Monday, December 13, 2010

All apologies for classic Apologetics

links between classic, evidential-ism and idolatry
Colossians 2:18 (King James Version)
18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

When a person is committing idolatry, traditionally they are creating their own concept of God.
Traditionally apologists follow secular philosophy in assuming that God must be affirmed by unbelievers through logic. In order to do this there is a tendency to present God in a way that they assume would be to the liking of the audience.
So God is subject to change.
Two typical apologist systems are evidentialism and Thomistic classical apologetics. Evidentialism is a scientific empirical system for determining truth based on evidence. The evidential apologist establishes a scientific case for the likely hood of a transcendent truth like God. But can only speak as to what evidence is given. Thomistic apologetics divorces the concepts of faith and reason. so that only reason is universal and any transcendent concept outside of monotheism and morality is faith which is subjective.
Even if an evidentialists or Thomistic apologists(follower of thomas aquinas) says they believe biblical doctrine they then declare that certain arguments are based upon faith and therefore untenable. Which makes one wonder how they can consistently believe at all.
Yet Faith covers everything to do with God.
Hebrews 11:3 "3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
So then these doctrines are not based on reason alone and faith is not to be exiled from reason.

Matthew 7:16-20 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

When we look at these philosophies we judge them by their by-products and not by their foundation. We think as long as this can support our faith in God we think it is good. But if the tree is bad then by necessity the fruit will be bad also. This is the foundation of the modern secularized church. The foundation is meaningless as long as the product is good.
A. If lots of people come forward or come to church then you must be a good evangelist.

B. If people sound good then they must be providing good worship.

C. If I can speak with a lot of technical words i must be a good teacher.

If I can argue for the existence of a god I must be a good defender of the faith. Whether it's C.S. Lewis "mere Christianity" or Lee Strobel's "The case for a Creator"

The refusal not to defend parts of the faith is a choice to offend the word of God.
Matthew 5:18-19 (King James Version)
18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 8:38 (King James Version)
38Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
To argue for a piece of the truth is also to argue the other piece of a lie. For instance I have heard many intelligent design advocates. Many of whom will argue against the idea of a young earth as taught in the bible just as strongly as they argue against biological evolution.

disobedience of sola scriptura
Colossians 2:8 (King James Version)
8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Matthew 15:9 (King James Version)
9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

When we try to establish doctrine based upon another source than scripture. We imply the scripture on some level is unnecessary. Much of Thomas Aquinas arguments were first propounded by Aristotle who was a pagan. So they did not require the Holy spirit to have access to the God of the Bible in Thomism. You may know right from wrong and the existence of God without the scriptures. In fact these things are proven meaning they are obvious to the sinner.
Then Thomism argues that this is true because they can convince some people of their arguments. However they do not convince everyone.
So the validity of God's existence is at the mercy of human opinion.

Also The lordship of Jehovah is undermined and this is against the scriptures.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (King James Version)
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

How natural is revelation?
Romans 1:18-22 (King James Version)
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Now this passage teaches that God has revealed the truth. Yet this is not universal. It is men who particularly hold the truth in unrighteousness. These men have been revealed the wrath of God. these are not just unbelievers, they are reprobates. Now there is a universal revelation which is.

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
So all people are not convicted towards monotheism. Instead they are all convicted concerning Christ. They will be convicted over their disbelief in christ, they will be convicted concerning the righteousness of christ,through his resurrection and ascension. They will know judgement because the "prince of this world" is condemned. Which would translate to the fact that satan is the spirit of selfishness and our selfish desires are doomed to failure.
This is not released to people through nature. It is released through the gospel.
Romans 1:16 (King James Version)
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Unbelievers are ignorant.
Jonah 4:11 "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
Unbelievers are indeed ignorant and this is why the gospel is required.

idolatry of knowledge
1 Corinthians 8:1-2 (King James Version)
1Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
Unbelievers such as the gnostics consider knowledge to be the sacrament of eternal life. Faith is not our ability to attain knowledge, but our humility in receiving truth.

God is greater than the unmoved mover.
By referring to God in limited ways we veer off course of the true doctrine of God.
A classic example of an aspect which matches God but does not give any credence to the rest of God. For instance God is unmoving but he is also a God who has emotions and comforts. the Unmoved mover by itself may not follow this God. But it is essential to understand God is love. So the unmoved mover may be a deity but not believe in the God of the bible.

Is salvation a decision?
When a person becomes a christian is it based upon their giving God permission to save them?
I believe their is a difference between trusting God to save and allowing God to save.
Is my justification the fact that I allowed Christianity to be my religious affiliation, or is justification the fact that salvation was prepared for me by jesus christ and the fact that I have repented of my autonomy and recognized that He is my Lord and capable of providing it to me?
Acts 17
29Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

In the end I believe our thoughts about God connect to our relationship to him. I know that most people do not make their philosophy this consistent but false teachings still can damage our spirituality. it is not necessarily wrong to point out scientific evidence or a good logic argument for support. At the end of the day though you do not need these arguments to evangelize The gospel and the word of God are sufficient.
In Christ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Biblical case for a church democracy.

The charge of being unbiblical.) If you look through the Bible and are looking for a passage that says. This is the exact structure for which all Christians are to be organized; Thou shall have so many members so many members, so many meetings so many officers, so many procedures and that God will only bless one type of church organizational structure, then you will probably be sorely disappointed. I know I was!
But while the Bible doesn’t always directly deal with a topic, it is not therefore necessarily silent. The Bible speaks to the direct meaning of it’s passages and also speaks to us to today in what it directly implies.
An implication is when the Bible says a statement but only indirectly. We see the Lord Jesus using this hermeneutic(way of interpreting) when interpreting the law.
Matthew 5:18
18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

And so Jesus teaches by implication many of his doctrines like adultery
matthew 5:27-28
27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Or murder...
Matthew 5:21-23
21Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

The liberation of Christ)
Galatians 4:28-5:14
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
1Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
7Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
8This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
9A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
10I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
11And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
12I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Christians are no longer simply under authority as slaves, but of the authority as the adopted royal family. If this is the understanding concerning God's Highest laws, then why would the man-made authority of the clergy be so binding?

The personal lordship of Christ)
Romans 14:4
4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

One concept which the democratic church advocates have not recently capitalized upon is the greatest biblical reason for democracy. The authority of Christ is a total monarchy. However, human authority is more indirect. But Christ is directly authoritative over us. We are not under the authority of sinners but instead the sinless Son of God.
Colossians 1:18
18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
So the highest authority in the local congregation is Christ through the Holy Spirit individually.

The voluntary nature of the New Covenant)
Believers baptism acts 2:38
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Church discipline in the power of the congregation)
Matthew 18:15-20
15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Here there is no mention of some superior class of christians involved with the discipline in the church. Instead the local church is given divine authority from God to conduct this act. The congregation is the final human authority for itself.

The initiation of the clergy by the people)
Acts 6:3-6
3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
The deacons were elected by the congregation.
1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Even the Apostle Paul was ordained by the holy Spirit through the congregation

21And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
23And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Now admittedly this passage is a little loose as to whether the elders were “elected”(Geneva Bible) by the apostle Paul or the congregations. However the congregation is the rational interpetation for the following reasons.
a. The converts are "the disciples" the subject of verse 22.
b. "on whom they had believed" seems to refer to the converts. Mentioning the apostles as believers is a waste of space.
c. The souls of the converts were first confirmed before the elders were commended.

The limitations upon the clergy)
Mark 9:38-41
38And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
40For he that is not against us is on our part.
41For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Acts 20:28
28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
"over the which the Holy Ghost has made you over seers, to feed the Chruch of God" Pastoral authority is over those which the Holy Spirit, and not a manmade organization, has given you the opportunity to feed with the word of God.

1 Peter 5:1-5
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Nottice the admonition in verse2 "which is among you" limiting authority to single congregations. "not by constraint, but willingly" this was not authority maintained through force or manipulation.
"Neither as being Lords over God's heretage." The apstor guides the Flock he doe snot own the flock.

The local congregation and the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15
15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

This is a fact of the local congregation. Paul is writing them and telling them that he is wanting to come to him. (obviously implying that he is not.) and then instructing them on how to behave when they are in the house of God. If this were a catholic or invisible church concept they would already be in the church.
So the local church is the house of God and the pillar of truth. This is why the local church must be autonomous to all human authorities.

Business meetings?)
While the Bible doesn’t actually have business meetings the way they are done according to Robert’s rules of order. They did meet together and issues would have been likely brought up. We see the first business meeeting took place in acts.

13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
15And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
16Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
18Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
20For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
So they conducted there business replacing the treasurer and picked the top
candidates. Nottice Peter did not use top down authority to choose the successor? This passage clearly qualifies as the conducting of a NEw Testament Business meeting.

In corinthians we have situations describe where business could be conducted.
28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
40Let all things be done decently and in order.

So the church has a certain order and organization whereby it conducts its business. We see the major emphasis of the New Testament is to determine the will of God. Modern autonomous churches need to return to this model.

Shaky competition)
The offices of the Popes, cardinals, archbishops and priest are not found in the New Testament even though they are the highest authorities in the catholic church. the idea of a college of cardinals and a Pope are more simlar to the government system of the Roman Empire.
We see a similar dilemma in The eastern orthodox church in terms of arch bishops as well as infant baptized national church members.
Other systems like the presbyterian republican model might have some weight in the Old Testament but not in the New. The Anglican church is about even with the eastern orthodox in this regard.
All together congregationalism is the only biblical approach to church government.

In Christ,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

specifically begotton.

One debate which is not a very well known outside of theological circles is the debate regarding the Son ship of Christ. When we say that Jesus is the Son of God; how does that work? The Arians and jehovah'S Witness take this simply that Jesus is the creation of God the Father. They have trouble reconciling this with passages indicating That Jesus is the Lord God and therefore eternal. Yet even among the trinitarians there is a debate over the nature of his Sonship. Is Jesus the Son of God by means of his human nature or his deified nature?
This debate is obviously a little more technical. However it is still important for the minister in developing a proper systematic theology and handling the Challenges of the cults.
The view that I hold is incarnational sonship, that That the man Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God. That while I concede that The logos or deity of Christ may be entitled "Son" The deity was not begotten/generated since he is eternal.
The view which I critique "eternal sonship/eternal generation" denies that Jesus was begotten of God at His incarnation but instead the deity of Christ was generated by the Father in eternity past. Also the nature of this eternal generation is mysterious and not to be questioned.
So one phrase used in this debate "eternal Son of God" is not one that is of necessity biblical thought those who hold to eternal generation will used it as their Banner.

