If God Did Not Arrange the World

“If God did not arrange [the world] this way, then there must be an independent factor in the universe. And if there is such, one consequence and perhaps two follow. First, the doctrine of creation must be abandoned. A creation ex nihilo would be completely in God’s control. Independent forces cannot be created forces, and created forces cannot be independent.

Then, second, if the universe is not God’s creation, his knowledge of it–past and future–cannot depend on what he intends to do, but on his observation of how it works. In such a case, how could we be sure that God’s observations are accurate? How could we be sure that these independent forces will not later show an unsuspected twist that will falsify God’s predictions?

And, finally, on this view God’s knowledge would be empirical, rather than an integral part of his essence, and thus he would be a dependent knower. These objections are insurmountable. We can consistently believe in creation, omnipotence, omniscience, and the divine decree. But we cannot retain sanity and combine any one of these with free will.”

Gordon H. Clark, Religion, Reason and Revelation

Round Up

How To Identify False Teachers – In part 1, Denny Burk lists 6 traits of false teachers.

Without God, Without Hope – When I hear myself say things like “what is wrong with people these days?,” shake my head in disgust and marvel that human beings could be so rebellious, so foolish, so crass, so arrogant, it is a good sign that I am not remembering where I came from.

Divisiveness Vs. DiscernmentIf we are going to be discerning people, we must develop the skill of discriminating between truth and error, good and bad...So discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth.

T4G Livestream – The Together for the Gospel Conference starts tomorrow.  Here is the livestream link.

Quote:

“Since God is truth, a contempt for truth is equally a contempt for God.”- Gordon H. Clark

Round Up

Have You Ever Had A Pastoral Visit? – It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep.

A Practical Understanding Of The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 3 – Check out Part 1, and Part 2.

The Folly Of What Noah Preached – Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

All Things – The gospel guarantees that we will be brought home to glory. It is by grace that we are saved from the consequences of our sin; the same grace of God in the gospel brings us home. Better, Jesus brings us home.

Quote:

Since God is the creator, he cannot be unjust.  He creates whatever objects, things, or persons he pleases.  If he had wanted elephants with two legs and robins with four legs, he would have created them so.  Created as they are, they have no ground for complaint.  To understand the Bible, one must realize that God is the sovereign creator.  There is no law superior to him that commands, “Thou shalt not create elephants with two legs”, or “Thou shalt not hate Esau.”  There are many details in the doctrine of predestination, and each should be given its due weight; but the basic, the final, the ultimate answer to all objections is the relative position of Creator to creature.  All objections presuppose that man is in some way or other independent of God and has obtained from somewhere or achieved by his own efforts some rights over against Him.  Obviously such a view is totally destructive to Christianity. – Gordon H. Clark

It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ prn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf

Regeneration and Faith

Gordon H. Clark, “God’s Hammer: The Bible and its Critics” pg.20-23:

When Adam fell, the human race became, not stupid so that the truth was hard to understand, but inimical, to the acceptance of the truth. Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge and changed the truth of God into a lie, for the carnal mind is enmity against God. Hence the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, for the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned. In order to accept the Gospel, therefore, it is necessary to be born again. The abnormal, depraved intellect must be remade by the Holy Spirit; the enemy must be made a friend. This is the work of regeneration, and the heart of stone can be taken away and a heart of flesh can be given only by God himself. Resurrecting the man who is dead in sin and giving him a new life, far from being a human achievement, requires nothing less then almighty power.

It is therefore impossible by argument or preaching alone to cause anyone to believe the Bible. Only God can cause such belief. At the same time, this does not mean that argument is useless. Peter tells us, “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” This was the constant practice of the apostles. Stephen disputed with the Libertines; the Jerusalem council disputed; in Ephesus Paul disputed three months in the synagogue and then continued disputing in the school of Tyrannus. (Acts 6:9; 15:7; 19:8,9: compare Acts 17:2; 18:4, 19; 24:25). Anyone who is unwilling to argue, dispute, and reason is disloyal to his Christian duty.

At this point the natural question is, What is the use of all this expounding and explaining if it does not produce belief? The answer should be clearly understood. The witness or testimony of the Holy Spirit is a witness to something. The Spirit cannot produce belief in Christ unless a sinner has heard of Christ. “How then shall they call on him of whom they have not heard?…So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:14,17).

No doubt God in his omnipotence could reveal the necessary information to each man individually without a written Bible or ministerial preaching. But this is not what God has done. God gave the apostles and preachers the duty of expounding the message; but the production of belief is the work of the Spirit, for faith is the gift of God.

This is part of the reason why it was said above that the best procedure for us, if we want someone to accept the doctrine of plenary and verbal inspiration, is to expound the Scripture in detail. We may well use archaeology and historical criticism too, but the main task is to communicate the message of the Bible in as understandable language as we can manage.

It is to be noted too that the sinner, without any special work of the Spirit, can understand the message. Belief in its truth and understanding its meaning are two different things. The Bible can be understood by the same methods of study used on Euclid or Aristotle. Despite some pious disclaimers, it is true that antagonistic unbelievers often enough understand the Bible better than devout Christians. The Pharisees saw the significance of Christ’s claims to deity more quickly and more clearly than the disciples did.

As Paul persecuted the Christians in Jerusalem and set out for Damascus, he understood the words, “Jesus is Lord” as well as any of the twelve. It was precisely because he understood so well that he persecuted so zealously. Had he been unsure of the meaning, he would not have been so exercised. But the trouble was, he did not believe it. On the contrary, he believed that it was false. Then on the Damascus road Christ appeared to him and caused him to believe that the statement was true. Paul did not understand the phrase any better a moment after his conversion than a moment before. Doubtless in later years God revealed further information to him for use in his epistles. But at the moment, Christ did not enlarge his understanding one whit; he caused him to receive, accept, or believe what he had already understood quite well. Thus it is that the Spirit witnessed to the message previously communicated.

Strong emphasis needs to be placed on the work of the Holy Spirit. Man is dead in sin, an enemy of God, opposed to all righteousness and truth. He needs to be changed. Neither the preacher nor, much less, the sinner himself can cause the change. But “blessed is the man whom you choose, and cause to approach you” (Psalm 65:4). “And I will¦take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26, 27). “As many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). “God when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18).

These verses, which primarily refer to regeneration, are applicable to our acceptance of the Bible as the very word of God. Indeed, the new life which the second birth initiates” the life to which we are “raised from the death of sin” is precisely the life of faith; and a full faith includes a plenary and verbal inspiration of the salvation message. It is the gift of God.

This is why the greatest of all the creeds issuing from the Reformation, the Westminster Confession says:

The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is Truth itself), the author thereof; and, therefore, it is to be received, because it is the Word of God. “our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness, by and with the Word, in our heart (I,iv and v.)

In the last analysis, therefore “although historical and archaeological confirmation of the Bible” accuracy is of great interest to us and of great embarrassment to unbelievers-a conviction that the Bible is really the Word of God cannot be the conclusion of a valid argument based on more clearly evident premises. This conviction is produced by the Holy Spirit himself.

It must always be kept in mind that the proclamation in the Gospel is part of a spiritual struggle against the supernatural powers of the evil one, and victory comes only through the omnipotent grace of God. Accordingly, as Jesus explained his mission to both Peter and the Pharisees, so we today must expound and explain the Scripture in all its fullness to all sorts of men; and we can then be assured that our Father in Heaven will reveal his truth to some of them.

Original Blog Post Found Here.