Archive for September 2012

Clark Quick Quote

September 30, 2012

The following Clark Quick Quote was provided by Ryan Hedrich with some of Clark’s preliminary argumentation added.  Hopefully it will clear up some confusion over what an assent to an understood proposition entails and why the addition of fiducia as a third element of saving faith is an unnecessary redundancy, even a dangerous one.  Dangerous because it adds a level of ambiguity to the definition of saving belief that has been exploited by enemies of Christianity who seek to undermine and destroy the very heart of the Gospel, even justification by belief alone in the finished work of Christ alone:

After the Stoics, the Christian philosopher Augustine made use of assent. Augustine was not much interested in physical objects; his theory, on one reputable interpretation, does not even speak of concepts; he clearly puts great emphasis on truth, and assent is the voluntary decision to believe an understood proposition.

This Augustinian view continued in Christian philosophy or theology. The word notitia, used by Christians in discussing faith, means simply an idea, a notion, a concept, or, as above, the understanding of what a proposition means. Assent means the voluntary act of believing the proposition to be true.  I understand or know what Spinoza means by saying God is nature; but I do not assent to it. I also know or understand the meaning of the proposition, “Christ died.” That is not hard to understand and everybody assents to it.  Further, I understand the proposition “Christ died for our sins.” So do many other people; but they do not all assent to it; they do not all believe it.  I do.

This matter of assent, however, can be seriously misunderstood. In one discussion an otherwise competent theologian took assent to refer to a verbal and public profession of faith. He then noted that such a profession can be and sometimes is hypocritical. Therefore, he concluded, assent itself, or with understanding, is not faith.

This argument depends on a misunderstanding of assent. Assent can never be hypocritical, for it is the voluntary act of according belief to a given proposition. There need be no verbal and public manifestation. Assent is an inner act of will. (Today’s Evangelism: Counterfeit or Genuine? pg. 69)

Mitt and Mormonism

September 12, 2012

There is no doubt that our country is between a rock and a hard place.  Admittedly, it is politically incorrect to explain, much less to discuss, why.  Religion has become particularly taboo when assessing candidates whether they’re Black Liberationists with Marxist leanings or spit-shined Mormons with magic underpants and a faith in a god who lives on the planet “Kolob.”  We’ve become a nation where the First Amendment protections mean that it is now forbidden to question a man’s religion even when considering his qualification for public office.

Not that long ago there were genuine fears about electing John Kennedy as America’s first Roman Catholic president.  As it turned out those fears were unfounded as it wasn’t the pope pulling JFK’s string.  Even as recently as 1988, the same year Ron Paul first ran for president as a Libertarian, the Trinity Foundation was threatened with the loss of its tax exempt status because of John Robbins’ book; Pat Robertson: A Warning to America.  Evidently questioning Robertson’s charismatic faith along with his  “prophetic” visions during an election year can get your book banned.

Things have slid so far that I can’t even imagine anyone today, including those calling themselves “Evangelicals,” being even remotely concerned about a VP candidate who might actually be dancing his 6% body fat to the Vatican’s tune.  Consequently, questioning Romney’s Mormonism is either a throwback to a less enlightened era or is just irrelevant.  I mean, anything is better than Obama right?

In an attempt to assuage any remaining Evangelical concerns about his religious beliefs,  Romney recently told a reporter with the Washington Post:

“For me, there’s no question. I believe in a Heavenly Father, I believe in his Son Jesus Christ, I believe in the Holy Ghost. These are features that are part of many people’s faith in this country; other folks have differing views”

Almost sounds Trinitarian, right?  Perhaps, except for the fact that Mormon’s aren’t even remotely Trinitarian, and, according to the LDS website, “Latter-day Saints do reject the doctrines of the Trinity as taught by most Christian churches today.”  While there are a number of good sites on the web that offer some excellent summaries of Mormon doctrines, including their rejection of the Trinity in favor of a form of polytheism, I thought the following was a particularly good list of Mormon doctrines from a group of ex-Mormons that might be helpful for some when deciding who to vote for … or if they should vote at all:

  • God was once a man like us.
  • God has a tangible body of flesh and bone.
  • God lives on a planet near the star Kolob.
  • God (“Heavenly Father”) has at least one wife, our “Mother in Heaven,” but she is so holy that we are not to discuss her nor pray to her.
  • Jesus was married.
  • We can become like God and rule over our own universe.
  • There are many gods, ruling over their own worlds.
  • Jesus and Satan (“Lucifer”) are brothers, and they are our brothers – we are all spirit children of Heavenly Father
  • Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father by having sex with Mary, who was temporarily his wife.
  • We should not pray to Jesus, nor try to feel a personal relationship with him.
  • The “Lord” (“Jehovah”) in the Old Testament is the being named Jesus in the New Testament, but different from “God the Father” (“Elohim”).
  • In the highest degree of the celestial kingdom some men will have more than one wife.
  • Before coming to this earth we lived as spirits in a “pre-existence”, during which we were tested; our position in this life (whether born to Mormons or savages, or in America or Africa) is our reward or punishment for our obedience in that life.
  • Dark skin is a curse from God, the result of our sin, or the sin of our ancestors. If sufficiently righteous, a dark-skinned person will become light-skinned.
  • The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. All humanity before the Great Flood lived in the western hemisphere. The Ark transported Noah and the other survivors to the eastern hemisphere.
  • Not only will human beings be resurrected to eternal life, but also all animals – everything that has ever lived on earth – will be resurrected and dwell in heaven.
  • Christ will not return to earth in any year that has seen a rainbow.
  • Mormons should avoid traveling on water, since Satan rules the waters.
  • The sun receives its light from the star Kolob.
  • If a Gentile becomes Mormon, the Holy Ghost actually purges his Gentile blood and replaces it with Israelite blood.
  • A righteous Mormon will actually see the face of God in the Mormon temple.
  • You can identify a false angel by the color of his hair, or by offering to shake his hand.

You can find more here.  See also Mormonism 101 by Kevin DeYoung and Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking by Al Mohler.

The Imputation of Christ’s Active and Passive Obedience

September 7, 2012

Just a quick reminder from your friends at the Heidelberg Catechism:

60. Q. How are you righteous before God?

A. Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; that is, though my conscience accuse me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God and kept none of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me; if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.

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