Bias!


Amazingly, Yahoo search engine has a built-in bias. It’s no secret that Google has a built-in Liberal bias (I wonder if you type in “Failure” it still leads to to www.whitehouse.gov, as it did back in W. Bush’s presidency???) – but I had hoped Yahoo would be unbiased.

Today’s search was “Hints for debating Atheists”. Instead, I received hits for webpages on the opposite end of the spectrum, which you would have expected if you’d typed “hints for debating Christians.”

Please keep your anti-Christian bias out of the search engines, please.

Annotated Bookmarks


If you’ve ever poked around Christian Websites, you’ll know what I’m talking about immediately.

(this one’s a little long – I encourage the casual blog reader who normally skips any page with more than three paragraphs to take your time, and READ this post.)

Phil Johnson, one of the many pastors at John MacArthur’s Grace Fellowship church, has a website that has bookmarks to various websites. He takes some pride in listing links to websites he disagrees with, and often takes a ridiculing tone in the comments for each link. They are organized into “Bad Theology”, “Very bad theology”, etc.

Websters 1828 Dictionary Definition: Churlish CHURLISH, a.

1. Rude; surly; austere; sullen; rough in temper; unfeeling; uncivil.

2. Selfish; narrow-minded; avaricious.

3. [Of things.] Unpliant; unyielding; cross-grained; harsh; unmanageable; as churlish metal.

4. Hard; firm; as a churlish knot.

5. Obstinate; as a churlish war.”

Normally I save blockquotes for Bible verses. I am not suggesting by this use I am elevating Webster’s to the level of scripture! Because I’m sure if a contentious person saw this blog post they would make exactly that accusation. Block Quote is a device to make something stand out in the text as a quote. That is all. I normally use it for Bible quotes. This is a quote from Websters. That’s all.

I would have called Mr. Johnson a Boor, but I have no idea if he’s tight with a dollar or not, so it would be incorrect to state this. I will state he is acting churlishly.

Why?

Easy answer. Mr. Johnson will list anyone he disagrees with their doctrine. He is a 5-point Calvinist, so anyone who is not a 5-point Calvinist runs the risk of being listed under at least the “bad Theology” section.

Mr. Johnson therefore feels compelled to list popular Baptist (or Baptist personality) websites in his annotated bookmarks. He will list anyone who is Armenianist. Now, this does not mean he obsessively looks for Armenianist or Baptist websites (like all Calvinists, Mr. Johnson is unaware that there is a difference between Armenianism and Baptist doctrine – he merely lumps everyone who is not 5-point Calvinist as Armenian). But any website that catches his attention that he in his arrogance and disdain decides is lacking in correct doctrine is thus bookmarked.

Some charges he often makes is Pelagianism (disbelief in the doctrine of original sin). I’m not sure exactly why he labels so many websites as Pelagian – perhaps it’s Calvinist based? If one does not believe in TULIP theology, perhaps he considers them Pelagian. After all the T stands for Total Depravity. Perhaps to 5-point Calvinist sensitivities, one who does not accept completely the Total Depravity doctrine would seem to be Pelagian. I would invite Mr. Johnson to make himself clear upon this point? Please. I do not want to misrepresent your opinion on this issue – the way Pastor Johnson misrepresents so many of the websites he disagrees with.

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:11-12)

Another charge on many is he makes the tired old charge of Ruckmanism to any KJO website or preacher. Another Phil, Phil Stringer of the Dean Burgon Society, makes the observation that “Ruckmanite is what they call you when they’re losing the debate”.

I’ve answered that charge several times on this blog. Ruckmanites are Ruckmanites. Riplingerites are Riplingerites. King James Only is King James Only.

Labeling every KJO website or blog as Ruckmanite would be like me blogging on Hyper-Calvinism, and charging Pastor Johnson with this, which would be incorrect (Calvinism is so complex, that only extremely educated people on this particular issue even are aware of the issues, such as prelapsarianism! And when some Calvinists debate Baptists on this, they often will throw these issues in to attempt to make the Baptist look stupid. Thouless in his book “Straight and Crooked Thinking” lists this as “Evasion of truth” and “distraction” (see pages 41-48). Thanks to John J. Parsons of Hebrew4christians for listing this information on his website). Pastor Johnson is a 5-point Calvinist, and not a hyper-calvinist. There is a distinction. I make these kind of distinctions. Pastor Johnson does not.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:21-23)

I notice that John MacArthur, on the KJO issue, wrote his defense of his position, which is to repeat the arguments made by Wescott and Hort, who were not saved men. One can claim I am misrepresenting them because they were Anglican. That would be a straw man argument (and an ad hominem attack)… and incorrect as I also quote and support another Anglican priest – Dean John Burgon!

