Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So-Called Keepers of the Peace

More and more I find myself referencing Phil Johnsons blog. What can I say? I happen to agree with nearly everything he puts to paper (or onto Microsoft Word).

This past Lord's Day I wrote about one of Phil's latest entries. He provided some accurate criticism of how many (including the Emerging Church Movement) approach postmodernism.

Never fear, I'm not about to write (waste) more blog space about his entry. Today I want to write about people's comments in response to Phil's entry. As I write this there are eighty-nine comments. EIGHTY-NINE COMMENTS! Sheesh.

It only took about 15 comments until Emergent Churchers (ECers) began with the complaints. I wasn't aware how many ECers followed Pyromaniac, but a handful were steady with their comments. Some were polite. Others were ... less than polite. For lack of a better term, some threw a hissy fit. It was a terrible thing to witness.

The tactics of such men (the hissy-fitters) have been interesting. They begin by reminding us that we ought to be Christlike in our discussions. Next, they throw out one, two, even three complements at their opponent. But THEN, then comes the declaration: "you obviously don't understand the Emerging Church Movement (ECM) because your criticisms of the movement are exaggerated and unfair!" Allow me to translate that for you: "You don't understand the ECM because you criticize the movement." Furthermore, you know a movement has some major issues when proponents must qualify their allegience by saying: "Hey! Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater..." What exactly are they admitting with that statement? Could it be that they recognize that the ECM, by and large, produces churches more concerned with stylistic appearances in our local churches than with sound doctrine?

These commenters then follow up with insults. They accuse Phil of arrogance. Master's Seminary - same thing. I'm not sure if these ECers thought we would excuse their blatant rudeness because they gave complements first? They want to come across as keepers of the peace, but then show utter comtempt towards Phil. Complements before insults do not make insults okay. It just doesn't.

As I emerge from the trenches of this little shoutout, I have been mando impressed with Phil's humility as he interacts with these guys. I have noticed in prior entries that Phil oftentimes ignores the rediculous comments left by these men. But in this post Phil chose to interact with them ... for a while. He responded a few times, and it now appears that he has given up. Way to go Phil. He is practicing the wonderful art of pulling out of unproductive conversations. It is painstakingly clear to any fair reader that these certain ECers are unwilling to listen to reason. They have already decided to defend the ECM - no matter how many doctrinal errors it continues to espouse.

Titus 3:9-11, "9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned."

It takes a lot of restraint to end conversations with unwilling men, but Phil has done just that.

Isn't it amazing how much patience Phil has demonstrated towards these men? He not only allows their comments to exist on his blog, but he attempts to reason with them until it becomes clear that they are still unwilling to hear his arguments.

In short, Phil's blog is doing a wonderful work. This Reformed Baptist *points to himself* can't get enough of it. w00t

The gospel message is always relevant,

Monday, November 28, 2005

Comments Shmomments

What would the blogosphere be without comments? Incomplete, at best. Comments are an essential aspect for the blog. They give motivation for the writer to continue blogging. Comments allow for feedback and the opportunity to share opinions.

I wanted to let you ... my faithful readers know that I enjoy comments. Consider this your personal invitation to express yourself.

Having said that, I want to declare my right to not respond to comments. Basically, if I don't feel a comment worthwhile, you won't hear from me =).

If you are thinking: "My goodness. Did Casey just waste an entire post about comments?" Yes, I did waste an entire post about comments =).

Did you hear? Voldemort's back!
Case of Base

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Postmodernists Up In Arms

If you don't read Phil Johnson's blog you are missing out. I found yesterday's post to be immensely ... relevant (sorry, I couldn't resist). Phil begins by writing:

"The favorite buzzwords of the postmodern spirit all sound so warm and friendly, don't they? Conversation, dialogue, openness, generosity, tolerance. Who wouldn't want to participate in discourse with someone who truly prized human values such as those? On the other hand, the very same Zeitgeist has demonized a host of other essential biblical values, such as authority, conviction, clarity, and even truth. In the milieu of the emerging discussion, this second category of words has been made to sound harsh, unreasonable, arrogant, and extremeif not downright evil."

