Thinking and Faith- Martin Lloyd-Jones

Although he may overstate the case a little—thinking is not the essence of faith—he is right that thinking is essential to faith.

 

Faith, according to our Lord’s teaching in this paragraph [Matthew 6:25-34], is primarily thinking; and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that he does not think. He allows circumstances to bludgeon him.

That is the real difficulty in life. Life comes to us with a club in its hand and strikes us upon the head, and we become incapable of thought, helpless and defeated. The way to avoid that, according to our Lord, is to think. We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction.

 

The Bible is full of logic, and we must never think of faith as something purely mystical. We do not just sit down in an armchair and expect marvelous things to happen to us. That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is essentially thinking. Look at the birds, think about them, and draw your deductions. Look at the grass, look at the lilies of the field, consider them.

 

The trouble with most people, however, is that they will not think. Instead of doing this, they sit down and ask, What is going to happen to me? What can I do? That is the absence of thought; it is surrender, it is defeat. Our Lord, here, is urging us to think, and to think in a Christian manner.

.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 399

Counterfeit Gospels

In his book How People Change (co-authored with Tim Lane), Paul Tripp identifies seven counterfeit gospels– ways we try and “justify” or “save” ourselves apart from the gospel of grace. I found these unbelievably helpful. Which one (or two, or three) of these do you tend to gravitate towards?

Formalism. “I participate in the regular meetings and ministries of the church, so I feel like my life is under control. I’m always in church, but it really has little impact on my heart or on how I live. I may become judgmental and impatient with those who do not have the same commitment as I do.”

 

Legalism. “I live by the rules—rules I create for myself and rules I create for others. I feel good if I can keep my own rules, and I become arrogant and full of contempt when others don’t meet the standards I set for them. There is no joy in my life because there is no grace to be celebrated.”

 

Mysticism. “I am engaged in the incessant pursuit of an emotional experience with God. I live for the moments when I feel close to him, and I often struggle with discouragement when I don’t feel that way. I may change churches often, too, looking for one that will give me what I’m looking for.”

 

Activism. “I recognize the missional nature of Christianity and am passionately involved in fixing this broken world. But at the end of the day, my life is more of a defense of what’s right than a joyful pursuit of Christ.”

 

Biblicism. “I know my Bible inside and out, but I do not let it master me. I have reduced the gospel to a mastery of biblical content and theology, so I am intolerant and critical of those with lesser knowledge.”

 

Therapism. “I talk a lot about the hurting people in our congregation, and how Christ is the only answer for their hurt. Yet even without realizing it, I have made Christ more Therapist than Savior. I view hurt as a greater problem than sin—and I subtly shift my greatest need from my moral failure to my unmet needs.”

 

Social-ism. “The deep fellowship and friendships I find at church have become their own idol. The body of Christ has replaced Christ himself, and the gospel is reduced to a network of fulfilling Christian relationships.”

As I said a few months ago in one of my sermons, there are outside-the-church idols and there are inside-the-church idols. It’s the idols inside the church that ought to concern Christians most. It’s easier for Christians to identify worldly idols such as money, power, selfish ambition, sex, and so on. It’s the idols inside the church that we have a harder time identifying.

 

For instance, we know it’s wrong to bow to the god of power—but it’s also wrong to bow to the god of preferences. We know it’s wrong to worship immorality—but it’s also wrong to worship morality. We know it’s wrong to seek freedom by breaking the rules—but it’s also wrong to seek freedom by keeping them. We know God hates unrighteousness—but he also hates self-righteousness. We know crime is a sin—but so is control. If people outside the church try to save themselves by being bad; people inside the church try to save themselves by being good.

The good news of the gospel is that both inside and outside the church, there is only One Savior and Lord, namely Jesus. And he came, not to angrily strip away our freedom, but to affectionately strip away our slavery to lesser things so that we might become truly free!

 

(Tullian Tchividjian- author of Unfashionable and Surprised by Grace)

What should we look for in a church??

