Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 2014's Tabletalk

"Delighting in the Trinity" by Michael Reeves.

"It is not to be expected that we should love God supremely if we have not known him to be more desirable than all others."  This is from Isaac Watts.  Reeves moves on from there to considering the possibility if God was only one person.  What if he was only one person and not the triune Deity?  Before he created the world, he would have spent all eternity completely alone.  And he would be fine with that.  Love for others would not be very important, and nobody could really have a close relationship with him.

However, God lived as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from eternity.  They all loved each other perfectly forever and can now lavish that perfect love on the humans, even getting the humans to participate in this love.  We should rejoice that our God is not like Allah or the Jehovah's Witness God.  These people can never know him in his fullness.  Thanks to the Trinity, orthodox believers will know him completely and intimately.

"Discipling Every Age" by Brad Waller

Generation studies are always interesting.  My Pappy and his generation are the Traditionalists.  They were shaped by the two world wars and the depression in their formative years.  My dad and his generation are the Baby Boomers.  They were raised on television.  The generation between my dad and me are Generation X.  They were raised on 24-hour cable, MTV, violence portrayed in their own homes, and they were the first generation to be legally aborted.  My generation is the Millennials  We not only see all this craziness on TV, but we participate in it on the internet.  We interact with it through our words and pictures.

"But the human condition is the same no matter when we were born.  The wages of sin do not vary according to age."  In all four of those generations, each member is a depraved sinner who deserves hell.  In all four generations, God graciously sent Jesus to atone for the people that he would save from all those eras.  As redeemed believers, we must disciples all the generations by sharing the Word of God with them.  It will take different forms for each person, but it is still mind boggling.  My husband and I get to minister to my grandfather, the retired Bishop of Smyrna as of this Sunday.  It's only a seven week stint, but it is still amazing.  We minister to each other.

"Competent to Counsel" interview with Jay Adams

Recently, David Murray had an article on asking "Who will be the Ken Ham of Biblical Counseling?"  Ken Ham and his organization took secular science and turned it upside down with extensive research in both the Bible, genetics, geology, and logic.  Who would do the same for counseling?

I honestly thing that title belongs to Jay Adams.  Not being in the counseling field, I'm barely acquainted with him, but he seems to be the first to take psychology and truly use it for the Lord.  If more Christian laymen learned to counsel using the Bible, less people would need to pay money to see counselors and use pills. 

Granted, I'm on Prozac and am absolutely fine with medication to solve psychological disorders.  I do disagree with Adams that Biblical counseling and psychology are incompatible.  God has used it all to his glory, even in atheists such as Freud.  But it would be good if when we counseled someone, we wouldn't label them with some letters or a disorder.  We'd see the original disorder: sin.  It could be Adam and Eve's sin or mine, but sin is the reason there is anything wrong in the world.  And eventually, we need to see our clients as humans with a need for Christ's grace, not as experiments with scientific labels.  Instead of seeing somebody with Aspberger's Syndrome, maybe we could simply see them as having a different social worldview than others, and that they are intelligent and care for the truth.  That's not a disorder, though the person can learn social skills that are more glorifying to God.

"Defining Marriage" by Joe Carter

"Abraham Lincoln was fond of asking, 'If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?' 'Five,' his audience would invariably answer. 'No,' he'd politely respond, 'the correct answer is four.  Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.'

This is the same for marriage.  It was instituted by God in Genesis 2 just after he created man and woman.  It was not a social convention or ritual.  It was a part of creation.  With all the redefining, you simply cannot call it marriage if it is anything other than one man and one woman in a relationship of sexual exclusivity.

The cool crowd redefined love in horrible ways too.  Frodo and Sam cannot have a healthy love for each other based on friendship and caring without someone labeling it as gay.  I cannot have an intense love for another woman without someone thinking it is gay.  I tell you, it is not gay.  Brotherly love is also a natural gift from God that is very good and should have never been turned into carnal sex.  How much better would our friendships be if we didn't feel like it had to be sexual?  If we could simply love each other's personalities and souls.  Well, praise God, I'm married now to a man and am committed to sexual relations with only him.  Not an emotional relation and action on the side with others, but a true exclusive relationship.  I have that with him while I can love all people as priceless creations of God and enjoy their beauty in a way that is clean and appropriate.  Everything in its proper spot.  I need to start some movement to get love back to being love and not using someone's body.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Justin Martyr: What I Know for Sure

Thursday I finished Justin Martyr's Hortatory Address to the Greeks.  In the last sections, he said the same thing about Plato and the other pagan writers.  The only thing different was that he comments on Socrates as he dies.  Socrates confesses that he knows nothing.  He is an agnostic.  He denies the pantheon of Greek gods, but he knows there is something more out there.  His neighbors don't like this so they execute him by having him drink poison.

