Friday, August 13, 2010

Tony Costa vs. Bassam Zawadi

Topic debate: Was Muhammad assured of his salvation?

Video taken by yours truly (via Bartimaeus' camcorder).

See the ABNsat website for more live debates featuring Rev. Tony Costa versus various Islamic apologists.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Wife-Beating and Islam

For those who may be interested to know, Negeen Mayel just recently published her first article on the Answering Muslims blog. It's on the recent abuse of an Afghan woman and the parallel between that and the treatment of Muhammad's wife, Aisha. Check it out:

A Dialogue on Epistemology and Christ's Lordship

This is a recent dialogue that I had with a person who professes to be a Christian yet whose reasoning is grounded upon humanistic principles. This is an example of what happens when a person's thinking is based upon worldly ideology rather than the self-consistent word of God.

Much of the dialogue has been left unedited. I only removed some superfluous comments and took out our names. The other person shall be known only by the initials "C.D.H." His comments will be shaded cyan.


If we are to forfeit reason at the foot of the cross then all is lost and I'm out.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, has intended us to forgo their use.
- Galileo Galilei

Wise words from a man of God who was ironically imprisoned by the Catholic Church for challenging the geocentric model of astronomy in favor of a heliocentric one. Should we learn a lesson from him or are we doomed to repeat the Catholic Churches mistake? If we find that Faith, and I mean the concept of " accepting things blindly," type faith, takes off where reason leaves off... then we find ourselves in a dead end. Only confirming what the "new atheists" think of Christians. How sad.


There's a difference between abandoning reason and having a self-consistent foundation on which we are able to reason from.

By all means, come let us reason, but let's not come with this ridiculous notion that our ability to reason is somehow autonomous.

So what do we base our reasoning upon? In other words, what should be our final authority?


Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
-Siddhārtha Gautama

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
- Buddha

I'm unsure what the final authority ought to be, but how can something be true if I can poke holes in it with my own common sense? I have had no reason to doubt the authority of the bible thus far, but establishing it as the objective frame of reference is an entirely different story. If the laws of logic are contingent upon God's personal revelation, then I will have no problem establishing it as my objective frame of reference. But if this position is bankrupt, then using the Bible as an objective reference is... utter foolery.


So, fallible human reasoning is the measure of all things? How very... humanistic...

The buddha quotes tell all. Your own reason, and your own common sense. With all due respect, good sir, men are not gods; our reasoning is fallible and thus cannot be the basis on which we can establish what is ultimately true and what is not.

Please note, I am not picking at you for the sake of theological nitpicking. It is just that if you are to confess Jesus as Lord, you ought to confess that He is Lord over our epistemology as well. After all, it is in only Christ "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3, NIV)

So regarding what you said: How do you know if the divine revelation is bankrupt or not as an objective frame of reference? Easy: Verify its consistency. If the Bible is what is says it is, then it will not only be consistent with itself, but will also give us a consistent way of interpreting all facts (as opposed to interpreting the facts using our own fallible reasoning as the final frame of reference).

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments... Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
(Colossians 2:4,8, NLT)


Okay then... then what is to happen should scripture say something incoherent?


Then it is not a self-consistent objective frame of reference, and would thus prove not to be of God.

Here's my question: When you ask whether scripture can say something "incoherent," on what grounds can we say whether something is coherentor not?


I really am unsure as to how it logically follow that finding one flaw in Scripture = the entire thing is not of God. And to answer your question, simple common sense really...


"Your own reason and your own common sense" again?

Since you quoted Buddha, allow me to quote some *Christian* writers:

Do not, I beg you, bring in human reason. I shall yield to scripture alone.

In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.


*sigh* Warning: hypothetical situation... if the Bible clearly said 2 + 2 = 5, would you believe it? I wouldn't, and yes, my own reason, and my own common sense. What I know for a fact is that axioms exist and I am capable of comprehending them to some degree. Do I understand or know how they are here? No, they may be metaphysically necessary for all I know. But if they themselves disagree with what you hold to be their source, then what source is left?


That's precisely the point: Since truth is one, and is entirely self-consistent the Bible would never make a false claim such as "2 + 2 = 5." Once again, I would like to ask that you not turn the doctrine of divine Revelation into a caricature of itself.

Simple question: If Christ Jesus is Lord over all things, is He Lord over your epistemology and rational thought as well?


I'm ending this for the night... This is all going to go into pointless circles until I make up my mind on presuppositionalism. To be honest with you, right now.. it looks really, really dumb. If logic is metaphysically necessary, then no -- but if they are contingent upon the Lord himself, then yes.


I'm done for the night as well. We shall continue this some other time. But as for your last comment: Christ's Lordship admits of no exceptions. That includes logic and reasoning. We submit mind, body and soul to Him, and we ought not to allow any part of our life and thought to remain autonomous.

