4/12/2009

Easter - The Power of the Cross

A song from the Easter Service at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I attended this morning:

"Oh to see my name written in the wounds, for through your suffering I am free. Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live won through your selfless love!

This is the power of the cross: Christ became sin for us. Took the blame, bore the wrath. We stand forgiven at the cross."

- "The Power of the Cross" by Townend / Getty

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

A ten year old public school boy was finding fifth grade math to be the challenge of his life. His mom and dad did everything and anything to help their son...private tutors, peer assistance, CD-ROMs, Textbooks, even HYPNOSIS! Nothing worked.

Finally, giving up they enrolled him into a small Catholic school to await another destiny.

At the end of the first day of school the boy walked in with a stern expression on his face, and walked right past the parents and went straight to his room -and quietly closed the door. For nearly two hours he toiled away in his room -with math books strewn about his desk and the surrounding floor. He only emerged long enough to eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, he went straight back to his room, closed the door, and worked feverishly at his studies until bedtime.

The parents were not sure if they should comment on the boys extra efforts for fear of him losing this new found fervor, so they seemingly ignored it. This pattern continued ceaselessly.

One day the first quarter report card came out. Unopened, he dropped the envelope on the family dinner table and went straight to his room.

His parents were petrified. What lay inside the envelope? Cautiously the mother opened the letter, and to her amazement she saw a bright red "A" under the subject, MATH.

Overjoyed, she and her husband rushed into their son's room, thrilled at the remarkable progress of their young son!

"Was it the nuns that did it?", the father asked. The boy only shook his head and said, "No." "Was it the one-on-one tutoring? The peer-mentoring?", asked the mother. Again, the boy shrugged, "No." "The textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?", asked the father. "Nope," said the son. "It was all very clear to me from the very first day of Catholic school."

"How so?", asked his mom.

"When I walked into the lobby, and I saw that guy they'd nailed to the plus sign, I knew those people meant business!"

J. K. Jones said...

Great joke. Made me laugh.

Just curious, tough, does the joke have a point or moral?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was obvious, the power of the cross is fear.

J. K. Jones said...

So, God pays a penalty for us that we owe. He offers this payment to us freely as a gift (see search label Extra Nos for more detail on this). This gift is recieved by faith alone, with no mixture or measure of good works to merit it. And that promotes fear?

How could this logically follow?

Steve Martin said...

The cross says two things to us:

1) We will die. There is no escaping it.

2) The grave will not hold us...because He defeated death on that cross...once and for all.

Anonymous said...

"So, God pays a penalty for us that we owe."

What penalty is he paying? What is the penalty for? Who decided on this Penalty?

"He offers this payment to us freely as a gift"

Wait you just said its a payment for something we owe, and now its a gift? You're not making any sense.

"This gift is recieved by faith alone, with no mixture or measure of good works to merit it."

If you have to have something to receive a gift, then its not a gift in the first place.

"And that promotes fear?
How could this logically follow?"

It doesn't.

J. K. Jones said...

I wish your comments were not anonymous.

Here goes.

“What penalty is he paying? What is the penalty for? Who decided on this Penalty?”

None of us perfectly does what we know we should do. God requires that we perfectly follow His law. When we do not, it’s called sin.

The penalty is for our sin. When we do not live up to God’s standard of moral behavior, we incur a debt. We also violate a personal relationship, and this violation deserves punishment.

The penalty is decided on by God, but the penalty is paid for by the same God who requires it.


“Wait you just said its a payment for something we owe, and now its a gift? You're not making any sense.”

When someone else pays a debt on my behalf, that payment can be a gift. They make a payment they do not owe to settle a debt that I incurred. They give me a gift.


“If you have to have something to receive a gift, then its not a gift in the first place.”

The gift is received through faith.

Faith is just trusting that Christ paid the penalty for my sins. He lived a perfect life to earn something He could pay my penalty with. He suffered and died on the cross to take the punishment that was due me. Anyone can trust Christ in this way just as I did.

Faith is not an act that deserves to be rewarded. If I am drowning, and someone throws me a life-preserver, I have to reach out and take hold of the life-preserver. I am not a hero for grabbing what someone else threw me, but I do have to grab it.

We do not earn a gift, but we do receive it. We take hold of it.

Someone once said faith was the hand of a beggar reaching out to accept a gift from a King.

I reached out to God with nothing to give Him. I reached out an empty hand. God placed in my hand the gift He had earned for me.