1. eternally begotten) a contradiction
Many modern champions of this view like to change the language of the debate by labeling the position eternal son-ship. However, the historical phrase is that Jesus was "eternally begotten" of the Father in eternity past,present and future.

   /bɪˈgɛt/ Show Spelled[bih-get] Show IPA
–verb (used with object), be·got or ( Archaic ) be·gat; be·got·ten or be·got; be·get·ting.
1. (esp. of a male parent) to procreate or generate (offspring).
2. to cause; produce as an effect: a belief that power begets power.

So essentially if the Father beget the Word, then He produced the Logos. Then the second person of the trinity is not eternal.

   /ɪˈtɜrnl/ Show Spelled[ih-tur-nl] Show IPA
1. without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing ( opposed to temporal): eternal life.
2. perpetual; ceaseless; endless: eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
3. enduring; immutable: eternal principles.
4. Metaphysics . existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.

So here is the obvious contradiction. You can not be caused and have no beginning at the same time.
Yet the Logos is eternal.
John 1:1-3
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
1:8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

2. the complete history of eternal begotten doctrine
A. Origen
Origen in defending the deity of Christ came up with this doctrine. The problem with this idea is that it is in inherently subordinate. Not surprisingly Origen was openly a subordinationist. (in other words he held that the Son and the spirit were inferior to the Father)
"We say that the Savior and the Holy Spirit exceed all creatures without possible comparison, in a wholly transcendent way but that they are exceeded by the Father by as much or even more than they exceeded the other beings." Origen quoted by Henry Crouzel pg. 203 and later Roger E. Olson The Story of Christian theology pg. 110

b. The Son reveals the Father to us. Origen followed Neo-Platonism, which taught that from the Divine Being proceeds the Nous. The Son proceeds from the Father somewhat as the will proceeds from a human being. This procession is expressed in the conception of a generation (genesis) of the Son from the Father. But Origen made a larger contribution to the dogma of the Trinity by speaking of an eternal generation. The Father is always generating the Son...He looked upon the Logos as a Person, and taught that the Son, begotten of the Father from all eternity, was also from all eternity a hypostasis. Origen's teaching differed thus from all previous conceptions of a hypostatic Logos; especially was this true with reference to the Apologists who took the position that the hypostasizing of the Logos occurred in time for the purpose of creation and incarnation...This was the first advance made towards stating the Son's co-eternity with the Father.
A History of Christian thought Dr. J.L. Neve pg. 86-87

B. eusibius influence on creed
Eusibius was a primitive catholic and he had a great influence upon the nicene creed much of the creed was based upon his churches confession.
Eusibius theology was not entirely sound. He tried to synthesize the the deity of Christ with ariansim and he rejected the book of revelation in the canon.
“In order to analyze these discrepancies, one must first discern something of Eusebius’ national, personal and theological positions. Although we know little of His life, It is fairly certain that Eusebius was born in Caesarea about 263. This was the city which had ordained Origen and which, when he was condemned by synods in Alexandira and-significantly-Rome, sheltered after his excommunication.
“It was in Caesarea that Origen deposited his library, began a school, and continued his scholarship until his death in 254-within a decade of Eusebius’birth. After Origen’s death, his library came under the curatorship of pamphilus, who had studied in Alexandria under the Originist teacher Pierus. In his youth, Eusebius assisted Pamphilus; about the year 308 he coauthored the ‘Apology for Origen’ with Him. Breathing the air of Origen’s Own library, having learned from and assisted Origen’s principle defender, it is self evident that Eusebius was not only an easterner, but also a supporter of Origen.
“It is not surprising to learn that Eusebius should have later been Arian in His theology. Like Origen, Arius also taught subordinationism, and, like Origen, Arius found support in the east, from Eusebius of Nicomedia, and our Eusebius, who by that time was bishop of Caesaria.” Attridge, Harold W. “Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism” Pg. 317-18

The creed of Eusebius of Caesarea. - The creed which Eusebius presented to the Nicene Council was of this expanded character, and ran as follows: ‘We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things, both visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God of (from) God, Light of Light, Life of Life, the only-begotten Son, the first-born of all creation, begotten of the Father before all ages; through whom also all things were made; who for our salvation
was made flesh and lived among men, and suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father, and shall come again in glory, to judge the living and dead; and in the Holy Spirit.’

H.N. Bate, History of the Church to 325, 2nd edn. London: Rivingtons, 1924. Hbk. pp.119-125.CHAPTER X The Council of Nicaea
I think we must take note that Eusebius had already had the doctrine of eternal generation in His creed which was the product of Origen's theology. Eusebius creed was the foundation of the Nicene creed. So the doctrine of eternal generation was implanted in the creed and made government law. Afterall, the Bishops were focused on Arianism.
Therefore much like in American law where a lobbyist may author a Bill and the senators might not actually even read the bill. The Bishops of Nicene passed this doctrine without necessarily any deep thought on the matter.

3.scriptural support for eternal generation
13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Here we see evidence that the Son of God is deity. So the Son was begotton of the Father. But that is not really the issue up for debate. The issue of the debate is whether the deity was or is eternally still being begotten.

18Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
This is clear evidence that the title Son of God implies the deity of Christ. So therefore according to Eternal sonship advocates christ was begotton in eternity.
However the crux of the Debate is not whether or not the Son of God is deity. That is settled by the fact that there is one christ. The Question is: does this passage say Jesus is eternally begotton. Besides, it was the man claiming that he was the Son of God here. Implying that the man was the Son of God and therefore that Jesus was incarnationally begotten of the father.

5. Explanations for lack of study.
The Nicene Creed was a government enforced document. As a result a minister could be imprisoned, excommunicated and possibly tortured for disagreement with the doctrine of eternal generation. Many of the "Conservative" preachers would emphasize
the mystery of God concerning the contradictions.
The same can be said of Presbyterians under the Westminster confession, though it would not have been persecuted per se.
I don't have the ability to determine why MacArthur would have switched his views, as I don't know His heart. But with as much scholarship as he has put into his views I doubt he completely converted his views. So I think it could be another explanation. It could be acceptance among evangelical elites, intimidation of numbers, fear of a church backlash etc.
However I find it telling in MacArthur's "reexamining the Eternal Sonship of Christ" Here in this document MacArthur has to successfully refute himself.
One major objection to the eternally begotten doctrine is the fact That the Logos has to Relate to the father as Generated from the Father, yet the Holy Spirit on proceeds from the father and does not relate to the Father as a father at all. MacArthur had held this objection previously. So does he answer this dilemma?
"If Christ's sonship is all about His deity, someone will wonder why this applies to the Second Member of the Trinity alone, and not to the Third. After all, we don't refer to the Holy Spirit as God's Son, do we? Yet isn't He also of the same essence as the Father?
"Of course He is. The full, undiluted, undivided essence of God belongs alike to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is but one essence; yet He exists in three Persons. The three Persons are co-equal, but they are still distinct Persons. And the chief characteristics that distinguish between the Persons are wrapped up in the properties suggested by the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Theologians have labeled these properties paternity, filiation, and spiration. That such distinctions are vital to our understanding of the Trinity is clear from Scripture. How to explain them fully remains something of a mystery.
"In fact, many aspects of these truths may remain forever inscrutable, but this basic understanding of the eternal relationships within the Trinity nonetheless represents the best consensus of Christian understanding over many centuries of Church history. I therefore affirm the doctrine of Christ's eternal sonship while acknowledging it as a mystery into which we should not expect to pry too deeply."

So he says it is a mystery! You can not answer irrational-ism with a mystery! How can you claim that Jesus the man can not be the Son of God and that he needs to be subordinate to the Father, when an equal spiritual person doesn't have to at all! If it is a mystery, then it has not been unveiled. If it is revelation it was a mystery; but a mystery no longer. God is not the author of confusion! Perhaps it is a mystery because God did not reveal it! When preachers use such irrational arguments they are not working on the side of God anymore. They are instead comforting the enemy. God is logical. The logos is logical. Yes, they are words which are completely connected.
Isaiah 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
God communicates to us rationally. Religious politics is getting old.

6. Scriptural support for the only begotton Son being begotton on the earth

Matthew 1:18-25 (King James Version)

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
So the messiah was conceived of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is God and Jesus is being begotten. Jesus fulfills the prophesy of being Emmanuel "God with us". So then Jesus is the one person and both natures are being spoken of. So then the Logos is having the verb "begotten" refer to the Incarnation.

Mark 15:39
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
Nottice How the centurion identifies the man as the son of God. Is he incoorrect. Is the Man not the Son?

John 1:14
14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
First why IS he identified as Word if he was eternally begotten Son? Secondly wouldn't "made flesh" be close enough to begotten to say that if Jesus is the only begotten son it was when the deity/Word was made flesh?

