Posted in history

Political Tyranny and the Story of Henry Box Brown – The American Vision

I’ve been working on the topic of Civil Disobedience for a talk I’m giving at a conference in LaGrange, Georgia, on October 1. There are too many Christians who believe they can win a shooting war with the United States government. Pres. Biden was right. To take on our government, we would need “F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” This was a terrible thing to say. It gives the impression that Pres.
— Read on americanvision.org/posts/political-tyranny-and-the-story-of-henry-box-brown/

Sage wisdom from uncle Gary DeMar

Posted in Pro-Life

All Lives not Some not Most but ALL: promoting New Saint Andrews

wordpress.com/read/feeds/15207328/posts/2790042312

Even if you have no desire to attend New Saint Andrews College their marketing video offers some keen insight on the hypocritical debacle of BLM. All life, All Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Red and any other shade you want to slap on the human race MATTERS. From the womb to the grave life is precious but not all people think so. We need to do a better job of identifying who the HATERS truly are. Perhaps, if college is in your near future New Saint Andrews will be the solution your looking for. If college is not in your future, but you want to watch a slam of a marketing ploy that hits WOKEY McWoke in his teeth…click on the link above.

Happy 4th!!🇱🇷

Posted in Musings

Fear Blind: Sacrificing Freedom for False Security

 

Although I would imagine that a lot of COVID-19 material has been written on WordPress and other blogospheric sites, I find myself compelled to speak on the matter at least one more time. I do not do this out of anxiety or fear (although, I am well aware of how quickly and easily such things can grip your heart), but out of a desire to point out something that people need to seriously consider: The Unknown.

My concerns…

As a pastor, I’ve had to keep up-to-date on the daily news briefings related to this particular virus. I will admit up front that I am a conservative, and as such I prefer Fox News over other media sources. However, that is not to say that I take whatever Fox News says for granted. In my relatively short life, I have learned that I need to be critical of all teachings regardless of their proposed source. Therefore, I also watch other personally less than desirable media outlets like CNN and MSNBC, and I have been known to read the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, as well as the NY Times. Not from enjoyment, but I find it necessary to hear what the other side has to say.

In particular, I have paid attention to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites and their running number of verified cases vs. deaths. Why? To familiarize myself with the actual data, rather than extrapolated data based on models created with variable assumptions ingrained in them.

Two Important Articles put the Issue to Light

Last week I read an article by John Ioannidis an “influential Stanford University epidemiologist.”[1]  You can read his article HERE, but the gist of the argument provided by this highly respectable and cited researcher questions whether or not our response is akin to an elephant running from a cat and then subsequently falling off a cliff, due to fear of the unknown. In this humorous analogy the cat represents the data present on COVID-19, the elephant represents the totality of our response, and the cliff represents the unforeseen danger or unthought about consequences of acting without all the facts.

There was an immediate rebut of Ioannidis article provided by “prominent Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch” which you may also read HERE. Lipsitch argues that,

“if we don’t apply control measures, the number of cases will keep going up exponentially beyond the already fearsome numbers we have seen. Scientists have estimated that the basic reproductive number of this virus is around 2. That means without control, case numbers will double, then quadruple, then be eight times as big and so on, double with each ‘generation’ of cases.”[2]

Knowing How to Read

When we read our reading will vary depending on what type of literature it is. We all do this to some extent. No doubt some are better at this than others, but for the most part we do not read every piece of literature with the same interpretative lens.

For example, you read the comics for enjoyment. You’ll read the obituary to see who has passed on (either for a sentimental value or just curiosity). You read a sports section to see where your team (if you have one) has been competing against the other, etc.

When it comes to reading, I can get through a nice entertainment piece (novel, short story) very quickly. If my reading is research oriented then this take considerably more time. I highlight, draw lines, and scribble notes on any anything available. Recently, I started using “sticky notes” on my computer and was mildly impressed with their simplistic value for keeping my notes on various works organized. When I study my Bible I’m slower still.

