11/29/10

Marx and Satan

Communism and the Occult: A Review
By: Jonathan Harris

Just last week I had the privilege of reading Richard Wurmbrand's book Marx and Satan. It actually was not a book I knew about, found, or bought. I was sent it free of charge from Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that the late Richard Wurmbrand started in order to raise awareness on behalf of the persecuted church. At the time the Martyrs magazine was started in 1967 communism was the cross the church was forced to bear, especially in the Soviet Union and Far East. Although Islam is the major threat now, we must not forget the pastors and Christians in Africa and South America still being persecuted under communist regimes. Richard Wurmbrand himself was imprisoned for a cumulative of almost 9 years, 3 of them in solitary confinement in Romanian prisons.



In 1977, 15 years after receiving amnesty, Wurmbrand published his historical account of communism's Satanic history, Marx and Satan. The work, being only 133 short pages, leaves much scholarship to be desired. I would have to say the information within gives just enough information and leads to convince the reader of one thing: The occult had some prominent influence on the lives of the major communist leaders through history. Wurmbrand mainly focuses on Marx and Engels, but also spends some time on Joseph Stalin and Lenin, giving dishonorable mentions to Mao, Ceausescu, and Andropov. Despite the lack of information however, this is a very important work, and will hopefully generate scholarship in the future to reinforce its claims. Wurmbrand writes:

I do not claim to have provided indisputable proof that Marx as a member of a sect of devil-worshipers, but I believe that there are sufficient leads to imply this strongly. . . I have provided the initial impulse. I pray that others will also continue this important inquiry. . .

Here are just a couple of the leads Wurmbrand gives us. Some of Marxes early poetry and writings (as well as Engels) reflect a deep Christian piety, but this devotion was short lived. When Marx started maturing he wrote, "Then I will be able to walk triumphantly, Like a god, through the ruins of their kingdom. Every word of mine is fire and action. My breast is equal to that of the Creator." Such words are reminiscent of Satan's words in Isaiah 14:13. Marx's poem Oulanem (An inversion of Emmanuel. Inversions are common in Satanic worship.) describes what is believed to be the rites of higher initiation in Satanist cults. Marx rejoiced over the death of his relatives (quite literally), read demonic stories to his children, shirked his fatherly responsibilities, had affairs, etc. It's no wonder most of his children committed suicide. After Marx's death, his maid observed that "He was a God-fearing man. When very sick, he prayed alone in his room before a row of lighted candles, tying a sort of tape measure around his forehead." Marx was not a Jew, or a Christian. Who was he praying too? The book shows that this closely resembles a Satanic ritual. Could it be that Marx was a Satanist? Marx's wife addressed him as a "high priest  and bishop of souls." According to Wurmbrand's work, Marx's daughter Eleanor actually married a Satanist, Edward Aveling. Curiously, Marx's appearance is an exact match with the appearance of followers of the high priestess Joanna Southcott who's followers, some sixty years after her death in 1814, wore beards just like Marx's and preached socialism. Marx's reference to Robin Goodfellow, as being credited with the revolution's success, is actually a reference to Satan himself in the literary world. One of the most curious things to me was the fact that only 13 of over 60 of Marx's writings are actually published. The rest have apparently been kept hidden by the Soviets. Why is this? Could there be more information damning Marx that we don't know about? We could go on with these inferences, and provide even stronger ones for other notable communist leaders, but that would make the book obsolete. Even if Marx was not a Satanist, we know that Satan used him mightily by rejecting the Biblical ideas of private property.  So if you want to look into a true mystery of history that's being largely ignored, order your copy today! And if you're a historian, start researching these connections further! Click on the link above to order yours.

11/17/10

Jujutsu Apologetics

Using Nonbeliever's Beliefs Against Them
By: Jonathan Harris

If you've been following the posts on this website lately you'll notice a great emphasis placed on apologetics, specifically the presuppositional variety. You'll know about the Transcendental Argument for God's Existence and how to apply it.You'll know how to use evidence and what kind of circular arguments are acceptable. You'll even know how Scripture calls us to defend our faith and that obeying the great commandment demands that we do it presuppositionaly. I thought what may be helpful, exhilarating, and fun would be to demonstrate how we can use this knowledge when talking to nonbelievers.

Let's start out by laying the groundwork for our methodology. Dr. Greg Bahnsen refers to the particular strategy we are about to learn as the "Don't Answer, Answer Strategy," and it comes from this verse in Proverbs 26:4-5 which states, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.” What this means, as I explained in a previous post:

Don’t answer a fool- someone who doesn’t fear God- according to his presuppositions (that truth can only be found through science, or that truth is relative, etc.)- instead, point out his folly. This is what Paul did at Mars Hill in Acts 17. He basically starts out by doing an internal critique of their worldview to show why it was wrong, he then offers the truth of Christianity. 

Paul tells the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 10:5, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Notice the order here. The "speculations" are first destroyed, and then the thoughts are taken "captive."

When the apostles and Jesus reasoned with a Jewish audience they reasoned from the Scriptures. However, with a gentile audience (individuals who don't accept the Scripture as authoritative) we see that first their worldview had to be destroyed before it could be replaced by Christianity. This is because as Paul said, "we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness." To the Jews the crucifixion was a "stumbling block" because they didn't anticipate it. They were looking for a conquering king, not a suffering servant. To the Gentiles however it was pure foolishness based on their dualistic philosophy.

I would like to suggest that most of the people we talk to are going to be "Greeks" and not "Jews." They are going to be chained to some philosophy which does not take the Scriptures as authoritative. Of course, if we happen to be talking with someone who does (i.e. some Mormons, JWs, Jews, Catholics, Nominal Christians etc.) we should make every effort to show them where they have erred in their interpretation. Most of the time however we will be talking to those who do not believe in our source of revelation. How should we approach them? The answer? The same way Paul did at Mars Hill. We use the "Don't Answer, Answer" strategy.

Every non-believing worldview eventually breaks down into a self-refutation. In other words, the nonbeliever cannot actually make sense of reality or live by his own stated presuppositions. He's a "walking bundle of contradictions" as Cornelius Van Til liked to say. Our task is to identify these "contradictions" and point them out showing at the same time how our worldview accounts for the same basic assumptions without the contradictions. That's why I call it "Jujutsu Apologetics." Step one is using the nonbeliever's worldview against itself. Step 2 is presenting the truth as the only replacement for the now defeated worldview. The point is, our worldview makes sense of reality, theirs does not.