I may have this article edited in the future. But I wanted to get people thinking on this topic now.
In Christ,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The New Testament trinity verses the catholic trinity

A. Scripture verses tradition
The very core of catholic verses new Testament Christian theology is irreconcilably different.
Catholicism is ran by human sources. It carries an undefined sacred tradition. It claims authority over the Biblical canon. It claims authority over interpretation. It claims the authority to make new traditions.
The New Testament church is ran by the Bible. The Bible has a fixed canon. Most New Testament Churches understand their regular duty to practice specifically what is taught in scripture.
"Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men." Nicene creed
While I do not necessarily have a problem with teachers of the early church, they are not an absolute source of authority because their teachings were human.
"and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
" Chalcedonian creed
The scriptures themselves clearly condemn subverting scripture to traditions of men.
15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [It is] a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 15:7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 15:1-9
The Scriptures are the foundation of our faith.
3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
2 Peter 3:1-2

B. Unsaved orthodoxy
"We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
nicene creed
Here we have two major errors in the way of salvation. One is a view of Baptism as the way of salvation; by implication that one must be saved through joining a particular church.
While baptism is a sign of salvation it is not the power of God which brings salvation. This is the Gospel.
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16
17. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 corinthians 1:17
The question is not which group we associate with but in whom we have believed.
12. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

"He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching His godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching His manhood; who, although He is God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether; not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, He sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the quick and the dead. At His coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
"Athanasian Creed
Here we see that the creed states that God's judgment is constructed as a works based salvation. It is also stated that one's salvation or damnation depend on whether they believe this along with the rest of the creed.
However the gospel states clearly that no man is sinless or good.
16. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19. Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. 22. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25. When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26. But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Romans 3:10-19

10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13. Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14. Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17. And the way of peace have they not known: 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
The Bible teaches that we are justified god's grace through faith, not of works.
Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Yet their is only one gospel which is essential to salvation to believe.
Galatians 1:7-10
7. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Galatians 3:1-2
1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Since these writers of the creeds have taught false teachings they are not to be viewed as the measurement for truth.
50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 50:17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
Psalms 50:16-17

C. Historical development
The concept of the trinity was 1st developed by North African pastor Tertulian. He was in opposition to the doctrines of modalism. Tertulian's doctrine was simple and it would be 200 years before The church became catholic and the creed established. Over the centuries the theologians would stretch the doctrine further past Biblical explanation. This culminated in the creed of "athanasius", which was not written by Athanasius. This creed would effect the Western understanding of the trinity for centuries following.
"In the New Testament we do not find the doctrine of the Trinity
in anything like its developed form, not even in the Pauline and Johannine theology, although ample witness is borne to the religious experience from which the doctrine springs. None the less Christ is acknowledged as the eternal Son of God and the supreme revelation of the Father, and the quickening Spirit of life is acknowledged to be derived ' from on high." And so, when the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements-God, Christ, and the Spirit-enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)

"From what has been seen thus far, the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th-century invention. In a sense, this is true; but it implies an extremely strict interpretation of the key words Trinitarian and dogma. Triadic Consciousness in the Primitive Revelation. The formulation "one God in three Persons" was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective; among the 2d-century Apologists, little more than a focusing of the problem as that of plurality within the unique Godhead. ... From the vocabulary and grammar of the Greek original, the intention of the hagiographer to communicate singleness of essence in three distinct Persons was easily derived. ... If it is clear on one side that the dogma of the Trinity in the stricter sense of the word was a late arrival, product of 3 centuries' reflection and debate, it is just as clear on the opposite side that confession of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-and hence an elemental Trinitarianism-went back to the period of Christian origins." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1965, Trinity, p299-300)

It is important when critiquing the catholic trinity that we are aware of the major heretical competitors and distinguish the New Testament trinity for their teachings.

gnosticism/adoption) Gnosticism was a pagan religion which fused itself with pagan concepts and therefore it is more like Mormonism with a view point between tri-theism and polytheism with Jesus being adopted into god-hood. This was one of the first identified heresies.

modalism)This view destroys all the distinctions in the Godhead. The idea that the names of the trinity do not represent persons, instead they are descriptions of the same person.

subordinationism) The idea that the Holy Spirit and the Son are the products of God the Father and therefore inferior in their deified nature.

Arianism) The idea, that though the Holy Spirit and the Son are like God they are not full in deity nor are they the same being as the Father. This also lead's to a practical paganism or Unitarianism depending.

All of these teachings are false. The Simple understanding of the trinity is One almighty God with three persons.
So essentially both Catholic and New Testament church models are trinitarian. The catholic model is simply more complex and less biblical.

D. Simple verses complex trinity
We see in the Athanasian Creed an overstatement of equality.

"Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one Uncreated, and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord. And yet not three lords, but one Lord."
Now here the writers of the creed are focused on pounding out the doctrine of the trinity. But as we will see see they focus more on the principles by means of philosophy as opposed to searching the scriptures.
Here we see terms and concepts that are not directly found in the scripture. For instance "incomprehensible". This term has several applications some Biblical some un-biblical. If we were trying to measure the vastness of God that would be incomprehensible. Yet if, define incomprehensible in terms of God being an illogical/irrational concept, then no that is heresy.
Where does the Bible discuss one verses three eternals? Or one verses three incomprehensibilities? This is not the type of discussion for the layperson and yet this is stated by the creed to be essential to the faith for salvation. Therefore the Creed is Hinting at salvation based on clergy. Since the lay person did not have access to the scriptures and would trouble understanding the concepts fully.
While The Nicene creed has a place for relational subordination, the athanasian creed has no such place which can lure one towards modelism.
As in the Athanasian creed "For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal." The Bible doesn't say equality in glory. Instead it has the son and the spirit submitting their glory unto the father.

15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28

E. 3 persons related in submission verses three persons related in subordination.
Now there are different definitions to the word "subordination". Sometimes it is submission; in which case that would be true. Other times it is a rank of inferiority. The persons of the Godhead are equal in terms of power and therefore not subordinate.
Yet one way in which the Son and the Holy Ghost are subordinate is in their office both are tied to their descent into the earthly realm. Therefore in this light they were subordinate to the father since the Father was always reigning "in Heaven".
Both the Logos and the Holy Ghost inseparable to the Godhead therefore they have all the power of God behind them. Yet the scriptures will speak, when relating them together, to the Father as God, Jesus as Lord, and the Holy Spirit as Spirit.
However, the problem with traditional subordination is that the Holy Spirit and Christ appear as if they are different entities. This leads to the conclusion of tri-theism. This easily becomes paganism because the names of gods become synonymous.
Typically the scriptures emphasize the distinction in relation by calling the father-God and the Son-Lord.
4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:4-6
8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
1 Corinthians 8:6
13:13 \13:14\The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen. <[The second [epistle] to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, [a city] of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.]>
2 Corinthians 13:14

F. A Holy God who shares His glory with no one. vrs. A God who shares His glory with Mary
"truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union" Chalcedonian Creed
Here is where we see the deification of Mary first spring up. Chalcedon strong emphasizes the unity of Christ and then declares Mary to be the "mother of God". In fact, they rejected and even treated as heresy the idea of calling Mary the Mother of Christ. This insinuates that Christ would be subordinate to Mary. They try to stop this by saying Mary is mother according to the flesh.
However this doctrine is easy to override for the pagans. Catholics believe in "traducianism", in other words that people inherit their souls from their parents. So the one person Christ inherited His soul from His mother.
So then the person of the logos must have received a portion of his person-hood through Mary, This would imply that Christ is subordinate to Mary. Then Christ submits to His Mother and Mary is superior to the Son. But also remember That Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. So therefore, Mary has superior priority to two persons of the trinity!
While Catholic theologians may argue that they do not interpret the doctrine this way, they use icons and statues to convey this message constantly. Erecting statues of Mary in a glorify state by herself. Crowning these statues and calling her queen of Heaven. O have seen pictures in Vatican city displaying Mary in the fashion of a pagan goddess. Having Mary hang on a crucifix behind Jesus. In Chicago, Saint Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church has a statue of Mary over the ark of God. This would place Mary at the center of God's salvation.
44:25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows. 44:26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. 44:27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that [are] in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.
Jeremiah 44:25-27

G. The invisible God vs a God of many idols.
Catholicism is monotheistic in terms profession but is polytheistic in terms of practices.
1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].
John 1:18

The point of God's invisibility is that God is not limited to the imagination. That God could only be perceived through his direct revelation. We only need to enter the Vatican to find images of God. In the Sistine chapel God the Father is depicted as a large naked man. Also the persons of the Godhead have separate depictions making it appear 3 gods.
In the world of paint and iconic imagery God is humiliated. His power is limited to the artist. Even if He is portrayed as powerful it is only there due to the permission of the artist.
This is the great curse of Catholicism. Man has authority over God. How could God ever approved? It has been said that there are priests who practice but no longer have faith in God. I have not met that many priest, but I have met several Catholics who are atheist. They will still practice their religion, but they have no personal faith in God. I met a fella at work who denied the existence of God, the Bible etc. He said he was raised catholic. He was very liberal and secular; as I tried to witness to him he seemed oblivious to any concerns. But then U had an idea, I became very critical of the pope and the papal system, I argue against the efficiency of the sacramental system. All of the sudden his confidence and calm were gone, He started to argue very passionately and act offended. But why would an atheist be so protective of the papacy? The fact is for a lot of people, the RCC is a back up worldview. They may live as heathens, but in case their is judgment they may find shelter in the papacy. I believe the key to this error is the idea that man somehow has authority over God. As long as we break the commandment.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.1 John 5:21

H. What does this mean?
Now I want to be careful in my judgment here. The doctrine of the trinity is essential to salvation. Yet the requirement for this is consistent with childlike faith. In other words, I believe we are required to understand the simple doctrine of the trinity according to our maturity. In general, I accept the premise that most Catholics are trinitarian. The differences, are minor and I assume that God would not judge the laity over this.
Yet there are theological consequences. By minimizing personal distinctions, I believe this provided a background for Thomas Aquinas' Aristotelian philosophy "thomism". This is the main "classical apologetic" approach. Wherein Aquinas argues for the existence of a Unitarian god. He claims that it is rational to argue for a Unitarian God. But that the trinitarian God requires revelation and faith. I believe that the real reason is because the Athanasian version of the trinity provided Catholic theologians a more modelistic view point which made trinitarianism appear irrational. Also Aquinas is borrowing from the writings of Unitarian Greeks and Muslims. The real problem is that this apologetics can never be of evangelistic use to Christians since it can not defend what is uniquely and essentially Christian.
One main issue, is that this serves us notice of the divorce between New Testament Christianity and Roman Catholicism. As shown in previous articles we have a different history, a different salvation, a different canon, a different worship, a different hierarchy, a different Christ and finally a different God. Roman Catholic is a completely Separate religion from New Testament Christianity. Mainline protestantism may have ties with Catholicism but we do not find this in scripture.

In Christ,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gospel centered apologetic approach

Step 1 Materialism disprove by empirical facts

a. The existence of the mind
Materialism assumes that only the physical universe exists. Therefore, everything has evolved from our material environment.
However, humans do have at least one immaterial organ called the mind. Our minds can process information and develop ideas that do not come to us through the physical environment. Scientist are incapable of refuting this idea, since encountering this argument validates the existence of their own minds.
Some have claimed that while the mind is immaterial, it is the by-product of the brain. This worldview fails to explain why ideas foreign to the environment are still being produced.
The implications of an immaterial substance such as the mind are staggering. The mind being immaterial is not necessarily subject to scientific law. Even the death of the brain doesn't stop the existence of the mind. Theoretically a mind could live in an immaterial plane forever.
b. The existence of other minds (spirits, God)
Now that we have found evidence of another dimension where these ideas are given out. It stands to reason that if the mind may exist in this realm and all humanity has a mind. Then there is a realm of spirits. This realm may contain not only human spirits but other spiritual beings as well.

c. The science of psychology
While it is true that psychology is not a hard science, psychology applies the scientific method to the human mind. With nearly two centuries of documentation is we have enough evidence to show that the the mind and the spiritual/mental worlds are indeed a reality.

