Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Quotable Round-Up #58

Standard

paper_zpshrjhwlqw Here are some of the quotes from the booklet “A Primer on Free Will” by John Gerstner. If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“If you are born of His Spirit, you will naturally choose the goals of the Spirit. It will really be irresistible. It will be impossible for you to reject virtue utterly. It will be impossible for you to love vice utterly, if and when God pleases and gives you a new heart.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“As a sinner you are free. In heaven or hell you are free, in the sense that you make choices according to what seems good to you. But when those choices are always the choices of evil, then of course you are in a bondage to the evil consequences of those evil choices.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“But when you have a new heart from above, when you are born from above, when you are born by the Spirit, then you are, in a really wonderful sense, freed. Then you really choose the good because the good is naturally attractive to your new heart.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“But, you see, the unregenerate person, as long as he is unregenerate, never will come because he hates Jesus Christ. He simply spurns and detests His invitation. The invitation is standing and any time his heart is changed, his attitude is different, he will want to claim the promises which the Savior offers, and he shall most certainly have them.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“He is the one who does the choosing, and our response is the choosing of Him. We are conscious, of course, first of our choosing Him and only afterwards do we realize that we chose Him because He has first chosen us.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“Spiritually dead people do not will to come to Christ. They must be given a new heart. These evangelists should continue to invite (as Christ does) without neglecting to teach the divine initiative!” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

Book Review: A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle

Standard

img_20170621_144520_zpstgt0soqnIf parents are feeling the heat of this demanding culture and want their kids to stand for God, here’s a book that help them navigate through the tidal waves. “A Practical Guide to Culture” promises to avoid alarmism in a culture that is getting harder and harder to be a Christian.
Putting the word “practical” on the title doesn’t mean that you’ll dive in immediately to the advice and put it into action. Stonestreet and Kunkle first unpack the meaning of culture. And boy they sure did define it so clearly in the first part of the book and gradually opens other boxes of truth surrounding the word culture.
The authors want us to change the question Christians usually ask when culture comes to their doors. Rather ask “Where do we draw the line?” or “Have we lost the culture?” we need to go back to the Story of God to know the real question. The better question should be “What is our salvation for?” This question is essential as we know what culture is and what can we do to it.
The practical part of the book is seasoned with godly wisdom, true life stories, and well research information, mixed with grace without compromising the gospel. Every chapter is short but solid. You will always some take away that will leave you informed and ready to put in action.
The last chapter is as important as the practical stuff in this book. It’s building the Christian worldview for our kids. Some books left this vital part after they shared the practical part. It’s a good thing that the authors included this, not as fillers but as essential part in the foundation of our kids. For us readers we should not skip this part.
“A Practical Guide to Culture” is clear, precise and readable book on navigating your kids in this culture. If you have read plenty of books on culture, consider this a diversion from the buzz other books on culture is generating. You don’t want noise, you want practical book. You don’t want an edgy, radical just a simple cool book that will help parents raise their kids biblically ready to face this culture.

My verdict: 5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up # 55

Standard

paper_zpshrjhwlqwHere are some of the quotes from the book “The Fallacy Detective” by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective . If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“Circular arguments assume the thing they are trying to prove. Some circular arguments can be very difficult to catch and unravel. They make you feel like you want to take your brain out and look at it.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#fallacydetective #circularreasoning #badarguments #criticalthinking

“It is important to recognize that everyone has a bias and that we need to understand and to manage our own biases. We need to be aware of the assumptions which we are making. Keep asking, “Why do I think this is true?” There is nothing wrong with having assumptions, just as long as we have the correct assumptions.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #badarguments #assumptions

“To be aware of assumptions, you need to learn a healthy sense of suspicion – suspicion of everybody, including yourself. If someone is deceived, he is thoroughly convinced that he is not deceived – he does not know what his assumptions are. How can we make ourselves aware of our assumptions? We can’t. No one can be totally objective. We can only try to be as objective as we can.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #badarguments #assumptions

“The straw man fallacy distorts an opponent’s position just enough to make it weak. The new argument that is created is called a “straw man” because it is easy to knock down. (“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your argument down.”) The original argument was not as easy to knock down.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #strawman #badarguments #rational

