Saturday, October 31, 2009


I am now contributing to my friend's apologetics blog, Cyber Church of Christ (which is not affiliated with the Churches of Christ). This simply means that from now on, some (not all) of my blog articles from Epagonizesthai will be posted there as well.

That is all. Happy Reformation Day to you all. Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is the Trinity Biblical? (Video)

My brief reply to Monica Dennington.

In light of recent denials of the doctrine of the Trinity, generally under the pretense that the doctrine is not clearly stated in the Bible, I present this short video demonstrating a few of the basic points that comprise the doctrine of the Trinity, and the scriptural basis for them. This is to give the viewer a basic where and how the Trinity is derived from the Holy Scriptures.

This is not a comprehensive video. Most (though not all) of the key texts are presented, and are allowed to speak for themselves. If anybody has any comments, suggestions, or objections regarding the Trinitarian exegesis of these passages, by all means, say so in the comment box.

By the way, some of the slides may move faster than others, and I apologize for that. Simply pause the video at those places where you think it may be moving too fast.

All scripture quotations are taken from the ESV.
Music is of the hymn "Holy Holy Holy."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Monica Dennington Now Denies the Trinity

This is the end result of having NO spiritual discernment or proper biblical training whatsoever...

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

The Depravity of Man

This is a submission I made to an essay contest. It is 326 words long, but since the essay contest's word limit is only 250 pages (I don't know why it's so short, so don't ask me), I submitted an abridged version. Here is the complete, unabridged version of the essay:

The Depravity of Man

We like to think that we’re good and decent people. After all, it just sounds so rude and politically incorrect to suggest that we’re something less than this, that we’re actually malevolent, that we’re just trying to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re virtuous beings, that this sickness is really a part of our nature as human beings. But are we really being completely honest with ourselves? Do we not all have that inner tendency to, like the stranded boys in William Golding’s fictional island, devolve into utter savagery?

When Thomas Hobbes formulated his social contract theory, he worked on the assumption that man in a state of nature is despicable, nasty and brutish.[1] As a Philosopher and Ethicist, Hobbes knew that trying to formulate a social contract theory on the presupposition that mankind is naturally noble and virtuous is pure folly, since one would have to take into account the inevitability of crime, corruption and chaos. The string of wars, corrupt dictators that are laid bare when one goes through the history of mankind testifies to the truth of our nature. Case in point: Pol Pot, that psychotic late dictator of Cambodia, after he had murdered millions of his own countrymen, declared “my conscience is clear.”[2]

Even when we do those things that we esteem to be good, it is only because we have baser motives for doing so, such as hope for rewards and praise, or fear of being punished by the powers that be. Without this sort of restraint, we shall become as the savages of old; slaves to our own nature, even while labouring behind the illusory curtain of liberty from restraint. It is indisputable, and no matter how we try to deny it, in the end we will have to face that inconvenient truth: our nature is depraved. It is as the Good Book declared long before: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?[3]

End Notes
  1. Ayson, Florentino and Dolores Aligada-Reyes. Fundamentals of Political Science: Second Edition, 2005. Mandaluyong City: National Book Store, 2005. p. 37.
  2. 'My conscience is clear' says Killing Fields leader Pol Pot. BBC News. [].
  3. Jeremiah 17:9, English Standard Version.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Atheist "De-Baptism"

I've seen and heard some crazy things before, but this one just takes the cake:

Some atheists think they can undo their baptism with a de-baptism. Why do they even care?

The title of the USA Today article says it all - Atheists choose 'de-baptism' to renounce childhood faith. I'm not sure that Hemingway could have summarized it better. When a person becomes a Christian they repent and believe the Gospel. They renounce their previous life (repent of sins) and proclaim that they belong to Jesus. These proactive steps might explain why de-baptisms are taking place. It is somewhat of a reversal process. De-baptism is actually another borrowing of the Christian worldview by atheists. Why do it at all?

Read more about it here:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Liberty is Too Much

This is an in-class essay that I wrote for my grade 12 English class earlier this month. My teacher vehemently disagrees with my position, yet has conceded that my essay is "undeniably well written" and that I have well-supported my position with my citations. For posterity, I have transcribed the essay and am posting it here on Epagonizesthai, with some minor changes in form, including a few minor revisions suggested my teacher.