An Appeal to Ignorance…

One of the things that I look for when perusing articles like the two I’ve mentioned thus far is identifying certain key terms. I do the same thing when I’m listening to various media outlets. Or, even when in conversation with others (much to the chagrin of my wife). When it comes to the COVID-19 crisis what I am constantly hearing is “…we don’t know how bad this thing will get,” “…we don’t know how many people have it, carry it, or will die from it.” In short, while the virus is certainly novel (new) there are many unknowns about it. What seemingly has people in a stir is the possibility of danger.

To be quite frank, I hate “What if…?” scenarios. Why? Because they are mere conjecture. The only person influenced by them are those invested in them. When a person or a group “makes a statement of ignorance about their respective [subject], and yet proceeds to draw a definite conclusion based on their non-evidence”[3] they have just committed a fallacious (false) argument; an Appeal to Ignorance. That is to say they have taken an “unknown” and then reasoned to a supposed known. This argument can be used in the same way from the opposite position; thus, it proves nothing.

Guessing Game…

Lipsitch in his article uses the terms “estimate,” “perhaps,” “unknown,” “nearly certain.” All of which amount to what? They are guesses, educated guesses…sure, but guesses nonetheless. How then can he claim that without the current measures enacted upon much of the current population that this virus will burn out of control doubling, quadrupling, even multiplying by a factor of 8? These are “what if” scenarios that may or may not occur.

This is what spurred Ioannidis to write the article he did. We are making decisions, in some cases radical ones, in order to fight an uncertainty…all the while pretending that we are certain our efforts will give a good outcome. This seems to be a wonderful case of the shifting sands argument. No foundation, but we keep building as if we are firmly established in our convictions on a rock. Assuming that our house will stand, when in fact it is near collapsing in on itself.

Current Data…

If you look at the current data, even as it seemingly grows as more and more cases/death totals come in, what do we find? That on average the mortality rate is about 1.2-1.5% in the U.S., and if we take the grant totals from around the world, we see about a 4.4-4.8% rate. There is no apparent rise. This does not remove a possibility of drastic increase, but it does seem to offer further support to arguments presented by those of the same mind as Ioannidis. Moreover, it highlights that one ought to make effective, logical arguments based on the data we do have. Not a mirage of data that is yet to be seen. If you argue, “Yes, but it could be worse,” then the rational questioner retorts “on what basis?”

A couple days ago, the president mentioned that on average 37,000 American citizens die every year from the flu (influenza). In 2017, it was nearly 80,000. Influenza is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States of America in 2018.[4] His point was that we’ve never done anything like this before; shutting the entire nation down out of fear. He didn’t say that last part, I did.

The Unseen Enemy

This fight against COVID-19 is caricatured as a war against an invisible enemy. Okay, but what “invisible” enemy are you truly fighting? A virus or the unknown?

When you attempt to argue from ignorance (i.e., Appeal to Ignorance) you are essentially building your position on fear (i.e., Appeal to Fear, a subset of Ignorance argument above). This is where a person or a group of persons “[argues] for a position on the basis that negative consequences will follow if a person [or group] does not accept the position.”[5]  Which is precisely the manner in which the current media storm, along with members of the medical community, and other “experts” argue.  If you don’t do “this” (and you can fill in the list of demands already being placed upon the American people), then “that” will happen. But “that” is unproven because “this” is not really known.

Who is this Enemy…?

I do agree that we are fighting a war against an “invisible enemy,” and not I’m not talking about the devil although I do not deny that he is invisible to the naked eye, and a truer enemy one will not find. But the real enemy we are fighting against (and we are losing) is our own hearts/minds.

Just another day…

Every day we face death. Every stinking day. We do not know when our deaths will come. I’m deathly allergic to all forms of bee venom (all manner of bees, wasps, and hornets). According to my allergist 1/10th of a normal injection of bee venom from say a “yellow jacked” would more than likely cause anaphylactic shock. Back in 2011 I circled the drain once.

“So what,” you say. “What’s the big deal? What’s that got to do with the current COVID-19 discussion?” you ask. My bee allergy is not relatable to COVID-19 as one is a virus and the other is a reaction to venom. Its not that type of analogy. What I am arguing is that I do not let that truth of the deadliness of the venom rob me from my way of life.

