Monday, December 21, 2015

Westminster Confession, Chapter 10: Effectual Calling

Romans 8:30 "And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified."

    The doctrines of grace are precious indeed. Those whom Almighty God has predestined, he also called. The whole of this chapter of the confession is full of truth and answers to many contemporary issues on the subject of Calvinism vs Arminianism. For instance: Children, infants, and the mentally challenged. The elect only will be saved. Not all infants, children, or mentally handicapped will be lost. The raging question is, will they all be saved? Are they elect if they die young or lack the cognitive ability to understand the truths of the gospel? Our answer ought to be: we don't want to go beyond Scripture to the right or to the left. So, what is a reasonable answer? 1 Corinthians 7 helps with such a challenging issue. Paul refers to the children of the covenant as "set apart" or "holy." What makes them children of the covenant is if they have one or two believing parents, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy." (1 Cor 7:14) Furthermore, Jesus' words are ever present in parents hearts and minds: "Suffer not the children to come unto me for of such are the kingdom of heaven." Here it seems safe to assume that covenant children are of the elect, so long as they prove their calling and election in their life. In other words, believing parents have some kind of sure foundation to hope. "The promise is to you and your children..." (Acts 2:29) However, we don't know of those children who belong to unbelieving parents, whether they are elect or not.
    Another contemporary issue: Universalism. This is a concept or idea that in the end, all will be saved. Humans don't face judgement but grace. Christ died for all it is suggested. Therefore all are saved. For a universalist, there is no hell. The problem a universalist faces however, is that the Bible teaches contrary to their views. According to the teaching of Scripture, there is an effectual call. No one will be saved apart from Christ and His effectual calling. To suggest something contrary to this is prideful presumption. There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) The effectual call of God is entirely of His doing and His choosing. It is in other words, His work. It is gracious and merciful, God does not look ahead and see who will choose Him and thereby base His election on the will of men. He chooses based on those who He has made His own. Romans 9 is very clear regarding this point. Predestination is based entirely on God's grace alone. Consider these texts:

  • 2 Tim 1:9-10: "He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus."
  • Titus 3:4-7: "But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” 
  • Eph 2:8-9: "For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast."
    When God effectually calls His elect He replaces their heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Repentance and regeneration  is implied when referring to effectual calling. The call of God unites us to Christ and saves us. The effectual call of God, being His work, gives all the glory back to Him for the salvation of the elect.
    The effectual call of God should never be confused with the outward call wherein all are called to repentance. The effectual call is that inward call of God by His Holy Spirit on the hearts of the elect only.

Thinking about Evangelism- The Book of Acts

  Of all the books in the Bible the Acts of the Apostles stands out as a predominant resource for missional and evangelistic thinking. I know "missional" is not a word, yet it is often a term used to express a purpose driven movement that is akin to the kind of things, actions, events, and so forth we read about in Acts. The key verse in Acts, in my opinion, is 1:8, where we read the words of Jesus: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and the farthest parts of the earth." Moreover, Acts is the sequal to the book of Luke, or if you prefer, the Gospel of Luke. While being the other half of the story regarding the life and mission of Jesus, it comes as no surprise to look at another verse which mirrors in some ways our verse above. Lets think on Jesus' words mentioned by Luke, "Then He (Jesus) opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures, and said to them, 'thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise again from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'" (24:46-47)
    Okay, now that an initial look into the missional and evangelistic content of Acts has been briefly summarized, I would also point out the ten major sermons found scattered like a shotgun blast throughout the Acts (Peter's sermons: 2:14-41, 3:11-26, 10:27-48; Stephen's: 7:1-60; and Paul's sermons and defenses: 13, 17, 20, 22:1-21, 24:10-21, and 26). These sermons reveal the key message of the Apostles, namely the crucified and risen Christ is  Lord and commands all men everywhere to repent and be saved. The power of the Holy Spirit is evidently displayed showing God's faithfulness to keep his promises and empower his people for the task appointed. The writer to the Hebrews points out how "God confirmed their witness with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." (Heb 2:4) 
    So, here are a few observations about the Missional and Evangelistic drive in the Acts:
I. How? Preaching Christ crucified for sinners. Preaching Christ's resurrection, truly, He is risen indeed! Touching on guilt and hope. Preaching the Covenant of God and His fulfilled promise to His people. Use the word, arguments, history, social and political issues, whatever the occasion affords. Because the Lordship of Christ covers all areas, there is not one thing going on in the world where his message is not relevant. Speak clearly and pointedly learn from Peter, Stephen, and Paul.
II. Who? Who goes for Jesus now? His messengers who proclaim the gospel. Men who are Spirit filled and empowered to preach Christ. Who do the messengers go to? The nations.
III. Where? In the midst of the world. Not just in the church with the world shut out, but God's messengers must take the message of Christ crucified and risen to the nations. Start in the neighborhood. I guarantee you not all the people in your local area are saved!
IV. When? As the opportunity affords itself. As God leads. Pray for doors to be opened. 
V. Why? To make know to unbelievers the unfathomable riches of Christ, who is the power and wisdom of God. 
    Let me close by suggestion we call to mind the Lord's Great Commission: "Therefore Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and remember I am with you, even to the end of the age." May God bless us as we ponder the power of Christ Crucified and Risen. Let us be faithful to the Great Commission. May it not be said of us or our churches that we have practiced the Great Omission. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old King James was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he…

