Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ethan does some maths

This is a scene in MI3 where Ethan Hunt does some calculation on using a pendulum sling to get to another building.

I am quite impressed with the production of the MI series, it competes well with James Bond. This new one is as good or even better than MI3.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sometimes Christmas

Sometimes I am ambivalent about Christmas. It makes me both happy and sad. Sometimes it makes me sad when I think of those people who do not have a family they can share it with.

Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for some people. Some would rather that it disappears as quickly as it came. I do not blame them. Christmas is no longer defined by Christ but by the shopping center so, if I were just on my own, with nobody, no friends, no family to spend it with, I would rather it goes quickly as it came. Knowing this, we have invited several strangers to dine in our home.

When I was kid, what really made me happy with Christmas were not the toys, it was the festivity in my parent's home. It reminds me of all of my extended family, my uncles and aunties and cousins busying themselves with the preparation. That was really the fun part because as they prepare, they all talk about things with their joking and kidding around. The of course you smell the food.

It reminds me of my granddad and most of all my grandmother. She was the master cook of our clan. Christmas in my home was the time my grandmother Martha would cook those special Christmas meals I never get to taste except - well, except during Christmas. She was our super cook.

Since we celebrate Christmas in the eve of Christmas, the whole day is spent cooking and so preparing for the meals start off early. Then come midnight, our "noche buena", we all sit together and eat what grandma cooked. It was well, just so swell. Then it won't be complete if we did not have that traditional cocoa drink (pictured here) with our sweets, our much loved famous sweetened purple yam (pictured here).

That chocolate drink comes in small round pieces called "tablea". My grandma would boil it and churn it with a churning stick shown above. She would slow cook it and as it slowly boils she would patiently church it and churn it.

I taught my wife how prepare and drink "tablea" the way I learned it from grandma Martha. Drinking "tablea" then has been passed on to my children. So tonight, just as it is warm when we drink it, it also warms my heart in remembering with fondness my grandparents who indirectly taught me that the fun part of Christmas togetherness that it brings.

Monday, December 19, 2011

In the end, only God could be an atheist

I heard something like this stated by Dr. Bob Morey. It is a funny statement but there is ring of truth in it.

Have you noticed how these neo-Darwinian atheists, when pressed to the wall, back track and plead ignorance as to whether they know or do not know if there is a God? Most of these atheists are functioning agnostics, they got a problem with their method of doing epistemology.

So if no one knows if there is a God or not, then the only person who can be an atheist is God (which of course he ain't an atheist).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bored Again (synodic?) Lutherans?

Earlier in my blogging career, I used to read the blog of a young Lutheran guy who has been blogging longer than I can remember. I have not wondered off to his blog for many many years so I got curious, I went and visited. He seemed to be tired of the same old same old type of preaching he hears from pastors of his denomination. He was asked, if he leaves Lutheranism, what tradition would he consider? He said

If I leave Lutheranism, I will probably stop going to church entirely.

I am just thinking, well, if the pastor believes the Gospel should predominate, like Walther did, then I am ok, you are ok, so what is the problem? Nothing. So, life becomes boring.

The BoC says the Law and the Gospel should be preached equally, I read that as saying neither one should predominate.

I am typical Walther critic so here I go....

Preaching the Law I believe is the problem. There are those who preach it with the idea that you can do it. That is a problem.

Then there are those that, well, do not preach it all, following Walther's theorem, the Gospel should predominate. This theorem believes that the man in the street is already taken in by the Law. This theorem believes that man admits already that he is a sinner. This presupposition is not correct.

This is not true. The man down the street, does not believe he is a sinner. This is one of the blunders of Walther. In fact, according to Romans 1, people deny or suppress this truth.

I read once Luther even said, he needed to go to the Scriptures to make him believe he is a sinner.

After leaving Pentecostalism, I joked of Andre Crouch's song Christ is the Answer, famous in Pentecostal circle. Well, I said with the others, if Jesus is the answer, so what is the problem?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

To my USA readers, thank you for your continuing visit to this blog.

I appreciate your coming and reading the posts and the comments.

God bless you as you celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

My wife and I treated ourselves last night for a good turkey dinner. We wanted to join family members in the US in counting the blessings God has done. It is important not to lose track of them for if we do, we will fail to see God's hand in our lives.

