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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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SPLIT UPON THE ROCKS

William Nicholson:

Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. (Psalm 12:1 ESV)

William P. NicholsonNever was there a time like the present, when Atheism and Infidelity appeared so determined, if possible, to annihilate the Christian religion! Behold their attempts. In schools and books, there is an incessant attempt to instill into the minds of the young, principles inimical to Christianity, as well as to draw professors from their steadfastness. Some have already split upon the rocks of Atheism — some have stranded on the quick sands of Infidelity.

LIVING WITHOUT GOD

Atheist X-mas Bus AdThe fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1 ESV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19 ESV)

“The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a policeman.” (Author Unknown) All human beings know that God exists. However, acknowledging the existence of God inevitably leads to understanding that we are accountable to Him. Nevertheless, we choose to rebel against the very notion of being answerable God. We choose, instead, to suppress God’s existence because we reject His sovereign rule over us.

“Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God.” (Tom Stoppard) Natural man’s worst nightmare is the existence of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omnificent God who is perfectly holy, righteous and just. Natural man fears the light of God’s presence and chooses to hide in the darkness. Continue reading

A Rejection of Atheism

AtheismHaving once been an atheist myself, I find the accounts of those atheists who ultimately reject atheism and find faith in God very interesting. One such account is that of Andrew Norman Wilson, an English essayist, journalist, author of satiric novels of British society and of scholarly biographies.

Wilson attended New College, Oxford, began a teaching career, and spent a year training for the priesthood before deciding to concentrate on writing. During this time, he became an ardent atheist. He has composed essays on religion and contributed regularly to several London newspapers.

In April 2009, Wilson wrote a personal account, “Why I Believe Again”, in the New Statesman. In it, he explained his final rejection of atheism. The following contains excerpts from that article:

A materialist Darwinian was having dinner with me a few years ago and we laughingly alluded to how, as years go by, one forgets names. Eager, as committed Darwinians often are, to testify on any occasion, my friend asserted: “It is because when we were simply anthropoid apes, there was no need to distinguish between one another by giving names.”

This credal confession struck me as just as superstitious as believing in the historicity of Noah’s Ark. More so, really.

Do materialists really think that language just “evolved”, like finches’ beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally? Where is the evidence? How could it come about that human beings all agreed that particular grunts carried particular connotations? How could it have come about that groups of anthropoid apes developed the amazing morphological complexity of a single sentence, let alone the whole grammatical mystery, which has engaged Chomsky and others in our lifetime and linguists for time out of mind? No, the existence of language is one of the many phenomena – of which love and music are the two strongest – which suggest that human beings are very much more than collections of meat. They convince me that we are spiritual beings, and that the religion of the incarnation, asserting that God made humanity in His image, and continually restores humanity in His image, is simply true. . . .

When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. . . .

[O]ne thing that finally put the tin hat on any aspirations to be an unbeliever was writing a book about the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, and realizing how utterly incoherent were Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings, and how potent was the opposition, much of it from Christians; paid for, not with clear intellectual victory, but in blood. Read Pastor Bonhoeffer’s book Ethics, and ask yourself what sort of mad world is created by those who think that ethics are a purely human construct. Think of Bonhoeffer’s serenity before he was hanged, even though he was in love and had everything to look forward to.

My departure from the Faith was like a conversion on the road to Damascus. My return was slow, hesitant, doubting. So it will always be; but I know I shall never make the same mistake again. Gilbert Ryle, with donnish absurdity, called God “a category mistake”. Yet the real category mistake made by atheists is not about God, but about human beings. Turn to the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge – “Read the first chapter of Genesis without prejudice and you will be convinced at once . . . ‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’.” And then Coleridge adds: “‘And man became a living soul.’ Materialism will never explain those last words.”

READ THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE AT NEWSTATESMAN.COM. . . .

Like Chuck Colson, I believe that “Faith and reason are not enemies.” Reason is just as much a gift from God as faith. Many have simply found that Christianity is the most rational explanation of reality. A. N. Wilson seems to have discovered this in his life’s journey as I have in mine.