Textual Philosophy
    The present writer favors the Majority Text–Byzantine Priority school philosophically, though he does not always agree with their methods. The fact remains that between eighty to ninety percent of the MSS usually agree with each other and belong to the Byzantine text-type. While it is true that the Byzantine did not become the majority until the ninth century, never the less, it did have a presence in the fifth century. Another point to be suggested is the fact that if eighty to ninety percent of the MSS do agree with the Byzantine text-type, what is to be said concerning the percentage for the Alexandrian or the Western? Proponents of the Alexandrian or Western texts often suggest that the Majority Text ignores history, though this suggestion seems to betray the very people who purport such a fact; for is it not also an ignorance of history to suggest that for the better part of a millennium God chose to use the Byzantine as the majority text? Also, the proponents of the Alexandrian/Western schools by their suggestion, seem to rule out the Eastern Church and ignore the history of the church. One major half of the Christian church has always used this text-type. This tends to be overlooked by western eyes, especially those of an Alexandrian/Western agenda.
    It is suggested that the Majority Text school must do business with internal evidence, and that the only way to accept this line of thinking is to completely rule out internal evidence. For instance, how many internal variants do we have? In 1707 John Mills figured over 30,000 differences. With just around 100 manuscripts. Today the number of manuscripts is over 5,700. It would seem that no one knows how many differences there really are. Wallace suggests that the problems dealt with in the USB apparatus are just the tip of the iceberg. Bart Erhman suggests, “there are more differences than there are words in the NT.” But it must be adamantly insisted that most of these differences are insignificant and make no difference at all. Why does a proponent of the Majority Text have to deal with internal evidence at all? Do the differences change major doctrines? Of course not. If not, then it seems valid to suggest that where the majority of texts agree there is a comfortable security, especially when one considers the providence of God and the history of the church.
    Textual criticism is culpable of causing the faith of people to be possibly greatly shaken, when one sees the apparent differences of texts and finds that there is no original autograph, or that we can not know for certain the exact words of Scripture to one hundred percent certainty. This may in fact be the result of the scientific age and rationalism upon the spirituality of the church. After all, observation and hypothesis have their place, but before a specimen can be evaluated it sometimes has to be killed and cut up before it can be placed on the microscope for inspection.
     One important fact must not be overestimated that the proponents of the Majority Text school are consistent advocates for the inerrancy of Scripture. This does not suggest that other schools of textual criticism are guilty of denying inspiration, only that the Majority Text school is unabashedly staunch in their insistence of theological priority. An issue that is evident among textual critics is that some scholars deny the inspiration of Scripture using the errors of MSS to “prove” their points. Bart Erhman is one such scholar for example. Moreover, what makes the system of the Majority Text even more admirable is it’s affirmation of theological priority. Consider the words of Pickering: “It is demonstrable that God preserved the New Testament Text, so therefore He must have inspired it! I consider that the preservation of the N.T. Text is a strong argument for its inspiration, and since its inspiration that gives it its authority, the two doctrines go hand in hand.”# The only thing the present author would suggest differently is that the message was preserved, not the exact words. An example of this is seen in the gospels. There are many occurrences in the synoptics which reveal the same meaning but different variations of word order. Moreover, concerning the doctrine of providence, it is true that God could have preserved the original text if he wanted to. The fact that he did not is obviously significant in this light.
    All conservative, orthodox Christians hold to the view of inspiration, and ironically, they are backed into the same corner, philosophically, as the Majority Text school, whether they admit it or not. Specifically, when dealing with the plausibility of arguments—say for the existence of God. For, all human knowledge rests on either empirical (sensory) or rational (intellectual) understanding. That which is not attainable through observation, explanation, or verification is rejected by natural, scientific man. Thus, all conservative Christians hold to a third avenue of human knowledge, namely, that of revelation. It does not have to be “proven” either empirically or rationally; it is taken by faith. For ultimately, as Kant proved, even the argument for the existence of God is filled with holes. It is not through rational arguments that mankind is persuaded of the reliability of Scripture. The Majority Text school makes no apologies for its stance on theological priority—and this is precisely why it is more acceptable philosophically than the other schools. At the end of the day, whether a person holds the KJV or the NIV, God’s Word is still presented and believed by those who accept the third avenue of knowledge, which is revelation.
    A valid response to the statement made by Berkhouwer would be fitting to hear from the proponents of the Alexandrian/Western schools:  A super naturalistic view of revelation would consider any human ‘research’ puzzling and inconceivable.”#

