Absolute Truth Can Be Known.

Absolute truth can only be known totally, perfectly, and absolutely by the transcendent being who is the origin of that truth. His creatures, by their nature as lesser beings, created by Him, can only know what He has made them capable of knowing. This is also true of their ability to perceive, reason, understand, and communicate.

Then we must factor in the effect the curse had on Adam’s progeny due to his sin in the garden. We are born enslaved to a sinful nature, and are destined to suffer injury, disease, and death due to his sin, known as original sin, and our own individual sins. Sin also has affected the way we perceive, reason, understand, and communicate. This is known as the, “noetic effect” of sin.

When we consider these two ideas, it might seem that it is impossible for us to know absolute truth. This would be incorrect. God has made us able to know of absolute truth, just not perfectly, absolutely, or totally. We can know that God exists, fire burns, and the wind blows. We can even understand how combustion works, and what the source of the wind is, but to know them as God does is impossible in our current state and even in our glorified state.

If you look at an apple on a desk, you’ll see an apple. If you use a magnifying glass, you’ll see the pores on the skin as well as the blemishes. If you use a microscope, you’ll be able to see the cells of the apple. Advanced technology allows us to look at the micros and macros of the cosmos in ways that were never before possible for us. No matter what technology we develop, we will never be able to perceive things the way that God does.

God wants us to know Him. He has given us the creation to see His work. He has given us the progressive revelation of His word for us to know Him. In the person of the Holy Spirit, He makes His word understandable to us. In the person of Christ Jesus, He has made it possible for us to be justified to Him, to be adopted as sons and daughters. The Bible says this about Jesus, “…He is the image of the invisible God…” (Col 1:15) It also says, “…For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…” (Col 2:9)

If you’d like to know absolute truth, in as much as you can, I encourage you to think about your guilt as a sinner. Consider how holy God is as the sovereign Creator of everything. Think about His perfection in all of His attributes. Repent of your sins. Forsake them. Turn from them towards Christ. He is your only hope. “…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”…” (Acts 4:10-12) “…Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”…” (2 Cor 6:2)

Who is surprised over the lost world’s response to the Nashville Statement?

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Who is surprised over the lost world’s response to the Nashville Statement? I’m not. I don’t believe any of the signers are surprised either. The liberal, “Christians” are shocked and surprised by the Nashville Statement. I don’t know why they are so shocked. It isn’t like we changed our tune. We’ve been affirming scripture over culture all along. As is often the case with liberals, it boils down to the redefinition of words.

It is almost like they have a different religion than we do… They call themselves, “Christians” yet they deny the authority of scripture. (Think God’s Word is wrong.) They say silly things like, “The table is a little bigger than that.” “The path is broader than you think.” “God’s love trumps theology.” “Love is love.” You get the idea. None of it is biblical. When you remind them that, (Matt 7:13, 14) “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” they insist that their feelings about God’s love trump what the scripture actually says.  They say, “My God isn’t as small and black and white as the way you understand her/him/x to be.” 

I talked with one who claims the Bible says nothing about homosexuality being a sin. When confronted with scripture from the Old Testament, he denies it and claims we are under a new Covenant. We are in a New Covenant, but the scripture from the Old Testament is pertinent. It demonstrates what God says about homosexuality. God is immutable. He doesn’t change. What was sin years ago is still sin.

So with that argument dismissed by the liberal, I moved to the New Testament. I cited scripture where homosexuality is listed along with other sins making it evident that it is included as sin. The liberal dismissed this as an interpretation problem on my behalf. He insisted that this is only about homosexual sex outside of marriage and that homosexuals at that time were being married in the Church and that their union was not sinful. When I asked him how he got there from what the scripture says, his response was less about scripture and more about how his view is from our modern context, and love. He also presumed to imagine how he though Jesus would respond now.

It is evident that liberal Christianity is just a redefining of the word, “Christian.” It isn’t Christian at all. They may claim Jesus as their savior, but they don’t really trust or believe Him. They deny His word, and they deny Him the ability and authority to define what sin is. They reserve for themselves the ability to define what sin is and is not. If you don’t know what sin is, how can you truly repent? If you don’t see yourself as a sinner, why would you want a Savior?

