apply to their responses on these theologically racial encounters. This gentleman, however, has a messiah complex — and may be thinking of himself as a biblical character? For example, here is the “About the Author” from Amazon:
My name is Enoch Mubarak. I was chosen to write this book. I don’t know why I was chosen to bring “you” this truth. I bring you this truth not to seek reward for self, but to literally save “your” life and the lives of “your” children. “If the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.” Ezekiel 33:6
So keep this in mind as you pick up our conversation, or any comments he may leave.
By-the-by, the gentleman I discussed this topic with lives in Chicago, which has a large cult movement along these lines (click the Chicago skyline to read about it). Also, one should note that while I cannot pigeon-hole Enoch into a particular category (he has a mix of beliefs: Nation of Islam, Black Hebrew Israelite, Black Nationalist Liberation Theology, New Age, etc), the response near the end of this post to the verses typically used (by black liberation theologians, Nation of Islam adherents, and black Hebrew Israelites) to show Jesus is black is key.
… But Enoch… lets break away from your Pulitzer prize winning writing skills. Do you believe what Christ taught about the law?
speaking about what I believe in regards to Christ let me begin with I believe Christ when he says that you must be hot or cold and if you are warm I will spew thee out. …. You must atone by deleting what you wrote in haste or know for certain that what you wrote is what you know beyond “maybe.”
Just so you are up to date, Enoch wrote a book that he bragged was rated “5-Stars” on Amazon (it was based on one review). Having encountered Enoch in past conversations and after reading his first chapter of the book, I gave him a one-star, to which I must atone for.
Me: Well, when you want to talk about WHO Jesus is, WHAT His mission was, and His requirements that we must attain in order to enter into his presence, I am here for you. THIS is more important than who you are right now or how I view you (or your book). God sees the real Enoch. In some way I do not yet understand now, He digs you a lot and wants you to accept his mercy, but maybe you haven’t hashed out your positions with a guy like me? Maybe you do not realize that the letter keeping of Islam and other religions pale in comparison to Christianity. The question is this: in this law keeping (whether the five pillars in Islam – or – the search for Nirvana by rejecting the world in the here-and-now in Buddhism, whatever it is) are you driven towards personal righteousness/attainment and you will be judged on that by a just God, or into the arms of a God who has interwoven a love story (in contradistinction to every world religion, major and minor) who is more than ready to show mercy in your acceptance of His perfect Son. If we need to start at the bare bones (looking at the inspirational aspect of the Bible and who it was written by and how God doesn’t use automatons, then that is where we should start. But Jesus is calling you “Enoch,” and he knows YOU and WHO you are, and loved you before you knew Him.
Without evidence other than my name you conclude that I am Islam and once you concluded that I am islam you have structured your entire conversation around that premise.
No, I use Islam as an example because many you surround yourself with accept it (as your reviewer for your book does). And in the black nationalist movement many do as well, which I suppose is a big draw for your business? Granted, you may be a Christian in the “Rev. Wright” strain (black liberation theology), but there too is a world not based in the amount of mercy offered to man and is a works based understanding and a “James Cone” understanding of God. I am prepared as well to dig into that… BUT, I would rather concentrate on WHO Jesus is, and why it matters. I will compare and contrast His mercy with every other man-made system of thought.
And by-the-way, your name would denote a more New Age vision of life to me that includes UFOs and the like. in fact the “Book of Enoch” is typically accepted more by New Age apprentices rather than other belief structures. So your name, to be clear, has a ring of the Nation of Islam with a New Age flavor. But much of the view of “god” by Elijah Muhammad and others combine the two. AGAIN, however, we could talk about that/your name, my name all day… lets deal with the meat of the issue (Mark 8:29).