Are there other issues that you question?

Anonymous said...

"I wish your comments were not anonymous."

I could generate a 10 minute self destructing email address to register at one of the below open id accounts. All that would do is give you a throw away name that would mean nothing to both of us.

"None of us perfectly does what we know we should do. God requires that we perfectly follow His law. When we do not, it’s called sin."

When a law is created that nobody can follow, its a bad law. Since nobody can follow it, who is the law supposed to benefit?

Conveniently, the one that makes the law decides if you broke it and determines the punishment. You can call it sin, but it doesn't matter what name you use for it.

"The penalty is for our sin. When we do not live up to God’s standard of moral behavior, we incur a debt. We also violate a personal relationship, and this violation deserves punishment."

No. Violating an impossible law incurs no debt and any punishment is unjustified. You are assuming a personal relationship from nowhere but we'll just let that drop.

"The penalty is decided on by God, but the penalty is paid for by the same God who requires it."

So the one responsible for creating the impossible law and deciding on the penalty also pays for it. How does it pay, what is it giving up to itself for the payment to have any meaning?

"When someone else pays a debt on my behalf, that payment can be a gift. They make a payment they do not owe to settle a debt that I incurred. They give me a gift."

But this is the same someone that decided that you incurred the debt in the first place. Paying for a debt that wouldn't have been incurred had they not inflicted that debt on you in the first place is not a gift. The man who comes up to you on the street and announces that you owe him $20 and then tells you that he paid off that debt for you, has not done you any favors.

"The gift is received through faith."

A gift is something that is freely given with no obligation or conditions upon the recipient.

"Faith is just trusting that Christ paid the penalty for my sins. He lived a perfect life to earn something He could pay my penalty with. He suffered and died on the cross to take the punishment that was due me."

The one that created the law, decides that it didn't break the law, and uses that decision to pay itself for the debt it claims that you incurred.

"Anyone can trust Christ in this way just as I did."

You can trust in whatever you want, but it doesn't make much sense.

"Faith is not an act that deserves to be rewarded. If I am drowning, and someone throws me a life-preserver, I have to reach out and take hold of the life-preserver. I am not a hero for grabbing what someone else threw me, but I do have to grab it."

In this case the one that is throwing you the life preserver is the same one that caused you (and everyone) to start drowning and says you need faith to use it. I would say the person that put you in danger is morally obligated to save you. They have committed a crime. If you do drown, regardless if you grab the life preserver or not, they have committed a greater crime.

"We do not earn a gift, but we do receive it. We take hold of it."

When you put conditions on your "gift" it's not one.

"Someone once said faith was the hand of a beggar reaching out to accept a gift from a King."

Sure, a tyrannical king.

"I reached out to God with nothing to give Him. I reached out an empty hand."

Because you owe it nothing.

"God placed in my hand the gift He had earned for me."

And your hand was still empty. It just paid itself for the debt/punishment it decided you owe it.

Sweeping away all the stuff about laws and gifts we come to the short form of the claim.

Something created us, and you will have faith in it or you will suffer forever.

Fear.

J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous comments are allowed on this blog for the very reasons you cite. I just find it easier to try to communicate with someone when I better understand their opinions as given on the net.


“Since nobody can follow it, who is the law supposed to benefit? … Conveniently, the one that makes the law decides if you broke it and determines the punishment.”


You assume that the law of God is arbitrary, that God could choose to make the law be whatever He wanted it to be.

God could no more make the moral law in a different way than he could make the laws of mathematics a different way. All of these abstract laws are an expression of His nature and character.

God’s character is the basis for good attitudes. God’s actions are the basis for good behavior. God’s character and morality cannot change because His being cannot change.

God’s knowledge is the basis for the laws of logic, and by consequence the laws of mathematics. He cannot learn or forget. His knowledge is unchanging, and everything He knows must fit together into a coherent account. Logic helps us spot inconsistencies in our own views, the places where our knowledge does not fit together coherently.

God could not make the laws of morality or the laws of logic differently than what they are. God, being who He is, must create as an expression of Himself.

Things being what they are, the laws of morality cannot be any different. We know this intuitively whether we admit it or not. We know some things are right and some things are wrong. That is the way the universe works. We know it full well.



“When a law is created that nobody can follow, its a bad law… Violating an impossible law incurs no debt and any punishment is unjustified... a tyrannical king.”


Your argument depends on something forcing you to behave in the way you do, to violate your freedom of choice.