My family lives in the country. We live on a wooded 5-acre lot next to other larger wooded chunks of land. Bees, wasps, and hornets are everywhere. About every other year I have to have an exterminator come out and destroy a bald-faced hornet’s nest. Last year, the kids noticed one at the end of our long driveway. It was the size of a basketball, and there were huge hornets everywhere. They are extremely aggressive.

I cut over 2 ½ acres of grass every week. I also run 3 to 4 times a week on our property doing 5-K’s. We have an above ground swimming pool that attracts every type of bug around, including all of those that I am allergic to.

If I were to get stung, I run the risk of dying. The mortality rate for a bee sting for me even with an Epi-pen and antihistamine meds is very high. Much higher than the current death rate of this virus that has so many in a frenzy. But I do not let that dictate my everyday life. If you drive a vehicle, you likewise do the same thing; you put your life and the life of others at risk. Should we ban the use of automobiles because they are the 3rd leading cause of death of American citizens (around 163,000 in 2018).

Freedom or Slavery…

My question is this? Are you really willing to give up your freedom to live in order to grapple with a false sense of security? Because guess what, you can still die at home. You can still get an illness at home locked up in quarantine. You can still break your neck, have a blood clot travel to your heart, lung or brain. Death is around the corner. It is the invisible enemy that is always hunting you (in a figurative sense). You will die, but it seems to me that an important question is “How are we going to live?”

If a depression does hit this nation, what will the ripple effect look like here in the U.S. and the rest of the world? Will we see parents destitute in poverty unable to take care of themselves or their families? Will we witness suicides rates rise as depression begins to set in? What about pillaging or war as people try to fight for resources? Will famine and other diseases see an increase? Do you think that is just an example of fear mongering?

What about the next time an unknown enemy descends upon us? Will the response time of governmental takeover be shortened? Are we really willing to sacrifice our freedoms for a false sense of security? I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I find them laughable. But do you really suppose that these scenarios are somehow less realistic than the one so many are holding to now in blind fear?

Please think…

Currently, we are pretending the cat in the room is more dangerous than the unseen cliff that we were precariously dancing around? I’m not fear mongering here. These are real realities. This situation we find ourselves in regarding COVID-19 needs to be examined from more than one angle. It reminds me of the part in Jurassic Park where you see the one velociraptor straight ahead, all the while you’ve missed the other two about to pounce on you from their hiding spots.

Our field of vision has become so narrowed that we are missing other life-threatening realities. Are you really willing to sacrifice your freedom for a false sense of security? Sadly, I think many people just might be. Time will tell.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Kelly Crowe, “Prominent scientist dares to ask: Has the COVID-19 response gone to far?” CBC News, modified March 19, 2020, https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/coronavirus-covid-pandemic-response-scientists-1.5502423.

[2] Notice that Lipsitch does not know this, but assumes it. This will be identified later in the article by pointing to certain key terms in his writing. He argues from what is not known, and then makes a definite statement of what is known (or what he states is known) although this is not proven, but merely taken for granted. By stating this will happen, although the data to support his conclusions is lacking, is to appeal to the fears of people; evidently fears that Lipsitch personally has. Unfortunately, he is not alone.

[3] Joel McDurmon, Biblical Logic in Theory and Practice: Refuting the Fallacies of Humanism, Darwinism, Atheism, and Just Plain Stupidity (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2011), Kindle Edition, loc 6176.

[4] This information is not hard to find if you are willing to set aside your social media accounts and do a little research on some reputable sites.

[5] Jason Lisle, Discerning Truth (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 20  ), 54, Adobe Digital Editions.

Posted in Worldview Analysis

Worry versus Concern: Thoughts Regarding COVID-19

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov 28.1; NASB).

“And who of you being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt 6.27; NASB).

What do these two verses have in common? Other than we find them in the Bible? At first glance, probably nothing. However, if we look a little deeper, if we take the time and let them soak in, let them saturate into our hearts/minds, then perhaps…just maybe we see that there are two responses towards living. And they are polar opposites.

