Monday, 22 April 2013
In the lead up to His crucifixion, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate and said these words:
“You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
In the very next verse Pilate replies with perhaps the most important question one could ever ask:
“What is truth?”
Interestingly, the answer has already been given, by Jesus Himself, in the preceding chapter:
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
The Greek word for “truth” found in John 17:17 is not an adjective (meaning “your word is true”) but a noun (alētheia, “truth”). This means that God's Word does not simply conform to some external standard of truth, but that it is truth itself; that is, it embodies truth and is therefore the standard of truth against which everything else must be tested and compared.
It is sometimes said that truth is that which conforms to reality. Very often this statement is posited with the intent of offering a justification for truth without God. However, it raises a pressing question: “How do we know what is real?”
It is important to understand that without God we have only ourselves to appeal to. However, if we employ our senses and reasoning to justify our senses and reasoning we argue in a vicious circle. Appealing to ourselves to validate ourselves is self-refuting, and therefore nonsensical.
So, what is truth?
Truth is that which conforms to the mind of God.
Without an objective standard for truth, there can be no truth. Truth is never subjective. Truth is that which conforms to the mind of God because truth comes from God, indeed, He Himself is the objective standard for truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Just recently I had a fantastic conversation with 4-5 Muslim chaps, who were in London for a few days on holiday. They are from Kuwait. It is very interesting to note that foreign Muslims tend to be far less hostile and objectionable to the Word of God. Muslims who live in the UK are taught how to object and how to attack the Christian worldview. This becomes very apparent when you meet different Muslims around London who object in the same way.
Turning back to the chat I had with the chaps from Kuwait, Abdullah in particular was very open. I was able to talk to them about the contradictions in the Qur’an and how the Qur’an misrepresents the Bible, and I was able to share the gospel with them. On the day that Abdullah left for Kuwait he rang me to say he would like to stay in contact. So I have since emailed him and hope to hear back from him soon.
To read the message I sent please click here.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Monday, 11 March 2013
I recently asked an atheist this question: “Is it valid to self-authenticate when reasoning?”
A typical example of self-authentication would read something like this: “I am absolutely certain that I am absolutely certain.”
My atheist opponent replied with the following: “We all have to ‘self-authenticate’, on some level when we break it down. Our assumption that reality exists is somewhat circular. But assuming reality exists is the only assumption I have to make, in order to interpret reality.”
Here is my reply:
“How do you know you are interpreting reality correctly? If you say ‘My reasoning is valid because it works,’ you are begging the question.
Now, I do agree that your reasoning works. It works because God has created you with the ability to use your mind and your senses, etc.
However, you offer no reason for why it works because you assume what you are trying to prove. So your answer is arbitrary.
My question for you is this: How do you know your reasoning is valid? Without God you cannot know, because all you can do is self-authenticate. This is logically fallacious because to reason in a self-authenticating manner is to embrace arbitrariness.
As a Christian, I do not self-authenticate. However, I do use my own reasoning and I do use my own senses, but what I do is rational, because as I reason I do so trusting the validity of my reasoning and my senses. But here’s the point: I do not trust the validity of my reasoning and my senses because I (in and of myself) reason that they are valid. That would be arbitrary. I trust the validity of my reasoning and my senses because I have a reason for trusting the validity of my reasoning and my senses. And that reason rests on the necessary precondition for the validity of my reasoning and my senses: The God of the Bible.”
We need to earnestly pray for the atheist. The Bible says that he is a fool. (Psalm 14:1) This is not an example of derogatory name-calling. The Bible speaks the truth. We must understand it is the prior commitment (to atheism) of the atheist that betrays the intelligence God has given him. Hence the foolishness.
Can such a person be saved? Jesus said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sunday, 10 March 2013
Every day people make knowledge claims. We do it all the time. In fact, I'm doing it right now. Moreover, knowledge claims must rest on certainty. If this were not so, we would have no reason to believe anything that we claimed to know.
Please consider the following analogy:
Imagine there are two knowledge cabinets in our minds. Let’s call them cabinet T and cabinet F. Cabinet T houses information we believe to be true, and cabinet F houses information we believe to be false (there may be a third cabinet of “I’m not sure” but for the sake of argument we won’t be dealing with that here). Now, let’s say I learn something new. Would I place this new information in cabinet T if I did not believe the information to be true? Of course not. So, cabinet T represents “real knowledge” (information we believe to be true), and cabinet F represents that which is falsely called “knowledge” (information we believe to be false). When we speak about what we believe we appeal to cabinet T, not cabinet F. This is because the information housed in cabinet T rests on certainty, the information housed in cabinet F does not.
However, there is a pressing question we must answer. How do we know what is certain and what is not certain? Well, we cannot rest certainty on ourselves. We cannot say: “I believe it is certain because I believe it is certain.” This reasoning would be circular. Even if we were to appeal to someone else for that certainty, we must still filter what we learn through our own minds. So where does this leave us? How can we be truly certain about anything? Well, if we could make our appeal to one who is all-knowing, to one who can be certain in and of himself, because his very nature is such that he cannot be false about what he knows, then we too can be certain about what we know.
This all-knowing being is the necessary precondition for the real knowledge we appeal to, in terms of what we choose to believe. Moreover, we take note that it is only the God of the Bible who accounts for this necessary precondition. And he does so perfectly.