“If it is wrong to appeal to someone who isn’t an authority, then it is just as wrong to appeal to many people who are not authorities. The general public is rarely a proper authority on any subject.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #applealtothepeople #badargument #logical

“We are appealing to an authority when we claim something is true because an authority said it was true. This can be good if we do it in the right way. However, if the person we are appealing to is not actually an authority in the area we are discussing, our appeal is faulty.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #appealtoauthority #badargument

“It seems that people think that if an idea came out of the Russian Revolution or was first proposed by a criminal, then it has to be bad. The idea may be bad, but it is not necessarily bad because of the source. If an argument was made up by a bad person or came out of a bad historical event, it doesn’t mean the argument is bad itself.” — Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective
#thefallacydetective #geneticfallacy #badarguments

The Quotable Round-Up # 54

Standard

paper_zpshrjhwlqw

Here are some of the quotes from the book “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller. If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“The Bible itself has taught us to expect the abuses of religion and it has also told us what to do about them. Because of this, Christian history gives us many remarkable examples of self-correction.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

“What is the answer, then, to the very fair and devastating criticisms of the record of the Christian church? The answer is not to abandon the Christian faith, because that would leave us with neither the standards nor the resources to make correction. Instead we should move to a fuller and deeper grasp of what Christianity is.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

“Extremism and fanaticism, which lead to injustice and oppression, are a constant danger within any body of religious believers. For Christians, however, the antidote is not to tone down and moderate their faith, but rather to grasp a fuller and truer faith in Christ.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

“Think of people you consider fanatical. They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian but because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathetic, forgiving, or understanding—as Christ was.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

”Violence done in the name of Christianity is a terrible reality and must be both addressed and redressed. There is no excusing it. In the twentieth century, however, violence has been inspired as much by secularism as by moral absolutism. Societies that have rid themselves of all religion have been just as oppressive as those steeped in it. We can only conclude that there is some violent impulse so deeply rooted in the human heart that it expresses itself regardless of what the beliefs of a particular society might be—whether socialist or capitalist, whether religious or irreligious, whether individualistic or hierarchical. Ultimately, then, the fact of violence and warfare in a society is no necessary refutation of the prevailing beliefs of that society.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

“A central message of the Bible is that we can only have a relationship with God by sheer grace. Our moral efforts are too feeble and falsely motivated to ever merit salvation. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has provided salvation for us, which we receive as a gift.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

“In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions. Those that fit with the reality of our nature and the world produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy and fulfillment. Experimentation, risk, and making mistakes bring growth only if, over time, they show us our limits as well as our abilities. If we only grow intellectually, vocationally, and physically through judicious constraints—why would it not also be true for spiritual and moral growth? Instead of insisting on freedom to create spiritual reality, shouldn’t we be seeking to discover it and disciplining ourselves to live according to it?” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God  #skeptics #atheist #God #bible

Debate Aftermath: Delighting Grace Interviews Bro. Conley of TrueIglesia.org

Standard

bibletable_zps8tfmjbivTwo weeks after the debate between Christian apologist Dr. James White and INC minister Joe Ventilacion, we can still feel the heat of it as discussions spills over the social media about this religious group in the Philippines. In this interview, we will talk to from someone who witnessed the debate first hand. Conley of True Iglesia Ministry will  fill us in with the behind the scenes on this Trinity Debate.

By the way, you might want to check my first interview with Bro. Conley about True Iglesia by clicking this link: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/finding-the-true-church-delighting-grace-interviews-conley-of-trueiglesia-org/
Delighting Grace: First off we from the Philippines is quite clueless of this debate. So we want to know how this debate came about?

Bro. Conley: In 2011, the Iglesia Ni Cristo bought the small ghost town of [Scenic, South Dakota](
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scenic,_South_Dakota), about an hour away from [Rapid City]. It was not clear what they intended to do with the town and it remains unclear what their plans are. I’m not convinced they have clear plans; however, they have taken this venture seriously enough to send Joe Ventilacion, their principal debator, to be the resident minister at the closest locale.


As a side note, in the past, Ventilacion has gone by “Jose”, but has recently started going by “Joe”. The whole church seems to be adopting more culturally sensitive branding. In English-speaking regions, I see their banners more frequently have “Church of Christ” on them than they used to.


