Monday, December 04, 2006

Vernon, British Columbia
Last week during the American Thanksgiving, we went to the Okanagan Valley to explore a Church Planting oportunity.
The Spiritual need is there, and the people we met in the area had a heart for a bible proclaiming, evangelical movment to begin afresh in the region.
We have determined to pursue this for the present and see God's leading as we continue on this path.
It is a good oportunity for us to spend time now formulating the most Biblical model of Church that we can determine, from a study of Scripture first, and foremost, and secondly the works of Christ centered, churches throughout history that have proved faithful.
As Baptists we believe in the autonomy of the local church. This is to safeguard the flock from catholic style hierarchy, which had often persecuted and usually dominated the local body of Christ. However, the opposite extreme of pure democracy, one member, one vote congragational governence, with no regard for any authority of any kind, has also destroyed any number of churches.
Any view of Church governance needs to be not only informed by Scripture, but rather imposed by Scripture. Balance needs to be found, I would suggest, in voluntary relationships among sister churches. In a future post I will attempt to illustrate my vision of modified congregational government, and model for interchurch cooperation.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some information for you to consider:

Vernon does not have a heart for a 'bible proclaiming, evangelical movement to begin' in the area. What in fact is the case is you feel the need to impose your narrow, biggoted, medievil view on the town.

What evidence do you have that God led you to Vernon in the first place. Or before we get to that point, what evidence do you have that God exists in the first place. Before I build a nuclear reactor, which can be dangerous, I'd like to demonstate to the community and world that not only does my construction work, but it will be safe and effective.

Lets look at churches in this light: Are they safe? No. They teach people myth and encourage biggotry, hatred and intolerance. Especially the fundamentalist nut jobs like Pat Roberston and his flock of sheeple. What can be more dangerous than teaching people to believe in something that isn't real, AND in general to encourage belief in something based on no facts what so ever.

"Any view of Church governance needs to be not only informed by Scripture, but rather imposed by Scripture" - This is great. You going to be running around burning witches, hanging gays, and performing any number of other outdated crimes from the stone age? If this quote is accurate, you will be...which is quite sad.

C.W. Graham said...

Dear Mr. Annonymous,

Thank you so musch for your deep and insightful analysis. First let me assure you, that uniquely, and completely different from the other bible teaching churches in your area, we will strangely withhold the burning of witches and the hanging of gays. Although stoning anonymous hecklers may be possible...

You ask for evidence of God. I would ask you what evidence you have that God does not exist. Since belief in God is the majority position of all people in all ages, it does leave you, the odd man out, with the burden of proof.

You wrote: "What can be more dangerous than teaching people to believe in something that isn't real, AND in general to encourage belief in something based on no facts what so ever."

I couldn't agree more. That is why I am so concerned about you and your appearently atheistic, or anti-theistic position. Since you are believing in a reality that isn't real, and never could be, (chance X nothing = nothing), and since you have no facts whatsoever to support your position, I would encourage you to be less narrow minded and more tolerant.

I understand that people like you have a hard time with tolerance as it is a Judeo-Christian concept. But perhaps you may grow past this narrow minded bigotry. I would invite you to begin attending a Bible teaching church in your area in order to expose yourself to the broader world which you have been sheltered from.

Anonymous said...

"You ask for evidence of God. I would ask you what evidence you have that God does not exist. Since belief in God is the majority position of all people in all ages, it does leave you, the odd man out, with the burden of proof."

You're making a mistake. When a claim is made, that claim requires evidence to support it. I'm actually not making the claim that god does not exist, but in reality, saying that your claim that god exists is without proof. Understand? Re-read that before we continue. It sounds like I've just twisted your words around, but thats not the case.

You claim there is a god. That claim requires proof. If we are to assume that you don't require proof, and instead, you can make this claim and then it needs to be believed until someone can disprove it, we will be in trouble as a society. Imagine the medical/pharmacutical industry was allowed to operate under this logic? They could create a medice for anything, claim it works, and then make the FDA disprove their claim.

however, lets for the moment assume you are allowed to do this. Now, before I believe your claim, instead of asking for proof of its correctness, I'd like you to disprove all other religous claims by other religions. IE Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, Spiritism, Jainism, shinto, Wicca, Scientology, and the church of silvia brown...to name a few.

Think about it for a moment. To disprove them is impossible. They all make claims that are untestable. Including your religion.

