Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."

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1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"Atheism, New Age Mysticism, vs. Biblical Christianity" By Brian Schwertley

Thursday, January 27, 2011
God

Every system of thought, every worldview has a concept of God.1 Three predominant views of God in America are: monism (everything is God), atheism (God does not exist) and Christian theism (there is a personal, infinite God who is totally separate from the created universe). Secular humanists are atheists. They reject any concept of a transcendent Creator in favor of materialistic evolution. They believe that the universe is a closed system. There is nothing above and beyond the universe. Therefore man, as the highest form of evolution, is responsible to: create his own law and morality; save himself and the world through science and social planning; unite mankind into a one-world order; and redirect the course of evolution. Humanity is the secular humanists’ god.


Agnostics are polite atheists. Agnostics say that they do not know whether God exists or not He may exist. He may not exist. Biblically speaking, agnostics are atheists because they presuppose that God has not revealed Himself in creation, history and the Bible. Men cannot avoid the responsibility to believe and serve God because God has revealed Himself in such a way as to leave all men without excuse. (Rom. 1:18-32, Ps. 19:14). There is no neutrality. You must serve either God as he has revealed Himself in the Bible or you are serving an idol, a false god.


Most people in America would not consider themselves to be atheists. Most Americans profess belief in God. Unfortunately, the vague sentimental God that people believe in has nothing to do with the righteous, holy, just God of the Bible. God is seen as a cosmic Santa Claus, a heavenly spare tire. God has a sentimental, indiscriminate love of everyone.2 He exists for man. He is there to give out goodies and bail us out when we get into trouble. People have set up a false god. A god who tolerates sin. A god who makes little or no demands on one’s life. If this is your view of God, then you are a practical atheist. You are an idolater. Whether you’re a hard core atheist, a soft core atheist (i.e. an agnostic) or a practical atheist (the average churchgoer), you need to understand that atheism is the religion of nihilism.3 Because atheism leaves man in a monistic (all is matter) impersonal universe, it leaves man without any basis for ethics, meaning,4 personality,5 logic6 and even science.  For example, most atheists say they believe in the dignity and sanctity of human life. But the atheistic worldview can provide no convincing reasons why human life should be nurtured and protected. The atheist believes human beings are the product of chance evolution. Humans do not have souls that continue after death, so eventually everyone will cease to exist. Eventually the sun will die out or explode and the earth will cease to exist. Eventually the universe will expand into an icy death or contract into a fiery ball. Eventually it will be as if no one (including you) ever even existed. Memories, records, ruins and history will be completely destroyed forever. According to this worldview your life, whether good or bad, holds no significance at all. It doesn’t make any difference whether you’re Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa because in the end it will be as though no one ever existed at all. When the atheist denies the transcendent, personal God of the Bible, who is absolutely good and who will judge all men and then render eternal judgment, he has destroyed any possibility of ethics. Atheistic ethics can only be social convention, relative, temporary, changing and arbitrary. Secular humanistic atheism naturally leads to societal chaos. The only reason non- Christians act ethically at all is because they are created in the image of God and have a conscience. They continually borrow ethical concepts from Christianity. And God keeps society from disintegration through his common grace. New Age mystics are monists or pantheists.8 All being, all reality, everything that exists is part of the one impersonal spirit. The biblical doctrine of God as separate and distinct (transcendent) from the universe is totally rejected. You are god. The animals are god. Plants, rocks, water and dirt are god. The one spirit is a cosmic force, an energy field. The New Age god is a changing, evolving god. A god in process. God the impersonal cosmic one became the many (e.g. bug, plants, people, etc.). The many are now in the process of returning to the one. A spiritual, evolutionary odyssey from the amoeba onward and upward to man and finally back into the one cosmic impersonal spirit. An impersonal, changing god
is a non-speaking, non-directive, non-judgmental god. Any communication that occurs is god speaking to itself. If everything is god, then interpersonal relationships and personality itself is an illusion. If everything is god, then you must say that good and evil are part of god or good and evil don’t really exist.  You cannot derive morality from an impersonal force any more than you can
derive morality from an ocean. You cannot derive meaning from an energy field any more than you can derive meaning from static electricity. There is no need to obey an impersonal spirit of which you are a part, for if you are god you cannot do anything wrong. 