At the end of the day, don’t be alarmed by your liberal family, or friend’s response to the Nashville Statement. Understand that they are more than likely still in the dark and lost. Try to correct them from scripture. Pray for them. Don’t be swayed from the truth by their strange arguments. Even if their arguments manipulate your emotions remember, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Trust God’s word, not your feelings.

“…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed…”

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“…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed…”

Remember, God can save who He wants to save.  The Jews saw the gentiles as dirty compared to themselves.  The next time you are tempted to look down on someone because of their race, or some other reason, and think that salvation can’t be for them, remember the Jews and gentiles.  God will save anyone He has determined to save.  He doesn’t try and then fail.  What He sets out to do, He accomplishes.  Paul was a murderer, not just that, but a persecutor of Christ’s Church.  After his conversion he thought of himself as the chief of sinners, yet he was born again.  Christ put him off his horse, blinded him, while making him see, and then made him an Apostle.  Ananias feared Paul and didn’t want to go to him initially until God told him this, “15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” Jesus made Paul His slave, and Paul loved his Lord and Master.  Paul brought the gospel to the gentiles with passion and fervor from the Lord, and the Church was built, with Christ as the Chief cornerstone and the Apostles laying the foundation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to the will of the Father.

44The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. 46Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

47“For so the Lord has commanded us,
‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’”

48When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:44-52 NASB)

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation According to Acts Chapter 11.

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In the first part of Chapter 11 we read that Peter, who was a Jew, and an Apostle of Christ, was in Joppa when he had the vision about the sheet with the unclean animals being dropped down. As a Jew there were animals he was not permitted to eat as they were considered ceremonially unclean. Now, without the context of the surrounding scriptures one might assume that this section of scripture is about making all foods acceptable to eat, although it is true that we can eat anything as long as we give thanks for it, this section of scripture should not be used as a prooftext for that truth. We would cite Mark 7, and 1 Corinthians 10 for that support.

This section of scripture is actually, about the gentiles. As of this time they were not considered by the Apostles when the gospel was preached. In this vision Peter was being prepared to preach the gospel to even the gentiles. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means to that end. We also know that people cannot know it unless someone comes to them to preach it. This notion was confirmed to Peter when the men sent to him by the Roman Cornelius arrived.

In verse 14 we read, “and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.” This is in regard to Peter and what he will say to the gentile household. Notice what happens? he will speak words… by which you will be saved… For everyone who is a fan of friendship evangelism read that over and over again.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It must be preached with words. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 1:16-17. It is the means God has ordained by which to save the elect.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 10:14-17. You’ll notice that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit after they came to faith for it says in verse 17 that they believed first. “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” You’ll also notice that it is God Himself who gives them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not imparted by a Priest or any man. He is not imparted by a ceremony, or some tradition. Those He indwells, He indwells by the will of the Father. In verse 18 we also see that the repentance that leads to life is granted by God according to His will, and the work of Christ on the cross as expressed in the gospel that was preached to them. “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

The Word of God is truly wonderful. When we know it, and are informed by it, we can make decisions that are faithful to God. We are called to do what is right as Christians. Preaching the gospel of Christ is our mission. Repent and believe!

Peter Reports at Jerusalem
1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem,  those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. 11 And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (NASB Strong’s) Acts 11:1-18

Eastern Orthodox Church and the Gospel?

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I was looking for a Youtube video of an Eastern Orthodox Father explaining the gospel when I found the one below.  After watching it, I’m not sure they know what the gospel is.  Was it just me, or was his explanation convoluted and imprecise?  After listening to it, I’m more unsure of what they believe than when I began.  It seems to be the normative for the EOC.  It is almost like they purposely leave things unclear.  It is like buying a car from a used car salesman in a fancy outfit who says, “Come on, trust me.  I’m looking out for you.” but then he won’t let you look under the hood, or even open the car door before you buy, and when you ask him what size engine it has, he just assures you that it is wayyy better than your other car, because it is the oldest car around.

