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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Sep 27, 2017

In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about the nature of truth, how it relates to God's nature, the process of reprobation, does reprobation mean that God "deceives" men, some thoughts on Calvinism, "rescuing device theology", and holding the truth in unrighteousness.

 

Here are the notes for this episode:

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Truth and Deception

Episode 22

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Introduction
    1. Last episode we talked about pleading for truth. (Why it’s so important, why is it so hard)
    2. This episode we’re going to talk about truth and deception; namely, what happens when we reject the truth.
  2. The Nature of Truth
    1. I believe I’ve talked a little bit about this in the past, but it bears repeating.
    2. Truth, by its definition is exclusive. In fact, any time you define something, by necessity you exclude what it is not. If I was to define a “ball” for instance, as “a three-dimensionally round object”, then I exclude the notion that the concept of a “ball” includes a square. Many people try to think of “truth” in an undefined or abstract way. They define truth to be whatever they believe, even unconsciously sometimes. You can talk to people in evangelism and usually you end up hearing people say things like: “That just doesn’t resonate with me” “I just can’t believe that a loving God would send people to Hell” or “I believe…” They presuppose that they are somehow the reference point for reality. There is no objective reference point for them to examine their own beliefs by. It’s just feelings or comfort.
    3. In essence, people suppose reality to be built around them and that it is somehow contingent upon them or their perception or approval of it in some way. They want themselves to be God. They want it to be that what they approve is true, what they desire is true, and that no one has any say so in the matter. They want there to be no allowance for correction. “My will be done.” This notion is easily discernible when you go to witness to someone, and they rebuttal with “Well, I believe…” or “I don’t believe…” as though truth has something to do with what they believe.
    4. One of the basic laws of thought in logic is the principle of identity, which states that if a statement is true then it is true. What’s true for me IS true for you, or it’s not true at all. Something does not change its truth value by being moved to some other place or person. The only exception would be if a contingent characteristic or situation changed, such as the statement “Persia is an empire.” After the Persian Empire was conquered it would then be untrue because what it was describing changed states.
    5. At the heart of this matter is the fact that man is in a state of rebellion against God’s authority. It’s all about God’s authority. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” (Isa. 53:6) No, it is HIS will be done. It is this concept of God’s absolute authority and right over everything that men rebel against. It’s about submission. Truth, for the same reason, is about submission. You must either accept the truth, or you reject it. That is all that can be done with the truth by mankind. If a ball is red, for example, it’s red whether you like it or not. Accept it, or rebel against the truth and try to come up with a falsely so-called scientific reason why it is not so; or possibly just redefine the terms “ball” and “red” to convince yourself otherwise. All that men are doing is trying to justify a refusal to submit to God. “We will not have this man to rule over us.”
    6. Webster’s dictionary defines truth as, “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be.” So “truth”, as a concept, is what is. It is reality. If you say that something is true you are saying that it is so. Think about it. If someone tells you that your paycheck is wrong, you automatically think, “Is that true?” You are thinking about whether or not what they just told you is the reality of the situation. You don’t think, “Well, I don’t like that as a possibility—it hurts my self-image or feelings—and I choose to believe it is not so and reality will align itself accordingly with my choice.” You would double-check your pay to make sure that you don’t get shorted. The problem is that people don’t examine their views about God and the Bible as deeply as they examine their paycheck; which is interesting because they lose far more if they are wrong about God and the Bible than if their paycheck is wrong.
    7. Since truth is reality—that which is—it must be objective. That means that it has nothing to do with your mind, or your perception of it. Truth’s nature is not changed or altered by your own perception of it, and neither can it be altered by your own will or desire for it to be different. If you look outside tomorrow morning and find that someone has stolen your car, then no matter how much “thinking” or “visualizing” you do it is not going to make it magically appear again. Things are not true because you believe them, nor are things untrue because you do not believe them. Truth is unalterable. It is, or it is not.
    8. It’s this objectivity of the truth, its inability to be affected, which makes knowledge possible. What is a sincere scientist trying to prove? He has a theory, a hypothesis, and he is seeking to prove that it is true. He seeks to prove that his hypothesis is actually describing reality—what is. When he successfully does so he is not creating something or even starting something: he is discovering something that is already there. For example, gravity existed long before scientists thought of putting words down describing it.