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Old King James was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he…Various rants on New Testament Textual Criticism.

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Last fall I went through a course in which I was taught “textual criticism.” I was excited to finally have a chance to use the apparatuses and walk my way through the varying manuscripts and papyri with some degree of competence.  Much to my surprise I was very concerned as we began the lectures and work on various manuscripts. What was hardest for me was analyzing texts, I quickly realized that this was not something I thought it was. I will begin a discussion in the next couple of posts to reason both logically and with some rhetoric for the position I finally became convinced of. As a result, I have began using the King James Version. Not because I am an adherent to what is known as “KJV Only-ism,” but because I am reacting against the philosophy behind modern textual criticism.  ( consult “The King James Only Controversy” by James White for a good examination of the flawed tendencies of certain people who hold to KJV only-ism).

A qualifier must be made at the outset: I am not against all textual criticism, in fact, that would be an erroneous position because I believe in using the original languages of Scripture. So- what type of criticism am I opposed to? Two answers: (1) Higher Criticism, which is nothing more than unbelief and hostility toward the Lord. (2) The second type I am opposed to is a “pastoral” concern. I am opposed to the type of criticism that leaves doubt in its wake, many people in the pews would really struggle with their confidence in the Bible if they came to find out the issues behind texts like John 8, or Mark 16.  

Moving toward the philosophy of textual criticism, one must understand the aim of TC. Certain questions will be posed to help with this: is modern textual criticism helpful? Do we have more certainty about our New Testament now than we did before 200 years ago? What is the church to do with all the evidence she possesses? What is the ultimate goal of textual criticism? Why do we need to have reliable, tangible evidence? Is it right to suggest only the original manuscripts were inspired? What does inspired mean? These questions bring one to the crux of the philosophy. I will try to offer my answers in the following weeks. From these answers, I think it will be possible to get at the philosophy behind TC. 

My decision to use the King James Version was not made in the dark. I read various scholars (the best introduction to Textual Criticism I found is “The Text of the New Testament” by Metzger and Ehrman) and learned to “do” textual criticism. My own convictions have fallen on the road less traveled, to say the least. The one question that comes back is why would you go against the grain? My answer lies in the simplicity of God’s word and the answers to the problems stated above in the second paragraph.

For now, let me state again that my choice of the King James is not because I think it is the only “inspired” text, but because of my reaction against the mainline TC and the philosophy behind it. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Questions and Answers *Manual of Christian Doctrine/ Louis Berkhof)

Revelation
1.    What is divine revelation?
According to the presentation of Scripture, God has removed the veil which covered Him and has exposed Himself to view.  In other words, He has in some way communicated knowledge of Himself to man, and has thereby opened the way for man to know Him, and to live in communion with Him.  [Pg.23-24]
2.    How do natural and supernatural revelation differ?
The great text in the Bible which deals with both aspects of revelation is Psalm 19.  “Natural revelation is that revelation which is communicated through the phenomena of nature, including the very constitution of man.  It is not a revelation given in words but embodied in facts. ” [Pg. 24] 
Supernatural revelation, on the other hand, is a revelation in which God intervenes in the natural course of events, and in which He, even when He uses natural means, such as dreams and oral communications, employs them in a supernatural way.” [Pg.24]
3.    Who deny the reality of special revelation?
Specifically, there are two schools of thought who deny the special revelation of God, eighteenth century Deism and present-day liberal theology.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Questions and Answers (Louis Berkhof/ Manual of Christian Doctrine)