The gospel is fairly simple to explain as a Protestant.  That is because we hold the Bible, God’s Word, as our authority for our faith.  Ya know why? Because it is God’s Word…  Here it is in a nutshell, we are sinners. God is perfectly righteous. We can’t be good enough to make up for our sins. Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune God, took on human flesh, was born of the virgin Marry, lived a perfect sinless life, and was righteous. He was truly God, and truly man. He went to the cross, had the wrath of God poured out on Him that we had coming to us, and paid for our sins.  This justified us to God.  If we repent of our sins, turn from them and turn to Christ, trust in His work on the cross where He atoned for us, and believe only in Him and His work for our salvation, God considers us as righteous as Jesus.  His righteousness is imputed to us once we repent and believe.  After that moment, we are saved, and can never be lost again.  From that point on, God will conform us to His Son’s likeness, in the sense that we will begin to hate our sin, and love God and His will more.  We will submit to Him more.  We will grow in the knowledge of our own personal sins, as well as grow in holiness.  OK so maybe I didn’t make it as simple as, “Repent of your sins, believe in Christ, then you are saved.”  I could have, because in a sense, it is that simple.

The EOC explanation of the difference between the EOC and Protestants gospel was kind of useless to me.  I don’t know how it could be good news to anyone.  It almost sounded like the guy was trying to say they believe you can be dead and get saved.  If that is true, then the Bible is a lie.  If the Bible, being God’s Word is a lie, then it isn’t God’s Word.  I trust the Bible and not the EOC’s man made traditions.

A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “When my Ox Gores my Neighbor: Using Hermeneutics to Travel from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Zion” by Josiah Nichols.

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I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.

From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.

It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.

The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol.  As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.

After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.

ISBN-13: 978-1512782530

Have you ever felt like you are not an adult, like you are just pretending…

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Have you ever felt like you are not an adult, like you are just pretending to be your idea of what an adult is? Do you wonder if the others are going to see through your facade and know that you are just playing at being an adult? My standard of what a man should be has always been my Father. He has been dead for about 4 years now. I know he would tell me he is proud of me, and that I’ve become the man he hoped I would be. He never showed us any doubt. He was always so outwardly confident, or perhaps that is the way it seemed to a child’s perception. I know he did have doubts and fears. I know he confided in his Wife. I have done the same thing. I wonder though, if the strength he portrayed to us wasn’t there, what kind of man would I be? Because of my Father, I can safely say, I am a more godly man than I would have been without Him. Because of His example, I took several, I mean several leaps of faith to do what I thought would have been the right thing, the thing Dad would have done, or been proud of. Ladies, this can apply to you and your godly mothers as well. I know my Dad wasn’t perfect, and he made mistakes that he privately regretted, but he was as good a Father to me and my Brother as he could have been. Now that Dad is gone, I don’t feel alone, or on shaky ground. Why? Because I’ve got another Father. A perfect Father who is not flawed. I have a Father who gave me and my Brother, and our Mother, the perfect man to accomplish His will in our lives. Dad might not have been the adult that we saw with our little eyes, and thought of with our childish minds, but he was the man that God used to bring us to Him. Dad was strong and compassionate, he was hard and thoughtful, he was self-sacrificing and forgiving. It was so much easier for me to see the character of Christ in a man most people would have called marginally Christian, than in many who put on a good show of being an adult. God the Father, in His perfect knowledge and sovereignty, “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Because of who God the Father is, I had the human Father He wanted for me. He used my Dad to lead one of His elect to Him. I was so lost as a young man. I loved myself more than anything or anyone else. I loved my own pleasures, and hated those who would deny me. Now because of the memories of my Father, and the testimony of the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, I am a partaker in God’s grace. I have been adopted by the true Father of all who are born again. I and my Dad, are brother’s in Christ. I hope to see him again in eternity, and worship the Lord Jesus, with him as well. I hope and pray that my Brother, and his family, my oldest Step-Son, my present, and future Grandchildren, and all of you will be with us to, as brothers and sister, unified in love, and the love of Christ Jesus. We all have doubts and fears in life. We are uncertain at times, but look to God, fix your eyes on Jesus, and what He did for you in His life, crucifixion, and resurrection. There is one God, and only one way of salvation, it is Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, and believe. He will grant you new life and make you a new person, just like He did for me. I’m not always assured and confident in my position, but I am so confident and sure of God, and because He is good, I know that whatever I go through in life is for my sanctification. It is to shape me into the the adult man, that He wants me to be. I hope that when I am dead, the people whom God has given me to be with will be able to say the same about me that I have said about my Father.