Friday, December 31, 2010
Irrational Rationalism Apart From Scripture
If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I believe that in these days scientism (a.k.a. the belief in the sufficiency of autonomous human reasoning) has a power over a majority of minds, including many Christian minds, in a number of unhealthy ways.
Reasoning power alone is a wonderful God-given blessing. Christians are called to administer this gift in a number of ways, especially to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. God also gives us logical reasons why we should listen to and follow Him throughout the Bible, in order to minister to our minds. He gives us many details in the Bible in order to help us know things truly and sufficiently, though because our minds are tainted by sin, never completely or fully in this life.
That is why I found these quotes from Dr. John Frame to be so wonderfully helpful in explaining some key facets of the problem of rational thinking apart from the certain guidance provided by God in Scripture.
Frame writes in his book, The Doctrine of the Word of God:
"irrationalism (is) the view that there is no ultimate meaning in the universe." (Basically the oxymornoic belief that we can hold to the "rational" in a universe devoid of any overarching meaning, purpose or order.)
"rationalism (is) the view that a godlike knowledge can be obtained from the creation alone." (Basically the oxymoronic belief that we can have true and sufficient rational knowledge through simply observing a creation we are also a part of.)
This last quote is the most revealing: "Of course, Satan and his followers embrace rationalism irrationally, for they have no right to insist that their minds are the ultimate criterion of truth. Similarly they embrace irrationalism rationalistically, assuming the ultimate authority of their own minds... That irrationality permeates the whole fabric of human knowledge. So we can understand how the assumption of intellectual autonomy destroys knowledge." (p.16 - Emphasis mine)
I urge us all to seek true and sufficient knowledge from the only One who truly knows.
Note: J.I. Packer, in his forward of this book, claims that it is the most indispensable book of our day on the nature of Scripture.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Do you want to increase your child's vocabulary and creativity?
My three-year-old son looked at me and said these words this morning, "O Man of the Sea, hearken to me! My wife Isabelle will have her own will and has sent me to beg a boon of thee."
If you have young children, I really recommend this site.
My sons have really enjoyed listening to the Brothers Grimm as well as Alice in Wonderland being read aloud. You can download hundreds of books, put to MP3 files FOR FREE. We burn them to CDs and let the boys listen to these when we have had enough of reading our own books to the boys. It has amazed me how fast Noah memorizes words and ideas (I don't think that is unusual for three-year olds!), and this is a wonderful way to immerse them in language! He has asked us many questions as a result of these CDs.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I love John Piper. What he says about the Bible is almost always what the Bible in fact says. This little video reminds me though to beware of accepting everything any one man says, or quickly accepting as fact what I read in books, or what is seen to be as acceptable by the majority of the "reputable". One man never holds all truth, only God does, and truth is never determined by popular vote (unfortunately). The more I base my thinking on the Bible (just as John Piper usually does), the better off I will be.
Piper says, "Whatever science says it is, it is." Come on, John, really? What does science tell you about miracles? That they are not possible. What does science tell you about a virgin birth? Better get rid of your Christmas beliefs. The bigger issue is this: Science cannot tell us even one fact about the past, since by very definition, science concerns itself with what is testable and repeatable. Science does not give us all the answers, especially "historical science" based on the popular thoughts of men.
My friend Mark Rood highlights the growing financial problem for missionaries in Japan:
The price of a Big Mac in Tokyo is 680 yen. (complete with fries and a coke!) This has increased in the past several years by a few yen. No problem. The problem comes when in the same period the value of the dollar has dropped from from $1 = 120 yen in 2007 to this month’s rate of $1 = 82 yen. Ouch. That 680 yen burger at McDonalds which did cost $5.67 now costs $8.29! For the Japanese the change in the past few years has been a percent or two, but to us whose income is from the states, there is over a 30% increase.Of course the same is true of our rent, gasoline, food, water, electricity, and everything else. It has all basically has increased by about a 30% in the past few years.
Please pray for us and for the many others who are in the same situation.
I was greatly encouraged by this.
My brother Doug writes:
Dr. Tom Nettles, (is) widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America.
Watch as Nettles unleashes this giant of a role model, trapped in the pages of history, for us all to spend a few minutes with, and thereafter long to follow.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Matthew 24:14 says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,"
It is clear, if you read the Bible, that God loves all nations! We, as followers of Jesus, should presumably love all nations as well!
What then, is a "nation" or "ethne" in the way Jesus used the word? (These days, in order to clarify the matter, we often hear the words, "people group".)
Ralph Winter writes:
"In March 1982 a group of mission leaders came together in Chicago for a meeting sponsored by the Lausanne Strategy Working Group. It was designed to help bring clarity and definition to the remaining missionary task. At no time before or since this meeting has as large or as representative a group gathered for two days to focus specifically upon the necessary definitions for strategy to reach the unreached peoples. Two basic definitions came from this meeting;
1. A People Group is 'a significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have common affinity for one another because of their shared language, religion, ethnicity, residence, occupation, class or caste, situation, etc., or a combination of these.'