Now learning to spot these "contradictions" may seem a bit hard at first. Don't worry you'll miss them sometimes and that's ok! God doesn't call us to be intellectual beyond our capabilities. The Holy Spirit does the real convincing. He only calls us to humbly evangelize and give answers for our convictions. Most of these contradictions will become easily spotable "self-refuting statements" with time and practice. A self-refuting statement is merely a statement that does not meet its own standard. The statement is automatically false as a result. Below I have listed a myriad of simple self refuting statements (though not an exhaustive list) and "hidden assumptive statements" (Yes, I'm coining terms now) and questions/statements you can ask in response when you hear them. These questions are designed to point out the unnoticed contradiction. My advice would be to read the statement first and then see if you can spot the hidden "self-refutation." Then see if your response matches the one I've given. Perhaps you have better responses than I do. If so, leave me a comment! I'd love to see what you got. One last thing before we proceed. Remember, our job is not to destroy the nonbeliever's worldview and leave him or her with nothing but our prideful smirk. Our job is to show them that Christ is the "way, the truth, and the life." So don't forget that this is only a tool to break the hard-shell of the nonbeliever's pride so the Gospel can penetrate the heart. Enjoy!

Self Refuting Statements

Relativism/Deconstructionism

Statement: "There are no Absolutes!"
Answer: "Are you absolutely sure?"

Statement: "It's impossible to know anything for sure."
Answer: "Are you sure you know that?"

Statement: "No one should be judged for their lifestyle"
Answer: "Is that your judgment regarding those whose lifestyle requires judging?"

Statement: "You can't just align yourself with a dogma"
Answer: "Are you aligned to that dogma?"

Statement: "No one can define 'God.'"
Answer: "Is that your definition for God?"

Statement: "There is no right or wrong."
Answer: "Is that right?"

Statement: "Don't be dogmatic!"
Answer: "Are you being dogmatic?"

Statement: "Word's cannot relay meaning."
Answer: "Do your words relay the meaning that words cannot relay meaning?"

Statment: "Nobody's right"
Answer: "Are you right about that?"
 
Empiricism

Statement: "Science is the best (or only) way to determine truth."
Answer: "What scientific experiment proved this statement to be true?"

Statement: "Science doesn't need philosophy."
Answer: "Is that your philosophy for science?"

Statement: "We can't know anything apart from experience."
Answer: "How did you experience this statement?"

Statement: "All knowledge is confined to the realm of experience" (Immanuel Kant)
Answer: "Have you experienced all knowledge?

Pantheism/Eastern Religion

Statement: "Everything is an illusion."
Answer: "Is that statement an illusion?"

Statement: "We must lose our desires."
Answer: "Is that your desire?"

Nihilism

Statement: "Life has no meaning."
Answer: "Do you really mean that?"

Statement: "There is no such thing as truth"
Answer: "Is that the truth?"

Statement: "I believe in nothing."
Answer: "Is that something you believe in?"

Statement: "Every assertion is false."
Answer: "Is that assertion false?"

Statement: "There are no rules"
Answer: "Is that your rule?"

Statement: "The whole world is an illusion"
Answer: "Is your statement an illusion?"

Skepticism

Statement: "I doubt everything."
Answer: "Do you doubt that you doubt everything?"

Hidden Assumptive Statements

I'm coining the term "Hidden Assumptive Statement" to refer to statements that are self-refuting yet the refutation is not as obvious from the statement itself. It takes a little more explanation to show why these statements are false on their own merit, but they are just as wrong, even if they are not quite as easy to spot. Instead of asking a question, usually you'll be making a statement, and instead of appealing to a stated presupposition usually you will have to appeal to presupposition common to humanity but left unstated in the statement itself.

Relativism/Deconstructionism

Statement: "All things are relative."
Answer: "If all things are relative then so is your statement. In which case I have no reason to believe it."

Statement: "All opinions are equally valid."
Answer: "My opinion is that not all opinions are equally valid. Is my opinion valid. If it is, then the statement is false. If it's not, then the statement is still false."

Statement: "Your truth is different than mine."
Answer: "My truth is that your truth is wrong. Is my truth wrong?" (Usually with this type of objection making it real is important. Give an analogy such as, "If you jumped off a building and believed gravity wouldn't pull you toward the earth would you not hit the ground?") 

Statement: "Words can mean anything you want them to."
Answer: "I want your words to mean, 'Words can mean nothing you want them to.' Is that what they mean?"

Statement: "No truth is unchanging."
Answer: "So the statement you just made is changing and may not be true tomorrow."

Empiricism

Statement: "I only believe in science."
Answer: "What experiment did you use to arrive at this statement?"

Statement: "Apart from mathematical equations we can know nothing absolutely"
Answer: "Where's your equation proving that statement to be true?"

Pantheism/Eastern Religion

Statement: "All is one."
Answer: "Who's making the statement, you or me?" (Eastern religions have no way to account for person-hood or differentiate between entities)

Emotionalism (Usually tied in with Relativism)

Statement: "I feel I'm right."
Answer: "I feel I'm right. Does that make it right?"

Statement: "What works for you doesn't work for me."
Answer: "What works for me is doing morally reprehensible things to you. Does that work for you?"

Nihilism

Statement: "There are no laws of logic"
Answer: "Martians store ponies 3 dollars cackle feathers" (i.e. answer absurdity with absurdity) or "Did you use logic to arrive at that statement?"

Skepticism

Statement: "We must all be skeptical of any truth claim."
Answer: "I'm skeptical of your truth claim."

Loving God With All Your Mind

The Source, Standard, and Structure of all Knowledge
By: Jonathan Harris


The Command

Today I made the decision to continue and expand the topic of loving God with all our beings by focusing on one vital and sensitive area we have as Christians on a “secular” college campus. I want to hone in on loving the Lord our God with all of our minds, and specifically, loving Him with our minds in a institution for higher education. I’m hoping what I’m about to share with you will really cause you to think as it did me when I first discovered it. If you would, open your Bible’s to Deut. 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

So what’s the command? It’s to Love God with both our material and immaterial selves, and its also to direct our affection towards the right God. When Christ repeats this command in Mark 12:29 He includes the portion about God being “one.” It’s not enough to love God, we need to love the true God, the God of Scripture.


Why It's Important

Now, as we can see, God places the utmost importance on this commandment. Not only does he say, “Keep this commandment,” but he also gives instruction on how to remember to keep it. Parents are to impress them on their children. Sounds like neutrality isn’t an option? God doesn’t say, “Let your children find their own faith just make sure they’re exposed to Christianity.” He says, “Impress them on your children.” Today this is seen as a coercive measure. Some atheists have gone so far as to compare this to Nazi indoctrination. In reality however, there is no neutrality, there is no worldview void of moral instruction for even the atheist is imposing his moral standard of individual autonomy upon his or her child.

