Posts from May 2021

Posts from May 2021

“Christ, of the substance of Mary” – A history of the defence of the doctrine

Elsewhere on this website a defense is given of the truth that, in His incarnation, the Lord Jesus took of the substance of the virgin Mary (See Did the Lord Take Anything from Mary?). Below is an account of the centuries-long battle that has been fought over this particular issue, given so that the current generation might learn from the valiant and principled defence that preachers and theologians have given of the real, true and blessed humanity of our incarnate…

The virgin birth of Christ

Dr A.J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) takes up the vital, foundational topic of the virgin birth of Christ: Apart from the resurrection of Christ, no truth is so maligned by the scientifically conditioned and rational mind as the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. While it is sung about in carols, recited in creeds, depicted in crèches, and sentimentalised in Christmas cards, surveys reveal that the majority of those who label themselves ‘Christian’, do not really believe it.…

John Owen and the double payment dilemma

Authoring more than 80 books in his lifetime, John Owen the Puritan (1616-83) was arguably the mightiest Reformed theologian the world has ever seen. He applied his brilliant mind to the question “For whom did Christ die?” and concluded “the elect only”. He saw in scripture no provision made at the cross for the sins of the ‘non-elect’. Any who disagreed with him met with the following argument: “God imposed His wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of…

Did Christ die for everyone?

According to one dictionary, the word “vicarious” means “acting or done for another”. It is in this sense that we use the word to describe the death of the Lord Jesus. He did not undergo death for Himself, but for others. This raises an obvious question. Who are those ‘others’ for whom He died? Certainly, He died for believers. We do not need to go outside Paul’s writings to find ample testimony to this. As an individual, he writes of…

If Christ died for all how can anyone perish?

The Scriptures teach that not everyone will be saved. The reason is that, in order to be saved, one must repent of one’s sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The testimony of the Word on this is so plentiful that we need only give a few sample quotes: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19); “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16); “He that…

The DaVinci Code – A Christian response

Dan Brown, author of best-selling novel “The DaVinci Code’, claims to know the truth about the greatest cover-up in human history. Though the information he discloses already existed in older non-fiction books such as ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’ (Dell, 1983) and ‘The Templar Revelation’ (Simon & Schuster, 1998), it took what ‘The Boston Globe’ called a ‘dazzling performance’ by this previously almost unheard of American novelist to introduce this conspiracy theory to the wider world – first in print and…

Postmodernism – explained and exposed

“What’s true for you may not be true for me,” encapsulates the postmodern idiom fairly well. Despite its recent origin, postmodernism currently dominates Western 21st Century media, academia, politics and much of ‘the church’. Statistics reveal that a majority of young people in the West hold to the following ‘truth’; “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” A thing may be cool, OK or workable, but to say it is ‘true’ implies something else is ‘false’, a judgment call…

Counter-cultural Christianity

In the beginning, God placed man in Eden’s paradise. The original creatorial order featured harmony between the Creator and His creation under the rule of Adam, heaven’s vice-regent on earth. But Satan engineered a rebellion which resulted in Adam rejecting God’s authority. Adam shifted his allegiance from God to Satan. Since that time the whole world has lain in the lap of him who the Bible calls the “prince of this world” and the “god of this age”.1 As punishment for…

The Bible and euthanasia

Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) sets out the Bible’s teaching on debility and euthanasia: Shakespeare said it back in 1600: “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Solomon’s description in Ecclesiastes 12 is even more graphic: the keepers of the house trembling, the grinders ceasing because they are few, fears arising and desires failing, until finally the wheel is broken…

The Bible and climate change

Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) sets out the Bible’s teaching on the environment: Tree huggers, climate-change alarmists, green earth policies, zealous recyclers – we are inundated by the social movements of our day. Stay more than one night in a hotel and you have the option of reusing towels to help ‘save’ the earth. Your linens are only changed every third or fourth day, unless you brazenly demand it more often, to the detriment of the entire…

Gambling and Alcohol – a biblical perspective

Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) tackles two epidemics of 21st Century western culture – gambling and alcohol – and examines them from a Biblical perspective. Any student of American history quickly recognises the name of Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables”, who enforced prohibition in Chicago during the 1930’s. Alcohol and gambling, both illegal at the time, were viewed as moral evils, responsible for crime, and recognised for their destructive influence on family, society and individuals. The “noble…

Does ‘social work’ fulfil the great commission?

Despite being continually mocked, threatened and beaten for preaching the gospel, the apostles refused either to give up or to change tack. Why? Because they had an unshakeable confidence in the Lord and in His authoritative command – the mandate He had given them – which is now commonly called ‘the great commission’. The brevity, clarity and succinctness of the Lord’s instructions surely helped to preserve the apostles from becoming confused or side-tracked in the face of political, cultural and…

Should Christians watch movies?