The Comparison of Two Roads

It is easy to be brave and courageous when you are surrounded by a crowd of like-minded individuals. It is easy to be confident and unstressed when your life is like a ship on peaceful waters being guided by a gentle breeze. When there are little to no bumps or potholes in our day-to-day travel (and no, I’m not talking about the highway) all people seem to be made of the same stuff.

But you know what, that can’t possibly be true, can it? We are not all made of the same stuff, because we are not all founded upon the same thing.  This becomes apparent when life crisis’ hit.

Trials and tribulations have a way of brimming to the surface those things of difference buried beneath. What better example of this do we have than the current COVID-19 pandemic? The nature of a man is revealed when the pressure mounts. And boy, oh boy has the pressure increased in recent days! (Reminds me of the Billy Joel song “Pressure”).

Life’s Illustrations…

Yesterday, I ventured out to Wal-Mart to assess the current situation in a nearby community. I live in a rural area surrounded by trees and wildlife. My wife and I prefer it that way. We like to be away from the mob mentality of “city-folk.” And so, it is about a 30-minute drive to Wal-Mart in either direction (we have three choices in three different cities due to our centralized location: Athens, Zanesville, and Lancaster).

When I got to Wal-Mart about 7:50 a.m. I found that the parking lot was fairly busy. Not first of the month busy, but busy nonetheless for that time of the morning. When I went to the grocery side of the store, I found that most (not all) of the non-perishables were gone. The store stock was severely dwindled down. Many people had filled carts, and were found checking out through the self-checkout aisles. I got a few necessities (nothing major) and a nice young lady cashed me out. After filling up my tank at the nearby gas station (1.57$ per gallon), I realized I’d forgotten coffee and so I headed back to the store.

On my second visit I ran into my brother-in-law and we spoke for a few minutes before we parted ways. He’s a public Jr-High school teacher in a nearby school that has been under the mandatory shutdown since governor Mike DeWine made the announcement last week. Our conversation pertained to the current crisis and the reaction we see going on in the public square.

Different Strokes for Different Folks…

There is no one size fits all reaction to the current events surrounding this flu-like virus. Some people don’t take it seriously. Others take it seriously, but are not panicked. Others take it seriously, but are close to being scarred out of their wits. I’ve seen various clips where people are fighting over toilet paper and sanitizer. I guess “wet wipes” are another item being desired by some. I’m not sure if that is a national thing or if its just limited to our neck of the woods, but my cousin who has two little kids (one still in diapers) has had some difficulty getting those things necessary for wiping baby bottoms.

Dealing with Unknowns…

Why? Honestly, I have no idea? What does toilet paper or wet wipes have to do with a flu-like virus? From a virus family—by the way—that has been around for a very long time. Yes, this is a new strain, but how many new virus strains are we not aware of every year that infect and kill, but are not reported every year? I’m not saying that COVID-19 is not serious. It may or may not be. Yes, it has been identified as a pandemic, but that is because of worldwide infection. But the truth is WE DO NOT KNOW how much of a threat this virus really represents. It could be huge, or it could turn out to be nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I have a question: Do you know how many people died of the regular flu (influenza; not stomach virus’) last year? What about the numbers of deaths related to the common cold? Or how about deaths from infectious diseases in general? I was curious because of the heightened sensitivity of the Dooms Day crowd. The numbers are revealing to say the least. You can check them out HERE. 1]

Am I saying the COVID-19 is not something to be concerned about? No, not exactly. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t get overly concerned about “unknowns.” And this virus’, its spread, its mortality rate, its novelty is a big “unknown.” We don’t know what is really pursuing us here, so my question is “why flee?”

Our Flight’s Destination???…

How are we fleeing, you may be wondering? A better question is “what are we fleeing?” What has people so scared? What has people so panicked? What is behind this mass frenzy? DEATH. People are afraid of dying. Why? Why are you afraid to die?

We all die. That is the biggest unknown we face. We don’t know the day it is coming. Most of the time we do our best to ignore that fateful day, but the fact is it…is…coming. And herein lies the difference in the way people are reacting to the current crisis’ situation.