"But now it is time to go away, I indeed to die, but you to live. And which of us goes to the better state, is hidden to all but God."  These words of Socrates prepared the Greeks to later reject the gods, but opened their hearts to accept the Jewish prophets about the one God and his Son, Jesus Christ, his Word to all the nations.  I do hope that my Greek friends found salvation through God's grace.  They at least had his revelation.  Only when I get to heaven will I know for sure.

Justin Martyr also wrote a short piece called On the Sole Government of God.  This includes more poetry from the Greek writers who unwittingly acknowledge that there is only one God and he is not Zeus.

One can only recall Paul's words in Romans 1, that all creation knows who God is.  Only through Christ's revelation can they know him in a way that saves.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Anne Spinoffs, RC Sproul, and science

With the most joy I can say that I'm back to reading Lucy Maud Montgomery's short stories.  These are all side stories from the Anne of Green Gables series and just as delightful.  You can see how many of them ended up being developed into characters in the series and even completely copied.

Today I read "How We Got to the Wedding," a tale of misadventures in Saskatchewan.  Two girls ride a wagon across the flooded plains to get to a wedding in a fortnight.  They have all kinds of accidents and mishaps.  Within the story is a story that Montgomery wrote in Rilla of Ingleside, same names and everything.  The two girls, Kate and Phil, come to a house that Kate believes is her friend's from school who is now married.  When they get there, it is locked except for the back window.  They go in there and eat the food and sleep on the beds, Kate insisting that her friend would want them to do that.

The people who really own the house wake them up in the middle of the night.  A man, woman, and the woman's mother.  The man and woman are fuming that these girls are staying on their property and demand that they repay them.  Then the woman's mother, Matilda, says her son-in-law is a tightwad and made her daughter the same way.  The girls will not have to pay.  She made the daughter cook them breakfast and the son-in-law mend their wagon.  Then the girls go on their way.

This story is copied with the same names in Rilla of Ingleside only Rilla Blythe and a friend are staying at what they believed was the friend's friend's house.

A Reformed Approach to Science was thankfully short.  It was mainly an exposition of what RC Sproul said at a 2012 conference when asked how old the earth was.  It was good and orthodox.  It still had many holes.  Too many people let Nicholas Copernicus ruin their view of science and scripture.  It is true that people misinterpret the Bible, but it's just as true that they misinterpret scientific evidence.  Luther and Calvin opposed Copernicus, but empirical science proves that the earth does revolve around the sun and that somehow they had read the opposite theory into the Bible.

Keith Mathison insists that we could possibly be doing this today with the age of the earth.  I used to believe this when I believed that radio-carbon dating proved the earth to be old.  When I learned about all the holes in that method, then I turned my back on it and accepted a much younger earth that looks old because of the flood.  There is no empirical evidence to prove the age of the earth.  Nobody can step into a TARDIS and see when it was created.  There are no copyright dates on the rocks.  People insist that radio-carbon dating can prove their age, but it cannot.  There are so many pieces to the puzzle unknown.  If a fossil is found with a certain amount of fallout from when it died, the radio-carbon clock, cannot tell how many original carbon molecules the species started with when it died.  It can't tell if somebody tampered with the results.  It's basically an hour-glass where you know how much sand has fallen but you don't know how it started or if someone tapped on the glass to speed up the process.