Some may look this argument and wonder "why do we have to answer the objections of materialism if only a small population actually hold these views?" We must answer these objections in order that others do not use this scheme as a way of denying the Christians their right to present a truth claim. When in search of truth we must find more than conviction but also authority.

Step 2 Religion proved as an empirical fact
A. Regardless of worldview, humanity relates itself to something which is transcendent.
B. Humanity also finds itself inadequate, needing to ascend to a higher plane.

What we are doing here is establishing universally accepted facts. Many people do not notice just how authoritative their beliefs are. But upon when majority opinions are discovered, they shrink the intellectual opposition drastically. It is the experience of all people that they relation to something higher and they find themselves to be short of it. Humanity is designed as a religious race. There has to be a reason and truth behind it.

Step 3 The Christian Experience has the right to be assumed.
(Christian experience is understood as the sum and universal experience of Christians from gospel presentation through death; also known as Christian testimony)
(as a prerequisite to this argument a full gospel presentation is advisable.)
A. Christian experience answers the universal needs of religion.
Since religion is empirically true, we now see how that correlates with the christian religious experience. Christianity obviously answers these universal maxims. Qualifying it's existence as a truth claim.
B. Christian experience has a great multitude of witnesses which claim faith as fact.
So essentially as the old argument goes "on the testimony of two witnesses" truth is established in a court of law. The millions of christian testimonies is now weighed as evidence to the christian truth claim.

C. Christian witness is not just subjective but historical as well.
We need to notice the wide variety of witnesses. All walks of life, young-old, nationality-skin color, past-future all religious backgrounds, professions etc. This shows the truth and durability of the NT religion.

This method at this point becomes very practical to ministers. Because they not only prepare the lost for the gospel. They also build the gospel presentation into it. Apologetics is now properly assisting evangelism.

Step 4 The Christian experience implies revelation
A. If the effect of Christian experience is true, then the cause of divine revelation is valid.
B. If divine revelation is fact then Christianity is no longer subjective, but objective fact. (this is because the divine word teaches such of itself.)

This is a key stage of the apologetic argument. We are now moving from subjective claims to objective facts. Presuppositionalism has always had problems establishing it's authority to those skeptical because their facts are not universally accepted. Classical apologetics has always had trouble using their subjective evidence to make absolute assertions. The combination of both strengths is then reinforced in the gospel presentation which reaches the minds of all and reinforces the convictions of the faithful.
Notice the law of cause and effect being used to translate the logic.

Step 5 Christianity with authority as presuppositional fact.
A. All alternative worldview religions must pass the test of logical coherence before their criticisms may be rendered valid.
(we know of course all the false religions will fail.)
B. Questions of coherence may be asked by Christians towards the scriptures. Other worldviews will lack authority to criticize since they will be proved to be irrational.
(the Bible is coherent. So at this point we seek answers from the scriptures over any concerns.)
By faith and a lot of experience I understand that the Bible has no contradictions. While we must be prepared to answer objects we are in desperate need to demand answers of the alternative religions. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down. But everybody knows... too much sugar rots out your teeth!

step 6 biblical support for the steps of the argument
a. 2Corinthians4:7, Romans 1:19-20
b. psalm 117, acts 17:22-30
c. 1corinthians 15:1-9, 2 corinthians 3:2-3
d. galatians 1, matthew 5:18-22
e. job 38-40

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What do you believe about believing?

What is faith's nature?
A. faith is belief:In the Greek "pisteuo" is the same word translated "believe" or "faith". So to have faith is synonymous with believe.
14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.
Romans 14:23

B. belief is passive: To believe is to receive information. Therefore it is not a work.
1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
John 1:12

What is biblical faith?
A. Faith is presuppositional
Belief is subjective for humans. However it understands itself to find origin in revelation. Faith finds it's authority not in a man made means of determining truth, but receives the objective truth in the revelation from the mind of God.
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

B. Faith is not artificial/imaginary
faith in the New testament is referred to as blind. Meaning that it is not developed by the human mind, but instead is delivered by God
2Corinthians 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

What is saving faith?
A. Saving faith is in Christ
Christ is the object of saving faith.
5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
1 John 5:13-15

B. Saving faith is the by-product of the gospel.
10:17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Romans 10:9-17

Is saving faith true?
A. Saving faith is rational
If faith were irrational it could not be perceived or verified as true. It may even be a lie.
1 Corinthians 14:33
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

How can Protestants have faith without works?

A. Faith means belief.
As stated earlier the Bible says we will be justified without our own righteousness.
Romans 3:19-23
"19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

B. There are good works, they are imputed by Christ as grace.
Christ was the sinless spotless lamb. Therefore, His good deeds gave him credit in the eyes of God.

C. Regeneration and good works/sanctification come as the by-product of saving faith alone.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Good works can only be considered good after justification and regeneration.
Philippians 3:7-8
7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Saving faith is without works, yet it will by nature create good works.
14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.
Romans 14:23
James 2:18
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

We must remember there is one faith unto salvation.
4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ephesians 4:4-6

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Monday, April 19, 2010

When the music fades... Tuning out John Piper's Christian Hedonism hangover

1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Colossians 1:28
Conservatives have been caught in awe by the teachings of John Piper. Piper is a reformed Theologian and philosopher and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnasota. Piper is one of the leading conservative evangelicals instrumental in the revival of calvinism. Evangelical colleagues hold Piper in great esteem across the board.
What is interesting is that Piper has labeled himself as a radical and controversial, yet we do not see a great deal of christians openly criticizing or opposing him.
"you can see why this starts to get controversial. It's the seriousness of it all."John Piper Dangerous Duties of Delightpg. 15
Unlike many teachers whom I have examined, Piper's false teachings are very secretive. A person doesn't pick up anything on the first read. So these teachings simply slip into the subconscious. Yet they are there and I am determined here to expose them.
Now I know that in this critique there will be many fans of John Piper who will be angered for their leader being critiqued. I am not saying that Piper is not a saved man. Nor am I saying that he doesn't possess good teachings for Chrisitians today. I think he, like many high level evangelicals can preach the gospel correctly and have in the past. But as Paul said.
5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Galatians 5:9

There are poisonous parts to Piper's teaching that may one day destroy the spiritual lives of Piper's disciple's.
So I want it to be understood that I am not attacking Piper the man, instead I am trying to focus upon the teachings of Piper. I try not to lay
judgement on individual souls, yet even scripture sometimes has to correct people by name.

1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
3 John 1:9
A respectable teacher can do much more damage than a noted heretic can, because he has the trust of very devout christian people.

Piper and other sources:

30:5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Proverbs 30:5-6

When we read Piper we find a great deal of reliance upon other preachers in his theology and philosophy. While I beleive that we should respect and listen to the Christian teachers of the past, we must be very careful not to give authority away that was formerly occupied by Christ.
One example of leaning to other sources is in the Book "Brothers, We are Not Professionals". It is common practice for an author to head a chapter with a famous quote, which may summarize a chapter, or give authority to the point of a chapter. Piper practices this obsessively with this particular book. He quotes several scripture passages. (25) The Piper quotes other popular authors. (18) But what is disturbing is the fact that he quotes himself more than the other two, on over 40 occaisions! Why would he need to exalt his own words so much? This just seems bizarre to me. Yet Piper does the same in several publications. This identifies the fact that Piper is a strong advocate of what's called the "Normative Principle". In other words, Piper doesn't use scripture as the only authority. What's more is that neither do the "Christian" leaders whom he relies on.
Piper looked to several theological leaders for instance:
Augustine: Augustine has been a key source of inspiration for calvinist since before calvin, in the writings of Luther. They particularly loves his doctrines of divine sovereignty. However, if taken and appraised by bible believers, even biblical Calvinists will find doctrine which is inherently false. Prior to Augustine's conversion he was popular as professor of platonic philosophy and for a breif time Mannechianism. So Augustine's background was filled with teachings of the Heathen.
He would go to teach many doctrines alongside his better arguments for grace such as.
A. apocrypha
B. Instantaneous creation
C. sex as the original sin
D. federal headship (with imputed guilt)
E. Infant Baptism
F. sacramental salvation
G. theocracy
H. double predestination
I. a form of the ransom theory (like christus victor)
J. justification mixed with works
K. replacement theoogy and amillenialism
L. Purgatory
Here let me breifly explain how these doctrines lead in a different and platonic worldview. The Apocrypha, which augustine championed as canonical, was written by platonic alexandrine Jews. It is this document that contains arguments for purgatory, which augustine accepted.
As a Platonist, augustine felt a rational God would not waste 7 days to create the earth. He also decided the original sin was sex. This implies that man's sinful nature is purely physical. This of course matched platonism. This was decided by Adam and humanity is guilty of adam's sex with eve and that alone. This builds augustine's case for infant baptism that his Roman Catholic culture was free from original sin due to being sprinkled as children. Augustine believed in the papacy and identified it as the Kingdom of God. Therefore all who are catholic are members of the Holy Roman Empire, which is the kingdom of God. the Roman Catholic kingdom was predestined by God to conquer the earth then. Jesus had come to destroy the devil. Jesus death on the cross was not simply to pay for sin, but a way to defeat the devil. Salvation is not directly through Christ but by direct entrance into the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was the true Israel and had a right to take Israel by force. Thoe who are not obedient to the empire but citizens will pay their dues in purgatory.
Although Augustine was more biblical in his commentaries and indeed changed his views with the passage of time. He was a philosophic Platonist with an awkward testimony and a theological bias. For these reasons Piper should not have relied so heavily upon this Catholic teacher.
Many Calvinists have been devoted to Augustine. Yet they should be careful to observe the distinction of John Calvin.
"The only difference betweeon our division and that of Augustine is, that ours (in accordance with the words of our Saviour,'All prophets and the Law prophesied until John,' Matth. Xi.13) distinguishes between gospel light and that more obscure dispensation of the world which proceeded it, while the other division simply distuinguishes between the weakness of the Law and the strength of the gospel." John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion book II chapter XI section 10 pg. 395

C.S Lewis
C.S. Lewis was popular as a skeptic turned Christian. He was known as a brilliant apologist and writer, who wrote the 2oth centuries most popular apologetic work Mere Christianity. Yet though Lewis had left such positive contributions to society. Lewis also taught many heretical teachings and lived a hedonistic lifestyle, which left his salvation in question. (cursing, fornication, adultery, drunkeness etc.)
A. Lewis believed in evolution)As a professor at cambridge, Lewis was indoctrinated withthe naturalistic worldview before professing Christianity. The Anglican church did not provide much of a fight against these doctrines. So Lewis retained these heresies by default. Evolution denies the fact that God had a role in Creation. If God did not have the strength to create the world, how did he perfomr other miracles. This also destroys the doctrine of fall and sinful nature as well.
B. Lewis denied biblical innerrancy) a necessary consequence of evolution is denial of the innerrancy of scripture. This leaves the christian worldview open for criticism on any level. This is the place where the gospel can be tampered with the gospel of salvation in favor of a more catholic
C. Lewis denied penal substitution and New Testament Salvation) Lewis did tamper with the gospel of salvation in favor of a more catholic version. Lewis held that Christ died on the cross as a victory over the devil. Which means that his death was not meant to forgive us specifically for all sins.
D. As an episcopalien Lewis held to sacramental gospel and even considered conversion to the Roman Catholic church.
Lewis is a hero to those who claim tobe evangelicals. Yet it is little known his theological doctrine and immoral lifestyle. Though Lewis had many arguments for "mere Christianity" . His doctrines fall short of "real Christianity".