Okay. You referenced the Mark of Cain, this verse is really misused by the black nationalist community (and the white nationalist [and historical Mormons]). The reason I want to deal with WHO Jesus is IS because many people say they believe in Jesus:
✔ Mormons say he is the first born from a sexual union between a god and one of his goddesses, and that Lucifer and he are literal brothers… like all of us are; ✔ Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is the first created angel, Michael the Archangel, and that when he came to earth he was known as Jesus, and when he went back to heaven he became Michael again; ✔ Black liberation theology took a turn from Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey (Garveyism), and the Marxist Trinity (race, class, gender) was thrust into the modern movement by James Cone saying Jesus was a black man who didn’t only come to save people individually, but to lift the poor up — thus becoming a revolutionary figure. Taking it further still was Albert Cleage who effectively called into question (as most liberal theologies do) Paul’s inclusion in the New Testament; ✔ New Age (Helen Schucman, Heidi Rose Robbins, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Richard Bach Quotes, and the like) persons believe Jesus reached the next level of evolution and will herald the coming destruction of those not ready for this next stage of spiritual evolution; ✔ Christadelphianism believes Jesus was a created man with a sin nature; ✔ Theosophy believes that “god” is a principle to be believed and that Jesus is a great teacher, like Buddha and others; ✔ Masons believe Jesus is a Aeon here to (very much like Gnostics) point to a spiritual (not material) “cosmic consciousness, soul regeneration, philosophic initiation, spiritual illumination, Brahmic Splendor…” etc; On-and-on… ad infinitum.
So when you write of “Jesus,” Enoch, I will again ask who you say HE IS (Mark 8:29)? Take note I summarized many beliefs about him in a sentence or two above… no mystery, or ethereal language involved. See if you can give me a plain answer to this simple question.
Tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty. Before we delve into what you desire you must first atone for your sin: You must atone by deleting the book review that you wrote in vindictive haste and with malice or….. know for certain that what you wrote is what you know to be certain and beyond “maybe.”
After reading 41-pages of it my critique stands… no 5-stars for you my friend.
Had you been a black person that left one star then my concern would be heightened but considering the source 5 stars was never my expectation.
Enoch mentioned that my sarcasm (which I had to point out, my sarcasm that is) was vindictive, malicious, antagonistic and mean spirited. Which it wasn’t, but Enoch takes things VERY literal, as you will see he does in a bit with Scripture.
… and there you go… the liberal trinity of race, class, and gender….The question isn’t what the white man speaks with, but what does Jesus say about eternality and the extent of the law YOU must keep in order to attain it. I, and other ethnicities are fallen creatures who can be vindictive, malicious, antagonistic and mean spirited. But WHO do you say Jesus is?
The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission.
Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strongminded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshiped, even with multitudinous idols. All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character.
All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances. Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.
Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions, pp. 285-286.
Enoch (posted a video):
While you were in school getting your degree in theology did they tell, show or teach you this….
HERE IS A RARE IF EVER AGAIN OPPORTUNITY TO WITNESS THE TRUE FACE OF JESUS.
Me (I posted a video as well):
Did I learn about a 150-year old replica when studying a faith that is about 2,000 years old and rooted in a faith connected to the first man and women created? No. I did learn about the earliest known Christian symbol and its historical value (http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/symbol/). We also learned about the Shroud of Turin, and I have recently gotten a book for reference on the matter after hearing an interview with the author [The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection] on Michael Medved, a topic — by the way — a Jew shouldn’t be interested in… but in fact, Medved is fascinated by this Resurrection evidence. Jesus wasn’t white Enoch (or black), he was a Mediterranean Jew, much like you see in Jerusalem today.
While I disagree with the above author’s conclusion, he does rightly place the Shroud, to Jesus, in his (His) tomb, at that time. In other words Enoch Mubarak, the “image” of Jesus is well known. Another guest Medved had on a couple of years back was the author of this book, “The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery.” I do highly recommend this book
Enoch (quotes me):
“Jesus wasn’t white Enoch, he was a Mediterranean Jew”~ “In other words Enoch Mubarak, the “image” of Jesus is well known.” ~ Sean Giordano
Don’t he, haw and drag your tongue just say it….Jesus is a black man.