In the consumer-driven age in which we live it is the customer who has all the power. I mean, think about it. We can choose what TV we want to watch, when we want to watch it, how we want to watch it (High Definition or standard definition). We can choose what radio stations we want to listen to, what electrical products we want to buy, what magazines we want to read, what food we want to buy, what friends we have on facebook and on and on we could go. The “customer is always right” is the marketing ethos of the 21st century, however is the customer always right when it comes to church, or rather is the layperson always right?

You see we naturally imbibe certain mindsets/worldviews from the society and culture that we are immersed in and I am wondering if this “consumer is always right” thing is becoming a sub conscious mindset of us Christians? I’ve heard stories of new pastors being told by laymembers “remember who pays your cheque” when they tried to implement biblical changes to the organisation and running of the church. What the church member meant in saying this was basically “if you do something i don’t like i’ll not be giving the money in to pay your wages mate”. This is a classic example of a church member thinking they have some sort of superior choice over the pastor/elders in relation to how the church should be run. There are many mumblings and grumblings today about how people want church to “be done”. Some of these are justified, for there are churches out there that are dying who continue to insist upon holding to the unbiblical traditions of men, pushing away the younger generation in the process. However, there are also churches who are trying so hard to be hip and relevant that they have completely abandoned the New Testament teaching about what a church should be. They almost act as if the New Testament is completely silent about how church should be done.

In his book ‘The Paradox of Choice- Why More is Less’ Barry Schwartz highlights this consumeristic phenomenon sweeping through our churches today. He observes,

“We are unwilling to regard religious teaching as commandments, about which we have no choice, rather than suggestions, about which we are the ultimate arbiters. We look upon participation in a religious community as an opportunity to choose just the form of community that gives us what we want out of religion

If our mindset as Christians is focused on the self, what we want out of Christianity, the only thing that will happen is that we will grow more and more discontented with our churches and with our walk with Christ. God does not exist for us….we exist FOR HIM. He has given us his word, the Bible, whose authority we are to sit under, not twist or ignore to suit our own sinful desires. So when it comes to “doing church” just what does the Bible teach about how we should do church? Well, to be sure, there are some grey areas, areas which the Bible is silent on, such as what clothes to wear, what instruments to use, what programmes should be run etc. However there are certain areas that the Bible is clear about. The guys at 9 Marks Ministries have, in my opinion, hit the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to this issue and below is a list of the 9 aspects or duties that they believe are vital for a church to be a healthy New Testament church. Have a look and see what you think…..

  1. Expositional preaching. Does the pastor preach God’s Word, or his own ideas? Does he allow Scripture to set his preaching agenda, or does he pick topics by some other criteria?
  2. Biblical theology. Does the church openly confess key biblical doctrines? Do the leaders consistently teach sound doctrine?
  3. A biblical understanding of the gospel. Does the church clearly proclaim the good news about what Jesus Christ accomplished for sinners in his death and resurrection? Consistently?
  4. A biblical understanding of conversion. Does the church teach that people must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-8)? Does the church teach that in order to become a Christian, a person must repent of sin and trust in Christ, both of which are ultimately gifts of God?
  5. A biblical understanding of evangelism. Does the church preach the gospel to non-Christians and encourage its members to do the same? Does it understand that it’s our responsibility to preach the message of salvation yet God is the only one who can do the saving?
  6. Biblical church membership. Does the church take membership seriously by seeking to ensure that its members faithfully attend? Does it encourage members to fulfill the biblical “one-anothers” with each other?
  7. Biblical church discipline. Does the church lovingly, patiently practice church discipline?
  8. Biblical discipleship and growth. Does the church expect and equip its members to grow spiritually? Does the church encourage its members to disciple one another? Growing as a Christian should be normal, not exceptional.
  9. Biblical church leadership. Is the church led by godly, qualified men? Does the church look to Scripture to determine its leadership structure?

CCEF- Biblical Counselling for the Downcast

Leave me alone, I just want to be by myself. What’s the point in going on any longer? Why me? Why do I have to be the person to be treated like dirt? Why can’t I find somebody to love me? Why did God make me this way, I mean couldn’t he have made me better looking, more athletic, more funny, more likeable, more desirable? I don’t want to live any longer but I don’t have the guts to kill myself. I’m lonely, afraid, heartbroken. Why God why?! These are but a few of the statements people make when they are depressed, hurting or seeking to overcome addictions. Having gone through periods of depression myself I can relate all to well to those who feel this way. All seems hopeless, as if the circumstances of life will never change. It has become almost burdensome rather than enjoyable to live so the logical conclusion for many is to end their life to make the pain and sadness go away.

