Colson on salvation

Focus on the Family was airing another Chuck Colson tape last night. It was a rambling rant against secularism, “Darwinism” and “things-generally-not-Christian-ism,” but there were one or two little gems just tossed out for our edification. For instance, did you know that Sigmund Freud preached a gospel of salvation through unlimited sex?

Now I know I wasted the first 40 years of my life in the wrong church.

 
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Colson on tolerance

I was driving home from work and happened to catch Chuck Colson being broadcast on the Focus on the Family radio program. I didn’t catch the whole show, but the parts I heard had one or two interesting points. For example, did you know that Christianity is inherently hostile to the idea of religious tolerance?

Naturally, Colson didn’t come right out and say anything quite so bold. I was driving, so I couldn’t write it down verbatim, but as best I can recall, it was pretty close to this: “When a nation turns away from the truth, it turns towards tolerance.” He even repeated it for emphasis. Christianity makes “truth claims,” and so (according to Colson) is unpopular in secular society, which idolizes tolerance. America (according to Colson) has turned away from the truth (by which he means Christianity) and the practice of religious tolerance is just that much more evidence of America’s guilt.

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A statement of faith (in men)

We’ve been looking at the flaws and fallacies of Bible-based Christianity, and I want to continue with a slight variation of that theme by looking at the idea of a “Statement of Faith” as the defining doctrinal standard for a ministry or church. More traditional denominations often refer to such statements as their “creed,” though it has become fashionable among Protestants to avoid that term on the grounds that it sounds too much like some kind of Catholic extra-biblical dogma. Protestant statements of faith, however, are no less extra-biblical, and are essentially the same thing: a loyalty oath promising to defend what uninspired men think the true definition of Christianity ought to be.

Since we’re in the neighborhood anyway, let’s look at the Statement of Faith found at the Christian Apologetics Ministries web site. It’s a fairly typical conservative Protestant statement, with a few quirks, and it does a good job of demonstrating some of the many ways Christians put their faith in men, under the guise of putting their faith in God.

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Tektonics Apologetics Ministries on “The failure of the church…”

Let’s give poor Mr. Horvath a break and pay a visit to our old friends at Tektonics Apologetics Ministries. Here’s a front-page article on The failure of the church to educate:

This is an article about how the church at large has failed us.

It is, of course, by no means meant to imply that there are not exceptions to the rules to be discussed. You may be part of a local church body without these failings, and if you are, you should be glad of it. But let’s be honest — most churches ARE failing when it comes to these matters we will discuss.

The article is introduced by two quotes, one of them from Dr. Daniel Wallace:

Even with the proliferation of Bibles today, Christians are reading their Bibles less and less. I believe the evangelical church has only 50 years of life left…because of marginalization of the Word of God. We need another Reformation! The enemy of the gospel now is not religious hierarchy but moral anarchy, not tradition but entertainment. The enemy of the gospel is Protestantism run amuck; it is an anti-intellectual, anti-knowledge, feel-good faith that has no content and no convictions. Part of the communal repentance that is needed is a repentance about the text. And even more importantly, there must be a repentance with regard to Christ our Lord. Just as the Bible has been marginalized, Jesus Christ has been ‘buddy-ized.’ His transcendence and majesty are only winked at, as we turn him into the genie in the bottle, beseeching God for more conveniences, more luxury, less hassle, and a life without worries or lack of comfort. He no longer wears the face that the apostles recognized. … The God we worship today no longer resembles the God of the Bible. Unless we return to him through a reading and digesting of the scriptures—through a commitment to the text, the evangelical church will become irrelevant, useless, dead.

But I’m going to take a contrasting view: the problem with modern Christianity is not that Christians fail to act as though they really believed in it, it’s that God fails to behave as though He believed in it. The church is straying, not because all Christians ought to be more thoroughly indoctrinated or because their religious faith needs to be more like doing homework, but because they have no real-world center of reference for their notions of what God ought to be like or how He wants us to relate to Him. And that, simply put, is exactly what we would expect in a world where God was a figment of human imagination.