Pleasure-seeking Americans are flocking to the New Age concept of god for two reasons. First, the naturalistic, atheistic secularism taught in public schools, colleges, universities and liberal churches leaves people spiritually hungry. 


The Bible teaches that we were created in God’s image, his likeness (Gen. 1:26). Our chief purpose is to fellowship with, serve and glorify our Creator (Rom. 11:36). Secular humanism cannot satisfy man’s spiritual longings. Therefore, people have been embracing New Age mysticism in order to try and fill this spiritual vacuum. Second, the non-speaking, non-directive, non-judgmental god of New Age thought allows sinful man to pursue his lusts without guilt and without fear. The New Age concept of god leaves man autonomous.9 If you’re god you can do whatever you desire. Blatant hedonism is common among popular New Age leaders.10 Adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, divorce without cause, religion for profit and lying are openly accepted by most New Age prophets.  New Age thought is the perfect philosophy for modern, hedonistic American
culture. “Spirituality” without repentance. “Love” without responsibility. A concept of god without moral absolutes. A god who will not judge sin and wickedness.


The common New Age assertion that all religions teach the same truth and believe in the same God is simply untrue. When you look at what the Bible says about God and then compare the God of the Bible to the New Age god you will see that they are totally incompatible. They contradict each other at every fundamental point.  The Christian God is personal. He thinks (Isa. 58:8-9). He communicates with mankind (Heb. 1:1-2). He acts in history (Heb. 2:4). He loves (Jn. 3:16). God is
kind (Acts 14:17), merciful (Ps. 86:15) and compassionate (Ps. 145:8-9). God is absolutely righteous (Ps. 98:9), holy (Rev. 4:8) and good (Deut. 32:4). God is self-conscious (Ex. 3:14), self-reflective (Isa. 44:24) and self-determinative (Jn.5:26). The God of the Bible is not some impersonal force, particle field or energy mass. He is an independent (Acts 17:25), eternal (Ps. 102:12, Ps. 9:2), living (Job11:7-10) Being.  The Christian God is infinite. Therefore all of His attributes are unlimited.
God is everywhere present (omnipresent) without being part of the universe because God is pure uncreated Spirit (Jn. 4:24). His essence is totally different from created reality. The universe is finite. It is a speck of dust in God’s sight. God is all knowing (omniscient—Heb. 4:13, Rom. 11:33).
God’s knowledge is exhaustive. Nothing can be added or subtracted from His knowledge. Therefore God, not man, is the source for truth. God is all powerful (omnipotent—Jer. 32:17, Isa. 14:27). God has all power. His power level cannot change. He cannot run down or get tired. All energy in the universe is created energy and is running down. Because God is all knowing and all powerful, whatever He wills will come to pass. God cannot be frustrated in His plans.


