Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Books Over the Past Ten Days

Just a quick inventory check of new books I've gotten over the past ten days. I wanted to put up a full list since I got so many of them lately.

July 13

  • Peter De Rosa - Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy (1988)
  • Daniel Dennett - Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006)
  • M.X. Lesser - Jonathan Edwards (1988)

July 15
  • David Roper - Out of the Ordinary: God's Hand at Work in Everyday Lives (2003)

July 19

  • Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln - The Messianic Legacy (1986)

July 22

  • Quiknotes Christian Classics (1999)
  • United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th Revised Edition (1983)
  • Josh McDowell - More Than a Carpenter (1977)
  • Lee Strobel and Garry Poole - Exploring the Da Vinci Code (2006)
  • John Wesley - How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer (2007)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Richard Dawkins on Biblical Languages - Urban Philosophy

I just recently composed my 2nd article for Urban Philosophy. It's mainly about a certain assertion made by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion regarding allegations of mistranslation. Now, I would have posted the article on my blog, but I figured that it would be more relevant to the discussion with the folks at Urban Philosophy, plus maybe I can get some folk in there to try and criticize and rebut my article (it's no fun writing apologetic articles when you don't have opponents to try and refute them).

Anyway, for those interested, here's a link to the article:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Repudiating Bad Information

In part five of my Examining the Pagan Christ series, I used a quote by Dr. John McRay that is lifted from page 101-102 of The Case for Christ. If you go through the article, you will notice that I have now crossed that citation out. The reason behind this is that I have discovered that the information presented there is false: Jeff Vardaman never showed an actual coin, all he left behind was a drawing of the alleged coin. Thus I would like to ask folks to refrain from using that spurious information.

So what now? How do we resolve the dates set forth in Matthew and Luke? I tried to look for some sources that can make the case without relying on the spurious Vardaman coin. So far, I have found these two:

We know also that Quirinius had been made consul in 12 B.C. and a person of his rank serving in the East frequently had far-reaching authority and duties. It is thus not improbably that, acting as Caesar’s agent, he had Herod take a census. [1]

And then there is this:

Luke clearly intends to secure the historical and chronological moorings of Jesus’ birth. Ironically, it is precisely this that has led some to question Luke’s accuracy.

The first census (i.e., enrollment prior to taxation) known to have occurred under the governorship of Quirinius took place later (i.e., A.D. 6) than usually reckoned as the time of Jesus’ birth. Reference to this census is found in both Act_5:37 and Josephus (Antiq. XVIII, 26 [ii.1]). Many have supposed that Luke confused this census of A.D. 6 with one he thinks was taken earlier, but which lacks historical support. The most satisfactory solutions that have been proposed follow.

1. Quirinius had a government assignment in Syria at this time and conducted a census in his official capacity. Details of this census may have been common knowledge in Luke’s time but are now lost to us (cf. E.M. Blaiklock, “Quirinius,” ZPEB, 5:56). An incomplete MS describes the career of an officer whose name is not preserved but whose actions sound as if he might have been Quirinius. He became imperial “legate of Syria” for the “second time.” While this is ambiguous, it may be a clue that Quirinius served both at the time of Jesus’ birth and a few years later (cf. F.F. Bruce, “Quirinius,” NBD, p. 9).

2. The word prote can be construed to mean not “first,” as usually translated, but “former” or “prior.” The meaning of v. Luk_2:2 is then “This census was before that made when Quirinius was governor” (N. Turner, Grammatical Insights into the New Testament [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1966], pp. 4; idem, Syntax, p. 32).

It was customary to return to one’s original home for such a census. Also, powerful as he was, Herod was only a client king under Rome and, like others, was subject to orders for a census. Furthermore, it is scarcely conceivable that Luke, careful researcher that he was (Luk_1:14), would have stressed the census unless he had reasonable historical grounds for doing so. (See further F.F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 4], pp. 192-94; Marshall, Luke: Historian and Theologian, pp. 98-104. [2]

I have asked about the second solution given in the second quote to someone who knows Greek better than me, since some skeptic websites have questioned the propriety of translating πρωτη as "before," and I was told that it is indeed acceptable if context demands it. Quite frankly, I can't claim to know why no translation ever translates it that way, so whatever merits that solution may have, I would prefer to go with the first solution provided.

