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Posts Tagged ‘Evidence’

The Spirit bears witness to what has been written

March 19, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Second Objection from the words of Paul as to the letter and spirit. The Answer, with an explanation of Paul’s meaning. How the Spirit and the written Word are indissolubly connected.

3. Their cavil about our cleaving to the dead letter carries with it the punishment which they deserve for despising Scripture. It is clear that Paul is there arguing against false apostles, (2 Corinthians 3:6,) who, by recommending the law without Christ, deprived the people of the benefit of the New Covenant, by which the Lord engages that he will write his law on the hearts of believers, and engrave it on their inward parts. The letter therefore is dead, and the law of the Lord kills its readers when it is dissevered from the grace of Christ, and only sounds in the ear without touching the heart. But if it is effectually impressed on the heart by the Spirit; if it exhibits Christ, it is the word of life converting the soul, and making wise the simple. Nay, in the very same passage, the apostle calls his own preaching the ministration of the Spirit, (2 Corinthians 3:8,) intimating that the Holy Spirit so cleaves to his own truth, as he has expressed it in Scripture, that he then only exerts and puts forth his strength when the word is received with due honor and respect.

There is nothing repugnant here to what was lately said, (chap. 7) that we have no great certainty of the word itself, until it be confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit. For the Lord has so knit together the certainty of his word and his Spirit, that our minds are duly imbued with reverence for the word when the Spirit shining upon it enables us there to behold the face of God; and, on the other hand, we embrace the Spirit with no danger of delusion when we recognize him in his image, that is, in his word. Thus, indeed, it is. God did not produce his word before men for the sake of sudden display, intending to abolish it the moment the Spirit should arrive; but he employed the same Spirit, by whose agency he had administered the word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the word. In this way Christ explained to the two disciples, (Luke 24:27,) not that they were to reject the Scriptures and trust to their own wisdom, but that they were to understand the Scriptures. In like manner, when Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit,” he does not carry them aloft to empty speculation apart from the word; he immediately adds, “Despise not prophesying,” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, 20.) By this, doubtless, he intimates that the light of the Spirit is quenched the moment prophesying fall into contempt. How is this answered by those swelling enthusiasts, in whose idea the only true illumination consists, in carelessly laying aside, and bidding adieu to the Word of God, while, with no less confidence than folly, they fasten upon any dreaming notion which may have casually sprung up in their minds? Surely a very different sobriety becomes the children of God. As they feel that without the Spirit of God they are utterly devoid of the light of truth, so they are not ignorant that the word is the instrument by which the illumination of the Spirit is dispensed. They know of no other Spirit than the one who dwelt and spake in the apostles — the Spirit by whose oracles they are daily invited to the hearing of the word.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 9-Henry Beveridge Translation

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New Atheism’s Moral Meltdown (Part 2)

March 3, 2014 1 comment

In our original article we wrote “Of course, [Coyne] believes in moral obligations and the significance of the individual.” It seems we were much too generous, for his commitment to moral reality is far from clear. It is rather difficult to tell if Coyne is a realist or an anti-realist about moral principles. Indeed, he may be rather confused himself. Does he believe in moral facts? If he does, he is a moral realist who needs a materialist explanation for morality. If, however, he believes that moral principles have no truth values and that in making moral judgements we merely project attitudes or emotions on to the world, he is a moral anti-realist who claims he can explain morality away.

Can science explain morality away? It’s difficult to see how any scientific explanation of moral feelings would allow us to live as if there are no moral demands on us. It seems impossible to live as if morality is an illusion; Dawkins calls morality a “blessed, precious mistake”, and he believes it. But if morality is a mistake nothing is truly blessed or precious. Suppose our moral……..

 

Read the entire article here.

The martyrdom of men whose hearts have become inflamed with the truth, prove that scripture is divine revelation

February 26, 2014 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The constancy of the martyrs. Conclusion. Proofs of this description only of use after the certainty of Scripture has been established in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

13. Again, with what confidence does it become us to subscribe to a doctrine attested and confirmed by the blood of so many saints? They, when once they had embraced it, hesitated not boldly and intrepidly, and even with great alacrity, to meet death in its defense. Being transmitted to us with such an earnest, who of us shall not receive it with firm and unshaken conviction? It is therefore no small proof of the authority of Scripture, that it was sealed with the blood of so many witnesses, especially when it is considered that in bearing testimony to the faith, they met death not with fanatical enthusiasm, (as erring spirits are sometimes wont to do,) but with a firm and constant, yet sober godly zeal. There are other reasons, neither few nor feeble, by which the dignity and majesty of the Scriptures may be not only proved to the pious, but also completely vindicated against the cavils of slanderers. These, however, cannot of themselves produce a firm faith in Scripture until our heavenly Father manifest his presence in it, and thereby secure implicit reverence for it. Then only, therefore, does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the Word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith. Justly, therefore, does Augustine remind us, that every man who would have any understanding in such high matters must previously possess piety and mental peace.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation

New Atheism’s Moral Meltdown (Part 1)

February 24, 2014 1 comment

A little while ago, Jerry Coyne replied to our critique of his approach to ethics. We’re not at all convinced by Coyne’s response, which essentially reduces to a rant about religious fundamentalism. Let us restate our case for the sake of clarity. Moral values seem quite at home in a theistic world-view; moral values do not fit in the New Atheist’s world-view. Therefore, any theist -be they merely a philosophical theist, or Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Christian – has a better explanation for morality than Jerry Coyne, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins or their acolytes[i].

We provide evidence for Christianity, and arguments for Christian faith, elsewhere on our website. [ii]And we are not very interested in advancing a political programme; we are much more concerned that people come to the Son of God for personal forgiveness and new life. Mr Coyne can reject our concerns as nonsensical; but that won’t help him explain morality. So we’ll look past most of the bluff and bluster in his reply, and focus once more on the central issues.