In addition to impressing this upon the hearts of our children, God says, “Talk about these things continually.” When you sit, walk, lie down, and get up, this commandment should be on the tip of your tongue infused in your every action. Now let me ask you a question, “Is it?” “Do you love the Lord in every situation?” “Do you see Him as the motivation behind your every task?” “Is he the King of your existence?” Or, have you compartmentalized off certain portions of your life where you pretend that he does not reign supreme. Perhaps when you go the bar, or hang out with your nonbelieving friends, or when you’re in class and it would be socially awkward to bring up your faith in Christ.

God says to tie these “as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads and write them on the doorframes of your house and on your gates.” The Jews, who this was written to, take this quite literally. They literally write this command on their doors. It’s called a Mezuza. They also literally keep a written copy of this command on their foreheads. It’s called a Phylactery. I don’t believe the point was to actually carry these things, but rather to be constantly reminded. However, we must concede that having this law all around us like that would remind us wouldn’t it?

So the point is: God takes this command very seriously. Christ sums up the whole law and the prophets by quoting this verse in Deuteronomy. Jesus emphasizes this command in three out of four Gospels. So we also should take it very seriously.

Loving the Lord With Our Heart and Soul

Now to quickly summarize what loving the Lord with our heart and soul means: Both terms express the idea of the “inner man,” and we could get into more detail regarding them, but they both really refer to our emotions, our spirit, and our will. In other words, our immaterial self. We need to be completely ready to give of ourselves, sacrificing our emotional well-being, our worries and concerns, for the sake of Christ. Christ said in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wishes to save his life [same word as the word for soul] shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” So how do we set Christ as our primary affection? By fostering a love for His word in our lives and praying the prayer of David who said “create in me a clean heart oh Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit.” When Christ commands us to love Him with all our heart and soul, he’s really saying that He needs to be supreme over our emotions, intentions, and desires- our primary affection.

Now then. Loving the Lord with all our mind. Now if you’ll remember, the word “mind” is not in the Deuteronomy passage, but it is in Christ’s citation of the Deuteronomy passage in Mark 12. Christ says, “'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'” The rational, cognitive, intellectual portion of or immaterial self can be conveyed by the terms heart and soul, depending on the context. Christ chose to let us know specifically, that our minds are incorporated in this command. And it’s no wonder that he would right? His supremacy should reign over every portion of our existence.


The Supremacy of Christ

Now get this- because this is the point- Christ is Lord over our intellectual life. I’ll say it again, Christ is Lord over our intellectual life. That’s right, and not only the things we learn in the context of “church,” or “Christian Fellowship.” He is sovereign and authoritative over every fact which ever existed or will exist in the history of the world. He says it himself in Luke 10:22, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.” What things? Just those things pertaining to “spirituality.” No! All things, because everything is spiritual. There is no compartmentalization in Christianity. Nothing is secular. Every single thing we think, do, say, or anything must be under Christ’s Lordship. Now, how does this work, and how does it apply to me? Well we can deduce a couple things right off the top. Number one, if Christ is Lord, he’s in control and not me. I am not Lord over anything. I am merely a steward of what He has sovereignly ordained to give me. Number two, no one else is Lord over anything. This includes your professors here at College. You should respect them, but they have no monopoly on truth. In fact, if it weren’t for Christ they couldn’t know anything.

The Source of Knowledge

Now how does this work? You may be thinking, “My professors sure do know a lot.” Turn with me if you will to Col. 2, starting at the end of verse 2 where it says, “Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Wow, isn’t that amazing! You couldn’t know 2+2=4 if it weren’t for Christ. You couldn’t know the way to run a government if it weren’t for Christ. You name the activity, Christ is the source of the wisdom and knowledge necessary for it. Look at what the next verse says. Verse 4, “I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.” Now look at verses 8-10

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Doesn’t that just bow you away? You know what proverbs says? Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” What did Paul say in Romans 1:18-19. Please turn there, while keeping your finger in Col. Paul says

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

So what can we deduce from the Bible’s teaching? Number 1. Christ is Lord of all. Number 2.  All treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. Number 3. The fear of the Lord is the only starting point for any kind of knowledge whatsoever. Number 4. Men know God, men should be fearful of Him, yet they purposely suppress that truth.

I want to suggest to you that the modern university is a factory for suppressing the truth. That’s what’s being taught in many classrooms, and you all know what I’m talking about. I remember at college once, I had a professor who was very postmodern, and she told a couple of us after class- it was a speech class- that a desk in the classroom could both be there and not be there at the same time and in the same sense. In other words, if I said, I believe the desk is there, and my classmate said, I don’t believe it’s there, we would both be correct. She openly violated the first principle of logic, the law of non-contradiction right in front of her students. I guarantee though she didn’t live that way. She sure didn’t grade that way. If she wanted it to be a C, and a student wanted it to be an A, she didn’t give him an A. She didn’t drive on the left-side of the road. She would question her paycheck if it was lower than it should have been. You know why? Because God was evident to her. She knew Him, but she chose to suppress her knowledge of Him, and it lead to utter foolishness. As Christians we know that God is a God of truth and we are made in his image. He will not put up with contradictions because to do so would be dishonest. We have a base for logic and morality. Yet “the fool says in his heart, there is no God.” Do you see the absurd implications people reach when they suppress the truth?

So to reiterate what we have so far. Christ Lord over all, including knowledge itself. We must acknowledge Him in order to arrive at any rational conclusion about anything. Everyone knows that this is the case because they’re made in His image, yet they suppress this truth because they don’t want to be accountable to Him.

So you know how you can be taken “captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world?” By buying into the “neutral” philosophy of the world. We are taught by most of our professors that there is an open-minded “objective” and “neutral way to look at things- and if we examine facts in that way, we will in fact come to a knowledge of truth. I have something very strong to say about this- you cannot have Christ as Lord of your life and be taken away by these philosophies. Your starting point is “the fear of the Lord.” And let me say, your professors don’t apply this to themselves. They don’t approach things in a neutral fashion. Most of them rule out the possibility of a Christian God right from the beginning making everything else they say foolishness when compared to their underlying presuppositions. Now you may be saying, “My math professor, or my physics professor, isn’t a Christian, and they sure know a lot, and they are teaching me well!” I don’t doubt you. But realize that the reason that they can teach you correct things is because they are using borrowed capital. They still rely on God for any kind of knowledge whatsoever even if they suppress that truth. The difference between a good Christian mathematician and a good nonbelieving mathematician is that the Christian gives God the credit. He loves God with all his mind! He realizes that he relies on God every day, whereas the nonbeliever suppresses this truth.

