We all remember that not very long ago, Kim Davis was in the news. She refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual people. Well, she is in the news again. Can you guess what for? Apparently she is being sued for not issuing a marriage license to a woman who wants to marry an animal. She is also being sued by a man who wants to marry his computer. Can anyone say, “slippery slope?” When you have rejected the word of God, and replaced His laws with your own sinful desires, you are obligated to approve, and affirm everyone else’s. Listen folks, I don’t know what her theology is. I’m not putting this out there to endorse her. I’m writing this to illustrate how the country lost its mind. It is as if the entire country has read Romans 1 and said, “Yup, we’re cool with that.” For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, I’ll include Romans 1:18-32 so you can see what I’m talking about. We are under God’s judgment as a nation people. We need to repent of our sins. Romans 1:18-32 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (25) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, (27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; (32) and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
In honor of Dr. J.I. Packer’s 90th birthday this July 22, I offer this review.
I’d like to start out by saying that there are some good books written, and published in Christendom still today, and this is one of them. I would contrast it with my most recent review of, “Audacious” by Beth Moore. One is a piece of fluff, with virtually no value at all to the reader. The other is a wonderfully educational book that enriches the reader. Of course, Dr. Packer’s book is the latter. It should also be noted, that I don’t affirm Dr. Packer’s ecumenism, views on evolution, or the age of creation. In light of these differences, I still recommend this work for your Christian education, as our differences are not of primary import, but rather of secondary or tertiary consideration. I think this book should be on the reading list for men going into seminary. I admire his passion for knowing God, strength of conviction, and his intelligence. Here is a link to a short bio if you are not familiar with J. I. Packer. I am also including this link, so you can read about his character.
In Dr. Packer’s book, “Evangelical Influences” he introduces us to three sets of men via short biographies and citations of their works. These three sets of men come from three distinct times during Church history. The first is comprised of Martin Luther, and John Calvin. They represent evangelicalism during the Reformation. The second group is Richard Baxter, and George Whitefield. They represent evangelicalism as Puritans. The third and last set is Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, and Francis Schaeffer who could be considered Dr. Packer’s contemporaries representing modern evangelicalism. One thing that impressed me most about the biographies is the kind affection that Packer expressed for, “The Doctor” Martyn Lloyd Jones. Even though they didn’t see eye to eye on every issue, the fond recollections Packer expresses are very touching. Sometimes we let our differences cause undue animosity towards one another. It is encouraging to read these fond memories.
The rest of the book is spent relaying historical information about the works of these men, and the effects those works had, and continue to have on evangelicalism. They have done much of the heavy lifting for us fleshing out the doctrines so that we could have concise expressions of them, which are precise and nuanced.
I especially like the section where Packer explains how we have benefited from Calvin’s work on the inerrancy of scripture. Through cited passages from Calvin’s work, we can read what he thought about scripture and how it should be thought of. Much of our conservative modern understanding comes from the work these predecessors did. In the 1970’s Rogers and McKim criticized Calvin’s explanations of inerrancy. Dr. Packer’s answers to their criticism are well worth reading. I think this conclusion on pages 166 and 167 expresses perfectly how Packer understands Calvin’s convictions “…For Calvin, Scripture was able to fulfil its God-given function precisely by virtue of its God-given form, and the Holy Spirit, through whose agency that function is fulfilled, was directly responsible for producing the words in that particular form. The Spirit teaches from a textbook that in effect he wrote himself. For Calvin, therefore, anyone who set the form and the function of Scripture, its givenness and its usefulness, in antithesis to each other, treating them as alternative rather than complementary theological concerns, would be talking a kind of nonsense, just as one would if one set food in antithesis to eating…” As you can see, Packer understood Calvin’s work differently than Kim Rogers and McKim. I tend to agree with Packer.