Jesus was not a black man Enoch Mubarak. You are inserting something demonstrably false into your “faith.”
The following describes black all day~everyday…….not white nor Mediterranean Jew.
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. ~ Revelation 1:14
Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. ————————–————————–————————–— Daniel 10:6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. ————————–————————–————————–— Revelation 2:18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. ————————–————————–————————–—
MEANWHILE…WHO IS JESUS?
Revelation 19:12 He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
Using you logic then, God has wings, feathers, is a rock, a fireball, blew His nose to drown the Egyptians in the sea, and carried the entire Hebrew nation in His giant hand. You are literally interpreting what is meant to be Hebraic poetry and imagery.
————————– EXODUS 15:8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
PSALM 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, . . . in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, . . . (cf. Ps 17:8, 36:7, 61:4, 63:7, Is 8:8, Mt 23:37, Lk 13:34)
PSALM 78:35 And they remembered that God was their rock, . . . (cf. Dt 32:4,15,18,37, 1 Sam 2:2, 2 Sam 22:32, Ps 18:2,31,46, 42:9)
PSALM 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust….
DEUTERONOMY 9:26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (cf. Dt 5:15, 7:8)
DEUTERONOMY 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, . . . (cf. Dt 9:3)
…Now to the more interesting observations. How will blacks react to “The Passion”? My answer to this will sound absolutely insane to some – particularly to white readers, who know that all too many blacks are crazy but don’t know quite how crazy – but bear with me, because a sizable sector of the American black population will react in the way I am predicting. One main complaint amongst some blacks will be that this movie does not represent black people because in their minds, Jesus was black.
Don’t believe me? Then take it from Malik Z. Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Shabazz believes “The Passion” is “harmful and racist” because of “one very basic inaccuracy which has been long-promoted in order to bolster white supremacy.” That basic inaccuracy, according to Shabazz? “Jesus was not a European white man. Jesus Christ was a black man.” Shabazz even complains about the lack of black actors in the film. His motto seems to be: “History be damned – where are the black actors, and where’s Jesus’ afro!”
This is hardly a scarce notion amongst black Americans. Believe me. I live in the black community. Many believe this! Some of my own relatives even believe this! Therefore, many blacks believe that Christianity is the white man’s religion and that Islam is the true religion of black folks!…
Again, using your logic, as the VISION continues, Jesus is a Lion that looks like a lamb.
First, Jesus had snow white hair. Second, his eyes were like flame of fire. Third, his feet were like fine brass. (How did you extend that description to the rest of his body?) Fourth, his voice was like the sound of many waters. (So was it intelligible? How so if this description is literal?) Fifth, his right hand was large enough to contain seven stars. Sixth, he had a sword out of his mouth. And, seventh, his countenance was like the sun. (That final one does not sound much like the description of his feet.)
The terms come from John’s VISION of Christ, recorded in Revelation 1. That picture itself builds on a whole set of Old Testament imagery, esp. on the vision of the “Ancient of Days” (that is, God) and ‘one like a son of man’ in Daniel 7.
The specific phrases your description is based on are “his HEAD and HEAR were WHITE like wool” (not “woolly” – it’s about the COLOR, not the texture) and “FEET like bronze GLOWING IN A FURNACE”.
The picture doesn’t prove anything racial. All the more so if you look at the WHOLE description. The high priestly type garb described might work, but just TRY to draw a picture that incorporates ALL the parts, and IF you’re able to draw it, it will NOT look, sound, etc. at all like a normal human being! (his tongue is a SWORD, his eyes blaze like fire, his face shines LIKE THE SUN, his voice is like thundering waters). That’s because it not MEANT to — it is a VISION telling you something about his characteristics, glory, power, etc.