The God of the Bible is transcendent (Job 11:7-9). He is above, beyond and separate from the created universe. God is eternal (Ps. 90:2). God is not subject to time. God created time, space and matter as aspects of the created universe. The universe had a beginning in time. God has existed from eternity. God does not change (He is immutable—Ps. 102:27, James 1:17). God will always be God. 
He does not evolve. He does not become the universe. God is independent and self-existent (ontological—Jn. 5:26, Acts 17:25). He is in need of nothing outside of Himself. The universe is totally dependent on God for its existence. The Christian God is also a triune God.12 A common excuse people give for rejecting the God of the Bible and turning to atheism or New Age mysticism is their view that the God of the Bible is judgmental and therefore not loving. The Christian God is love (1 Jn. 4:7-11, Jn.3:16, Jer. 31:3, Eph. 2:4-5) but He is also perfectly holy, just and righteous
(Deut. 32:4, Ps. 72:2, Ps. 98:9, Acts 17:31, Rom. 3:25-26). To say that love is more important than justice is to misunderstand both God and love. Love without righteousness, without justice, ceases to be love. Jesus Christ said: “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15). Love and justice are friends, not enemies. If someone says I accept God’s love but rejects His justice, he has rejected God. God’s attributes cannot be separated one from another. God’s perfect justice, His absolutely righteous character tells us what kind of love He has. God’s love is not promiscuous or lawless but holy and perfect. That is why He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for sinners. In the historical act of Christ’s humiliation, suffering and crucifixion God’s love and justice are in perfect harmony. Jesus Christ died for sinners (love) so their sins could be paid for in full (justice). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
The Result
After examining the atheistic view of ultimate reality and the New Age concept of God, we should note that both systems cannot account for meaning, personality, ethics and justice. Both systems are monistic. Atheism is materialistic monism (reality is the interaction of impersonal atomic particles). New Age thought posits spiritualistic monism (reality is an impersonal cosmic Spirit). Both systems are closed systems because they do not have a personal, transcendent God outside of and separate from the universe. Both are lost in a flux of relativity. Both systems cannot provide any real meaning to our experience because in a monistic universe facts, rules, laws and particulars are lost in the spiritual or materialistic one. They can only provide the illusion of meaning. Yet even this illusion will be swallowed up by the cosmic soup of New Age thought or the death of the universe in materialistic thought. Both systems are irrational and absurd. Both systems cannot account for distinct human personality. In the atheistic materialistic universe personality is an illusion (epiphenomenon) of electrochemical reactions between molecules. In the New Age system personality is an illusion of the one cosmic Spirit playing with itself. 


In both systems what appears as personality will eventually be annihilated. The atheist believes that when you die you become compost. The New Age mystic believes that everyone and everything will melt back into the one cosmic impersonal Spirit. According to both systems all people and everything that has happened throughout history will forever cease to exist. Everything will be forgotten. It will be as though nothing ever even existed. It should be obvious that both systems render life meaningless. They also totally destroy any possibility of justice.  If atheism and New Age thought are so absurd and irrational, then why are they so popular? Because people are sinners. The essence of sin is to live life ignoring God and His demands on your life. People love sin therefore they create idols. They reject the true God and choose religious systems that do not interfere with their sinful lifestyle. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and fourfooted beasts and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom.
1:18-25).
Death
It should be no surprise that people who believe in different gods also have radically different views regarding death. The materialistic atheist believes that death brings the total cessation of existence. The New Age mystic believes in reincarnation. The orthodox Christian believes that death brings a temporary separation of the soul from the body until the resurrection and the final judgment The consistent atheist believes that death is the cessation of all existence. What appears as one’s soul and personality is nothing more than a physical process. When your brain ceases to function, you forever cease to exist. Once you die, that’s it. You forever lose consciousness because there is no soul or spirit that lives on. Your body rots into the soil. You are gone forever. No memories, nothing. All your labors, achievements, “good” deeds, family, friends, love and hopes are lost forever. Your are forever compost. Your life has no significance at all, none. 