So we need to give God the credit for every bit of information our mind creates knowing that He holds it together and is the source for it. Without Him it would all be utter absurdity. I gave the example on Saturday of baking a cake. Even for such an innocent thing as cooking, you must understand, you cannot even get your ingredients right if it weren’t for Christ! You might be saying, “What? I know plenty of non-Christians who are great cooks.” Yes, but who made their knowledge possible. You see, these great chefs have assumed a great many things- that their senses are trustworthy, that their memory of is reliable (otherwise how would they remember how to read a recipe or measure ingredients), that it is a “good” thing to for food to taste in a certain way (that’s a value judgment), that the laws of nature will be uniform (i.e. gravity will work in a certain way so they can pour and mix, the oven’s settings correspond to an unchanging standard of heat). I want to suggest that there is no way to even begin to make such unprovable assumptions without first assuming that Christianity is true. You say, “What?” My friends don’t believe in God. And I say, “Yes they do in their heart of hearts. They rely on Him every day, yet suppress the truth in their heart so they won’t be accountable to Him or give Him the honor He deserves.”

The preconditions of intelligibility- the laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, a universal moral standard, etc. are conventionally believed by everyone, but a Christian is the only one that can actually make sense of them. I’ll give one short example. Ask your non-Christian friend why it’s wrong to rape children for fun. They will say things like, “Because it hurts them.” Ask why it’s wrong for people to hurt? They might say, “Because society agrees that it is.” You can point out, “The Nazi society believed it was right to hurt Jews, were they wrong?” You see, there is no “neutral” way to look at anything. We all bring our unprovable assumptions with us. The Christian can account for this. We believe we are made in God’s image and reflect His values. The nonbeliever cannot. The greatest proof for the Christian worldview is that without it you couldn’t prove anything. We need to love God with our minds by giving Him the credit for all our intelligence. 

The Standard of Knowledge

Now, not only is Christ Lord of our intelligence. He is Lord of our entire view of reality. That’s really the implication we have right now isn’t it? Let me ask all of you a question. If you make an addition mistake in math class what happens? You get marked off right? Now what happens if you make an argument for or against abortion in ethics class. What happens? You see in our culture, there are two realms of truth. The “scientific” “empirical” “rational” realm of truth, and then the “artistic” “aesthetic” “moral” realm of truth. We phrase it different ways. We say there’s objective and subjective, facts and values, science and religion, etc. Religion of course, is regulated to the subjective realm of “personal beliefs” in sociology class, yet in the science classes naturalism is the source for truth. Empirical study will determine truth. We go to school learning in one class that the Bible is false because of science, and in the very next period we learn that religion is “true for you.”

The university won’t mind if you believe in Christianity, so long as you keep it hidden, so long as you keep it Campus Crusade meetings, so long as you realize it’s a very deep and private conviction. What does Jesus say in Matthew 6:24? “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other.” What does 1 John 2:15 say? “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

What our culture is asking us to do is to sacrifice truth. Make Jesus the “way, the truth, and the life” for ourselves but not for everyone. Yet they enforce their versions of truth on us don’t they? They teach us to suppress this truth in the public arena. In government class we learn about “separation of Church and State. Darwinism explains away creation’s testimony concerning God in biology class. In psychology we are taught about self-esteem to ease our sinful consciences. What are the results of this? Go back to the judgments pronounced in Romans 1:18-32.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . . Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. . .God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Do you see what’s going on here? Ignore God and what happens? He judges! We cannot accept this idea that there are two different tiers of truth. Heathens would like to have their cultural Christianity, their fire-insurance, their spiritual pacifier, and then keep living like the rest of the world giving no thanks to God. They want the benefits without the costs. There is only one truth. Jesus Christ is the truth, and He speaks authoritatively, not just regarding our math, logic, and physics, but our morality. In fact He gives us principles for government, and financial accountability.

Sometimes people ask me, “Do you believe in faith in politics.” “Sure I do, and the interesting thing is so do you!” You’re faith is humanistic though. You’re the god. I prefer that Christ remain God.

So Christ is the Lord of our intelligence, He’s the Lord of our worldview. He’s also the Lord of our thought life.

The Structure For Knowledge

Loving the Lord with all your mind means focusing your thoughts on Him. You should recognize that everything relates back to Him in some way. You say, it’s not possible. Then you don’t believe the Bible because it says in 2 Cor. 10:5, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Is everything thought that you have obedient to Christ? Do you give him the credit making your thinking even possible? Furthermore, do you set your mind on the things He tells you to? You say, what does he tell me to set my mind on? Philip. 4:8 says (turn there if you’d like)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Or how about Col. 3:2-“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Jesus said in Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

Application

Now I’d like to draw some practical applications here if we have time. How can we apply what Scripture has just told us. You might be saying, I can’t just raise my hand in class and quote a Bible verse. Well, you could, but I would also agree that this probably wouldn’t usually be the most helpful thing to do, although the “Word of God does not return void.” I would suggest challenge your professors and the students in your classes, in a respectful way. “Speak the truth in love.” Remember, you’re not doing this to show your knowledge or superiority. You’re doing this to bring glory to your God by fulfilling the great commission to make disciples of Him. Therefore, you want to follow the example of Scripture. Sometimes you might have a particularly hard-hearted professor who says things the Bible disagrees with all the time and you have to choose your battles.

What I would suggest is, when you’re in a situation, do what Scripture says, in the order it says it.
Paul says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” First the underlying assumptions of the nonbeliever’s worldview need to be attacked. This is spiritual warfare, and we need to realize that only the Holy Spirit ultimately will convince someone of the truth of God’s Word. However, our first step may not be God’s word. It may be just pointing out a contradiction. If your science professor says, “Science is the most reliable way to arrive at truth,” ask him, “How did you scientifically arrive at that statement?” I remember when I was in philosophy of religion class, my professor made a statement that we can’t know truth ultimately. I muttered, “You know that?” My class bust out laughing. Now, the point isn’t to humiliate your professor, the point is to stand up for the other students in the classroom and provide the alternative they aren’t getting.

Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

In other words, Don’t answer a fool- someone who doesn’t fear God- according to his presuppositions (that truth can only be found through science, or that truth is relative)- instead, point out his folly. This is what Paul did at Mars Hill in Acts 17. He basically starts out by doing an internal critique of their worldview to show why it was wrong, he then offers the truth of Christianity. I would encourage you, read Acts 17 when you get home tonight.

In conclusion; Christ is Lord of our intelligence, He is Lord of our worldview, He is Lord of our thought-life, and we in response must love him with all our minds. We use our minds for His purposes, by His means, giving Him thanks for the ability to do so.