Back to our Current Predicament

This brings me back the reaction we see before in light of COVID-19. There are those that are moderately calm regarding the spread of this virus. There are those that are not calm. And, although this is not the topic of today’s conversation, there are those that seek to profit from it for their own personal gain. (Here I speak of the media and certain pundits on both sides of the aisle. It is an election year, let us not forget).

Wisdom Speaks…

Jesus explains what His people’s response ought to look like: to “…not be worried about your life… [nor being] worried about tomorrow” (Matt 6.25, 34). But the only way to react in this way when life seems to get out of hand is by entrusting yourself to the Lord of life. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases” (Isa 40.29; ESV). It is the Lord Almighty that strengthens, helps and upholds His people with His “righteous right hand” (Isa 41.10).

What causes the righteous to be bold like a lion in the face of danger, regardless of its type? It is their commitment to Him who is the Maker of heaven and earth. It is their trust in Him who works all things to the good of those that love Him (Rom 8.28).

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above the nations of the earth” (Deut 28.1; ESV) .This truth demonstrated in light of the dangers presented before them. For the wicked, the rebellious, the hard-hearted, those that hate God are said to “flee” (Deut 28.7), but the faithful will receive “blessing” from God (Deut 28.8). But if we refuse to honor Him, then what reward will we receive? Will He not then oppose us, and will we not be the ones found defeated, fleeing, and dead (Deut 28.25-26)?

Introducing Folly…

We here in the United States live in a nation founded on the blessings granted to our forefathers. Those that took seriously the charges laid before all mankind in the Holy Bible. That—for the most part—were careful to listen, heed and set as a standard to be obeyed, the various commandments, statutes, and laws instituted by the Lord God on Mount Sinai. I am not saying that the nation (the totality of its people) was Christian, but it was the Christian worldview driven by Christian people that helped form a government under the guidance of the Triune God of Scripture.

Far removed are we from that life, from those convictions. To whom do we swear allegiance to now? To whom do we hope in now for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” For a seemingly large number of people, it is not the God who blessed this nation, but some other god. Our gods now are found in idols of celebrity, of sportsmanship, or civil government, or every sinful pleasure imaginable under the sun. We are a nation filled with love for created things and not the Creator. We are a nation filled with hatred for what is good, but a love for that which is evil. We promote every condemnable offense under the sun found in Scripture (cf. Lev 18, 20; Rom 1.18-32). And this is proved by our fear driven pandemonium of a little unseen, unknown bug. But rather than repent of the crimes against heaven, for which we are guilty, we run to those gods (those rocks) that cannot save us (cf. Deut 32.28-31).

Present Concerns…

Should we be concerned about COVID-19. Yes, but our concern should not drive us to panic. Should we take precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones? Yes, but our precautions should not enslave us. Should we listen to our government’s restriction of our lives to help slow and eventually stop the spread of this virus? Yes, but our listening should not be bowing down to them in hope as if they are our savior(s).

The Right Charge…

In this charge, professing Christians ought to be a shining example of obedient citizens. Confidence, not fear ought to drive our hearts. Boldness not cowardliness should be seen.

Now, we (who bear the Name of Christ) have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom first and foremost, so to Him we bow the knee. We are also citizens of the earthly country in which we were born, so we, out of respect for the Lord above, honor those stewards (His ministers; Rom 13.1-7) whom He has placed over us. In this we demonstrate Love for God above all else, and also love for our neighbors. This rule of life applies to our heavenly citizenship without deviation, and it applies to our earthly citizenship in so far as those above us do not attempt to sway us from our God.


ENDNOTES:

[1] On page 6 of the report you will find that influenza and pneumonia were the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. There were 55,672 reported deaths caused by this form of illness. This accounted for approx. 2% of all deaths in U.S.  The ratio in a 100,000 per capita (population) was about 17.1 deaths (see page 3 for explanation of this calculation). This years estimates (2019-2020) appear to be on track to fall within this former guideline (see Here) . I mention this because as of right now here in the U.S. there are 4,226 confirmed cases with a total of 75 deaths, which is less than the approx. number of deaths caused by influenza/pneumonia (1.9% vs. 1.7%) (see Here). Obviously, those numbers could change drastically for the worse, or by mid-summer we may find that this virus, although serious, is no more serious than other infectious pathogens that infect and kill.