No one or nothing can force you to make any choice. You always choose the very thing you desire most at the time you make a decision in the situation you find yourself in. Your choices in a given situation can be limited, but I cannot ultimately make you do anything.

You always do what you want to do. Your actions are freely chosen according to your most pressing desire at the time you make your choices.

There is nothing outside of us forcing us to sin against our will. It’s not that we cannot keep God’s law; it’s that we will not because we do not want to.



”A gift is something that is freely given with no obligation or conditions upon the recipient… When you put conditions on your "gift" it's not one.”


I can buy you a brand new BMW 7 Series luxury car. I can make arrangements with an insurance company to pay the insurance for the next five years. I can make all of the appropriate car tax and licensing fees.

I can then present you the keys. If I hold the keys out in front of you, and you do not take them, you will never drive the car. The gift of the BMW must be received, but it is no less a gift.

Eternal life, unhindered fellowship with God in this life and the next, is a gift freely given. But any gift must be received to be of benefit. That’s the way a gift works.



”How does it pay, what is it giving up to itself for the payment to have any meaning?”


Anytime someone sins against me, they owe me a debt. Anytime someone sins against me, they break a law and should be punished. It is that way in all human relationships because we are made in the image of God.

If you purposely drive your aforementioned BMW (if I can ever get you to take the keys to the darn thing) into my house, you will damage my house. You owe me for the damage (and probably for emotional suffering and a few other things). You are ethically obligated to repair the damage to my home.

If I chose to forgive you freely and completely, I have to incur the costs of repairing my home. I must, in effect, pay the penalty for the damage.

If you did purposely drive your BWM into my house you have caused me pain. You should have to suffer yourself for the pain you have inflicted. Almost everyone who has been severely sinned against has felt the right to inflict punishment on the one who has offended him or her.

This right to vengeance is a real moral right. We are just when we require it.

If I choose to forgive you, I choose to experience this pain while giving up my right to vengeance. I suffer the pain your actions have caused me without requiring appropriate pain from you.

God must both pay sin’s penalty and suffer sin’s punishment. Our universe being the kind of universe it is, there could be no other way. God just did it by suffering on the cross in the Person of Jesus Christ as a kind of object lesson.

There’s a book on this subject that I would like to recommend: “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller. He does a much better job on this topic than me, and much of my answer is borrowed from him.



”Paying for a debt that wouldn't have been incurred had they not inflicted that debt on you in the first place is not a gift…”


Again, this line of thinking depends on the law of God being completely arbitrary and capricious. It assumes things could be different in this universe when those things cannot in fact be different.

It also indirectly assumes that we are not fully aware of this law as we violate it. A person is only responsible for what they know to do. While our awareness of the moral law is never perfect, we do not claim to have followed the morality we do in fact admit.



“The one that created the law, decides that it didn't break the law, and uses that decision to pay itself for the debt it claims that you incurred… It just paid itself for the debt/punishment it decided you owe it.”


The law is not arbitrary. It is an unchanging standard that finds its logical ground in the unchanging character of God.



“…the one that is throwing you the life preserver is the same one that caused you (and everyone) to start drowning and says you need faith to use it. I would say the person that put you in danger is morally obligated to save you. They have committed a crime...”


Again, nothing outside of us forces us to make any of the choices we make. We are fully and completely responsible for our own actions given the knowledge we have. God can send us all to the hell we so richly deserve and still be fair. He didn’t make us sin.



“…it …you owe it nothing…It…it…”


God is personal. He is not an “it.” His personality is not just like ours, but it is similar in many ways. This is proven by logical argument from the things we find in our universe. This was taught by Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and consequently the best qualified teacher of morality in world history.



”…You are assuming a personal relationship from nowhere but we'll just let that drop…”


I know that a personal relationship exists because God has revealed it to me in nature and in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. My knowledge is not an assumption because I have every reason to believe as I do. I have discussed this evidence at length on this blog.



“You can trust in whatever you want, but it doesn't make much sense.”


Your objections have been answered. I have every reason to believe the way I do.



“Something created us, and you will have faith in it or you will suffer forever. Fear.”

You have nothing to fear if you have not freely chosen to sin against God’s law, insofar as you know it to be. But I bet you have done things you know in your heart to be wrong. We all have.

You only have to fear God if you freely choose to reject the gift of salvation He offers you in Christ. No one or nothing can force your rejection. If you reject that offer, you have no one to blame but yourself.