My daughter-in-law is from Florida, USA and we will have another get together in their home tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gross: Kilcrease calls Leyser and Hutter heretics

I do not wish to distract readers from the previous post so please click here while I deal with the sweeping statements below.

At the Intripid Lutherans' post on Some Musings on the Article of Election, I quoted Polycarp Leyser to the post of Pr. Paul Rydecki. He then asked for more details on the quote. I have since answered his query but before that Jack Kilcrease had this comment directed to me...

The quotation is part of the reaction against the doctrine of particular election that occurred at the University of Wittenberg 20 years or so after the Formula of Concord. This is when Leyser and Leonard Hutter invented the inuitu fidei heresy. Bear in mind that many of these folks were students of the students of Melanchthon, and essentially revived a version of the Philippist heresy of synergism. The Formula of Concord upholds the orthodox Lutheran understanding of the divine election taught by Luther in "The Bondage of the Will." For a good summary of the history of the controversy over election in early Lutheranism, see the following:

Now, LPC will likely say something about "psychological Calvinism." My question (which I guessing he will probably ignore it based on his general rhetorical style), is this: 1. How is it that you can reject particular election when it is taught by Luther and the Formula of Concord? This is not a matter of debate, but well attested by all modern scholarship on this subject. 2. How can you reject particular election by God's eternal decree when it is explicitly taught by the Bible (Romans 8, Ephesian 1, etc.)? 3. If salvation does not occur by particular election, does it not follow that we are ourselves partially the cause of our salvation either by the preservation of our faith or by our cooperation with grace? Does this not then abrogate solas christus, sola fidei, and sola gratia?
Here is my reply:


Firstly, I admire your boldness and I am amazed that you accused Polycarp Leyser, a person who was one of those who drafted the Formula of Concord, and Leonhard Hutter, a person known as Luterus Revivivus (Luther reborn) as heretics! I have searched the Internet for any suggestion of this but all I came up with were high praises for these old orthodox Lutherans. But, where did you get the idea that they were heretics? Where else but through the work of a Missouri professor himself? That is just so obvious. If I were you I would have cited an author who had no dog in this debate.

I am amazed as to how far Missouri-ambigo-psycho- Calvino-quasi-Universalists would go to malign those who disagree with Walther's teachings.

You must believe that Stellhorn ,who quotes them in Errors of Missouri, must be a complete idiot to cite reputable heretics to aid his arguments against the Election doctrine of Missouri, no?

Jack, I do answer questions of people that can be taken seriously. In answering you, I do not imply you are such a person but I am extending kindness. For for by the first part of the comment above, I have every reason not to take you seriously once again. So I am being kind.

You asked...
1. How is it that you can reject particular election when it is taught by Luther and the Formula of Concord? This is not a matter of debate, but well attested by all modern scholarship on this subject

This is a straw man, I never said I reject particular election en toto or per se. What I do refuse to do is to talk about election without regard to items 1-8 of FC, Solid Declaration, XI, paragraphs 15-22 as suggested by the BOC paragraph 24. The BoC says that each of items 1-8 is an ordination of God, or decreed by God. The problem is that you are operating in a non-Lutheran paradigm in thinking that when faith is mentioned anywhere, it means faith must have been a work of man. That is why you have this straw man. I quoted Leyser to Rydecki and you jumped the gun. I quoted Leyser to blunt the possible sharpness on thoughts about particularism.

2. How can you reject particular election by God's eternal decree when it is explicitly taught by the Bible (Romans 8, Ephesian 1, etc.)?

This question is so Calvinistic, and reminds me of my former self.

I believe the BoC teaches single predestination and so does the Scripture. However, I have no evidence it is teaching single unconditional election. In fact there is strong evidence the Scripture teaches single conditional election as does the BOC. Proof: Scripture says, those who believe in Christ are saved, those who disbelieve in Christ are damned. The BOC does not want you to speak of predestination with out the other ordination of God, items 1-8 as stated in FC, SD, XI.

I say this because single unconditional election amounts to double predestination, it logically follows. Further, it logically follows that one can never be lost. Yet the Smalcald Articles teach that one's faith may be lost. If single unconditional election where true, then it is unthinkable that one's faith can ever be destroyed, yet the BoC warns of this. Further, the BoC teaches that the Holy Spirit's work in the means of grace can be rejected, but then one must accept therefore irresistible grace, the I in TULIP if one talks about unconditional election without regard.