Here is my final exhortation to you: Think biblically, since "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NASB)

That is all. God bless.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Potter and the Clay

By George Whitefield

If it be inquired, who is to be the potter? And by whose agency this marred clay is to be formed into another vessel? Or in other words, if it be asked, how this great and mighty change is to be effected? I answer, not by the mere dint and force of moral suasion [persuasion]. This is good in its place. And I am so far from thinking, that Christian preachers should not make use of rational arguments and motives in their sermons, that I cannot think they are fit to preach at all, who either cannot, or will not use them. We have the example of the great God himself for such a practice; “Come (says he) and let us reason together.” And St. Paul, that prince of preachers, “reasoned of temperance, and righteousness, and a judgment to come.” And it is remarkable, “that whilst he was reasoning of these things, Felix trembled.” Nor are the most persuasive strains of holy rhetoric less needful for a scribe ready instructed to the kingdom of God. The scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, every where abound with them. And when can they be more properly employed, and brought forth, than when we are acting as ambassadors or heaven, and beseeching poor sinners, as in Christ's stead, to be reconciled unto God. All this we readily grant. But at the same time, I would as soon go to yonder church-yard, and attempt to raise the dead carcasses, with a “come forth,” as to preach to dead souls, did I not hope for some superior power to make the word effectual to the designed end. I should only be like a sounding brass for any saving purpose, or as a tinkling cymbal. Neither is this change to be wrought by the power of our own free-will. This is an idol every where set up, but we dare not fall down and worship it. “No man (says Christ) can come to me, unless the Father draw him.” Our own free-will, if improved, may restrain us from the commission of many evils, and put us in the way of conversion; but, after exerting our utmost efforts (and we are bound in duty to exert them) we shall find the words of our own church article to be true, that “man since the fall hath no power to turn to God.” No, we might as soon attempt to stop the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and calm the most tempestuous sea, as to imagine that we can subdue, or bring under proper regulations, our own unruly wills and affections by any strength inherent in ourselves.

And therefore, that I may keep you no longer in suspense, I inform you, that this heavenly potter, this blessed agent, is the Almighty Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the third person in the most adorable Trinity, coessential with the Father and the Son. This is that Spirit, which at the beginning of time moved on the face of the waters, when nature lay in one universal chaos. This was the Spirit that overshadowed the Holy Virgin, before that holy thing was born of her: and this same Spirit must come, and move upon the chaos of our souls, before we can properly be called the sons of God. This is what John the Baptist calls “being baptized with the Holy Ghost,” without which, his and all other baptisms, whether infant or adult, avail nothing. This is that fire, which our Lord came to send into our earthly hearts, and which I pray the Lord of all lords to kindle in every unrenewed one this day.

As for the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, such as working of miracles, or speaking with divers kinds of tongues, they are long since ceased. But as for this miracle of miracles, turning the soul to God by the more ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, this abides yet, and will abide till time itself shall be nor more. For it is he that sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of God. On this account, true believers are said to be “born from above, to be born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Their second, as well as their first creation, is truly and purely divine. It is, therefore, called “a creation;” but put ye on (says the apostle) the new man which is created” — And how? Even as the first man was, “after God in righteousness and true holiness.”


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Hussein Wario Is At It Again

So Hussein starts off by attacking Dr. White for his criticisms of Ergun Caner. Then, he proceeds to attack Acts 17 Apologetics and Dr. White (again) for defending them. Now, he wants to go more specific and direct his vitriol against Negeen Mayel. He has done exactly this in his latest blog post, My Free Speech Trumps the Gospel.

The offending comments are not in the actual blog itself. However, if you look at the comment box where David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi (among others) take Wario to task for his blatant misrepresentation of the facts, he links to this video and endorses it as proving that Acts 17's comments regarding Negeen's behaviour has been deceptive. Of course, the entire video is just a mass of spin-doctoring (the video seems to have been made by a Christian, but who knows if it is just a Muslim practicing taqiyyah?) that twists the facts to make it seem like the Acts 17 members have been lying about their testimony.

Whatever the case, David Wood has published his response to Wario on the Acts 17 blog. I don't need to repeat any of the refutations of Wario's vitriol. Let everybody look at what David has said in response to Wario, and see who is really speaking the truth on this matter.

PS - There is somebody posting as "Dr. Oakley" in the comments box, siding with Wario against Acts 17 and Wario's critics. I have no idea who this person is (Maybe it's Peter Lumpkins? I don't know.), but given that Dr. Oakley is James White's nickname, it is quite deceptive for someone to use that title like that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Jamin Hubner - On Hyper-Dispensationalism

Jamin Hubner over at Real Apologetics has been posting some really good articles on Hyper-Dispensationalism. I thought it might be worth reposting those articles here for anybody who may want to study up on this issue:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Contending Earnestly For the Faith (Sermon)

This is a little farewell message I gave to the Christian Fellowship that I was running at my old high school before I graduated. I gave it to a group of about 10 members (including myself) as an exhortation to continue working for God's glory in the coming years. I just thought it might be a good idea to post it here for posterity's sake.