Phil hit on an issue I've wanted to discuss for some time: the affects of postmodernism [insert horror movie music here].

It's hard to believe that American culture was once rooted in Enlightenment thinking. Today we continue to emerge into a post-Enlightenment era. No longer are Americans concerned with rationalism, and natural rights derived from natural law. But today, Americans are not generally concerned with what's true at all. We would rather blur the lines and declare all opinions equally valid. Each belief is equally true to the one who holds it.

What is the goal of postmodernists? That is the question, isn't it? =)

Whatever the goals, postmodernism is now the predominant mode of thinking for Western Civilization. The more obvious impacts of postmodernism are devastating: (1) truth can't be known, and to declare the correctness of your own position is contrued as arrogance; (2) discussion and dialogue are functionally meaningless - unless mutual acceptance of opposing positions counts as meaningful; (3) disagreement with someone's position is interpreted as needless offense.

How often do we, as believers, encounter folks who get up in arms because we defend the truthfulness of Christianity? This is a regular experience for me at ASU, work and especially at Starbucks. A consistent postmodernist will accept my religion as equally true alongside every other religious system. But how many consistent postmodernists have you met? Indeed. Very few =). It is oh so common for the postmodernist to declare his postmodernity, then contradict his self-proclaimed worldview by defending his sole right to determine truth.

These days I'm accustomed to encountering unbelievers who are postmodernists. What has shocked me is that some Christians have been deeply influenced by this worldly way of thinking. Sound doctrine is brushed aside and replaced with new movements bent on ecumenism. The gospel of Christ is no longer believed to be relevant to our culture. Why share the gospel with people when you can share your story? Hrmmm.

Oh yes, I have met these Christians. These postmodernist-influenced Christians tend to not get along with me - I am more than okay with that, by the way. It usually takes a matter of minutes before I discover their postmodern attitudes toward doctrine, evangelism, the Church, and Christian living. You see, I talk about God's truth with fellow believers - that's usually where the conflict begins. They are quick to be offended, and usually cannot "exegete their way out of a paper bag" (White, James. "The Dividing Line." 2004? An oldie but a goodie).

How should we respond when we encounter postmodern-influenced Christians (or unbelievers for that matter)? First off, always show respect towards this individual. Second, listen to their arguments and do your best to respond accurately. Third, correct their error(s) with gentleness. Finally, if the conversation goes downhill, remember that we're not to argue with a factious man. So if the insults start flying your way, just get outta there before bad things happen.

By God's mercy there are still solid churches in our land. We still have God's precious Word. We still have the freedom to gather together without fear. And we have priviledge of carrying the gospel of Peace to an unbelieving world.

I pray the American churches would once more be stirred by the doctrine of justification, Sola Scriptura, or the Trinity! In our postmodern age, doctrine is replaced for subjectivism. "Don't give me doctrine; just give me Jesus!" Ugh. =) How about: let me worship Christ by knowing what the Scriptures teach. We should pray that our churches might give up on these ecumenical movements. Might our triune Lord grant a reformation and revival in our land. We long to see His churches full, and the gospel spread like wildfire.

Thanks for listening,
(have I ever signed my real name?)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Turkey Day Eve!

The official day where Americans give thanks is coming up fast! What's this all about anyhow? Let's see *scratches head* Somethin to do with Pilgrims, Indians and Turkeys oh my.

In any case (hey, that's my name btw) it's always a joyous occasion. Good food. Good people.

My grandparents are coming over to our house. Then we eat, chat for a while, and then Zzzzz.

What are YOUR plans for Turkey Day? I'd like to know =)

The Rusted One

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Who NOT to pray for

If the title shocked you, then I succeeded in getting your attention =). Pastor Fry preached a sermon a couple weeks back from 1 John 5:16, where we read:

“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this."