  3. God’s Nature
    1. Now, what you must take away from all of that is this: God has ascribed to Himself the truth. Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) God’s Word is described as truth (John 17:17). The Spirit of God is said to be the “spirit of truth” who guides believers to all truth (John 16:13). We are told even that God Himself cannot lie (Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18; Num. 23:19).
    2. Now, since God created all things, is all-powerful, upholds all things, knows all things, and is unchanging—He said “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6)—then reality, or truth, is absolutely defined by Him. He is the authority, and He is the reference point. All things are subject to His will, desire, and purpose.
    3. In fact, it’s for this reason that the Biblical worldview is the only possible one. No other worldview accounts for why there is order in the universe that is consistent. Why are there laws of physics that are consistent in the universe? In a universe of chaos and chance statistical anomalies order and, in actuality, scientific study would be impossible. There would be no consistency in the universe that would allow for prediction. Evolution for example cannot make any accurate predictions because it is built on the concept of chance.
    4. An atheist, or an evolutionist, must account for the order. What they usually end up doing is then ascribing a characteristic of deity to some concept. Think about it. They say things like “nature made a way” or “evolution devised a means”. “Nature” and “evolution” are words that describe concepts. They have no mind, and therefore they have no ability to do anything. This is called the fallacy of reification. It is attributing a concrete characteristic to an abstraction, like an idea or concept. But they must account for order and the actual design of the universe. They therefore attribute the true characteristics of God, power and intelligence, to a concept. They change the idea of what brought it all about, and reject the true source—God.
    5. In some cases the universe itself is deified. This is what the New Age Movement does. The universe, or creation, becomes the collective consciousness that birthed itself. The image of God, the source of creation and the designer of it, is changed to be something else to account for the order and design of the universe while simultaneously taking away the idea of accountability to a higher and transcendent being who has authority over all. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to acknowledge the order and design while denying the source of the order and design. But God’s fingerprint is everywhere in the universe. Man perceives it, and tries to smear it essentially.
  4. Changing of the concept of God
    1. Now, how did we get from discussing truth and reality to discussing the character of God, to how atheists, evolutionists, and New Agers change the image of God? Those of you who know the scriptures know how: it’s the process and result that God Himself has told us of.
    2. Let’s read Romans 1:21-32:
      1. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:21-32)
    3. Now let’s consider some things from this passage that are very important.
      1. It is describing men in general. This is shown from 1:18 where “men” are referred to, and in v. 19 men are referred to as “them”, and in v. 20 as “they”. It is describing men in general, and not a specific generation of men.
      2. It states very clearly that mankind, on some level, knows that God is exactly as He says He is. We’re told “when they knew God” (1:21), and “that which may be known of God is manifest IN THEM; for God hath showed it unto them.” (1:19) In fact, we are told that “they are without excuse” (1:20). What is it that they are without excuse for? Men are without excuse for not acknowledging God’s “eternal power and Godhead” (1:20). God’s very existence, power, and thereby His authority, are “clearly seen”. Some people may have a problem accepting this, but when God’s Word says that He “hath showed it unto them” (1:19), that these things are “clearly seen” (1:20), and that men are “without excuse” for not acknowledging His “eternal power and Godhead”…you had better just accept it. Otherwise, you’re also denying plain truth.
      3. What is next described by the Apostle Paul is a process. There are some key phrases that illustrate the nature of this process between God and men.
        1. It begins in 1:18 where we are told that men “hold the truth in unrighteousness”. The word “hold” is used here in the sense of “hold down” or “suppress”. Men are resisting the truth and trying to deny it.
        2. Verses 19-20 talk about why this suppression of the truth is inexcusable. Then, in 1:21 we’re told that they refused to glorify God and refused to acknowledge Him in what He does for them (unthankful). The result is that they became “vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” So we see then that when men willfully choose to resist and suppress the truth of God that they become vain in their imaginations, their hearts. The very reasoning of their minds becomes foolish. This is necessary, as we’ll see later.
