The Highway to Atheism

Praying_Hands003“Carelessness in duties is the highway to atheism.- For every formal and slight prayer doth harden the heart, and make a way for contempt of God. Men that have made bold with God in duty, and it succeeds well with them, – their awe of God is lessened, and the lively sense of his glory and majesty abated, till it be quite lost: by degrees they outgrow all feelings and tenderness of conscience; every time you come to God slightly, you lose ground by coming, till at length you look upon worship as a mere custom, or something done for fashion’s sake.”

~Puritan Sermons, Vol. 1, pg. 402; “How may we cure distractions in holy duties?” by Thomas Manton (preaching on Matt 15:7-8)

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f67/thomas-manton-highway-atheism-66725/, Comment #1

The Bible as a True Narrative Representation

John Martin - Sodom and Gomorrah

I am still struggling with HG, so posting for now will be sporadic at best.  However, I recently managed to actually read through a book and retain some information from it (Yay!).

Here is one quote that stood out to me from the book, Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Famous City by Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Latayne C. Scott on page 243:


If, in the cold reality of the twenty-first century, something long regarded as “mythical” can be proved to be historically present in the very dirt of a massive mound in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, then would not intellectual honesty require that the Bible itself be given a fresh, new look as a true narrative representation on its own terms?

Oller points out the implications of this: “If the Bible is true, since it extends from the creation to the end of time, it must be the basis for all TNR’s without exception.  If each of them is connected to space-time, and the Bible covers all of it, all of them are connected to the Bible.  If the Bible is true, all proofs must be consistent with it.”


NB: I found this book to be a fascinating read, although I do not endorse all of the authors’ views. For instance, I personally found this statement about John the Baptist on page 29 to be bizarre: “His captors had dragged this man, whose bones were made of insect shells and whose veins ran half honey, along these skidding stones and slammed him into one of the many caves that dot the slopes of the hill below the fortified compound.”  I’m sure I’ve read before that John the Baptist ate wild locusts and honey.  However, I don’t recall ever reading a claim that his bones were made of insect shells!

Geography Trumps Chronology

Nikanor Chernetsov Mouth of Jordan River

I am still struggling with HG, so posting for now will be sporadic at best.  However, I recently managed to actually read through a book and retain some information from it (Yay!).

Here is one quote that stood out to me from the book, Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Famous City by Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Latayne C. Scott on pages 130-131:


Here’s an assertion that may be controversial, but I’m committed to it–and for what I think are very good reasons: Geography trumps chronology when you’re dealing with the ancient Near East and the Bible.  That’s because there are a lot of variations in Near Eastern chronologies–with high, middle, and low versions that can vary thirty to fifty years at given points.  It’s far looser with the high, middle, and low biblical chronologies that swing to the tune of at least two hundred years for periods preceding the reign of King Solomon–and centuries more than that, if you consider the view of renowned biblical geographer A.F. Rainey and others who view Abraham and the patriarchs as Aramean clan-heads of the twelfth and eleventh centuries BCE.  Needless to say, that’s a lot of chronological uncertainty and disagreement among scholars!

By comparison, geography is quite static.  With few exceptions, it doesn’t move around.  Mount Hermon has been in the same place through all antiquity, Jerusalem is fixed, the Jordan and the Dead Sea are fixed.  So if there’s a tenable geographical case for the location of a biblical site, such as there is for Sodom, then you can nail down the geography so long as the stratigraphy–the archaeological artifacts, especially ceramics that anchor chronology in a certain stratum or excavation level–is in the ballpark.

Again, we begin with the text, and that’s how using all of the geographical marks in the story of Abraham, you invariably find Sodom located in the Kikkar of the Jordan, because that’s what Abraham and Lot saw when they were dividing up the land between them.  The text specifies where Sodom was, and after a decade of intensive exploration in that area excavating there, and even closely examining maps and satellite pictures of the topography, we’ve concluded that if the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah still exist, they would have to be at Tall-el-Hammam, at nearby Tall Nimrin, or at other Bronze Age sites on the eastern Kikkar.  It is what it is, and it is where it is.

Furthermore, we’ve found within the excavated ruins of Tall el-Hammam the verification of multiple points of the Genesis Sodom account.  (Right stuff: more about that in a coming chapter.)  The Bible, the geography, and the site all agree.