11/15/10

The Distant Starlight Problem

The Christian's Greatest Scientific Challenge
By: Jonathan Harris

If The Problem of Evil is Christianity's greatest philosophical problem, The Distant Starlight Problem is Christianity's greatest scientific challenge. I believe both are the best of the best arguments against a Christian worldview, but I also believe both are answerable. Since we've already answered The Problem of Evil, let us now consider The Distant Starlight Problem. 

For those who don't know, The Distant Starlight Problem is an objection levied against "Creationists" (those holding to a literal interpretation of Genesis) who maintain that the world is less than 10,000 years old based on the Biblical time frame (mostly from genealogies). The claim is made that, if the world is really less than 10,000 years old, then how can starlight get here in time when some stars are millions of light-years away? A light-year is the distance light travels in the length of one conventional "earth" year. It should be noted that this objection is really the only legitimate scientific critique (that I know of) that can be made of Creationism. All other arguments really come down to logical fallacies. In contrast, a Darwinian model for cosmology, biology, etc. has so many holes in it it's hard to know where to begin when criticizing it. The Darwinist relies on a myriad of "rescuing devices" to even keep his worldview afloat scientifically (which is why I recommend a presuppositional approach against Darwinists- because you can skip the rescuing devices and focus on the worldview's inherent self-contradictions). The Creationist really needs to come up with only one which accounts for the Starlight Problem.

The most universal rebuttal against Darwinists who will make this accusation is to respond, "God made the light in transit." In other words, God created the beam of light along with the star. While this has worked effectively at times to shut the mouths of those reproaching the faith, it has a problem. In order for this answer to be viable, it must account for things like supernovas and other phenomena. Is God the author of confusion? If He truly did create the light beam making the stars appear to be older than they are, why is it that He also creates "allusions" like supernovas? These events never really happened according to this alternative explanation. Of course, if you reduce everything down to, "God supernaturally made it work," then yes, you can "explain away" almost any objection. However, God reveals Himself in the pages of Scripture, and Scripture presents a God who is not the author of confusion. I believe there must be a better answer, and indeed I believe there is.

The Big Bang's Light-Travel-Time Problem

Before continuing, I think it is worth noting that the Big Bang has problems of its own, namely the the Horizon Problem. If you place an ice cube in a cup of hot tea, the heat will become the same over time. The problem with the Big Bang is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is constant throughout the universe, even though it shouldn't be given the proposed age of the universe. So to say that the Big-Bang is a viable alternative to creation only trades one problem for a similar one (actually a bundle of other ones).

Alternate Synchrony Convention

Dr. Jason Lisle, in a technical article for Answers Research Journal promotes what he believes scientifically reconciles the discrepancy. In an article entitled Anisotropic Synchrony Convention - A Solution to the Distant Starlight Problem Lisle expounds upon ASC as being the most viable answer. In simple terms, ASC is basically analogous to the time-zone conventions we have on earth. You can leave Virginia at 4:00pm, and by virtue of time zones, arrive at your destination in Colorado also at 4:00pm. The same can be said of Cosmic Local Time (our earthly convention) and Cosmic Universal Time (The actual time difference). The stars could have been created on Day 4 Cosmic Local Time and reached the earth on Day 4 Cosmic Local Time. This would only work in one direction (i.e. like the plane flying West), and it would assume that the Bible uses Cosmic Local Time (our time on earth in relation to the sun).

For those who are more advanced in their scientific studies, I would suggest reading Dr. Lisle's paper on the subject. Even if you don't agree, you'll have to at least conclude that Creationism isn't "stupid" or something for the ignorant.


Gravitational Time Dilation

GTD is a theory that uses gravity to explain how light can travel over great distances in seemingly short time periods. An example used to explain this to individuals is the fact that the closer you are to the earth's center, the slower time is. For instance, time will flow on an atomic clock in Boulder Colorado at a slightly faster rate than a at a clock in Death Valley California. Experiments have been made with clocks in which a clock is placed on an airplane and taken around the world back to its original destination in which another clock on ground level is synchronized to it. After the flight however, the clocks are no longer synchronized. The one that remained at a higher altitude (away from the center of gravity) is faster. If we theorize that the earth is at or near the center of the universe then we can conclude that time is flowing at a slower rate where we are, as opposed to where the stars are.


CDK: Is the Speed of Light Constant in Time?

Another theory that attempts to reconcile Genesis with the perceived distance of stars is the CDK hypothesis which questions whether the speed of light is constant over time. The assumption is that the speed of light may have been greater in the past than it is in the present in which case starlight could have traversed an enormous distance in a relatively short period of time. Some have said this violates the theory of relativity, however the theory of relativity maintains that two individuals measuring the speed of a light beam will get the same result even if they are in different graphical positions, not that the speed of light has always been the same over time.


Conclusion

I hope that it can be seen that rescuing devices do exist that can reconcile the perceived distances of stars with the age of the earth. Whether one of these solutions, or a different one, or a combination of them answers the question, the fact remains that this argument against a literal Genesis is not a bullet-proof challenge at all. For more information about reconciling this problem I would advise taking a look at Dr. Jason Lisle's lecture The Distant Starlight Problem below, and/or purchasing Doctor Russell Humphrey's book or video Starlight and Time which deals with Gravitational Time Dilation, available for purchase below.



11/11/10

A Few Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Then and Now
By: Jonathan Harris

Remember when you were a kid? Perhaps you were in boy scouts or girl scouts and you participated in different patriotic events with your troop or family. I do. My family has always attended patriotic events on Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and sometimes the 4th of July. Since my father is a pastor, many times he gives the invocation for local town events to commemorate our soldiers living and dead. I remember the crowds being a bit larger when I was young. I remember seeing more children present. I remember men taking off their hats during the prayers and national anthem. Perhaps it's just the nostalgic perspective of a child, but I feel like something is missing from these events currently. I just got back from a Veteran's day ceremony 10 minutes ago, and I can't help but compare what I use to see and what I see now. Perhaps this is a stream consciousness with no bearing on reality at all, but on the other hand, perhaps it's not. Maybe, just maybe, others out there can relate to what I'm saying and confirm its truth.