Some obvious points from the first sentence:

(1)John presupposes that local Christian churches have a close-knit community

(2) Christians sin before other believers

(3) There are sins not leading to death

(4) Some sins lead to death (implied from the first statement, and confirmed in the next)

(5) If you see a fellow believer committing a sin not leading to death, pray for him and God will grant him repentance

This by no means exhausts what can be said from the first sentence, but it is sufficient for my purpose here.

As Christians, we should pray for each other. When we see another fall into sin and temptation, rebuke him with gentleness by pointing him in the right direction.

Then there is that second sentence. Pastor Fry spent much of the sermon on the first statement before expositing the rest of the verse. I was anxious to hear his thoughts.

The Apostle informs us that there is a sin leading to death and that we are not to pray for those who commit this sin. What is this sin leading to death? Pastor Fry believes it to be apostasy – those who abandon the fellowship and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Three relevant passages:

Hebrews 6:4-6, “4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

The author speaks of those who were enlightened to the truths of the gospel, benefited in many ways by the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, even tasted the word of God, then fell away. We are told that it is impossible to renew them again to repentance for they openly shame the name of Christ.

Hebrews 10:26-29, “26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

The author here writes that those who willfully go on sinning by trampling Christ under foot have no claim to the benefits of Christ, but await the terrifying Day of Judgment. These God-offenders have insulted the Spirit of grace! (Let me quickly point out that contrary to the beliefs of some, Reformed Christians are not “Bi-natarians.” Or to say it another way: I am not afraid of the Holy Spirit or His ministry. Okay, where was I …).

1 John 2:19, “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.”

Before John wrote of the sin leading to death he wrote about those who went out from the fellowship. They left because they were not really of us. Their going out demonstrates that they were never part of the family of God.

The sin leading to death probably refers to those who abandon the church and reject the things of God. Indeed, they hate Christ and His people. And John does not command us to pray for men such as these. It is not our duty as believers.

If you’re like me you had never really given much attention to the latter part of verse 16 (1 John 5:16). This was brand new information to me. In fact, I felt a great burden lifted off my shoulders! Out of my many friends that embraced heresy, all but three have come to repentance (one of whom was my best friend growing up). Believing it was my duty to pray for them, I made frequent mention of them to God. It was painful. No matter how diligent I was in remembering the good times we had, I would also remember the bad times. Now after considering this text, I will not make regular requests for them. I trust that God has determined their ends, and that is enough for me.

One more quick comment – John does not forbid us to pray for apostates. However he does not consider it the Christian’s obligation to pray for them.

I am truly thankful for this passage of Scripture. This is another example that God's Word is fully capable to function in all things pertaining to life, godliness, faith and practice - Sola Scriptura.

In Christ,
Case of Base

Monday, November 21, 2005

My thoughts on the GoF

J. K. Rowling's fourth novel was put on the big screen November 18th. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is undoubedly the best movie in the series so far. The book is the favorite of many fans, and is the turning point in the Harry Potter universe.

Right from the start I could tell this was going to be different than the other Harry Potter movies. Mike Newell is the third director for the series - the Order of the Phoenix will see another new director (that makes four!). The score was brand new. Only ocassional hints of the original soundtrack were included, which was disappointing at first, but later grew on me.

The characters have obviously grown up a lot since the Prisoner of Azkaban! Rupert Grint (Ron) grew what looked like 6 inches. Emma Watson (Hermione) was beautiful in her dress, of course. Daniel Radcliffe's (Harry) hair was, if I may borrow from the Weasley twins, "wicked" cool =). They were 14 in the movies; 16 in real life. When you consider that Tom Welling was 28, playing a 17 year old kid in Smallville, Harry and his friends don't seem too out of place.

The Goblet of Fire's pace seemed a bit rushed for the first twenty minutes or so until Dumbledore's start-of-term notices. But there were also many sub-plots and minor details that were left out of the film. It's understandable, considering that the novel is over twice the length of its prequel. As a fanatic fan, it is always difficult to see these details overlooked for the film. If it were up to me, we'd have a six hour movie so as to cover EVERY detail in this novel. Thankfully, it is not up to me - and for good reason! A two and a half hour movie is long enough!