Jonathon Edwards
Probably the most orthodox of all the above. Edwards was extremely succesful and very conservative. Although Edwards was different from many revivalist of today in the fact that he was an academic success more so than a church success.
Edwards home denomination (congregationalists) went and fell apart today all that is left is the apostate unitarian church. Edwards school (harvard) grew apostate and has for the last century been a strong force openly opposing the gospel of christ as opposed to helping ministers.
What is interesting is that Piper spends a great deal of time covering Edwards accolades since he is the primary source for Piper's philosophy. Yet though Edwards does improve Calvinistic doctrine in an Evangelical direction . Edwards will have the same philosophic influences that were in the theology of Augustine.

In response all, with the obvious exception of Jonathon edwards, these leaders denied the fundamental principle of justification by grace through faith alone. Augustine and Pascal(another influence) were devout Catholics. C.S. Lewis was a liberal Episcopalian who denied penal substitution and exclusive salvation. but according to the Bible there is only one gospel:

1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:6-12
There is no doubt in my mind that this gospel is directly connected to Justification by grace through faith alone.
2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God Forbid. 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:16-19
So Piper, while being conservative in his esteem of the Bible. Fails to practice the regulative principle of the Bible. This is where his philosophy will fall short in his gospel of Glory.
With so many unregenerate influences Piper's theology has got to be flawed at some point.
50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 50:17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
Psalms 50:16-17
The Bible clearly says that we should separate ourselves from false teaching.
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14
16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Romans 16:17
Piper and most new Evangelicals will look to the Catholic faith and catholic teachings, which were invented by men who never experienced being born again and practiced various forms of witchcraft in the guise of Christianity. It is fairly obvious that Piper wants not simply to discuss the gospel but points of calvinism instead. In stressing these men his calvinistic writers have introduced him to Roman catholic ideas which he intrudes to Baptists.

Double predestination

One major problem with hyper-calvinism is that it has God as responsible for evil. Now regular calvinists argue that man is responsible for evil while God has predestinated good. However in supra-lapsarian hyper-calvinism, God has predestinated evil. He escapes the charge being the auther of evil only on the technicality that he is not directly involved in the evil himself.
This is ultimately heresy. Because the God of the Bible is Holy, and he does not tempt anyone to sin.
1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:13
This fatalistic God is almost Mannichean. A God of good and a god evil dually.
While it is true that God is Sovereign and has given permission for evil to exist, does it then follow that he has to make evil happen?

"So what we are considering here is that God rules the world in such a way that all calamities and all sin remain in His ultimate control and therefore within his ultimate design and purpose." Desiring God pg 338
This also makes the Lord an ammoral God. He appears more distant, after all good is no longer the Lord's single desire.

"Is God the author of Evil?" ibid pg338
"Then there is no reason to believe that Satan is ever out of God's ultimate control." ibid pg.342
Author) noun 1. a.The original writer of an abreviated work. b. one who practices writing as a profession. 2. An originator or creator. 3. to assume responsibility for the content of (a published or unpublished text).
(from the American heretage dictionary)
Obviously we will be concerned with the second definition.
Piper may not want us to see this, but he has implied that God is indeed the creator of evil.
Which would mean God is in fact, according to Piper, the author of evil.

"If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God's Holiness in hetred of sin or in showing any preference, in his providence, of Godliness before it."
Desiring God pg.350 (quoting Jonathon Edwards)
I want you to nottice a word slipped in on this argument. In order for God to be holy, not only must He permit sin, but he must decree it as well. What does "decree" mean?

Decree) noun 1. An authoritative order having the force of law. 2. law The judgement of a court of equity. admirality, probate, or divorce. 3. Roman catholic church a. A doctrinal or disciplinary act of an ecumenical council. b. An administrators act applying of canon law.
verb. 1. to ordain establish, or decide by decree (from American heretage dictionary)
So by stating that God decrees moral evil, we see that God has authoritatively created evil. Which is another word for making God the author evil.

"But he argues, willing that sin exist in the world is not the same as sinning. God does not sin in willing that there be sin." Desiring God pg.347
I am sure Charles Manson and Al Capone wished that Piper would be there lawyer! At this point Piper stops going to the scriptures, but to Edwards who will make a new rule,
"[God's] will of decree [or sovereign will] is not his will in the same sense as his will of command [or moral will] is. Therefore it is not difficult to suppose that one maybe otherwise than the other."
So here we have a doctrine introduced that God has two wills, which may be possibly be able to contradict each other. Where does the Bible say that God has two wills? Not to mention that the trinity declares God to have one being in three persons. Now, itis true that God is sovereign over the universe andthat the world is no longer a good place.
However this would not be a delimma if we would admit to the existence of free-will! God has now been distorted and quite mannichaen appearing just to keep people thought of as robots.
Piper tries to put up a scarecrow argument by bringing up "open theism" as the only alternative to double predestination. This heresy ironically was invented by an ex-calvinist Clark Pinnock. Piper doesn't mention amyrauldians, arminians, wesleyans, or even semi-pelagians who do not hold to this doctrine.

Is the deterministic God the same as the God of the Bible?

19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Matthew 19:17

4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
1 Timothy 4:4

1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31

7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Ecclesiastes 7:29

The God of the Bible is not only good, but He also created a good world. Death and suffering are a result of the sin of mankind.

5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12
When people argue over the problem of Evil, they do so from an evolutionary standpoint. They see a world with moral evil, death and suffering. Then assume God as responsible for all of it.
Yet the Bible doesn't paint this portrait of it.

13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Matthew 13:24-30

13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 13:37-43
It is important to note that evil in it's origin is attributed to the devil. The action of evil was not actualized until it came from the heart of lucifer.
God created a perfect being named lucifer, and it was Lucifer's free decision to inventevil and tempt Adam.

28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Ezekiel 28:15
Many double predestinarians get confused over the nature of evil. They assume it is an existing thing and therefore must have been created by God. However the Biblical metaphor of Light and Darkness teaches that evil is not a substance, but is in fact a lack thereof. This was the reason Augustine left the mannichean school. ( in Augustine's confessions.

3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19
So evil is not the creation of God, but indeed the descent from God. The God of the Bible is Holy and separate. So now the good God of scripture is dealing with an evil creation that is not His fault. He acts in His providence, not to make moral evil,but to take pre-existing moral evil alongside an evil-spawned curseand manipulate them to His good moral Will. So God;s morality does not contradict providence. Which helps us believers.

8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Romans 8:27-28

The Selfish God
"The ultimate ground for Christian Hedonism is the fact that God is upper most in His own affections. The Chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever." Desiring God pg. 31
In Piper's philosophy God is essentially prideful doing everything for His glory. Now this is an easy concept to confuse. God is all powerful and all-knowing. God is Sovereign over all creation. If you are absolutely objective and all powerful everything should flow in your direction. Plus you can not esteem yourself too highly being onfinite.
However, God declares that pride is a sin. God is Holy and has no sin. Piper and his followers are mocking God to paint Him is such a sinful fashion. Because instead of correcting their error, they merely insist we must be obediant to this perverted notion.

4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:8

13:4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Now charity is another word for "Love". (as testified by modern translations)
In First John we see that God is directly indentified as not simply possessing the attribute of love, but actually being Love. In this 1 corinthian passage, first we see a biblical definition of love. If anything love is the opposite of pride. So the God of the Bible is not prideful or selfish. What about the verse "seeketh not her own"? Doesn't Hedonism declare that God seeketh after His own?

5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.
Matthew 19:21

2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
Philippians 2:5-10
Here in Matthew we see a command of perfection. This is another way of commanding Godliness. Part of the definition of Godliness is shown in getting rid of what you have and giving it to the poor. In otherwords to be like God is to be humble and not self-seeking or self-interested.
In Philippians we see proof of this in describing Christ. Christ had all the glory of God. Yet he humbled himself. First,to take the form of a man, where he did not even begin to reveal his deity until the age of 30. Then he truly humiliated himself through the crucifixion.

Power is the key to happiness?
"And if none of his purposes can be frustrated, then he must be the happiest of all beings." pg.32 Desiring God.
What we can deduce from Piper's philosophy, God's morality is quite different from the ethics he demands of us. Though also different from the behavior of Christ who emptied himself.
Is God happy because simply he is the most powerful? Is "what he is" more important than who He is?

2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
Philippians 2:5-10
How can Jesus be infallibly happy, when according to Piper, happiness emanates from omnipotence and jesus has temporarily denied himself of those priviledges

Piper's Liom/lamb: Nestorianism
"So Christ is a lamb-like Lion and a lion-like lamb. That is his glory-'an admirable conjunction of diverse Excellencies."
Seeing and savoring Christ pg. 31
Many modern catholics have critiqued calvinist as being Nestorians. Claiming that we have split the incarnation up into two categories, human and deity. I defend calvinists and other reformation period writers as holding the Biblical understanding of the incarnation. Yet if we over emphasize a double predestination God we eventually can move toward a nestorian Christ. Piper is sadly illustrating that principle in his devotional.