        3. In v. 23 we’re told that because men resisted the truth, the result was that they began to make things up. They “changed” the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” They changed what they did not like about God, and made Him out to be someone like them, or like some animal. The vanity of their imaginations was to think that the truth was changeable, and they convinced themselves of this.
        4. Next, in v. 24 we see a very important phrase. “Wherefore God also gave them up…” God reacts to man’s refusal of the truth. This is emphasized throughout the rest of the passage. “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.” (1:24) Paul continues in v. 25, re-emphasizing the reason that God would do this, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie…” God’s truth, the truth about His “eternal power and Godhead”, is shown by God unto men. It is “clearly seen” He says, and He says that they are “without excuse” before Him. And when men “hold the truth”, or they “suppress the truth”, God responds because it is an emphatic refusal of His authority and person.
        5. Next, in v.26, Paul continues to emphasize this cause and effect process, saying, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…” The process is summed up pretty well in v. 28, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…” It’s interesting when you study the language used here in v. 28. In a sense, what is said here is that because man disapproves of what the truth is God will deliver their minds and hearts over to that which He disapproves of. In essence, God says, “Have it your way.” It’s reminiscent of what the Psalmist wrote, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psa. 106:15)
        6. We see at the end of this passage, in v. 32, the true wickedness behind the motives of the people. We’re told, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” These men know that God has judged certain things to be wicked, and they don’t care. They intentionally delight themselves in that which God hates.
  5. Is this “process” sustained by the rest of scripture?
    1. Turn to Psalms 81:8-16:
      1. “Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” (Psa. 81:8-16)
      2. First, God sets forth the condition of obedience in v.8-9. Saying, “Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.”
      3. The Lord then promises on this condition in v.10, “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
      4. Next, the people refuse to meet this condition, v.11, “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.”
      5. As a result of them refusing to obey Him, God gives them over to their desires, v.12, “So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.”
      6. Finally, God restates His intention to uphold the promise that they refused, v.13-16, “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” (Psa. 81:13-16) Now, this is very important to take into account. God is saying that “if they had obeyed I would have done all of this.” That is very profound because God is stating that they had a choice. God gave them the choice, and they refused. God then deals with them according to their choice.
      7. God is certainly sovereign. There is no question of God being the one in control. But some people have redefined the sovereignty of God to mean that God cannot allow men to make choices. The scriptures declare emphatically that men have a choice. “To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16) God knows all things we are told. He knows men’s hearts, and He knows our thoughts afar off; but He gives us choice in things pertaining to salvation.
      8. I will go off on a tangent here, because it’s simply unbiblical for people to teach that man has no choice between good and evil, or between obedience and disobedience. God made man. God made man with an intellectual capacity to choose things. This is clear because God Himself speaks cover to cover in the Bible as though man has an ability to choose. He says, “Do this…and don’t do this, because if you do this or that I will punish you.” God Himself tells men that they should abstain from some things and do other things. To teach that man has no ability to choose between obedience and disobedience is to teach a lie in the name of God. It also defers responsibility for sin and changes the image of God into an arbitrary tyrant who doesn’t love man at all, but has intentionally made billions of men the way that they are and sends them to Hell having had no choice about their existence, birth, life, death, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, and then at the end of it all speaks as though they did.
      9. The only true aspect of man’s inability is that he cannot choose to do any works that enable him to save himself. The only thing that he can do is choose the salvation that God has provided through Jesus Christ. God does not drag people kicking and screaming to salvation—though many teach that. I don’t care how many Calvinists will talk about someone that they heard of who says that’s how they got saved. Perhaps they should decide their theological practice on scripture instead of C.S. Lewis or one of their buddies. Two prominent examples of this misconstruing is given as the supposed conversion of C.S. Lewis as recorded, I believe, in his book Mere Christianity, and Saul of Tarsus. If they were honest, though I’m sure some just repeat what they’re told, they would acknowledge that C.S. Lewis later said that that was an intellectual conversion and not his true conversion. As for Saul, who would become Paul, there is no indication at all that God forced his conversion. Saul was an ardent follower of the God of Israel already, just not according to the new covenant. He was already doing what he believed was God’s will, and God merely corrected him. On top of that, who can honestly say that Saul could not have rejected Christ even though he manifested himself to him? We have such examples in the OT already. Jonah was a prophet of God who turned to flee from God and ignore his commandment. Solomon was a man to whom God had appeared twice, it is specifically said in the scriptures, and he still turned away from God. The only way someone can teach a forced conversion is by eisegesis—believing it’s in the scriptures and making sure that you find it there.