So does that completely resolve the question? I'm not sure myself. I would exhort readers to search the matter for themselves and find good answers to this question. After all, the Lord has promised that the truth will set us free (John 8:21).

End Notes
1. Green, Joel, Scot McKnight and Howard Marshall. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. p. 68.
2. Expositor's Bible Commentary, NT edition. p. 217.

(Special thanks to Wired4truth for providing me with the second citation.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a Couple of Notes

I finished my debate with the atheist a few hours ago. I must say that was a pretty enjoyable experience, although each of us had respective handicaps (he was a bit drunk and I was having a minor headache). The transcript and poll for the debate can be found in this link. Check it out, guys.

Also, John Mark of Here I Blog is having a book give away. The title of the book is Godology: Because Knowing God Changes Everything by Christian George. A link to the book giveaway can be found here. He has only three copies of the book, though. So it's pretty stiff competition.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Free Image Hosting at

  • As you can see, I am buried in a ton of reading right now. Half of the books in there are not even mine, just borrowed from friends and relatives. My cousin lent me his copy of Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar for me to study over the weekend, and I have to go through chapters 7-8.
  • Most of the other books (particularly the ones by Strobel and McDowell) are for a debate that I am going to have soon with an atheist on the textual and historical reliability of the New Testament. It was meant to be tonight, but my opponent is going to be busy so we've postponed it for tomorrow night. Pray that I present the truth of the gospel effectively, guys.
  • Finally, it's John Calvin's 500th birthday today. So I hope you guys have a happy Calvin 500. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Christian and Muslim Explanations Contrasted

This is a forum post I made on Urban Philosophy sometime recently. For purposes of documentation, I am reposting it here on Epagonizesthai, with some modifications.

I would contend that Christianity is superior to Islam because Christianity can explain Islam's origins, whereas Islam cannot explain Christianity's origins.

Think about it this way: Islam claims that Jesus never claimed to be God/Son of God, and that he did not really die on the cross. Islam bases this claim on a holy book that was written approximately six centuries after Jesus walked upon this earth. This is in stark contrast with the New Testament, which was completed within seven decades of the events that are mentioned therein.

The Qur'an denies that Jesus ever died on the cross, as evidenced by Surah 4:157. The common theory is that someone else made to look like Jesus was nailed in his place. There is also a less common theory that Jesus was in fact crucified, but that he had fainted from exhaustion on the cross and was revived in the tomb. The problem with this theory is that it does not explain why Jesus' disciples thought He had risen from the dead. If Jesus had not died on the cross, surely He would've informed his disciples, rather than leave them with a false idea of what had happened. From this perspective, either God and Jesus lied, or they failed to preserve the truth. Neither case is acceptable for Christians or Muslims.

Also, it doesn't help that Jesus predicted His own death multiple times (eg. Mark 10:45, to name just one example). All three Abrahamic faiths agree that for a prophet to be true, what he says must come to pass. Now, if Jesus did not die on the cross, then He must be considered a false prophet, which neither Christians nor Muslims can accept. If, however, Jesus did die on the cross, then the Qur'an is proven false in its claim that He had not. Of course, Muslims may deny that Jesus actually predicted His death, but as I had mentioned before, the Gospels preceded the Qur'an by centuries, and thus are much more reliable witnesses to the events.

Even worse, the Qur'an misrepresents Christian doctrine. In Surah 5:116, it is claimed Christians worship Jesus and Mary as gods besides Allah. As a result, some Muslims have concluded that the Trinity is father, mother and son (proof). Thus, we see that the Qur'an either misunderstands or deliberately misrepresents the Trinity. Interestingly enough, Muhammad has apparently never actually read the gospels, and that God relayed knowledge of what it contains to him via His angel. Would God present him with such a misunderstanding/misrepresentation? One common explanation I have heard is that Muhammad encountered a heterodox marian group known as the Collyridians, and was critiquing them rather than orthodox Christianity. The only problem with this explanation is that there is no evidence that the Collyridians were extant in Arabia by the seventh century. Even if they were, it is quite glaring that the Qur'an had time to address this little heterodox sect but not orthodox mainstream Christian beliefs about Jesus.