Let me begin by saying the victorious attitude I had as a child would send chills up my spine every time a military theme or patriotic tune was played at commemorative ceremonies. I would spend Veteran's and Memorial Day watching war movies, dressing in camouflage and running around my backyard, and of course playing with toy soldiers. I don't do any of those things now, but the same patriotism still exists within me; at least I think it does? I still love my country. I still support our soldiers fighting overseas. I still feel the shivers up my spine every once in awhile. However, something has changed, and I'm not sure I'm the only one that's felt its affect. Where is the conquering vigor within the voices of those singing "God Bless America?" Why do the speakers at such events now have to ad in that such attributes as "honor" are no longer understood by our culture. Why do most everyone in the audience look over the age of 50? There is a depression in the air when patriots sing, and I think I know what it is. We are singing about what once was. We know the America we have come to honor is no longer the America that exists in reality. I feel sorry for most patriots in this condition because they don't know what to attribute this to. The veteran who spoke at the local Town of Wappinger Veteran's Day ceremony talked about such attributes as "honor," "duty," "freedom," etc. being the cornerstones for our way of life and the reason behind the motivations of the soldier's he fought with. He then lamented about how our culture no longer understands these attributes. No explanation was given for this definitional departure, and I suspect it grieves the hearts of veterans to not understand why such things are happening. After all they've been through, risking life and limb and their friends lives and limbs, why would our country not be grateful?

The answer is a religious one. Our country is a semblance of what it once was because we have turned our backs on our Christian foundation. The attributes of "honor," "duty," and "freedom," or "faith," "hope," and "charity," as Glenn Beck likes to call them, are certainly the cornerstones on top of which our country stands, but who's definition of such terms are we using? A fundamentalist Muslim sees 9-11 as an honorable act. An Atheist sees offending the religious right as an honorable action. A Mormon sees having as many babies as possible to be an honorable action, etc. We could take each attribute and do the same thing. Duty to an environmentalist means having no kids and recycling everything. Freedom to a libertarian means the liberty to do anything that doesn't infringe on another's liberty, though "infringement" is never clearly defined. I'm sure Nazi veterans viewed themselves as meeting the criteria for defending "honor," "freedom," etc. Who's to say what the definitions of these words mean? It use to be that Americans, even if they weren't Christians themselves, abided by the the Christian definition of such terms. Today the true foundation, the Bible, has been replaced completely by man's perceptions. In fact, I would argue that during the early part of the last century this had already taken place, it's just that man, out of habit continued to abide by what the Bible said, even though it wasn't the final authority. Today however the logical implications of humanism are rearing their ugly heads. The veteran making the speech could well walk up to a gang on the street burning an American flag and say, "Don't you believe in honor and respect! Where's your patriotism!" The gang members could reply, "We believe in honor and respect. That's why we're burning this rag!" You see, the same language, but different presuppositions about what such terms actually mean.

The moral of the story? We must not go back to "honor," "duty," and "freedom," or "faith," "hope," and "charity." Instead we must go back to the proper definitions of the terms. Honor is what is becoming of God- Stubbornly holding to the standards He has set. Duty is protecting your fellow man because he's made in God's image. It's also proclaiming the truth and fulfilling every mandate God has given including being a "good soldier" and fulfilling the government's responsibility to protect its people. Freedom is directly linked to our responsibilities to God. Where there is a responsibility on an individual, familiar, governmental, or ecclesiastical level there should be the liberty to carry such a responsibility without interference from the other accountable institutions. Faith and hope can only be rooted in God's Word and the assurance it gives us that good will win in the end. Charity flows out of a love for one's neighbor only because we love the Lord our God. You see, the real foundations are not the attributes, but what the attributes themselves rest upon.

I couldn't help but wondering as I stood in the audience today, "Will my children ever see anything like this?" As a mosque loomed in the background just beyond the ceremonial activities and as the congregation sang "God Bless America" in a funeral like fashion I stood motionless without a tear. America has fallen and only God can save her now.

11/10/10

The Problem of Evil

The Greatest Challenge to Christianity
By: Jonathan Harris

Most arguments leveled against the Christian worldview end up being red herrings. For instance, the "god of the gaps" argument is really a distraction because it doesn't address the central question of whether or not God exists- it merely accuses believers of having less than desirable motives in their belief. The argument that "more intelligent people are nonreligious" commits the logical fallacy of an "appeal to authority." Just because a certain group of people happen to believe something doesn't have any bearing on the belief's alleged truth. One argument that I do tend to take seriously however (and it may be the only argument) comes mainly from skeptics and it goes like this: "If God is both all-powerful and all-loving why does evil exist?" Stated in a more formal way the argument looks like this:

1. God is completely good
2. God is completely powerful
3. Evil Exists

In our day the argument has taken on a more emotional component. I've been asked about the "contradiction" in this simple series of questions. "Was what the terrorists did on 9-11 evil?" Of course a Christian must say, "Yes." The antagonist then follows, "If you had the power to stop them would you?" Again, the Christian must say yes. The nonbeliever then asserts, "You must be nicer than God then!" It's the same argument, but stated in a much more emotionally charged way.

To respond to this criticism, we as Christians must first understand the basic assumptions the unbeliever is making. We should really throw the question back on them when they ask, "Was what the terrorists did on 9-11 wrong?" We of course can easily say that it is wrong because we have a transcendent standard to appeal to. Our God says it's wrong because it's murder. However, what does the nonbeliever have to stand on? The majority of the time this objection to God's goodness and/or power is made by atheists. As Ravi Zacharias points out: "To assume evil you must assume good. To assume good you must assume a moral law. To assume a moral law you must assume a moral law giver." Here's a clip of Ravi making this point.



Ravi ends his line of questioning with the inquiry, "What is the question than?" In other words, you can't even raise the question of the problem of evil without first presupposing the existence of God. For the majority of critics who raise this point, they will be confounded at this point. They are shown to have the bigger problem because they can't even arrive at a proper definition of good, yet they must have one in order to perform an internal critique of Christianity. While it's important to bring this point up, we must also remember that many who challenge us on the problem of evil will not expose their presuppositions, and in fact there are some who will levy the objection while trying to maintain their own theological framework of open-theism (i.e. denying the sovereignty of God in order to solve the problem). It should be noted that the open-theistic perception of God actually creates more problems than it solves, however what I'm trying to communicate is not why open-theism is wrong, but why we as Christians need to be able to answer this question despite the unbeliever's greater philosophical quandaries. An unbeliever may say, "Yes you've shown my view to be wrong, but that doesn't mean you're not wrong at the same time." However, I'd like to suggest that if we add an additional step to our 3-part dilemma, as Dr. Bahsen does, the logical problem is solved. 

1. God is completely good
2. God is completely powerful
3. Evil Exists
4. God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists.