The Damned Sacrifice: Jesus endured Hell on the Cross
"Jesus Christ perfectly righteous and perfectly damnedon the cross in our place". from audio of John Piper at the 2008 resolved conference "Jesus Christ the damned?" by Coram Deo July 19, 2008.

12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 12:3
There has been record that Piper, alongside with several other contemporary Calvinists have been preaching at his crusades that Jesus was actually damned on the cross. In other words, while Christ did not burn in the lake of Fire, his spirit bore the wrath of God while he was dying on the cross.
Now this seems very familiar with the fundamental doctrine of Christ propitiation. The major difference is that christ was not simply paying the price of sin but was being convicted guilty of it. Christ paid the price of sin in his physical body by death. But His spirit is unified with the deity of the logos, the second person of the trinity.
To condemn Christ is to condemn God. Some of these sloppy reformers haveeven speculated that there was a division in the Godhead. Yet the Idea of the eternal father convicting the damning the eternal son contradicts the trinity
and is therefore heresy.

Infallible happiness: Jesus was never sad or gloomy, but always happy.
"But the glory and the grace of Jesus is that he is, and always will be indestructably happy. I say it is his glory, because gloom is not glorious." Seeing and Savoring Christ [g. 36]
While it is easy to rationalize this view if you are a pius christian. This cross was not an instrument of joy. Plus, Jesus did not seem joyful in approaching it.

matt. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
sorrow 1.n. 1. Mental suffering or pain caused by injury, loss, or despair. 2. A source or cause of sorrow; a misfortune. 3. Expression of sorrow, greiving verb. To feel or express sorrow; grieve. (from American heretage dictionary)
Exeedingly sorrowful is not the same as joy or infallibly joyful. The Jesus of John Piper doesn't appear to be one who could be exceedingly sorrowful.

Matt. 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].
Here Christ, in his humanity, is askng the Father if there is any other way. Yet if christ were simply in a quest acquire joy, why would he step back? It appears to me that Christ would proceed in the crucifixion not out of the pleasure it brings. But out of obedience to the Father and out of faith in Jehovah. (see Romans 4:24-5:1)

26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Christ obediance is implied here as well. As he looks upon the disobedience of his own disciples. Perhaps this motivates the humanity of Christ as he experiences the need for his sacrifice to save his fleshly followers.

26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Matthew 26:38-42
Christ sacrifice was first the will of the "father". Secondly Christ does consent to hus brutal death out of sheer joy, but instead in obediance toward the Father.
Also I find great strength when Christ is not happy. Because as I kook at the world. It comforts me to know that my pain saddens christ and that he was not happy to die and bear the wrath of the father for my sins. It shows us that Christ while eing God was also human. It means he understands us even in weakness. It makes His love an effort which I can adore.

Obviously Piper's view of salvation is calvinistic. Piper has always prided himself on being in reformed theology. though there have been recordings of Piper preaching general atonement on the internet, apparently inspired by the teachings of millard Erickson. (although this was most likely a temporary statement) This is closer to my views. however we would still differ on his emphases on election and the doctrine of irresistable grace. (see my article on Calvinism critiqued from an amyrauldian point of view.)
However as we shall explore. It has been reported that Piper has fallen short of calvinistic orthodoxy and that is indeed very perplexing. Is apperas that Piper is in support of "Federal Vision". This doctrine denies the calvinistic view of redemptive history. I myself follow a dispensational view of redemptive history and yet I find the calvinistic model still an essential analogy in understa ding the final judgement and our salvation.
Essentially in covenant theology humanity isdivided up in a covenant of Grace and a covenant of works. Those under Adam are without christ and judged under a covenant of works they shall be found guilty of their sins and condemned undeer this covenant. Those under Christ are under grace since Christ has atoned for all their sins and imputed righteousness through their faith; they will inherit the kingdom.
While I may not hold this proper for a timeline, this is the biblical analogy for salvation. The Bible uses this analogy throughout scripture.

4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 4:23 But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Galatians 4:22-26

Yet Piper has taken an odd turn rejecting the covenant of works.
"Yet I am hesitant to call Jesus' obediance in life and death a fulfillment of a 'covenant of works'. This term generally implies a that 'works' stand over against 'grace'. and are not the fulfillment of faith in grace. Thus works implies a relationship with God that is more like an employer recieving earned wages than in a son trusting his father's generosity." Future Grace pg.413
So here Piper argues that Jesus never fulfilled the covenant of works. Yet if he did not fulfill the covenant of works, who did?

5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:12
All of us are related to Adam, and we are all under the curse of sin and death. If Christ did not fulfill the covenant of works then we are still under the covenant of works.
Piper seems to have a problem with Jesus being under a covenant of works. But the Bible says He was
15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. 15:21 For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
The very fact Christ died places him under the covenant of works with Adam. This brings us to the penalty of death.

3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3:13
Since Christ paid the penalty of death for us, it is evident that Christ indeed fulfilled the covenant of works.

3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man's covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 3:17 And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 3:18 For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise. 3:19 Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 3:20 Now a mediator is not [a mediator] of one, but God is one. 3:21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:15-22
Earlier Piper stated that he did not agree to a covenant of works. Yet Christ had to fulfill a covenant of works, not for his salvation, but for ours. God's justice had to be satisfied. So Christ had to fulfill this coventnant to make his collateral worthy of universal propitiation.

1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.
Colossians 1:20
You can notmaintain a gift if you are under debt.

Future Grace (payment withheld)

A few years ago, I was blessed by a book that Piper wrote called "Counted Righteous in Christ. It rightly indentified that faith is not a merit na d bravely took on the "new interpretation of Paul". It was honoring Justification by grace through faith alone.
Only now, I have been shocked to find that Piper has in fact attacked the same doctrine on a different front. Could this have been a motivation for writing "counted righteous in Christ"?
Regardless, "Future Grace" redefines faith as well. Faith is seen as a virtue, which fuses Justification and sanctification together.
"The aim of this book is to examine how the Faith that justifies also sanctifies." pg. 21 Future Grace
Here, Piper sees the New Testament as a conditional covenant whereby we must fulfill a life of faith in order to experience justification. While I think the formula may be original, this was a common delimma for the puritans. Salvation was offered by grace and yet assurance of salvation was through works. This nullifies the meaning and effect of justification by grace through faith alone. Because salvation is not yet fully recieved. Since the faith must be produced over a life time.
5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:24
As we see here in the gospel of John everlasting life is a present stage for the Believer. They "hath" everlasting life. They are not lokking forward when they already have it. This is why they shall not fall into condemnation.

5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:10-13
Assurance of salvation is based upon faith in Christ and not upon our actions. this is not just an implication but the message which John has for us today.

New Conditional Covenant
"When the Old Testament says that covenant keeping is the condition for recieving God's lovingkindness, that's what it meant ... All the covenants of God are conditional covenants of grace-both the old and the new covenant. They offer all sufficient Future Grace for those who keep the covenant. But what it does say is that all future blessings of the Christian life are conditional on our keeping." Future Grace pg. 249

3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:13-17
Here we see the Baptism of Christ as Jesus literally makes the New Covenant. He insist upon it, though he has nothing to repent of. He says that his act will fulfill all righteousness. He then promises His death buriel and resurrection. In this covenant He is then anointed with the Holy Spirit, and the Father claims him as His Son in whom he is well pleased. What conditions did Christ ask of the people in fulfilling the covenant?

2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
1 John 2:2
The work of Christ, his propitiatory sacrifice was done for the sins of mankind, no conditions are asked of this covenant.

4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 4:11 These things command and teach.
1 Timothy 4:10-11
The Deity Jesus Christ is the savior of all mankind. therefore there is no condition if everyone is involved.

3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 3:22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 3:26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26
In Theology we refer to the "Righteousness of God" in this passage as alien righteousness. Verse 22 states this righteousness is by the faith of Christ and not of us. It is "unto all" and "upon all them that believe" making this a passive reception of righteousness; and not an act of obedience by us. It is the faithfulness and merit of Christ. Verse 23 reasons the universal sinfulness of man requires this unconditional grace. Verse 24 "Being freely justified by his grace" there are no obligations or duties in justification since it is free. Verse 25 announces that it was the act of God in making a propitiation "through faith in His blood" faith is passive again. Finally verse 26shows that God is the justifier of them "which believe in Jesus" God saving the believers. The believers are not fulfilling duties but instead are passive as God justifies them.

Sanctifying Faith is different from justifying Faith.

5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25
As we begin the passage, we are commanded to walk in the Spirit(16). This is an action of sanctification.
"My point in this book is that the faith which is the occaision of justification, is the same faith through which sanctifying power comes to the justified sinner." Future Grace
Here Piper is bring his faith closer to the Roman Catholic definition.
Catholicism teaches that faith is a gift and that the infusion of righteousness allows us to be sanctified. Also, that if a christian perseveres in faith producing works, they will be saved. You may say that Piper is still saying faith alone; but ultimately Justifying faith is never alone. After all justification depends on faith but faith is dependent on works.
Another problem is that faith is used in two different actions. Trust to recieve forgiveness and faithfulness toward a christian lifestyle are two different things. Just as being strong at weightlifting and having a strong will are not the same. One word can be used two different ways.
"It is faith alone which justifies, but the faith which justifies is never alone." Future Grace pg. 21
Nottice the lack of clarity in the motto. If faith in the sense of justification is never alone, it can not be alone.
The place of Christ in Piper's soteriology is incredibly diminished. It is the works of the Father and the spirit, which allows the sinner to be more righteous. While Christ only offers a conditional covenant by which if they are faithful then they may recieve future forgiveness. the act of salvation is then mixed with the act of man.

"It is sufficient for salvation, for it necessarily produces good worksof love just as a good tree necessarily produces good fruit. Protestants and Catholics agree on this. The Pope even told German Lutheran Bishops so over a decade ago, and they were startled and delighted. the two churches issued a public joint statement on justification, a statement of agreement. Protestants and Catholics do not have essentially different religions, different ways of salvation."
Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli Handbooks of Christian Apologetics pg. 32, 33.
Here we see Catholic Apologists have already capitolized on Protestants redefining the faith.
"By Grace I do not merely mean the pardon of God passing over your sins, but also the power and beauty of God to keep you from sinning. By faith I do not merely mean the confidence that Christ died for your sins, but the confidence that God will 'also with him freely give us all things' (Romans8:32). Faith is primarily future orientedassurance of things hoped for' (Hebrews 11:1)." pg.13 Future Grace
Here Piper wants to focus on the evangelistic concepts of grace and faith, he fuses the concepts of Justification and sanctification. This makes salvation a lifelong process just like Catholicism. This desire to redefine terms is a classic strategy of the cults.
Do not be fooled, this is not the traditional protestant concept.
"Because the Holy Spirit is received by faith, and hearts are renewed and put on new affections so that they can accomplish good works. For Ambrose says 'Faith is the mother of good will and righteous action'" Augsburg Confession XX. B.
Justifying faith is first, only then through the Holy Spirit's regeneration and sanctificationare we able to produce good works. Faith being the mother is totally independant of her "good works" children.