3. If salvation does not occur by particular election, does it not follow that we are ourselves partially the cause of our salvation either by the preservation of our faith or by our cooperation with grace?

Not true, this presumes the fallacy of false dilemma. When Jesus says to Jairus - be not afraid only believe, was he then teaching Jairus that he can believe on his own? This is absurd since the Bible teaches faith is a gift of God lest anyone should boast. The problem is that you are following the straw man of Walther who taught that when faith is demanded, and when faith is mentioned, that must mean a thing controlled by man. The Bible calls my faith in Christ as being authored by Christ, so why should I fall under your paradigm and call my faith my own doing? Are you not a Lutheran? Well Lutherans do not believe that faith is the work of man, but is produced by the HS through the means of grace, so by your question, you already fell under the straw man of the Reformed.

Does this not then abrogate solas christus, sola fidei, and sola gratia?

No, it affirms it the right way.

The term In Tuitu Fidei, does not mean in view of faith itself. Stellhorn says this was coined by Hunnius, but it was a short hand phrase for this - in view of the merits of Christ embraced and held fast in the end by faith. They did not mean naked faith as your straw man generators make of it.

Hutter, the man you say was a heretic, but was considered Luther Reborn known for his orthodoxy, was very sensible and very simple in his logic. I will summarise his argument for you.

Do you believe you are justified through faith? If so, then you should believe that you are elected through faith too! Why? It is because there is no justification with out faith. Since, there is no justification with out faith, there is no election/predestination with out faith too, for the two are correlative to each other. You can not have justification with out the other, election. For what is election without justification? That is meaningless. If one is through faith, the other is through faith too. Hutter was being ultra reasonable in his logic. Romans 8:28-30 says that.

Oops, my mistake, you describe yourself as UOJer par excellance. You do not believe in JBFA, like the heretics you called such as Leyser and Hutter, rather you believe in justification without faith, my bad.

At any rate this is what Hutter says about Calvinising Lutherans like you and your idol Walther. That is safe to say right? You have not found anything about Walther to question right? I quote from Stellhorn...emphasis mine....

It is a horrible blindness or instability of mind that will not recognize the same condition and relation of faith in the article of election, especially as it is established that faith, is not to be considered the source or foundation of election or of justification, but only the organ apprehending that true and only fountain of election and justification, God's gratuitous grace prepared for us in Christ

Lastly, may I have a question? You should also be able to affirm this summary statement below, right? I expect you should agree, but I do not wish to misrepresent your position so I want to hear it from you verbatim, you would agree with the statement below, correct?

Before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, God chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why ex-Calvinists fall for Walther

One will notice that ex-Calvinists becoming Lutheran get attracted to C. F. W. Walther.

Why is that the case?

Because most ex-Calvinists becoming Lutherans had the sad experience of being burnt by Calvinists teachings. You can read about their testimonies in the Internet. However, in their excitement to hurriedly know Lutheranism, rather than scrutinising the Book of Concord and going through the Scriptures evaluating if the Confession complies with Scripture, they are coached instead to read C F Dubya's works. The light starts to burn specially bright when they get to read how C F Dubya hated Calvinism.

Calvinism is not just confined to TULIP, but it is a whole world view, a paradigm, a spirit of doing theology. It is no mystery but it is well documented in history books that Lutherans have had issues with Calvinists as well as Zwinglians alike.

Where I came from, we have a funny saying, it is not the cops who hate thieves, but fellow thieves themselves.

Of course, when Lutherans read of Walther's critique of Calvinism, the Lutheran hears him singing their refrain. Walther did not like Calvinism, but his paradigm in collapsing atonement with justification and in his belief in unconditional election, makes him a psychological Calvinist himself. What is a psychological Calvinist? It is someone who operates in Calvinistic paradigm without realising or being conscious of it.

Unfortunately, only a few well educated and astute American Lutherans can see and recognise this in Walther. Those that protests and who point this out are ganged up, bullied and hurriedly shut up.

My sincere advice for former Calvinists or anyone from another denomination studying Lutheran theology, do not go to the works of the Lutheran Fathers first, rather go to the Book of Concord. Read it with your Bible open, read it critically and match what it says with Scripture because if you don't you will be floating in the air, still a Christian, but without a confession.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The pastor's wife is pastor too?