Everything you have ever done has no meaning. From atoms floating in the void to atoms floating in the void. All your talk of love and meaning you stole from the Christian worldview. If you were consistent with your worldview, you would say “All is matter, nothing matters.” Then you say “Yes but our achievements, our memories live on in future generations.” Nonsense, everything will be consumed by a supernova if you are an atheist, everything that occurred on earth, everything, will have no significance at all, none.  Reincarnation is the belief that, at death, a person’s soul migrates and is reborn into a new body. There are some different variations of this belief. Some
believe that after death peoples’ spirits spend time in a spiritual world or dimension and each person chooses when or where to be reborn. Others believe that the impersonal law of Karma will determine when and where each person will be born. If you led a bad life, you will be born into a difficult situation where you will suffer for your past deeds. If you were good, then you will be born into a good situation. The ultimate goal that reincarnation leads up to is the reunification of your spirit with the oversoul, the one infinite, cosmic, impersonal, spiritual essence. Everything that exists: dirt, rocks, insects, animals and people all go to heaven in this system. Hence its current popularity. But what most people fail to understand is that the Eastern New Age heaven is impersonal.
You merge back into the impersonal, cosmic spirit. The New Age mystic has avoided the Biblical doctrine of Hell but has ended up no different than the atheist. You will be a little drop that melts into the infinite, impersonal, cosmic ocean of energy. You as a person will cease to exist.
The Bible teaches that man was created by God with a physical body and an immortal soul. In the garden Adam and Eve were offered eternal life on the basis of perfect obedience to God. But if they disobeyed God’s command, God said they would die. Adam and Eve, acting in pride and unbelief, disobeyed God’s specific command and sinned. This act of rebellion in history brought spiritual death. The primary meaning of death is separation from God. We all will die because of the guilt and pollution we inherited from Adam and because of our own sins. We have all sinned thousands of times. There are the sins committed in our mind such as coveting, pride, envy, hatred, planning evil acts, sensual lusts, adulteries and fornications. And there are the sins of the outward life such as greed, deceit, lying, disrespect to parents, theft, murder, fornication, adultery and
so on. Physical death is a result of spiritual death which is a result of sin. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (1Cor. 15:56).  Efforts to harmonize the Biblical view of death with reincarnation and annihilation are totally impossible. Death is not natural. It is God’s curse and punishment for man’s ethical rebellion. Not only does the Bible not teach reincarnation, it unequivocally rejects it.13 The Bible teaches that you die only once then you are judged by God for deeds done on earth. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “Now he is dead...I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23). Death
expresses God’s anger (Ps. 90:7, 11), God’s judgment (Rom. 1:32), God’s condemnation (Rom. 5:16) and God’s curse (Gal. 3:13). Men are in rebellion against God and His righteous law, therefore God justly brings death, judgment, Hell and the lake of fire to wicked, unbelieving men as sanctions against sin.


The Biblical doctrine of Hell is probably the most unpopular doctrine in the whole Bible. Yet Jesus Christ believed in Hell and warned his hearers more about Hell than the rest of the Bible combined. “Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell” (Mt. 10:28). “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 13:49- 50). “Then He will say to those of the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels’” (Mt. 15:41). “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 22:136). Hell is a furnace of fire, everlasting fire that never ends and outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hell is a terrible place. A place created for Satan and his followers. Jesus Christ, being God, could only speak the truth. If you reject His teaching regarding death and Hell, then you are rejecting Jesus Christ and calling Him a liar. If you follow those who teach reincarnation then you are following a false prophet, a false teacher who is leading you straight to Hell and the lake of fire. Jesus continually warned people about Hell because He wants people to repent and believe in Him while they still can. After you die there is no second chance. Your condition is fixed forever (Lk. 16:19-31; Jude 1:7, 13; 2 Pet. 2:4, 9 At the second coming of Jesus Christ, the resurrection will occur. The body and soul of every person who ever lived and died are reunited. Everyone is judged by Jesus Christ for their deeds done on earth. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him go to heaven forever. But unbelievers who do not follow Christ, who do not submit to His teachings are cast body and soul into the lake of fire forever. This is the second death; total separation from God’s presence forever. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was no place for them. And I saw the dead small and great standing before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life
was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15). 
Salvation
The atheist’s God is collective humanity. Therefore salvation is seen in purely immanent (this worldly) categories: education, cradle to grave security, health care, economic growth, personal peace, affluence and so on. Without a transcendent God to look to for direction, moral law and salvation, the atheist has put his trust in the secular state as man’s sole lawmaker, problem solver and savior. Historically this view of the state has led to political coercion, loss of liberty and unspeakable brutalities. Marxism, socialism, fascism and, to a lesser extent, the welfare state embody the atheistic ideal. In order for the secular state to save man it has sought total jurisdiction over every area of man’s life: the family, the school, business, the church, etc. But the secular state, rather than saving man, has only helped to destroy him. In every country where the Christian
worldview has been replaced with a secular worldview the basic institutions of society have decayed. The Communist countries collapsed first because they were more consistent with the atheistic ideal. Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia are reaping the fruits of secularism: fragmented families, drug abuse, crime, abortion on demand, militant homosexuality, youth gangs, racism, the AIDS epidemic, the rise of the occult and Satanism, pornography, the epidemic of teenage suicide, the general decline in morals and so on.14 “The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; in the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:15-17). 