There is no scientific process to assign an age to the earth, and so it can never disprove an interpretation of the Bible.  There is one things for sure, though.  If God gave no other concrete evidence of his story, he gave us Jesus.  Jesus was really a man in history who really did all the things the Bible claims about him.  Both biblical and secular scholars attest to that.  I know that he is real, and if he is real, then everything else in his Word is real.  The flood was real.  It caused billions of dead things to be buried in rock layers and laid down by water all over the earth.  God made the earth for the humans, but ultimately for his glory.  He always planned on sending Jesus to die for his church.  And God was the only one there when the earth was created.  He's the only one entitled to define what a day is as nobody else was there.  And his world was completely perfect until he allowed Satan to fall and allowed Adam and Eve to sin.  If it was not, then there would be no point in Christ coming to save us from death.

Well, back to the original topic of RC Sproul.  I admire this man, but from what I can see he is gravely wrong about the age of the earth, and I would like to see more Reformed people defending a young earth.  Thankfully bloggers like Tim Challies, David Murray, Al Mohler, and RC Sproul, Jr. defend YEC, and are considered intelligent.  This movement is not only backed by legalistic dispensationalists from Liberty University, Bob Jones, or Pensacola Christian School.  Real reformed scholars are joining the fight and soon it should start gaining respect.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

JM: Plato Derived his Ideas

Justin Martyr continues talking to the Greeks about Plato and the ideas he developed from reading the Greek Old Testament in Alexandria.

To preface this, Justin reminds them that God can't be called by a proper name.  No one existed before him to give him a name.  He only told Moses, "I AM who I am."  I am the Being.  Satan deceived Adam and Eve by telling them that if they disobeyed the Being, they could be beings.  God is the only Being.  Anything else is a non-being.  Recalling this, Plato names him not the Creator, but the fashioner of the gods.  Creation requires no material.  Fashioning requires material.

Plato contradicts himself in this respect.  He said before that things made by God perish.  Then he says that God created the gods who are immortal.  This is a major contradiction which makes him a hypocrite in condemning Homer for saying that the gods are not inflexible.  Plato believes Moses, but he is afraid of meeting Socrates's death because the Greeks hate Moses and love their many gods.  This attests to the antiquity of Moses and his tradition.

Plato also gets an idea of judgment and resurrection from the prophets.  He tells a story of a man killed in war.  Just before his burial, he woke up from his death and described the agonizing horror that he faced in Hades.  For testifying about the pain in hell, Plato reveals his belief in a judgment and in a resurrection.  How could this deceased soldier have undergone such punishment had he left his body on earth?  Souls do not feel pain, only bodies.

Plato's form also comes from Moses.  He read about God showing Moses how to make the tabernacle, how he was to make it after the forms that God showed him.  From this, Plato concludes that "form" is some kind of separate existence before that which the senses perceive.  He applies this to all creation and to mankind.

This just shows that God really does make his special revelation known to all cultures.  They already know he exists.  They don't know Jesus and his salvation until they meet Scripture.  This is why Plato sounds like such an evangelist.  He met the Word of God, but in fear of his Greek fellows, hid it in obscurity.  His religion melted into a mere pantheism.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

JM: Out of Mouths of Greek Babes

Continuing to polemicize against the Greek gurus, Justin spins an account that is totally awesome even if it is mixed in with some legend.

The Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy built the library of Alexandria with all its Greek books.  However, he did not know what to do with all his Hebrew texts.  He got 70 Jewish guys, and they all translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek.  All 70 manuscripts were identical and had no discrepancy from the others.

Now, I'm pretty sure it is legend that all 70 guys translated apart from each other and all got identical copies.  What is true, however, is that the Old Testament was translated into Greek.  This is the Septuagint or LXX (named for the 70).  And Plato and his friends were alive at this time and would have gone to Egypt to see this.  Soon after this time, they began to write about their doctrines things contrary to the pluralism they espoused before.  Namely, a monotheistic revolution began.  Here is what many of them wrote.

Orpheus: "There is one Zeus, alone, one sun, one hell, one Bacchus, and in all things but one God."
Here, he still champions for the multiple gods, but they all come together under one God.  It's like he came up with the Hindu religion, where all the gods were just avatars of one big God.  Still, oneness surfaced.

"I adjure thee by the Father's voice, which he uttered when he stablished the whole world by his counsel."
Who is this Father?  And is it his voice or counsel that Orpheus mentions, or is it God's Word.  It looks like Jesus surfaces along with the idea of only one God.