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1.    How do many in our day seek to discover the essential nature of religion?
Many in our day “seek an answer to this question by studying the religions of the world and the various manifestations of religion in human life.  By a comparative study they would discover the real nature of religion, and insist on discovering a definition sufficiently broad to cover all the forms in which the religious life manifests itself among the nations of the world.” [Pg.15-16]
2.    Which is the only way in which we can learn to know this?
The bible only enables us to get a proper conception of the ideal. [Pg. 16]
3.    What terms define the religious attitude in the Old and the New Testament?
In the Old Testament the term is, the fear of the Lord.  Fear in this definition is properly defined as, the feeling of reverent regard for God, tempered with awe, and the fear of disobedience or of the punishment for disobedience. [Pg.16]
In the New Testament the gospel message is prominently in the foreground, and man’s response to the divine revelation assumes a somewhat different form, namely, the form of “faith.”  While there are other terms for religion in the New Testament, such as godliness, and godly fear, the word “faith” generally serves to describe the religious attitude of man. [Pg.16-17]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Justification in Paul and James’ Writings

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    Paul and James seem to contradict one another in relation to the doctrine of justification. This issue has long been one of the more controversial issues of evangelicalism in particular and not without its warrant. Many in the church are afraid of cultic tendencies to “earn” righteousness or merit God’s forgiveness. The Jehovah’s Witnesses for example believe in a “works based righteousness,” so do Mormon’s, the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, and a host of other similar religious groups. What is the Christian to do with such passages as James 2, where it seems to be implicitly contradicting Paul who is arguing for justification by faith alone? Should the church take the position of Martin Luther, that the book of James is “an epistle of straw?” To gather enough evidence for an analysis of this problem, let’s look at the context of a specific group of passages by these two writers.
    In the writings of Paul, one does not have to read long before it is evident that no one is righteous, all are doomed to die in sin, and the only hope anyone has is based upon the mercy and grace of God. Justification therefore must be based upon the righteous life of another, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God. Romans 3:20, for instance, states: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin,” and again in Galatians Paul writes: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal 2:15–16). Taking a literal, syntactical approach, three main points are evident:
Justification is not by the deeds of the flesh.
Justification is not by the works of the law.
Justification is by faith in Jesus Christ.
If the above points are true, then it is right to conclude that “justification is by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Such doctrine is consistent throughout the writings of other New Testament authors. This doctrine is to be taken as a summary of the teaching on justification found in the writings of the New Testament. What about James? Do his writings in fact disagree with Paul?
    James writes in the second chapter of his epistle: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14–17). Moving further into the chapter he says again, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:21–24). From these verses again, a syntactical analysis will be applied, again three main points will be derived:
Faith by itself with no works is dead.
Abraham our father was justified by works.
Works perfect faith.
If the above points are true then it is right to conclude “A man is justified by works and not faith only.” That is what it says, plain and simple.
    How is it that reconciling these points is such a problem? It seems as though the reason is not in the interpretation of the syntax itself but in the interpretation of the context and theology. To help with this problem, it is crucial to bring in a technical term which was coined by the reformers, namely, “forensic justification.” This terminology is used when speaking about the believers’ standing before God himself. This is precisely what Paul is writing about in Romans and Galatians. In the days of the reformation, one of the crucial points of departure from Rome was over the concept of justification. Rome believed that people were infused with righteousness; thus, justification was actually earned by their infused righteousness. The reformers understood that an “alien” righteousness had to be applied to a person wholly apart from their own doing; that is, righteousness had to be imparted or imputed in order for God to justify the sinner. So, the whole concept of justification in Paul’s language and terminology is forensic. In contrast to Paul, James is not writing forensically. He is writing practically on an “earthly” level. It could be argued that Paul and James are referring to the same thing while looking through different lenses, because a person who is forensically justified before God will persevere in saving faith and look like those James is referring to. Therefore, ultimately, neither author disagrees with the other and they are both aiming at the same thing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life in John 3:16