Not so sure Assurance(Sure? ? ? Unsure!!!)
"If faith in future grace means believing believing the promises of God, how is it that those promises could be believed and yet the 'believer' not be saved?
"This is impossibly implied in Matthew 7:21-23:'Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day 'Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name did we not cast out many demons, and in your name perform many miracles? and I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me you practice lawlessness.' These folks believed that they were secure. Otherwise they would not have been stunned at Jesus rejection."
pg.197 Future Grace
7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:21-23
This is a major text used to declare that faith alone cannot save. However we must understand that "justification through faith alone" is a great mystery that was not revealed until the apostleship of te apostle Paul. Christ was operating under the Old Covenant.

15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises [made] unto the fathers:
Romans 15:8
3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 3:2-9
Jesus ministry was under the law or Jewish covenant.The same with Peter and the Jerusalem church. Paul was unveiling the dispensation or age of Grace.
Consistent with the gospel to the gentiles was the declaration of justification by grace through faith alone.
Besides, the espoused by the damned was not at all faith alone. This was a religious faith. We nottice that they declare JesusLord, yet there is personal identification to Jesus. This is indeed a lordship faith. There is absolutely no claimed salvation based upon the works and promises of Christ. Instead there is a demand of eternity based upon dead works. There is a false idea of faith for salvation, but it is indeed going in the opposite direction. We should not at all be intimidated by the charge of sin.
2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter; 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Galatians 2:7-8
2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 2:15 We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:14-19

For legalists work in sin.
3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:10-11
2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.
James 2:10

So it is obvious that these religious folk were stunned by the fact that their good worksfor salvation, were in fact iniquity before the Lord. Remember that we who have placed faith in Christ are righteous before God.
3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
Philippians 3:8

2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:23
Finally as to the nature of faith. In the book of James, written before God's revelations to Paul, James is using the word "faith" with a different definition. This book is written to address issues of religious practice. Faith here refers to a belief system. Religion is the practice of man;while salvation is the act of God. (see my article "Does James really teach works based salvation?").
Now if religios faith does not save, what faith is saving? Religious faith is something that comes from us. It may involve our imagination. It may acknowledge truth, and yet not ascend to the truth from the heart.

10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:9
This is a passive faith, but it is sincerely at the center of our beings, as a result of hearing the precious gospel.
10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Romans 10:8
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10
10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

Some may ask of the spiritual gift of faith. This depends on whether we belive that faith is prior to the new birth. I believe that the Holy Spirit will, then regenerate the passive faith we have. This will secure the perseverence of the saints.

Conditional Grace and Merit
"It should be plain from this, that fulfilling conditions does not imply earning anything, Grace is still free even when it is conditional. Do not equate meeting conditions of Grace with earning or meriting grace." pg.234 Future Grace
Here I believe Piper is doing something in theological circles known as "double speak". In the late 1950's when liberals infiltrated the pulpits of Southern Baptist churches: They would argue for the scriptures to the congregations and against the word of God at Seminaries I think Piper is preaching a type pf works based salvation while trying to argue he is not. I think his definitions are lining up more with Rome.
"2006 The term merit refers in general to recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of it's members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving of reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtueof Justice, conformitywith the principle of equality and justicewhich governs it." Catechism of the Catholic Church." Catechism of the Catholic Church pg. 541
The whole point of merit is to meet conditions. If grace is conditional then conditions must be met.
"2007 With regard to God, there is nostrict right to any merit on the part of man. Betweent God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have recieved everything from Him our Creator."ibid.
Honestly Roman Catholic theology is much more sophisticated than we protestants assume. They also can mask works based salve\ationto look as if it were grace.
"2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of His grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for His good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit." ibid.
Piper repeatedly teaches in this book that we are to meet the conditions of the New Covenant. But that is due to the grace of the Holy Spiritthat we are to perform works. The only difference I see from Catholic teaching on this point is that Piper would probably not give secondary credit to man But of course in hedonism he does have a reward systemfor pursuing joy.

"2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace and forgiveness and justification, at the beginningof conversion. Moved by the holy Spirit and by charity, we can merit for ourselves and for others the graces of our sanctification,for the increase of grace and charity, and the attainment of eternal life." CCC pg.542

Honestly there is little difference in Piper's teaching on conditional grace and merit. The only distinction Piper makes is that fulfilling conditions is not earning; but the Catholics have defined "merit in a way that is not "earning" either. The catholics may be more candidabout the use of the word "merit". But you find the same religious experience. For in Piper's theology we have God's grace fused to our actions. Our faith and grace become one. The actions which are soley God's, are conditional, upon our faith and eventual works. So who cares whether we use the word merit? I believe this is the reason that "federal Vision" and preachers like John Piper have seen a movement toward Catholicism. You cannot simply order people not to see your contradictions.
"Thus vanishes the absurd dogma, that man is justified by faith, inasmuch as it brings him under the influence of the Spirit of God by whom he is rendered righteous.This is so repugnant to the above that it can no longer be reconciled with it. There can be no doubt that he who is taught to seek righteousness out of himselfdoes not previously posess it in himself ." John Calvin Institutes of the Christian religion Book 3 chapter11 section 235:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Invisible Church
As a follower of John Calvin, Piper identifies the church as a single spiritual entity. this identityas a single group was gathered from the teachings of Augustine ,who was a catholic. The Catholic Church saw church and state as as a unified system. Therefore the idea of a iniversal churchis rooted in a one world government. Not all calvinist have abandoned this idea either.
"Now let me say right here. I believe in the New World Order of Jesus Christ inaugurated at Calvary and visibly sanctioned in history by the resurrection and ascension of Christ to the right hand of God, where he reigns in power and glory . What I reject is the imitation New World Order of Humanism. But there is a Biblical New World Order." Gary North forward to "The reduction of Christianity" xxvi.
If the Christians are gathered by one unifying invisible church, then they would think in terms of one kingdom or invisible empire. This is the mindset of the Roman Catholic Church. It doesn't take too much progress to think in terms of mobilizing Christians into massive contigencies. Just look at evangelical history... The ecumenical movement formed out of the invisible church idea. Soon afterwards, Christians began mobilizing for political causes. Both from the leftist liberation theology, also later from the pro-life movement. The Roman Catholic Church would capitolize on both movements. Ecumenicizing always leads towards and away from fundamental theology.
Yet the scripture never describes the church as an invisible organization. In faxct the faithful are supposed to be visible.
5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Many who hold this doctrine of invisibility use ephesians as a key argument.
4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Ephesians 4:3-7

Here they argue that the body or church is "one" as in "unified". Yet are all Christ professing churches unified on these issues? Are all the bodies one? Can we say one spirit when churches disagree on how the spirit manifest itself and some deny his personhood? One Lord? Yet many claim Christ is a lord, yet not the Lord. One God? However many claim there are multiple gods and some disagree about God's name.
I believe that the word "one"is being misinterpreted. "one" being misinterpretted. "One" here means "solo" and not "unified". In truth there is just one type of body,just one spirit, just one lord, just one faith, just one baptism and just one God. That while we have sought out our own inventions, God gave us one plan regardless of our fulfilling it.
There are several senses of a universal nature to the saints. The Bride of Christ for instance. The kingdom of Heaven as well, though these groups are not finished congregating. However the body of Christ should not be seen universally but generically. In other words the body of Christ is the church model. Meditating on some invisible construction has only taken away from the local church with the invisible church as an excuse.
But once again, the church of christ is visible since it is confessing.
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10
Unholy Church
"I think we need to teach our peoplethe meaning of Baptismand obey the Lord's command to Baptize converts (matt. 28:19), without elevating the doctrine to a primary one that would unduly cut us off from a shared worship and ministry with others who share more important things with us." Piper, Brothers we are nto professionals pg. 135
A) Loose baptism) Piper staryed away from Baptist theology arguing that paedo-baptist(infant baptism) believers ought to be accepted into fellowship. He tried, but failed, in his own congregation, to have their own confession adjusted to this. However,this simply ignores the teachings of the New Testament.
1. Baptism is mandatory for the fulfillment of the Great Comission.
16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:16

28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:19-20
2. Baptism is a symbol of Repentance.
1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:4

2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38
3. Baptism is performed by immersion.
"907 Baptizo def. 1. To dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)2. To cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water. 3. To overwhelm... not to be confused with 911, bapto." ( from Strong's exhaustive Concordance)

1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mark 1:9-10

8:36 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:36-39

6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4

4. rebaptism is demanded in the case of errant baptism.

19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 19:5 When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 19:2-5

4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:4-5

5. Baptism is a prerequisite to chruch membership.
2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:41-42

6. Baptismis an elementary teaching.
5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Hebrews 5:12-6:2

The Problem is not that John Piper is providingfellowship with other belivers. The Problem is that John Piper is rebelling against the word of God in order to dilute the New Testament Church. Allowing unbaptized believers into the congregation is allowing heretical teachings into the church as well. These people will not see the point of being baptized nor will they see the necessityof a specific point of salvation. While they may be saved, their dotrines will dilute the great comission over the years. Also, with the elementary doctrine dismissed, other teachings will follow. For instance, looseness in interpreting the scriptures. Christian identity becoming more cultural and the standard of holiness being lowered, as well as looseness in morality.
Piper misunderstands the nature of Baptism at it's core. He thinks that it is not a primary doctrine and that it should not be the cause of separation. The entire point of baptism is separation from the world! Joining with God and dying to self,washed from this filthy world covenanting with God to live a new spiritual life, all these meanings convey separation through baptism.
Infant baptism is a covenant of salvation through the flesh.
3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Matthew 3:9
Remember, John the Baptist is saying this in context with his adminsitration of baptism.
As a Baptist minister I do not believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Yet baptism is essential for discipleship. As a baptist minister I save no one. My ministry is to disciple. When I preach the gospel I am giving the Holy Spirit room to connect to a sinners heart and be saved. If they get saved, then there heart will change and they will want to talk about it. Then what is essential to me as a minister is to administer proper discipleship. The nature of the church with my ministry begins and ends with discipleship. yet the thing that is essential to discipleship is baptism. This is not foreign to paedo-baptist either.
"The Holy Christian Church is to be found where the gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel." (Augsburg Confession VII 1) Luther's Small Catechism 174 pg. 156 Your practice of Baptism is your confession of faith. It is essential to the practice of your faith, to perform it correctly in order not to teach false doctrines.