If you think about it, we're actually almost at the same point. You've rejected everything on that list like i have. I took it one step further and rejected your religion for the same reasons you reject the other ones (I assume)...no real proof or even compelling evidence for them.

I could always be wrong...and if you are so convinced about your reality, please suggest a testable claim that your religion offers up that isn't explainable by a natural phenomena. For example, general reletivity made many fantastic claims...one such claim was that SPACE itself would bend when near massive objects. This is an extraordinary claim...did scientists just believe it outright? No. They wanted and required evidence...so they tested it...they watched light from distance stars come into view from around the sun BEFORE they were actually visible...this was only possible if the light was bending around the sun slightly. Science is amazing though...no scientists called this proof. This was only supporting evidence...which meant that as far as that claim made by general reletivity was concerned, it was predicting things correctly.

What testable claims can christianity offer? Or evidence of its truthfulness over any other religion or on its own?

Finally...I'm most definitly not intolerant. I'd hazard to say that I'm 10x more tolerant than you and your bunch. However, I can't say that for certain...I base it on the actions of the vocal minority claiming your values and beliefs....the Pat Robertsons of the world. Tell me you support gay marriage, gay adoption, seperation of religion and state/school, and then I'll agree, you're tolerant...but I'm doubtful you support any of those things. Maybe I'm wrong?

C.W. Graham said...

Welcome back,

Well I do not share very much in common on extreme views with Pat Robertson. He is prabably to be understood as an extremist within the name of Christianity.

I do in fact believe in the seperation of Church and State, as it was origionally formulated by Christian leaders, who desired the freedom to worship without government interference. No one ought to persecute any religion (to the extent that their beliefs do not include harming others such as ritual abuse etc.).

I support the freedom of homosexuals and anyone else to follow their own desires in the absence of harm to the society in which they live.

Because I care for homosexuals, I would hope that they might be rescued from the trap they are in unawares. But there is no special diffence between them and any other siners, such you and I. I would caution an adulterer or a theif to leave what they are doing and embrace a life well pleasing to God.

For the sake of clarity, you have asked for proof of God. The essence of asking that question is to express your doubts of his existence.

But let me answer you.

DOES GOD EXIST?

God exists becasue of the imposibility of the contrary.

Without God, there is no sufficient cause for rality. "Sufficient" being in its narrow philosophical sense. For any fact their must be an explanation, that is reasonable and capable of supplying the origin of said fact. It must be greater then the effect in some way. For example, the power of running water, is a greater and sufficient casue for a canyon.

If a window is broken, I cannot assume a feather broke it. I must assume something sufficient to cause the damage broke it.

GOD A SUFFICIENT CAUSE

In the same way, no reasonable person can look at the world without assuming that an infinite Universe requires an infinite source.

A universe of order and scientifically demonstrable laws, requires some greater organizing force. No one sees a watch, with its intricate parts and does not assume a watchmaker.

But these are more general things and may leave us in the same place as Aristotle who posited "Prime Mover, Unmoved" to explain these questions. A God, but no the God described by Christians.

WHAT KIND OF GOD EXISTS?

One might continue from this position and see humanity. Men and woman who are living beings, experience relationships, who love, who reason and who remember and communicate.

There must be a sufficient cause for this. There must be a cause that is logical, capable of love, and relationships. He must be a being capable of personality and communication.

There is a sense of justice in the world that is universal. Not all law codes are the same in all places, but all people hold a certain set of ideals deep within. Don't kill, don't steal, etc is a universal desire on the part of people.

If there is not a Being of this type, then none of the above things, persons, love, justice, communication etc have any sufficient cause.

OBVIOUS OBJECTION

A six year old might say, "Then were did God come from", and if we had only the God of Aristotle, then that might be a legitimate question. But here we are asking, what is a sufficient cause of time and reality.

The answer is a being greater then time and reality. The God of Christianity does not exist within the universe and laws and limits of our universe, rather those things are what they are, becasue of what they are in the plan of God.

This is a very brief summery of some of the reasons, why belief in God is a near Universal belief. And why it is a necessary belief.

DEFINING GOD

The fundamental question is defining God. As you said, we agree in rejecting the view of God proposed by these many other religions.

This is because Christianity is wholy unique from all other religions on Earth. Judaism and Islam share some aspects of the Christian faith and thus have some commonalities.