By contrast with this, Christianity can explain the existence of Islam perfectly well. Did Muhammad encounter an angel that supposedly gave him God's final revelation? Well, he probably did see what he thought to be an angel. But it is not necessarily so, since from the Christian perspective, Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), and even angels can bring a false gospel (Gal. 1:8). Funny enough, much Qur'anic content is dedicated to denying the Christian faith (Surah 4:157, 5:116, 112:3, etc.). Christianity can explain a religion coming along 6 centuries later and denying its core tenets, but can the same be said for Islam attempting to explain Christianity? I honestly don't think so.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Of Jesus Myths and Pagan Christs - Urban Philosophy

I recently wrote a short piece for Urban Philosophy on the topic of whether or not Jesus existed as a historical figure. In the article, I dispelled the hypothesis that the early Christian Church borrowed from Pagan religions, the same thesis that Tom Harpur brought up in The Pagan Christ. In fact, a little bit of the article comes from a portion of my Examining the Pagan Christ series, although a majority of it is based on some more original research.

The article may be viewed here:

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Rebuttal to Churchwork/Parture

Note: This is my rebuttal to the response given by Churchwork/Parture from Biblocality to my defense of the doctrines of grace. Normally, I would not bother answering such posts, especially when the person in question begins to resort to attacking my character rather than my arguments. In this case, however, I am compelled to give an answer. Though I will not take the time to address every single issue, I will answer most of the key points in Parture's response. (Link to his post here.)

First off, I would like to say that I am scandalized by the presumptuous nature by which you assume that anybody who disagrees with you is automatically excluded from salvation. Do you even know who I am? If not, then you do not have any grounds to judge whether a certain brother in Christ is truly saved or not. Remember the words of the apostle Paul: Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4). I can assure you that I have truly repented of my sins. I have already come to Christ, and I have placed my faith in Him alone for my salvation. Why do you assert otherwise when you do not even know about my relationship with God? This you cannot dispute; you may only look into your own heart, so work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). I have not accused you of being unsaved or reprobate, Parture, so I would like to ask that you refrain from arrogantly assuming whether me, Aldo, Dr. White or any other brother in Christ is truly among the saved or not, as it is not your place to make that assumption.

Now, you make much of much of passages that say salvation is a free gift. And I would gladly say, "Amen to that!" Salvation is offered for free indeed. As a matter of fact, Ephesians 2:8-9 is actually one of my favourite verses in the entire bible. However, understand what the word δωρεάν, which is translated in most of our bibles as "free," does not mean unimposed, but rather undeserved. If you look at any Greek dictionary, you would know that this word means gratuitously, or without cost[1]. Our salvation is free because it costs us nothing, for God already paid that cost with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

On that note, you mention John 3:16. It is a well-loved verse, and rightly so. Yet once again, you must pay close attention to the meaning of the phrase "whosoever believes." The phrase πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων simply means "everybody who is believing." Nothing in that phrase states or even implies that everybody is capable of such belief.

Also, you complain about my quotation of Romans 11 and Israel's hearts being hardened, claiming that they chose by their own accord to stray from God's path. And yet, this again is an assumption that is not found in scripture, and is in fact contradicted by it. After all, it is not for no reason that Isaiah asks: Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? (Isaiah 63:17).

You also deny that those who are chosen by God for salvation have been predestined from the beginning. Once again, your statements run afoul of scripture, for those who have been saved have been chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4 ff).

As for those who draw back unto perdition in Hebrews 10:39, what does this mean? It simply means that there are those who are not truly among those who are saved, and as a result of this fall away or apostatize, for they are the thorny ground that chokes out the seeds of the gospel, as Jesus Christ once said in His parable (Matthew 13:7).