      10. If God made man with an intellectual capacity to choose, then God can offer man a choice and then treat Him justly for His choice. God placed Adam in a garden where there were many trees, but there were two in particular. There was “the tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Now, let me ask you: did you ever notice where they were? I mean, what the Bible specifically says. In Genesis 2:9 we are told that “the tree of life [is] also in the midst of the garden.” Now, why is that significant to me? It’s significant to me because it also says in Genesis 3:3, when Eve was speaking with the serpent, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” She was referencing the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. Both trees were in the midst of the garden, and that means that both trees were accessible to Adam and Eve. They chose which one to eat from.
      11. I am afraid that Calvinism has done a great deal to disillusion people away from the God of the Bible. I won’t go any deeper into it now. Consider the fact though, from the scriptures, that Cain was still told by God, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” How could God make that promise if Cain did not have a choice? It is a conditional promise, “If ye…then I will accept you.” Cain’s choice is made clear when the very next verse has him choosing to kill his brother instead of submitting to God. According to God’s promise to Cain though, if Cain had simply done that which is good in God’s sight—offering a sin offering like Abel—then he would have been accepted by God. We’re told later in the NT that Cain killed Abel because his own works were evil. Cain refused to repent, and change his works.
      12. These Calvinistic conjectures that are so popular today greatly trouble me. I cannot in good conscience support Calvinistic ministries. My father-in-law told me some months ago that systems of thought—especially doctrinal ones—that are born out of a carnal mind will flourish. This new Calvinism that is spreading amongst young people today, like an STD, is flourishing. Perhaps some are just not willing to endure sound doctrine like the Bible warned us of. But I need to get back on track.
    2. Let’s look at 2 Thessalonians 2:8-14:
      1. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2The. 2:8-14)
      2. In v.8-9, Paul tells us of the revealing of the Antichrist. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”
      3. Next, we’re told in v.10 that men will perish because they refused to embrace the truth. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
      4. Again, it is stated that God reacts to their refusal of the truth, in v.11, notice that here Paul uses the same phrase as he did in the book of Romans, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”
      5. In v.12 we have what reads with almost the same meaning as the last couple verses of Romans 2. We’re told that their fates are sealed because they reject the truth, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
      6. Next, in v.13-14 we have Paul setting this in contrast to the faithful brethren at Thessalonica. He says, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
      7. The phrase “from the beginning chosen you” does not mean the Calvinistic idea of predestination. There is a biblical idea of predestination, but it is contrary to Calvinism. Paul is simply reiterating that God had ordained the means by which men would be saved before the world began. This is in agreement with scripture elsewhere, where it is stated that Christ was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The means of salvation was chosen by God before it all began. God essentially said, “All those who choose my Son as their salvation will be saved.” This is taught in scripture when it says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Eph 1:4) We are accepted “in Christ” we are told. This is why it is continuously commanded us to “abide in Him” “continue in Him” and so forth. God knows the end from the beginning, but man is temporal. God must interact with man in the present. This is why God speaks to man presently while acknowledging the future as a certainty to Himself. God ordained the means of salvation, God knows who is going to “endure to the end”, but He presently allows man to make his own choice to maintain His own justice and righteous judgment.
      8. I love 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 because I believe it says all of that in a nutshell. God ordained the means of salvation, “Through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.” We know from elsewhere in scripture that it is the belief of the truth the enables the Spirit of God to come into a believer. In Ephesians 1:13, it says, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” So here Paul says it is that men hear the gospel, they believe the gospel and avail themselves of the promise it holds, and then the Spirit of God comes into them. Notice that it is upon the condition of their believing the “word of truth”. Peter also acknowledges this when on the day of Pentecost he tells men, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Act 2:38) Belief of the truth leads to repentance and faith, and after repentance and faith comes the believer being born of the Spirit.
