Continuing from Re: Anthony Flew leaving Atheism ... more accurate to state "Victory of Deism". As before, your words
"Since 1900 Christians have made up about a third of the global population, and are edging downwards. ... Christianity has withered dramatically in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. ... Churches are being converted into libraries, laundromats and pubs. ... the churches ... are in danger of dwindling past the demographic and organizational point of no return. Every time a nation becomes truly advanced in terms of democratic, egalitarian education and prosperity it loses the faith. ... Disbelief now rivals the great faiths in numbers and influence. Never before has religion faced such enormous levels of disbelief..."
This, paradoxically, is further evidence that Christianity is true, i.e. that we are in the Great Apostasy predicted by Jesus and the Apostles, which is a precursor of Jesus' imminent return. Indeed, such anti-Christian gloating over Christianity's demise is actually predicted in the Book of Revelation (see below). The gods are not winning but God is!]
are bold to distinguish them from mine.
3.One person stated about Christianity on your blog, that "it should be difficult to devote yourself to something that has no future". To that you replied, that "only under premices [sic] of Christianity there IS 'future' "(which is untrue, there is 'future' under Judaism as well).
What I actually wrote in a comment under my post, What I believe about Creation, Evolution and Design was:
As for me, for these past nearly 40 years a Christian, it has been a joy to devote my entire life to the only "something" that has a future!
Which as a consistent Christian, I stand by. Because since Jesus (who was God-see below) taught that only Christians will be saved, and all non-Christians, will be lost:
John 3:16,18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ... Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Acts 4:10,12 ... It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead... Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
therefore, only Christians have a future (i.e. a future to look forward to).
The reason is, as even non-Christian philosopher of religion John Hick pointed out, if "Traditional orthodoxy" was right that "Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate ... It follows ... that Christianity, alone among the world religions, was founded by God in person" and so "Christianity alone is God's own religion" and "God must wish ... Christianity shall supersede all the other world faiths":
"Traditional orthodoxy says that Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate ... It follows from this that Christianity, alone among the world religions, was founded by God in person. ... From this premise it seems obvious that God must wish all human beings to enter this stream of saved life, so that Christianity shall supersede all the other world faiths. ... Christianity alone is God's own religion.... It is therefore divinely intended for all men and women without exception. All this follows logically from the central dogma of the deity of Jesus." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, "Putting Jesus In His Place,"pp.18-19).
But it seems that you just diverted the question. What person meant, it's not premices [sic] of Christianity, but the fact that Christianity has no future as wordly religion, and in decline, and that's true: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html
I did not divert the question, and in fact there was no question. All his anonymous comment stated was, "It must be tough to devote your entire life to something that has no future - only a past" and I responded directly to his claim that Christianity "has no future - only a past" with, it is in fact "only ... Christianity ... that has a future!"
Nor was there anything explicitly in his comment which claimed "Christianity [was] ... in decline." Christianity could be increasing in numbers and yet have no future (as in fact non-Christianity is). And if there had been anything explicitly in his comment that claimed Christianity was in decline, far from diverting it, I would have agreed with him! That is because it is in fact a prediction of Jesus that Christianity will decline in a "Great Apostasy" before He returns:
Mt 24:10-12 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold
Lk 18:8 ... However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
2Th 2:3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Jesus' Second Coming] shall not come, except there come a falling away [Gk. apostasia] first ...
Here are quotes from my commentaries on the above, i.e. "It is a sombre picture of a church in decline ... before 'the end' comes ...":
"[Mt 24:] 9-12. ... the persecution is to come from all nations ... an international involvement of the disciples is envisaged ... many will fall away ... It is a sombre picture of a church in decline. ... which must run its course before 'the end' comes ..." (France, 1985, "Matthew," pp.338-339).
"[Lk 18:]8. ... Jesus is speaking of the certainty of speedy action when the time comes. When He asks whether the Son of man will find faith on earth, he is not suggesting that there will be no believers. He is saying that the characteristic of the world's people at that time will not be faith." (Morris, 1974, "Luke," pp.263-264).
