Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Blog You've Been Waiting For

Back in the 90's I was an avid ICQ user, if you can believe it. Eventually the world switched over to AOL's Instant Messenger - AIM, as we affectionately call it. Obviously, I recommend using AIM. If you are not currently using AIM, what can I say? I mean . . . Wow, you're behind the times. You are seriously missing out. Everyone with a computer and the Internet has at least one AIM screenname.

My current screenname is: PizzaDaHu9 (feel free to add me to your list). Over the years I have been asked many times the meaning behind my screenname: "So you really like pizza or somethin?" ... "Is that a rip-off from Spaceballs?" ... and my personal favorite, "Are you a delivery-boy for Pizza Hut?" Pizza Hut!? Jeeze people. LOL. I have heard them all.

But when, and how did I ever come up with PizzaDaHu9? ...

I was in 7th grade when my family bought our first puter. Like most people at that time, we were computer illiterate. I mention our illiteracy to explain why we did what we did. We were suckered into using AOL as our ISP. I still have nightmares about that terrible greeting: "WELCOME" immediately followed by: "YOU'VE GOT MAIL." Of course I've got mail! You SOLD our email account addresses to every advertising company on this planet! *takes a deep breath* Okay, okay, I'm calm, I'm calm.

Anywho, I was hangin out with my two best buddies: Scott and Ducky (ah yes, Ducky - some funny stories for later, perhaps) talking about Star Wars, when I had an appifany: PizzaTheHut would be a perfect screenname! What's amazing is that I came up with this before having seen Spaceballs (though Spaceballs would later become a favorite movie for the three of us).

Now, at that time AOL had a limit of 10 characters per screenname. I had to shorten my original name to PizzaDaHut.

After a few months of awful Internet experience, and endless ridicule from Scott I came to realize that AOL was not an ISP I wanted. When we switched to a new service, I could still use AIM, but needed a new name. Trying to stay as close to the original as possible, I substituted the "t" with the letter 8 to become PizzaDaHu8 (was anyone around who remembers me using this?). You see, 8 on the telephone keypad is also the letter "t".

Shortly after creating my new screenname, I forgot the password! Time for one more slight change, replacing 8 with 9. No, number 9 on the telephone is not also the letter "t". But 9 is one above 8. And whua la, PizzaDaHu9 is born! "I've created a monster, haha hahahaha!"

I have kept this screenname since 7th grade, and has sentimental value if nothing else.

By the way, I combined my two favorite usernames to create my website domain: =).

Now that you know, I'm going to have to kill you.

PizzaTheHut, PizzaDaHut, PizzaDaHu8, PizzaDaHu9, Rusty, RustyPTH

Church History

James White, my elder and friend, is someone I greatly admire and look up to. He has positively affected me in numerous areas, one of the greatest being apologetics. He has said many times: "Two fields of study have best equipped me for apologetics: the study of the Biblical languages, and Church History."

I have always been passionate about defending the faith. For as long as I can remember I have had the desire to adequately defend the faith to the best of my ability. Learning Biblical Greek, and now, Church History will further aid me in fulfilling Peter's charge in 1 Peter 3:15.

Other than small bits and pieces, I am not very knowledgable when it comes to Church History. I've decided to start reading the great church historian, Philip Schaff's The History of the Christian Church, Vol 1-8. This massive work covers from the time of Christ until the late nineteenth century. After finishing his introduction, Schaff explains that he believes history has two aspects: divine and human. He argues that it is impossible to rightly understand history without considering God's providence in His Church, and our human perspective.