Sermon Title:
Contending Earnestly For the Faith

Sermon Text:
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
(Jude 1:3, NASB)

Sermon Proposition:
We need the Holy Spirit to come... to bring about a revival.

Bible translations used:
ESV – English Standard Version
NASB – New American Standard Bible

I want you all to know that it has been a great pleasure being with you and having fellowship together. I thank the Lord God for every moment that we have had together, especially with those of you whom we have done prayers and evangelism outreach with. Since I am leaving [name of high school deleted], and will no longer be with you next year, I decided to leave you all with this short message to encourage all of you for the following school year and the rest of the years to come.

Now, you just heard the bible passage from Jude which I am basing my message on. I want this to be the theme of this Fellowship for those of you who will continue to take part next year. Never forget, brothers and sisters, that we are living in a world that is perishing in sin and depravity. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “the god of this world [that is, Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, ESV). Many around us appear lively and energetic, but God’s word makes it plain that spiritually, they are “dead in trespasses and sins... [being] by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1,3). And what shall we do about this? The answer is given to us by Jude: We must contend! We must “contend earnestly for the faith” by doing everything that God has granted us to do so that light may come to this world. Let us proclaim to the world “our common salvation,” which we have received from God by His free grace. My contention then, brothers and sisters, is that we need the Holy Spirit to come upon this school—this neighbourhood even—to bring about a revival.

Yes, you heard me right. I said revival. I long to see the days of the great awakening come to life in this age, and I long to see God bring up preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield of old; men who were empowered by the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel fearlessly, show sinners their lost state and need for Christ and win thousands of souls into eternal life. May the Spirit quicken us today just as He did back in those days. For this to happen though, there are three important things that I want you all to bear in mind:

First off, I want you to remember that a true revival is one that is initiated by the Spirit of God. When the masses linger in their deadness, the only thing that can make any difference is the reviving, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Do not think that we can accomplish anything by our own effort and willpower. We have no strength of our own to rely upon. As the Psalmist once put it, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1, NASB). Always remember that those who are born again are born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13, NASB), and that “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3, ESV). “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV). When we evangelize, are but tools in the hands of the Sovereign Architect. One proverbs states, I am not one to entertain the idea that we have any spark of goodness that we should choose God on our own. My friend, those of us who have made the good confession have done so because we are in the Spirit. And we must pray that God may send forth His Spirit to make others born again and as a result believe. It’s like what it says in that old hymn,

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing.

Let God go forth ahead of us, that the Lord Christ may be the general to lead this army into victory. Pray for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, for He who was able to change our hearts and cause us to be born again is able to do likewise towards others as well.

That being said, let us also remember that we must constantly check ourselves against the measuring rod of God’s word. It is the only sure standard that we have; Do not go “beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6)! Remember that “Scripture is breathed out [or inspired] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (1 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV). I am afraid that we often replace scripture with gimmicks and programs to entice people into believing. My friends, neither Jesus nor the apostles nor anybody in the early church ever did that. Whatever you are doing, make sure it is in accordance with scripture. Read it regularly. Get a daily reading plan. Memorize some verses. Make sure you’re not neglecting your bible study. Most important of all, make sure that you’re applying the Word to all that you do in life. Do not be led astray by fleshly emotions or traditions of men. If you think you are being led by the Spirit, check the scriptures to see if you are being lead according to God’s word. This is the surest way to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1, ESV).

Finally, learn to communicate effectively to those around us. Paul said in his epistle to the Colossians that you must “conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, by salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6, NASB). We run into different people every day, and we must know how to answer each of them according to where they are. This is where your bible knowledge comes in. Use the Word to answer. Don’t be afraid to make use of all the resources that God has made available. Remember that you must, in the words of the apostle Peter, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB). If you can learn how to redeem the time, you will be able win countless souls over into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are many more words that I wish to say to you, but because time is short, I leave you with these words. For all of you who are coming back next year, may you keep the light shining for all to see. May you be like that great preacher Jonathan Edwards, who resolved to live for God even if nobody else would do so. And let us never cease praying that God may bring about spiritual revival in our school, in our families and in our neighbourhood. Finally, since we began with a passage from Jude, we shall end with one from Jude as well. Verses 20 onward state:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

(Jude 1:20-25, ESV)

And may Lord God be with you on your journey through this present life, and may you always be working for the glory of His name.