Monday, October 3, 2022

The Forgotten Trinity - Nicene ReMyx


 

Many churches recite the Nicene Creed on a regular basis:

 

We believe in one God,

      the Father almighty,

      maker of heaven and earth,

      of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

      the only Son of God,

      begotten from the Father before all ages,

           God from God,

           Light from Light,

           true God from true God,

      begotten, not made;

of the same essence as the Father. ...

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,

      the Lord, the giver of life.

      He proceeds from the Father and the Son,

      and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.


 

James White, who wrote What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an, has written The Forgotten Trinity which is a powerful defense of this doctrine and confronts cultic distortions.  Before the Corona Crisis there was a debate (11-13-19) where James White faced off with Shabir Ally at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA on the topic "Tawhid or Trinity: Is God One or Three Divine Persons?"


 

Another helpful resource is Knowing the Truth About the Trinity by John Ankerberg and John Weldon which answers questions like "Why is the Trinity a mystery?" and "Is belief in the triune God critical?"  Here's the Westminster Confession in modern English (Ch. 2, Sec. 3):

 

In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, having one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father exists. He is not generated and does not come from any source. The Son is eternally generated from the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally comes from the Father and the Son. (Mt 3:16-17, 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14, Eph 2:18, Jn 1:14,18, 17:24, Heb 1:2-6, Col 1:15-17, Jn 15:26, Gal 4:6)


 

The Trinity: Evidence and Issues by Robert A. Morey (d. 2019) defends the Trinity from the Old and New Testaments. He looks at Jewish writings and the Early Church Fathers.  This massive tome has nearly 600 pages!  You may find Michael Brown's talk on the Old Testament and the Trinity here.  Dr. Brown has recently put out The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Can Overcome It.

 

Consider Jesus' baptism:

 

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Lk. 3:21,22; cf. Jn. 1:29-34)

 

Francis Schaeffer (d. 1984) spoke of the mutual love between the members of the Trinity.  Here's the proof:

 

æ The Father sends the Son. (Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:14)

æ The Father sends the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26; Galatians 4:6)

æ The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. (John 3:35; 5:20; 14:31)

æ The Father and Son glorify each other. (John 17:1,4,5)

æ The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. (John 16:14).

 

Isaiah 63 seems to hint at the Trinity:

 

Yet they rebelled

    and grieved his Holy Spirit.

So he turned and became their enemy

    and he himself fought against them.

... Where is he who set

    his Holy Spirit among them,

who sent his glorious arm of power

    to be at Moses’ right hand,

who led them through the depths?

... they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.

This is how you guided your people

    to make for yourself a glorious name.

... Where are your zeal and your might?

    Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.

But you are our Father,

    though Abraham does not know us

    or Israel acknowledge us;

you, Lord, are our Father,

    our Redeemer from of old is your name.

         (Is. 63:10-16)


 

"The Churches One Foundation" references the Trinity.  Child Evangelism Fellowship has a great tune on the Trinity for kids.  Enjoy this lovely song on the Trinity based on a an Irish tune.  Even Hillsong chimes in as well with "This I Believe (The Creed)."  I wrote a pro-Trinity song, "Theology Matters" (~Metallica).

 

Kudos: the graphic with the long hair and flowers was adapted from the Italian artist Marco Melgrati.

 

#Trinity #MarcoMelgrati #JamesWhite #ForgottenTrinity  #Metallica #TheologyMatters #RobertMorey #Ankerberg #Bible #Theology #Tawhid 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

It's All Greek to Me (#LightningThief)


 

 “I am dragged along by a strange new force.  Desire and reason are pulling in different directions.  I see the right way and approve it, but follow the wrong.”

   -- Ovid, Metamorphoses

 

Richard Russell Riordan, Jr., aka Rick Riordan, put out his first book Big Red Tequila in 1997.  He attended the University of North Texas (Denton), where I have taken some exams.  How then should we evaluate The Lightning Thief? 

Besides attacking Math Teachers, chapter one is "I Accidentally Vaporize My Maths Teacher," I have concerns regarding stealers of lightning.  Consider how the story starts:

 

Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.  If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now.  Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.  Being a half-blood is dangerous.  It's scary.  Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.  If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great.  Read on.  I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened.  But if you recognize yourself in these pages - if you feel something stirring inside - stop reading immediately.  You might be one of us.  And once you know that, it's only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they'll come for you.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

 


For youngsters who have flights of fancy, how might Riordan's literature affect them?  I have a vivid imagination, in my younger days I was Calvin & Hobbes.  My imaginary friends were based on characters from the Saturday morning cartoons on TV.  Here is a token of my more recent creative writing, "The Book Eater."  George Reeves (d. 1959) starred in the early TV Superman series which originally aired from 1952 to 1958 and went on for many years as reruns.  As a child, I thought I was Superman, although I never jumped off a roof.  Christopher D'Olier Reeve (d. 2004) also played Superman.  I recall that in many of my dreams I was flying - it seemed totally real.