Continuing on, the [South Dakota Apologetics](
http://sdapologetics.com/) group encountered the INC at a yearly Christian music festival in Rapid City, spoke with them, and quickly discovered that their beliefs were way outside the pale of orthodoxy, especially in regards to the Trinity. They additionally discovered that the INC had been engaging the Native American population in the area, adding confusion about Christianity to the mission field. SD Apologetics asked Ventilacion if he would be willing to debate (he was), and they asked White if he would be willing to come debate (he was). In 2014, my friend Nic (who also works on True Iglesia) and I had asked Dr. White if he would be willing to debate the INC, and at the time, he said no. However, I think the personal appeal about the damage the INC was doing in the region spoke to Dr. White’s heart and he responded.


Delighting Grace: I see. How was the crowd before, during and after the debate? Do you feel some sort of heat in the air or is the room so quite?


Bro. Conley: Before the debate, the INC crowd was somewhat aggressive. Nic and I had banners and tracts that advertised True Iglesia, and this made many of them quite upset. Several came over to us and told us that our tracts were untruthful. We asked what was untruthful, but no on was able to produce a clear answer. One man said that the comic portrays the typical member as never reading the Bible, but he reads the Bible every day. When I asked him what book of the Bible he had been reading lately, he didn’t have an answer.


Several people stole tracts when we weren’t looking. There is a post on FB from an INC member admitting to this. Someone else saw tracts in a trashcan cut up with scissors. Many would come by and take a handful of tracts at a time. We would say “Isa lang po!”, and they might put one back, but they would run away with several.
During the debate, the atmosphere was intense as well. The recording does not pick up too much of it, but the INC audience had some significant responses at various points. In addition to answer the Ventilacion’s questions, they would say “aww” at the end of every cross examination, as though if he had had one more minute, Ventilacion would have been able to defeat White.


After the debate, unfortunately, the INC members seemed to feel that they had won. I spoke with several who said they were very happy with how it went. When I would ask people why they felt it went well, the most common answer I got was “Dr. White was not even able to find the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible!” Of course, that wasn’t the point of the debate. The word “Bible” is not even in the Bible. I am praying that a few open minded people will have heard the truth despite this tendency of the INC to shut their ears and declare victory.


Delighting Grace: Wow. What was your first impression of JV as the debate begins? How about James White is he tense or relax?
Bro. Conley: I only encountered Dr. White before the debate, not Mr. Ventilacion. White has debated over 150 times, so he was focused, calm, and ready. During White’s opening statement, Ventilacion often made what appeared to be nervous smiles. If you listened to the debate, you will know that in the opening statement, White short-circuited all the arguments that Ventilacion would make. White very clearly said that if the focus was on proving monotheism or that there are distinctions between the Father and the Son, it would show that Ventilacion has no idea what was being discussed. Of course, this was the entirety of Ventilacion’s argument. White said that if John 17:3 were to be brought up, it would show that Ventilacion was not engaging the doctrine of the Trinity. Of course, this is where he immediately went.
Delighting Grace: In one point of the debate, JV told the crowd that INC doesn’t base their doctrine on grammar. Some of us was shocked with that. What’s your reaction with that statement as you sat there?


Bro. Conley: That was a pretty incredible gaff, but I understand what Ventilacion meant. Basically, he is saying that there are concerns to consider in addition to grammar that may require us to have some flexibility with how we read Scripture. However, it really is true that the INC’s presuppositions are so incredibly strong that they are not willing to allow the Bible to speak for itself; they demand what it must say. It is not merely that they have concerns in addition to grammar, but that at many points they are willing to entirely discard with grammar. If we don’t let God speak for himself, all we have are the words of men.

Delighting Grace: Did you get to talk to some INC members in that debate?
Bro. Conley: Yes! Because INC members believe that only a minister can explain the Bible, debates are one of the few times that they open up to discuss their faith. I was very happy for this opportunity.


Most of the members I spoke to were very hostile, especially the older ones. A lot of the conversations I had were similar to the one about Bible reading that I described earlier. Another question I would often ask is “what is the gospel”? I’ve never had an INC member—even an INC minister—provide an answer, so it gives me a good opportunity to explain that the gospel is the good news that even though we are sinners incapable of doing anything that could in any way merit salvation, God sent his Son to die so that those who trust in him alone for their salvation (not the church, not baptism, etc.) can have eternal life.