Next, you speak of God's desire to save all, or the whole world. These words speak of unlimited geographic extent. This means "the world" indeed means that those who are saved come from all parts of the world. It is not intended to mean "every single individual who has ever lived without exception." In fact, this interpretation does not even originate from John Calvin, but from Saint Augustine. For example, when he comments on 1 John 2:2:

What is this, brethren? Certainly “we have found it in the fields of the woods,” we have found the Church in all nations. Behold, Christ “is the propitiation for our sins; not ours only, but also the sins of the whole world.” Behold, thou hast the Church throughout the whole world; do not follow false justifiers who in truth are cutters off. Be thou in that mountain which hath filled the whole earth: because “Christ is the propitiation for our sins; not only ours, but also the sins of the whole world,” which He hath bought with His blood. [2]

Fulgentius, the 4th century bishop of Ruspe and contemporary of Augustine, makes the same interpretation in his epistles, where he writes his commentary on 1 Timothy 2:4. When he expounds on the meaning of "all," he writes:

All those are predestined whom God desires to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. They are called ‘all’ because they are saved from both sexes, from all kinds, classes, ages and conditions of men. The will of God Almighty is always fulfilled, because his power is never defeated. [3]

And this is true. The God of the bible is not a God who tries and fails, but a God who succeeds and accomplishes what He has in His sovereignty planned out to do. Remember that sovereignty is something that from you ascribe not to the will of man which has been enslaved to sin, but to the all-knowing and all-powerful God who has planned all the days of our lives (Psalm 139:16). As it is written, our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). See also Isaiah 46:10 and Isaiah 55:11. Unless you can provide biblical support for your idea of the sovereignty of man, my statement stands.

Finally, when I commented on your statement as being nonsensical, I never referred to salvation by faith. This we both affirm and agree on. What I disagree on is your assumption that Calvinists worship a God other than the God of the bible. Again, that is false, and you are in no position to make such a judgment on a fellow-Christian.

Understand that this is not an extreme view. I hold to this not out of arrogance or pride, but out of reverent obedience to the words of sacred scripture and to an understanding that we have received a salvation which we neither merit nor deserve, but is offered to us by His own good grace. If you dispute this, fine. But let us go about this disagreement as Christians ought to, and I hope that should you choose to respond to this, you would do so in an attitude of charity of love, which is the true Christian attitude. Of course, if you do not act in a charitable manner, don't be surprised if I refuse to respond to your brazen remarks. Until then, I pray that you have a good day.

Yours in Christ,


End Notes
1. Strong, James. Strong's Greek Dictionary. #G1432.
2. Augustine of Hippo. Homilies on the First Epistle of John.
3. Fulgentius of Ruspe. Epistles. 15:15.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Romans 9 and Emotionalistic Synergists

Up until now, I've avoided delving into the Calvinism/Arminianism debate, but recently somebody linked me to a certain poster from the biblocality forums (which happens to be pretty anti-Calvinistic). This poster was replying to his opponent's exegesis of Romans 9, and in the process made some really big problems. I would like to tackle his assertions one by one on this blog post.

(By the way, you may view the original post here. Parture's comments are shaded.)

Where your analysis is essentially wrong is Rom. 9 discloses certainly God foreknew Jacob and Esau, but doesn't say how. How? By foreknowing their free-choice and not irresistible coercion, the characteristic of an evil tyrant which is the god you worship, because man loves evil, so you worship an evil god even Satan. If you can find no verses for irresistible coercion then you are just reading into the text God made in your image.

First paragraph and this guy's fallen off the tracks already. It's amazing how often folks resort to emotionalistic responses like "you worship a tyrannical God" when they can't come up with a coherent argument. Anyway, his denial of irresistible coercion runs afoul of the text alread, particularly in the sections where it says God has mercy on whom he desires and hardens whom he desires (Romans 9:18). The rest of the text corroborates this when it talks about how the potter has a right to do what He wants with the clay. Anybody wanna point out to me where the text supports synergistic decisional election? I don't see it, so maybe it's actually him who is reading into the text.

Think of it this way. God has prepared for destruction the Calvinist. How? Why? Because you refuse to repent and believe in Christ to be regenerated. Who are you o man to fight this? Since you can still find no evidence in Romans 9 of irresistible grace rather than God affording them the choice and that is why God decided while they were still in the womb, then realize you worship Satan.

