Christopher Hitchens Death: A Reformed Reflection

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27), Christopher Hitchens, one of the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism destined day was Thursday night of 15 December 2011. He died at the age of 62, after a 18-month combat with esophageal cancer.

The “blogshere” was kidnapped by reflections of his death. Here are highlights of some of reflection coming from Christians blogoshere:

Justin Taylor’s at Between Two Worlds in Gospel Coalition: Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

He was a brilliant and entertaining man. He was enormously gifted, and in his final years he took those gifts and used them to mock God, using his considerable wit and sharp tongue to convince as many people as possible to do the same.

Glenn Peoples’ at Say Hello to my Little Friend: Hitch: Being dead does not make him any more noble

He may have been a good journalist and writer, but in the arena he became notorious in – attacking religion, he was a prat, and deliberately so. And not just a prat, a pretending, smug, arrogant (certainly more arrogant than was warranted by his ignorance), belligerent prat. He – along with his equally vapid adoring fan base – was quite taken by the idea that you’ve offered a sensible critique of Christianity if you just describe it in scornful terms with a serious look on your face, or that a deep Oxford educated voice and some dirty innuendos made a point all that more logically compelling.

Douglas Wilson’s at Christianity Today: Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects

Christopher knew that faithful Christians believe that it is appointed to man once to die, and after that the Judgment. He knew that we believe what Jesus taught about the reality of damnation. He also knew that we believe—for I told him—that in this life, the door of repentance is always open. A wise Puritan once noted what we learn from the last-minute conversion of the thief on the cross—one, that no one might despair, but only one, that no one might presume. We have no indication that Christopher ever called on the Lord before he died, and if he did not, then Scriptures plainly teach that he is lost forever. But we do have every indication that Christ died for sinners, men and women just like Christopher. We know that the Lord has more than once hired workers for his vineyard when the sun was almost down (Matt. 20:6).

Edward Feser’s: Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

Except on religion, where he was a complete bore and an insufferable hack. There is no use sugar-coating that fact now that he is gone, and Hitchens was not in any event a fan of the polite obituary. Religion is the last subject about which to have a tin ear or a closed mind, and Hitchens had both.

Russel Moore’s at Moore to the Point: Christopher Hitchens Might Be in Heaven

Christopher Hitchens was a blasphemer, true enough, and a nasty character. Aren’t we all, in our different ways. Christ Jesus came for nasty characters like us. And the same blood of Jesus that can deliver us from wrath could do the same for Hitchens had he, if he, at any point, embraced it. It’s not likely, but it’s possible, and, if he did, then Christopher Hitchens’s past atheism would be no barrier to communion with God. It would be, like my sin, crucified with Christ, buried, and remembered no more.

And John Podhoretz, Commentary, Juli Weiner, Vanity Fair, Christopher Buckley, The New Yorker on list goes.

I do agree with much that has been said by all brilliant thinkers and writers above. As Christians who hold to the truthfulness of the doctrine of grace, the death of Hitchens’ reminds us how grateful we ought to be to our Sovereign and wise God. We are to thank him because the Cross of Christ is not a stumbling block to us as with Jewish nor fool as with non-believers but power of God and the wisdom of God ( 1 Cor. 1:23-24)

I was not better than Hitchens. I also was a blasphemer. I hated God and unable to walk to the Calvary. Jesus put it this way: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”(John 6:44) I am a Christian because the Father drew me to His Son. As Lydia of Thyatira(Acts 16:14), it’s Yahweh that opened my heart to give heed unto the Gospel of the crucified and resurrected Savior.

When non-believer dies, we ought to ponder on how wonderful our Lord and God is that in His grace and mercy we found favor. As Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”(Ephesians 2:8)

NB: Please do read the blogs for the context of the quoted part.

Christians Must Be Hated

“It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but actually to be one”

-Ignatius (To the Romans 3:2)

Are you hated by the world? If you are a Christian, and the world does not hate you, I believe if I may, sadly inform you that you are not a Christian. You are merely called a Christian, but you are actually not one. Being a Christian, “a follower of the anointed one”, is not only professing to the truthfulness of Christianity but also a lifestyle that imitates Christ Jesus.

