Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Be a Pilgrim - Bunyan

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent,
To be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He'll with a giant fight,
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,
Can daunt his spirit:
He knows, he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He'll fear not what men say,
He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

John Bunyan

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

Believers themselves have not chosen the Christian position because they are wiser than others. What they have they have by grace alone. But this does not mean that they accept the problematics of fallen man as right... Fallen man does in principle seek to be a law unto himself. But he cannot carry out his own principle to its full degree. He is restrained from doing so... In spite of what he does against God, he can and must work for God; thus he is able to make a “positive contribution” to human culture. (Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969, pp. 43, 44).

It appears dogmatic and absolutistic because, it is dogmatic and absolutistic. The Christian should not be ashamed of this fact. He ought to have the humble boldness to tell a lost world that the Christian message is unconditionally true and the necessary presupposition of all thought (absolutistic), that Christ’s gospel demands repentance (including a “change of mind”), and that God’s word has definite doctrinal content which is authoritatively revealed “directly from above” (dogmatic). Of course the biblical outlook is not “dogmatic and absolutistic” in the derisive sense often attributed to these words. The Christian’s claim that all thought requires the presupposition of Christ’s word is not arrogant, unreasoning, or unfounded...

Not only must the non-presuppositionalist receive the correction and reproof of God’s word (namely, that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord), but the Christian scholar who presupposes the truth of Scripture in his intellectual endeavors must be fully aware that his wisdom is not inherently his own but rests completely upon the fear of the Lord. Without that reverence, the Christian scholar would be as foolish as all other men. His wisdom is not due to superior mental ability and profundity of insight; instead it has been given by God. We noted above that repentance and faith are requisite for knowledge. The Christian, who possesses a knowledge of the truth, does so only because faith has been given him as a gift (Eph. 2:8-9) and repentance has been granted from the Lord (Acts 5:31; 11:18). In order to have faith you must be born of God (1 John 5:1) who gives repentance unto a genuine knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25). The Christian is in a position of knowledge only because of the grace of God. His spiritual rebirth is not of himself but solely the result of God’s mercy (Ezek. 11:19-20; John 1:13; Rom. 9:16). This gracious regeneration has brought him a new mind...

For we know that men have this unique quality above the other animals, that they are endowed with reason and intelligence and that they bear the distinction between right and wrong engraved in their conscience. Thus there is no man to whom some awareness of the eternal light does not penetrate...the common light of nature, a far lowlier thing than faith
(Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. T.H.L. Parker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1959).

Bahnsen, Greg (2011). Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith (p. 149). Covenant Media Press. Kindle Edition.

Proverbs 15:32-33, He that refuseth correction despiseth his own soul: But he that hearkeneth to reproof getteth understanding. The fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom. And before honor goeth humility.

A glimpse at Islamic Paradise

From the Qur'an:

Reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade, and the fruits of the two Gardens will be near at hand. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? Wherein both will be those (maidens) restraining their glances upon their husbands, whom no man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse)before them. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? (In beauty) they are like rubies and coral. -S. 55:54-58 Hilali-Khan

Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards and maidens with swelling breasts, like of age, and a cup overflowing. Therein they shall hear no idle talk, no cry of lies, for a recompense from thy Lord, a gift, a reckoning. -S. 78:31-36 Arberry

From the Sunnah:

4337. It was narrated from Abu Umamah that the Messenger of Allah said: “There is no one whom Allah will admit to Paradise but Allah will marry him to seventy-two wives, two from houris and seventy from his inheritance from the people of Hell, all of whom will have desirable front passages and he will have a male member that never becomes flaccid (i.e., soft and limp).” (Da‘if) Hisham bin Khalid said: “From his inheritance from the people of Hell” means: “Men who enter Hell, and the people of Paradise will inherit their wives, just as the wife of Pharaoh will be inherited.” [So, the wives of Jews and Christians]

-English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, Chapter 39. Description Of Paradise, pp. 423-424; Source

...and made them virgins, immaculate - every time their spouses enter them they find them virgins, nor is there any pain [of defloration]. -Tafsir al-Jalalayn on S. 56:36

We derive our English word for "whore" from the Arabic "houri," in case anyone was wondering. This is only a small snippet of what "gits done" in Islamic Paradise. The pesky Jews and Christians are tormented in Hell while the righteous Muslims are busily deflowering virgins and wives of Jewish and Christian men.