"[2Th 2:]3. ... While the coming of 'the day of the Lord' will be unexpected (1 Thes. 5:2-3), certain things will precede it. One is the rebellion. ... In classical Greek apostasia meant a political or military rebellion, but in LXX it is used of rebellion against God ... Paul is saying that in the last times there will be a great uprising of the powers of evil against God (cf. Mt. 24:10ff.; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3-4)." Morris, 1984, "Thessalonians," p.127).
And, as I have posted previously here on my CED blog, e.g. Re: Thoughts on your web page - Jesus' return #2 (21-Apr-07), as well as posts to my now-terminated Yahoo CED group: 23-May-03, 21-Apr-03 and 25-Feb-03 , I agree with the late great Bible commentator, William Hendriksen that we are in the period of the Great Apostasy, when just before Jesus returns, "the antichristian world ... shall battle against the Church and shall destroy it ," i.e. Christianity will appear to be totally defeated, as described in the Book of Revelation:
"Rev 11:3-14 ... The Church ... shall finish its testimony. ... the antichristian world ... shall battle against the Church and shall destroy it. This is the Battle of Harmagedon ... There are going to be believers on earth when Christ comes again, although they will be few in number ... But the Church itself ... will be destroyed. ... the Church ... has been silenced and smothered by the world ... in the midst of the world the Church is dead ... The world ... celebrates. ... Its joy is premature. ... In connection with Christ's second coming the Church is restored to life ... the world will become frozen with fear... the Church ascends to heaven in a cloud of glory" (Hendriksen, 1940, "More than Conquerors," pp.129-131).
Note that Hendriksen wrote that in 1940 - nearly seventy years ago! Subsequent world events have only further confirmed his insight.
In fact, the Protestant reformer John Calvin in 1540, nearly four hundred and seventy years ago, confirmed the Bible taught that before "The day of Christ" the "world [would have] fallen into apostasy" and "The Church must be reduced to a ... state of ruin":
"[2Th 2:]3. ... The day of Christ, he says, will not come until the world has fallen into apostasy ...the term apostasy to mean a treacherous rebellion from God. This would ... spread far and wide ... apostates ... those who have previously enlisted in the service of Christ .... Paul, then, is predicting a general defection on the part of the visible Church... `The Church must be reduced to a ghastly and horrifying state of ruin, before its full restoration is achieved.' ...it might have seemed ... [it] could not have been the work of God, had Paul not warned them long before that this would take place. " (Calvin, 1540, "Thessalonians," pp.398-399).
Here also are quotes from two other leading Christian theologians, confirming that the Bible teaches there will be "a final apostasy which will occur just before the Parousia" (Second coming of Christ):
"There is ... a ... New Testament passage which points ... to a final apostasy which will occur just before the Parousia ...for that day will not come, unless the rebellion [or apostasy; Greek, apostasia] comes first ... apostasia is preceded by a definite article: the apostasy or the rebellion. ... what is predicted here is a final, climactic apostasy just before the end-time. .... The fact that this sign is called a `falling away' or `apostasy' implies that this will be a rebellion against the Christian faith ... those who fall away will be at least outwardly associated with the people of God. The apostasy will occur within the ranks of the members of the visible church." (Hoekema, 1979, "The Bible and the Future," p.153).
that " before the Lord returns. ... there must be a rebellion (apostasy). ... a falling away from the faith ... a rebellion against God ... an apostasy... on the part of ... professing Christians":
"In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Paul indicates ... Two things must occur before the Lord returns. First, there must be a rebellion (apostasy). Second, there must be a revelation of the Man of Lawlessness [Antichrist]. ... As for the rebellion (apostasia), the word Paul uses here is used ... to speak of a religious crisis of some sort facing God's people-a falling away from the faith ... The word means a rebellion against God; specifically an apostasy (a falling away from the truth) on the part of God's people. Thus professing Christians ... must be the ones who fall away. " (Riddlebarger, 2006, "The Man of Sin," pp.124-125).
So we have a win-win situation. You, an "agnostic-deist" (see below), win by being able to gloat "that Christianity has no future as wordly religion, and [is] in decline" and I, a Christian, win by knowing that is in fact what the Bible teaches!
But the win-win is only apparent because it will, at Jesus unexpected return, suddenly and irrevocably turn into a loss-win, i.e. an infinite loss for non-Christians and an infinite win for Christians. So unless you (and any other non-Christian) changes sides before the "Battle of Harmagedon", i.e. to the side of the apparent loser, Christianity, you will remain on the side of the final loser, "the antichristian world"!