But Christianity contrery to the Eastern religions and cults, exclusively claims to have a sufficient cause for reality.

Christianity alone is demonstrably and logicaly consistent in its entire system.

Christianity alone has a God, who has revealed himself in becoming a man who was like us in every respect, except without sin.

Through that revelation in Christ Jesus, God has spoken to us, and given attestable testimony to the claims of Christianity.

THE PROBLEM

The biggest question is our basic beliefs and presuppositions. How do we deal with the facts that present themselves.

The God of Christianity has revealed that humanity has a problem. It is not physical but moral. Morally, we are blinded to the evidence that is around us. This is what Christians call sin.

If this is the case, then people like you and me will see the facts differently. Our biases change our views radically. Take the case of OJ Simpson. For many african-americans, he is inoccent, while most caucasions believe he is guilty. They looked at the same facts, from different foundations, and came to different conclusions.

THE CHALLENGE

I would ask you to accept my foundation, for the sake of argument, and ask whether you can't follow the logic of my argument. If you maintain a closed minded position, you will have already rejected my God at the outcome.

If you do this, however, I warn you in advance, you will be confronted with the reality of the God Who is there. And if he is there, then you must respond to Him.

wagboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clint said...

I hope that Anonymous will take up the challenge (i.e.assuming the presuppositions for the sake of arguement)which Chad has laid out in articulate fashion.

One thing---The plea for tolerance on the part of Anonymous seems to be curiously at odds with his intolerant view of Christianity. Does this mean that Anonymous is the arbiter of morality? Is Anonymous God?

Anonymous said...

Been busy with work, but heres my reply...

1. I’m glad you don’t share the extreme views of Pat Roberston.
2. I’m also glad you agree with separation of church and state. Child abuse is always bad. Now, where we might diverge in thinking, and this is really a subject for an altogether different discussion, but some have suggested the raising a child to believe in god is a form of child abuse. Its not physical, but it is training them to believe in something without proof – what is affectionately called ‘faith’.
3. I think the homosexuals disgree with you that they’re living a life of sin by way of their sexual orientation that they feel was entirely not by choice. However, I already knew you thought that was a sinful act. What I was ultimately interested in was your position on marriage for said group. You for it? IE let adults marry should they want to? Or…would you see it banned?
4. Now the big one…Does god exist. Unfortunately your proof is not a proof. It might certainly be justification to yourself for believing in god..but it most definitely doesn’t constitute proof. Further more, it doesn’t even make logical sense.

Your point: God exists because of the impossibility of the contrary. To distil this, you’re saying god exists because he has to. He has to exist because something had to create us. By that logic, then something had to create this god you’re talking about. Let us call that thing god god. Now, what created god god? God god god. And what created god god god? God god god god ofcourse. This goes on forever. Or…you might answer that god has existed forever. By that logic, we can also say that the universe has always existed (though has evolved and changed according to measurable evidence…ie about 15billion years ago it was a tiny singularity….then expanded and evolved to what it is now…this is measurable). In this scenario, there is no need for a god, because there was nothing to create.

I’m not sure I’m explaining myself as well as I’d like. But essentially you’re point that god must exist because its impossible for him not too, is simply illogical thinking. I find it illogical to jump to the conclusion something exists because you can’t understand how it works. If a magician levitated a woman in front of him…and you didn’t know how it was done, would you conclude he had magic powers? Similarly, though more complex, you are concluding god exists because you don’t understand how the universe could exist with out a god to create it. Am I right?

If you find a broken window, you must assume something sufficient damaged it. I agree. However, that doesn’t mean god exists. The analogy might be convincing to somewhat, but it has no bearing on the universes existence. It’s the same as the watch you speak of…there must be a watch maker. That argument doesn’t actually apply. The universe is complex, so it must have been made by an intelligent being. No…in fact, the universe didn’t have to be made by an intelligent being…period. And because of that FACT, your analogy doesn’t apply. In reality, your analogy could say look at this small green lump of putty I found in my armpit one mid summer morning…its so complex it must have had a creator…and by complex, I mean the intricacies of the molecular structure and how it all just fits together….no need for it to be the DNA helix or a watch or anything complex on that scale. But I digress…simply put: the universe doesn’t have to have a creator.

To further that…its ok to posit that the universe has a creator. But if you do that, you really need to supply evidence. Concrete, measurable, and testable evidence. The big bang theory of the start of the universe has measurable and testable claims. What does the theory of god offer up for evidence?