The good news of the gospel destroys the basis for servile fear of God.

Anonymous said...

“God could no more make [bald-faced assertions and attempts to paint god as a victim deleted] “

You haven’t disputed that the impossibility of following the law. Instead you try to declare how perfect god is and begin the death spiral of circular logic.

“Things being what they are, the laws of morality cannot be any different. We know this intuitively whether we admit it or not. We know some things are right and some things are wrong. That is the way the universe works. We know it full well.”

No, its how Neurochemistry works. If it was known intuitively then there wouldn’t be as many religions in the past or today. Missionaries wouldn’t have been needed to spread the “word”. Changes in neurochemistry wouldn’t have any affect on ones morality.

“When a law is created that nobody can follow, it’s a bad law… Violating an impossible law incurs no debt and any punishment is unjustified... a tyrannical king.”

“Your argument depends on something forcing you to behave in the way you do, to violate your freedom of choice. “

No it does not.
An impossible law does not benefit the governed but the law maker. It’s a plain attempt to disguise a universal obligation to, “Have faith or suffer forever”.

“No one or nothing can force you to make any choice. You always choose the very thing you desire most at the time you make a decision in the situation you find yourself in. Your choices in a given situation can be limited, but I cannot ultimately make you do anything. You always do what you want to do. Your actions are freely chosen according to your most pressing desire at the time you make your choices.“

Again it’s not about having choice. It’s about disguising an imposed universal obligation.

“There is nothing outside of us forcing us to sin against our will. It’s not that we cannot keep God’s law; it’s that we will not because we do not want to.”

But you’ve already conceded that nobody can follow the law. The wanting to follow the law or not is immaterial. You might as well pass a law against the blinking of the eyelids. The wanting to follow the law would lead to destructive behaviors much like what we see in the various religions of the world today.

“I can buy you a brand new BMW 7 Series luxury car. I can make arrangements with an insurance company to pay the insurance for the next five years. I can make all of the appropriate car tax and licensing fees. I can then present you the keys. If I hold the keys out in front of you, and you do not take them, you will never drive the car. The gift of the BMW must be received, but it is no less a gift. “

But you are not doing that. You purposely left out the condition/obligation that I have faith in you. Please try to be more honest next time.

Additionally your finite resources would have decreased by a definite amount. You would have actually paid a cost. If you have an infinite supply of resources in which to hand out cars I would be less impressed. Further, I can’t drive it now, it will be delivered to me at some unspecified future date.

“Eternal life, unhindered fellowship with God in this life and the next, is a gift freely given. But any gift must be received to be of benefit. That’s the way a gift works.”

Again you leave out the condition/obligation to have faith. That’s not the way gift works. It’s the way barter works. “You give me your faith and I will not torture you forever.”

“”How does it pay, what is it giving up to itself for the payment to have any meaning?” Anytime someone sins against me, they owe me a debt. Anytime someone sins against me, they break a law and should be punished. It is that way in all human relationships because we are made in the image of God.”

No. Another bald-faced assertion about how you imagine you are harmed. You still neglect the very thing you quoted, how does it pay, what is given up to itself for the payment to have any meaning?

“If you purposely drive your aforementioned BMW (if I can ever get you to take the keys to the darn thing) into my house, you will damage my house. You owe me for the damage (and probably for emotional suffering and a few other things). You are ethically obligated to repair the damage to my home.”

You mean the BMW that you produced from your infinite supply of BMWs which you only give to me at some unspecified future date only if I accept your condition/obligation? Now I’m being forced to drive it into your home? The fault lies with you forcing everyone to drive into your home.

No. You cannot create a law which nobody can follow then morally claim everybody owes you damages.

“If I chose to forgive (attempt of the impossible lawmaker to play the victim deleted)” This right to vengeance is a real moral right. We are just when we require it.

This assumes that harm was actually done to you and not a construct for you to impose an obligation on everyone else.

“If I choose to forgive you, I choose to experience this pain while giving up my right to vengeance. I suffer the pain your actions have caused me without requiring appropriate pain from you. God must both pay sin’s penalty and suffer sin’s punishment. Our universe being the kind of universe it is, there could be no other way. God just did it by suffering on the cross in the Person of Jesus Christ as a kind of object lesson.”

Again it’s a poor claim that the lawmaker is actually the victim. Imagined suffering to pay a penalty for a law it created does not make sense and tastes suspiciously of working backwards from conclusions.