What a myopic view of your savior/creator Enoch Mubarak. Such a limiting view of Scripture and a heavy burden to carry in order to reach your own atonement. Your best works do not reach even the minimum Jesus calls us to, a law so steep we are pushed into his arms. He is waiting for you my friend… with open arms. I suggest you read one of my papers: Defined: Inerrancy (Exegesis & Hermeneutics As Well)
Enoch never answered the Biblical critique of his taking out of context verses that HE (and the Black Hebrew Israelites) interpret to mean Jesus is a black man. In fact, when I point out the above, I never hear a response?
I hope you enjoyed this choppy conversation, that last part is a great response to theologically racist interpretation of Scripture.
Continuing the conversation at another post of Enoch’s (see here) about the supposed racism of the Tea Party, which I thoroughly refute, the conversation switches to a more important subject — Salvation. One reader — after my refutation of the narrative that the Tea Party is racist — asks the following: I thought they weren’t racist. This started off a new strain:
Me: David Duke certainly is. He is a scumbag with an ego and prideful heart that will contribute to Matthew 24:7 that talks about the end of days: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” “kingdoms” are the nation states, the Greek word for nation, however, is “ethnos,” where we get our word “ethnic” from. Jesus is really saying that the one of the signs of the times will include a “racial pride” or “war” that fuels this culmination of “Armageddon.”
Which is why the Bible is the best answer to this racial division. A great (and short – under 200-pages) book by Pastor and Dr. A. Charles Ware with Ken Ham is “One Race, One Blood” Unfortunately Enoch Mubarak is in this same law keeping that color is important when faith is what unites us, not genes turned on or off that produce melatonin. And his [Enoch’s] confusion of racial lines and racism onto whole swaths of people [Tea Partiers] that never deserved or earned the title of it [racist/racism] like David Duke has earned such a title of a scumbag racist, is just plain wrong. It is a parroting of the mass media and what Enoch thinks he has escaped is only in fact helping to spread. Which is why Mason Weaver’s book is so fitting: “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railroad”
I know Jesus is Enoch’s good Shepherd… Enoch just needs to listen to His Masters voice [Jesus’] and realize that if he wants to live by the law he will be judged by it. There is a merciful and graceful path outlined for Enoch, this means however, taking himself off of superman shirts and replacing it with Jesus. Or as one poet of the Gospel (or G.O.S.P.E.L.) says better than I on GodTube.
Maybe Enoch will listen to him because he has a “mane” of hair?
For the reader’s information, Enoch rejected [earlier in the conversation] a video presentation by “MachoSauce” because he has a shaved head… according to Enoch, black men must have hair: “Black man you must stop shaving your head bald. Your hair is your strength and your glory. The perception of strength is hair. Grow your hair. Stop going along just to get along. Stop letting the world, global community and your black woman continue to disrespect you by treating you like a BALD HEAD.”
To which I responded: “Shave or not to shave” ~ You will be judged on the law Enoch, in heaven, if you so choose… Jesus is calling you to mercy and forgiveness, otherwise his impossible law he has set up will doom you to being on the left hand of God. Hear a Muslim student ask about the law:“
Back to the conversation:
Enoch: Enoch has risen and…..”If the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths Ezekiel 33:6″
Me: Enoch, the BIBLE is all about Jesus… not “action.” The Old Testament (or literally, “The Old Covenant”) screams Jesus. In fact, that verse you quote often is found fulfilled in whom it refers to IN Matthew 24:
===============MATT 24:40-51 (The Message Bible) 39-44″The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.
45-47″Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won’t be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.
48-51″But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He’ll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering.” ===========================================
The Watchman are watching for Jesus Enoch (Sermon Central). Do not insert your own meaning into the Bible (eisegesis) , the Bible speaks for itself (exegesis). Again, there is a “New Covenant” (the New Testament, and it is Good News my friend. You quote many ideas and thoughts that place you under the school master….
★ “You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.” (Romans 2:20) ★ “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian” [or school master] (Galatians 3:24-25)
Are you watching… not for “David Dukes” or fictitious racists you gin up via the news-media, but are you watching for your Master Enoch?