Now is as good a time as any to give my only real criticism of the film. There were a couple key things that I felt should have been included: (1) an extended graveyard scene involving the Death Eaters attacking Harry; (2) Rita Skeeter's capture by Hermione. The first point is for my own pure enjoyment. What happens to Rita Skeeter is essential for the next film, and definitely should have been explained.

Newell spent a great deal of time developing the main characters. He did a fantastic job of communicating how Harry, Ron and Hermione felt. Ron was clearly jealous of Hermione going to the ball with Victor. Hermione dated Victor and is keenly aware of Ron's jealousy. Harry is attracted to Cho. The soundtrack has a song titled "Harry Potter's Love" which serves as the music for when he asks Cho to the ball, and is rejected. I laughed aloud at the classical music which played with the audience's emotions as Harry got the nerve to ask out Cho, then bums around the Gryffindor Common Room thinking about her.

It was a tremendous challenge to bring the Triwizard Tournament to life, but Mike Newell did the job well. He made some obvious changes, but they sat well with my stomach. The Horntail was impressive. The underwater scene in the Black Lake was also very well done. I was a little disappointed with the maze, but it brought Harry and Cedric to the Goblet of Fire.

Brendon Gleeson performed masterfully as Alister "Mad-Eye" Moody. His scene with Draco is hysterical. Plus, it's always nice to see Draco look like a bafoon. The audience cheered throughout the scene.

In fact, this movie has a lot of comedic moments (unlike its prequels).

Oh, did Myrtle frighten anyone else? Harry, you should have brought your swim trunks mate =).

The movie culminates with the end scene in the graveyard. I knew it was coming, but somehow I was not prepared to witness it. Harry and Cedric grabbed the Goblet of Fire which transported them to Tom Riddle Sr.'s grave. Out walks Wormtail holding the vulnerable Lord Voldemort in his arms. Then in a flash Wormtail casts the Avada Kedavra curse, and Cedric is killed. Before I knew it, Voldemort had returned. Ralph Fiennes was an excellent selection to play the Dark Lord. His appearance was truly frightening.

It wasn't until Harry and Voldemort's wands were locked together that I knew some sad moments were coming. Those whom Voldemort killed appeared out of his wand: Frank the caretaker, Cedric, and Harry's parents. Cedric's request for Harry to bring back his body to his father broke my heart. ... Harry made a run for it, and grabbing Cedric's body he touched the Goblet. In an instant he was transported back to Hogwarts. Harry lay on Cedric's lifeless body, sobbing. One by one, the crowd realized what had happened, and the gasps filled the air. My eyes got teary as Harry refused to let go of Cedric. "I couldn't leave him, not there! It was Voldemort ... he's back!" cried Harry. This was the saddest moment in the Harry Potter movies. As I watched this scene, all the emotions that I felt reading the book came rushing back to me.

Very well done scene.

One of the final shots was of Harry walking across the school grounds, watching the other students say their goodbyes. I believe this short moment in the movie communicates his emotional exhaustion, worry and determination for the future.

This is a movie I hope to see a few times in theaters =).

If you've seen the movie, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts ...

Hermione: "Everything's going to change now, isn't it?"
Harry: "... yes."

I'm ready for the Order of the Phoenix - 2006! =)

Case of Base

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ready for the fourth year @ Hogwarts

The Goblet of Fire is released tomorrow!!! Is everyone else uber excited?! I bought my advanced ticket for the 12:01am showing. I was gonna go by myself but then all of my friends bought tickets in my theater *grin*. It will be a grand time.

You should know that I seriously considered dressing up for the movie. Unfortunately I decided against it. Here are my thoughts about dat: (1) I didn't dress up for the best movie of the year, so how inconsistent would I be if I dressed up for the year's second best? (2) Wouldn't popcorn grease get all over my beautiful robe? =) (3) I am a little too prideful to dress up as Harry Potter. I could've handled dressing up as the most powerful force-sensitive-user ever (I'd like to give credit to kletois for this description).