Apostle John records Jesus saying: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”(John 7:7). The context to which this Jesus’ saying is coming out, is that of his half brothers, who the Apostle remarked did not even believed in Jesus, pose him to go to Judea and twitter himself publicly at the Jews Feast of Booths, which is celebration of the feast of ingathering observed at the end of the year (Exod. 23:16; Exod. 34:22)

Jesus answered his skeptical half-brothers with a reply  like this: The world loves those who speak what it longs and dearly wants to hear: it’s O.K., it’s O.K.! You are fine! Everything is going to be fine! The world loves those who “claim” to be Christians yet appraise and approve its immoral actions and behavior and hates those who testify about its evil.

If you are a Christian, and the world listens to you, then examine yourself to see whether you are truly what you claim to be. In First Epistle of John, a letter that was generally written to congregations across Asia Minor (now Turkey), John warned Christian that there are “Christian” who are not “ Christian”: “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us.”(1 John 4:5-6)

Christ Jesus was hated for speaking against the evilness of the world. As a true follower of Christ, practicing his teaching and lives a life-style that reflects that you are in Christ, being hated by the world is guarantied. You ought to be hated. You must be hated.

In all this, take courage in these words of warning from the one who loves you: “ If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”(John 15:18–19)

Be a Christian, “Keep on praying”for others too, for there is a chance of their being converted and getting to God. Let them, then, learn from you at least by your actions. Return their bad temper with gentleness; their boasts with humility; their abuse with prayer. In the face of their error, be “steadfast in the faith.” Return their violence with mildness and do not be intent on getting your own back. By our patience let us show we are their brothers, intent on imitating the Lord, seeing which of us can be the more wronged, robbed, and despised. Thus no devil’s weed will be found among you; but thoroughly pure and self-controlled, you will remain body and soul united to Jesus Christ.”(Ignatius’ To the Ephesians 10:1-3)

Go out Christians and be hated! Speak the truth with love and gentleness. Go out, Go be hated.

Why I am Not Arminian

Last Friday, I was honored to be interviewed by a Missiology candidate student on Reformed Theology. One of the best question was: what did I think about the Armenian view on salvation and why did it not make sense to me.

What do I Think About Arminian View on Salvation

An Arminian hold a view that God, who is sovereign and possesses foreknowledge, has place each one of us in a particular time and place were we may in our freewill turn to him and be saved.

Thus election is based on God’s foreknowledge of those whom He knew would of their own freewill believe in Christ and persevere in the faith.

“God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ”(Romans: An Interpretive Outline, by David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas)

Does This Make Sense?

I believe it does not. This view of salvation fails to capture the gravity of our radical depravity, viz our fallen nature.

God did not chose those whom He knew would of their own freewill believe in Christ, because none in their freewill would believe in Christ. When left alone, in our freewill, under sin “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

J. I. Packer captured this well: He writes:

Since all are naturally dead in sin (i.e., cut off from the life of God and unresponsive to him), no one who hears the gospel will ever come to repentance and faith without an inner quickening that only God can impart (Eph. 2:4-10). Jesus said: “No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:65, cf. 44; 10:25-28). Sinners choose Christ only because God chose them for this choice and moved them to it by renewing their hearts.

Though all human acts are free in the sense of being self-determined, none are free from God’s control according to his eternal purpose and foreordination.

Christians should therefore thank God for their conversion, look to him to keep them in the grace into which he has brought them, and confidently await his final triumph, according to his plan.(Packer, J. I. (1995). Concise theology : A guide to historic Christian beliefs. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.)