There is a very curious practice of Pentecostals here. By default the pastor's wife is automatically called "Pastor" too! I know I blogged about this many years ago but at that time it was not that rampant but now this practice is all over the place. How strange that the pastor's wife is called pastor too. Having ministerial training is not required; except she probably speaks in tongues, sees visions and could claim God speaks to her directly etc. If you think of it, there is no known portion of church history where the ancient church followed the same practice, you only find this in Pentecostalism. Now that means it is suspect but you would probably get called a dead religionist for pointing this out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hitler's reaction to Dawkins not debating Craig

I got to give it to the guy who compiled this, this is really funny and excellently done.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

iThankYou2 Steve

Steve Jobs was born Lutheran. We do not know if he maintained a Christian faith in his death, there have been news that he became a Buddhist. However, we have to be fair and as a person who works in education. science and technology I must pay tribute to his visionary genius. He had my wife and my kids in mind when he was designing his products. My sons and daughters use a Mac and I recommended the Mac to the missus for her work sometime 8 years ago. All of them are hooked on Apple products and the wife could not use anything else since then.

I am a free ware ideologist so I normally use my Linux at home and in my net book but as I am typing today, I am using a MacBook I rebuilt a few months ago, my daughter's Mac. It had a busted screen and hard disk so I decided to repair at least the disk and use as a desktop too.

I encountered Mr. Jobs ideas sometime 25 years ago when I played with Lisa. He was ahead of his time and his products today excel in extreme ease of use and no fuss operation.

When I recommended the Mac to my missus 8 years ago, I was aware of the pun geeks did on the Macintosh - Machine Always Crashes If Not The OS Hangs, and I did get called for help by the missus when the Mac behaved this way. However, Apple really did a good job in moving to Unix. It is a much stable OS and I have fun at times on the command line.

Steve saw something, he created products for the "can not be bothered generation", that was his genius, his insight and that involved courage to do what was right for the customer though it seemed unorthodox not in the mainstream at that time. I believe this is the reason why though his products are a bit on the high end, he still had very loyal customers. He designed the products for them in mind.

Thanks Steve for doing that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I guess he is just one busy coward

He says he won't debate you if you are not a Bishop.

I guess he won't debate me then because I am no Bishop whatsoever.

Besides he says he is busy.

Could that be it, or he just turned yellow?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My crisis of faith (as an atheist)

This is a continuation of an old post How I lost (my atheistic ) religion. So kindly read that post to get a sense of what this post is all about.

In that old post, I shared how I transformed from being an atheist to a theist (but note not yet a Christian). Note that there, I did not abandon atheism because I saw some bad or evil atheists. At university where I became an atheist, I belonged to a philosophy club and in that club there were only two kinds of people, atheists and agnostic, there were no one in between. I aligned with the former because I thought the latter were wussies. Anyway all of them were congenial friends - we hanged out, played chess everyday after lunch, went to talks together etc etc.

Anyway, it was not because of anything that atheists did that made me abandon my atheism, it was because of the external observation of nature or creation and the philosophical truth that something can not come out of nothing, ex nihilo, nihil fit. One might say that this was an incident of general revelation described in Romans 1:19-20. As I said, when I agreed with the assertion "there must be a God", i.e. a Creator, my life became internally disturbed than when I was an atheist. This truth disturbed me and so I went the library and soaked my self with books about other religions and philosophies - they were Confucianism, Taoism, Budhism, and a bit of Hinduism. Note that Christianity was not in the list. I reasoned, no, I will not be satisfied, I owe myself the truth, I must get to the very bottom of this.

All of these religions, as in others, discuss some truth that is conducive and attractive. They all promote moralism etc. I was not satisfied with Confucianism because it did not make sense as to why I should comply with Confucius' idea of a gentleman for its own sake. It did not give authority - for example, he says, we should honor our ancestor. Ok but when you ask Confucius' why? His answer would be - well it is bad, you are not being a good gentleman, so I comeback and say - well so what, what is it to you, why should I follow your dictums, you are not God are you? So his moral pronouncements are not unassailable.

As to the other three, I had a problem with their mystical and vague pronouncements. For example Lao Tsu made mention of The Ultimate Reality but in practical terms, how does one touch that or get a hold of that or relate to that etc.? What did that mean? Such terms I found to be operationally absurd and unfeasible. As to Budhism, well it is a non-Creationist religion and so did not answer my premise of God as being Creator of these things I could see which are bigger than me and too awesome in its beauty and variety. Besides Zen Budhism is just as paradoxical and absurd in its teachings so same thing. Budha wants me to meditate to reach nothingness, a release from my selfishness, and be part of everything etc etc.