 

Read the entire article here.

God’s providential preservation of scripture confirms that it is divine revelation

February 5, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Another objection and answer. Of the wondrous Providence of God in the preservation of the sacred books. The Greek Translation. The carefulness of the Jews.

10. An objection taken from the history of the Maccabees (1 Maccab. 1:57, 58) to impugn the credibility of Scripture, is, on the contrary, fitted the best possible to confirm it. First, however, let us clear away the gloss which is put upon it: having done so, we shall turn the engine which they erect against us upon themselves. As Antiochus ordered all the books of Scripture to be burnt, it is asked, where did the copies we now have come from? I, in my turn, ask, In what workshop could they have been so quickly fabricated? It is certain that they were in existence the moment the persecution ceased, and that they were acknowledged without dispute by all the pious who had been educated in their doctrine, and were familiarly acquainted with them. Nay, while all the wicked so wantonly insulted the Jews as if they had leagued together for the purpose, not one ever dared to charge them with having introduced spurious books. Whatever, in their opinion, the Jewish religion might be, they acknowledged that Moses was the founder of it. What, then, do those babblers, but betray their snarling petulance in falsely alleging the spuriousness of books whose sacred antiquity is proved by the consent of all history? But not to spend labor in vain in refuting these vile calumnies, let us rather attend to the care which the Lord took to preserve his Word, when against all hope he rescued it from the truculence of a most cruel tyrant as from the midst of the flames — inspiring pious priests and others with such constancy that they hesitated not, though it should have been purchased at the expense of their lives, to transmit this treasure to posterity, and defeating the keenest search of prefects and their satellites.

Who does not recognize it as a signal and miraculous work of God, that those sacred monuments which the ungodly persuaded themselves had utterly perished, immediately returned to resume their former rights, and, indeed, in greater honor? For the Greek translation appeared to disseminate them over the whole world. Nor does it seem so wonderful that God rescued the tables of his covenant from the sanguinary edicts of Antiochus, as that they remained safe and entire amid the manifold disasters by which the Jewish nation was occasionally crushed, devastated, and almost exterminated. The Hebrew language was in no estimation, and almost unknown; and assuredly, had not God provided for religion, it must have utterly perished. For it is obvious from the prophetical writings of that age, how much the Jews, after their return from the captivity, had lost the genuine use of their native tongue. It is of importance to attend to this, because the comparison more clearly establishes the antiquity of the Law and the Prophets. And whom did God employ to preserve the doctrine of salvation contained in the Law and the Prophets, that Christ might manifest it in its own time? The Jews, the bitterest enemies of Christ; and hence Augustine justly calls them the librarians of the Christian Church, because they supplied us with books of which they themselves had not the use.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-15-Good Works

January 30, 2014 1 comment

Good Works

 

1. Has not God offered life and happiness upon the performance of good works?

He has.

2. Have any of mankind ever been justified in that way?

None have been thus justified.

3. Why is this?

Because, having a sinful nature, no man can perform good works in an acceptable manner.

4. Since, then, we are saved by faith alone, does God still require good works?

He does, and gives us grace to help us do them.

5. Are they to be performed with any hope of attaining salvation?

They are not; for we can never perfectly perform them in this life.

6. From what motive then?

From a spirit of love and obedience.

7. What, then., is the position of works in God’s way of justification?

They are the fruits and evidence of a change of heart and of love to God.

8. With what motive should we let men see our good works?

With the hope that thus they may be led to glorify God.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

The prophecies of the major and minor prophets confirm that scripture is divine revelation

January 22, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The predictions of other prophets. The destruction of Jerusalem; and the return from the Babylonish captivity. Harmony of the Prophets. The celebrated prophecy of Daniel.

8. In the case of the other prophets the evidence is even clearer. I will only select a few examples, for it were too tedious to enumerate the whole. Isaiah, in his own day, when the kingdom of Judah was at peace, and had even some ground to confide in the protection of the Chaldeans, spoke of the destruction of the city and the captivity of the people, (Isaiah 55:1.) Supposing it not to be sufficient evidence of divine inspiration to foretell, many years before, events which, at the time, seemed fabulous, but which ultimately turned out to be true, whence shall it be said that the prophecies which he uttered concerning their return proceeded, if it was not from God? He names Cyrus, by whom the Chaldeans were to be subdued and the people restored to freedom. After the prophet thus spoke, more than a hundred years elapsed before Cyrus was born, that being nearly the period which elapsed between the death of the one and the birth of the other. It was impossible at that time to guess that some Cyrus would arise to make war on the Babylonians, and after subduing their powerful monarchy, put an end to the captivity of the children of Israel. Does not this simple, unadorned narrative plainly demonstrate that what Isaiah spoke was not the conjecture of man, but the undoubted oracle of God? Again, when Jeremiah, a considerable time before the people were led away, assigned seventy years as the period of captivity, and fixed their liberation and return, must not his tongue have been guided by the Spirit of God? What effrontery were it to deny that, by these evidences, the authority of the prophets is established, the very thing being fulfilled to which they appeal in support of their credibility! “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them,” (Isaiah 42:9.) I say nothing of the agreement between Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who, living so far apart, and yet prophesying at the same time, harmonize as completely in all they say as if they had mutually dictated the words to one another. What shall I say of Daniel? Did not he deliver prophecies embracing a future period of almost six hundred years, as if he had been writing of past events generally known? (Daniel 9, etc.) If the pious will duly meditate on these things, they will be sufficiently instructed to silence the cavils of the ungodly. The demonstration is too clear to be gainsaid.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation