A Change of Voice in the Pro-Life Movement

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Al Mohler begins his blog entry today: “A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion. . . . ‘We had abortions. . . . I’ve had abortions,’ says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost.”

Mohler concludes his post: “While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.” Do not miss reading “We Had Abortions . . . . I’ve Had Abortions” — A New Voice in the Abortion Debate.”

Psalm 2 & David’s Dynasty

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In an earlier post, "Introduction to the Psalms," I said that I was going to examine six genres found in the book of Psalms: (1) lament, (2) praise, (3) thanksgiving, (4) kingship & covenant renewal, (5) trust, and (6) wisdom; however, my plan was to discuss these genres as they appeared in their canonical ordering. As such, we initially looked at Psalm 1, the first wisdom psalm, with two posts: "The Wisdom of Psalm 1" and "Applying the Wisdom of Psalm 1." With this post, we will begin an examination of Psalm 2, one of the theocratic kingship psalms that are a subcategory of the larger category entitled the kingship & covenant renewal genre. The psalms in this genre celebrate and affirm loyalty to God as King, the theocratic king, and God’s covenant. This category has three subcategories. First, divine kingship psalms celebrate the LORD’s sovereign rule over the universe. The psalms in this category are 24, 29, 47, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99. Second, theocratic kingship psalms, also often referred to as “royal psalms,” celebrate the Davidic dynasty and its universal kingdom. These psalms are joined by their focus on Israel’s earthly king. These psalms have the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7 (also 1 Chr 17) as their foundation. These psalms may focus on the importance of the Davidic line and its relationship to God as in Psalms 2, 89, 132. Psalm 18 is a royal thanksgiving psalm. Psalm 20 requests God’s blessing on the king. Psalm 45 focuses on a royal wedding. Therefore, the emphasis of these psalms is on the Davidic king but it can refer to various phases of kingship. The remaining royal psalms are 21, 72, 101, 110, 144. The theocratic kingship psalms are especially significant for Christians because they provide the background and at times find their culmination in our Lord Jesus Christ. Third, two psalms, 50 and 81, are intended to encourage Israel to renew her allegiance to God and the Mosaic Covenant (Fee and Stuart, How to Read the Bible, p. 176). I will analyze a key psalm from each of these subcategories. Because of God’s absolute sovereign control over his creation, we could begin this portion of our study with the divine kingship psalms. However, Psalm 2 with its focus on the sovereign rule of the Davidic king and Psalm 1 with its emphasis on the godly man’s relationship to the Law appropriately serve as an introduction to the Psalter. Having covered Psalm 1, our attention will now focus on Psalm 2 as an example of a royal genre.

This category of psalm is based entirely upon the thematic elements of God’s promised Davidic dynasty and his universal kingdom. Thus, the theocratic kingship psalms are set apart from other psalm categories by their emphasis on Israel’s king. As such, these psalms may also be referred to as “royal” or even “messianic” psalms, as is found in popular literature. Because this category does not include rhetorical elements, a theocratic kingship psalm may also be lament psalm as is the case in Psalm 144 or a thanksgiving psalm as in Psalm 18. When I interpret a psalm as a lament psalm, such as in Psalm 144 and clearly see a thematic emphasis on Israel’s king, I categorize this as a “royal lament.” Since Psalm 18 is a thanksgiving psalm and it has a focus on the success of the Davidic dynasty (see vv. 43–50), this would be a “royal thanksgiving psalm.”

In these psalms Israel’s king may be specifically referred to as “David,” the “king” or “anointed.” These psalms are predicated upon the promises given to David in the Davidic Covenant (see 2 Sam 7 and 1 Chr 17). The promises given in the Davidic Covenant focused upon David’s having an eternal and universal kingdom and a ruling dynasty, which, in light of progressive revelation, culminates in Jesus Christ. These promises are incorporated into many aspects of the theocratic kingship psalms. The Davidic Covenant is the prophetic foundation upon which many of the prophetic elements are poetically set forth in this type of psalm. Consequently, the theocratic kingship psalms may contain prophetic elements that point directly or indirectly to Jesus the Messiah and his universal kingdom (see Wendland, Analyzing the Psalms, pp. 49–50). However, because most of these psalms do not find an immediate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, I prefer to call them either "theocratic kingship" or "royal" psalms. However, there is in my opinion one royal psalm, Psalm 110, that is the most directly Messianic psalm (see the helpful article by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary’s assistant librarian, John Aloisi, "Who Is David’s Lord? Another Look at Psalm 110:1," Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, 10 (2005) [this article may be obtained by clicking here or by mailing your request to Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, 4801 Allen Road, Allen Park, MI 48101]).

With this post, my objective has been to introduce you to the kingship & covenant renewal genre, with a more specific focus on the theocratic kingship psalms, with Psalms 2 as our focus. In the next two posts, I will focus on the development of Psalm 2’s message.

Is Natural Selection the Same Thing as Evolution?

