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The Vatican warned against the overload of Muslim/Christian Dialogue. Such an overload could cause overlap and confusion. There is a proverb for this somewhere…wait.. there it is: “You may talk too much on the best of subjects” (Ben Frankiln).

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said in an ingterview, “There is now so much interest in Christian-Muslim dialogue that it is getting hard to see where it is going.” Cardinal, you express my sentiments exactly. Where is all this dialogue going? Does anybody know? Let me ask a pertinent question: How many Muslims have come to faith since these dialogues began? No, not the Muslim faith, the true faith, i.e., faith in Christ as the only justifier of the ungodly.

It’s been a long, long time since I did anything with this blog. Things became very busy for me, and, since I have two blogs, I had to make the decision to write for one or the other. I couldn’t write for both. So I ignorerd this one and wrote for the other. I was going to delete this one, but upon reading over what I wrote and some of the comments I received, I thought that it was a good idea to start up again. So, folks, there will be more Folly to come. Stay tuned…

Watch this commercial. There are times in my life when all I can say is, “What the…” This was one of those times. This is a commercial for City Church in Chicago.

Leaders from Evangelical and Progressive parties came together at the “Come Let Us Reason Together” Conference on October 10th to find common ground on divisive issues. I am so glad that liberals and evangelicals are now able to look past the differences that divide and look for ways to get along. There were free T-shirts given out at the conference with the caption, “Plays well with others.” (In the event that you did not read the sarcasm, there were no T-shirts given out.) 

What were some of the divisive issues? The article in the Christian Post listed nothing of the Trinity, nothing of Penal Substitution, nothing of the gospel whatsoever. It listed, however, things like abortion, homosexuality, the role of religion in public life, Darfur, and the environment. Does that mean that evangelicals and liberals now agree on theological issues? The purpose of the Conference was to look for ways to work with each other. For the life of me, I cannot think of any way how evangelicals could work with liberals unless the evangelicals have rejected the gospel of Christ as the liberals have. Let me be straight with you. There is no common ground between true Christianity and liberalism, and, sadly, it seems that there is no common ground anymore between true Christianity, and evangelicalism.

I hope and pray that a conference like this is indicative of the way things are going in the Evangelical world. This conference was by no means a step forward in the right direction. It is nothing more than apostacy.

 The Rev. Ann Redding of Seattle Washington, an Episcopalian priest (priestess?), has made the shocking claim that she is both a Muslim and a Christian. Many of those who are either Muslim or Christian will ask, “How can you be a Christian and be a Muslim at the same time?” Indeed, Hisham Farajallah, president of the Islamic Center of Washington, said, “I don’t know how that works,” and Kurt Fredrickson of Fuller seminary said, “I don’t think it’s possible to be both just like you can’t be a Republican and a Democrat.” We were hoping for an answer from Folly herself on how it could be possible to be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time. She has not given us a satifactory answer yet. She was having a problem with getting past the “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of sinful humanity” clause within Christianity. When she figures it out we’ll let you know. On the upside of it all, Rev. Ann gets more holidays than the rest of us.

The Christian Post reported on a survey done by the Associated Press and MTV on what makes American Youths happy. When asked what made them most happy, a large majority said a good relationship with parents; next was relationships with friends as well as romantic relationships. 8o percent of youths who thought spirituality was most important in their lives said they were happy with life.

The folks at Focus on the Family were giddy with the results of this survey saying, “A groundbreaking survey from an unlikely source backs up what family groups have been saying about kids all along and reveals teens are on the right track when it comes to their role models, family and sex. This is truly good news.” I am glad to see youth being family oriented and such, and I am glad to see youth going the opposite way of what MTV and Hollywood tell them. However, I cannot share in Focus on the Family’s giddiness because I still don’t think that youth are on the right track.

What is our ultimate source of happiness? Is it family? Is it relationships? Is it spirituality? Or is it God? I heard a lot of talk about family, friends, and spirituality being a sources for happiness, but these things do not have the capacity to make us happy. Our only source of happiness is God who is infinitly happy in himself. Read this sermon by John Piper and see if you can still conclude that those youths who were polled are really happy.

Read Boyd’s argument here.

When people disagree over theological issues it seems like the opposing parties skip over the good points and focus only on the bad. I want to point out that I think Boyd has made a some good points about demons and their ability to influence the natural world. I also like his point that just because something can be explained scientifically does not rule out the supernatural aspect about it. That being said, I still have to take issue with Boyd’s hypothesis, and I will only relate a few observations in response.