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The “Bible-based” trilogy, third & final installment

While we’re on the subject of Bible-based Christianity, I thought I’d offer one closing thought: Bible-based Christianity is itself a testimony to God’s continuous and universal absence from the real world. If God were as involved in real life as the Gospel portrays Him as wanting to be, Christianity would be God-based, not Bible-based. The Bible is a collection of ancient texts that were written by men, branded as “inspired” by men, selected by men (out of a much larger body of “inspired” texts), canonized by men (more than once, with results that still do not agree), transmitted by men, translated by men, interpreted by men, and applied by men. From beginning to end, it is a work of men, and the only reason why Christians base their religion on it is because God does not show up in real life to directly define the content of their faith.

 
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Now even stealthier!

Our old friend Anthony Horvath has figured out that if he does not link to this blog, it won’t generate a pingback that might tip me off that he’s talking about me again. That’s not too surprising, since he’s once again distorting the facts in order to contrive some kind of pretext for accusing me.

Now compare that with an exchange I had recently with an atheist who, because I granted him superhero status and the title “Hyperbole Boy” has concluded that there is no better example of a Christian being unloving, for, after all (and he cites passages), Jesus was so nice. This sort of disproportionate response to what I said is exactly why I gave him the name “Hyperbole Boy.”

This post makes it back on the front page of his blog, which might prove confusing for some of his readers, since there’s no obvious link from the front page to the post where he called me “Hyperbole Boy.” Nor is there any link to the article where I listed some appropriate Bible verses–not surprisingly, since in that post I never came anywhere near claiming that there was “no better example [than Mr. Horvath] of a Christian being unloving.” (Speaking of “Hyperbole Boy”!) I merely highlighted the contrast between the supernaturally-enabled loving and inspired response recommended by the New Testament, and the rather lame attempt at name-calling which was the sole substance of Mr. Horvath’s reply. Nor did I mention anything at all about Jesus being nice. Mr. Horvath just put that there to provide a segue into the argument that Jesus could be just as abusive at times, and even more so.

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XFiles Friday: Telling it like it is

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 1)

We’re going to cover a lot more ground now that we’ve gotten past the introduction and into the point-by-point presentation. Following their previously announced outline, Geisler and Turek start off with Chapter One, “Can We Handle The Truth?” This chapter addresses three questions: (a) Is there such a thing as “the truth”? (b) Can we know the truth? and (c) What does it mean that “the opposite of true is false”?

As you might expect, there’s not too much to object to in their discussion of the first point. As an evangelical realist, I agree wholeheartedly with the premise that objective reality, aka “The Truth,” really does exist independently of our sometimes fallible perceptions of it. As Geisler and Turek point out, if someone tries to tell you that there’s no such thing as the truth, all you need to do is ask them “Is that true?” If truth does not exist, then there’s no way their denial of the truth can be true. It’s a self-defeating proposition.

Alas, Geisler and Turek seem (or pretend) to be unaware of the fact that denial of objective truth is just as much a Christian problem as a secular one. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Realism, Unapologetics, XFiles. 1 Comment »

It’s no use (more about the “plain sense” of Scripture)

I guess it’s no use trying to trying to “trick” Anthony Horvath into posting any actual apologetics on the main, front-page blog of the “Christian Apologetics Ministries.” He’d rather amuse himself by pretending that he succeeded in offending me with his–I guess you’d have to call it name-calling. Meanwhile, it seems I touched a nerve by my survey of what the Bible teaches on how Christians should respond to this kind of so-called “persecution.”

If this is what he’s got to stoop to to show a lack of charity on my part, why, I think in order to demonstrate charity you’d have to hold his hand and kiss it ever so gently and never raise your voice… not even a little. And butter his toast for him. Without even being asked!

The “aw, poor me” card again. That mean old professor is just so demanding. Quoting the Bible to Christians? How could anyone stoop so low?

It’s another stealth post, so you’ll have to click the link above to get to it (if you really want to).

Meanwhile, since I’m not afraid to tackle substantive issues on my blog, let me post a follow-up to my post on why Bible-based Christianity can’t work. It’s not just because Christians get offended whenever anybody stoops so low as to quote it to them. ;)

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