Pastor MacArthur has an excellent grasp on the ability to research an issue. His skills in discovering that Kenneth Hagin, for example, plagiarized much of Mary Baker Eddy’s writings was scholarly and well done.

But on this issue, MacArthur either has not done his homework, or has done it and is uncomfortable with the answers, and decided to reject them. Pastor Johnson apparently feels the same way – except he uses poor debate tactics to evade and distract, by labeling EVERY KJO website as Ruckmanite. Does he use the term? No. But he does use Riplinger and Ruckman definitions of “Second Inspiration”, and accuses all KJO believers of this, as does John Ankerberg (dealt with elsewhere on this blog).

Mr. Johnson needs to heed the words of the Bible on his behaviour.

Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. (Proverbs 21:24)

Since Mr. Johnson makes an issue of whether one is a Calvinist or not… here is what the Bible commands Baptists do.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

What is “Independent Baptist”?


Here’s where I get to contradict the Internet (Which we know is the final authority of all things! )… Ignore what you read! Here’s the textbook Definition:

INDEPEND’ENT, n. One who, in religious affairs, maintains that every congregation of christians is a complete church, subject to no superior authority, and competent to perform every act of government in ecclesiastical affairs. Independent Baptist

BAP’TIST, n. One who administers baptism. This appellation is appropriately given to John, the forerunner of Christ.

2. As a contraction of Anabaptist, one who denies the doctrine of infant baptism, and maintains that baptism ought to be administered only to adults by immersing the body in water.

The two definitions, from Websters, is “Complete Church… Anabaptist”.

This, BTW, is the actual definition of Independent Baptist. The name seems to be synonymous with “Fundamental”, but in reality… it’s not. There are Purpose-driven Independent Baptist churches, Emergent Independent Baptist churches, seeker sensitive Independent Baptist churches, Fundamentalist IB churches, cultish “the Pastor is your dictator” IB churches, and Fundamental IB churches that can best be described as “Fun” and “Mental” at the same time – “We’re Fun and Mental – the Pastor adds the ‘duh’!”

There’s a lot of websites (and some support groups) that present an image that ALL IB churches are the “Pastor-Fuehrer” model. It’s most definitely not the case, as I’ve shown above. One may say, “well, I don’t want to join an IB church, because I want a praise band that plays CCM!” – and not understand that in reality, that’s the MAJORITY of IB churches!

So, yes – the trick is finding an IB church in your area that fits your style. More on this thought later in another blog entry. We’ll just say today that if you’re looking for a church that fits your style… you’re going in the wrong direction. The quick answer is, what kind of church does the Bible say you should be looking for?

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What’s the motive that drives you? Pleasing God and obeying His desire, or finding a church and a teacher who scratches your itching ears? The answer to this will define your life as a Christian.

Evolution – Science or Religion?


Well, yet again, a Christian (well meaning of course) has said something that made my mind utterly explode.

“Evolution is not a religion. Stop saying that it is!”

Let’s cite all the evidence for Evolution.

There isn’t any.

So, you have to accept it by faith, then, don’t you?

That’s the definition of a religion.

Evolution is a religion. Stop saying that it isn’t!

Emergent Blogs


In my scurry to find resources for church planting, I download a lot of pdf files other people have compiled. Sometimes I’m amazed at what passes for “good ideas” and “hints”, “Tips and tricks” or “strategies” for church planting.

Church planting used to be almost exclusively a Baptist term. it has come into vogue for other groups, even worldly unsaved people to borrow the term.

Did I really use the term “unsaved people” to refer to Emergent Churches and its pastors? Yes. And their congregants. I’ve noticed a lot of them tend to avoid calling their assemblies by the word “church”… which is good. Let’s not falsely advertise. Perhaps we should take to calling them the “Emergent association.” Or “Emergent group”.