The further illustrate this point…lets consider if we did find a watch….you said wow, a watch, it must have had a creator. There might not be anyway to prove there was a creator…but there could definitely be evidence to support such a theory. Such as watch factories…magazines showing pictures of the watches for sales by companies…(I’m only partly joking). Obviously the watch is an analogy to the DNA molecule and life…life is too complex to have formed without a creator. An alternate theory is that of evolution…which is highly plausible on the surface…and very very convincing when you dig down and examine the evidence. The theory of god as the origin of life has no basis in fact or evolution.

Before we continue down that road though…its important to understandif you are a young earther? 6000 years old or so? No evolution whatsoever? Or, are you comfortable with evolution, a 15billion year old universe…and god just directing evolution?

So concluding your first point, I feel you’ve failed to prove god exists. You say he exists because its impossible for him not to. That is not proof. Nor is it compelling.

Now, taking your challenge and assuming that you did infact convince me there must be a god…

Sufficient cause for people being the way they are. Evolution offers up sufficient explainations. However, this does not give evidence for god being personally involved with people at all, or having any particular identifiable personality or communication capabilities as you suggest. Just because people have found it generally beneficial not to kill each other (couldn’t have survived without that trait – which manifests itself as a feeling), doesn’t assign any weight to this supposed god having anything to do with it. We can’t jump to that conclusion, even if we concluded there was a god.

It is certainly comforting to think that…and I think you’re mistaking that feeling, for fact.

Your first paragraph of obvious object, I don’t really understand. What is a sufficient cause of time and reality…that doesn’t compute.

You say God exists outside time and our universe…well, that boiled down to the god god god god god god creator of god god god god…. Point I made above. How can we conclude that at this point in the chain of arguments? You need to supply evidence to support your claims…not just statements of what has to be. Of course what you say has to be true, but only to support your christain god.
This section: Lacking any proof/evidence or compelling argument.

Moving on…Christianity claims to have sufficient cause for reality…Well, we’ve already debunked the need for sufficient cause for reality above….however, assuming sufficient cause (which is a really bad term…I don’t even think I understand it) is in fact proof by itself (which it isn’t….I have sufficient cause to kill several people every day who anoy me…should any of them die, I could be convicted were that proof…)…..assuming sufficient case is proof, what is Christianities exclusive claim to that? You didn’t mention it…the world creation stories and such are shared by several other religions…why is jesus critical to the sufficient cause for reality argument? Could you please better explain what you even mean by sufficient cause?

“Christianity alone has a god who has revealed himself in becoming a man who was like us in every resect except without sin’……Wrong. Sin is in the eye of the be-godly ;) So, many religions have there gods take human form…and since each religions god defines their own sins, I would assume each religions’ god’s human form would be sinless. Christianity had a god who only took 1 fleshy form….I think Vishnu took 3 or 5 or however many forms depending on who you ask…Maybe its 3* better a religion?

Christianity is NOT logical and consistent in form. I can site numerous contradictions. In order for you to reconcile them, you will claim the quote is either ‘written by a person…so it can be a mistake, or they missed something’ or…’that part of the table isn’t meant to be taken literally’. So you deem it logical and consistent only by selective interpretation. I don’t know about other religions…I doubt any are logical or consistent…so I think christianty is on par here.

Now…the existence of Jesus as god….you have jumped way way ahead of yourself…you haven’t explained what proof there is of his miracles. Unfortunately there is none.

“Morally, we are blinded to the evidence that is around us. This is what Christians call sin.” What? You’ve jumped way ahead of me and lost me here.

As for OJ…it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks…he is either guilty or innocent. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what you THINK…there is or isn’t a god. What matters is proof of it. Bloody glove and blood on a bronco….thats strong evidence. A book written thousands of years ago and the blind belief of millions of people…that is not evidence. The fact that we exist is not evidence of God. The fact that I exist is evidence of my parents…that can be proven with testing…. We can’t conclude any god exists from existence alone though. Maybe there is a test out there, but simply existing is it. My final point on that is this: I assert Inside out turtle-monkey like hybrids, living outside space and time created the universe by sneazing it out of their 101st nostril. What is my proof of this, you ask? Simple. Look at the world around you. Its extremely complex. Could something like this come by chance? It MUST have been sneezed out of an intelligent turtle-monkey like hybrid. Q.E.D.