So I went back to the Roman Catholicism of my parents, the one that I was brought up in, after graduating from university. I went back to the practices - novenas, masses, confession, penance etc. After a while I would go to confession and the priest would give me my penance, like pray 100 Our Fathers, 50 Hail Mary's etc. I found myself playing a game of doing a deposit of these (i.e., do the penance in advance) so that when I did go to confession, I would deduct my deposit of prayers from the required so I just pray the balance. Why? Because right after doing my religious labour, I was intending to reward myself when I got out, that is paint the town red. I remember going out of church, saying hmmm, paying for my sins seems trivial, I do the penance and it is fixed, but how long do I do this, this is tiring and what if I die in this state? In actuality it was not fixed. One might say, clearly my faith was in those works prescribed by the church.

This went on for a couple of more years and my watching TV got me pegged to a revivalist preacher. He went to my city (in Manila) and one evening I, together with my wife went to the meeting. I did here the Gospel in that meeting some 30 years ago. I can relate more on the few things he said along with his methods which may easily be criticised must be corrected, but that night I did understand the portion on why Jesus died on the Cross, that he died on that Cross as payment for my sins, as a free gift, because I was a sinner never being able to pay for my sins in front of a Holy God. I heard the priest always saying Jesus died, Jesus died, but it was only on that day did I realize, it was for me and my sins. I, along with my wife, left that auditorium, assured that God would accept us not on account of our works but on account of the sacrifice and bitter suffering of His Son.

The journey as you know, those of you familiar with this blog, did not stop there.

With regards to the religions or philosophies I have studied - they bring up pertinent issues but the way they answer the issues leave gaps in between. Below are my summaries and of course I am being simplistic and practical in outlining them here (I can not conduct a treatise on these):

Confucianism lacked authority for its moral precepts whereas Christianity answers that premising the moral precepts from the revelation of God, the ultimate authority and sovereign.

Taoism says we lost equilibrium with the world, with the cosmos and our being; the aim is to practice certain things to capture that equilibrium. Christianity on the other hand surmises that we have no stability because we lost our anchor or relationship with God but He provides Christ to give us peace sending the Holy Spirit in his name. Peace is a by-product of faith in Jesus' Gospel.

Buddhism is correct in identifying selfishness as the source of suffering and advocates meditation as way of saving ourselves from ourselves. Christianity identifies sin as the source of our troubles and the solution is to be forgiven through the suffering of Christ paying for our sins. Christianity teaches that we have a saviour who saves us rather than us doing a doit yourself salvation.

Hinduism, well it has many gods but again, philosophically who and what was the source of such divinity? Christianity on the other hand says there is only one true God, Jesus is his Son and he has won peace for all mankind through his bitter death and suffering. Thus only one God needs to be appeased, such peace, Christ has won freely for every human being and God grants this peace through faith in Christ's name.

Psalm 119:160.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Old Lutheran Theology of the Cross

Having some down time because of ill health ( I seem to be copping a lot lot of health issues lately), I flipped through my CD stacks and found a CD audio book from the work of Martin Moller (1547-1606) entitled Preparing for Death. It is a series of devotional expositions with prayer at the end of each topic. It is said that this was his contribution to the Lutheran Ars Moriendi (art of dying). I got it many years ago but never bothered to listen, so I decided to lend an ear this time.

I have been researching on this pastor. I am aware he was not without controversy. I do not of course have access to other things he wrote, and so my only source of evaluating him is that CD audio book. My teachers in uni taught me never to rely on secondary sources but this is all I have of him. He was not university trained, but I am so impressed by the richness of his Scripture quotations - with a couple of quotations from Deutero-Canonical books like Sirach and Tobias, here and there. The other that impressed me more was his theme of bringing the reader back to faith, bringing the reader back to the promises found in the Word of God. I often blurt that faith is a problem. I know certainly it is in my life. Jesus recognized this problem in people too. The CD was like good medicine.

Moller's Theology of the Cross does not leave you depressed but in triumphant hope in God. That impressed me. I imagine Moller as a pastor was not only someone who would simply listen to you and that was it, not even exposing his opinion. If what he was came through his work, then I would say he seemed rather the type who would stir up your faith, counselling you by Scripture to hope in God's Word, that might involve either a rebuke or a pat in the right direction.