Sibyl: "There is one only begotten God, omnipotent, invisible, most high, all-seeing, but Himself seen by no flesh."
Am I hearing the words of Walter Smith or some celebrity oracle in Greece who lived an immoral life?

"But we have strayed from the Immortal's ways and worship with a dull and senseless mind-- idols, the workmanship of our own hands, and images and figures of dead men."
Did Sibyl become a child of Abraham?  I feel like I did when I read about Judah's most wicked king, Manasseh, finally repenting in the book of 2 Chronicles.  Only God knows.

Homer: He noticed Orpheus's change of tune.  He didn't really give in, but he had written poems about the wrath of Demeter, etc.  He changed those names from gods and goddesses to ancient figures such as Achilles.  He also had Ulysses say to some rulers: "The rule of many is not good; let there be one ruler."

Sophocles: Let's not get him confused with Socrates like I always do.  Socrates was the philosopher who taught Plato and was executed for becoming an "atheist."  Socrates is the playwright who wrote Oedipus Rex

Sophocles wrote, "There is one God, in truth there is but one, who made the heavens and the broad earth beneath."  This God is one and has enough personality to create the heavens and earth.  It seems he's adopted the Hinduistic version of God like Orpheus has, but still an improvement to the blatant polytheism.

Pythagoras, the guy who worshiped math: "God is one,,,and he does not exist outside the world."  This is more pantheistic than the last two Hindu converts, but still impressive.

Plato: My favorite and the most dear.  Like I said, his teacher Socrates somehow rejected the idea of multiple gods.  Ergo, the Greeks called him an atheist as he no longer believed in the many gods.  That was not true.  He did believe in God, just no the plurality.  They executed him by making him drink hemlock.

Plato went to Egypt and seems to have accepted the doctrine of the LXX.  However, he feared the same fate as his teacher, and so he contrived an elaborate and ambiguous discourse concerning the gods.  "God of gods, of whom I am the creator."  He read enough to catch God's name, and his religion looked more like pantheism in the end, but he cared the most for seeking the true God, whoever he was.  Hence, C.S. Lewis's semi-universalism was born.  There are mini-gods, but one ruling God who made them all.  And this God makes himself known on all worlds.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jo's Boys, Science, and Pictures

I thought I would comment on the books I have just finished and ones I just started.

Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.  What less people know is that there are at least two sequels.  One is Little Men, and the other is Jo's Boys, the ending to the series.  I think these are all excellent stories of when Jo March Baehr and her husband started a home for boys.  Now they are grown up and going on to marriage and jobs.  I really think the last book was the best one of the series.  Now, for theology, Alcott is not the best.  Many of her morals are about doing good and being kind.  All of them are looking to themselves to be moral.  Otherwise, these stories are lovely.

Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp wrote How People Change.  Excellent book on counseling with a Biblical paradigm.  The main point of the book is that people go to church and go through the right motions, but sometimes they don't look much different than their non-Christian neighbors.  This can only change when churches teach less morals and explain how people can live the gospel now.  They don't just bring people to the altar and get them to accept Jesus into their hearts.  They continue to show how Christ's death and resurrection need to not only get someone to salvation, but also must guide that person through the rest of his or her earthly life.

I love Anne of Green Gables and all its sequels.  I love that there are side stories written by the author so I can still read after the 8 books are over.

Now, a book written by Keith Mathison, forwarded by R.C. Sproul, and one that takes a different direction in approaching science than the Creation Museum.  I don't know if RC Sr.'s view has changed since last week, but as of this writing he is an old earth creationist who believes the Bible and rejects any "science" that contradicts it, but still will not concede that the earth is young.  He and Keith bring out the tired old argument about how Luther and Calvin rejected Copernicus when he was around, but how his sun-centered universe was true after all.  Sometimes theologians can write into their theology concepts that aren't actually there.  Often time, scientists interpret empirical evidence and draw wrong conclusions.  If there is a contradiction, it is still cool to automatically assume the theologians are wrong rather than the scientists.