When Liberty is Too Much

When Individualism Reaches Excess

"It's my own life and I'll live it how ever I want." This is (arguably) the rallying cry of our age. Many in our generation do not like being told what to do, and would prefer to set themselves as their own final authority. If anyone says that there are higher standards and virtues that we are to be held accountable to, let him be anathema!

Of course, this is not to say that we are one hundred percent self-centered all of the time. No sane person could live such a way. As writer John Langone has pointed out,

If you always thought only of yourself, chances are you wouldn’t think about being loyal to anyone. You might betray those around [you], and be betrayed by them. There would be no reason to distinguish between right and wrong because whatever you felt was right would be right.[1]

This kind of attitude is what inevitable takes us to moral relativism, which is defined as the belief that there are no absolute moral standards, that right and wrong are relative to the individual (or group if you have that herd mentality), and eschews the notion that moral judgments can be grounded in any way, so that moral reasoning becomes a completely subjective endeavor.[2]

This brings to mind one particular incident when the popular writer and thinker Ravi Zacharias was speaking at Oxford University. At that time, some students came up to him and insisted that absolute values don’t exist. As Zacharias recounts,

I asked one of them whether it would be wrong for me to take a butcher knife and cut to pieces a one-year-old child for sheer delight. There was a pause, and then he said, to an audible from those listening, “I would not like what you did, but I would not honestly say that it would be wrong.”[3]

It sounds sick, doesn’t it? And yet the student in that encounter was being logically consistent in his beliefs. How indeed can we say that it is wrong? When Pol Pot murdered millions of his countrymen and claimed, “My conscience is clear,” we may protest at his grotesque depravity, but do we have any solid basis for even making such a judgment? A consistent moral relativist would have to say no. This is what happens when we turn ourselves as individuals into our own personal “ground of all being.” If we follow this paradigm to its logical conclusion, we end up with Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil.” Like Nietzsche, we would dismiss caring for the “little guy” as utter folly, saying that those who do, “have preserved too much that which should have perished,” and be, “work[ing] for the deterioration of the European [or in our case the human] race.”[4]

And yet, those who espouse this view become “moralists” in denouncing those who defend the notion of absolute right and wrong. These pundits will preach and pontificate on their paradigm, even though they have no real basis for doing so, As Philip Yancey has observed,

The pioneers of unmorality [sic] have practiced a blatant contradiction… the new moralists first proclaim that morality is capricious, perhaps even a joke, then proceed to use moral categories to condemn their opponents… These new high priests lecture us solemnly about multiculturalism, gender equality, homophobia and environmental degradation, all the while ignoring the fact that they have systematically destroyed any basis for judging such behavior [as] right or wrong. The emperor so quick to discourse about fashion happens to be stark naked.[5]

This has also been the critique on our education system, as Robert Nielsen (in his review of writer Allan Bloom’s book, “Closing the American Mind” writes:

Literate or not, earnest or trifling, rich or poor, nearly every student… enters university with one fixed belief—that truth is relative. Students assume that areas are valid only for their time and place, or perhaps only for the individual holding them; that there are no universal and eternal verities for people to learn and live by. This leaves everyone free to think and do as they please, without worrying about right and wrong, so long as they don’t infringe on others’ freedom to do otherwise. The only sin is intolerance.[6]

What if we had a math class where every individual is free to decide for himself what the sum of two plus two is, and anybody who claims that any answer other than four is wrong is immediately branded as “close-minded” and “intolerant.” It sounds like a surreal scenario, yet that is the kind of logic that is being propagated by schools and by popular culture today. It is no wonder that many of our youth end up broken and disillusioned as they grow older. We need to break out of this individualistic mentality of relativism. It is my contention that we have lost our grounding on matters of truth and morality, and must bring ourselves to the consequences of our ideas, not to mention those higher standards of absolute truth and right and wrong that we have so foolishly relinquished. Then, and only then may we be able to find our way, rather than spinning our own heads around hopelessly in circles.