“There’s a book on this subject that I would like to recommend: “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller. He does a much better job on this topic than me, and much of my answer is borrowed from him.”

I am suffering enough.

“”Paying for a debt that wouldn't have been incurred had they not inflicted that debt on you in the first place is not a gift…” Again, this line of thinking depends on the law of God being completely arbitrary and capricious. It assumes things could be different in this universe when those things cannot in fact be different.”

I’m so glad I have you here to tell me how the universe works. You have to use a veritable circus of assumptions to do it.

“It also indirectly assumes that we are not fully aware of this law as we violate it. A person is only responsible for what they know to do. While our awareness of the moral law is never perfect, we do not claim to have followed the morality we do in fact admit.”

Again, neurochemistry and teeming multitude of differing religions show you to be wrong.

““The one that created the law, decides that it didn't break the law, and uses that decision to pay itself for the debt it claims that you incurred… It just paid itself for the debt/punishment it decided you owe it.” The law is not arbitrary. It is an unchanging standard that finds its logical ground in the unchanging character of God.”

I find it funny that this god that you speak of is smart and powerful enough to create all of reality but is simultaneously trapped by the circumstances of its own existence. It is both all powerful and pitiable.

“…the one that is throwing you the life preserver is the same one that caused you (and everyone) to start drowning and says you need faith to use it. I would say the person that put you in danger is morally obligated to save you. They have committed a crime...” Again, nothing outside of us forces us to make any of the choices we make. We are fully and completely responsible for our own actions given the knowledge we have. God can send us all to the hell we so richly deserve and still be fair. He didn’t make us sin.

A law exists, that you, Now, somehow claim that god had no hand in creating and whom every sentient creature is guilty of breaking, now causes harm to god. Again its not a choice. Choice never enters into it.

““…it …you owe it nothing…It…it…” God is personal. He is not an “it.”“

For what purpose does god need for a masculine sexual identity?
Besides the ego stroking of the bronze age goat herders that cobbled together the mythology from the bits and pieces of other older myths.

“His personality is not just like ours, but it is similar in many ways. This is proven by logical argument from the things we find in our universe.”

It is proven only by working backwards from conclusions to find justification.

“This was taught by Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and consequently the best qualified teacher of morality in world history.”

Except for all those parts about murdering innocent people. But then, when you claim that every sentient creature has delivered a multitude of harms upon you and has not paid its faith tax, it’s easy to justify anything.

“”…You are assuming a personal relationship from nowhere but we'll just let that drop…” I know that a personal relationship exists because God has revealed it to me in nature and in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. My knowledge is not an assumption because I have every reason to believe as I do. I have discussed this evidence at length on this blog. “

All divine revelations are true?

“You can trust in whatever you want, but it doesn't make much sense.” Your objections have been answered. I have every reason to believe the way I do.

You have every right to believe the way you do. I would believe only if I used a whole circus of assumptions and circular logic.

“ “Something created us, and you will have faith in it or you will suffer forever. Fear.”“ You have nothing to fear if you have not freely chosen to sin against God’s law, insofar as you know it to be.“

Again it’s not a choice not for anyone, and according to you, even god.
But now you are saying if I’m ignorant of gods law because I haven’t freely chosen to sin I don’t have to worry about suffering? That’s even more of a reason to remain ignorant and recall the missionaries who spread the pain and suffering and fear of god.

“But I bet you have done things you know in your heart to be wrong. We all have. “

Argument from guilt: Sometimes you feel guilty, therefore god exists.
Or again, it’s neurochemistry. Mirror Neurons fire whenever we witness another creature in pain. People experience ghost pain when those mirror neurons fire. This is the fountain from which empathy springs. But now we’ve gone afield from where we started…

Steve Martin said...

J.K. Jones,

You have done your best.

The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.

The universe does not revolve around whether one particular person comes to faith or not.

Jesus told us that if we speak His story and they believe it...great!

If not...don't waste anymore time...split!

The Word will do what it will do.

J. K. Jones said...

Steve,

Believe it or not, I am learning a lot from this.


Anonymous,


“You haven’t disputed that the impossibility of following the law. Instead you try to declare how perfect god is and begin the death spiral of circular logic.”

I have destroyed the notion that following the law is “impossible.” The only way your argument works is if a person is forced from the outside by something he / she cannot control to disobey the law. That is not and cannot be the case.

You do what you want to do. Always and without fail. You sin because you want to, not because someone makes you.