It's pretty presumptous of this person to think that Calvinists refuse to repent and believe in Christ, or worship Satan for that matter (where does he get this stuff?). Once again, you can plainly see who is reading into the text when he says verse 19 talks about man's free decisions. That is nowhere stated or even implied in the text. Remember, man in his natural state is a slave to sin. His heart is naturally inclined towards the things of this world (Romans 8:5-8), and will continue in that state unless God changes the man's heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

God enables anyone to repent whosoever is willing. He has not enabled you to repent, because you don't want to be saved His way. Your way is where you can think like you are Hitler's Aryan race and just caused to be that way where others like the Jews belong in the gas chamber. Don't you have a conscience to see how evil this is? Will God have to harden your heart further like He did to the Pharaoh until accept His way? A will that is enslaved is not a will that can't help an old lady across the street or accept what Jesus did on the cross for you. Do you see how you jump to the conclusion slavery means total depravity even though it doesn't. Salvation is all of the Lord, and not your will, but that doesn't mean God doesn't require your free-will choice to receive His free gift and offer of salvation. God does the saving. Your will does not do the saving, but your will made in God's image is the condition God sets forth for the saving.

More emotionalism. Really, if you really want to prove that you are defending biblical Christianity, then please, exegete the texts! Yes, an enslaved will cannot accept Jesus by itself:

There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one.
(Romans 3:10-12)

There you go, folks. There is none who seeks for God, all have turned aside. In light of this, how can one say that salvation is received through an act of autonomous free-will? Biblically speaking, Jesus Christ has made it clear that one cannot come to Him unless one is drawn by the Father:

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
(John 6:44)
For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.
(John 6:65)

The apostle Paul also affirms this when he writes to the Thessalonians:

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
(2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Moving on, we get to more emotionalistic argumentation, not to mention some exaggerated statistics:

All one needs to do is show that if Romans 9 can not conclude either way whether God saves irresistibly or provides the choice, then you you must look to other chapters. Scripture as a whole can show other verses where God doe provide the choice to disprove Calvinism, such as the 4000 cases of free will in Scripture. Do you see how illogical it is to assume into the text one way or another to render your conclusion while overlooking all the other verses which speak of free-will? You don't let evidence be your guide by the Spirit of Truth!

4000 cases of free will? Really? I did a search on the term "free-will," and the term only occurs in the context of "free-will offerings." I also did a search on "choose" and "choice," and most of the passages refer to God choosing, rather than man. Especially prominent are Jesus' words to His disciples:

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you
(John 15:16)

And finally, I did a search for "decision," and failed to find any instances of synergistic regeneration. In fact, I found quite the opposite:

The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
(Proverbs 16:33)

I love Proverbs 16. It contains some passages that simply cannot be squared with the Arminian position. In addition to verse 33 quoted above, there are also these two little gems:

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
(Proverbs 16:1)

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9)

The ESV is more explicit than the NASB on this one, it actually says in the ESV rendering of Proverbs 16:9 that that the LORD establishes his steps. So far, so good. I don't see how this guy's case is being held up by scripture.

You're doing what all cults do. For example, Mormons make the Godhead multiple beings because of twisting God's 3 Persons in Scripture and can even rationalize it by saying "One" means One Godhead of many beings. He is no longer then a singular Triune personal God. But this approach is easily disprove when you realize there can only be one uncreated Creator not multiple uncreated beings. You would have to ask where do these others gods come from if there is more than one uncreated Creator? There is no basis for adding on gods. Likewise, in Calvinism, you assume into the text irresistible coercion in a chapter that doesn't specify one way or another, but there are tonnes of other chapters that speak on free-will, e.g. Jesus says, "come to may take of the water of life freely." Pray on this. And may you come to Christ to be saved one day, God willing.