Still got school, work, Greek (this week, Dr. James R. White is teaching my class. He'll be giving an exegetical insight of his choice. w00t!), Bucks somewhere in there. THEN the movie.

and verily, much w00tage did thus fill the land

If you've missed all the trailers/clips

Ready for the fourth year @ Hogwarts,

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Providence of God

My pastor gave an excellent sermon Sunday night wherein he made the point that many times God plans events in our life that we did not. That statement is very true of my night tonight. After work I went to get a haircut, then made a deposit at the bank. I was heading home when I got into a little fender bender. Thankfully neither myself nor the other driver was hurt.

Both of us were making left turns from opposite sides of the street (I was turning west, he was turning east). We must have both began driving at the same moment because we nearly collided head on. At the last few moments I saw what he was doing and turned to the right in attempt to avoid a collision. The front of his car ended up nicking the back end of my truck. We pulled off into the parking lot I had just exited. We introduced ourselves - the driver was named Doug. Very friendly guy. He had never been in an accident and hadn't a clue what to do. Thankfully I work for an insurance company and have a pretty concrete idea about what we ought to do =). I immediately called 911 to get the police out there - primarily for the police report (otherwise it's my word against his, which makes the claim that much more difficult).

During our hour and a half wait for the police, Doug and I talked about a lotta stuff. We covered all the common conversational topics: where we're from, what we do, our family, what our original plans were that night =). At one point Doug asks me straight out: "So what do you think of President Bush?" I told him exactly what I thought, then asked him his opinion. I figured that if he was willing to discuss politics with someone he just met, he wouldn't mind discussing religion *grins*. So I asked Doug, "Did you attend church back in Minnesota?" [where he is from]. "Yeah I did. I'm a Roman Catholic." Naturally, I then asked, "Do you mind if I ask how you believe sinful people are made to have a right relationship with God?" He essentially told me that he believes "...only God knows the answer to that question." I told him that the Bible specifically addresses that very issue: that all people deserve judgment and Hell because of our sin; about what God the Son, Jesus Christ, did for His people; that only those who turn from their sin and trust Christ alone to save them from their sins will be declared not guilty before God.

I could tell this was the first time he had ever heard that message before. I then challenged him as to whether he has ever really trusted Christ alone for complete forgiveness of his sins? Doug's greatest struggle was whether God can forgive ALL sins. Specifically, he was not confident that Christ is able to forgive a murderer or a child molestor. I responded, "Christ's blood is more than able to atone for any sin. That's why salvation is by grace alone through faith alone." I recommended the book of Romans, then we moved on to discuss other things.

Isn't the providence of our God amazing? He predestined me to get into a car accident. God's sovereign hand protected both Doug and myself from any injury. He even saw that the damage done to our vehicles was not excessive. The Lord then allowed me to proclaim the gospel to this man.

Were I to dismiss God's complete control over these events, I might have been angry about getting into an accident. I would have been upset at the damage. How impatient I might have become at the police's slow response! I'd have driven away flustered at the fact that my night was put back three hours (precious time that could have been spent doing anything else).

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (NASB)

Contrary to my feeble plans, the Lord of creation was pleased to have me get into an accident and proclaim the Good News with a fellow sinner. Indeed, every event tonight was part of God's perfect plan, and to work good from this seemingly unpleasant situation. How marvelous are His ways! Might I often think of God's sovereign decree as I go throughout my days. How quick I am to forget that He is the creator, and I, His creature! His rulership over everything that transpires in my life has been ordained according to the good pleasure of His will. And that is a comforting thought.

On that note, I will let you know if either Doug or myself get cited by the police =)
Case of Base

Monday, November 14, 2005

Site Updates

As you can see, I changed my blog template - I believe some major w00tage is in order. It was definitely time for a change, and I wanted to make it easier on the eyes (especially for my more lengthy entries) =).

If you follow the blog, you might be wondering what the deal is with the recent blog explosion? I decided that I want to update more frequently - so expect regular updates.

Some new links as well: Steve Hays and Listen to John.