I have a deep concern for many in the church today who suffer in silence as I have done in the past. There appears to be few options that are readily available for Christians to receive sound, biblical counselling. Who should carry out Biblical counselling? The church? Parachurch organisations? If the answer is the church then who in the church? The pastor? Elders? Members of the congregation? Of all the things I would like to see become more prominent, more visible in the church is is the availability of regular biblical counselling. There is still a lot of taboo, shame and embarassment surrounding the idea of attending counselling and I believe it is one area that the local church needs to work to improve upon because there are many people out there suffering in silence and nobody should have to suffer in silence.

Thankfully I am not alone in my concern. The Christian Counselling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) is a Christian counseling and educational ministry located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who are attempting to restore Christ to counselling and counselling to the local church. They state that,

“CCEF exists to Restore Christ to Counseling. We have a passion for personal change that is centered in the person of Christ. We have seen him bring significant change to individual lives. This passion is our heritage and heartbeat, and it leads us to constantly revisit the question, “How do the riches of the Gospel impact my life and my efforts to help others?” Everything we do flows from our desire to equip Christians to live and love in a Christ-centered way.”

“CCEF also exists to Restore Counseling to the Church. We believe that the body of Christ is God’s primary context for change, the community God uses to transform his people. CCEF’s mission is to equip the church to be this kind of transforming community. We see ourselves as an extension of the local church, and we want to serve and promote its ministry.”

I highly recommend checking out the CCEF website (click on the link above) to view some of their resources but for now why not watch the two short videos below on Addictions and Depression by Dr Ed Welch, one of CCEF’s leading counsellors. If you feel you cannot talk to anybody in your local church then the CCEF website is a great place to start the healing/counselling process. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Recovering True Biblical Masculinity

I come from a cavalry family, as in horse soldiers. My great-grandfather was a cavalry scout in the frontier West. My grandfather commanded the Army’s last horse cavalry regiment (in 1938, believe it or not). At that point, our family switched from horses to tanks, and both my father and I served as tank officers. Suffice it to say that I possess a fair amount of cavalry paraphernalia. In fact, I am writing this at a desk beneath a print of a horse cavalryman firing from his saddle.

Of all the great cavalry movies, none holds a dearer place in my heart than John Wayne’s classic, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Portraying Captain Nathan Briddles, a grizzled Civil War veteran who is facing the end of his career, the Duke is a walking cornucopia of manliness. When I was a young armored cav officer, I not only watched this movie roughly a thousand times but absorbed much of its ethos. Anyone who has seen this movie can tell you that Captain Briddles’ approach to manliness can be summed up in two words: Never apologize! Over and over again, he grills his hapless lieutenants, always with the same emphasis: “Never apologize, Mister!” I am afraid that I took this counsel a bit too much to heart, with the result that my early 20s were a little more obnoxious than they needed to be.

When I became a Christian, however, I learned that not every manly saying in John Wayne movies should be adopted. “Never apologize” may sound great in theory, but in practice it can combine with a man’s sin nature to make him overbearing and arrogant. As I became more familiar with Scripture, I learned about two different words that do a far better job of summarizing how a man should live. These are: “work” and “keep.” Taken together, these two words serve as a summary of the Bible’s mandate for masculine behavior. Men are called to be men, fulfilling our calling before God in this world: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Our calling in life really is this simple (although not therefore easy): We are to devote ourselves to working/building and keeping/protecting everything placed into our charge. What exactly do these two words signify? Let’s take a few moments to look more closely.

Click here for the rest of this article by Richard Phillips

The Belgic Confession- Articles 21-23

Article 21: The Atonement

  • We believe that Jesus Christ is a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek– made such by an oath– and that he presented himself in our name before his Father, to appease his wrath with full satisfaction by offering himself on the tree of the cross and pouring out his precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted.For it is written that “the chastisement of our peace” was placed on the Son of God and that “we are healed by his wounds.” He was “led to death as a lamb”; he was “numbered among sinners”^45 and condemned as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, though Pilate had declared that he was innocent.