On the other hand, the younger INC members were very friendly. One commented that she liked my shirt (it has a Filipino flag design). Another discussed Nic’s camera with him. However, only one that I spoke to seemed truly open. He was a teenager who was trying to figure out whether or not he would stay in the INC. I told him an open mind is a good mind. I’ve been praying for him.

Delighting Grace: Will be praying for that teen. What’s your favorite moment of the debate and why?
Bro. Conley: I’d have to say it was the gospel presentations. Not only did White explain why the Trinity is biblical, he explained why it is essential to the gospel. If you don’t have the true Jesus, you do not have a Jesus that saves. If you do not believe that Jesus is the great I AM, you will die in your sins (Joh 8:24).


Other moments include the very memorable “we do not base our doctrine on grammar” gaff, and the discussion about Hebrews 1:10-12. The last time I spoke to you, I had mentioned that I believe this to be the most powerful passage when discussing the deity of Christ with the INC. They have no answer to explain why Jesus is said to be the eternal one who created the heavens and the earth in that passage. They have no scripted response. Ventilacion was unable to do anything except avoid the question.

Delighting Grace: I see that your ministry or website, True Iglesia is there on the location of the debate. Which is cool by the way. So how did you prepare to make your ministry presence be felt by those attending?
Bro. Conley: Nic and I coordinated with SD Apologetics in order to work alongside them as associate members. My wife (who did all the art for the comic) made a couple of banners that we could put up, and she also ordered a batch of printed versions of the comic. Nic and I also recorded [a pre-debate podcast episode]( http://www.regularreformed.com/2017/03/28/episode-40-true-iglesia/) with the Regular Reformed Guys. I was astounded at how many INC members and non-members alike had listened to that episode prior to coming to the debate. A lot of people used it in order to prepare. Even Dr. White said he listened to it multiple times in order to prepare, so I am very thankful to the Regular Reformed Guys for asking us on to their show.
Delighting Grace: Wow that so great! True Iglesia is an awesome website in reaching out INC.Also the social media accounts of True Iglesia is valuable specially during the debate. How did it do in terms views and visitors both website and social media? What are the reactions of the readers and followers of your platforms?
Bro. Conley: The traffic we received wasn’t quite what we had during the INC centennial in 2014, but it has been significant. We are still currently receiving about 8x the traffic that we normally get.


We have received a few encouraging responses from fellow Christians telling us they’ve been blessed by our efforts. From the INC, we are largely getting hostile comments, even several deceitful comments. One group published a fake quote from SD Apologetics conceding victory. Another person posted a picture of White talking to Ventilacion and claimed that Dr. White had decided to convert and wanted to sign up for INC Bible studies.

Delighting Grace: I followed those forgeries over Facebook. How important is this debate for Christians and to INC members?
Bro. Conley: For the Christians around Rapid City, they considered this a very important opportunity to engage with their neighbors whose beliefs they were unaware of. They were all very pleased to meet and speak to INC members.
For the INC, the event seemed to have a far greater importance. The way they brought so many people and hyped up the event, I am under the impression that they are using this event to give their organization some sort of legitimacy. I was told by one member that they had been teaching on the Trinity and talking about the debate for weeks. Given that all their members are required to have regular attendance, and all their worship services have synchronized content, that means that every member was hearing about this. They additionally associate Scenic, SD with some secret plan of God, so they likely see this event as a sign of something to come for that venture.
Delighting Grace: How can a Christian make much of this debate as they study God’s Word and do apologetics?
Bro. Conley: There are several takeaways I would offer:


  1. The gospel is of prime importance when defending the faith. Evangelism cannot be divorced from apologetics.

  2. Truthfulness is key to the Christian walk. Some consider it acceptable to bend the truth when defending the faith, but that gives a bad testimony to Christ. The distinction between White and Ventilacion was clear in this regard. The debate trickery of false dichotomies and interruptions was strong on the INC side.

  3. To those seriously considering apologetics or ministry in general, it is important to know the original languages. They are frequently abused, so it is good to have a firm handle on them.

  4. Beyond this, I imagine many Christian had not heard several of the arguments that Dr. White made. I would recommend going back and walking through them (2Pe 1; Joh 12; Heb 1; Php 2).
    Delighting Grace: Those takeaways are great. One last question and its a biggie. This is a burning question for us all, do you think their will be a round 2 of the debate?