If the Internet is used as a gauge to judge new Lutherans of today, and if Moller was typical of old Lutherans then, the old Lutherans are quite far in their spiritual life than that of the new Lutherans of today. The old Lutheran Theology of the Cross does not leave you in despair, but that does not seem to come out strong of new Lutherans today.
In this regard, I find the theology of old Lutherans from hymns like this of Samuel Rodigast - Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, Whatever God Ordains is Right (Good) - different on how they carry in life, their Theology of the Cross. Theirs leave you with a smile in the midst of the storm.

Whatever God ordains is good:
This truth remains unshaken:
Though sorrow, need or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken
I fear no harm,
For with His arm
He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Only for the brave

...and probably for the truthful and the not so fanatical. See the post here.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Don't bother, we'll just do it ourselves

I am a committee member of my state chapter of the IEEE-CS. Last week, we hosted Mr. Edwin Black, the author of this book to talk about the ethics of technology and how it is important today. Technology can not be ethics neutral and it should not be just a matter of commerce.

Anyway there were a few of us who took the author to dinner. It so happened that I sat beside him and so we chatted a bit. Mr. Black comes from a Jewish background and so my mind went back to the time when I was taking my Religious Studies degree 20 years ago, when one of my subjects was OT Judaism.
As we chatted about the Holocaust, I was reminded by one quip from someone I heard a long time ago of how Jews have abandoned their belief in God due to this tremendous suffering that they have experienced in WWII.

Many people criticize Pentecostalism's wealth and health prosperity doctrine saying that this is a sure fire way of making people atheists. While there is truth to this observation, this is not the only source of why people become atheists. One source is turmoil in life and unspeakable suffering. Life hurts. That quip I heard a long time ago goes along these lines...

"Where were you God when all of these were being done to us? Thanks very much, don't bother, from now one, we will just do it ourselves".

That seems to be the prevailing attitude of Israelis today.

As I thought about this, many statements of Jesus came to my mind as I relate to my own sufferings. For example...

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I am glad Jesus said this but I have not fully comprehended all of this. The tribulation part is very obvious; it is the part about being of good cheer because he has overcome the world that I want to learn how.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

If you are reading this

You did not get raptured either.
If there is anything to be learned, it is the end of the world --- of false prophecies, hopefully.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Faith Receives

I was reading my Bible last night and I so happened to be at Acts 10:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they[e] killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.

I was arrested by these words as I recalled how the BoC spoke of how faith receives as well. For example in AC, XX
28] It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins is apprehended, and that, for nothing. 29] And because through faith the Holy Ghost is received, hearts are renewed and endowed with new affections, so as to be able to bring forth good works

So I started to meditate on this for a bit - faith receives, faith receives, faith receives.

Hmm, the object of faith is Christ but what is received is the forgiveness of sins.

My mind went back home and I reminded my self of how in my home culture, whenever there is a wedding, it is customary for the bride and groom to give their guests a small souvenir, a small giveaway so to speak as a token of appreciation of their coming. The above picture is a sample of that.

So how do the guests receive the souvenir? They simply turn up at the wedding - go through and witness the ceremony and eat with the bride and groom. The receiving of the souvenir is the effect of being in the wedding.

I should not stress too far the analogy but in the wedding scenario, the guests focus their attention on the wedding - on the bride and groom but that results in getting a gift. I thought the analogy somehow was appropriate and useful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

To know the man, ask his wife

This is not me. That is the picture of mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel.

What Einstein did for Physics, Gödel did to Mathematics and Logic.

Gödel identified himself as a baptized Lutheran. Many academics are embarrassed to admit that Gödel might have been a true believer.

When people make claims that Gödel was a secret Christian, people in academia are quick to dismiss and make appeal to his biography how he denied this or that. You see, academia does not allow a man with a great mind to be a Christian as well.

Gödel wrote his mathematical proof for the existence of God. I suspect he did not publish it while he was alive for fear of being persecuted. However, it is in God's good providence that it was kept waiting until he passed away.

I pointed out in some Internet discussion of his Christian leanings and right away I was presented with disclaimer etc. etc.

It is funny that his wife Adele testified that her husband, while alive, would read the Bible every Sunday morning. That is why I said to the nay sayers - hey forget what this professor or official biographer wrote, if you want to know the man, ask his wife.

Lastly Gödel's quoted statements presupposed a Christian understanding of reality.