Enoch: We are conversing at this moment because I saw you coming, sounded the alarm and stopped you at the gate of Black America’s enclave.
Me: Enoch Mubarak, if God can judge (and be the author of the death of 38-million [plus] black people in recent generations and not the fallen nature of man), then surely He can call you to repentance from that heavy yoke you carry (Matthew 11:30) through a very unlikely source, yeah? (*Speaking here of a shaved headed white boy*) Even donkey’s speak on God’s whim Enoch… the question is, does Balaam listen? God is calling you to peace Enoch (Galatians 3:27), the “hounds of heaven” are on your heals.
=========QUOTE Text: Romans 1:19-21
“I fled Him down the nights and down the days I fled Him down the arches of the years I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears I hid from him….”
So begins Francis Thompson’s famous, but difficult, poem entitled “The Hound of Heaven.” The author sets the poem in the context of a life spent running from God. The poem pictures God like an old bloodhound sniffing our scent, always in the distance, occasionally letting out a howl to remind us that he is on our trail.
As the lengthy poem goes on, Thompson says he fled “across the margins of the world,” but the refrain always comes back:
“Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat…”
God is always there, always pursuing, always engaged in self-disclosure. And that is the essence of the second doctrine covered in our “Christian Believer” study – the self-revealing God. God is in the business of revealing the Divine Self to us. We would know nothing about God if God did not choose to reveal it.
Enoch: Aside from videos, books asnd parables do you possess any original thought or ideas?
Me: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” I pass on what I know Enoch Mubarak, as all have from the time of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3).
God is truly calling Enoch, and for some reason He has placed on my heart a temporary drive to share with him the Good News! I pray Enoch listens. He can use your prayers.
Dr John Polkinghorne KBE, FRS (Cambridge Physicist & Canon Theological) Vs. John Mackay “International Director of Creation Research. Is Evolution Compatible with the Christian Faith? Hosted by BBC’s Roger Phillips, filmed live at Liverpool Cathedral. Don’t miss this great debate.
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL DEBATE A GREAT SUCCESS Over 1100 people filled the Liverpool Cathedral to hear Cambridge University physicist and Canon Theological for the Cathedral, Dr John Polkinghorne, debate Australian and International Director of Creation Research, John Mackay. The topic: Is evolution compatible with the Christian faith?”
As the UK’s leading theistic evolutionist, Dr John Polkinghorne started the debate with his claim that the universe had evolved over the past 14 billion years. Mackay quickly produced a copy of a 1990 lecture by Polkinghorne, where he had stated the universe had evolved over 15 billion years. It was fun to watch the audience react to Mackay’s claim that evolution must be so wonderful it has enabled John Polkinghorne to become 15 years older while the universe became one billion years younger, and then use it to emphasis the point that these vast billions of years are not facts that disprove a literal reading of the scriptures, but men’s feeble theories, which are constantly evolving while the scriptures in Genesis remain firm.
THE UK CHURCHMAN NEWSPAPER reporting the Liverpool Debate stated: “The controversial issue of origins was given a theological airing in the cloistered confines of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, on March 8th 2005. The distinguished Australian Creation Scientist John Mackay was, in my humble opinion, far away ahead in his creation views against the resident Anglican theologian, Canon John Polkinghorne, KBE. It was a great educational debate but in my view Mackay’s Biblical answers left the canon (and he reminded me very much of Captain Mainwaring of Dad’s Army) spluttering in his hastily assembled answers. (from Liverpool Canon Debates Creation Scientist in Cathedral by G. Patrick Battell Paper No 7568, 18 March 05) Hosted by popular BBC Commentator Roger Phillips, this exciting debate was filmed professionally.
This is one DVD you don’t want to miss. Since faith in Theistic Evolution over billions of years is one of the biggest problems in evangelical churches throughout the world, your church needs to see it as well!