Bro. Conley: I hope so! The next day after the debate, Dr. White spoke with Mr. Ventilacion, and Ventilacion said that if they would do a debate in San Diego, he could bring 3,000 people. However, it is not a simple task to debate the INC since it is not easy to study the INC. Because their clearest material is only accessible to the ministers, in order to study them, you have to wade through hundreds of magazines and videos, or attend Bible studies in person. That’s the route I took, and it consumed a large portion of my time. Dr. White is a busy man, and he said he would only be willing to consider it if they would let him have a copy of their book titled The Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. They refused to do so. We can pray that someone would provide him a copy anyway! Maybe we can have an even bigger round 2 then. I’m hoping for a different topic, like whether you need a messenger in order to understand the Bible, whether official church membership is necessary for salvation, or how one can have peace with God. [As of this writing, by God’s grace, South Dakota Apologetics have obtained the said book.]
Delighting Grace: Again thank you Bro. Conley for this interview. So guys check out True Iglesia at www.trueiglesia.org. Read comicbook which is awesome. And oh dont forget to watch the debate by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/ZnElgAnN414

The Quotable Round-Up # 52

Standard

paper_zpshrjhwlqwHere are some of the quotes from the book “This is Our Time” by Trevin Wax. If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“Unless we are overcome by the love of God, we will be overcome by the fear of man.”

“Some Christians fear that to disagree with their political party or their country’s policies is to be disloyal. Not so. Sometimes dissent is the greatest form of patriotism. William Wilberforce loved his country enough to expose the evils of the slave trade. Because he loved England, he wanted his country to live up to its virtues and values. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not betray his German heritage when he opposed the rise of Nazism. He died a truer German than Hitler could ever have hoped to be.”

“The fundamental story that defines our life is not growth in wealth but growth in Christlikeness.”

“It’s the Kingdom Dream of Jesus that should define our lives, not the American Dream of the twenty-first century.”

 

“True authenticity is not accepting my own self-expression but accepting the self-expression of God through Jesus Christ.”

“All of our exploring is intended to lead us to the heart of God, in fullest display in a Man gasping for breath upon a cross, just days before rising to walk out of His tomb.”

“When believers tell me they have no problem with explicit content because they have a high tolerance for viewing violence or nudity, I tell them that’s like bragging about having deadened senses. Desensitization is not a sign of spiritual progress but of sensual dullness.”

 

The Quotable Round-Up # 51

Standard

paper_zpshrjhwlqwHere are some of the quotes from the book “None Other” by John MacArthur. If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“If you put your hope in your ability to live up to the perfection God’s law demands, you are inviting God’s wrath and your own damnation.”

“On our own, we would never choose to believe in Christ. But in God’s sovereignty, those He draws will, without fail, believe.”

“The fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan in the death of Christ in no way mitigates the guilt of His murderers. While the Lord ordained and orchestrated every event to bring about His desired ends, the wicked human hands that accomplished the work are no less guilty for the sinful role they played.”

“On the cross, Jesus wasn’t a sinner, but God treated Him as if He was. And although you’re not righteous, He treats you as if you are— because on the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had lived your life, so that He could treat you as if you had lived His.”

“The truth of God’s sovereign election is high doctrine—far beyond our ability to comprehend completely. It is, after all, dealing with intra-Trinitarian expressions of love that are ultimately unfathomable. And yet, it is a glorious and uplifting, soul-satisfying truth, if we faithfully embrace what Scripture reveals about it.”

“All whom the Father gives are drawn; all who are drawn come; all who come will be received; and He will never cast any of them out. Why would the Son reject a love gift from the Father? Our salvation in Christ is secure not because believers are so inherently desirable—we’re not. We’re secure because we are a gift from the Father to the Son, and because of the love of the Son for the Father. Christ responds to the Father’s expression of love in perfect gratitude, opening His arms to embrace the gift. The same infinite, inscrutable love that set us aside as a gift in eternity past now holds us secure in loving gratitude forever.”

“The Creator owes nothing to the creature, not even that which He is graciously pleased to give. So God does exactly what God chooses to do. Nothing can thwart His will or overpower Him. That’s actually the very essence of what we are confessing when we acknowledge Him as Almighty God.”