Notice, I don't have to provide a detailed reason or really any reason (though we could find some in Scripture) at all to make this rescuing device work. All I have to do is raise the possibility that there exists a morally sufficient reason, and the logical tension no longer exists. However, I must caution, this does not solve the problem usually. Why? Because the problem is really not a logical one after all. It's more of a psychological or emotional one. People go through tragedies and are generally upset at God for their losses and pain. They look around them and see horrible things taking place and wonder, "How can God possibly have a morally sufficient reason for such horrendous atrocities." As Bible-believing Christians we can really only go so far in our explanation. We can talk about how "all things work together for good for those who believe God and are called according to His purpose." We can talk about trials being for our benefit and the "testing of our faith." We can also talk about original sin and how man doesn't deserve anything but God's wrath, yet God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." In the end however, "The secret things belong to the Lord." Ultimately, the sections of Scripture (Job, Romans 9, Luke 13) that deal with this problem don't give an answer other than to assert that man has no standing or right to question God. Actually though, this is a satisfying answer in many ways because it causes us to "flip the script" and approach the whole challenge from a different angle. The psychological/emotional aspect of the problem of evil makes the assumption that man is good. After all, those raising the argument aren't concerned about fallen angels or the death of distant galaxies. They're concerned with the suffering mankind (usually themselves) endures. They become the cross-examiner and God the one on trial. If we instead take the Bible's advice, "Who are you oh man to judge God," and apply it to the situation, the roles are reversed. The question then becomes, "If God is all-good, and all-powerful, Why does He not punish us all now?" You see, open-theism doesn't solve the problem nearly as well as the Biblical doctrine of human depravity (i.e. that we all have an "Adamic nature" and are thereby sinners). So why do bad things happen to good people? The response is really, "What good people?" Listen to how Voddie Baucham addresses the problem of evil using this very tactic.



 As hopefully most of us can see, the problem of evil really isn't a problem logically speaking. It can be a difficulty- something we struggle with emotionally especially- but it's not a valid argument against God's existence or Christianity's worldview. I would like to conclude by briefly offering up a couple other arguments apologists have used and why or why not I think they are valid or invalid, and then give what I think is the ultimate focal point in answering this important question.

First of all, the "other" arguments used to counter the "problem of evil."

1. The Unreality of Evil Defense

This defense basically says, "evil doesn't actually exist, it's just an allusion." Eastern religions and Christian cults may use this, but for a Bible-believing Christian it's not an option (plus it creates way more problems than it solves).

2. The Divine Weakness Defense

This is one and the same with the open-theist claim that God doesn't have the power to control evil. In other words, He's not "all-powerful." Again, this is unthinkable for Bible-believers.

3. The Best Possible World Defense

This is an interesting defense, and one I've actually used in the past. As John Frame says, it goes like this, "Certain evils are logically necessary to achieve certain good ends. For example, there must be suffering if there is to be compassion for sufferers. So the best possible world will include some evil." The problem I have with this response now is that it almost seems to say, "The perfect world is one in which there exists imperfection." This as you can see is a self-refuting statement. I tend to shy away from this defense now, although there is a ring of truth in it. Evil will achieve a "good" end when God righteously punishes evil-doers.

4. The Free Will Defense

This is by far the most common defense, yet I believe it's among the least Biblical ones. Adam perhaps had a "free-will" as we Christians do too. However, unregenerate man is not free to choose good, but only evil. He is restrained by his sin nature. So to say that God created a world in which evil was possible, because without a "choice" there would be no "love" is to say that man is capable of choosing God, which we know is not the case from Scripture. God is the one who draws His elect, and He gets the credit for it. This is a rather Arminian argument, and you won't find it being made in Scripture; in fact I think it can be demonstrated that Scripture opposes such a notion.

5. The Character Building Defense

God's intention in allowing evil is to build our characters, or so the defense goes. According to the book of James, for Christians this is perhaps a legitimate defense. Yes, trials do make us stronger. However, for the nonbeliever, this rule does not apply, and generally it's the nonbeliever raising the question.

6. The Stable Environment Defense

This defense asserts that the laws of physics inevitably will lead to pain (i.e. you fall down the stairs, etc.). In order to make this argument though you would have to assume that conditions in the Garden of Eden were different. Either humans didn't get hurt, or physics was different, or something. This is mere speculation however. Also, it doesn't answer the whole question. It tries to account for pain, but what about evil inflicted by other humans? I don't see this as any kind of satisfactory answer.

7. The Indirect Cause Defense

God is not responsible for evil because He is its indirect cause. He created the Devil and Adam and Eve, yet they were the ones who rebelled, not Him. So they bear the responsibility even though they were created by him. On a human level indirectness does not mitigate responsibility. Does it work on a cosmic level? I find this argument debatable. It doesn't really "solve" the problem though even if it is a valid argument, because all it does is refer back to the creation of evil. It doesn't explain why God doesn't intervene currently.

8. The ex Lex Defense

This defense says that God is outside or above the laws He prescribes for man, therefore he isn't responsible to react in the same ways man is expected to (remember the 9-11 scenario?). This is a true in one way, but let us not forget that the laws that God has given man reflect His nature. So while He is above them, He is not "outside" of them. I'd say this is valid, although again it doesn't answer the entire question. It does explain however potentially why God doesn't intervene currently. He has a higher purpose man is perhaps incapable of understanding and the right thing for Him to do is to allow evil to exist in certain vicinities.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that our "theodicy" (realm of theology dealing with defending the existence of God's goodness and power in light of the existence of evil) needs to have Christ at the center. The nonbeliever has no hope. He or she has no way to deal with evil. No way to cope with it. We do. When God entered human history He did so as a man "tempted in all points as we." He was a "man of sorrow acquainted with grief." The ultimate pain was placed on Him, yet He defeated evil "for the joy set before Him" enduring the cross and rising on the third day. He then promised to send us the "Comforter" (Holy Spirit) to illuminate Scripture and intercede for us with the Father. As a result of His substitutionary atonement for our sins, we have hope that one day we will be in a place devoid of evil and pain for eternity. It's a privilege we don't deserve, but one which God freely gives us. Please, take a moment to watch John Lennox as he expands on this last point- that Christians have a way to cope with evil, whereas the nonbeliever does not.

Facebook Through the Centuries

Because a "cheerful heart is good medicine," I have decided to post these Facebook parody pages I made some time ago. I asked myself, what would famous historical figures post if social media existed in their day? Here are some of the possible answers. Enjoy! (Click each image to enlarge)

Reformation Facebook


Villain Facebook


War for American Independence Facebook


War Between the States Facebook

Always Ready: Directions For Defending the Faith

Always Ready: Directions for Defending the FaithA Review and Discussion
By: Jonathan Harris


I suppose when most Christians refer to certain defenses made on behalf of Christianity, they tend to recommend specific lectures or books by learned apologists on the particular subject. For instance, a book on the problem of evil may be recommended separately from a book on the cosmological argument for God's existence. Greg Bahnsen's Always Ready however, smashes this compartmentalization of Christian apologetics. It really is, "All right there!" I wholeheartedly recommend Bahsen's work as not only concise and to the point, but also far-reaching an exhaustive in its simplicity. I do believe it's the best single academic and pragmatic book I've ever read on the subject of apologetics. So what's so great about Always Ready and how does it differ from other books on defending the faith? There are four reasons I tout this product above the competition.