As for your challenge…lets summarize:

1. God exists because its impossible to exists. Not proof, so rejected at this stage. But accepting your challenge, I’ll for the moment accept this foundation for the next step.
2. God is personable and good and the reason people love, and have a sense of morality. Rejected. Why? Because just because god exists AND because people have an innate sense of morality (generally…not always) does not mean god is good himself. God could have created the universe and let it go…being an asshole and entirely unlike anything you could imagine. You can’t make the conclusions you have. However…for the sake of argument, lets assume this as part of your base foundation and continue.
3. The god of Christianity is special because it’s the only one that makes sense. Rejected. Just because god is good/personable and exists, doesn’t mean it’s the Christian god. Firstly, the christain god is a pretty mean dude…which is contradictory in some ways…but that aside, any of the gods of any religion are sufficient to account for a) themselves existing, and b) people having innate morals and what not. So this step is rejected.

Challenge tried and failed despite assuming your base argument that god exists, which you failed to offer anything remotely resembling proof.

My question to you:

Young earther (6000 years)? Genesis is a literal/factual story of creation of the earth? If so, how can we be certain what is factual story and what is whimsical myth/parable in the bible?

As for clint’s comment as to my intolerance of Christianity. I’m intolerant of unfactual claims that can be harmful. I don’t like quack doctors making unfounded claims about medicine. I don’t like technological snake oil salesmen overselling junk products. I don’t like phoney charlatans pretending to be psychics and tell you a made up future and giving advice based on what they pulled out of their ass. I have no tolerance for those people because they’re purposely or accidentally (some are innocent, just ignorant) selling/giving false junk. Similarly, I feel the same about religion. They’re selling/giving a product that is entirely groundless. In the case of the stuff I listed above, its our duty to stand up and ask for proof. PROVE to us this pill actually does something before we buy/eat it. PROVE to us you actually can see the future before you charge me 9.99 / minute to tell me my lucky numbers (fyi: I don’t buy into psychics at all…total crap). PROVE to me god exists.

That’s all for now…

C.W. Graham said...

I believe that you have misunderstood my argument, and in addition, you have inadvertently demonstrated the truth of my argument. Let me show you where.

MISSUNDERSTANDINGS

1. You said, "By that logic, then something had to create this god you’re talking about."
This is a category error. I guess I was not clear enough when I specified the problem here. No god of any kind can exist, which is part of this Universe. Your argument would therefore be valid, the god, god, god theory. I attempted to show this by contrasting Aristotle's God. The God of Christianity says, "You thought I was altogether like you; but I will reprove you" (Psalm 50:21). The God of Christianity, unlike all the other religions in the world, is prior to the creation. Obviously by prior we do not mean temporally, because time is a created idea. Not do we mean priority of logic.

The very idea of God being prior is this; "In the beginning God" was. Being is not one. The Ontological discipline, the study of being as such, cannot logically be applied to both the Creator and the Creation. So when you argue for the use of the laws of this Universe and relate them to the Being of God, ie the demonstrable law of sufficient cause, defined roughly as "for every fact their must be an adequate explanation, that had both the power, that is be greater then and the opportunity to create the cause"; you err. Because a sufficient cause for this Universe must be greater then this Universe, not a part of it. Ie, an apparently infinite Universe, must have an infinite creator, one not ruled by space. A temporal Universe, must have an origin that is supra temporal, not a principle ruled by time.

Hence when we talk about the being of God, we refer to the Eternal and All Power Being, who has no non-being with which to define himself. Ie, we distinguish the physical, by the non-physical, the temporal by the non-temporal. Because God is prior to this Universe and its laws, he is not definable by its laws. He must, as the nature of the case shows, be greater than, and motivated within himself to create the causal chain present in our Universe.

2. You wrote: "you are concluding god exists because you don’t understand how the universe could exist with out a god to create it. Am I right?" No, rather I am positing that I do understand how the Universe could exist, and that is through a "sufficient cause". There is NO other explanation that can explain the existence of the present universe. It is illogical and unreasonable to ASSUME, that out of nothing, nothing came. Unless of course you believe in an Eternal universe, and then you have a de facto 'god'. But we know that that is illogical, because of the commonly understood 1st and 2nd Laws of thermodynamics.