In the section about predestination Packer lists 10 things predestination does not mean. I found this helpful for explaining the topic to my 15 year old daughter. I hope she found it helpful. Many people have questions or presuppositions about predestination that make them biased against it, even though it is blatantly taught throughout scripture. We dare not disregard it. Number 6 said, “Predestination does not mean that the door of mercy is barred to anyone who actually wants to enter. To no such person does God say, ‘No, you can’t come in; there is no redemption, no mercy for you. You were predestined to stay outside, and outside you must remain.’ The reason why this never happens is because no one ever wants to come in except God’s chosen, whom he draws to Christ and brings to faith according to his predestining purpose. We are dealing, remember, with God’s action towards our fallen race, in which nobody naturally seeks God. Nobody naturally wants to come to Christ. One who wants to come to Christ is already the subject of a work of grace, and will find the Saviour whom he or she is seeking.” Instead of being a cause for distress or anxiety about predestination, this should give the Christian great peace.
Dr. Packer cites large sections from the works of these fellows. He does so to examine the work they did, and to provide the historical context, so we can see the effect they had on us. It is always noteworthy to me, to understand how our situation today isn’t much different from our predecessors. The issues that Luther and Calvin dealt with are still being dealt with today. By studying their works we can see how they recognized, understood, and dealt with them. Dr. Packer’s proficiency at engaging the reader, while simultaneously educating them is appreciated. Even though this material can seem a bit difficult to get through for some, I adjure you to read all of it. For the rest of us, who are accustomed to reading works laden with theology and history, I think you’ll find this to be a good read.
- ISBN-13: 978-1619701564
Trump won’t make our country great again. Tocqueville had it right when he said, “In the United States, the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people…
Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent…
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.
America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other
Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.”
It is pretty clear what made us great was God. Now we are a wicked nation in rebellion to God. Then, we were a Christian nation devoted to God. Preachers stopped preaching, the salt lost its saltiness, and the light faded away. The cancer grew unimpeded and hidden from sight. Now we are terminal. It will take a miracle from God, not a politician or more government.
Okay these guys are at it again claiming the Earth is flat. Let me just say, asserting something and giving no proof, and then asserting it stronger, does not make it so. That is not proof. Nevermind that any amateur astronomer with a $300 telescope can see the moon and venus. Nevermind that they are obviously spheroid. Nevermind that radio waves bounce around the planet at a set rate and rely on the curvature of the planet as well as the atmosphere to get where they are going. Nevermind that high altitude vehicles not owned by NASA have observed the curvature of the planet. The list goes on and on.
They cite 2 Sam 2:8 as evidence from the Bible. I say… wow… just, wow… They need to learn how to read the Bible. It is called hermeneutics people, buy a book about it and read it. Let’s take a quick look at 2 Sam 2:8, “1 Samuel 2:8 NASB “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, And He set the world on them.” Obviously in context we see that this is figuratively representative of God’s power and providence. Here’s what Matthew Henry’s Commentary had to say about it, “for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them; the earth has its foundations on which it is laid, and its pillars by which it is supported; but these are no other than the power and providence of God; otherwise the earth is hung upon nothing, in the open circumambient air: and that God can and does do this may well be thought, and to do all the above things in providence and grace, related in the preceding verses; in the support, and for the proof of which, this is observed. Figuratively, the pillars of the earth may design the princes of the world, the supreme rulers of it, and civil magistrates, who are sometimes called cornerstones, and the shields of the earth, Zec_10:4, and so pillars, because they are the means of cementing, supporting, and protecting the people of the earth, and of preserving their peace and property. Likewise good men may be meant in a figurative sense, who, as they are the salt of the earth, are the pillars of it, for whose sake it was made, and is supported, and continued in being; the church is the pillar and ground of truth; and every good man is a pillar in the house of God, and especially ministers of the Gospel; see Rev_3:12.”
Just throwing up proof texts out of context to support your ridiculous notions doesn’t make something true. That is eisegesis. We need to be exegetical in our approach to scripture. Here is another one of their abused proof texts, “1 Chronicles 16:30 NASB (30) Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.” I don’t even see how that one is related to their argument at all. It seems laughable to try to apply it as support for a flat Earth.