    So he paid back what he had not stolen,^46 and he suffered– the “just for the unjust,”^47 in both his body and his soul– in such a way that when he senses the horrible punishment required by our sins his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.”^48 He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”^49

    And he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.

    Therefore we rightly say with Paul that we “know nothing but Jesus and him crucified”;^50 we consider all things as “dung for the excellence of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”^51 We find all comforts in his wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means to reconcile ourselves with God than this one and only sacrifice, once made, which renders believers perfect forever.

    This is also why the angel of God called him Jesus– that is, “Savior”– because he would save his people from their sins.^52

    ^45 Isa. 53:4-12 ^46 Ps. 69:4 ^47 1 Pet. 3:18 ^48 Luke 22:44 ^49 Matt. 27:46 ^50 1 Cor. 2:2 ^51 Phil. 3:8 ^52 Matt. 1:21

Article 22: The Righteousness of Faith

  • We believe that for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him.For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely.

    Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God– for it then would follow that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior. And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified “by faith alone” or by faith “apart from works.”^53

    However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us– for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness.

    But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place. And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits.

    When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins.

    ^53 Rom. 3:28

Article 23: The Justification of Sinners

  • We believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus Christ, and that in it our righteousness before God is contained, as David and Paul teach us when they declare that man blessed to whom God grants righteousness apart from works.^54And the same apostle says that we are justified “freely” or “by grace” through redemption in Jesus Christ.^55 And therefore we cling to this foundation, which is firm forever, giving all glory to God, humbling ourselves, and recognizing ourselves as we are; not claiming a thing for ourselves or our merits and leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified, which is ours when we believe in him.

    That is enough to cover all our sins and to make us confident, freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God’s approach, without doing what our first father, Adam, did, who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves.

    In fact, if we had to appear before God relying– no matter how little– on ourselves or some other creature, then, alas, we would be swallowed up.

    Therefore everyone must say with David: “Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for before you no living person shall be justified.”^56

    ^54 Ps. 32:1; Rom. 4:6 ^55 Rom. 3:24 ^56 Ps. 143:2

Free Gospel Materials

If you would like to receive some free materials about the God who created you, the good news of Jesus Christ, and what it means to be a Christian please email me at; grantdunlop59@hotmail.com or leave a comment on this page leaving your full name, postal address and email address. It would be my great delight to provide you with free resources to help you in your search for truth.

Resources that will be posted to you on request include,

1. Ultimate Questions- John Blanchard“Life is full of questions. Some are trivial, some more serious — and some tremendously important. Even as you read these words you may have questions about your health, your financial situation, your job, your family or your future.

But the greatest, the ultimate questions, are about God and your relationship to him. Nothing in life is more important than this. Good health, financial stability, secure employment, a contented family and a hopeful future are all things that people want. Yet even these are temporary and eventually pointless unless you have a living relationship with God, one that is clear and certain — and will last for ever.”

2) For Your Joy- John Piper

This small booklet addresses several key questions about God and us that everyone needs answers to. Jesus, the greatest being in the universe, is not just calling you to come, but calling you to come for your joy!

3)Quest for Joy Cd- John Piper

4) A copy of the Gospel of Mark- Mark is the shortest and most fast paced of the four Gospels.

David Vaughan, The New “Ecstatics” and Big Brother

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan r with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for s those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore t God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe u what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned v who did not believe the truth but w had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

1 Peter 4:7 – The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and SOBER spirit for the purpose of prayer.

On Wednesday just passed (09/06/2010) British television viewers were introduced to the new housemates of the Big Brother House. This year’s residents are the usual mixed bag of freaks and geeks including self confessed bi-sexuals, a journalist who likes to lie to “make life more interesting” and a Beyonce look-a-like. Also selected for this, the final year’s, house is Dave Vaughan. Mr Vaughan gives himself the title of being a Christian minister and on hearing this alarm bells immediately began to ring in my head! I thus decided to do a little bit of research on Mr Vaughan and here is what I have found.