“If it was known intuitively then there wouldn’t be as many religions in the past or today. Missionaries wouldn’t have been needed to spread the “word”.”

The thing you know intuitively is that there are some things that are good and some things that are bad.

It’s not that all ethical dilemmas are solved by intuition. It’s not that a choice between the various religions is settled by intuition.

The point is that you have done, at some point in your life, something that you knew was wrong.



““Have faith or suffer forever”… It’s about disguising an imposed universal obligation... “You give me your faith and I will not torture you forever.””

What’s so disguised about it? That is in fact the choice you have. You have sinned. You are responsible for that sin since you knew what you did was wrong and nobody / nothing forced you to do it. God is fair and just to punish you.

Have faith or suffer forever.

Receive the free gift of eternal life, or go to hell.

Either way, God has been fair. Sin is either suffered for by you or by Christ, but sin is punished either way.

(I am being very direct here. Please keep in mind that I am a sinner myself. I do not think myself better than you. I face the same choice.)



“…You purposely left out the condition/obligation that I have faith in you. Please try to be more honest next time.”

I left out no such thing. Faith is implied in the example / illustration. Faith is required.

There is every reason for you to place your faith in Christ, and you are responsible for not doing just that.



“Additionally your finite resources would have decreased by a definite amount. You would have actually paid a cost. If you have an infinite supply of resources in which to hand out cars I would be less impressed.”

The Christian doctrine is that Christ suffered infinitely in His soul. Only an infinite amount of suffering could pay for a sin that deserves to be punished forever.



“ Further, I can’t drive it now, it will be delivered to me at some unspecified future date…You mean the BMW that you produced from your infinite supply of BMWs which you only give to me at some unspecified future date only if I accept your condition/obligation? Now I’m being forced to drive it into your home? The fault lies with you forcing everyone to drive into your home.”

That’s an attempt to avoid the force of an illustration.

No one can force you to do anything you do not want to do.



“Imagined suffering to pay a penalty for a law it created…”

A law that could be no other way.

Sin is rebellion against God and offends His justice. Suffering is due as a penalty for law-breaking.



“…a veritable circus of assumptions…I would believe only if I used a whole circus of assumptions and circular logic.”

I don’t assume anything. What I believe is reasonable and proceeds from undeniable truths.

The arguments are real and have force. I would be glad to discuss them with you if you are in the least bit open-minded.


“…neurochemistry and teeming multitude of differing religions show you to be wrong….it’s neurochemistry. Mirror Neurons fire whenever we witness another creature in pain. People experience ghost pain when those mirror neurons fire. This is the fountain from which empathy springs.”

Are you saying that brain chemistry determines our actions?

If so, then why argue with me? After all, my brain chemistry is the problem, not my thinking. I wonder if there is a drug to treat religious belief. Recon’ you could create one? Might be a great market.



“…this god that you speak of is smart and powerful enough to create all of reality but is simultaneously trapped by the circumstances of its own existence…”

Classical Christian doctrine has always taught that there are some things God cannot do. For example: make a rock so big he can’t lift it, make a square circle, tell a lie, or break a promise.

He is not limited by anything outside Himself. But His own desires, nature and character do limit His behavior. His limits ‘come from the inside.’



“For what purpose does god need for a masculine sexual identity?”

God, strictly speaking, does not have a gender. I use the masculine pronoun merely because it is the one He chose to use in the Bible. It is entirely possible that He chose this merely out of social convention.



“It is proven only by working backwards from conclusions to find justification.”

Even if that were true, it does not help you.

My mathematics textbook in high school contained the correct answers to many of the practice problems. Having the answers allowed me to check my work. I still had to solve the problem using good logic and math. skills in order to get any benefit. I didn't just write down the answers that were given and take them on faith.

The point is that the justification may be accurate even if I do work backwards. What matters is the logic and truth of the argument itself.



“All divine revelations are true?”

No, only the Christian Bible stands up to the logical and historical test necessary to establish it as true.

That does not mean, however, that everything every other religion / religious book teaches is wrong. There are at least some true things in almost any religion I have heard of, and there are some religions besides Christianity that do have much truth.



“But now you are saying if I’m ignorant of gods law because I haven’t freely chosen to sin I don’t have to worry about suffering? That’s even more of a reason to remain ignorant and recall the missionaries…”

That’s not precisely what I said.

If there was a person who had never sinned, a truly innocent person, that person would have nothing to fear. But there are no such people.