One of the materials was a pdf of “Leadership Learnings”. it is 279 pages of blog postings from about 30 people, almost all of whom are Emergent “pastors.” It was EXTREMELY interesting to me that I did not see a Biblical quote until page 25.

Let’s look at that fact. Pastors of churches are required to know their Bible. They are required to teach the Bible.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

And yet the Emergent “Pastors”, in a forum for teaching and sharing (That’s the stated purpose of these blogs) don’t quote the Bible at all for over 25 blog posts.

That’s a major issue. Think about that.

Books that say Nothing!


I absolutely hate when someone writes a book… and has almost nothing to say for 180 to 300 pages!

Are you kidding me?

The Master Plan of Evangelism, for instance. You start with a great premise – let’s see what the methods Jesus Christ used to evangelize – and then you sit and talk in non-specifics and generalities for 200 pages.

Analyze it! What was the tactic of Jesus and the Rich young Ruler? How did He respond to the man? Why did He send him away? Was it because the ruler said, “what must I do to have eternal life?” instead of, “How do I go to heaven?” Compare that to Jesus Christ and Nicodemus!

Instead, you get mumbling blather like, “His method in this respect was to conceal the fact that He even had a method. He was His method.”

Blah.

It reminds me of a cassette tape I bought once where a famous inspirational speaker had a method called “win-win” and he talked for the entire 60 minutes about how great it was, and how we should use it! And somehow, he forgot only two things… to tell us “what is it?” and “how do I do it?”

Maybe I should write dozens of books about absolutely nothing! I can think of one VERY famous Christian teacher who does this VERY well!

Except I have too much integrity.

Let’s try THIS method! tell me if it works. Be honest and tell someone, listen, you’re going to Hell without Jesus. I can’t abide that thought. Can I try to get you saved with your help?

$15.95, please.

The New Atheism


Wow.

After watching a film of Kent Hovind speak at Berkeley, I was dumbfounded at the overall hostility.

First, my criticism of Kent Hovind. The man has never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. When you cite Texe Marrs as a source… Please, let’s not speak on things outside of the area of your expertise. You run the risk of looking foolish when you tie together the Illuminati, Nazism, Karl Marx, and The Wizard of Oz.

Second, I think Hovind made some huge mistakes in that presentation. Number one, he left out some huge facts that if people would have been taking notes would have stumped them.

He did well addressing the Geologic column. He left out the issue of “Dating the layers by the fossils, and we date the fossils by the layers.” That was devastating to Geological and Paleontological arguments. If he brought it up, he must have glossed over it, because I was looking for it.

He never exploits the carbon dating issue by, “where did we get the parameters from for the RCD?”

He never exploits the issue that RC decay rates are not consistent, that apparently there are factors involved.

He never exploits the issue of higher Van Allen belt radiation in the past skewing RCD readings.In fact, this is one of those factors that should be emphasized. I’ve used it in the past to prove there could be nothing on the surface of the earth but molten lava 20,000 years ago, if the Van Allen belt decay rate remained constant. If it had spikes or jumps, then 7,000 years is the limit. Evolution would have had to happen at breakneck speed. Sudden Appearance would have had to happen over, let’s say… six days.

He never fully addresses the issue of some forms of “primitive man” being not so primitive.

In one seminar, Hovind once stated, “there are no missing links – the entire chain is missing.” This phrase should be on t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. He should have used this phrase ad nauseum during the several minutes he spent illustrating the massive gaps in the fossil records.

The idea behind the presentation is to maneuver the crowd into a corner from which they cannot retreat further… then open it to questions.

I think Hovind never pursued it that aggressively. Instead, I think the overall feeling of hostility from the crowd (it was palpable – you could feel it just watching the video) possibly distracted Hovind to the point that he wanted to present the evidence quickly, and move to the Q&A.

Before Hovind moved to the Q&A, he announced that “this usually degenerates into ad hominem attacks.”

He was right. The first questioner, after trying desperately to prove his opinion (and Hovind repeatedly telling him he was entitled to his own beliefs and opinions!), resorted to a frustrated, “Well, you’re opinion is wrong.” and stormed off, to the applause of the audience. The audience was either delighted to see the speaker humiliated and frustrated, or more likely, was more delighted to hear him vouch the opinion they’d had before the seminar began.

The rest of the questions were similar.