The first chapter uses one phrase, "All truth is God's truth."  This phrase originated with either Augustine, Aquinas, or Francis Schaeffer.  It is true.  If something is true, than it is from God.  However, I feel like this is a very abused phrase in the reformed camp.  All truth is God's, but people take that and think that means everything is truth.  For example, nonbelievers like Plato, Gandhi and Richard Dawkins say many things that are true, and if it is true, then it is God's truth despite the mouth speaking it.  However, these guys do not know Jesus, rejected him, and they cannot lead us in truth that leads to salvation.  At the same time, Satan's best lies are ones that have much truth in them.  Are the truths picked apart from his lies God's truth, even if it's Satan speaking?  In Genesis 3, it is true that God told them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, but is that God's truth?  I don't think so.  Not if he used it to make Eve conclude that she wasn't even to touch the tree, that she would gain knowledge that God was depriving from her.

I think the world of Sproul, but I have to disagree with him on this.

I'll close with claims about the Answers in Genesis people.

There is not much science at their museum.  If I had not read their website for the past three years and seen all kinds of scientific articles on genetics, anatomy, astrology, and more, then I'd still not agree because I've been to their museum.  It may not be perfect, but it perfectly captures their scientific findings from a YEC worldview.  Maybe they should have more exhibits from Georgia Purdom, David Menton, or Jason Lisle.  They still have a long way to go.

Adam and Eve are Caucasian.

I took these pictures at the museum on my visit in 2011.  The first picture, they look white.  The second picture, Adam still looks white.

Here is a picture of Adam from google:

That's not a white guy.

Here is the picture of Adam and Eve also from google:

They look brown-skinned to me.  They could be middle-eastern, Mediterranean, Hispanic, Asian.  They are neither white nor black.

This group goes out of its way to present our first parents are middle brown, a kind that would beget all skin colors on earth.  And I've seen many people officially in the black race who have lighter skin than me.

Hebrew Bible is upside-down.

This is more unverified.  I'm waiting for a second opinion.  But here's a picture of it from the Museum:

You can click on it and blow it up.  If you are a Hebrew scholar and not the original person who told me it's upside-down, then let me know.  From other pictures of the Hebrew bible in other places, however, it at least looks like the right-to-left reading has the correct indentation and page justification.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Justin M and More Greeks

Today, I start writing about Justin Martyr's Hortatory Address to the Greeks.  It is very similar to the address to the Greeks that I wrote about last time, but it is longer and more detailed.  It also has more details about the ancient philosophers, which I love.

Justin starts by critiquing all the people that the Greeks look to for religion starting with their poets.  Homer writes a theogony, which we defined as a genealogy of the gods.  He writes that the ocean and the mother Tethys begot the gods.  Zeus makes war with men, has sex with many women, and all the gods try to kill each other.  These are the gods presented by Homer or else there are no gods.

Next, Justin critiques their philosophers starting with the first one: Thales.
Thales figured out that all of life comes from water.  Water is the defining element and the first principle of all things.  Later philosophers disagreed and said that fire, air, or the infinite (earth) are the elements.  They all say that one is the element and not the others.
Pythagoras declared that numbers are elements, including unity and an indefinite binary.  He made a whole religion based on math.
Epicurus declared element to be bodies that are perceptible by reason.
Empedocles added his notion that life is made of the four original elements plus 2 elemental powers: love and hate, aka union and separation, which seems to echo Pythagoras's unity and binary.

None of these philosophers can agree on the origins of life.  How can we look to them for salvation?  They look to the earth and nature.  This is very telling for naturists today.

Plato and Aristotle are the next philosophers who the Greeks name as ones who learned the true and perfect religion.  Justin asks one thing: where did they learn it from?  And how come they don't agree on anything?

Plato believes he has seen all in heaven and that God exists in a fiery substance.
Aristotle overthrows Plato saying that God is an ethereal and unchangeable body.  He also cites Homer, who Plato rejected.  Sadly, Aristotle also rejects Homer on other topics when it's convenient.
Plato believes in three elements: God, matter, and form.
Aristotle believes in two elements: God and matter.

Despite Plato's belief in 3 elements, he also sometimes adds a fourth element: the universal soul.  He also is inconsistent on whether matter is eternal or if it is produced.  Not only does Plato not agree with Aristotle; Plato doesn't agree with Plato.  These guys are confused and cannot lead people to the correct religion.