If there was a person who did not understand the difference between right and wrong at any level, they would be innocent of transgression, but there is not such person.

(There are some possible exceptions: infants, mentally retarded, and the psychotic, for example.)



Everyone stands in need of the salvation God freely offers those who believe. Send the missionaries to and fro.



You stand in need of the free offer of eternal life and forgiveness that God offers.

You should take Him up on it.

J. K. Jones said...

Steve Martin,

Don't forget the Calvinistic Baptist's two steps for witnessing:

1)Plead (!) with sinners.
2)Sleep well at night.

Step 2 is hard for me unless I do my best at Step 1.

JK

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous,

Your last comment has been deleted.

Do not cuss on my blog. Ever.

For that matter, your name calling is not welcome either.

Get your own blog if you want to do things like that.

Signed,

The “Godbot”

Anonymous said...

Typical, when arguments of authority and circular logic fail, just delete the post.

For greater "win", make a laughable claim about not being mentally or emotionally equipped to handle a "naughty" word.

J. K. Jones said...

The counter arguments you gave in your last comment were repeats of issues I had already addressed above.

You have chosen not to accept the arguments given despite the fact they were cogent and forcefull. You need to look at them again.

As to the cussing and name calling: it's childish, inappropriate and rude. It dies not help your arguments.

If you want to comment again in a more civilized manner, it will be welcomed.

Signed,

The "Godbot"

Anonymous said...

"The counter arguments you gave in your last comment were repeats of issues I had already addressed above."

You addressed them by supporting them with assumptions which were then supported by still more assumptions. Essentially all you did was babble "scripture light" at me.

"You have chosen not to accept the arguments given despite the fact they were cogent and forceful. You need to look at them again."

Cogent, I know that word. It doesn't mean what you think it means. You need to look at your arguments again and stop thinking that people will swallow cargo loads of assumptions and think they are "cogent" and "forceful". Well maybe the forceful part would be correct.

"As to the cussing and name calling: it's childish, inappropriate and rude. It dies not help your arguments."

It is a fair description of your arguments.

"If you want to comment again in a more civilized manner, it will be welcomed. "

No. It seems you are incapable of summoning the emotional fortitude to cope with language you disagree with without being spun into a fit of the vapors. Why waste the time in posting only to discover yet another word you would find objectionable? You could then childishly declare victory again by deleting the posting and proclaiming, "The counter arguments you gave in your last comment were repeats..."

Steve Martin said...

Anonymous,

All of your sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake!

That's the Good News!

Enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, All of your sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake! That's the Good News! Enjoy it!"

If it doesn't come with strings attached such as needing to have "faith", that's genuinely good to hear. I assume now we can put all this discussion about "sins" and "god" and the like behind us.

I have a sneaking suspicion its not the end of it though. After all your bible has so many chapters for such a short little message.

J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous,


“…assumptions which were then supported by still more assumptions…”

I referred you to other posts on this blog that outlined arguments that ultimately form the underpinnings for the arguments here.


Here are the things these arguments assume:

1) You exist – This isn’t so much an assumption. Really it is undeniable. You have to exist in order to question your own existence.

2) The basic reliability of sense perception – Our senses do give us reasonably accurate information about the world.

3) That our faculties of reason are reliable – That both inductive and deductive reasoning are valid forms of learning what is real about the world around us.

4) Universal abstract laws exist - The laws of logic are valid.

5) Truth is that which corresponds to reality.

6) Truth is knowable. – Actually, this is not so much an assumption either. It is undeniable. If “there is no truth,” then it is still true that “there are no absolute truths.” Denial of absolute truth is self-defeating.

7) That words can convey truth claims.


Is there anything on this list that you are tempted to disagree with? If so we can discuss here. Otherwise, try the search label “Nine Reasons Why…” start at the bottom, and read the posts in order.

The arguments that underpin those given here are given in the first three or four posts themselves, not in the outline at the first post. I don’t state them in simple syllogisms, but I would be glad to if that will help.




I will let stand the comment that my arguments are childish, inappropriate and rude. That is an attack against the arguments themselves. That is not name-calling.




“Why waste the time in posting only to discover yet another word you would find objectionable?”

I thought I made myself clear enough, but if not:

Do not use cuss words.

Do not engage in name-calling.

These ideas are simple and straightforward.