If you a Christian who loves movies, here’s a challenge for you. Are you willing to consider the following five issues that might upset your viewing habits? Before watching a movie, consider: 1. Content The vast majority of Hollywood, Bollywood and the rest of the film industry’s content is sprinkled, if not saturated, with infidelity, impurity, vulgarity, violence and blasphemy. Why? The sensational gets noticed. Sex sells. So, the envelope has to be constantly pushed and the ratings have to keep slipping.…

The Christian and social media

It only takes a couple of minutes to download Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You gain some connectivity, some fame and maybe even make some money. But there’s a downside. You lose your privacy, liberty, tranquility and sanctity, and may never get them back. All in 2 minutes. 1. Privacy Have you ever wondered why social media is free? It’s because Instagram and Co. make almost all their money from marketing your data to advertisers. Hence they make…

The Bible and genetic engineering

Dr David Vallance, a Christian medical doctor from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, gives a Biblical perspective on the difficult and contentious issues of genetic engineering, designer babies, fetal harvesting and transhumanism. In the beginning, God directed Adam to subdue and rule the earth, and everything in it (Gen 1:28). In this “dominion mandate” the Lord called the man to use his intellect, creativity and strength to enhance the beauty of creation, and to extend the Garden over all of Eden and…

Is it OK for a Christian to smoke?

Is it right for a Christian to smoke, or to play the lottery, to watch movies, to follow sports, to play computer games or to be on social media? You will search in vain for a Bible verse that directly addresses these items – and for a good reason. When God gave us His written revelation in the 66 books of the Bible between 1,500BC and 100AD, these things did not exist! But what the Bible does do is give us numerous timeless…

I’m a Christian. Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

David K. Vallance, M.D. (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) I have written this paper to address questions many believers have asked me about the new COVID-19 vaccines.  I recommend getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can (unless you have had a serious allergic reaction to a similar injection in the past).  Vaccination is not only proper stewardship of your body, but also vital support for a world in pandemic crisis.  Society needs help desperately, and Christians should lead the…

When you were saved?

Ponder the powerful probing questions of the preacher George Whitefield (1714-1770) from one of his over 18,000 sermons: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14) “And now, my dear friends, examine your hearts, for I hope you came hither with a design to have your souls made better. Give me leave to ask you, in the presence of God, whether you know the time,…

A doubter’s story

Clement Read Vaughan (1827-1911) wrote a powerful letter to Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) when Dabney, a Presbyterian theologian, had become blind and weak and was approaching death. Feeling the weakness of his faith, and beginning to look inwards instead of upwards, Dabney began to doubt hissalvation. Vaughan penned an eloquent letter, directing the doubting Dabney’s focus back to Christ. Vaughan asked Dabney to imagine what a traveller might do if he came to a chasm over which a bridge was…

You can know the truth

It’s impossible to deny the existence of truth without at the same time affirming it. How come? Well, think about it: to say “truth does not exist” is to make a truth claim. So, what is truth? Truth is what corresponds to reality. Simply put, truth is “what is”, as defined by God. God is a God of truth; all truth is God’s truth; and no truth exists apart from Him. In His Word, the Bible, God has revealed His…

5 reasons why tongues have ceased

Millions of people around the world claim to have the “gift of tongues” and to be able to “speak in tongues”. That the Bible speaks of such a gift is beyond dispute. The New Testament books of Acts and 1 Corinthians contain historical and doctrinal information relating to this gift. Two vital issues need to be considered: The modern phenomenon of “speaking in tongues” is not the same at the Biblical gift of speaking in tongues/languages (See “Tongues were Real…

Tongues were real languages

“Speaking in tongues” has been a leading feature of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement ever since its inception. The first supposed occurrence of “tongues speaking” in the modern era took place at 11.00pm on Jan 1st 1901 in Topeka, Kansas, USA, when Agnes Osman claimed to possess and use this gift. Aside from the historical fact that the gift of tongues ceased functioning with the death of the 12 apostles, the greatest proof that modern ‘speaking in tongues’ is not Biblical is this: Biblical tongues were…

“If there’s a God, please lift that dustbin lid”

The British TV series Dixon of Dock Green ran for an incredible 25 years. In 1990, the atheistic playwright behind it, Ted Willis, moved an amendment to the Broadcasting Bill in the British Houses of Parliament, hoping to pave the way for the presentation of humanism alongside Christianity on religious programmes on the BBC. Explaining his motives to a committee in the House of Lords, Baron Willis confessed, “I am a total non-believer. I do not apologise to the committee for that.…

It’s time to downgrade your atheism

So, you’re an atheist? Yes. Are you absolutely sure that God doesn’t exist? 100% positive? Totally beyond doubt? No, I didn’t say that. I can’t absolutely prove the non-existence of God, not in the sense of mathematical proof anyway. So you’re not really an atheist, you’re an agnostic. Well…I suppose so, if you want to put it like that, but either way I don’t believe in God. Are you a soft agnostic or a hard agnostic? I mean, are you…

Stephen Hawking’s sleight of hand

In his 2010 book, The Grand Design, Stephen W. Hawking includes a sentence of staggering, perhaps unparalleled, sleight-of-hand proportions. “Because there is a law such as gravity,” he writes, “the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Surely, any thinking child above the age…

God is obvious

From Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in the past, to John Lennox and William Lane Craig in the present, there has been a steady stream of formidable Christian apologists throughout history who have furnished the world with ample convincing arguments for the existence of God. Look out for the cosmological, teleological, moral, ontological and contingency arguments – to name a few – if you wish to explore further. The classic arguments for the existence of God are certainly not useless, but neither…

Dawkins contradicts himself

It is some years since I read ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins. An erudite man, a lucid communicator and an eloquent writer, the world’s most famous atheist has a reputation as an outstanding logician. In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction states that “contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time”. So, consider: Dawkins Statement 1 In a 1996 speech to the American Humanist Association – while accepting their ‘Humanist of the Year’…

Is the appendix vestigial?