NB: I found this book to be a fascinating read, although I do not endorse all of the authors’ views. For instance, I personally found this statement about John the Baptist on page 29 to be bizarre: “His captors had dragged this man, whose bones were made of insect shells and whose veins ran half honey, along these skidding stones and slammed him into one of the many caves that dot the slopes of the hill below the fortified compound.”  I’m sure I’ve read before that John the Baptist ate wild locusts and honey.  However, I don’t recall ever reading a claim that his bones were made of insect shells!

I Have HG

I am currently battling a stubborn case of HG (hyperemesis gravidarum, ie. severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy; No, it’s not just morning sickness).  As a result, I am unable to prepare daily blog posts at this time.  I had hoped to be feeling better by the time all of my prescheduled posts ran out, but I am not at that place yet.  A good day for me right now is being able to get dressed and maybe even have a bath or shower.  Even powerful anti-nausea and vomiting drugs are only partially helpful. I hope to be feeling better soon, but until then, to learn more about HG, please visit:

Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation

Thank you for your patience at this time.  I hope to be up and running again as soon as possible.

The Qur’an Confirms The Bible Was Not Corrupted

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee:

Quran cover“Now the A.D. 609-680 Qur’an frequently tries to shame the “People of the Book” – viz. especially the Judaists, but also the Christians – for not heeding the Holy Bible.   In so doing, it is true that Muhammad was hereby trying to establish the superiority of the Qur’an.

But by rebuking the majority of Judaists and Christians for not being loyal to the Bible, he established the veracity of the Bible.   And in conceding that some of the “People of the Book” were indeed quite loyal to it – he unwittingly thereby confirmed the accessibility and authority and understandability thereof also in his own day and age and locality.

Thereby Muhammad himself overthrows the later Islamic theory that the Holy Bible had long been corrupted and was insufficiently intelligible by the time of the beginning and the duration and the completion of the compilation of the Qur’an.”

Source: “Bible and Qur’an: The Reliability of the Original Bible and the Original Qur’an,” pages 22-23, available free online here: http://www.dr-fnlee.org/bible-and-quran-the-reliability-of-the-original-bible-and-the-original-quran/

Only Two Children = Extermination of a People

Interesting food for thought:

Franz von Defregger Das Haserl 1904

The two-children system will rapidly lead to extermination of a people, for ten per-cent of all marriages are naturally childless, and unmarried people do not contribute to the growth of a nation, while the two-children system replaces only the parents, no replacements for unmarried people and childless couples, hence a decrease in population, and the nation will die out.  At least four children to a family to prevent this dying out, five children to bring about an increase in population.

~Theodore Laetsh, qtd in Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children by Nancy Campbell, p. 51

“No images!” is God’s moral rule for all time

Dr. C. Matthew McMahon:

noimageavailableChristendom has a bad habit of continually reenacting historical mistakes. There are a number reasons for why this is the case. Citing them could take quite some time in a paper dedicated all its own to the task. But the mere fact that heresy and error plague the church in light of the “age of information” is astounding. Any Christian can set themselves for one hour in front of their computer and access millions of pages of text, treatises, sermons, books, and tracts on various religious subjects by CD-Rom or the Internet. With such a wealth of information at our fingertips you would think that the church at large would learn from its mistakes, or at least become aware of why they believe what they do in light of the history of the church. Yet, even with such information at our beck and call, modern Christendom continues to believe repackaged lies that contribute to its degradation and deter it from its needed reformation.

One of the more “touchy” issues in the contemporary church today is the controversy over images or pictures of Jesus Christ. Those who hold to the position of accepting images and pictures of Christ as “harmless” do so with little effort. (Now, I am making a huge distinction between Roman Catholics and Protestants here. Roman Catholicism is in a class all its own since the detrimental acceptance of relics and icon worship given in the 8th century. This we will revisit later.) When I refer to the “church” here, I am speaking about Protestant Churches who hold to this position, even those that hold steadfastly to the confessions of the Reformation (or at least give them lip service.) Their argument is very simple and it stands upon two maxims: 1) The pictures used are not being worshipped, and, 2) Jesus Christ was also a man, and there is no harm whatsoever of depicting him in that nature since he was, as the creeds say, “very man.”

The contemporary church has almost no idea about the controversies that engulfed the position they hold concerning the acceptance of images or pictures of Christ. Ignorantly, they have set themselves above and beyond the practices of the early church, have scorned the Reformation, and have aligned themselves with some of the most deviant heretics in the history of the church when they ascribe to the practice of allowing images of Christ to adorn their homes and churches…

Read more: http://www.apuritansmind.com/the-christian-walk/the-tract-series/icons-graven-images-and-the-church-by-dr-c-matthew-mcmahon/

I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

BoreasI asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

~John Newton

Are You Walking With and Pleasing God?