Mystic Jesus
"When I speak of seeing Jesus Christ,I don't mean seeing with the eyes of your head, but the eyes of your heart."

"But the Bible doesn't say we may see Jesus in another sense. It speaks of the eyes of our hearts. (Ephesians 1:18) It speaks of seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God (2Corinthians 4:4)"
1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:18
4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:4
First, in the Ephesioans passage, Piper says "eyes of the heart". Yet the Authorized version translates this word "understanding". What does it say in the greek?
" 1271 dianoia
AV_ mind 9, understanding 3, imagination 1
1) The mind as a facultyof understanding, feeling, desiring 2) understanding 3)mind, i.e. spirit, way of thinking and feeling 4)thoughts, either good or bad"
(from Strong's lexicon)
We clearly see no use for the translation"heart". So this is only an idiom or slang for "understaning". Therefore, we are not talking about some mystic form of spiritual sight at all.In 2 cdor. 4;4 Piper uses a translation to put this verse in an odd order. Being interpeted as a new gospel or aspect of the gospel "Gospel of the glory of Christ". When the normal rendering is "glorius gospel". Here the "blindness" is metaphorical of an inability to understanding the good news of Jesus Christ.
Yet it appears Piper interpets these passages as proof that one can spiritually project an image of Christ.
"Jesus himself spoke of two kinds of seeing. He said of the incomprehensibility crowds, 'seeing they do not see' (matthew 13:13) One kind of seeing is with physical eyes, and the other with spiritual eyes."
This reminds me of the hindu and their third spiritual eyes.
So , what would be wrong with that?
The problem is found in the image and imagination. New Testament worship does not create images of worship, even images of Christ.
5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21
So here we see that are prohibited from idolatry. But what counts as idolatry?
4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day [that] the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 4:16 Lest ye corrupt [yourselves], and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deuteronomy 4:15-16
So here we nottice that humans can indeed become idols of which we must be careful not to worship. But would this includeChrist? After all, Christ was fully God and and was worshipped in the New Testament. Why shouldn'twe worship images of our Lord Jesus?

24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:4-5
For one reason is that there are predicted to be many false christ, whom we are not to worship. What if we unwittingly worship a false Christ?

5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Corinthians 5:7
We have hardly determined what Christ truly looked like. His first portrait was graven roughly 500 years after his death.

2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:18
Since we don't know how Christ looked, apparently the early church had no desire to do this; it would be obvious that we should not imagine Jesus in our worship. Paul teaches that we should not worship God with our fleshly mind.

1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Colossians 1:15
It should also be recognized that God is invisible strill even if Jesus had a physical body, his deity is invisible.Yet it is his spiritual substance which we worship. Christ is only worshiped through his spiritual substance. (which is God)
We should not then worship Christ through our imagination. We may have spiritual insight but we do not have spiritual eyes. We follow after Christ in a faith that is blind to world opinionand he isnot subject to our interpretation.
Finally it would be proper that any form of "seeing" Christ should not be interpretted as "imagination" but as understanding who he is and looking forward to consumation then we will physically meet.
On this critique I could have misinterpretted Piper. But I think others could have as well, so it was worth bringing up.

Christian Hedonism
"They say things like, 'Don't ppursue joy, pursue obediance.' But Hedonism responds 'that's like saying, 'Don't eat apples, eat fruit' Because joy is an act of obediance.' We are commanded to rejoice in God. If obedience is doing what God commands, then joy is not merely a spinoff of obedience, it is obedience." pg. 13 Desiring God
The main problem with Christian Hedonism is that it brags about being God centered. Yet has God's glory established on the foundation of our subjective feelings/passions. Even in our best spiritual states, we will always be swayed by the flesh.

"The radical implication is that pursuing pleasure in God is our highest calling. It isessential to all virtueand all reverence. Whether you think of your life vertically in relation to God or horizontally in relation to man, the pursuit of pleasure in God is crucial, not optional. We will see shortly that genuine worship toward God hangs on the pursuit of joy." pg. 21 Desiring God

5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Galatians 5:17
Pleasure)n. 1. The state of being pleased or gratified. 2. A source of enjoyment or delight. 3. Amusement, diversion, or worldly enjoyment. 4. Sensual gratification or enjoyment. 5. One's preference or wish. {from American heretage dictionary}
Here we see the first definition of pleasure is to gratify.
gratify)tr. v. 1. To please or to satisfy. 2.To give what is desired to: indulge. 3. to reward.{from American heretage dictionary}
Now in the second definitionof gratify we see the word "to indulge".
Indulge) v. 1. To yield to the desires and whims of to an excessive degree; humor. 2. a. To Yield to; to gratify b. To allow (oneself) unrestrained gratification. 3. To grant an ecclesiastical indulgence or dispensation to.{from American heretage dictionary}
Indulge shows us that this can be an excessive bowing to what is desired.

"... Someone says, 'you really mean that hedonism is not just a trick word to get our attention. It actually says something utterlyand devastatingly true about the way we should live. The pursuit of pleasure really is a necessary part of being a good person.' That's right I mean it." pg. 15 Dangerous Duty of Delight
If you are to pursue your pleasure, even if it is religious pleasure for God, it is still your pleasure and your desires. I think this is the dangerous and more deceptive point of Christian Hedonism. By focusing on your pleasure, even with the best intentions, you can not be focused on God's Will if your attention is focused on yourself. This is the doorway to the flesh.

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23
When we see the word "fruit", we are speaking metaphorically of a result. In other words, joy is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is not the result of a personal quest for joy.
It has been noted that joy and pleasure according to Piper are commands. As a result, they are our duty to fulfill and we lose fellowship with God when we fail to have this joy. Yet doesn't this turn into legalism?

7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.
Romans 7:6
By turning joy into law, one loses the power of the spirit. It is no surprise then that Piper connects his philosophy of Christian Hedonismwith the legalism taught in Future Grace.
"Therefore living by faith in future Grace is Christian Hedonism....
"... Therefore the cry of this book, to fight sin, is a cry to pursue a joy superior to anything sin can offer. It is the cry of Christian Hedonism."
Future Grace pg. 386
The problem is our desires for good, will not overcome our desire for evil by the flesh. We need not to ignore the work of Christ in forgiveness; but instead it is through our forgiveness that we can succeed in giving victory in Christ. We do not overcome, but Christ overcomes in us.

Christian Rock Style sanctification
Piper approves of Christian rock as shown by his appearance with popular Christian rock groups on the "passion tour".
Christian rock is in itself neutral; it may be negative or positive depending. However combined with Piper's doctrine of Christian hedonism, it has greater consequences. As a reformed Calvinist, Piper would conclude that religious worship is a form of sanctification. Approval of Christian rock would almost see the music as a means of grace. As we look back upon Piper's Hedonism, our enjoyment of God in worship ( or listening to rock music, here) is identified as a holy instrument of sanctification.
However, Christian rock is a combination of Christian lyrics and secular beats. The secular rock sound is designed in such a way as to manipulate the emotions of the listener in making them experience emotional highs and lows in an unstable way.

2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also [is] vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:1
7:2 [It is] better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2
7:5 [It is] better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:5
The Christian Hedonist will end up confused. This is due to the fact that they believe they will be holier and closer to God if they would enjoy the music.
However, the music will encourage that listener in a more hormonal/fleshly format. The disciple will then have trouble distinguishingbetween godly spirituality and woprldly spiritism. For instance, when the Christian rocker is repeating watered down phrases over and over; doesn't this seem more spiritistic?

6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Matthew 6:7
This leads to a positive attitude toward worldliness, which begs the question. Can Christian Hedonism truly distinguish itself from worldly Hedonism? Is the pursuit of pleasure something which can be purely separate from the flesh and be a spiritual desire?

Libertarian wine-bibbing (regular consumption of alcohol)

21:17 He that loveth pleasure [shall be] a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
Proverbs 21:17

5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13
the fact that Piper's inspiration for hedonism C.S. Lewis practiced casual drinking speaks volumes. Piper himself confesses not to drinking, yet quickly argues that wine-bibbing is ok. Wine-bibbing is according to scripture fleshly.

5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21
"revellings" by the way are drunken riots. Also, Piper has been on several occaisions fellowshipping with "Emergent" Church Pastor Mark Driscoll. Mark originally got a reputation as "the cussing pastor". He is known for being unrepentant and foul, encouraging his church in beer drinking (at church), talking dirty from the pulpit, showing his church rated "R" movies etc.
Yet with a few exceptions Piper has not corrected him, but instead they have preached together at conferences and on tour. In the pursuit of pleasure Piper has not separated his ministry from worldliness. Instead He goes on tour with it.

The final analysis is that a major thrust of John Piper's theology, ministry and philosophy is moving the New Testament chruches back towards a mainstream protestantism and even Catholicism.
The point of the reformation was to create a more biblical catholic church than the medeival one. The point of the radical reformation, and all New Testament Churches is to mimic the church model of the New Testament.
The Piper holds to believer's baptism, He is more a main line protestant, than a New Testament Christian. He is overly dependant on reformed preachers, as opposed to raw exegesis. As a result his doctrine has decayed from the Biblical standard. His overemphasis upon sovereignty will impress followers with a hypocritical God, who wills evil things. His philosophy of Hedonism will leave a lot of rocky soil Christians; who will be on a spiritual highseeking religious pleasure. Yet as soon as they are unsatisfied, they will plummet, as the emotional pendulum condemns them as separate from God. For all of Piper's preaching of justification by grace through faith, his disciples may well be rocked to their core as they read "future Grace". Thus realizing that accordingto their pastor, God does not give themany direct assurance that they are the elect, or that they are Justified in their time of temptation.
Piper's teaching on the New Covenant is heretical. yet due to his normal preaching of the Gospel, the effects of those teachings will be delayed. However, it is quite possible that his followers are ripe targets for the secular new age, as well as the dead religion of Catholicism. OFr futureblessings Piper's errors must be corrected.

In Christ,