Obviously, worldwide the nature of this illness is much worse. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there are a total of 179,111 confirmed infections with 7,426 deaths, which equates to about a 4% mortality rate (See HERE). So, there is no question that we ought to have compassion and prayer to those who are suffering in the wake of such tragedy. However, this is also an opportunity for Christians worldwide to call people to repentance. For there is a fate worse than physical death.

Image provided by <a href=”http://Image by TPHeinz from Pixabay“>TPHEINZ

Posted in Freewill

Freewill is a Misnomer

Freewill is a misnomer. There I said it.

“Parties on both sides of the aisle (believer’s and non-believer’s) please keep your voices down. Yelling and sneering at me will not convince me to adopt your way of thought,” the author of this writing rationally pleads.

The fact of the matter is I do not believe the human will is free. Of course, I can understand why there might be some who seek to convince me of the contrary. By all means, please deliver your arguments. Or if you don’t have one of your own and would instead prefer to point me to another that you believe wiser than yourself, then by all means do so. I’ll read it. I’ll listen to it. Regardless of the format, I’ll give it my rapt attention!

But please refrain from offering me your caricatures. I’ve seen Pinocchio. I know your objection that without freewill we are all puppets on a string. The analogy is a false one, but you are welcome to it. I just won’t be purchasing it. Nor would I take it if you handed it to me, for I’d freely and willfully reject it.

“How can that be? You’ve already denied ‘freewill!’” you exclaim.

I deny the popular conception of it. I DO NOT deny that as human beings we make free choices as free moral agents. What I DO DENY is that our free choices are not driven by our internal desires. Notice I did not say that my “free choice” is determined by someone holding a gun to my head. I reject the idea that our choices are dictated by some other power, but I do not deny that our choices are influenced by some other power.

Ultimately, when I do something it is the result of my personal desires. As Hubert Gruender puts it, “Man is not capable of a ‘motiveless volition/’ but must of necessity in all his strivings have some good in view…” at least what is “under the appearance of good.”[i] That is an interesting statement by Gruender, I think. It sounds oddly familiar. I wonder…where could I have heard this before?

Ah, yes…it is similar to the statement found in that dusty old volume written thousands of years ago by a bunch of sheepherders as the philosophically astute modern man loves to claim…the Holy Bible.


“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight” (Isa 5.20-21).


I included v.21 because of how aptly it applies to humanity in their fallenness. We identify no king over us, and so we do whatever we desire (cf. Judg 17.6; 21.25). Such is our humanly plight.

I speak now to the brother or sister that professes Christ. On what grounds do you justify your belief in human freedom? In freedom of the will? From what well do you draw this truth from? In short, what positive case can you possibly make from Scripture that warrants your presupposition.

What evidence have you collected? What repository of truth have you found that contains what you love? Oh yes, you do love this doctrine called freewill. But the ground upon which you have built it is shifting sand, not solid rock.

“Experience,” you say. “That is our evidence.” “Logic,” you pine. “That is our wisdom.” “Love,” you purr. “That is our truth.”

Experiences are fleeting, who can truly understand or depend upon them. Logic is determined not by personal wit, but from the source of wisdom which it is drawn. Love, a famous word to be sure, but what is it? How do you define it? If you define it through experience (“I feel…”), then it is not dependable for feelings (as are experiences) are as volatile as the wind. If you recognize it as commitment, then it is not satisfactory as a person’s commitments are dependent upon the desire of the mind and this too is an arbitrary thing.

A dear friend of mine has written the following excerpt regarding the notorious doctrine of freewill:

“I am reminded of the constant struggle that we face as human beings, the battle over wisdom. We have a never-ending desire to be right, to be all knowing because ultimately this is an extension of our desire to be independent of God. Therefore, we fail to see that we are our own worst enemy, constantly sabotaging the truth for the lie…Sin began in the beginning in the garden. A direct result of Adam and Eve’s desire to be independent. This is seen in Eve’s evaluation of the fruit, “The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom” (Gen 3.6; HCSB)…I simply see that man is always making the same mistake when we reason…we always fall back on ourselves to evaluate and establish [the] truth.