Only the Christians can lead people to the true religion.  His name is Jesus.  Their writings do not contradict.  God revealed himself to Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc as the redeeming Word of God.  Moses was the first great teacher to the Christians.  He is attested to in history along with the exodus from Egypt.
Polemon mentions Moses in Hellenics.  Apion son of Posidonius notes him in a book that is against the Jews.  Moses historically led a revole from Egypt.  Ptolemaeus includes the same in his history of Egypt.  People today will say that the Egyptians have no record of an exodus.  Granted, the Egyptians lost that battle and would not include that in their history.  But other people such as Hellanicu, Philochorus, Castor, Thallus, Alexander Polyhistor, and the Jews Philo and Josephus all attest to Moses and the exodus as substantial history.  These were non-Christian writers who got their information from the Egyptian priests themselves.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Justin Martyr debates Greeks

Justin finally finished his discourse with the Jewish Trypho and his friends.  Now he does the same thing with the Greeks but in only 5 sections.

He explains to the Greeks why he no longer participates in their customs.  "I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God."  He counts the contributions of the poets as monuments of madness and intemperance.

Agamemnon aided his brother's lust, sacrificed his daughter, and troubled all of Greece to rescue Helen.  Justin does not envy the myths of Homer.  He feels like the Iliad and the Odyssey are both over a woman.

Justin then pans the theogony, or the genealogy of the gods.  The Greeks try to have an ordered society, but the very Jupiter that they worship has killed his father, committed adultery, and loved young boys.  They have laws against all of that.  Also, men dress as women and participate in bacchanalian parties.

He then talks of Hercules who did many impressive things to make himself seem awesome, but he was stunned by satyr cymbals, loved too many women, and eventually burned himself in his own funeral pile without even trying.

The Greeks are known for their excessive banquets, sensual music, silly anointings, and orgies.  Justin asks a man: Why are you mad at your son when he imitates Jupiter and steals your wife?  Their gods do all these terrible things, and they get mad when the people do the same.

Justin Martyr's last plea is for them to not recognize men as heroes who slaughter whole nations, but look to Jesus, the Divine Word.  He does not desire strength, beauty, or nobility.  Jesus loves a pure soul, dedicated to holiness and loving God.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No One Noticed.

February's Tabletalk gives the perfect example of bad hermeneutics: hell.  It's such an uncomfortable subject that nobody wants to talk about it, so they've done fancy mental acrobatics to downplay its reality or seriousness. 

Nevertheless, one cannot see the horrors people do to each other and say there is no hell.  People murder unborn children, abuse born children, abuse grown children, want to dispose of the elderly and disabled, have sex for money, destroy their body with drugs, and try to explain that their behavior doesn't hurt anybody.  We see more and more of this.  As we get closer to Jesus's return, more and more God pulls away his common grace that prevents unregenerate people from truly destroying the planet.

He pulls away the veneer that all people have without God's grace.  We are not beautiful and reasonable, we are simply heartless monsters who care only for ourselves.

For that reason, John MacArthur's article, "The Disappearance of Hell", is a good one to sum up the issue of hell and February's issue of Tabletalk.

"A slight majority of Americans still believe hell exists, but genuine fear of hell is almost nonexistent."  Two paragraphs ago, I proved the existence of hell and man's total depravity apart from God's grace.  But are people going there?  Isn't Jesus sweet enough to save everyone?  I do wish that all people would come to love Jesus and would not have to go there.  I praise God that Jesus took my hell punishment for me and all who are saved.  Still, sin is against an infinite God and must be judged infinitely.  The only correct punishment for breaching faith against the infinitely holy God is his infinite wrath.  And if people die from this planet without accepting Jesus's grace that changes us from monsters to creatures who glorify God, then they will not end up in his presence in the next life.  They will experience God's anger forever and it will never die down.

So the Church, both liberal and orthodox ones, believe in hell and believe that people will go there without Christ.  Why do they not talk about it more?  It is not loving to not warn people about a very real and permanent danger.  It is not loving to say that people are alright and that God is an indulgent push-over who lets people spit in his face.  He's holy.  Jesus is holy and tolerates whom he will tolerate.  It is not loving to our neighbors to respect their personal choices which not only harm themselves, but everyone they know.  It is also not loving to ignore the only good thing that is permanent: God, and try to impress people who will just continue in their destruction until God's grace intervenes.  Grace that is spread through the Christians preaching God's Word.  That is how God spreads his grace.  Through us.  Scary, yes, but still the truth.