Ultimately, energy is neither being created, nor destroyed, and secondly, all is moving from order to disorder. These are the most tried and true scientific laws of all, they apply across the board to all the sciences. Therefore the Universe cannot be eternal, nor can it be as steady state theory attempts to address, constantly being created from a secret source outside of observable space.
PRESUPPOSITIONS

The steady state theory, declares faith in something outside of observable space. The big bang, supposes something outside of time. It takes a lot of 'faith' to believe in these, and it is dangerous to teach people something with no proof, that must be believed by blind faith.

Furthermore none of these systems can answer, your fundamental question, the god, god, god dilemma. So I reject these illogical and undemonstrable guesses as 'blind faith'.

I instead presuppose a sufficient cause, who can answer all of the unanswered question. And it is here that you prove me right, by making the following statements:

1. You wrote: "No…in fact, the universe didn’t have to be made by an intelligent being…period. And because of that FACT, your analogy doesn’t apply."

This follows on your demand that I supply existence for God, because I am the one postulating a fact. Nevertheless, as I said in the beginning, you are the one with an unfounded and minority position claim to "fact". The onus is definitely on you to demonstrate this "FACT", that the "universe didn't have to be made by an intelligent being…period".

2. You wrote of my argument for sufficient cause: "Your first paragraph of obvious object, I don’t really understand. What is a sufficient cause of time and reality…that doesn’t compute." And on the basis of your lack of understanding pronounced it wrong.

3. You wrote: "“Morally, we are blinded to the evidence that is around us. This is what Christians call sin.” What? You’ve jumped way ahead of me and lost me here."

Yes, that is my point. I expect to lose you here, because this is the crux of the matter, the real area of our disagreement. You see, you and I see ourselves and our relationship to the Universe from a very different position.

From your perspective, you are a neutral observer, who has done their best to look at the facts and objectively view them, for what they are. But how do you know you can trust your senses? How do you know that there is truth? You said (I paraphrase), that it doesn't matter what people think about OJ, he is wither guilty, or innocent in fact. I agree. But on what basis can you say that?

I believe that you are missing the facts, because of the presence of sin in the world, which, 1) distorts the facts themselves, and 2) inhibits your comprehension of the truth behind them.

We are all biased in our interpretation of facts. I AM BIASED. But you are also biased. I am willing to admit it, are you? But the question remains, "what is the best bias, to be biased by?"

I propose a sufficient cause, which is logically consistent, when taken on its own merits and without a negative bias immediately attached. You propose a blind faith, which is undemonstrable and fails to provide a sufficient explanation for the universe.


ANSWERING YOUR NEW QUESTIONS

1. I as do most biblical creationist affirm, without hesitation the scientific theory of evolution: meaning the principle of the survival of the fittest and the adaptation of species. The Bible does not teach anything in contradiction to that. We do not hold to a static creation of poodles and budgies, but rather to a creation of a "wolf-dog" prototype that has since radically evolved into many kinds of doglike animals.

Now when it comes to "origins science", when we leave the realm of observable facts, then we have hypothesis about the past, and this is determined by our biases. No scientist, nor any other witness, has observed a 15 billion year history. They have looked at facts that exist today, and today only, and made guesses and projections based upon them.

Christians have an eyewitness account of the origin of the universe. From one who claims to have been there, and to have created it.

2. As I believe his eyewitness, I do believe in a young earth, and believe that in light of the biblical account all of the modern day evidence can be accounted for. I will put up a series of posts in answer to some specifics about my view of origins and science, for you to follow up on.

3. You commented back to Clint, " I’m intolerant of unfactual claims that can be harmful." I applaud this thinking. It is in agreement with my thought. I believe that denying God, is extremely harmful. It destroys our foundation for truth and justice. Believe in God is the origin of Common Law, that the strongest (the king) and the weakest, are commonly under the law of God, and therefore the King is not above the law. Lex Rex not Rex Lex, as one Christian theologian wrote, "the law is king, the king is not law". But law can only come through a law giver.

In addition, I believe that the consequence of disbelief in God have a deadly consequence, the Bible says, "The wages (the day to day payout) of sin, is death (a little by a little, suffering, disease etc. and finally eternal death)" (Romans 6:23). Because "all have sinned and fallen short of the mark set by God" (Romans 3:23). Have you ever told a lie? Stolen anything? Then this is true of you. You have sinned, and God being just, must punish sin.