Still in the intro, I found Schaff's comments on the perseverance of the Church to be encouraging:

Christianity has thus passed through many stages of its earthly life, and yet has hardly reached the period of full manhood in Christ Jesus. During this long succession of centuries it has outlived the destruction of Jerusalem, the dissolution of the Roman empire, fierce persecutions from without, and heretical corruptions from within, the barbarian invasion, the confusion of the dark ages, the papal tyranny, the shock of infidelity, the ravages of revolution, the attacks of enemies and the errors of friends, the rise and fall of proud kingdoms, empires, and republics, philosophical systems, and social organizations without number. And, behold, it still lives, and lives in great strength and wider extent than ever; controlling the progress of civilization, and the destinies of the world; marching over the ruins of human wisdom and folly, ever forward and onward; spreading silently its heavenly blessings from generation to generation, and from country to country, to the ends of the earth. It can never die; it will never see the decrepitude of old age; but, like its divine founder, it will live in the unfading freshness of self-renewing youth and the unbroken vigor of manhood to the end of time, and will outlive time itself. Single denominations and sects, human forms of doctrine, government, and worship, after having served their purpose, may disappear and go the way of all flesh; but the Church Universal of Christ, in her divine life and substance, is too strong for the gates of hell. She will only exchange her earthly garments for the festal dress of the Lamb's Bride, and rise from the state of humiliation to the state of exaltation and glory. Then at the coming of Christ she will reap the final harvest of history, the eternal sabbath of holiness and peace. This will be the endless end of history, as it was foreshadowed already at the beginning of its course in the holy rest of God after the completion of his work of creation (Schaff, Vol 1, Pg. 19-20).

I am encouraged.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?

Richard Abanes writes concerning The Da Vinci Code:

How widespread is this phenomenon? Very. Several Internet sites, for example, have been devoted to discussing spiritual matters using The Da Vinci Code as a starting point. Churches across America are holding group discussions for those who wish to dialogue about the "facts" revealed in the book. ABC went so far as to air a TV special about Jesus Christ based on it. And Hollywood will be making The Da Vinci Code into a movie (to be released by Sony Pictures). "Even if you lived under a rock--a rock in a remote area of the Arizona desert--you could not avoid hearing about The Da Vinci Code," noted a January 2004 article. This remark coincided with Brown's novel reaching its forty-fifth week as a New York Times bestseller, having sold nearly six million copies. Less than a year earlier, a story had predicted, "Sometime in the next few weeks, someone you know is going to tell you they've read this fantastic new thriller called The Da Vinci Code, and before you can stop them they will have launched into a breathless description of the plot" (Abanes, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code, pg. 6).

The Da Vinci Code (DVC) has now sold nine million copies!

I have witnessed firsthand the expolosion of popularity the DVC has generated. At school, the mall, the airport, Starbucks... everywhere I turn I see people reading this bestseller. It is for this reason that I, and my buddy Adam, decided to read it.

My first impressions ... Dan Brown (the author) is a gifted writer. With chapters that are 2-3 pages long, and two parallel storylines, it is difficult to get bored.

Having said that, the DVC is anti-Christian through and through. Brown's agenda is as plain as day: that Christianity today is completely different than first-century Christianity. In the midst of this action-packed thriller, many historical claims are made. In fact, Brown prefaces his novel with this statement: "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." Quite a claim! Unfortunately for Brown, nearly all of his dealings with history are complete fabrication. Allow me to summarize some of the more outlandish claims Brown includes in his work:

(1) Christ was married to Mary Magdelene
(2) They had a child, resulting in a holy bloodline passed down through the ages
(3) This secret lineage has been protected by a secret society known as the Priory of Sion
(4) Christ's royal bloodline is known as the Holy Grail
(5) Orthodox Christianity has tried for centuries to cover up the truth about Christ (that he was married to Mary Magdelene) by destroying the Gnostic writings.
(6) Jesus' earliest followers considered him to be a prophet, not divine
(7) In the 4th century, the Roman Emporer Constantine and the Council at Nicea decided that Christ was God
(8) Also at this time, Constantine chose four out of eighty gospels to be included in the canon of Scripture ... four that showed men as the dominant figure, and women as the lesser gender.
(9) The Gnostics were the earliest Christians, and show a more balanced view of Christ, and the worship of the divine feminine.

Brown's claims go on and on...