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According to Dr. Georgia Purdom, “Natural selection is an observable process that is often purported to be the underlying mechanism of unobservable molecules-to-man evolution.” But is this purported argument valid? For a clarification about what natural selection really is, check out Dr. Georgia Purdom’s Is Natural Selection the Same Thing as Evolution? – Answers in Genesis

The Life-Giving Work of the Spirit: Regeneration

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In my post "Total Depravity 2," I concluded it by noting that the nature of a person’s total depravity demands that God must regenerate a sinner if he is to have any hope of eternal salvation. This is to say that without the Spirit’s work in regeneration, a person is helplessly condemned to an eternal condemnation. I also concluded my post by drawing your attention to some helpful sources on the doctrine of regeneration. However, to complete my description of regeneration, I would like to add a few additional observations.

If you have been following what I am arguing for with the doctrine of totally depravity, then no one be saved? What this means, contrary to modern expectations, is that not even a counselor can save a totally depraved sinner. With any person it is impossible for this person to save himself; however, with God all things are possible (Matt 19:25–26). Only God can change a person’s totally depraved heart of stone into a renewed heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26). It does not matter whether one lived before or after the Cross, or even where they lived, there is only one way to overcome spiritual death, and this is by God giving a dead sinner spiritual life. By the very nature of total depravity, no one has the desire or capability to come to God. Jesus recognized the ramifications of a person’s total depravity when he said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, 5 that “unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Jesus again recognized the necessity of God enabling man to believe in John 6:44, 65: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…. No one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” In both passages, Jesus recognizes the absolute impossibility of man creating in his own being any type of spiritual life so that he could come to God, and he affirmed that it is only through divine enablement that anyone can come to God. Of necessity, Jesus’ remarks in both passages affirm that if anyone is to faithfully follow Him, a person will only come because the Divine Progenitor has given him spiritual life. Just as it is impossible for any person to cause his own physical birth, so it is impossible for any depraved person to bring about his own spiritual birth. The term that theologically describes this “monergistic” work of God in the soul of a radically corrupt sinner is regeneration. In both contexts, Jesus emphatically rules out any type of synergistic activity with God and man cooperatively working together to produce new life (see Hoekema, Saved by Grace, p. 101). Since total depravity has been the true state of man since the Fall, Jesus’ remarks strongly suggest that fallen humanity can only come to a saving knowledge of God through the Spirit’s life-giving work in regeneration.

Regeneration may be defined as an implanting of spiritual life in the spiritually dead. Such a definition is certainly related to the biblical description of man as being “dead in trespasses and sin.” More specifically, regeneration involves the impartation of a new disposition, a new complex of attributes, including spiritual life, in a pervasively corrupt man. In keeping with this, regeneration, according to Berkhof, “is that act of God by which the principle of the new life is implanted in man, and the governing disposition of the soul is made holy” (Systematic Theology, 2:469). If this governing disposition is correlated with the new nature (see Combs, “Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two?” pp. 82–87), regeneration can be defined as “the decisive impartation of the new nature to a spiritually dead man" (Snoeberger, “Priority of Regeneration to Saving Faith,” p. 55). While the Old Testament does not have a Hebrew term that precisely corresponds to the term regeneration, it uses other concepts that overlap with regeneration, such as having “a new heart,” “new spirit,” “heart of flesh” (Ezek 36:26), and a “circumcised heart” (Deut 30:6; Jer 9:25; Ezek 44:7, 9). In the New Testament, the term regeneration is only used in Titus 3:5. Other parallel NT concepts include: “made alive" (Eph 2:5, Col 2:13 “born" (John 1:13, 1 John 2:29, 3:9, 4:7, 5:1), “born again" [or, "born from above"] (John 3:3, 7) or “born again" (1 Pet 1:3, 23)(see ibid., pp. 53–54). These various terms used for regeneration reflect the initial activity of the Spirit in his life-giving ministry as he implants a new nature in the hearts of men who are spiritually dead. Therefore, regeneration is a soteriological necessity for a fallen man redemption in any era because his corruption permeated his being.

I have included the above picture, The Raising of Lazarus, by the renown 17th century Dutch painter and etcher, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, because he places Christ in a prominent place when he raised Lazarus from the dead. In this picture Christ’s role is as it should be for, when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus was a passive recipient in his state of death and Christ was the active agent in creating life in this dead man. Christ’s raising Lazarus from the dead illustrates the point that I am making about regeneration. When the Gospel is preached, the Spirit imparts a new nature to an elect sinner so that the sinner repents of his sin and trusts the finished work of Christ. This is to say, a person does not repent and believe to be born again; rather he repents and believes because he has been born again. Thank God for his monergistic work of regeneration.

A New Source for Stem Cells – Institute for Creation Research

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From the Institute for Creation Research’s Presidential Column, Dr. John D. Morris has written a concise article that supports using cells taken from adults for stem cell research rather than from human embryos. As Morris states, “Some scientists and policymakers claim that the moratorium on the use of human embryos for stem cell research has stifled the development of possible cures for debilitating diseases. Thankfully, a true breakthrough seems to have been reached as two labs have recently developed an alternate source that uses cells from adults. Viruses were used as a vector to deliver transcription factors that converted adult somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. (The virus technique will never be used to actually make these available for clinical use, but creating pluripotent cells from adult somatic cells can be done!) The future finally looks hopeful for stem cell research.” To read this article, click the following link “A New Source for Stem Cells.”