It's Scriptural   

I don't know about you, but I get frustrated when I read any work of Theology- including apologetic material- only to find that Scripture isn't even used to support the main thesis. There often exists a disconnect between the "ends" and the "means" in Christian's interaction with culture, and I at least partially fault "philosophical" books about Theology (i.e. books that support a Biblical assertion without first building the support itself on top of Bible passages). In the realm of law and government this thinking is horrendously common. "Let's use humanism against the humanists" is really the strategy of most Christian lawyers and politicians. They want to support a Christian end such as outlawing abortions, without making their arguments from Scripture verses (Psalm 127:3, Psalm 22:10-11, etc.) and doctrines (man's intrinsic worth rooted in his position as an "image bearer," God's commands against murder, etc.). Instead they'll rely completely upon court "precedent" and statistical surveys (i.e. It's what the people want!). I've listened to and read many apologetic works that do the same exact thing. They'll use philosophical arguments to prove Scripture. The "Free-will" defense is an extremely common philosophical rebuttal to those who would accuse God of being unloving, however where does Scripture ever make such a case? Both the book of Job and the book of Romans make it quite clear that man has no standing to act as God's judge, yet the majority of apologists want so desperately to act as God's defendant using arguments He hasn't even given them. 


Dr. Bahnsen is a breath of fresh air after being exposed to so many humanist-flirting Christians. He unequivocally takes his stand upon Scripture itself and denies any inkling of a notion which would even start to ponder the possibility of proving Biblical authority without first presupposing it. Many astute individuals will at this point make the accusation, "That's circular argumentation!" And in a sense it is. But as I expanded on previously in my remarks concerning John Frame's book Apologetics to the Glory of God, "A circular argument is actually quite unavoidable when referring back to our ultimate authority." Every worldview- no matter what it is- argues in a "broad" circle such that the adherent assumes at the outset that what he is defending is true. If this were not the case, a rationalist could not use reason to argue for rationalism, an empiricist could not use science to prove science, etc. All philosophical systems therefore need a "final authority" which is self-authenticating. This is the way Yahweh, which means "self-sufficient one," presents Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Bahnsen recognizes this fact and starts off his central thesis by correlating many of the passages that explicitly teach the supremacy of Christ as our logical starting point. Col. 2:3 presents "Christ Himself" as the one "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." If our starting point for epistemology (the study of truth) is not Christ than we committing the sin of idolatry. Paul warns that Christ should be our starting point so that as verse 4 indicates, "no one may delude [us] with persuasive argument." And what kind of persuasive argument are we referring to? Verse 8 describes it as the "elementary" principles of the world. Paul writes, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." King Solomon stated it this way in Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." For the Christian, "every thought," as 1 Cor. 10:5 states, should be "captive to the obedience of Christ." Therefore our philosophical starting point, our "elementary principle," our verification for all truth, our "final authority," is the Word of God. Therefore, Bahnsen's starting point is the Bible.

It's Presuppositional

Bahnsen is not willing to concede any philosophical ground as "neutral" territory. He recognizes the fact that one cannot "serve two Masters" for he will either "hate the one" or "love the other." If Christians for a moment give nonbelievers the upper hand in this they've lost the battle at the outset, for what they are saying, "We are autonomous." In other words, "We can arrive at truth without a precommitment to God." This methodology seems contrary to the apologetics of Paul on Mar's Hill, who "pushed the antithesis," labeling the unbelievers as "ignorant" and preaching what the Athenians already knew in their heart of hearts though they were suppressing it; that God is "not far from each one of us." According to Bahnsen, Paul was following the example set forth in Proverbs 26:4-5 to "not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. [but instead to] Answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes." If we accepted the nonbeliever's pressupositions whatever they may be, we are essentially answering a fool according to his folly. We are "like him" because we're making the same mistake he's making. If Paul were to concede polytheism at the outset he would have lost. If he were to have conceded Gnosticism he would have lost. So why do we concede empiricism? Why do we set about to give historical or scientific evidence that will lead someone to Christ by their own reason according to their own standards of autonomous empiricism. More frequent now among the laity is the concession of pragmatic postmodernism. "Christ works for me, maybe He'll work for you too!" These approaches answer a fool according to his folly. What we should do instead is, "Answer a fool as his folly deserves." This means showing him or her that they can't live by their own philosophy. Their worldview possesses internal inconsistences and is self-refuting. It can't even live up to its own standard of measure. On the other hand, the Christian worldview is without inconsistencies and does live up to its epistomological standards. It corresponds to reality, and even non-Christians must assume the God of the Bible to be true in order for reality to be intelligable at all. God is supremely over us "for in Him we live and move and exist." Our pressupositions (things we assume to be true without proof) can only be Christian if we are to be rational.

It's Understandable

Bahnsen's writings may take a little bit to get use to, but they are much more understandable than many of the other presuppositional writers. Van Til and Frame seem infinitely more confusing than Bahnsen does at explaining the preconditions for intelligibility, etc. The only author off-hand who may be simpler is Dr. Jason Lisle, however, Lisle in his book The Ultimate Proof of Creation, does not go into as much detail as Bahnsen does.Bahnsen manages to exegete Acts 17, expound upon the impossibility of philosophical "neutrality," explain the preconditions for intelligibility, preach on the attitude and purpose an apologist must have, teach the "don't answer, answer" strategy, explain the transcendental argument (The proof for God's existence is that without Him we couldn't prove anything), talk about logical fallacies, and answer the problems of evil, faith, miracles, etc. in a 274 page book. I guarantee once you learn the strategies herein you'll want to share them with your unsaved friends and coworkers. They're powerful, full-proof, and Biblical.

It's Practical 

Bahnsen emphasizes the fact that evangelism and apologetics are inseparable. We aren't using mind games to diffuse another's worldview for our own enjoyment or superiority. We are to be humble, respectful, and above all Gospel-focused. This is the reason he includes an exegetical insight on Acts 17. We need to follow in Paul's footsteps and preach the truth of God's Word, not man's wisdom. This book is an essential part of any apologist's training, and since all Christians are to be apologists, we should all read this book. I would have to say in all seriousness, that if you could purchase any book to read and keep in your library on apologetics, I believe this would be the book to have because of its powerful message and practical method. Get yours today! Simply click the link below to order.


For those not interested in purchasing the book, I would highly recommend you listen to his free lecture series in which he expounds on many of the truths contained therein.  

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