He said... "I only believe in apriori truths".

Well, where do you find apriori truths? How else if not from God who first declares them? Apriori truths are only found when God defines or declares them.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weak on sanctification

And they seem to be proud of it too.

I went to a country church a few Sundays ago. There was a fine elderly gentleman who greeted with me and sat beside me all through the divine service. After the service, they had fellowship over coffee/tea. We got to chat at length and I got the chance to speak to him of my journey. This fine Christian man, now retired used to work for a prominent publishing company. He said he took care of the religious publishing division of the company and he got to read a lot of theological stuff. If I am not mistaken, he even explored for a time, other denominations outside the Lutheran Confessions too. So after hearing of my journey, he asked me with much concern - "do you not consider Lutherans weak on sanctification"? I said, "yes, I do, and I am perplexed by it because you would think that the one strong on justification would have been strong on sanctification too". It seemed my gentleman host has been bothered by this too and did not know what to do with it. See another one bothered about this too.

Over the years, I have heard Lutherans in the Internet proudly said of themselves - weak on sanctification. Mind you they do not say this with shame, they even boast about it. Like one time, I heard a pastor said that when he is amongst some Baptists - the more he would drink beer in front of them, so he could show them how free he is. I suppose the man wants to purposely offend.

1 Cor 10:9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 1

It is one thing to admit one is weak on sanctification but sad about it, versus saying one is weak on sanctification and boast about it too. I would say the first one is coming from a repentant heart, the second one I suspect is coming from an anti-nomian bent (either consciously or unconsciously).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can do theology...again

I was bored so I tuned in to a Christian radio station here last night.

It was a litany of teaching one after another of how-tos. There is such a flood of this and the sinful nature in me seemed to have been at ease believing I am such a great guy I can do it in my awesomeness.

What I heard was...How you can do it, how you can have a better life now, how you can be moving forward and upward, how you can be succeesful, how you can rise above like an eagle and hover over those turkeys below etc.

So I am sold that Christianity is about being successful. It is not about trusting God in the middle of sacrifice and suffering. It is about being in the world and being of the world too. It is about having your best life now and having more of it in the next.

That is so so marketable.

I was still bored after listening.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Does this sound familiar?

Church Mouse has been blogging on Rob Bell.

According to Bell...(emphasis mine)

“Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for.” (“Velvet Elvis,” p 146)

I know a lot of people (Waltherians) who will or at least should agree with the bolded words. Except they will say that people in Hell have been indeed forgiven but they are in Hell because they did not accept the forgiveness...etc.

Me: err, hump, so they have been forgiven and have not been forgiven? So now since, the Cross everyone starts forgiven and only gets un-forgiven due to unbelief? What was the first forgiveness for? So there is a second forgiveness? I am confused.

What is happening with Bell? My analysis is that like the others I am protesting against and they hate me for it- he is equating the atonement with justification (which is forgiveness of sins). Since everyone has been atoned for, everyone, so he thinks, has been forgiven.

Monday, March 21, 2011

That is obvious

Of course, any philosophically based religion can easily posit God is Sovereign. There is no genius needed for that, even Islam knows that. That is pure intuition.

In maths, we call that assertion - trivial.

However, that is not the great thesis of Christianity.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


...I mean myths propagated by some (even so called Lutherans).

  1. That if a Lutheran stresses faith and promotes it, he is being a Calvinist. This misunderstands old Lutheranism. This is the fallacy of false dilemma.
  2. That if a Lutheran stresses faith he must be looking at faith as a form of works. Jesus and St. Paul enjoined people to faith, did they consider faith as a form of works by their admonition to believe? This is the fallacy of a category mistake.
  3. That if a Lutheran stresses faith it will lead him to being robbed of his assurance of salvation. So what is the solution? Promote the doctrine of psycho-quasi Christianized Universalism? More category mistakes and false assumptions.
  4. That a Lutheran's assurance of salvation is never shakeable. Really? Only if he is a Universalist. If it can never be shaken, why would the BoC make you run to the Word and Sacraments?
Food for thought, from Luther's Galatian 4 Sermon...

As before said, they regard faith of slight importance; for they do not understand that it is our sole justifier. To accept as true the record of Christ–this they call faith. The devils have the same sort of faith, but it does not make them godly. Such belief is not Christian faith; no, it is rather deception.