In 1871, twelve years after his On the Origin of Species was published, Charles Darwin released another explosive book about evolution, The Descent of Man, in which he outlined his theory of human evolution, his main proposal being that mankind had evolved from “some lower form”. Humans are descendants of ape-like creatures, he claimed. Only prejudice and arrogance, wrote Darwin, would lead an intelligent naturalist to continue to maintain the idea that man had been created separately from other mammals. The Descent of Man represented a declaration…

Why I am not an atheist

Atheism is flourishing in the country of my birth. Though 100 years ago most people in the UK attended church, the current figure sits at around 6%. Compare that with the 14% who identify as “convinced atheists”. The ‘atheist percentage’ is considerably higher among the young, which indicates that within a generation the country whose national anthem begins “God save our gracious Queen” will, for the most part, no longer believe God exists. The roots of this malaise go back…

The Bible validates itself

The Bible needs no external authority to validate it. Scripture is self-authenticating and bears the unmistakable stamp of divine authorship, as John Parkinson explains: In our pluralistic age we often hear the Bible described as merely another source of divine inspiration alongside the sacred texts of the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. It is also argued that the Bible makes its own claim to be the word of God and that therefore the claim cannot be valid. Why should anyone…

Few sophisticated people believe the Bible – here’s why.

Psychologist, author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading atheists. In his book, Enlightenment Now (Penguin, 2018), he says: “Few sophisticated people today profess a belief in heaven and hell, the literal truth of the Bible, or a God who flouts the laws of physics.” Pinker is undoubtedly correct, and I say that as a person who believes in heaven and hell, in the literal truth of the Bible and in the miracles recorded in Scripture. Stung by Pinker’s smear,…

Is the human eye wired backwards?

The extreme perfection, complexity and beauty of the human eye – not to mention its dazzling array of utterly astounding functions and capabilities – is both a puzzle and a nightmare for Darwinists. The incredibly complex compound eyes of the Trilobite A detailed evolutionary history of the human eye – that is, the mutational pathway from no sight to human sight – has yet to be traced, even in theory. Yes, an imagined progression from ‘light sensitive spot’ to the ‘vertebrate eye’ has been…

Yale Professor: “Darwin was wrong”.

David Gelernter is a ‘rare bird’. An unconverted Western intellectual who rejects Darwin’s theory of evolution. Why highlight the story of a professor who gives up on Darwin but doesn’t become a “born again Christian”? Because that’s not a good look for Darwinism, is it? One expects Christians to reject Darwin. After all, they are biased, right? But Gelernter? Here are the details in brief. David Gelernter (born 1955) is a writer, professor of computer science at Yale University and an erudite…

The most common objection to God – answered.

The most common objection to the God of the Bible is not “how did Noah get all the animals onto the ark?”, nor even “Where did Cain get his wife?”. Ask the average atheist why he doesn’t believe in God and he’ll simply say, “There’s no evidence.” The Bible challenges that claim in Acts 14:17, stating that throughout history “God has left not Himself without witness.” God has left a trail of evidence behind Him for all to see. In…

No, Mr Dawkins, faith is not “belief without evidence”

Faith is anathema to outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins, who scornfully describes it as “blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence”.1  Without evidence, faith is silly; with evidence, faith is superfluous. Game, set and match to atheism? Not so fast. When Christ appeared alive in a room in Jerusalem, two weeks after his resurrection, he faced skepticism from ‘doubting Thomas’, a disciple who had made clear he wasn’t about to believe in any kind of miraculous resurrection without evidence.…

Everybody worships something

Everyone worships something, even atheists. Actually, especially atheists. Obliterating God from one’s life leaves a gargantuan hole that, consciously or unconsciously, God-rejectors cannot help but try to fill with meaningful God-substitutes. Nature abhors a vacuum. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. The substitute gods of secularism over-promise and under-deliver. After all, what can possibly replace God? But under-delivery isn’t the whole story. Substitute gods are, by their very nature, hungry and unforgiving, eating their devotees alive. Worship pleasure, and you’ll quickly find…

How do you know you are saved?

Ask people who claim to be saved how they know they are saved, and you’ll receive a wide variety of answers. Some say “I just know”. If that’s your answer, may I kindly ask you exactly how you know? Without a valid basis for this ‘inner-knowing’, all you are really saying is “I know because I know”! You wouldn’t speak like that about your bank balance, or your employment contract, or your house insurance – how much less about your eternal destiny. Let’s be clear, “I just…