Let me know what you think.

The Rusted One

Costume Pics!

Theological posts have been pushed back a day in honor of pictures! On my homepage I have linked pics from Sussy's Costume Surprise Birthday Party AND My Reformation Day / Halloween Parte.

Without further adue, some select shots ...

You are not going to believe who I ran into at Sussy's bday party: Lord Vader! Of course, I had to get a picture with the most powerful Jedi ever.

Also at this party, the Phantom met Harry:

So a week later, even stranger universes collided. Looks like Willy is getting killed "Dooku-style" ...

"Fly Guy and Girl" had fantastic costumes. When I answered the door to find these two standing at the door I had no clue who they were =)

I used all available "hook-ups" for my party and booked a performance from Sonny and Cher:

The girls:

The guys (this is our victory shot - please read the full description from the party pics page):

I posted some vids from my Reformation Day / Halloween Costume Parte pics page. Please do not miss the video of Warren (aka "Fly Guy) dancing his heart out. w00t =)

That's it for now,
Case of Base

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Circle is Now Complete

buy this at Wally World and receive a bonus disk!

You knew this entry was coming =)

On November 1st Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released on DVD and “the circle is now complete…” (If anyone can finish the rest of that sentence I will be mando impressed! No Cheating!!!).

JJ and I hung out until it got close to midnight, then headed over to Wally World to purchase the greatest movie of the year. I’d say there were a couple dozen other people there all waiting for the stroke of midnight. Jayj ended buying my copy as a belated bday present – Oh what a wonderful investment that was! Thanks JJ!

Already my DVD has fulfilled its destiny in the Ryan household. The movie itself is phenomenal. Absolutely fantastic. The few blips and mistakes in the theater version were corrected. The picture is flawless. Graphics and special effects are possibly the best I have seen in a movie???

I would guesstimate about 3-4 hours of special features. I especially recommend two of the documentaries: (1) the stunts of the film, and (2) “Within a Minute.” “Within a Minute” is an in-depth look at every aspect of making sixty seconds of the Mustafar duel. I had no idea so much time and energy was put in to sixty seconds of the movie.

I love this movie. I am now inviting all my readers to call me up and schedule a time to watch this movie with me =). We can probably use my house, just let me know.

Remember ... the Force will be with you, always,

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Open Theism

Last week I finished John Frame’s No Other God: A Response to Open Theism. The book is very insightful. He cites from Bruce Ware’s work on the subject, yet is able to contribute a lot to this discussion.

What is Open Theism? “Open Theism is the belief that God is not above time, that he does not control all of nature and history, that he does not know the future exhaustively, that he sometimes makes mistakes and changes his plans, and therefore that he is in some ways dependent on the world” (Frame 11).

The Open Theist’s starting point is libertarian free will. They argue that human beings make all decisions without ANY influence, including the influence of God. This allows man to have complete sovereignty over his choices. Of course, the only way man can be sovereign over his own destiny is if God does not know the future. Therefore predestination of future choices is out of the question because God does not know the future.

Let’s review the Open Theist’s presuppositions: (1) Man has libertarian free will, completely free of the will of God; (2) God does not, and indeed, cannot know the future; (3) God has not predestined any of man’s decisions because He does not know the future.

Open Theists will contend that God is “all-knowing,” BUT (you knew a “but” was coming) God’s knowledge does not include the future because the future has not yet occurred. The Open Theist believes that God is carried along in time from moment to moment just as man is. They are quick to point out that God has exhaustive knowledge of the past and present – but the future is everybody’s guess, including God’s.

Many Open Theists attempt to make their case from the Scriptures. They have proof texts showing that God changes his mind and learns new information. But rather than providing an exhaustive response to Open Theism, I want to give attention to their best argument:

If God does not know the future, then man has libertarian freedom in his choices.

This is actually a consistent argument. And Open Theists are right to criticize the Arminian position which believes that God does know the future, and yet man has a free will. The Open Theist rightly asks: “If God knows the future, including your future choices, are you free to do otherwise?” The obvious answer is NO. =)

Calvinism is the only consistent Biblical response to Open Theism. I will attempt to prove that God does indeed know the future, thereby refuting libertarianism.