When things get bad and you can't stand to look
It's time to read to the end of the book
Don't put it down 'til you get to the end
When Jesus come and His Kingdom begins
'Til He comes
God the Son
Teaches us to use the sword
And every fight
Has a light
When you know we win the war]
Rev 21:3-4; 22:1-5. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM and be their God. He will WIPE EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES. There will be NO MORE DEATH OR MOURNING OR CRYING OR PAIN, for the old order of things has passed away." ...Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. THEY WILL SEE HIS FACE, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And THEY WILL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER.
4. It seems that you by yourself, after accepting Christianity 40 years ago ,are not sure %100 that Christianity is true,you still seem to struggle and convince yourself . It follows from some of your posts, where you state that "it can not be provable", and your post about Daniel doesn't seem convincing, sorry.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I am fully convinced by the evidence that Christianity is true, and have been the entire 41 years of my Christian life. The only difference is that I am even more convinced by the evidence that Christianity is true than I was when I became a Christian in 1967. Far from having to struggle to convince myself that Christianity is true, I would have to struggle to convince myself that Christianity is not true!
I would like to get your response on "CreationEvolutionDesign", or even in private mail.
Sorry, but I do not get involved in extended private email discussions on topics that are covered by my blogs. You now have this my response via my blog CED.
Thanks. But there is no such position as "agnostic-deist". It is self-contradictory, since an "agnostic" is "a person who believes that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God:
"agnostic ... noun a person who believes that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God. adjective relating to agnostics. - DERIVATIVES agnosticism noun." ("Compact Oxford English Dictionary," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 2008)
and a "deist" is a person who believes in the existence of God but He "does not intervene in the universe":
"deism ... noun belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. Compare with THEISM. - DERIVATIVES deist noun deistic adjective" ("Compact Oxford English Dictionary," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 2008).
"One scholar put his finger on the problem when he explained that belief in the deity of Jesus-his unique status among human beings as God in the flesh-implies that Jesus is the only way for people to be properly related to God:
Traditional orthodoxy says that Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate ... who became man to die for the sins of the world and who founded the church to proclaim this to the ends of the earth, so that all who sincerely take Jesus as their Lord and Savior are justified by his atoning death and will inherit eternal life. It follows from this that Christianity, alone among the world religions, was founded by God in person. God came down from heaven to earth and launched the salvific movement that came to be known as Christianity. From this premise it seems obvious that God must wish all human beings to enter this stream of saved life, so that Christianity shall supersede all the other world faiths. They may perhaps have some good in them and be able to function to some extent as a preparation for the gospel, but nevertheless Christianity alone is God's own religion.... It is therefore divinely intended for all men and women without exception. All this follows logically from the central dogma of the deity of Jesus.' [Hick J., "A Pluralist View," in Okholm, D.L. & Phillips, T.R., 1995, "Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, pp.51-52]
It is remarkable, however, that the person who made this observation doesn't believe in the deity of Jesus. He is, in fact, a well-known opponent of that doctrine." (Bowman, R.M., Jr. & Komoszewski, J.E., 2007, "Putting Jesus In His Place," Kregel: Grand Rapids MI, pp.18-19).
"[2Th 2:]3. Let no man beguile you. In order to keep from vainly promising themselves the glad day of redemption within so short a period, he gives them a gloomy prediction concerning the future dispersion of the Church. This discourse corresponds in every respect to that which was addressed by Christ to His disciples when they had asked Him about the end of the world. [Mt 24:3-14] ... The day of Christ, he says, will not come until the world has fallen into apostasy, and the rule of Antichrist has held sway in the Church. ... Paul, therefore, uses the term apostasy to mean a treacherous rebellion from God. This would not be confined to a single individual or even a few, but would spread far and wide among a considerably large number of persons. When the word apostasy is used without any addition it cannot be confined to a few individuals. Now the word apostates can be understood only of those who have previously enlisted in the service of Christ and His Gospel. Paul, then, is predicting a general defection on the part of the visible Church, as if he were saying, `The Church must be reduced to a ghastly and horrifying state of ruin, before its full restoration is achieved.' From this we may at once conclude how useful this prediction of Paul's is. For it might have seemed that a building which was suddenly destroyed, and which lay for so long in ruins, could not have been the work of God, had Paul not warned them long before that this would take place. " (Calvin, J., 1540, "The Epistles of Paul to the Romans and Thessalonians," Mackenzie, R., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1960, Reprinted, 1980, pp.398-399).