As to your comment to Mr. Martin:

Gifts must be recieved in order for them to be given. That's part of the normally accepted concept of a gift. They are paid for by someone else, given to you, and you accept them.

That's what faith is: accepting the gift.

Anonymous said...

“…assumptions which were then supported by still more assumptions…"I referred you to other posts on this blog that outlined arguments that ultimately form the underpinnings for the arguments here. Here are the things these arguments assume: (1-7). ...“Nine Reasons Why…” start at the bottom...

Sure I got a few min before an online game.
Part 1: Admitted Biased Testimony and you're obviously the best judge of what makes sense to other people.
Part 2: Here's where you smuggle in all the Assumptions, just make em part of the Definition and nobody will notice.
Part 3: An argument for First Cause and still more Assumptions.
Part 4: Anything too hard to figure out, comes from god. Why try? Just use the automatic answer for everything and declare victory!
(and we're done) So much for your claimed assumptions 1-7

"I will let stand the comment that my arguments are childish, inappropriate and rude. That is an attack against the arguments themselves. That is not name-calling."

I was actually talking about the so called "gods law" of eternal pain and suffering, but its also a fitting word to describe your arguments. I guess I got a two-fer.

"I thought I made myself clear enough, but if not: Do not use cuss words. Do not engage in name-calling.These ideas are simple and straightforward."

I think I understand the problem. You do not seem to have a firm grasp of the English language. This explains your pronoun troubles earlier when I used the genderless "it" for god. It's why you get get bent out of shape over what you call "cuss" words. You think a "gift" is something you get if and only if you have something else. Finally believing "cogent", means a hash of logical assumptions. This is why I cant trust you to not delete another post, who can tell what perfectly normal words you will find objectionable? Must I resort to the puerile use of asterisk's in the place of consonants and vowels? Would medical or Latin terms suffice? I don't know and I don't care anymore.

"As to your comment to Mr. Martin: Gifts must be recieved in order for them to be given. That's part of the normally accepted concept of a gift. They are paid for by someone else, given to you, and you accept them. That's what faith is: accepting the gift."

Perhaps you should let Steve speak for himself.

You however have already agreed with me: "Faith is required.". AND...
The "law" is impossible to follow: "If there was a person who had never sinned, a truly innocent person, that person would have nothing to fear. But there are no such people.""

J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous,

Identify the assumptions that have been "smuggled in," interact with the arguements instead of leveling gauge criticisms, or quit wasting our time.

Signed,

The Guy Who Has No Grasp of The English Language

J. K. Jones said...

That's "vague criticisms."

My iPhone keyboard and autofinishing of words will take some getting used to.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOfjkl-3SNE

J. K. Jones said...

http://www.leestrobel.com/videoserver/video.php?clip=strobelT1199

http://www.ligonier.org/questions_answered.php?question_id=90

http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2832571/k.7E46/The_Moral_Argument_for_Gods_Existence.htm

http://www.ligonier.org/questions_answered.php?question_id=76

http://www.ligonier.org/questions_answered.php?question_id=77

http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4223341/k.C395/Does_God_Saying_Something_Is_Right_Make_It_Right.htm

http://reformed-theology.org/ice/newslet/be/be.03.80.htm

http://www.carm.org/apologetics/objections-and-answers/objections-and-answers-1-8

http://www.ligonier.org/questions_answered.php?question_id=96

http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pa105.htm

http://www.bible.org/qa.php?topic_id=53&qa_id=141

http://www.alwaysbeready.com/index.php?Itemid=107&id=124&option=com_content&task=view

http://www.leestrobel.com/videoserver/video.php?clip=strobelT1085

http://www.confidentchristianity.com/ (sse link to Articles)

Anonymous said...

Whupps, looks like it deleted my posting again. It must have had one of those "words" it cannot cope with. Time to take a page from the apologists playbook and declare victory and move on.

I'll Pray for you JK Jones.

J. K. Jones said...

I have only deleted one comment. Why you refer to another is beyond me. Are you trying to make me look bad?

Maybe since you are praying now, I should declare the victory.

Signed,

The Typical Apologist with a Playbook

Anonymous said...

Good news!

All your mindnumbing drivel didn't make it when unreasonablefaith moved.

J. K. Jones said...

Interesting.

Anonymous said...

It was unsurprising to see, by some contortion of logic, you try to stretch that sentence into your purported idea that I would mean your comments would never appear there.

An honest person would have admitted their mistake.

J. K. Jones said...

Even more interesting.

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