ALSO CONSIDER READING:

“Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity”

 

As a People’s Morality Goes …

Americas Christian HistoryColumnist Selwyn Duke:

“Just as with religion, people bring their ideology with them. And unless you think you could talk a Muslim jihadist out of Islam, why suppose you could talk a socialist out of socialism? … As a people’s morality goes, so go its fortunes. You simply cannot be one kind of people but have another kind of government … And what has happened to our sense of virtue in America? So lost it is that even the word has been replaced with ‘values,’ that fixture of the atheistic literary style. For decades we have instilled children with leftism, nihilism, hedonism, relativism, and atheism through academia, the media, and popular culture; we have seduced them into sin and made them, as Ben Franklin wrote, ‘more corrupt and vicious, [so] they have more need of masters.’ For sure, masters will be one’s lot if he has not mastered himself. … There is a strong atheism-statism correlation the world over, which is why it’s no coincidence that ‘conservatives’ in heavily secular Western Europe are simpatico with our liberals. … Without the Christian right, there is no right at all.”

Continue reading here. . . .

Without God

Dostoevsky is credited with saying that “Without God, everything is permitted.” So without God, doing something immoral would be an illusion – even nonsense, or something merely unfashionable. All moral statements would be arbitrary. Atheists cannot escape the problem that without God, whoever has the most political power determines what is moral. As put by William Lane Craig, “Thus, if atheism is true, it becomes impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can one praise brotherhood, equality, or love as good.”

The New Atheists

Sean McDowell:

We may disagree with the content and approach of the New Atheists, but we should be grateful for the chance to engage these issues with a culture that is paying closer attention than any time in recent history.

A Trimming of Principles

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

You may go to hell as well dressed in the ‘garnishings of morality’ as in the ‘rags of immorality’. It is still the old nature – wash it, and cleanse it, and bind it, and curb it, and bridle it – it is still the old fallen nature, and cannot understand spiritual things. (“The Heart – A Den of Evil” No. 732)

Almighty God

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes; that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens; that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as surely as the stars in their courses; that the creeping of an insect over a rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence; and the fall of leaves from the poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling avalanche.

He who believes in God must believe this truth. There is no standing point between this and Atheism. There is no halfway between an Almighty God, who works all things according to the good pleasure of his will, and no God at all!”

Faith In Not Having Faith

From the writing of humorist Frank J. Fleming:

“Richard Dawkins says he can’t be sure God doesn’t exist. Well, you know what I do when I’m not sure about something? I go on a big crusade about it and write a bunch of books on the subject. No, wait, that sounds more like what someone with a mental disorder would do. That’s one of the crazy things about lots of atheists: Their whole movement is supposed to be about being logical and reasonable, yet they tend to rail against religion in a very mindless way that doesn’t seem to serve any more purpose than a tantrum. Perhaps I just don’t understand their strong faith in not having faith.”

The Press and Religion

Chuck Colson

From the desk of Chuck Colson:

The United States is often referred to as a “post-Christian” nation. In one sense, that is true: The moral and cultural assumptions shaped by Christianity that used to hold sway in American society, can no longer be taken for granted. They must be defended and contended for in the public square.

But that’s not the same as saying that Americans are becoming more like Europeans when it comes to matters like church attendance or belief in a personal God. In many ways the shift in cultural assumptions I just noted is taking place in spite of what Americans believe and do, not because of them.

You would be hard-pressed to know this judging from media reports. These reports seize on any bit of evidence, however suspect, to promote the thesis that Americans are becoming more “secular.” Every few months we are told about some new study that purports to show how secularism and even atheism is on the march.

We are supposed to conclude that instead of going to church our children will spend Sunday mornings reading the holographic edition of the New York Times on their iPad 15 while sipping a latte made from coffee beans grown hydroponically in zero gravity.

It’s a tidy, convenient story. But unfortunately for its tellers, it just doesn’t square with the facts. . . .

Read more here. . . .

Marvin L. Lubenow On Evolution And God

From the desk of Marvin L. Lubenow:

The real issue in the creation/evolution debate is not the existence of God. The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are responsible to Him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of the sinful humans. For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable.

What Is The Providence Of God?

B.H. Carroll

God administers all of creation; everything is subordinated to His Will. Yet, as much as this is a mystery to us, God’s Will is continuously and effectively, the all- comprehensive power that makes all events in the physical and moral universe fulfill the purpose for which He created it. B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) shares the following insights into the Providence of God:

If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

I do not understand this question to imply that the foundations can be destroyed, except in the fears of the righteous. But whenever, in the mind of a righteous person there is distrust as to the stability of the foundation of his hope, and then he may well say, “What can I do?” Just to the extent of our distrust of the foundations is the despondency with which we look upon the tangled and conflicting affairs of this life. All our heartiness in work, boldness in enterprise, endurance of affliction, persistence in effort, and courage in danger is measured by the degree of our faith in the stability of the foundations upon which the Christian religion stands.