If one takes the DVC and Dan Brown at his word, you are left with serious doubts about the person of Jesus Christ, the canon of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture, Church History, and the Gospel itself. It is disappointing that most people that read the DVC tend to overwhelmingly embrace the truth-claims in the book. This book appears to be a novel full of accurate history. Brown certainly thinks as much. The realm of academia has not been overly critical with Brown's book. Could it be that "modern [liberal] scholarship" is enjoying this opportunity to slam the Christian faith?

I am grateful that facts are still facts, no matter how much Dan Brown wants to promote his anti-Christian worldview. In the above nine claims Brown puts forth, none of them have any basis for historical fact. None whatsoever. To put it bluntly, his recounting of history is laughable. Let me now respond to each of these claims:

(1) There is no historical evidence whatsoever that suggest Christ was married. Not even Gnostic sources imply him to have any form of romantic relationship.
(2) No historical basis for this claim.
(3) Refer to rebuttal points 1 and 2.
(4) No one has ever considered the Holy Grail to be a person.
(5) Anyone even remotely familiar with Church History is aware that this claim is unfounded. Very simply, there is no way a people who were heavily persecuted, could have gathered up all the Gnostic writings and destroyed them. Christians were struggling for their own survival.
(6) The New Testament documents, written in the first century, claim Christ's divinity. For example: John 20:28. Early Church Fathers from the second and third centuries likewise refer to Christ as a divine Person.
(7) The Council of Nicea had nothing to do with deciding upon Christ's divinity. Christians had believed Christ was God since the time of Christ (example: John 10:33). More than this, the Council of Nicea was more concerned about responding to Arianism, which claimed that Jesus was a second, lesser God.
(8) The Council of Nicea did not compile the Bible, or decide which Gospels to include in the canon of Scripture. I have no clue where Brown came up with the "eighty" gospels? Could he be referring to the works of the heretic Arius? (Though Arius did not claim to possess any gospels).
(9) The Gnostics were a split from Orthodox Christianity from the second to fourth centuries. They were dualists, and believed that matter was evil. Thus they denied the Incarnation of Christ, and believed salvation was the result of secret divine revelation. This greatly differs from Biblical Christianity by which God took on flesh to bear the sins of His people as a substitute.

*Takes a deep breath*

For more information about The Da Vinci Code, check out The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code by Richard Abanes. Mr. Abanes has written a couple other books that have been immensely useful to me, and is a valuable resource in response to Dan Brown's work.

Dba Dba Dba and that's all folks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Friday nite I was at Bucks reviewing for a big Greek exam in the morning. Five minutes hadn't pass until I was interrupted by the gentlement sitting in the comfy chair next to me. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now =). He wanted to know what language I was studying. I showed him my Greek grammar book. He then asked me why I was studying Biblical Greek since the Bible was written in all Hebrew? This allowed me to explain a little about the origins of Scripture, which then led into a discussion on the innerancy, perspicuity, and sufficiency of Scripture. He changed the subject by informing me that all Christians are hypocrites, going to church on Sunday and living contradictory lives throughout the week.I believe he wanted to see how I would react. My response was that those living contradictory lives are not Christians; Christians obey the teachings of Christ. I don't think he expected that sort of response. But he smiled, and then we had a normal conversation.

Turns out the guy was from Latvia, and has citizenships with the European Union and the USA. Thankfully I knew the general location of Latvia - he's offended that most Americans haven't a clue ... Americans, aren't we an interesting bunch? *grin*

My Latvian friend left to catch a movie, so back to my studies I went.


As you've correctly assessed, this wasn't the end of my conversations for the night. I was again interrupted, this time by 3 girls who also wanted to know what I was reading. I again showed off my Greek grammar. The immediate question I received in response was a strange one: "So you don't believe the King James Version is the best version of the Bible?" Now, I don't know what they were implying by me studying Greek - that if you have any interest in the Bible's origins you don't read the KJV? =) The conversation went down hill from there. I honestly do not recall talking with a more factious person in a long time. As time progressed I discovered they were King James Onlyist, baptismal regeneration, Oneness Pentecostals. What a messy theology.

