Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Merry Holiday

Here is a nice primer before Christmas to remember the reason for Christmas. If you are anything like me, I need several reminders, so I will probably post more on the Jesus being the real reason for the season.

  • The reason we celebrate Christmas is to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate who came to save the world from sin and death. Before Christ, humanity was lost in our sinfulness, without a savior, without hope. But not now, now God has provided a way for His beloved creation to be saved. This is why we celebrate Christmas!

Think you are a good person? Test yourself here in light of God's standards. Then be sure to check out God's answers.

Have a blessed day,

Derrick

8 comments:

Kwame said...

<<...Of Jesus Christ, God incarnate who came to save the world from sin and death.>>

If so, then He failed. Right?


<<This is why we celebrate Christmas!>gt;

Or if you are like 90% of the rest of us, you probably celebrate it only because that’s what the people around you are doing and you feel pressure to do the same. It would be curious to see what the world would be like if everyone started doing things without any compulsion of “societal pressure,” if you will. One thing is sure, retailers would not be making millions on greetings cards and Christmas gifts every year. Another thing for sure is that fewer people would be afraid to say “Merry Christmas!” which is how I will end this comment of mine.

Derrick Bright said...

I suppose a loose analogy could be kind of like Santa Claus who goes around to give alll little boys and girls presents; only he actually only gives presents to those who are on the list.

I'm not sure precision of language is always necessary; sometimes it is ok to generalize things. Sometimes.

You are right in a sense. Jesus, in the moral will sense failed because not all are saved, but that does not necessarily mean that is not why He came. I am sure you are familiar with Koukl's idea of moral versus sovereign will. If not, check it out. www.str.org

---If everyone was jumping off a...Some have argued in the past that there is a benefit (besides monetary) to all the "commercialism" of Christmas in that it brings it to the mind of the public rather than the alternative where it was merely a Christian observance. More people get to hear Christmas songs (versus not hearing), more folks tend to be more friendly or giving (unless you're in a Walmart store :-)

Of course, more folks kill themselves and bite people for laptops, road rage, car accidents, birds pecking your eyes out, zombies, all that...WHAT!!

Merry Christmas Kwame.

Kwame said...

<< You are right in a sense. Jesus, in the moral will sense failed because not all are saved, but that does not necessarily mean that is not why He came. >>

And so you are comfortable saying that: that Jesus failed? Do you really want to say that Jesus failed?


<< I am sure you are familiar with Koukl's idea of moral versus sovereign will. If not, check it out. www.str.org >>

More proof that the Christian community is an intellectual ghetto, if you will. The idea of a dicthotomy of wills is quite questionable even considering Piper’s (and Koukl’s) writings on the subject. Even if the dichotomy is sound, the way in which the classifications are made is badly in need of refinement, something that comes only with time and work.


Anyway, I again ask the question: do you really want to say that Jesus failed? You can test that question against whatever information that you personally can intuit, or at least seem to intuit, and you can also consider the following which is a short reminder of grammar and philosophical/linguistic pragmatics.

The phrase at issue was “...God incarnate who came to save the world from sin and death.” The phrase “who came to save the world from sin and death” has the form (a) of {N: Subj, VT: Pred, to-VInf, PrepP-Subj}, where VT just means transitive verb, VINf means infinitival verb, and PreP means prepositional phrase. Well, (a) phrases have a particular function in the English language: they are used first and foremost to indicate that one does something with the intention of accomplishing something in particular. For example, the sentence you just read. Another example, “I read a book to kill some time” which could also be worded as “I read a book in order to kill some time,” “I read a book that I might kill some time,” etc.

Consequently, when you say “Jesus Christ came to save the world from sin and death” what you are saying--unless you are not speaking according to English convention like everyone else--is that it was Jesus’ intention to save the world from sin and death, and that He came for that purpose. This goes beyond the will--this is about intent. So if Christ came to save the world from sin and from death, then He did not achieve his goal and purpose.

And if things were not bad enough already, then just think: when people act in order to achive some goal/purpose/end of theirs (IOW, when they act in order to do something), they tend to put into their effort at least a minimum of what they believe is needed in order to secure that end or goal of theirs. This just raises the probability that Christ did the same thing when He came. Yet if He did this, then not only did He fail (!) some 2000 years ago, but He also harbored a false belief: in this case, the false belief that such-and-such action of his would suffice to get done the job of saving the world from sin and death.

So I’m really thinking that Christ did not come to save the world from sin and death. But that just leads to the question of what certain Scriptures mean, ones which seem to echo the statement that you initially made :)

Your ideas?

Kwame said...

<<---Some have argued in the past that there is a benefit (besides monetary) to all the "commercialism" of Christmas in that it brings it to the mind of the public rather than the alternative where it was merely a Christian observance. More people get to hear Christmas songs (versus not hearing), more folks tend to be more friendly or giving (unless you're in a Walmart store :-)>>

I see. Well, it is nice to have people be nice besides those times when they’re holding doors, letting you turn from Del Taco onto Bear Valley Road on a Friday night, or being polite only because they don’t know you.

What’s wrong with Wal-Mart? I always thought the people there were nice.

Derrick Bright said...

Today in church, the pastor read a verse that was kind of along the lines of what I was speaking about. 1 Tim 4:10 ..."we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

He is the savior of all, but really only to those who believe, understand, trust in the salvation God have provided a way for. At this time, I am fairly satified with the Sovereign vs. Moral will of God and the many problems it solves.

As far as your Grammar stuff goes, sorry, but I did not really like English too much, so I am not going to as precise as I possibly could.