The error in our reasoning occurs when we step away from Scripture…Like Eve who utilized her own judgement…mistakenly attempting to find truth apart from truth, apart from the very foundation of truth…our logic becomes faulty….Rather, we must find our truth in God and God alone….There must be an ultimate standard, one that is self-evident, one that is utilized to determine all other truth, otherwise we…find ourselves in a never-ending world of irrational thought.

So, the question remains: “What does the Scripture say about free will? What does the source of all wisdom and truth say about it?[ii]

As my friend goes on to explain, God created mankind (Adam and Eve; male and female) as dependent creatures. What the Lord promised was that man had a choice between two types of fruit. The fruit He approved of led to life; whereas, the other led to death.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating “death” in biblical terms does not mean cease to exist. It is not limited to our natural understanding of the word; “death” means separation. Whether it is separation from the body with our flesh returning to the dust and our spirit to the Lord, or separation from righteousness, or separation from unrighteousness, when the Bible speaks of dying it says much more than “your heart will stop beating, your lungs will stop breathing, and your brain will stop firing.”

My friends’ point is merely this. If we think like Eve, we will find ourselves walking in all sorts of error being separated from the truth. She knew what she’d been told from the Lord, “You are not free to eat of this tree.” And yet, when she looked on it and reasoned apart from the truth and wisdom of God, what did she see? A fruit that was not bad, but good. A fruit that was not unpleasing, but pleasing. A fruit that was not undesirable, but desirable. In short, Eve’s conclusions about reality were wrong on every point. She deemed evil good and good evil. She pretended she had no king over her, thinking herself wise did what she deemed right.

The result? She was separated from the life of God. Abusing her freedom, her freedom was taken away. Thinking herself wise, she became a fool and her foolish thoughts were darkened.

And you think to argue for “freewill?” What positive case can you make for it from Scripture? For from the moment that Adam followed in his wife’s steps the human race was cast down being “subjected to futility” (Rom 8.20). Mankind is not described as “free,” but as a slave: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8.34). Slaves are not free, are they? Is that where your confusion lies? You assume that though you are a slave, you are really free? Is that not the error of Eve being repeated? God says this and you say not “this,” but that!

Again, I ask what positive case from God’s Word can you possibly make for freewill? I can show you a multitude of texts that state the contrary, but where is the ONE that promotes your foolish doctrine? No, unless the Son sets you free you shall remain a slave to your sin, and that slave master is not kind for he binds your heart to do all manner of evil. Only when a stronger one comes and binds that master; will your house be set free (Matt 12.29; Rom 8.20-21[iii]).

But you are a wise one. You’ve heard these arguments before and you remain unconvinced. You say, “But I am alive. I choose my own destiny. I see the good and the bad before me and I make my choice freely.” No one denies that you choose freely, but you do make your choice in accordance with the desires of your heart (Gen 8.21; Jer 17.9). You see, God has something to say about that as well. Mankind is not neutral to the truth, but antagonistic to it and is incapable of adhering to it (Rom 8.6-8; cf. Jer 13.23).

Regardless of the truths reported in Scripture; regardless of how hard the Holy Spirit hammers this point home, there are still rebels in the court of Christ that say “freewill” is my champion. And yet, I eagerly await an answer for where you might turn me to prove your point?

ENDNOTES:

**Crickets are found chirping to break the unnerving silence…. **

[i] Hubert Gruender, Free will: The Greatest of the Seven World-Riddles (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder, 1911), 10, Adobe Digital Editions.

[ii] The writer’s name is Justin Miller a parishioner, a brother in Christ, a husband and father of two, a family member, and longtime friend.

[iii] Interesting that the Holy Spirit explains how creation is not free from the corrupting spirit of sin. The consequences of evil hold it in bondage, until it shall be set free by God. “But NOT man, Oh no…not him/her!” They are somehow untouched by this corruption, this bondage, even when the Lord says quite the contrary.