I don't know how well the convo went. Putting things in perspective, it's good to remind myself that I can plant seeds, but only God gives the increase. I will be praying for those girls.

Not to worry, I did get some study time in. I think I did well on my exam, but I'll find out next week.

If you're wondering what I had to drink: Eggnog Latte is my drink for the Christmas season, even though they hate making it cause it's loud and takes a long time to make. Mmm, so good.

Out With Da Boys

Dan, my old dgroup co-leader, invited me to their sleep over the other night. We arrived at Dan's house around 2:30pm then headed out to the desert to "subdue the earth" (Genesis 1:28). ... which of course means that we brought some guns and blew up stuff =). Dan brought his two new 12 gauge shotguns for us to shoot with. After laying down some rules (keep the safety on until ready to fire, don't shoot at the 4 wheelers, don't shoot each other; you get the point), Dan taught those of us who have never shot guns before. After getting comfortable with the shotguns, we broke into teams and shot clay pigeons. The boys did great! I was surprised how easily I caught on.

Yea so, I like guns. I want a gun. *evil grin* Are you surprised that I want guns... lots of guns? Keep in mind that I am a Republican. More than that, I am a Christian who happens to be a Reformed Protestant. Yay for guns. w00t =)

Once we were back at Dan's place, we played Halo 2 a tad bit until our Bible study. Dan taught from James 5. Suddenly all the emotions and heartache of leaving GCC came back to me in a rush. It wasn't painful, but I think I remembered how much I missed these boys. I love spending time with them. They were such a monumental part of my life for two years, and I didn't want to lose that. They were most certainly the most difficult thing to leave behind at Grace. So I sat back, and enjoyed that hour together with them, studying God's Word.

And we played some more Halo 2!!!

Then we were off to the racetracks. Speedway, a totally kewlio indoor go-kart track. Our group has been a few times before, so we're getting to be pro's at go-kart racing, lemme tell ya. The guys' driving had improved a great deal - oh, did I forget to mention that half of them have their driver's licenses now! (Those wittle 7th graders are 16!) The first race I placed 2nd. I won't tell you how I did in the second race =). But I will tell you that I rammed one of my guys into the wall and spun him out. Good times.

We were up watching Luther till 1:30am, which I hope may have sparked some interest in the Reformation. Do you wanna guess what we did next? HALO 2 some more. On a side note, I am determined to get good at Halo 2. "Yay, Yay" *And there was much rejoicing*

Somehow I managed to get some sleep - after a few short pillow fights, some jokes, getting kicked by Zach and hit by Kev =).

The best part is, I have been at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church for a year and a half, and yet when I come to visit my old dgroup, things feel like I never left. They certainly make me feel welcome - I know this because I still get hit really hard with new games of tag, lol.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Starbucks Adventures

Starbucks. Isn't it wonderful? I mean, seriously now - Starbucks is a beautiful thing. Cool place to chill. Comphy chairs. Good coffee, and other various asundry beverages.

At my Starbucks, getting anything accomplished is next to impossible. I have a rapport with my employees and with the regulars. Aaaand I have a tendency to get into conversation with them. Yet 5 (or more) days a week I go to Bucks to "read."

So Tuesday nite I was at my Bucks, reading (I really was!), when I bumped into an old buddy from high skewl. As we were catching up, I asked what church he was going to. He told me that he wasn't interested in going to church any longer. This, coming from a guy who was a staunch agnostic, then had a miraculous conversion to the Christian Faith! So I asked him if he still considered himself a Christian? He asked me to define Christian. I told him that the Apostle Paul labeled those who followed the apostles' teachings as Christians. "By your definition, I am not a Christian." I was shocked! Naturally, we talked about what happened...he struggled with some of Christianity's central doctrines, and fell away. We continued our conversation... but it just wasn't the same. The Scripture is very clear about those who fall away from the faith: "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19). As much as it pains me to admit, my friend has demonstrated that he was never a Christian to begin with. He was the seed Jesus spoke about who received the truth with joy, but had no root and when faced with affliction or persectution immediately falls away (Matthew 13:20-21). My prayer is that the Lord might have mercy upon my friend by granting him the ability to repent and have saving faith.