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THE MEANING OF ETERNAL LIFE IN JOHN 3:16
Introduction
    When considering the meaning of the phrase “eternal life,” John 3:16 helps us to find the answers to how eternal life is obtained, the motive of God’s purpose in making it possible, who makes it possible, and the scope of its offer; but we are not told the specific meaning of what eternal life actually is.  To find the answer of what eternal life actually is we are compelled to look elsewhere in John’s writings to define this stunning and simplistic lexis which is so imperative to the Christian life.  
Key Words
    It is necessary to concentrate on the following key words: “know” (ginwvskw) which is used in John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20, “life” (zwh\), and “eternal” (ai)w/nio$).  It is interesting to note that in all of John’s writings he uses the word zwh\ a total of eighty two times according to my calculations.  Of all the 135 uses of this specific word in the New Testament, John utilizes it sixty one percent of the time, with the adjectival modification of ai)w/nio$ used only sixteen times in the gospel of John and six times in the first epistle.  The word “life” is a key word in all of John’s writings, but what is provocative is that he only defines it two times.
Key Verses
    The first definition of “eternal life” is, ironically, in the last application of this phrase in John’s gospel.  John employs the phrase eternal life in John 17:3, where he quotes Jesus, who says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (NIV).  There are two specific disclosures found here: the word “know” (ginw/skw) and the subjects of that knowledge.  To this helpful bit of information John adds still a further description found in his first epistle, where he states emphatically, “He [Jesus Christ] is the true God and eternal life.” 
Conclusion
    John builds upon the personal needs of our physical nature showing us that this Word made flesh is our true source of eternal life, water for our thirsting soul, bread for our weary bodies, music to our ears, and reward for our hard toils of labor.  In truth, as a person hears the words of life and believes on the Son, through God’s gracious act of love, life is imparted; and this life consists of knowing the Father and the Son, who is the life eternal. 

Works Consulted:
NIV: Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, 27 th Revised Edition.
Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (used only for the total number of zoh\).
PC Study Bible Specialized Electronic Concordance

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: Gary North, “The Hoax of Higher Criticism.”

 

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Chapter 1-
Higher Criticism denies the authority of the Bible and argues that the Bible is not the inerrant, infallible, revealed Word of God.  Advocates of this school of thought label the Bible as a hoax, a book full of “gross errors,” and “myth-filled.”  They are men who are “dedicated to the destruction of orthodox Christianity” and the removing of the solid confidence held by Christians for their Bible.  
In the past few hundred years, one of the strongest assaults on Christianity has been through Higher Criticism.  The success of this stronghold has been the result of the undermining of the Bible.  The foundation of this movement came mainly through English Deism.  The two major avenues through which this assault was brought, was the social and intellectual movements of the day.  Biblical law was replaced with natural law and the Bible was discredited to the point of becoming invalid for the outworking of social issues as well as intellectual issues.
The damage has been done; Higher Criticism no longer posses such a threat to Orthodox Christianity.  The issue now is one of repairing the ruins and bringing back to Christianity the confidence in God’s Word that is so vital to the faith of the Church.

Chapter 2-
The techniques of Higher Criticism are crafty and very subtle.  Higher Critics are deceivers and seek to evade the judgment of God all while trying to keep a cloak of a religious experience that can become beneficial to people. 
Higher Criticism uses the same techniques as Lower Criticism in determining the authority and validity of texts; however, Higher Criticism takes the techniques to an unwarranted point of no return and denies the reliability of the entire Bible as a revealed “Word of God.”  Those who advocate Higher Criticism see the Bible as a kind of novel and apply the techniques of literary criticism of fiction to their study of Scripture; as a result of this, many people all over the world have suffered in their walk of faith. 
Another technique of the Higher Critic is to present the Bible as a sham, a hoax, a collection of writings full of “lies and myths,” and thus making it is obvious that God did not fully inspire the Word.  We therefore, cannot turn to the Bible and say, this is what we can know about God, or this is the final and absolute truth; it is only a book about what certain people believe about God.  This is how the resurrection is dealt with as well as words like creation, fall from Grace, and judgment.   
The undermining of the Bible, that is, to remove the Bible as the Word of God and replace it as the thoughts of man, removes man’s accountability to God.  With the authority of the Bible out of the way there is no need to face the explicit call to repentance and final judgment.  This is in fact the ultimate goal of the advocates of Higher Criticism- to escape the judgment of God.