Then there is the next one from their page, “Psalms 93:1 NASB The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.” again, same problem. It is in no way about a flat Earth. It is about God’s power and Sovereignty.
Oh, and look they did it to this verse to, “Psalms 96:9 NASB Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.” Seriously? They must be hoping nobody looks up the Bible verses they threw up on the blog. Perhaps they figured, “Nobody will look up the verses that go with these addresses and it will make me look really smart and credible…”
Then they claim that there is no South pole, and that there is a giant ice wall surrounding all the continents. I wonder what our friends at McMurdo Station would say to them?
Their next big claim is that there is a sky dome over the disc, and here is the verse they use to support that claim, “Job 37:18 NASB “Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, Strong as a molten mirror?” So, yeah… It doesn’t really make a case for that. Then when you read it in context and see that it is more poetic language, you are forced to interpret it accordingly. Here is the context for you, “Job 37:1-24 NASB “At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place. (2) “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. (3) “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. (4) “After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. (5) “God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. (6) “For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ (7) “He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work. (8) “Then the beast goes into its lair And remains in its den. (9) “Out of the south comes the storm, And out of the north the cold. (10) “From the breath of God ice is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen. (11) “Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. (12) “It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, That it may do whatever He commands it On the face of the inhabited earth. (13) “Whether for correction, or for His world, Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen. (14) “Listen to this, O Job, Stand and consider the wonders of God. (15) “Do you know how God establishes them, And makes the lightning of His cloud to shine? (16) “Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, The wonders of one perfect in knowledge, (17) You whose garments are hot, When the land is still because of the south wind? (18) “Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, Strong as a molten mirror? (19) “Teach us what we shall say to Him; We cannot arrange our case because of darkness. (20) “Shall it be told Him that I would speak? Or should a man say that he would be swallowed up? (21) “Now men do not see the light which is bright in the skies; But the wind has passed and cleared them. (22) “Out of the north comes golden splendor; Around God is awesome majesty. (23) “The Almighty–we cannot find Him; He is exalted in power And He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness. (24) “Therefore men fear Him; He does not regard any who are wise of heart.””
Even if we just took that one verse out of context like they did, it doesn’t negate the idea of a sphere of Earth, surrounded by an atmosphere, that is the skies. There next section of scripture suffers the very same malady, “Genesis 1:14-19 NASB Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (15) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. (16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. (17) God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, (18) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. (19) There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.”
Then they attempt to apply some, “science” to make their claims credible. What they demonstrate is a lack of understanding of the source materials as well as the Bible, which shouldn’t be a surprise to us since they completely erred when reading and applying scripture. The video used as support makes more of the same hermeneutical errors in regard to the genre of literature that is being cited. It would be laughable if people weren’t buying this nonsense. Then to take it to the next level they compare the earth to the human eye and include a diagram, cuz… you know, diagrams… The Simpson’s is even employed as an argument. Let’s take a look at the deluge from a spheroid enveloped by an atmosphere that contained much more water vapor than ours does today. Their arguments don’t disprove that model. I’m not talking about the Canopy theory.
And of course they insist that space flights, satellites, and the moon landing are all made up propaganda, and that the space shuttle explosion in the 80’s was because we can’t leave our little snow globe enclosure. And the piece de resistance is a flashlight shining through a jar proves, glass ceiling yo. Is this the best they have? I mean seriously, who is going to buy this?
So, I’m not done dealing with this, but I have to go to bed. I have work tomorrow. They have so much bad material up there, that to address all of it, I will have to write numerous articles. I will continue my critique of their article in the near future, but for now… goodbye.
I remember my first year of marriage. “Honey, you’re excited to go skiing with me and the guys for the 30th time, right?” Sure. Just like that one guy’s wife was thrilled when he went over-b…
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