David Vaughan is part of a movement in Wales who call themselves ‘The New Ecstatics’. These ‘New Ecstatics’ claim to be “intoxicated on the New Wine of the Gospel”, their lives becoming a “sign and a wonder both on the Earth and in the Heavens”. Some of Dave’s extravagant claims include supposedly being able to travel outside of space and time through the “spiritual realm” and also being brought on a little tanning trip to the Sun!!!! They also make the claim about another member of the fellow ‘Ecstatics’ that she “carries the glory like few others, when she preaches she becomes an embodiment of the gospel and manifests wildly with shrieks, screams and ecstasies.” Eeeeemmmmmm what verse in the Bible is that sorry?? As it turns out it seems that Dave Vaughan and his associates paid a little visit to the recent Lakeland “revival” organised by the great scam artist and deceiver Todd Bentley. They are also closely affiliated to the crazy John Crowder who claims to regularly get high on “tokin the Ghost” and sniffing lines of scripture.

For those of you who aren’t Christians and are reading this from the link on my facebook page I just want to point out that these people are not representatives of true, biblical Christianity. They are living a delusional life and are either 1) Con artists or 2) totally deceived by a demonic spirit. The third alternative possiblity, and I stress possibility as I myself am unsure if it is the case, is that God himself has sent a strong delusion upon them as we see in our extract from 2 Thessalonians above. Whatever the reason for their lunacy they are certainly bringing shame upon the name of Jesus by their actions and it is simply unbiblical, ungodly and crazy. Below are a few videos for you to watch to see just how ridiculous these “New Ecstatics” are. Remember….these guys are being deadly serious in these videos and they claim they are laughing and in a state of ecastasy because of the Spirit of God.

Below is a response to this false gospel from Times Square church pastor Carter Conlon that is well worth a listen.

God Does Not Believe in Atheists

The current virulent strain of evangelical atheism does a disservice to many of the arguments of traditional atheism. I am thinking here of the latest efforts by the new Apostles of Atheism, Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). It certainly does not advance the atheist position to have a proponent like Dawkins rambling around the world arguing that if one raises a child to be “religious,” then one is basically raising them to be an axe murderer and/or a terrorist. Dawkins’ extremism alone has led renowned atheist Michael Ruse to confess that “The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist.” (1)

This article summarizes the arguments of traditional or “classical” atheism-i.e., atheism as it has been presented since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The articulation of these arguments also serves to cover the essential arguments of the new Apostles of Atheism, without the need for dealing with their hysteria from which even other atheists such as Ruse are beginning to distance themselves. Next, each argument is separately analyzed and found to be wanting in evidence and in logic. Finally, since one has hardly proved enough by ending at the existence of God if God has chosen to be silent, the importance of the case for God’s specific entrance into the human situation is put forth.

My vocation is one of a trial lawyer. The assertions of atheism-as well as the assertions that God is there and has not been silent-will, therefore, be implicitly tested by legal canons of evidence employed in law courts for almost a millennia as a means for arbitrating competing factual claims.

We only note in passing that God does not believe in atheists because, as pointed out by trial lawyer John Warwick Montgomery, in the end there really are no atheists and never have been in the history of the world. In fact, everybody has what Paul Tillich called an “ultimate concern,” something that gets first place in one’s life when the chips are down. That “ultimate concern” is that person’s religion, regardless of whether they formally consider themselves to be an atheist. More importantly, that ultimate concern is their god-whether it be their intellect and ability to reason logically, a girlfriend, a Ph.D., buffed abs, an Academy Award, a toy poodle, or season tickets to Green Bay Packers games.

The Traditional Arguments of Classical Atheism

The main objections of classical atheism are as follows:

Belief in God is psychologically explainable as part of a regressive and infantile cultural stage.
Belief in God has disastrous social implications.
Belief in God has harmed the advancement of science and the findings of modern science contradict any such belief.
Belief in God is illogical.