So people, do not lose sleep over people who won't come to your side of the debate, but also contend boldly because this is a matter of spiritual life and death.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

JM + T: Tangled Typologies

Justin takes an interesting twist in sections 131-140.  I also think I'm nearing the end of this dialogue and about to enter into his next work on CCEL.

He starts with Jacob's marriages to Rachel and Leah and how they also point to Christ.  I know a lot of Old Testament things point to Christ.  There may be reference to Christ in this, too.  However, I cannot see it pointing to Jesus the way Justin describes.  He claims that Leah symbolizes Israel and Rachel symbolizes the complete church.  There is so much wrong with that.  Judah, the tribe that Jesus is from, came from Leah.  The beginning of the Christian church came through Leah's line.  Rachel was the one who loved Jacob but kept stealing fertility idols in order to get pregnant, not trusting in Jacob's providence.  This action eventually got her cursed unwittingly by Jacob when Laban was looking for the idols, and she died the next time she bore a son. 

Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first when he wanted Rachel.  God was never tricked.  He created Israel, according to Justin, named the nation for Jesus himself, the overcomer of power.  Then Jesus was physically born on earth as a man, lived all of God's laws, suffered the punishment for his fallen people, and then rose from the dead.  The Church is now the completion of Israel.  I just don't see how Leah and Rachel's marriages to Jacob could be a typology of the church the way Justin would envision.

He then wanders into talking about Noah.  He and Jesus were both saved through water, faith, and wood.  God saved Noah from his destruction from water, Noah obeyed him in faith, and the ark was made of wood to typify the cross.  Baptism, faith, and the cross are all drawn from this.  Jesus came, was circumcised, let John baptize him, then he began his mission to tell all Israel about faith in God and now to be saved, and he died on a cross of wood.

After the flood, Noah proclaims blessings on his sons Shem and Japhath, but he curses Ham.  Justin ties this to Rachel and Leah's servants that they gave Jacob as concubines.  Rachel and Leah symbolize Shem's blessings to the people officially living in the promised land.  Bilhah and Zilpah symbolize Japhath's blessings.  He doesn't officially live in Israel but he is still blessed as part of God's family.  This shows that Jesus married Israel, and because of Israel, the gentiles are included in the blessing.  I feel this is a more accurate analogy thought it is also very twisted.  Marriage to Jesus is so much more than marriage to a man such as Jacob.  The latter is riddled with sin and perversion.  The former is pure, and all people have equal standing with the Lord.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

JM + T: Sharing Christ's Name

I can't sleep.  I watched two pro-life movies this week: October Baby and Babies are Murdered Here.  I suppose I'll share what I learned from Justin Martyr this week and maybe I can get sleepy.

When we finished section 120, Justin reminds the guys about what Paul says in Galatians 3:16.  Promises were made to Abraham's seed.  Not seeds, seed.  God's promise was meant for one specific man.  This man came through the tribe of Judah, and not Reuben or any other tribe.  The promise was specifically for him, making it true that not all biological Israel are Abraham's seed.  Instead, Abraham's true children have a blood transfusion from Jesus Christ, making many Gentiles the true seed.  The promise was for Jesus, and now Jesus shares the benefits with all his redeemed.

"If the were able to enlighten the nations and those who possess it, what need is there of a new covenant?"  Why did God send the covenant with Jesus if his Law was good enough to save?  Because the Law is not the covenant.  The law is a result of the covenant.  The covenant is that God saved us from slavery and then from death.  Then he gave us the law.  The Israelites only saw the law as the covenant itself, which is why they did not recognize Jesus when he came.

The coolest things I learned from Justin this week: I think his translation of the name Israel is wrong.  It classically means "he who wrestles with God."  It was the name God gave to Jacob after he wrestled with a being who ended up being Christ.  It's a well-known fact that "el" means God.

Anyway, Justin translates "isra" as "man overcoming" and "el" as "power."  Who is the only man who has overcome sin and defeated death's power?  Jesus.  Jesus is the true Israel.  God simply gave his Son's name to Jacob until Christ came and fulfilled it.  Jesus is the promised seed.  We descend from Abraham because of the blood he shed for us.