A typical counter from the atheist at this point is to say something like this: “But I know things, and my reasoning works just fine, I don't need to believe in God, it's unnecessary!”
A Christian response: “Mr. Atheist, the reason you function, the reason you believe anything with certainty, is because you ‘secretly’ appeal to the God of the Bible. I know this because if you did not you couldn’t know anything (with certainty). However, it’s clear you do know things, and you know things with certainty. How is this possible? You appeal to the God of the Bible even though you claim he does not exist.
Mr. Atheist, please understand, if you make a knowledge claim, about anything, you must provide a basis for how you know what you know. In and of yourself you do not know everything. This means you could be wrong about everything you claim to know. This is the dilemma that faces those who deny the God of the Bible. They effectively give up knowledge. Without God, your knowledge does not rest on certainty, it rests on you.
Self-authentication is logically fallacious and it is viciously circular.”
Conclusion: The God of the Bible is not some unnecessary step. He alone is the necessary precondition for certainty and knowledge, because knowledge itself must rest on certainty.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Recently Josh Williamson and I met up in the Woolwich town centre in east London to minister the gospel. We used a sign displaying two separate Bible verses. We also attached a small speaker which read aloud the Gospel of John.
It was a very effective witnessing tool and we were able to engage a good number of people in conversation. However, at roughly 30 minutes in of our ministry together we were approached by two council workers who demanded we turn the recording down (this changed to “off” a short while later). We asked to what level we should turn it down and if there was a law we were breaking. They could not answer either of these questions, and because we would not consent, they became quite hostile towards us. They then took it even further and reported us to the police.
Needless to say, we were not arrested, in fact the police came to our defence. A door was also opened to in us in the form of media attention, the result of which led to a front page article in the local paper!
To read the newspaper article please click here.
Josh has also written a great post on his blog, to read it please click here.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I recently read a chapter from J.C. Ryle’s Christian Leaders of the 18th Century. Wow. It greatly inspired me. It sobered me as well. We would do well to learn from these faithful men of God.
The reformers of the 18th century preached:
3. Fervently and directly
As a result of their preaching, England was transformed. God moved powerfully in the hearts and minds of the people.
What was the content of their message?
1. They taught constantly the sufficiency and supremacy of Holy Scripture.
2. They taught constantly the total corruption of human nature.
3. They taught constantly the total corruption of human nature.
4. They taught constantly that Christ’s death upon the cross was the only satisfaction for man’s sin.
5. They taught constantly the great doctrine of justification by faith, alone.
6. They taught constantly the universal necessity of heart conversion and a new creation by the Holy Spirit.
7. They taught constantly the inseparable connection between true faith and personal holiness.
8. They taught constantly of God’s eternal hatred against sin, and God’s great love towards sinners.
May the Lord raise up men like this who would preach boldly, and lovingly, the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Lord has brought revival to this land before. If it be His will, He can do it again. England is not beyond saving.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
~ Based on a lecture by the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen
1. We don't need an answer for why reality is intelligible, reality is just the way it is. We don’t need to tell you why nature is uniform, we don’t need to tell you about the laws of logic, we don’t need to tell you about the freedom of human thought — reality is whatever reality is.
Christian response: This is a cop-out answer. The atheist is being arbitrary about his philosophical position. He or she asserts the following: “I don’t need to explain to you how I can bring all these things together, I’m just going to tell you that’s the way it is.”
The right response in a situation like this is to adopt the rationale of the atheist: “Mr. Atheist, if you think you can stand on that position with arbitrariness, then you cannot be upset when Christians stand on their position and are just arbitrary. If you say reality just is this way, our answer to you is reality is just not that way.
And that settles it.”
2. No answer is possible. No one can know for sure about the things necessary for an intelligible reality. Nobody can know anything for sure.
Christian response: If this is true, atheism becomes self-defeating. If nobody can know anything for sure, then the atheist cannot know for sure that there is no God.
3. Everybody knows about these basics. It’s not that we don’t need an answer, rather, everybody knows the answer. Everybody knows that nature is uniform, everybody knows that the human mind is free to consider options and make a commitment either way, everybody knows that there are moral absolutes that make child molestation wrong.
Christian response: “This is exactly true, Mr. Atheist. Everybody knows this, and I know why they know it. They know it because God has revealed it to them, and they know this God. But on your position, Mr. Atheist, how can anybody know anything?”
Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday, 9 February 2013
As evangelists we often tell people what sin is (missing God’s mark, cf. Romans 3:23).
But do we tell people why sin is wrong?
Sin is wrong because when we sin we misrepresent the God who made us in His image. God has created us in His image, this means we are to represent Him with our lives.
If I walk up to someone and say: “God has made me in His image,” and then I lie and steal, what am I saying about God? I am saying that He lies, I am saying that He steals!
This is why God tells us in Scripture:
“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. ” ~ Leviticus 11:44
Lying is wrong, because God does not lie.
Stealing is wrong, because God does not steal.
Adultery is wrong because God is perfectly faithful.
Why is homosexuality wrong?
Homosexuality is wrong because it is a misrepresentation of the character of God, it is a lie about who God is.
Genesis 1:27 says that God created “them” in His image, referring to both male and female. God did not create male and male in His image, He did not create female and female in His image. He created male and female in His image. The union of male and female is a representation of the image of God. The union of male and male, female and female, is not.
Soli Deo Gloria!