These four categories of argument have been carefully analyzed, and repeatedly and thoroughly refuted by serious Christian apologists for the past two millennia. One would think (as far as one can surmise from the cloistered world of contemporary evangelical atheism of the Dawkins-Adams-Hitchens variety), however, that new evidence has been discovered that refutes theism and, more specifically, that refutes the central claims of historical Christianity. This is simply not so.

Let me also preface my comments to each of these four arguments by confessing that I would rather deal any day of the week with a serious atheist than with a religious liberal of the Christian species-type. Those who technically and officially stand within the House of Salvation, and yet then gladly (and utterly irrationally) stand in judgment and criticism of the Word inscripturated and the Word Incarnate, are infinitely more dangerous to the future of the Christian faith than all the Dawkins-Adams-Hitchens the outside world will ever produce.

Also note that none of the traditional arguments of atheism deal head on with the actual primary source evidence for the central claims of Christianity-namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Why is this? The answer is simple: The sheer factual strength of the historical case for the trustworthiness of the biblical authors and the claims of its central figure Jesus Christ (both of which are subjects that have been analyzed by trial lawyers for over 400 years) are so impressive and deep that an informed atheist is wise not to trod there.

The four arguments and refutations that follow are only introductory in nature. The endnotes will lead one to greater depth and further study.

ARGUMENTS AND REFUTATIONSBelief in God is psychologically explainable

While Dawkins argues this point loud and clear in The God Delusion, this contention has been presented repeatedly since the psychoanalytic revolution began in the nineteenth century and was also echoed in the reigning philosophical circles of that time. Freud and Nietzsche certainly articulated the position that belief in God the Father is nothing more, and nothing less, than wish projection. It is the infantile groping of a repressed psyche to turn into reality that which it desperately wants to be true-namely, that one has an all-loving, all-wise, all-benevolent Father way up there. It is akin to belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and it is a belief that only intellectual and cultural maturity can show to be mere fiction.

This psychological pull toward the need for a father figure and for some type of order that is imposed on a random universe is-per classical atheism-eminently understandable, but also eminently explainable. In short, the argument says that the “God Wish” goes back to the domain of primitive man. As man progresses psychologically and socially, belief in God has been shown to be largely irrelevant and only of persuasive interest to the uneducated classes who then indoctrinate their children in order to prevent intellectual and social progress from occurring.

Refutation

This argument is invalid on several grounds.

First, belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy is a natural condition in the early years where the lines between fantasy and reality are necessarily blurred. Many people, in fact, mature to a belief in God (witness the recent controversial conversion to theism of renowned British atheist Anthony Flew). This argument simply fails to explain why so many come to a belief in God, and specifically a belief in the God of Christianity, late in life and after obtaining a robust university education. Clearly not all these people have simply retreated to infantile regressive behavior by becoming theists or Christians. Many, for example, would see the conversion of an adult C. S. Lewis-as he himself did-as a progression into maturity rather than a regression into an infantile world of denial. (2)

This argument also ignores some basic facts derived from the biblical data in support of Christian theism. The Bible is hardly a book full of teachings that are equivalent to the vocational teachings of a wet nurse. From “turn the other cheek” to “give your enemy your coat,” from “feed the poor” to the doctrine of hell as a place for those not perfectly holy and for those failing to perfectly follow the Law, this is decidedly not the religious pablum that naïve primitive man would conjure up over a hot fire, a juicy femur head, and a pot of gruel. An infantile position would be one that, for example, failed to deal with the reality of evil and instead focused only on man’s glory and greatness, or one that ignored man’s essential inability to follow even his own moral standards. In Christian intellectual history, one finds serious reflection on issues of man’s nature and the nature of God, the reality of sin and the possibility of salvation, the nature of history, and the existence of real ethics. Profound insights on these topics have hardly come from what might be called the “infantile or regressive” impulses of such men as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, John Henry Newman, G. K. Chesterton, and Alvin Plantinga, to name but a few. Finally, R. C. Sproul is perfectly correct when he contends that this argument by atheists might just as easily be turned on its head. (3)

In short, perhaps atheists wish so badly for an all-knowing Last Judge not to exist that they have projected their highly regressive and infantile fantasies onto the issue of the existence of God. The argument, therefore, ends up being utterly self-defeating on logical grounds alone.

To continue reading this article click here