Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The July 2007 Berean Call Top 10
07/14/2007 - James SwanHere is this month's top 10 list of why Dave Hunt's Berean Call should change its name to something else. The following quotations are all from the July issue of The Berean Call. I challenge you to be Berean. Look up the verses provided by The Berean Call, or search your Bibles and history to find out if the assertions made are true.
10. "Jews or Gentiles who believed on Christ, but not until they saw Him at the Second Coming, are not in the church but will dwell on earth eternally: in their natural bodies on the new earth with access to the new Jerusalem but not as its residents (Rv 21:24)."
9. "Jews saved at the Second Coming will eternally dwell in the promised land of Israel on the new earth (Gen 17:7; 1 Chr 16:14-18; Ezk 32:21-28; 39:27-29; Zec 12:10)."
8. "The sudden mass disappearance worldwide of 100 million (or maybe more) of earth's inhabitants will cause a panic beyond anything we can imagine."
7. "I believe that all of the babies and small children (of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc.) will also vanish, taken to heaven at the same time."
6. "No matter how familiar with the Left Behind series, whoever 'received not the love of the truth...believed not the truth...God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned...' (2 Thes 2:10-12). I don't think that necessarily means they have specifically rejected the gospel of Christ. It could also mean they have rejected the witness of creation and conscience."
5. "I agree that Calvinists deserve credit for much of the Christianity of early America, for founding Christian universities, etc. But one cannot praise Calvinism by contrasting the spiritual condition of the church of that day with the apostasy in the church today without including the apostasy in the majority of today's Calvinist churches."
4. "The huge difference between the biblical God and the Calvinist God is clear. The biblical God punishes men for rejecting the salvation He provided for everyone, which all could have accepted by their free will- and punishes them for their sins, which are contrary to His will, none of which they had to commit but chose to do so."
3. "But the Calvinist God condemns to hell those whom He could save if He so desired but for whom He sovereignly chose not even to have Christ die and from whom He deliberately withholds the salvation He pretends to offer them-and punishes them for not accepting."
2."Those whom God, by foreknowledge, knew would receive Christ were elected/predestined to certain blessings. The Bible does not teach that God causes some to believe and refuses to give saving faith to others."
1. "It is not true that I teach that everything that happens has all been predetermined by God based upon His foreknowledge. That doesn't even make sense. God wouldn't need foreknowledge to predetermine everything. He would just predetermine it. But God has not predetermined everything that happens in our world. That is Calvinist doctrine. Its denial of man's free will makes a holy God the author of all evil."
The Gospel, Truth, Apologetics, and Roman Catholicism
07/12/2007 - Alan KurschnerIn light of the recent discussion-controversy of the approach that a believer should take in doing apologetics, and Roman Catholicism specifically, I could not help but think of a most poignant article that James White wrote over a year ago responding to someone claiming they were becoming Roman Catholic because of James White. I just could not let this one drift off into his archives. It is a must read for all believers who love God’s truth and trust in the “power of the gospel." Here it is.
Five More Luther Myths
07/07/2007 - James SwanI noticed my last entry Ten Luther Myths was picked up on a number of blogs and discussion boards. Here are five more.
1. Luther Had a Mental Disorder?
The story goes that while listening to a Gospel lesson at mass on Mark 9:14-29 about an evil spirit being cast out, Luther fell to the floor in the choir of the monastery at Erfurt crying out, "It is not me, not me!" Luther is said to be crying out he was not demon possessed. Psychologist Erik Erikson wrote an entire chapter in his book Young Man Luther on this incident, concluding Luther had a mental disorder. The source for the story comes not from the pen of Luther, but rather from the writing of one of Luther's earliest Roman Catholic opponents, Cochlaeus, who got the story third hand. Cochlaeus was devoted to destroying Luther. He would print anything he could find to use against him, whether true or not. Cochlaeus was convinced Luther was demon possessed and had been seen with the Devil. Cochlaeus stated of Luther, "...he knows the Devil well, and is in turn well known by him... he was even seen by certain people to keep company bodily with the Devil."
2. Luther Said "Be a Sinner and Sin Boldly" Because Salvation is by Faith Alone and Works Do Not Matter
More than a few Catholic authors have accused Luther of teaching a wanton lawlessness of sinning boldly. If justification is by faith alone, aren't Christians then free to sin as much they want? In 1521 Luther wrote to Melanchthon and stated, "If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world." Luther was prone to strong hyperbole. It's his style, and this statement is a perfect example. Luther's point is not to go out and commit multiple amounts of gleeful sin everyday, but rather to believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly despite the sin in our lives. Throughout his career, Luther taught that faith was a living faith. Luther stated, "Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith." Luther also stated, "Accordingly, if good works do not follow, it is certain that this faith in Christ does not dwell in our heart, but dead faith." Luther preached and taught this regularly.
3. Luther Took Books Out of the Bible?
Luther's translation of the Bible contained all of its books. Luther also translated and included the Apocrypha, saying, "These books are not held equal to the Scriptures, but are useful and good to read." He expressed his thoughts on the canon in prefaces placed at the beginning of particular Biblical books. In these prefaces, he either questioned or doubted the canonicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation (his Catholic contemporaries, Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan, likewise questioned the canonicity of certain New Testament books). Of his opinion, he allows for the possibility of his readers to disagree with his conclusions. Of the four books, it is possible Luther's opinion fluctuated on two (Hebrews and Revelation). Luther was of the opinion that the writers of James and Jude were not apostles, therefore these books were not canonical. Still, he used them and preached from them.
4. Luther Was "Extraordinarily Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary"?
Normally Catholics vilify Luther. But, when it comes to Mary, Luther becomes a leader all Protestants should learn a great lesson in Mariology from. True, Luther said some nice things about Mary. Luther though saw the idol medieval theology had created. His abandoning of the intercession of the saints and his doctrine of justification significantly changes his Marian approach. Therefore, Luther was not devoted in any sort of Roman Catholic sense to Mary. True, he used the phrase Mother of God, but did so intending the rich Christ-centered usage of Theotokos when discussing the incarnation or Christ's Deity. He also uses the term simply as a synonym for Mary, which was common in the sixteenth century. Perhaps the most startling aspect of Luther's Mariology is his lifelong belief in her perpetual virginity. While holding this belief, Luther will not have Mary's perpetually virginity extolled. He condemns those who venerate this attribute, and notes that it exists only to bring forth the Messiah. He abandoned the Immaculate Conception sometime after 1527. In 1532 he preached, "Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood."
5. Did Luther Really Say " Here I Stand"?
The most famous of all statements from Luther might actually be one he never said. Standing before Emperor Charles V and Papal authorities, Luther refused to recant of the charges made against him and the books he had written. Defying Church and Emperor, his famous speech ends, "Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me." While the earliest printed versions of this historic event include these words, they were not recorded on the spot. Luther's famous biographer Roland Bainton suggests, "The words, though not recorded on the spot, may nevertheless be genuine, because the listeners at the moment may have been too moved to write" (Bainton, Here I Stand, 144).