1. Boyd’s explanation of “natural” evil falls short of the Biblical explanation. He says, “I’m summarizing my case for my belief that “natural” evil can only be adequately accounted for if we accept that fallen spirits have, to some extent, interfered with God’s good creational design for nature.” As I have mentioned earlier, Boyd has a problem with over-simplification. There are more things going on in this world than merely fallen spirits messing things up. Now, Boyd would have us believe that God has nothing to do with the bad things that happen; the Bible, however, says otherwise. Consider the case of Saul. After God had rejected Saul, he was plagued by an evil spirit. He had David come and play his harp and sing for him. Whenever David did this, the evil spirit left Saul.  It is not exactly clear as to what the evil spirit did to aggravate Saul, but it is clear that his infirmities were related to this evil spirit. So far we square with what Boyd says. But the Bible goes further and states that the evil spirit was “from the Lord,” or “from God.” (1 Sam. 16:14-23; see also the case of Abimelech and the men of Shechem, Judges 9:23; as well as the case where the Lord put a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets, 1 Kings 22:19-23) I would be interested to see how Boyd weasels his way out of these and other explicit statements. Boyd, for some reason, won’t accept the fact that the infirmities in this world are from God. In fact, death itself, the ultimate infirmity, is a result of God’s sovereign decree. It is man’s lot to die once, (Heb. 9:27) why, because God declared, in judgment upon sinful humans, that the wages of sin would be death.

2. Even though many infirmities in the Bible are caused by evil spirits, not all infirmities are caused by them, nor can we say that all infirmities are a result of God’s judgment. Consider the case of the man who was born blind. The disciples asked Jesus, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.” Jesus answered them, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-7) Now we may conclude that evil spirits were the cause of this man’s blindness, or we may simply say that he was blind as a result of natural causes. I tend to think that it was the latter, but whatever the case may be, it is clear that it was ordered by God for this man to be born blind, so that God might reveal His glory in this man.

3. Perhaps the greatest example of God’s sovereignty in sending spirits to afflict humans is the case of Job. The book of Job begins with Satan looking for a man to tempt. God tells Satan of Job. God permits Satan to harm Job’s resources and possessions but not Job himself. Satan causes great affliction upon Job, yet Job remains faithful to God. Satan, again, approaches God asking permission to harm Job himself. God gives him permission, and Satan afflicts Job with sores, yet he remains faithful to God. The rest of the book is about Job’s friends accusing Job of sin, yet they have no occasion to do so. Job all the while seeks an audience with God so that he might plead his cause. At the end of the book God visits Job in a whirlwind. God does not offer Job proof that He had nothing to do with his afflictions. He does not say to Job that He should not be blamed with Job’s problems. Rather, God affirms His sovereignty and states that Job is a man without knowledge. Job does not say to God, “You are right, it was Satan’s fault. I am sorry for blaming you.” Rather he says, “I know that thou canst do every thing and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”

4. The Bible tells us that sickness and other bad things happen as a result of God’s judgments upon wicked men. But sickness and other bad things can also happen because God is chastening those he loves. (Heb. 12:5-11) It doesn’t matter if the infirmity is caused by an evil spirit or not, God is still the one who ordained it. This should be a terror to those who do not believe in God. For whatever happens to them, whether good or ill, all things are a judgment upon them. Even the gospel itself is a savor unto death for those who do not believe. (2 Cor. 2:16) But for those who are the called according to God’s purposes all things, whether good or ill, are for their good. (Rom. 8:28)

5. This is unrelated to Boyd’s S. I. N. hypothesis, but I still take issue with it. Boyd takes the position that Gen. 6:2, 4 is referring to materialized angelic beings having sex with humans. There is no good argument that this is the case. Many scholars think that the Sons of God and the Daughters of Men are referring to the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain. Listen to Calvin on this passage: “That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious. The opinion also of the Chaldean paraphrase is frigid; namely, that promiscuous marriages between the sons of nobles, and the daughters of plebeians, is condemned. Moses, then, does not distinguish the sons of God from the daughters of men, because they were of dissimilar nature, or of different origin; but because they were the sons of God by adoption, whom he had set apart for himself; while the rest remained in their original condition.”

The Bible speaks clearly concerning the absolute sovereignty of God. “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that he did in heaven, and in the earth, in the seas and all the deep places.” (Ps. 135:6) Boyd will not accept this and would rather place us in the hands of evil spirits rather than in the hands of Almighty God. I for one am thankful that God sends us the good along with the bad; I would rather it come from Him than any one else; wouldn’t you?

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