If God really wanted (sovereignly)everyone to be saved, He could do it. We would not have much free will (please don't show me the finer distinctions of free will/sovereign discussion-I'm not wanting to do that right now :-)-I think we have less than I used to think), but He could.

He wants everyone to be saved, He provided a way for us to be, but we will not all choose that way. Does that mean God failed? I don't think so. This would be the "in a sense" that I referred to earlier.

---Walmart is nice, I was merely thinking of the woman who bit another during after Thanksgiving Day sale...Plus some people in there can be a little more freaky..for lack of a better word. :-)

Derrick

Kwame said...

<< He is the savior of all, but really only to those who believe, understand, >>

Well, either He is the savior of all or He is not. There can be no middle ground any more than the sky can be blue and non-blue at the same time and in the same way, even if we should try to say, “It is blue, but not really blue.” Never sell yourself short when it comes to would-be answers to life’s tough questions; the answers that do not completely feel right are often flawed. (And this is why my work as a webmaster never ever ends....)


<< At this time, I am fairly satified with the Sovereign vs. Moral will of God and the many problems it solves. >>

Not to mention the problems it creates. But suit yourself as you will, if you must.


<< As far as your Grammar stuff goes, sorry, but I did not really like English too much, so I am not going to as precise as I possibly could. >>

Forget the classes you took in grade school. They’ve dumbed English curricula down to being just a bunch of compositional stuff and readings in the worst of bad philosophy anyway. Thats' why its hardto tell when ya''ll have spelled words right per say and of used them right.


<< If God really wanted (sovereignly)everyone to be saved, He could do it. We would not have much free will (please don't show me the finer distinctions of free will/sovereign discussion-I'm not wanting to do that right now :-)-I think we have less than I used to think), but He could. >>

What do people think the word “sovereign” means, anyhow? (And I would ask neither Calvinist nor post-Arminian for the answer but simply grab a dictionary and a philosophy encyclopedia.)

In the meantime, and for the rest of your life, just forget about the concept of free will. It’s a diversion from what really is important, and the phrase “free will” is so thoroughly used and semantically vague that there is one report that two hundred (!)different meanings of the phrase have been observed during the course of human history.


<< He wants everyone to be saved, He provided a way for us to be, but we will not all choose that way. Does that mean God failed? I don't think so. This would be the "in a sense" that I referred to earlier. >>

It would not necessarily mean this, yet I spoke of *intentionality,* not merely of the *will.* God is a failure and it should be that God has had his fair share of false beliefs, or so this is implied by post-Arminian beliefs which dominate American Christian thought today.

But guess what! There’s good news, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the money that I’m saving by having Geico: if you are a short-term substitute teacher, you aren’t grading papers at night and you have more time to think about these things during the day. Woohoo! Enjoy.

Derrick Bright said...

Kwame,

You: Well, either He is the savior of all or He is not. There can be no middle ground any more than the sky can be blue and non-blue at the same time and in the same way, even if we should try to say, “It is blue, but not really blue.” Never sell yourself short when it comes to would-be answers to life’s tough questions; the answers that do not completely feel right are often flawed. (And this is why my work as a webmaster never ever ends....)

---I think I follow you, but to shed some light on what I would include in my thinking, Shawn over at 1sdg.blogspot.com has commented on what can be meant when Bible refers to "all".

I don't think it is a matter of fail or didn't fail; it seems more of an issue of how we interpret different words. Since I don't believe God contradicts Himself, nor does He fail in what He intends on doing, there has to be more to the story. Shawn sheds light on this as well as referring again to sovereign/moral will of Koukl-even MacArthur (I think).

You: Not to mention the problems it creates. But suit yourself as you will, if you must.

---I must, for now, though I am enjoying (sort of) the sharpening taking place. I can only take so much, though.

You: In the meantime, and for the rest of your life, just forget about the concept of free will. It’s a diversion from what really is important, and the phrase “free will” is so thoroughly used and semantically vague that there is one report that two hundred (!)different meanings of the phrase have been observed during the course of human history.

---Wow, that's a lot.

You: But guess what! There’s good news, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the money that I’m saving by having Geico: if you are a short-term substitute teacher, you aren’t grading papers at night and you have more time to think about these things during the day. Woohoo! Enjoy.

---Yeah, I don't have all kinds of time just to sit and think. My wife would not allow that. :-) Nor would I want to ignore her so I could think. My first ministry is in my home.

Peace out, my brother,
Derrick

Kwame said...

<< I don't think it is a matter of fail or didn't fail; it seems more of an issue of how we interpret different words. Since I don't believe God contradicts Himself, nor does He fail in what He intends on doing, there has to be more to the story. >>

There is indeed more to the story: there is a difference between believing a given proposition and the absence (as it were) of full knowledge of a proposition’s logical implications. It is good that you do not believe that God is a failure; however, post-Arminian folks believe something that makes God out to be a failure, and apparently also to be someone who believes false propositions, nonetheless.

And the statement that the matter at hand is one of how we interpret words is simply irrelevant unless one can back this assertion up with supporting premises. For example, are there counterexamples to supposed canonical uses of phrases of a certain type? (And, of course, I am once again speaking of phrases of intentionality, not of the will though the discussion is centered on questions of the will.)A question like that would have to be answered.


<< I think I follow you, but to shed some light on what I would include in my thinking, Shawn over at 1sdg.blogspot.com has commented on what can be meant when Bible refers to "all". >>

I’m not seeing how that fits into things, but the word “all” means all in most instances, something on the order of many in other instances (mostly colloquial speech apparently). Anyone who says otherwise, I challenge him to prove it. For there happens to be this word called “purview” which factors (or should factor) into discussions of Pauline uses of the word “all.”


I don’t care what anyone says. Critical theory and meta-analysis are fun.