 

We read this exchange on page five of The Lightning Thief:

 

[Percy Jackson] "That's Kronos eating his kids, right?"

"Yes," Mr. Brunner [Percy's Latin teacher] said, obviously not satisfied. "And he did this because ..."

"Well ..." I racked my brain to remember. "Kronos was the king god, and"

"God?" Mr. Brunner asked.

"Titan," I corrected myself "And ... he didn't trust his kids, who were the gods. So, um, Kronos ate them, right?  But his wife hid baby Zeus, and gave Kronos a rock to eat instead.  And later, when Zeus grew up, he tricked his dad, Kronos, into barfing up his brothers and sisters ..."

 

Not very edifying, is it?  One might say, "gods, gods everywhere, and not a verity to drink."  What can we learn from the battle between the god Dagon and the true Creator of the cosmos?

 

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to  Ashdod.  Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon.  And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord [YAHWEH].  So they took Dagon and put him back in his place.  But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold.  Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.  This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day (1 Sam. 5:1-5).

 


Nebuchadnezzar the Great (d. 562 BC) worshiped the false gods of Babylon. 

After Daniel had interpreted his dream about the statue of gold, bronze and iron, Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God and said: “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery” (Dan. 2:47).  Because of Nebuchadnezzar's pride, the Lord sent him into the wilderness to live like an animal.  However, by God's grace, he experienced a conversion and gave this confession of praise to the Lord:

 

... His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.  All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” ... Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble (Dan. 4:34,35,37).

 

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became King of Judah.  He sinned grievously by promoting foreign gods, but later repented:

 

In his [Manasseh's] distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors.  And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom.  Then Manasseh knew that the Lord [YAHWEH] is God. ... He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city (2 Chr. 33:12,13,15).

 

Should we not follow Manasseh's example and reject the fake gods of the pagan world?

 

On a positive note, Percy rightly condemns a "Pass The Loot" style preacher who is being led to punishment in the Underworld:

 

I did remember now.  We’d seen him on TV a couple of times at the Yancy  Academy dorm.  He was this annoying televangelist from Upstate New York who’d raised millions of dollars for orphanages and then got caught spending the money on stuff for his mansion, like gold-plated toilet seats, and an indoor putt-putt golf course.  He’d died in a police chase when his "Lamborghini for the Lord" went off a cliff.

 

Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC - 18 AD), better known as Ovid, was a Roman poet who wrote Metamorphoses (8 AD) which is composed of 15 books and more than 250 myths.  Consider his account of creation:

 

When he, whoever of the gods it was, had thus arranged in order and resolved that chaotic mass, and reduced it, thus resolved, to cosmic parts, he first molded the Earth into the form of a mighty ball so that it might be of like form on every side … And, that no region might be without its own forms of animate life, the stars and divine forms occupied the floor of heaven, the sea fell to the shining fishes for their home, Earth received the beasts, and the mobile air the birds … Then Man was born:… though all other animals are prone, and fix their gaze upon the earth, he gave to Man an uplifted face and bade him stand erect and turn his eyes to heaven.”

 

Ovid is right in that all animals appeared at the beginning, in contrast to Darwinism.  He also teaches that Man is special.  The Bible, on the other hand,  tells us who created all - the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator: 

 

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. ...

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom." (Heb. 1:1,2,8)

 

When Paul spoke at Mars Hill, he found out that Greek myths and a real resurrection don't mix:

 

"For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” (Acts 17:31,32)

 

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the Resurrection he came in the same body that was on the cross, but transformed:

 

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Lk. 24:36-39)

 

I his introduction to Plato's Statesman, Benjamin Jowett says this:

 

There was a time when God directed the revolutions of the world, but at the

completion of a certain cycle he let go; and the world, by a necessity of

its nature, turned back, and went round the other way. For divine things

alone are unchangeable; but the earth and heavens, although endowed with

many glories, have a body, and are therefore liable to perturbation. ... there are two cycles of the world, and in one of them it is governed by an immediate Providence, and receives life and immortality, and in the other is let go again, and has a reverse action during infinite ages.