A Prayer for those at Sea by Frederick Daniel Hardy

Find out here:

http://regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/how-to-know-that-you-are-walking-with-and-pleasing-god/

Lowliness Teaches Men to Recount Mercies

Nekrasov and Panaev visiting sick Belinsky 1881

Thomas Boston, Works, 3:542 (The Crook in the Lot):

Pride of heart overlooks and vilifies mercies one is possessed of, and fixeth the eye on what is wanting in one’s condition, making one like the flies which pass over the sound places, and swarm together on the sore. On the contrary, lowliness teaches men to recount the mercies they enjoy in the lowest condition, and to set a mark on the good things they have possessed, or yet do, Job 2:10.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/pride-overlooks-mercies-lowliness-recounts-them-83983/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

The Gospel Changes Everything

Pastor Bob Thune:

3349839-left-hand-outstretchedSomewhere along the line, we have individualized the gospel. We said it was just about “you and Jesus.” We forgot that the gospel doesn’t just change eternal destinies; it changes everything. The gospel transforms societies, renews families, and heals relationships. That’s why Jesus called it “the gospel of the kingdom” (Luke 16:16). The gospel is all about the rule and reign of Jesus. And where Jesus is rightly honored as Lord, there is more than just personal salvation; there is redemptive action! The gospel is holistic. For me to say that I cared about Ryan’s soul without caring about his relationship with his family would be the pinnacle of hypocrisy. The answer wasn’t, “Get saved and then we’ll deal with your family relationships.” The answer was, “God wants to heal the wounds in your family. He is a redemptive God.”

Read more: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-gospel-changes-everything/

What They Want is More Important than What They Know

Pastor Bob Thune:

BacksteinherzWe spend all sorts of time talking about petty sins and surface issues, when the real battle is going on in the heart. You can talk about behavior and external circumstances all day, but unless you drag some heart idols out on the table, you’re just putting a Band-Aid on the problem… The real question is not what we’re doing, but what god we’re worshiping. That’s why what your disciples want is much more important than what they know.

Read more: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/every-sin-is-idolatry/

The Crook in the Lot Gives Rise unto Many Acts of Faith

Thomas Boston, Works, 3:515-516 (The Crook in the Lot):

Wooden figure of Job with an affliction of boils, possibly G Wellcome L0058509The crook in the lot gives rise unto many acts of faith, hope, love, self denial, resignation, and other graces; to many heavenly breathings, pantings, longings, and groanings, which otherwise would not be brought forth. And I make no question but these things, howsoever by carnal men despised as trifling, are more precious in the sight of God than even believers themselves are aware of, being acts of immediate internal worship; and will have a surprising notice taken of them, and of the sum of them, at long run, howbeit the persons themselves can hardly think them worth their own notice at all.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/crook-lot-acting-grace-83974/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

Image: Wooden figure of Job with an affliction of boils, possibly German, 1750-1850

All Parts of the Day were Holy to Him

Sabbath Eve

“The Lord’s Day he esteemed a divine ordinance, and rest on it necessary, so far as it conduced to holiness. He was very conscientious in observance of that day as the mart day of the soul. He was careful to remember it, to get house, and heart in order for it and when it came, he was studious to improve it. He redeems the morning from superfluous sleep, and watches the whole day over his thoughts and words, not only to restrain them from wickedness, but worldliness. All parts of the day were like holy to him, and his care was continued in it in variety of holy duties: what he heard in public, he repeated in private, to whet it upon himself and family. Lawful recreations he thought this day unseasonable, and unlawful ones much more abominable: yet he knew the liberty God gave him for needful refreshing, which he neither did refuse nor abuse.”

~“The Character of an Old English Puritan, or Non-Conformist” written by John Geree, M.A., and edited by Dr. Mike Renihan

Source: http://angelawittmansblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/the-sabbath-just-any-other-day/

A Living Sense of Justification

J.C. Ryle via Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation:

Praying_Hands016To keep up a living sense of peace, there must be constant looking to Jesus…

There must be constant communion with Jesus…

There must be constant watchfulness against the enemies of your soul…

There must be a constant following after holiness in every relation of life…

There must be a constant labouring after humility…

There must be constant boldness in confessing our Lord before men…

There must be constant diligence about means of grace, and good works…

Lastly, there must be constant jealousy over our own souls, and frequent self-examination…

Read more: http://regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/if-you-wish-to-keep-up-a-living-sense-of-your-own-justification-and-acceptance-with-god/