Tonight, I was reading (I swear, I was) and met a new employee: James. James is a Christian at Word of Grace. We ended up chatting till 1am about a number of topics: Church History, the innerancy of Scripture, the perspicuity of Scripture, the Trinity, the Gospel, Justification by Faith, Sola Scriptura. Very encouraging convo. Anywho, I recommended to him three books: The Forgotten Trinity, The God Who Justifies, and Scripture Alone - all by Dr. James R. White. I personally believe that every Christian should read these books, each for their own reasons. It looks like James and I will be going through these books together (I do not mind going over these books again - I need the refresher). It was a blessing meeting James, and I look forward to hanging out with him in the future.

Btw, wut'd ya'll think of Oceans 12?

Off to watch another Smallville episode,

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's About Time I Get to This

This week I have been working through a variety of issues: Does God decree things that he hates? Does God have any desire to save the reprobate?

Yes - God does decree things that he hates. Simon gave me an excellent example - God has decreed that we sin, though he hates sin.

No - God does not desire to save the reprobate. God desires and demands that the reprobate repent from his sin. But to take it a step further and claim that God desires the reprobate to have eternal life, is going too far.

These issues led me into further study of the dreaded Supra/Infralapsarian debate *Dun DUN DUUUNNN* The Supra/Infralapsarian positions attempt to explain the order of the decrees of God. Let me begin by defining the Infralapsarian scheme:

(1) the decree to create the world and (all) men
(2) the decree that (all) men would fall
(3) the election of some fallen men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
(4) the decree to redeem the elect by the cross work of Christ
(5) the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to the elect

Reymond comments on this scheme: "Calvnists espouse this scheme because it represents God as distinguishing among men as sinners, which, they contend, represents God as both gracious and tender toward the elect sinner as well as holy and just toward the reprobated sinner" (Reymond's Systematic Theology, pg 480-1).

Robert Reymond, being a Surpalapsarian, raises six objections to the Infra scheme:

(1) The infralapsarian scheme cannot account for the election and reprobation of angels. There are "elect angels" (1 Tim. 5:21), but they were not elected out of a totality of their order viewed as fallen as the infralapsarian scheme affirms is true of elect men, inasmuch as the elect angels never fell.
(2) Although the infralapsarian's concern to represent God's reprobation of some sinners as an act of justice (evidenced in his placing the discriminating decree after the decree concerning the Fall) issues a proper caution against any depiction of God which would suggest that he acts toward men with purposeless caprice, nevertheless, if he intends by this to suggest that God's reprobation of these sinners is solely an act of justice (condemnation alone) which in no sense entails also the logically prior sovereign determination to "pass them by" and to leave them in their sin (preterition), then he makes reprobation solely a conditional decree, a position in accord with the Arminian contention that God determines the destiny of no man, that he merely decreed to react in mercy or justice to the actions of men.
(3) Espousing as the infralapsarian scheme does the view that the historical principle governs the order of the decrees, and arranging as it does the order of the decrees accordingly in the order that reflects the historical order of the corresponding occurences of the events which they determined (as indeed the Amyraldian scheme does also), this scheme can show no purposive connection between the several parts of the plan per se.
(4) Because the infralapsarian scheme can show no logical necessity between the first two decrees (the creation decree and the Fall decree) and the three following soteric decrees, it "cannot give a specific answer to the question why God decreed to create the world and to permit the fall."
(5) The infralapsarian scheme, by espousing a historical order of the decrees, reverses the manner in which the rational mind plans an action. The infralapsarian scheme moves from means (if, indeed, the earlier decrees can be regarded as means at all, disconnected as they are in purpose from the later decrees) to the end, whereas "in planning the rational mind passes from the end to the means in a retrograde movement, so that what is first in design is last in accomplishment" and, conversely, what is last in design is first in accomplishment.
(6) Paul employs the familiar Old Testament metaphor of the potter and the clay (see Isa. 29:16; 45:9; 64:8; Jer. 18:6) and asks: "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay [man construed generally] some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" Paul teaches here (1) that the potter sovereignly makes both kinds of vessels, and (2) that he makes both out of the same lump of clay. The metaphor would suggest that the determination of a given vessel's nature and purpose-whether for noble or for common use-is the potter's sovereign right, apart from any consideration of the clay's prior condition. This suggests in turn that God sovereignly determined the number, nature, and purpose of both the elect and the nonelect in order to accomplish his own holy ends, apart from a consideration of any prior condition which may or may not have been resident within them. (Reymond's Systematic Theology, pgs 481-6).