 


The genealogical chronologies in Genesis 5 and 11 teach us that the world is thousands of years old, not billions.  Tim Chaffey (Old-Earth Creationism on Trial) provides an excellent summary of the young earth position.  The argument is easy to catch:

  Adam to Abe ==> ~2K years

  Abe to Jesus ==> ~2K years

  Jesus to Now ==> ~2K years.

Thus, you get 6K years.


 

Janie from the "Redeemed Reader" drops the Kraken on the Percy Jackson saga:

 

... the author must do more than resurrect the gods of Greek antiquity; he must imagine a world in which Yahweh never spoke from Mt. Sinai and a virgin never conceived and bore a son.  Riordan is unapologetic in his admiration for the West, which “represents a lot of the best things mankind ever did” [Annabeth] ...  while begging the question of whether western civilization, with its skyscrapers and charitable institutions and United States of America, would be even possible without a Christian consciousness. 

 

Kendra Tierney, whose interests range from baking, sewing, crafting, party planning to home remodeling, had this to say on the Percy phenomena: "I didn’t like this book because of its relativistic approach to religion, its matter-of-fact presentation of extra-marital relationships, and its celebration of Percy’s mother’s murder of her husband."

 

Tierney continues ...

 

In the original myth, Aphrodite is married by her father Zeus to the crippled blacksmith Hephaestus, despite her love for Ares.  She continues having relations with Ares after having consummated her relationship with her husband.  Hephaestus sets a trap and catches the lovers in the act.  His agony and the shame of the entrapped lovers are a big part of the story ... NONE of that happens in the book [The Lightning Thief].

 

Tierney provides some very thoughtful discussion questions:

 

 [1]    What are the consequences for the people and gods in this book who are involved in affairs outside of marriage?  For instance Percy’s mother, Poseidon, Ares, Zeus?  What about all the children at Camp Half-Blood, none of whom has an intact family?  Do you think this is a good situation for them?

[2]    What happens when we die?  Is it possible, as we read in this book that “Humans see what they want to see” after they die?  Would this be a dangerous thing to believe?

[3]    Poseidon tells his son Percy “I am sorry you were born” and calls him an “unforgivable mistake.”  Do we believe that there are children who should never have been born?  Does OUR God ever make mistakes?

[4]    Percy’s mother thinks that her life wouldn’t “mean anything” if she let someone take care of her.  Do you agree with this?

[5]    Percy decides not to kill his stepfather.  But he leaves the head of Medusa for his mother, and she uses it to kill her husband, since he is very mean and beats her.  Is it morally acceptable to kill someone under these circumstances?  Did Percy help his mother by leaving this weapon for her?

 

The stories of Greek gods becoming humans via a virgin birth came after Christ's earthly ministry.[1]  Francis Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live?) gave an apt contrast between the Greek myths and a Biblical Worldview:

 

The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture. ... By gradual stages a loving and all-powerful God had created light and darkness, the heavenly bodies [... He also made the stars - Gen. 1:16], the earth and all its plants, animals, birds, and fishes. Finally, God had created Adam and, as an afterthought, Eve to keep man from being lonely. Man named all the animals, thus establishing his dominance over them. God planned all of this explicitly for man's benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man's purposes. And, although man's body is made of clay, he is not simply part of nature: he is made in God's image. Especially in its Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen. ... Man shares, in great measure, God's transcendence of nature. Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism ... insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends. At the level of the common people this worked out in an interesting way. In Antiquity every tree, every spring, every stream, every hill had its own genius loci, its guardian spirit. These spirits were accessible to men, but were very unlike men; centaurs, fauns, and mermaids show their ambivalence. Before one cut a tree, mined a mountain, or dammed a brook, it was important to placate the spirit in charge of that particular situation, and to keep it placated. By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects. [2]

 


What did Dame Olivia Newton-John (d. 8-8-22) think of the Lightning Thief or the Grease Thief for that matter?

 

 

Notes:

1) Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler (Baker

Books, 1999), p. 518.

2) Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer by Francis Schaeffer (Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 1982), Vol. 5, pp. 63, 64.

 

#DropTheKraken  #ConfirmedReformationalProtestant  #RickRiordan  #LightningThief  #Lightning  #GreekMyths  #Resurrection #Jn14_6  #Schaeffer  #Worldview  #God  #Jesus  #Bible  #Geisler  #Apologetics  #Creation  #Genesis    #OliviaNewtonJohn