Terminology Tuesday: Naturalism, Natural Theology

Naturalism sometimes refers to a form of atheism and materialism that maintains that the “natural” universe (composed of energy and matter and based on natural laws) is the sum total of reality, thereby negating human freedom, absolute values and, ultimately, existential meaning. As an ethical theory naturalism suggests that ethical judgments arise out of or are based in the universe itself or “the way things naturally are.” Natural theology maintains that humans can attain particular knowledge about God through human reason by observing the created order as one locus of divine revelation.

God Bless

Brian Mason

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 82

What is “Reformed Theology” and the “Five Scripturas”?

It is a movement that originated by Martin Luther in the 16th Century. Since that time it has perhaps been better known as Calvinism. Calvinism is a biblical focused Theological movement, that objectively states that God is Sovereign, God’s elects and redeems, they are secure in Christ’s work and the recognize the sovereignty of scripture.

Reformed Theology believers follow the Five Solas.

1. Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
2. Sola Christus – Christ Alone
3. Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
4. Sola Fide – Faith Alone
5. Soli Deo Gloria – Glory of God Alone

Calvinists will also call the Five Solas the “Five Points”, “TULIP”

1. T – Total Depravity
2. U – Unconditional Election
3. L – Limited Atonement
4. I – Irresistible Grace
5. P – Perseverance of the Saints

You may hear of the term “Hyper Calvinism” and it can be defined as; “the denial of the necessity of missionary work. It denies common Grace and any form of love that God might have for the unbeliever”. This is non-biblical. Not all Hyper Calvinists hold to this position.

God Bless

Brian Mason

Joseph, Husband of Mary; the Quintessential Husband!

When reading Matthew the first book of the Gospels one cannot possibly think of Joseph, Mary’s Husband as nothing but virtuous. As we read in verse 1: 18,

18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

Notice the word “betrothed”; this was a known as a “binding”, the same as a modern marriage. So in other words it was discovered that Mary was pregnant before they “came together” aka “consummated”.
What a shock this was for them obviously as death by stoning was the punishment for this sort of adultery! We go on to read;

Matthew 1: 19, 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to send her away secretly.

“Righteous” means in this case that he was also merciful and followed the Hebrew Laws to the letter. “Sending her away” meant to divorce her thus sparing her from disgrace. However before this was allowed to happen Joseph was visited in a dream by an Angel of God, as indicated by the next two verses;

Matthew 1: 20-21 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

There is no scripture following that ever suggests that Joseph doubted Mary or the Angel of God! Not only was there no doubt, he obeyed the Angel and went ahead with plans of marrying her! He then took her as his wife and did not have sexual relations with her until after Jesus was born (as a result Mary bore more children to Joseph, something the Roman Catholics disagree with). In Rabbinic tradition much later Mary was charged with adultery, however the fact that Joseph married her would indicate he did not believe this to be true.

God Bless

Brian Mason

What Is So Great About Buddhism? A Brief Comparison between Buddhism and Christianity

– Buddhism says God is not important – Christianity says that not only is God important and vital, the Christian God is “knowable” and can be “enjoyed”

– Buddhist writings have been adulterated with legends and embellishments – The Christian teachings in the Holy Bible have been preserved by the inspired Word of God

– Buddhism teaches that works are required to fulfill its end – Christianity teaches that Christians are saved by God’s Grace and not personal works

– Buddhism offers a “State of Nothingness” Nirvana – Christianity offers eternal life in the presence of God

– Buddhism states there is no forgiveness of sin, only future lives of suffering through reincarnation – Christianity offers forgiveness of sins and full Justification before the Almighty God

– Buddha had never claimed to be God or perform miracles – However Jesus Christ (Messiah) DID claim to be God and performed verifiable miracles

– The remains of the Buddhist founder are located at the base of the Himalaya Mountains in Kusinara – Jesus Christ is alive and at the right hand of the Holy Father

The Lord said: Galatians 3:3
“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Philippians 2:13

“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

I believe that Buddhism is a direct path to Hell! Strongly put indeed. What is the desire in striving by “works” to achieve “nothingness”? Why not accept a beautiful gift offered by Jesus Christ, a gift that offers forgiveness and eternal life in Heaven? The Buddhist religion offers death disguised as an “unselfish” form of “suffering”. I would suggest that an eternity in Hellfire will certainly offer the Buddhist follower “suffering”! Again strong words…

God Bless

Brian Mason

My Favorite Christian Apologetic’s Quotations Pt.3

“If we Christians don’t continue to share the gospel and push the envelope, the envelope will close in on us. If we maintain a ‘silent witness,’ there will be no witness, and Christianity will die in America.”

Ray Thorne

“All truth is given by revelation, either general or special, and it must be received by reason. Reason is the God-given means for discovering the truth that God discloses, whether in his world or his Word. While God wants to reach the heart with truth, he does not bypass the mind.”
Jonathan Edwards

“The human paradox is that we perceive so many signs of value and significance conveyed to us in our encounter with reality, yet all meaning is threatened by the apparent finality of death. If the universe is truly a cosmos, if the world is really intelligible through and through, then this life by itself cannot be the whole story.”
John Polkinghorne

Richard Dawkins: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

C.S. Lewis: “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

Point – Counterpoint

“Human DNA contains more organized information than the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the full text of the encyclopedia were to arrive in computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when seen in nature, it is explained as the workings of random forces.”

George Sim Johnson

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
John Calvin

“Science itself is steadily nailing the lid on atheism’s coffin.”
Lee Strobel

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system. I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”

Sir Isaac Newton

“To be an atheist you must have infinite knowledge in order to know absolutely that there is no God. But to have infinite knowledge, you would have to be God yourself. It’s hard to be God yourself and an atheist at the same time! The Bible says in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is not God.’”
Ron Carlson and Ed Decker

“It’s natural to be skeptical of a story like Noah. However, the greatest miracle in the Bible is not Noah and the flood. The greatest miracle in the Bible is recorded in the first verse: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If that miracle is true, then every miracle in the Bible is at least possible (including Noah’s Ark). If God created the universe, then He can do whatever He wants inside it.”
Frank Turek

The above quotes were taken from http://www.alwaysbeready.com and http://www.truthbomb.blogspot.ca

God Bless
Brian Mason

Terminology Tuesday: Homophony

Homophony is defined as a copyist error where the copyist writes a word with a different meaning for another word when both words have the exact same pronunciation. The word comes from the Greek word homophōnía dating back to 1770-80 AD. An example of this would be writing the letter “T” and confusing it with the beverage “Tea”. So in the case of the Bible manuscripts, an error like that in copying would create a textual variant which could be responsible for a seemingly contradiction in the text, which did not appear in the original autograph.

God Bless

Brian Mason

Terminology Tuesday: Monergism

Monergism is the teaching that God alone is the one who saves. It is in opposition to Synergism that instructs that God and man work together to achieve Salvation. For example Christianity is Monergistic, well Cults are Synergistic.

God Bless

Brian Mason