Without further adue, the Supralapsarian (sometimes referred to as: "Double Predestination")scheme:

(1)the election of some sinful men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the rest of sinful mankind in order to make known the riches of God's gracious mercy to the elect)
(2) the decree to apply Christ's redemptive benefits to the elect sinners
(3) the decree to redeem the elect sinners by the cross work of Christ
(4) the decree that men should fall
(5) the decree to create the world and men

Reymond comments on this scheme: "In this latter scheme the disciminating decree stands in the first position with the creation decree standing in the last position. It should also be noted that in this scheme, unlike the former, God is represented as discriminating among men viewed as sinners and not among men viewed simply as men. The election and salvation of these elect sinners in Christ becomes the decree that unifies all the other parts of the one eternal purpose of God... all supralapsarians aver as a second consideration (though only those who affirm the revised scheme offer and order of the decrees consistent with this consideration) that in all purposive planning the rational mind is governed by the principle of determining first the end to be accomplished and then the several appropriate means to attain that end; and in the case of the means in the plan, each of which becomes an "end" of the immediately following means, the rational mind determines them in retrograde order from the end or goal back through all the means necessary to the accomplishment of that ultimate end. The rational mind recognizes that only in this way is each element of the plan purposive and contributory to the coherence of the entire plan. And God is a purposing planner!" (Reymond's Systematic Theology, pg 489, 492).


Is that a mouthful of what?! Just imagine: he's got 23 pages on this subject. Seriously though, it's good stuff.

As you can likely tell, I lean towards the Supralapsarian position. Waaaay back when I was struggling with Calvinism, I believed that God either predestined all things, or some things. I understand the concerns Infra raises, but I do not believe it does justice to the purposefulness of God's decree. Did God purpose before the creation of the world to elect some to salvation and some to damnation? I believe the Scripture teaches so.

Reymond's sixth objection to the Infralapsarian position struck home. Many seem to get hung up on God's freedom to do with his creatures according to his good pleasure (in this instance, when we consider God's electing decree ocurred before the Fall). If God desired to create us to demonstrate wrath upon us, that is his choice. Let's glance at Romans 9 - the Lord makes from the same lump of clay, men for honorable use, and others for dishonorable use. Doesn't this imply that God did not consider the prior condition of men? Furthermore, if God makes some men vessels for dishonorable use, does it not also follow that they were not inherently dishonorable? (This creates a lotta problems for the Infra scheme).

For the most part, Supralapsarianism makes sense to me. God is not only active in the decree to save the elect, but also in the decree to damn the reprobate. God's decree, purpose and right to do as he pleases must be remembered in this discussion.


Friday, December 10, 2004

The Imputation of Christ's Righteousness - the Basis for Our Justification

Something has greatly bothered me lately ... why is the imputation of Christ's righteousness given so little attention in the Church today? I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been talking to Christians about imputation only to see their eyes gloss over from complete and utter boredom. I can understand why the world wouldn't care much about such a rich Biblical truth, but why do Christians not seem to care at all about the basis for our justification before oure holy God? Could it be the result of ignorance? Spiritual immaturity? I dunno.