2. An Unreached People Group is 'a group within which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.'"
Now maybe some are thinking, "Well, if these groups have two or three Christians, then aren't they reached?" But let's step back to consider this more deeply. Without greater numbers of Christian support, these Christians themselves are in danger of losing their faith and or dying out.
More than this, let us consider:
Because Jesus loves all nations, we should love Muslim peoples. We should love communist-controlled peoples, we should love people groups that hate us! Because Jesus loves all nations, we should give ourselves to the task of REALLY reaching all nations, just as Jesus has promised they would be.
Well, where does Japan fit in? Japan is currently the second largest unreached people group in the world. For most this comes as a shock. Less than .5% of Japanese are evangelical Christians, and therefore Japanese do not have the numbers to effectively evangelize their own people group without significant outside help.
How could such an advanced country be so missed in the commission that God gave to all of his disciples, not to mention all of his disciples living today? If you would like more information on how you can pray for or help Japan, please leave your e-mail address in the comment section below and I will contact you.
One News Now:
But suggesting that reason alone is sufficient to direct behavior is intellectually dishonest. Human reason will always be guided by presuppositions. That is why civilizations like ancient Rome found it reasonable to murder handicapped children while we in the Western world find that to be abominable.
Jacoby noted that Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger wrote, "'We drown even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal,'...stressing that 'it is not anger but reason'" that provides justification for such an act. This horrific practice is the result of reason built upon a Godless foundation.
Read the whole thing.
This Christmas I am thankful for the Christian sub-culture, influenced by the Bible, that has directly and indirectly influenced both America and Japan in many ways.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Here is a must-read poem for men, especially young men, from a family nearly destroyed by porn:
I Looked For Love in Your Eyes
I saved my best for you.
Other girls may have given themselves away,
But I believed in the dream.
A husband, a wife, united as one forever.
Nervous, first time, needing assurance of your love,
I looked for it in your eyes
Mere inches from mine.
But what I saw made my soul run and hide.
Gone was the tenderness I’d come to know
I saw a stranger, cold and hard
Distant, evil, revolting.
I looked for love in your eyes
And my soul wept.
Who am I that you cannot make love to me?
Why do I feel as if I’m not even here?
I don’t matter.
I’m a prop in a filthy play.
Not an object of tender devotion.
Where are you?
But the hardness in your eyes does not.
You think I’m cold
But how can I warm to eyes that are making hate to someone else
Instead of making love to me?
I know where you are.
I’ve seen the pictures.
I know now what it takes to turn you on.
Women…people like me
Tortured, humiliated, hated, used
Images burned into your brain.
How could you think they would not show in your eyes?
Did you ever imagine,
The first time you picked up a dirty picture
That you were dooming all intimacy between us
Shipwrecking your marriage
Breaking the heart of a wife you wouldn’t meet for many years?
If it stopped here, I could bear it.
But you brought the evil into our home
And our little boys found it.
Six and eight years old.
I heard them laughing, I found them ogling.
Hands bound, mouth gagged.
Fisheye photo, contorting reality
Distorting the woman into exaggerated breasts.
The haunted eyes, windows of a tormented soul
Warped by the lens into the background,
Because souls don’t matter, only bodies do
To men who consume them.
My little boys
Laughing and ogling the sexual torture
Of a woman, a woman like me.
Someone like me.
An image burned into their brains.
Will their wives’ souls have to run and hide like mine does?
When does it end?
I can tell you this. It has not ended in your soul.
It has eaten you up. It is cancer.
Do you think you can feed on a diet of hatred
And come out of your locked room to love?
You say the words, but love has no meaning in your mouth
When hatred rules in your heart.
Your cruelty has eaten up every vestige of the man
I thought I was marrying.
Did you ever dream it would so consume you
That your wife and children would live in fear of your rage?
That is what you have become
Feeding your soul on poison.
I’ve never used porn.
But it has devastated my marriage, my family, my world.
Was it worth it?
(HT: Tim Challies)
Saturday, December 18, 2010
One News Now:
"Even though Gaskell says he is not a creationist, he claims he was passed over for the job at UK's MacAdam Student Observatory three years ago because of his religion"
Many Christians are quick to accept evolution (and millions of years) so as not to appear foolish in the eyes of secular "science". The problem: Christians are already foolish in the eyes of most secular scientists, regardless of what they think about evolution.
This article showed me again that we must stick with the Bible despite unwarranted attacks on our science and on our credentials. The issue is not science, the issue is a spiritual one. This age is increasingly resembling the time of Noah, along with the slander and abuse that he endured. The most foolish thing would be to give in to popular opinion at a time like this.
Read the whole article.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
CNN recently interviewed Phillip Yancey.
CNN: How is the practice of Christianity different in China than in the U.S.?
Yancey: At my church, when something bad happens, people immediately ask God to fix it: get me a job, heal my aunt, whatever. I pray those same prayers, and I see nothing wrong with them. In China, though, I heard different prayers, not “God, take away this burden,” but “God, give me the strength to bear this burden.”