There is no possible world, or time and place where a sinner left by himself/herself would choose Christ. Christ Jesus put it clear, when he said “ No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44 ESV) and “ This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”(John 6:65 ESV)

No one is able to come because we as human beings freely choose to act according to our strongest desire(borrowing Jonathan Edwards’ thoughts in The Freedom of the Will). Apostle Paul put it this way: “ For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:19-20 ESV)

Boasting

Room For Boasting:
Arminian view on salvation gives a room for boasting. An Arminian can boast for his salvation. God has chose him because God knew he would, of his own free will, choose Christ.

“[T]he ground of our predestination is the good pleasure of God’s will, the goal of our predestination is the praise of God’s glory, and the predestined connecting links between the good pleasure of his will and the praise of his glory are the death of his Son and the holiness of his people.”(John Piper on : Ephesians 1:3-6 ). No room for boasting, for salvation is solely God’s doing. God’s choosing, God calling, God’s electing, God breathing new life, God’s drawing, God’s justifying and God’s glorifying.

I think Arminian view on salvation is wrong and that is why I am Not Arminian.

N.B: Foreknow in Romans 8:29; 11:2 (cf. 1 Pet. 1:2 and 1:20, where the NIV renders the Greek foreknown as “chosen” ) means “fore-love” and “fore-appoint”: it does not express the idea of a spectator’s anticipation of what will spontaneously happen.(Packer, J. I. (1995). Concise theology : A guide to historic Christian beliefs.)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.(Ephesians 1:3-12 ESV)

A spiritual dead person remain dead unless God breathe life in him. This makes salvation solely, God’s.

– R. C. Sproul


Exploring Why Richard Dawkins Is Chickening Out

 An atheist blog founder of Debunking Christianity, author of “Why I Became An Atheist” and former Christian minister John W. Loftus reviewed William Lane Craig Vs Christopher debate, under the title William Lane Craig “Won by a Landslide” Against Hitchens as follows:

That’s what Roger Sharp said on Facebook after watching the debate in person. [Full disclosure, Sharp is a Christian]. This is exactly what I had predicted. Christian professor Doug Geivett weighed in on the debate where he said: Craig “was thoroughly prepared for every aspect of the debate and never faltered in his response to objections by Hitchens,” and that Hitchens’s arguments “were largely unfocused, sometimes disconnected, and often irrelevant.” Over at Common Sense Atheism (which is a great source for Craig debates) is an atheist review of the debate where we read: “Frankly Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child.” For more info visit here.

Dawkins, Haris, Dennett

What does this have to do with Richard Dawkins?

Everything! Pro. Dawkins knows that William Lane Craig is prepared for every aspect of the debate and as a matter of fact, Dawkins has yet to respond to Bills’ critique of The God Delusion,(see the  first chapter of, God Is Good, God Is Great, Why Believing in God is Reasonable and Responsible)

One can understand why Dawkins is Chickening Out, when he/she reads how William Lane Craig shattered his objections.

A good example can be seen when Craig shattered one of the popular Dawkinian objection “Who Design the Designer?” which is countless repeated in New Atheists’ books.

Dawkins’ Objection To Teleological Argument:

But of course any God capable of intelligently designing as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machinery must have been at least as complex and organized as that machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like “God was always there,” and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well say that “DNA was always there,” or “Life was always there,” and be done with it. (Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, 1986, p. 141.)

Echoed By an atheist apologist and philosopher Daniel C. Dennett:

“Since, as Dawkins notes, the hypothesis that [organized, complex] mind plays such a role in the universe could not possibly be explanatory, we should ask: With what other hypotheses is the architecture of the universe consistent?”(Dennett, Atheism and Evolution; The Cambridge Companion to Atheism; The Cambridge University Press;2007, p143.)

And again by Christopher Hitchens:

the postulate of a designer or creator only raises the unanswerable question of who designed the designer or created the creator. Religion and theology… have consistently failed to overcome this objection(Hitchens, God is not Great, Hachette Book Group; 2007, p71.)

William Lane Craig shattering the Objection: Continue reading

God is Sovereign

God is Sovereign

 

    “Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
(Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV)

Picture: Blogmatics.wordpress.com