13. In the preceding epistles we have heard that to be a Christian it is not enough simply to believe the story of Christ true–the Cain-like saints possess such faith–but the Christian must without any hesitancy believe himself one to whom grace and mercy are given, and that he has really secured them through baptism or through the Holy Supper. When he so believes, he is free to say of himself: “I am holy, godly and just. I am a child of God, perfectly assured of salvation. Not because of anything in me, not because of my merits or works, am I saved; it is of the pure mercy of God in Christ, poured out upon me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where Walther went off the rails.

I have been reviewing my BoC for my devotions and I have been re-reading some of my annotated portions when I stumbled on something that is making me continue my critique of the statement made by Walther found in the last post, found below.

One of the big difference between Calvinism and orthodox Lutheranism is in the area of the Means of Grace. Ex-Calvinist who become Lutherans hammer on the difference between Calvinism and Lutheranism on the Lord's Supper and this is true.

However, IMHO, the difference starts before that. It really starts on what Lutherans mean by the Means of Grace. Firstly, what do Lutherans mean by this? Well, these are objective means that God uses to create faith and sustain faith in the life of a believing sinner. These are the Word and Sacraments (Baptism and Supper). Lutherans believe (or I think they should) that God, though he is sovereign, has bound himself to these Means for our assurance of salvation.

Talking about God being Sovereign is talking about God in the abstract. Now that Jesus came and we have the Scripture we cannot talk about God in the abstract anymore; because God has made things now concrete, Jesus came, died for our sins, rose again and now seats at the right hand of God.

Yes in the abstract, God can do anything to save a sinner, but now that Jesus has come, we cannot talk now of what God can or cannot do, rather we should talk about what will he do! God won't violate his means, so that we may not be in doubt where we might find him. For if God violates his means of grace, then we are no longer with an anchor as to where we are guaranteed where we may find him. This opens the door to Enthusiasm and mystical experiences.

In Calvinism, for example, they consider reason or the mind as a means. For example, some Calvinists I have read say that God illumines reason and uses it for man to find him. In Lutheran concept, this is not objective and it is not considered by Lutherans to be God's means of grace. Why? Because in Scripture, God is seen by the Lutheran to be binding himself to Word and Sacraments only. In our relationship to God, the Lutheran is not to go anywhere apart from Word and Sacrament to find his forgiveness, which is life and salvation.

Let me now come to the statement of Walther found in the post below.

If Walther was correct, then that baby over there just recently delivered, had his sins already forgiven. Then Dr. Ichabod (and others like him, like the late Pr. Vernon Harley) is correct in his critique and opposition, for this means that God forgives sins without the Means of Grace. Seriously the statement is quasi-universalism.

If God has already forgiven the sins of that baby, then what is the need for the Means of Grace? For Baptism of the baby? None.

Then there is also one thing that is also serious about Walther's words. Walther's statements violate the teaching of the BoC and contradicts it and I quote: Solid Declaration, I (Original Sin).

31] Because of this corruption(original sin), too, the entire corrupt nature of man is accused and condemned by the Law, unless the sin is forgiven for Christ's sake.

The emphasis is mine.

If sins have been forgiven without the Means of Grace why would the BoC say the above quoted text? Waltherian Lutherans in effect have an irrelevant Means of Grace.

Truth is, as far as the BoC is concerned, no one is forgiven unless the Means of Grace has been applied and believed.

Back to the hole.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walther's Synergistic Quote

I thought that I should bring up to people's attention this famous Walther quote (HT. Ichabod) . It seems appropriate to discuss this since Ichabod is featuring Rev. Harley's papers.

I highlighted in bold the synergistic - decision theology presentation found in this quote from the lips of C. F. W. Walther...

"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."

C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.
Hmmm, so you must accept by faith that you have been absolved and if you do, then you are. Then, if you don't, you ain't.

To quote one of the kids in our clan...Wah???? Wah????

Anyway back to my hole.... see youse later...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Collapsing under stress.

I was reading Genesis 22 the other day.

Then I imagined what if what happened to Abraham, happened to me. What if I was Abraham and God told me to sacrifice my son?

I would probably have my ulcers flare up, and I would probably have fainted under stress.

I wish people would stop trivializing the faith of Bible characters.

What happened to Abraham was not a simple matter, it was a very excruciating experience.

I would have been a nervous wreck if God told me to do something like that.
(I am still offline, I thought I would give something for you to think about).