"[Mt 24:] 9-12. These verses similarly speak in general terms of the sufferings to come, not now in relation to the world at large, but more with reference to Jesus' disciples. They will, as he has predicted already, be persecuted and hated. (Cf. 10:17-22, a passage closely related to this, and closer in wording to the parallel passage in Mk. 13:9-13. It is interesting that here, in contrast to both 10:17-22 and Mk. 13:9-23, the persecution is to come from all nations, not just from the Jews; in ch. 10 a mission to Jews only was in view (10:5-6, 23), but now an international involvement of the disciples is envisaged, as 28:18-19 will spell out.) This persecution will take its toll, in that many will fall away ('be tripped up', the same verb as in 5:29-30; 13:21; 18:6-9; etc.; here it echoes particularly Dn. 11:41), and the disciple group itself will be the scene of betrayal, hatred, false prophecy and wickedness (lit. 'lawlessness'). And lawlessness will lead to the cooling off of love, a connection to be noted. Most men's love is literally 'the love of the many', which could mean disciples' love for 'the many' outside; but the sequence of thought in these verses, where it is the disciple group itself which is under pressure, suggests that it means that 'the majority' (of the disciples) will cool off in their love, whether for God or for their fellow-men. It is a sombre picture of a church in decline. All this, the context indicates, is part of the history which must run its course before 'the end' comes; but there is no indication as to the temporal relation between such a situation and 'the end'." (France, R.T., 1985, "Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, pp.338-339).
"The two witnesses ([Rev.] 11:3-14) ... This gospel age is, however, going to come to an end (cf. Mt. 24:14). The Church, as a mighty missionary organization, shall finish its testimony. The beast that comes up out of the abyss, that is, the antichristian world, urged on by hell, shall battle against the Church and shall destroy it. This is the Battle of Harmagedon. The beast will not kill every believer. There are going to be believers on earth when Christ comes again, although they will be few in number (Lk. 18:8). But the Church itself, as a mighty organization for the dissemination of the gospel and regular ministry of the Word, will be destroyed. ... Thus, just before the second coming, the corpse of the Church, whose public and official testimony has been silenced and smothered by the world, lies on the great city's High Street. ... So when we read that the corpse of the Church is lying on the broad avenues of the great city, this simply means that in the midst of the world the Church is dead: it no longer exists as an influential and powerful missionary institution! Its leaders have been slaughtered; its voice has been silenced. This condition lasts three days and a half, which is a very brief time. (Mt. 24:22; cf. Rev. 20:7-9.) The world does not even allow the dead bodies of the witnesses to be buried. In the High Street lie these corpses, exposed to insects, birds, and dogs. The world has a grand picnic: it celebrates. People send each other presents and gloat over these witnesses ... Their word will not torment them any more. Foolish world! Its joy is premature. The corpse suddenly begins to stir; the breath of life from God has entered into it; the witnesses stand upon their feet. In connection with Christ's second coming the Church is restored to life, to honour, to power, to influence. For the world the hour of opportunity is gone, and gone for ever. On the day of judgment when the world shall see the Church restored to honour and glory, the world will become frozen with fear. The Church still under the symbolism of the two witnesses-now hears a voice, 'Come up hither'. Thereupon the Church ascends to heaven in a cloud of glory. 'And their enemies beheld them.' This is no secret rapture!" (Hendriksen, W., "More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation," , Tyndale Press: London, Reprinted, 1966, pp.129-131).