End Notes
  1. Langone, John. Thorny Issues: How Ethics and Morality Affect the Way We live. Little, Brown and Company, 1981. p. 9-10.
  2. Spinello, Richard. “Relativism.” Ethics: Revised Edition, Volume 3. Salem Press, 2005. p. 1252.
  3. Zacharias, Ravi. Light in the Shadow of Jihad: The Struggle for Truth. Multnomah Publishers, 2002. p. 21.
  4. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil., 1886. p. 95-96.
  5. Yancey, Philip. “Biological Imperative Does not Cause People to Act Ethically.” Ethics: Current Controversies. Greenhaven Press, 2000. p. 38.
  6. Nielsen, Robert. “The Closing of the (North) American Mind.” Echoes: Fiction, Media and Non-Fiction. Oxford University Press, 2002. p. 327.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Logic and Christianity

By John Gresham Machen
The human mind has a wonderful faculty for the condensation of perfectly valid arguments, and what seems like an instinctive belief may turn out to be the result of many logical steps. Or, rather it may be that the belief in a personal God is the result of a primitive revelation, and that the theistic proofs are only the logical confirmation of what was originally arrived at by a different means. At any rate, the logical confirmation of the belief in God is a vital concern to the Christian; at this point as at many others religion and philosophy are connected in the most intimate possible way. True religion can make no peace with a false philosophy, any more than with a science that is falsely-so-called; a thing cannot possibly be true in religion and false in philosophy or in science. All methods of arriving at truth, if they be valid methods, will arrive at a harmonious result.

  • Machen, John Gresham. Christianity and Liberalism., 1923. p. 51.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Plans for October

I recently got a copy of Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture's Quest To Unseat The Biblical Christ by Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace. I've just finished it, and I have to say that It's a great resource for countering the common arguments that are now being tossed around by Muslims, Atheists and other critics of Christianity against the biblical faith. Especially helpful if you're dealing with those who've read works by scholars such as Bart Ehrman, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, etc. I highly recommend it alongside similar titles such as Reinventing Jesus, The Missing Gospels and What Have They Done With Jesus?

Aside from this, I'm also planning to regain my focus on apologetics and outreach geared towards Muslims. To this end, I am planning to continue my video series on Dissecting The Divine Book. I also hope to be able to find time to read more of the Qur'an (English translation, mind you), and maybe crank out a few articles on the topic of Islam as it relates to Christianity.

Finally, I'll be trying to start doing research on "Liberal Christianity" this month. To this end, I'm planning to take a couple of short trips to a nearby United church. I also borrowed a couple of books from the public library: Jesus for the Non-Religious by John Shelby Spong, and With Or Without God by Gretta Vosper, who happens to be the minister of aforementioned United church. The book titles just make you look forward to reading them, don't they? :P Actually, I already had a chance to peruse the first few pages of Vosper's book, and already the interesting stuff is starting to leap off the pages:

Chaos has erupted in the mainline church. Things may still look pretty much the same--the slowly receding congregations, the reverential whispers, the soft light filtered through stained-glass saints--but beneath the veneer of our obligatory "Good morning"s ferments a newly mixed potion for which the church has not prepared itself. Critical thought, has seeped in, mingled with centuries-old formulae for "what we believe," and begun a reaction the likes of which any explosives chemist would be proud.

The Christian Church, as we have built it and known it, has outlived its viability. Less and less vulnerable to religion's absolute and supernatural claims, people are no longer content with its ethereal promises. Evangelical, liberal, and sacramental expressions of Christianity scrabble [I think you meant "scramble" there, Gretta] for relevance in a world that they are, for the most part, ill suited to address. And yet, it is precisely because of the challenges present it today's world that we most need the strength church might be able to offer should it survive the mess in which it currently finds itself. (p. 2)

You could just feel the Liberal worldliness in this quote. Romans 12:2 comes to mind at this point. Lord willing, I may be able to write a critical review for one or both of the books that I checked out. Not at present though, since I'm still bogged down with other work that needs to be accomplished. I will definitely find the time to review these books in the near future, though.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Highlight of the Barker-White Debate

Quite possibly one of the greatest moments in debate history: Dan Barker objects to his own writings being quoted as a source by his opponent! A must see.