      9. Paul states the same thing in 2 Thessalonians 2:14, when he says, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Men are called by the gospel, and they either choose to yield to it or harden their hearts. So, this “process” of deception is in agreement with the whole context of scripture. It’s just not in agreement with certain people’s philosophies that they impose upon the scriptures. I like how Adam Clarke summed up this process in his comments on this verse:
  1. “Let us observe the order of Divine grace in this business:
    1. They were to hear the truth - the doctrines of the Gospel.
    2. They were to believe this truth when they heard it preached.
    3. They were to receive the Spirit of God in believing the truth.
    4. That Spirit was to sanctify their souls-produce an inward holiness, which was to lead to all outward conformity to God.
    5. All this constituted their salvation - their being fitted for the inheritance among the saints in light.
    6. They were to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ - that state of felicity for which they were fitted, by being saved here from their sins, and by being sanctified by the Spirit of God.” (Adam Clarke)
  1. Is this “giving over” a form of God deceiving?
    1. Some have said that this constitutes God deceiving people. This is obviously false. Since God is the truth, and all that proceeds from Him is true, whenever someone rejects Him they reject the truth also. Since there is no mixing of truth with error—there are no half-truths—whoever rejects the truth of the gospel must by necessity believe a lie.
    2. John the Apostle said, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” (1Jn 2:21)
    3. He says also, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1Jn 2:27)
    4. So here we see John acknowledge that there is no mixing of truth with lie. Whatsoever is not conformable to truth is not the truth. Think about it like this: Whatever is not X, is non-X. Whatever is not truth, is non-truth. It’s therefore a lie. We’re dealing with exclusivity.
    5. There is God’s truth, and then there is everything else. If you reject God’s truth you are forcing yourself to believe a lie. God is not the one deceiving these people. God simply allows you to believe and embrace what you have chosen.
    6. It’s important to remember though, that as men we don’t necessarily know when someone has been “given over” to this deception. It’s only going to be visible in the great Tribulation when such people are visibly identifiable by the mark of the Beast. So we cannot allow the fact that this happens to keep us from being evangelistic.
  2. “Rescuing Devices Theology”
    1. Now at this point, I would like to mention a habit that I think most of us have done at some point. It’s what I have kind of nicknamed in my head a “rescuing device theology”. Dr. Jason Lisle in lecturing about logic refers to a certain kind of habit by people as “rescuing devices”. I think there is an application to doctrinal issues on this matter.
    2. Some doctrinal systems are growing in popularity because people believe them to be logically consistent. What is usually the case though is that it is a system built around a single premise that has been defended for so long that its proponents have an answer for everything. It’s important to remember that just because you have an answer for everything that does not mean you’re correct.
    3. Even in studying logic, which is getting very popular in apologetics, people can sometimes forget that even though they have a logically valid argument that that doesn’t make it sound. The difference being that even though your chain of reasoning is logical and consistent, it doesn’t mean that the premise you are basing that argument on is true.
    4. I esteem Calvinism to fall into this camp. It is based on a false notion of God’s sovereignty; they redefine sovereignty to disallow any choice on man’s part—generally. There are some that redefine man’s inability to allow choice, but then they redefine choice also. When you look at enough theological systems, it seems to fall into only a few basic ideas of who’s to blame for man’s sin: (1) Adam, because he sinned we all sinned in him; (2) Satan, who has made all men sinners by influence or something, “the devil made me do it”; (3) God, who made men by nature sinners and arbitrarily selecting only a few to be made saints by His own will, this is Calvinism; (4) and this one is rarely found, Man, who makes his own choice to sin though he had the choice of obedience and must pay the consequences. That really is all you find generally. It’s interesting that only one of those actually is consistent with how God Himself speaks to men, and it’s that last one that shows that man has a choice and ability to do either good or bad. The only good he can do being that he has the ability to choose to yield to God’s salvation.
    5. But what happens is that people are told a few things when they are very young in the Lord that they hold on to for the rest of their lives and never question. I talked about this in our episodes “Pleading for truth” and “How can I examine my doctrine without compromising my faith?”