In any case, I wanted to briefly discuss the righteousness that is imputed to believers. Louis Berkhof briefly comments:

"Positively, that the ground of justification can be found only in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to the sinner in justification. This is plainly taught in several passages of Scripture, such as Rom. 3:24; 5:9, 19; 8:1; 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11; II Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9. In the passive obedience of Christ, who became a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) we find the ground for the forgiveness of sins; and in His active obedience, by which He merited all the gifts of grace, including eternal life, the ground for the adoption of children, by which sinners are constituted heirs of life eternal" (Berkhof's Systematic Theology, pg. 523).

We stand before God clothed in a righteousness that is not our own - the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I now ask the question: what is the righteousness of Christ? The righteousness of Christ is both his life (active obedience) wherein he perfectly fulfilled the Law, and his death on the cross (passive obedience) atoning for the sins of his people.

Were we to divide up the righteousness of Christ and receive a fragment of his righteousness, we would either need to fulfill the Covenant of Works or further atone for our sins.

. . . . .

The next few posts will be discussing areas relating to imputation, which is why I spent time discussing this great truth.

Well, I'm off to Bucks, Stay kewl kats.


2 Dogs Fighting Within My Soul - Grrrrrr

I was a sophomore in high skewl the first time I was exposed to the "2 Dogs" analogy. My discipleship group was going through Romans 7 and used the "2 Dogs" analogy to explain the Christian's struggle against the flesh. The analogy goes like this: Everyone is born with a sinful nature. When you become a Christian, you receive a second nature. Now these two natures are struggling inside you, much like 2 dogs fighting over their territory. You are holding the leash for each dog and it is you who decide which dog is in control at any given moment.

A good buddy recently questioned my belief that Christians have two natures: the sinful nature, and a new nature. He was under the impression that Christians have one nature, while retaining indwelling sin. He quoted to me 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." My response was, well, let's just say I did not give a meaningful response =)

Now, my buddy must be wrong. He must be. After all, what I believed seemed to make sense.

Later that night I immersed myself in the two systematic theologies I possess: Robert Reymond's and Louis Berkhof's. Btw, if you do not have both of these works, I strongly strongly recommend purchasing them. Here is what Reymond has to say:
"Regeneration is not the replacing of the substance of fallen human nature with another substance, nor simply the change in one or more of the faculties of the fallen spiritual nature, nor the perfecting of the fallen spiritual nature. Rather, it is the subconscious implanting of the principle of the new spiritual life in the soul, effecting, an instantaneous change int he whole man, intellectually, emotionally, and morally, and enabling the elect sinner to respond in repentance and faith to the outward or public gospel proclamation directed to his conscious understanding and will" (Reymond, 720-721).

Don't think for a minute that a cursory reading of Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith would change my mind. The following day I was talking to more friends about the subject - to further examine my traditions. Finally, I decided to run my thoughts by the Dark Knight (that swing dancing machine!). Thankfully, DK and I have similar backgrounds, enabling him to explain how the "2 Dogs" analogy is deficient in communicating the work of regeneration.

It was then that I understood my error: we don't receive a second nature to reside with the sinful nature. Rather, when the sinner is born-again he is now spiritually alive to the things of God - even though he struggles against indwelling sin (the flesh).

I know Michael Ly and Brent are laughing right about now. Thanks for your patience guys. This was a classic example of someone (me) holding too tightly to his traditions.

So there ya have it folks. "Yay, yay!" *And there was much rejoicing*

A Real Blog!!!

I figured it was about time to get a REAL blog. For a year now I have manually posted my entries - boy oh boy was that a lot of work! It now takes me approximately 10 seconds to update my blog... *gives an evil grin* You should expect a lot more blogging action from this caffeine nut.