If the issues of life are determined by fate or chance, there are no foundations. In the one case we become the effortless children of apathy upon whom no responsibility devolves, our only consolation being the Oriental proverb, “Kismet.” In the other case we become the devotees of ephemeral pleasure with no higher watchword than, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Hence my theme today: The Providence of God is the Christian’s foundation. Under these three – Fate, Chance and Divine Providence may be grouped all the theories and philosophies of life. There is no room for another classification. . . .

Objectively, this foundation [Providence] will be considered in this sermon as impregnable and indestructible. But subjectively, that is in the minds of God’s people, the foundation may oftentimes seem to shake. It is not affirmed that this timorous apprehension is the habitual state of mind of even the weakest of God’s people, but that even with the strongest and bravest, in exceptional emergencies, there may be temporary distrust. This distrust again is more in practice than in theory. . . .

What does the doctrine of Providence imply? It implies the being of God, that there is a God. It implies that this God possesses all of the requisite attributes of Deity; that is, omniscience, knowing all things; omnipotence, having all power; omnipresence, being everywhere; and holiness and love. It implies that such a God, having the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence and omnipresence and holiness and love, created the universe, brought into being everything that you see – what is above us, what is below us, ourselves. It implies that this intelligent and powerful and benevolent being brought into existence everything that is. In other words, that God created this universe with all its creatures.

This implication denies atheism by assuming the being of God. It denies polytheism, for but one being can possess the divine attributes. It denies materialism and pantheism by assuming God’s existence before matter and His creation of it. . . .

Providence is God’s continual oversight or government of the universe He created. To enlarge somewhat, the term, Providence, expresses the divine agency in the direction, control and issue of all the events in the physical and moral universe. All of them? Yes. Does He direct every event in the physical world? Every one. . . .

He directs every event in the physical world. I do not refer simply to the events that relate to the spheres in their magnitude and in their movements. I refer to the most infinitesimal detail, minutia that takes place in the whole physical world. He has just that kind of direction in the moral world, as it relates to human beings and angelic intelligences; that it is not only direction but control; that it is not only control, but that it governs the issue, the direction, the control, the issue or outcome of all events in the physical and in the moral universe.

In other words, having created the universe, He governs the universe. He did not make the world and wind it up like a clock and go to sleep and let it run itself. I mean that His direction and control and government of the issue apply to all forces that are in operation in the physical world, otherwise called laws of nature. They are nothing more than the expressions of the divine will.

John MacArthur: The Quest To Be Without Guilt

John MacArthur

Quoting John MacArthur:

Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences. (The Battle for the Beginning, W Publishing Group, 2001, p. 24)

Creating God In The Image Of Man

Quoting Marvin L Lubenow:

The real issue in the creation/evolution debate is not the existence of God. The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are responsible to Him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of the sinful humans. For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable.

“Seven In Heaven Way”

Seven firefighters who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 recently had a street named in their honor near their fire station in a Brooklyn neighborhood. The street was named “Seven in Heaven Way”.

Now, a group called “New York City Atheists” is insisting that the street sign is offensive to their beliefs and violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. The group’s president says the public domain is no place for signs or displays that incorporate religious belief. He feels the word “Heaven” on the street sign  is insulting because atheists don’t believe in heaven or hell.

Well, it’s too bad his feelings are hurt, but his thinking concerning the Constitution and the First Amendment is totally imaginary! Secular progressives would have us believe that the First Amendment implies freedom from religion; not freedom of religion. The First Amendment promotes religious freedom in all areas of public life.

The bus signs that deny God and promote atheism during the Christmas Holidays (which are funded by atheist groups) are very offensive to me. Yet, the First Amendment protects the beliefs of an atheist – just as it protects my Christian beliefs. Perhaps the NYC Atheists are just put out by no one naming a street “The Atheist Way”.

In 1820 James Madison wrote in a letter to Jacob de la Motta:

“Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect.” (Our Sacred Honor, Bennett, p. 333)

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