I make my case from what has come to be called: “the trial of the false gods,” found in Isaiah 40-50. The text I will use is from Isaiah 41:21-23 where we read:

“ 21"Present your case," the LORD says. "Bring forward your strong arguments," The King of Jacob says. 22Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; 23Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.”

Here the Lord challenges the gods of the other nations to prove that they are true gods. Yahweh demands that these alleged gods “bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place,” and to reveal the outcome of former events, or “announce to us what is coming.” God then demands that they foretell the future “that we may know that you are gods.”

Yahweh’s point is that if these foreign gods can foretell future events they demonstrate their existence as true gods. However, if a god cannot perform this task he proves to be a god fashioned by the mind of sinful men. God presented this challenge to false gods knowing that only He is able foretell the future. Only the one true God of the Bible can know and declare the future:

Isaiah 48:3-7: “ 3"I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them I acted, and they came to pass. 4"Because I know that you are obstinate, And your neck is an iron sinew And your forehead bronze, 5Therefore I declared them to you long ago, Before they took place I proclaimed them to you, So that you would not say, 'My idol has done them, my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.' "You have heard; look at all this. you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. 7"They are created now and not long ago; before today you have not heard them, So that you will not say, 'Behold, I knew them.' “

For further study: Isaiah 42:9, 43:9-12, 44:7, and 46:10.

I realize that this is not a full response to Open Theism. But as you might have guessed, there are many related issues that need to be addressed to sufficiently respond to Open Theism.

Finally, isn’t it a wonderful thing that our Lord does know the future! What comfort that is to us as creatures – that our destiny is already settled in heaven. The Sovereign One has numbered our days and is actively ruling over His creation.

Romans 8:28: “28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Btw, I think it is hilarious that "Doc" from Back to the Future stated at the end of the final movie: "You can make whatever you want of your future. It hasn't been written yet..." LOL. Sounds like Emmitt Brown was an undercover Open Theist =)

Thanks for listening,
This is Case of Base, signing off

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What? Haven't you heard?

"Bush lied!" What, haven't you heard? Liberals have been spouting this accusation for years. Apparently, Bush lied about Saddam Hussein possessing WMD's and other nuclear / biological weapons of mass destruction.

Before I go any further, you should know that I am not Bush's biggest fan. He's too liberal for my taste. He has spent faaaar too much money and has not come through with enough tax cuts. President Bush's nomination of Harriett Miers was also a bit disappointing just the fact that he would nominate someone to the Supreme Court who wasn't an Originalist. Sorry for this little rabbit trail but I wanted you to understand that even though I'm a Republican I criticize the President's liberal policies like a liberal might expect me to. Without further delay, back to Bushs lie ...

So Bush lied. That's what the Leftist party in our land is ramming down our throats. "Bush lied" has become their never-ending mantra. It really is a silly thing to accuse our President of because it assumes Bush's motives. If Bush lied then he intentionally put forth false information to push us into a war with Iraq.

The Democrats fail miserably with this argument for two reasons: (1) If Bush lied, then so did Bill Clinton (while in office), John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and a HOST of other Democrats who made the *exact* same claims - not to mention the British, Russian, French, and Australian governments (whoops, looks like I mentioned 'em anyhow). (2) Secondly, they do not (or cannot?) tell us what the real reason for going to war was? Certainly if our President purposefully lied to the world he had some secret motive(s) for doing so. Was it so his Vice President could get even richer by making key deals with Halliburton? Or was it so that Bush could steal Iraq's oil?

Now if Dems were consistent they would be equally critical towards their own party leaders who have said the same things about Saddan Hussein's nuclear capabilities. The fact of the matter is, President Bush, along with the rest of the world came to the only logical conclusion at the time.