But the good news of Christianity, is that there is a solution, "The gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23b). Jesus Christ was sent by God, to come and live with us, and tell us about God, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). He said, "Whoever believes in [Me] shall not perish, but has everlasting life" (John 3:15). He paid the full penalty for sin in our place, by being crucified, executed on the cross, and suffering the wrath and separation from God, that we deserve, "My God, My God" he cried, "Why have you forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). But three days later, in proof of His claim to divinity, He rose from the dead and presented himself to many witnesses, who were contemporaries of the account and no one refuted them, "after that he was seen by over five hundred at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present" (I Corinthians 15:6).

Now the Scriptures say, "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart, that God raised Him from the dead, then you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9). Renewed in this way, "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free" (Jesus – John 8:32).

pilgrim said...

I think anonymous will only encourage you to plant a church in Vernon as he or she truly needs to hear the gospel. If he/she is trying to scare you off, I believe it is having the reverse effect.

I say go and minister to anonymous!

C.W. Graham said...

Annonymous 2

While interactive comments are always welcome, obnoxious posts are offensive to both bloggers and readers alike.

Intollerant hatemongers cannot be given a hearing.

Such comments as: "there should be plenty of rich old (read: near death) people to suck money from with the promises an afterlife in paradise (after substantial contributions to the church, of course)" are degrading and below you, as an intellegent modern individual. If you were living in the dark ages and dealing with the Catholic church of that time you may have had a point, but you are off the mark today.

A GOOD QUESTION

I was interested in your comment: "Where can I sign up to spread the word? I can be pretty convincing, and I look good in a suit too!"

Certainly the first thing you must remember is that the Scripture commands that ministers of the gospel be sincere and not motivated by love of money. Unfortunately you are at present dissqualified.

BAD NEWS

God clearly warns, "Do not be decieved, God is not mocked. What a man sows that he shall also reap" and "Do you not know" He warns in I Corinthians 6:9, "that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be decieved...revilers (mockers)," will not "inherit the kingdom"

GOOD NEWS

There is hope for you. God's grace is broad, and He now, "Commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

Now is the day, now is the acceptable hour. If you repent and believe in Christ, "Though your sins be as scarlet they will be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:19). For to as many as beleieve on Christ Jesus, "to them [God], gave the right to become sons of God" (John 1:12).

I pray God's Spirit may even now penetrate your heart, my friend, and may you find his blessing, before it is too late, "For it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement". But "God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have life everlasting" (John 3:16).

Anonymous said...

I’ll make this quick, because you’ve strayed into preaching that has no bearing on the real discussion here. The real discussion was how can I be convinced that a) there is a god and b) that god is a Christian god and c) that it is your flavor of Christian god to be exact.

a) Is there a god. Your only argument is that you believe that our universe can’t exist without ‘sufficient cause’. You say that this is some sort of ‘law’. I’ve never heard of it (at least in this terminology…maybe there is some other terminology that would be more familiar). I’d like you to give me some reference material for this ‘law’ of science…that anything has to have ‘sufficient cause’ that is ‘greater’ than that thing itself. It sounds suspiciously like a pseudo scientific argument to justify the existence of god.

You say that no god can of any kind can exist that is apart of this universe. You don’t explain why. Is it because of the law you use above…that the god would be this universes creator, and must be ‘greater’ than the universe…? That doesn’t explain why that god doesn’t have a god god creator….you say that doesn’t apply because, this law you’re using now convienently doesn’t apply to god because he’s outside the universe. A classic mistake made by religious people using science as though it proves gods existence. You say a) Science (this mystical law) proves god exists….BUT you can’t apply these laws to god. That’s convenient selective thinking and its not allowed in a logical argument.

Anyway…it seems like this ‘law’ is at the crux of this dispute…so some source material for it is in order before we continue…. A quick attempt at a disproof of it though: Take a look at the DNA molecule. Now take a look at the human body. The human body, by your law, must have a creator GREATOR than itself. Yet, by science we know that the creator is infact this simple (comparitivly speaking) DNA molecule and cellular machinery that reads it. Complexity springing from something similar. That would seem to disprove this law. You can’t spring in and say A-HA! That proves god exists. It only proves that this law doesn’t appear to be followed here. Second example: Look at a fractal…very complex and detailed and ever changing…but at its heart is an extremely simplistic mathematical formula. Complexity springing from simplicity. The cause is less great than the result. Look at evolution itself…(you probably disagree with this)…but life evolved from nothing…and simple lifeforms evolved into complex ones….this certainly isn’t a law…but ALL evidence points to it. The fossil record is almost like a timelapsed animation of evolution…

You said “Because God is prior to this Universe and its laws, he is not definable by its laws.” Is this contradictory to your arguments? You’re saying you can’t use science to prove god exists…..yet, then what are we talking about?