Chapter 3-
God’s judgment on man will come based on His ethical system revealed in His Holy Word.  The goal of the higher critic is to twist the Bible into a terribly disjointed mess that you cannot make heads or tails from.  The critic knows that, in order to escape the judgment, God’s unified ethical system must be obliterated.  In their view the Bible is nothing more than another “mythical” or “religious” collection of writings put together by man.  The truth is dropped and the collection of something that sounds like yesterdays newspaper is put in its place, with the title “true transcendent ethical unity.” 
To prove the Bible to be false and contradictory, the critics sought to re-date major portions of the Old Testament, ascribe certain writings to scribes who had hidden agendas and wanted to forge a false document with the title of Prophecy on it, tear Old Testament Judaism from the New Testament, and last but not least separate ethics from faith.  Obviously the consequences were disastrous.
It is interesting to see the connection between higher criticism and evolutionary thought.  Both systems came around the same time and the results were anything but righteous.  It could even be argued that Nazism had roots in German higher criticism.    

Evangelism Class Syllabus

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Cedar Ridge Fall 2011 Evangelism Class
I. Description of Class
This class will be taught from a distinctly reformed perspective on the subject of evangelism in the two main avenues of life: public and private. The Bible will be used exegetically to build a foundation evangelical living for the glory of God in all of life. Daniel will teach on the subject of private evangelism, Jason will be teaching on the subject of public evangelism.
A. The purpose of this class will be for the students to realize, to a fuller extent, the fourfold goal of Cedar Ridge:
To exalt God’s glory in all areas of life.
To proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.
To promote the growth of Christ-like character in God’s people.
To live out our faith through works of compassion and ministry.
B. The Westminster Confession of Faith will be utilized on a continual basis.
C. The class will be practical in nature, with a time during each class to discuss evangelism methodology, specifically in the area of personal witnessing.
D. To memorize and recite verses which deal specifically with the subject and various facets of evangelism. A paper will be handed out the first week of class which will be the foundation for these verses.
II. Objectives
As a result of this class, the diligent student should be able to:
A. Live more deliberately to the glory of God as a witness to a lost and dying world of the beauty and supremacy of Christ.
B. Have an arsenal of verses ready to be used when needed for various subjects and issues that may be proposed in personal conversations. These verses will be built upon a Biblical and theological foundation. It can not be overstated here: what you believe effects and impacts your evangelism as well as whether or not you will even be engaged in the battle.
C. Become increasingly more active in the ministry of evangelism, both public as well as private, as a result effectiveness will increase.
D. Family Worship will become an everyday occurrence in your home.
E. Personal holiness and piety will result as public, private, and family worship become an integral part of your faith and life.
III. Suggested Requirements
Become involved in the outreach ministry, door to door, jail visitation, etc. Start evangelizing.
Find answers to the 17 Frequently Asked Questions, plus memory verses to help with scriptural refutation of the opposition you will encounter.
If you are not reading your Bible on a daily basis begin to do so immediately!!!
Start becoming actively involved in family and private worship.
Read one or all of the following books:
Kuiper, R.B. God Centered Evangelism; Baker Book House (Banner of Truth Trust ed. 1966,
Calisle, PA. 1966.), 1961.
Metzger, Bruce; Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People; Inter
Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.2002.
Piper, John; Let The Nations Be Glad; Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI. 2003.

IV. Schedule
September 11: Introduction
September 19: The Supremacy of God in all of Life
September 26: The Christian’s Calling to a Mature Faith, Session 1
October 2: The Christian’s Calling to a Mature Faith, Session 2
October 9: Evangelism and Biblical Theology–Pt. 1
October 16: Evangelism and Biblical Theology–Pt. 2
October 23: The Christian’s Calling to Holy Conduct, Session 1
October 30: The Christian’s Calling to Holy Conduct, Session 2
November 6: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 1
November 13: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt 2
November 20: Exhortation to Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 1
November 27: Exhortation to Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 2
December 4: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 3
December 11: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 4
December 18: Practice of Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 1
January 8: Practice of Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 2
January 15: Discussion, Review of Verses, Personal Growth.

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Essential Piper Trilogy

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