Comparing Calvinists to Mormons is just low. Really below the belt tactics he has there. The poster here is comparing apples and oranges. Quoting Revelation 22:17 doesn't help his cause either, since "freely" is a very misleading translation (it comes from the NLT, which is not exactly the best translation to use when trying to exegete scripture). The word there is δωρεάν, which literally translates to "gratuitously." So obviously, the passage has nothing to do with decisional regeneration, and the only way you can read the passage that way is if you've presupposed that everyone is capable of coming to Christ (which is sheer Pelagianism, and is flatly contradicted by the scriptures just mentioned). The best translation of that passage would be the NASB's, which states let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Moving on:

"They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God's special children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave his law to them. They have the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises...Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to the Jews? No, for not everyone born into a Jewish family is truly a Jew!" (Rom. 9.4,6) Why has God not failed? Because though all Israel is given sufficient grace and all should be saved, not all are saved because some refuse by their own free-will.

OR, it could mean that God has not failed because God's plan was that through Israel's rejection, the gospel came to the Gentiles (Romans 11:11,25). Funny enough, this same passage talks about how the people of Israel's hearts were hardened. So much for refusing by their own free-will.

"So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9.16). I think you are misunderstanding this verse. To willeth is like the new age approach if you just will it into being it will come to be. That is not the same thing is choosing. Runneth is certainly works, even hard works. So you can't work for it or will it into being, but that doesn't take away from the free-choice God has afforded you. Do you see? Read the Scriptures with the Spirit, not by the flesh. He hardened the heart of the Pharaoh because the Pharaoh hardened his own heart first. God chooses whom to enact His mercy and grace upon in this way though never takes away from providing sufficient grace for all.

Once again, more eisegesis, more emotionalism. Nowhere in the text does it say that Pharaoh hardened his own heart first. I want to know though: if God gave sufficient grace for all to come to saving faith, why don't all people come to saving faith? Surely Jesus did not lie when He said that all that the Father gives Him will come to Him and and that He will never cast them out (John 6:37).

You complain to God why has He made you this way that you have to choose? so you choose your own way and assume regeneration before repentance and faith. Choosing is not that hard. Just do it. God has given you the grace to be able to do so. Why are you not His people? Because you refuse to repent and believe in Christ to be regenerated. Like Israel, God has given you immense grace, but you still refuse to come to the cross as a helpless sinner to receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

Still reading stuff into the text. This is getting tedious. By the way, it's not "You are not of Him people because you refuse to believe." It's the other way around: You refuse to believe because you are not of Him (John 10:26).

"Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a small number will be saved...Well then, what shall we say about these things? Just this: The Gentiles have been made right with God by faith, even though they were not seeking him" (Rom. 9.27,30). Even though you are not seeking God of the Bible but the god of Calvinism, you too can be saved by faith through repentance if you are willing. "But the Jews, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded" (v.31).

Simply nonsensical. No comment...

You try to so hard to "persevere" because you don't know if you are saved since according to you it was not your choice in the law you make unto yourself "instead of depending on faith" (v.32); faith is a free gift you may receive from God (and obtain freely) if you come to Him with an honest heart. You have "stumbled over a great rock in their path" (v.32). That Rock is Jesus who you went right past Who died for the sins of the whole world even you. But if you were to "believe in Jesus you won't be disappointed" (v.33).

Of course Calvinists know and affirm that we depend on faith to be saved. The bible says so (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, it makes no sense to say you receive faith "if you come to Him with an honest heart." Why? Simple: Because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It is also dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). This is the main reason why we cannot come to Christ unless God removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. This is the chief flaw in Arminian and Molinist theology: It fails to take into account the fact that the natural man lacks any disposition to do anything good, let alone come to saving faith. For this to happen, God's efficacious grace is necessary to supersede that rejection of Christ with a saving faith in Him.

And THAT, is a biblical view of salvation.

Learning Greek, and Some Random Stuff

My cousin who is studying at a seminary recently allowed me to borrow his copy of William D. Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar over the weekend. It's good. That way, I can do some real serious study on Greek grammar. It's also worth going through the Teknia website., as there's some pretty helpful information there on learning Biblical Greek.

And on an unrelated note, I recently joined a website that an acquaintance of mine referred me to, called Urban Philosophy. The site is full of atheists, though there are some Christians and other theists in there as well. Hopefully, the discussions that take place in this website should prove to be quite interesting.