You said : “It is illogical and unreasonable to ASSUME, that out of nothing, nothing came.” Yet, you find it totally logical for god to exist by himself without having his own creator. You are being illogical be selectively applying this ‘logic’ you speak of.

You said: “Ultimately, energy is neither being created, nor destroyed, and secondly, all is moving from order to disorder. These are the most tried and true scientific laws of all, they apply across the board to all the sciences. Therefore the Universe cannot be eternal…” That doesn’t compute. Your ‘therefore’ segway into the universe cannot be eternal, doesn’t make sense. The laws of thermodynamics don’t tell us that. You’ve either forgotten several steps in your chain of reasoning, or you misunderstand the laws and/or you have no understanding what is meant by an eternal universe….what do you mean by it? Its quite conceivable, and I believe partially accepted that time itself actually began with the big bang….so asking what was before it actually is irrelevant…

Concluding section a) here, the crux lies with your law of sufficient cause. Requesting source material of a scientific nature on this law… Failing any, I think its unfair, and steeped in illogic to say something must have a creating ‘cause’ that is GREATER than itself. Finally, using laws that you say don’t apply to your god, to prove he exists is illogical.

b) Even if one could prove a god had to exists…or some sort of greater creating force as your ‘law’ above is only implying. Concluding that it is an intelligent being and a being at all (and not just some complex force) has not been done. You made no argument for it having to be the Christian god. Christianity is illogical and full of impossibilities like most/all religions….yet you say it is entirely logical and consistent and that is why it must be the true one defining god. This fails both logically and even superficially with me. Honestly…is there ANY evidence to suggest that the Christian view of god would be this ‘sufficient cause’ you speak of that created the universe (which I dispute in 1)?

c) Going the final step and proving your flavor of Christianity is correct…not really relevant…but never the less I mention it. Theres lots of different sects…they all claim a monolopoly on correctness….Are you right and they’re wrong? Prove it.

I certainly agree that senses can be fooled. That is why any claim must be tested and demonstrateble. Your claim: God exists + is a specific god dictated by the Christian bible and modified by your churches dogma regarding it. I’m asking you to PROVE those 3 claims. You’ve done none. I saw we focus solely on point a)…weather god exists in the first place…rather than, for the sake of argument, discuss why it’s a Christian god. That’s like us discussing the purple elephant-monkey hybrid aliens living amongst us invisibly…..just ignore for the moment you can’t see them….lets discuss their relevance to society, how we should deal with them, pay homage, and go about our lives with them in mind. Excuse me? That would be nuts. Lets first establish there are in fact purple invisible elephant monkey hybrid aliens living amongst us, before going further. Likewise…lets first establish a god in fact exists.

Evidence?

I’ll take a look at your new blog entry….though, at first glance, it looks like it suffers from a fatal flaw…using science to prove the existence of something you refuse to allow science to analyze.

C.W. Graham said...

Causality is a huge science. You may want to begin by studying logic. Although a poor article, wikkipedia can get you started on necessary and sufficient conditions
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessary_and_sufficient_conditions

and on scientific causality.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality


Ultimately necessary conditions are conditions that must be satisfied in order for somthing to occur or exist.

Suffieicent conditions demonstrate, that there are grounds for an assertion.

Some conditions are one or the other, and some are both.

For example, jumping is a sufficient cause for leaving the ground. But it is not necessary. There are other ways to leave the ground.

The reproductive combination of a make and female (whether natural or otherwisw), is a necessary and sufficient condition for a new birth.

GOD A NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE

It is here that we speak of God/ God is obviously, if he is god, sufficient. The question then, is is he necessary.

My argument is in the affirmative. Your is in the negative.

Or turn it around. Can any explanation be found that is logically consitent and a sufficient and necessary cause of the Universe. You argus in the Affirmative. I am challenging you with the negative.

Please continue to converse in the chain with the newer article as I will no longer check this chain as regularily.

Thx