“One of the most common caricatures of the Puritans is that they were a lot of ecclesiastical killjoys, and that if their eyes were any closer together, they would each be on the other side” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 75).
“The star appeared in the sky to announce the birth of one who would hold a universal scepter, and such scepters are not held privately, or stored in closets” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 72).
“We don’t want culture warriors who can be lured by the trappings of victory without any actual victories — the equivalent of big hats, missile parades, and sunglasses” (Rules, p. 24).
One of the central arguments that materialistic atheism offers against the Christian faith is that the reality and universality of suffering is inconsistent with the doctrine that we were created by, and are loved by, a gracious heavenly Father. If we intend to do our job in training our students to be able to defend their faith as they go out into the world, it seems to me that we ought not to begin by granting the foundational premise of unbelief.
Believe me, the pressing reality of natural evil is a major argument that the atheists use, and the theistic evolutionists will have to do a lot better than they have done thus far in mounting a reply.
If evolution was God’s means of creating, then this means that pain, struggle, suffering, agony, and torment were His means of creation, and He pronounced all of it “good.”
There are two kinds of evil that we have to consider — natural evil and moral evil. While moral evil is more horrendous, it is a little easier to handle because we are doing so much of it to ourselves. We can handle that another time. But natural evil is a different thing altogether, and on the theistic evolutionary account natural evil cannot be considered evil at all.
Here we have to posit millions of years of death-dealing events — volcanoes, floods, tar pits, and so on — without anybody having done anything wrong such that it would bring this state of affairs about. This is just how God likes to do things.
This means that the pain and suffering of sentient animals has to be simply dismissed with a wave of the hand. It is no longer the problem of evil, but rather “evil? no problem!”
“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #175
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1–2).
Paul now comes to his great summary of gospel truth. He declares to them as brothers the gospel that he had previously preached to them. Their response to this preaching was two-fold—they had received what he had declared, and they had taken their stand in what he had said. This gospel—preached and received—was a gospel that would save them, provided they kept what he had said in memory. If they had not kept this gospel in memory, then their belief would have been in vain.
I am not saved from drowning by having had a lifejacket on once. I am saved from drowning—if I am in the water—by putting on a lifejacket and by keeping it on. This is why we hold to the perseverance and preservation of the saints, which is not exactly the same thing as “once saved, always saved.” Of course, if someone is truly once saved, then they are truly always saved. That is true enough, as far as it goes. But there is a category that Paul knew about—believers who had believed “in vain”—who would fit very nicely in the modern category of someone who got saved at a revival once and who has been cavorting with the devil since then. We believe that the elect, once regenerate, will in fact persevere to the end. But they will, by God’s grace, persevere in holiness to the end.
“When the Constitution actually mandates with regard to religion is two-fold: one, the non-establishment of a national church by an act of Congress, and two, non-interference with the free exercise of religion by Congress. Got that? No Church of the United States, comparable to the Church of Denmark, or the Church of England. When the Constitution was ratified, nine of the thirteen colonies had established state churches at the state level” (God Rest Ye Merry, p. 71).
“A decisive point is a place that is significant enough to matter to the enemy if you successfully take it, and insignificant enough to actually take. This means that the selected target is both strategic and feasible” (Rules, p. 22).
“And always remember that you are not engaged in a tournament, but in a battle — that your great concern is not to keep within rules, but to conquer” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 467).