"There is, however, a specific New Testament passage which points unambiguously to a final apostasy which will occur just before the Parousia [Second coming of Christ]. We turn now to Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians: `Now concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion [or apostasy; Greek, apostasia] comes first, and the man of lawlessness [Antichrist] is revealed.. ." ([2Th ]2:1-3). ... The word apostasia is derived from the verb aphistemi which when it is used intransitively means `to fall away' or `to become apostate.' As used in II Thessalonians 2:3, apostasia is preceded by a definite article: the apostasy or the rebellion. Both the definite article and the statement that this happening must precede the Parousia indicate that what is predicted here is a final, climactic apostasy just before the end-time. It should be noted, however, that this apostasy will be an intensification and culmination of a rebellion which has already begun, since in verse 7 Paul says, `For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.' We may see a parallel, therefore, between this sign and the sign of tribulation: both are evident throughout the present age but come to a climactic and final form just before Christ returns. The fact that this sign is called a `falling away' or `apostasy' implies that this will be a rebellion against the Christian faith as it has been heard or professed. We may therefore assume that those who fall away will be at least outwardly associated with the people of God. The apostasy will occur within the ranks of the members of the visible church. Those who are true believers will not fall away (John 10:27-29; I Pet. 1:3-5); but many who have made an outward profession of the faith will do so." (Hoekema, A.A., 1979, "The Bible and the Future," , Paternoster Press: Exeter UK, p.153).
"[Lk 18:]8. Vindication will be done speedily, but we should understand this in terms of God's time (in which one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day, 2 Pet. 3:8). Jesus is speaking of the certainty of speedy action when the time comes. When He asks whether the Son of man will find faith on earth, he is not suggesting that there will be no believers. He is saying that the characteristic of the world's people at that time will not be faith. Men of the world never recognize the ways of God and they will not see His vindication of His elect." (Morris, L.L., 1974, "The Gospel According to Luke: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press Leicester UK, Reprinted, 1986, pp.263-264).
"[2Th 2:]3. The Thessalonians must not be deceived in any way, whether by the things listed in verse 2 or by anything else whatever. The construction is broken in the following clause, but NIV is surely right in supplying the words that day will not come. While the coming of 'the day of the Lord' will be unexpected (1 Thes. 5:2-3), certain things will precede it. One is the rebellion. The definite article shows that the rebellion was well known to the readers; evidently it had formed part of Paul's previous teaching. Our difficulty is that we do not know what he had told them. In classical Greek apostasia meant a political or military rebellion, but in LXX it is used of rebellion against God (e.g. Jos. 22:22), and this became the accepted biblical usage. Paul is saying that in the last times there will be a great uprising of the powers of evil against God (cf. Mt. 24:10ff.; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3-4). It is as though Satan were throwing all his forces into one last despairing effort." (Morris, L.L., 1984, "The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians: An Introduction and Commentary," , Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Second edition, p.127).
"In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Paul indicates that the reason people are not to be startled is that two signs must be fulfilled before the Lord returns. `Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.' Paul is crystal clear. Two things must occur before the Lord returns. First, there must be a rebellion (apostasy). Second, there must be a revelation of the Man of Lawlessness. ... As for the rebellion (apostasia), the word Paul uses here is used throughout the Septuagint (LXX) and elsewhere in the New Testament to speak of a religious crisis of some sort facing God's people-a falling away from the faith in some sense. As Beale points out, `Such a meaning is apparent because of the immediate context of false teaching (vv. 1-2 and vv. 9-12) and the clear allusions to Daniel's prediction of an end-time opponent who will bring about a large-scale compromise of faith among God's people. ' [Beale, G.K., "The Temple and the Church's Mission," IVP: Downers Grove IL, 2004, pp.271-272] This seems to connect Paul's comments to both John's and our Lord's warnings about false teachers and people who claim to be believers but who fall away and take a number of followers with them (see Matt. 24:10-12, 23-24; 1 John 2:18-19). ... The word means a rebellion against God; specifically an apostasy (a falling away from the truth) on the part of God's people. Thus professing Christians ... must be the ones who fall away. [Beale, G. K., "1-2 Thessalonians," IVP: Downers Grove IL, 2003, pp.207-209] While there were some apostates in the apostolic church just as there are in ours, God restrains false teachers and antichrists from gaining the upper hand until the appointed time. Because the final apostasy has not yet taken place, the Thessalonians can be assured that the Lord has not yet returned, nor has the day of the Lord already occurred." (Riddlebarger, K. , 2006, "The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, pp.124-125).