Let's refresh our memory: Saddam Hussein has had nuclear and biological weapons in the past; in fact he has used biological weapons against his own citizens. We know that Saddam had the ability to make nuclear and biological weapons, which is what the intelligence agencies of the world told us. Saddam was a known supporter of terrorists and an enemy of the United States and her allies. To top it all off, Saddam had broken a dozen or more United Nations resolutions and would not fully cooperate with the U.N.'s investigation in search of weapons of mass destruction.

Many liberals, with the luxury of hindsight, now make the argument that we should have trusted Saddam. That is the difference between Republicans and Democrats: Repubs dont trust evil dictators; Dems are willing to take evil dictators at their word. It's that simple folks. Furthermore, if the Democrats had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power.

With regard to the Democrats' second inconsistency, I would find it absolutely fascinating to hear a legitimate reason for the President to purposefully *lie* to the world, so he could "finish what his father started." Did Bush really want to help Cheney increase in wealth? Did Cheney promise Bush a couple million bucks under the table if he started a war and used Cheney's former company? I would LOL if anyone seriously made this argument. Next ... oil. Did the President go to war to steal Iraq's oil supply? Hmm, lets ponder this for a moment ... ... ... ... ... ... ... (whew, thats enough thinking). If Bush wanted Iraq's oil, why hasn't he taken any of it? Why has our military continued to protect Iraq's oil refineries so that Iraq can produce and sell its own oil? Why hasn't Bush asked for a percentage of Iraq's oil profits? Bush could have given Iraq a bill for all we have done for them: ridding them of a tyrant, the investment of billions of dollars to help create a stable economy, the billions this war has cost, or the 2000+ American lives the war has claimed. How much money have we actually received from Iraq? NUTHIN. A big fat ZERO. Nada. Thats right folks America, and our allies have paid the entire bill ... all for Iraq's safety and stability. So back to oil. Sure doesnt sound like Bush has made much profit from the war after all. Hmm. What do the Dems have to say about this? Not a word =).

I'm not saying that Bush has been flawless towards the War on Terror, but his overall performance in this area has been more than satisfactory. If nothing else, George W. Bush will be known as the President who fought to secure a safer America and a safer world.

In short, liberals lack consistency and workable arguments. They are overly critical of Bush about the War and cannot apply their own standards on themselves, for that would reveal gross inconsistency.

I am thankful that the Leftist Party in our land has caused us to once again examine our own views about the state of things.

America is not perfect, but we're not the cause of the world's problems. America is by and large a force for good in the world. Surely the Lord has been merciful to our nation.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

False Prophecies Make False Prophets

Yes folks, this is my second attempt at official "blog spotting." I was reading Phil Johnson's blog and read his article for November 4th where he comments:

"Whether you are a cessationist or not, you ought to be able to see that fatuous predictions which never come true are false prophecies, not legitimate spiritual gifts. And false prophecies are irrefutable proof that the mouthpiece who utters them does not really speak for God. If the contemporary church-including both charismatic and cessationist believers-cannot come to grips with that fundamental reality, then the only spiritual gift anyone ought to be seeking is the gift of discernment. Frankly, we have an overabundance of professing prophets and tongues-speakers these days, and precious few men with real discernment."

I completely, totally, utterly, like yea, 100% agree with Phil Johnson. Whether you believe the Sign / Revelatory Gifts have ceased or not, we should all agree that when someone gives false prophecies that one is not a true prophet of God. It has always baffled me why some charismatics try to defend the idea that even if a man gives a false prophecy it really isn't his fault, "after all, we only see as in a mirror dimly" (as if that somehow excuses the false prophecy). If we were to be consistent with that kind of argumentation, we could potentially excuse ANY alleged prophetic utterance.

I see no reason why the tests of a prophet found in Deuteronomy do not apply to the New Testament gift of prophecy:

Deutereonomy 13:1-3, "1 "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.""

Deuteronomy 18:20-22, "20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.""

Moses didn't leave a whole lot of room for error when it comes to speaking for the Lord of Lords. My heart's desire is that people would stop seeking new revelations from God and start enjoying the written revelation of God which is sufficient to prepare the Christian for every good work.

The Rusted One