    6. But when this is the case, people will use what are called by some people “rescuing devices”. It’s when you don’t actually examine the truthfulness of your premise, but you conjecture a way or means that it could still be true. It just shows that you want your premise, and not necessarily the truth. There is a funny illustration of this used by Jason Lisle. When Galileo had made a telescope that could look at the surface of the moon which showed that the surface of the moon was not a perfect sphere, he upset a lot of people because this was the commonly held view. So Galileo allows some of the so-called experts to look through his telescope, which they did, and he feels that they would truly see now that they are wrong. Instead, they come up with a rescuing device. They say, “Ah…yes, but you see, over all the mountains, valleys, and craters on the moon is an invisible glass coating that is truly perfectly smooth.” Galileo realizing that there was no way to disprove them without being able to go to the moon physically simply answers them according to their folly. He says, “Ah…yes, but over that layer there is another invisible layer that has mountains, valleys, and craters!”
    7. Does it sound silly? Yes, but it’s what a majority of theological and doctrinal conversations are like. I’m sick of reading books and articles on the Calvinism versus Arminianism debate. There are few who plead for truth. People are just unwilling to question their viewpoint. They come up with rescuing devices, and most people’s entire history of doctrinal teaching is nothing more than coming up with rescuing devices that defend a premise that no one in their camp wants to examine. Usually, it’s the most creative “rescuing device” makers that are esteemed to be the brilliant teachers.
    8. The whole thing is a grief of mind to me. I’ve been there, and I’ve done the same thing; but when God showed me what I was doing and pricked me in my heart I chose to examine things. The results were that He showed me just how wrong I was.
  3. Holding the Truth in unrighteousness
    • Now I hope that you’re not someone who just wants to defend your position. Giving a defense of the faith requires that you constantly examine yourself as to whether or not you are in the faith—according to the only infallible source: God’s Word.
    • Let’s look at John 3:19-21 real quick:
      1. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
    • Those that do evil are the ones who are said to not want to come to the light. The reason being that they are afraid to be corrected. They do not value the truth, they value something else. It’s for this reason that they are condemned in the sight of God, because in order to come to God you must come to the light of His truth to be corrected. These hold the truth in unrighteousness. They suppress it and resist it.
    • In contrast we have those that do the truth, that is, they are practicing the truth. We’re told that they come to the light. They are continually coming to the light of God to make manifest their deeds, practice, and doctrines. This is the believer, the Christian. He wants to make sure that he is in agreement with God so that there will be no separation of fellowship. He doesn’t suppress the truth, he intentionally presses towards it.
    • The scriptures tell us that anyone can begin to do this. In Acts 7, Stephen rebukes the Sanhedrin for resisting the Holy Ghost. They reacted by stoning him. In 1 Thessalonians 5 we’re told by Paul to not “quench the spirit”, and again in Ephesians 4:30 where we’re told that we can “grieve” the Spirit of God. Be careful, because you can go from walking in the light and pressing toward the mark to resisting God and quenching His Spirit to your own destruction. Some are like Jacob. They go about in simplicity of faith and God is with them and they perceived it not. Others are like Sampson, and God has departed from them and they perceived it not.
    • I do wonder which it is that you are. Let me ask you, what is it that you examine things by? When someone who believes differently than you gives you an argument, do you examine it by your beliefs or by God’s Word? Or, do you examine it by your beliefs about God’s Word? You should be examining by God’s Word in and of itself. Remember Paul’s admonition, and let it be your premise: “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4) I don’t care who it aligns me with, I don’t care what people think, I don’t care if it upsets my family, I don’t care if it contradicts my church or denomination—I want God’s truth. I want to be approved in His sight. If you do, it will always put you against the majority in this world.
    • In closing, God has attributed the truth to Himself, and to those things that proceed from Him. He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, the truth doesn’t change. The world is increasing in its hostility to God’s authority and its wickedness; but the truth which makes men free has not changed. Always remember, when the truth is rejected all this is left to believe is lies. The only way that you’re going to keep yourself from being deceived is to continually be coming to the light of God’s Word and examining all things by it.
    • Christ said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat. 7:21-23) Christ has said that there are many people that are going to appear before Him at the judgment who are deceived about their true state. I do wonder at what point they start to deceive themselves.