The New Age concept of salvation is metaphysical not ethical. The New Age mystic is concerned with moving up the scale of being back into the one, cosmic, impersonal spirit. There is no sin or true ethical guilt in this system, only ignorance. Therefore New Age prophets preach self-realization, selfactualization and self-transcendence. You are god, therefore you must look within. You need to acknowledge your godhood and learn to live in terms of that reality. New Age mystics teach that you must overcome the illusion of your separateness from other people, other things. To achieve true enlightenment, cosmic bliss or nirvana, you must have not only proper knowledge but proper technique: chanting, breathing exercises, fasting, proper diet, yoga exercises, meditation, visualization, etc. When you achieve pure self-realization, you enter a mystical “indescribable” experience of total cosmic bliss and peace. You are experiencing the oneness of all things, of all reality.  The Bible presents man’s central problem as not political or metaphysical but ethical. Man is a sinner. Man is in ethical rebellion against God’s perfect standard, His law. When Adam the first man sinned the whole human race fell into sin. Every person who ever lived except Jesus Christ was born with the guilt and pollution (innate corruption) of sin. Every person except Jesus Christ has also committed actual sins. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21). Because of our sin we have become enemies of God. We are dead in trespasses and sins, without God’s friendship and fellowship, without hope. Yet God in His divine compassion, love, grace and mercy has provided redemption through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  Because God is absolutely righteous and holy, because God hates sin with a perfect hatred, and because sin, even one sin merits the eternal death sentence God could only save sinners in one way, by a substitutionary (vicarious) atonement. God, the offended party, provided a substitute who suffered the penalty, wrath and curse for sin. The substitute was Jesus Christ. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18). Only Jesus Christ could be the substitute, the sacrifice for sin. This is because only a sinless, perfectly holy person, without spot or blemish can be accepted by God as a substitute. “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners...who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 7:26; 9:14; 10:12, 14). Believers in Christ are saved not only by Christ’s sacrificial death but also by Christ’s perfect, sinless life. Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s law in exhaustive detail.


He never sinned. He rose from the dead totally victorious over sin, Satan, and the temptations of the world. Adam failed and we have failed. Our lives have been one sin committed after another. But where we have failed horribly, Jesus Christ was totally victorious. If you place your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and sinless life, then your sins and guilt are placed upon Jesus Christ and washed away by His blood sacrifice. Then Jesus Christ’s perfect sinless life is imputed to you. You are clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness. On the day of judgment God will treat you as His own son by adoption and you will be given eternal life solely on the merits of Jesus Christ. Salvation from start to finish is a sovereign work of God.  You are responsible to repent of your past sinful lifestyle, and to place your faith in Jesus Christ. In order to truly repent you must recognize that your past life is characterized by sin, alienation from God, vanity, defilement, guilt and spiritual helplessness. You must have a genuine sorrow for sinning against God. You must turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ. The old life of sin is put to death with Christ and is replaced with a new life of godliness and good works. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). People who claim to be Christians yet live lives characterized by sin are liars and hypocrites. Christians are not sinless, yet there is a clear demarcation between the old unconverted life and the new life in Christ. The Christian does good works out of obedience and gratitude to Christ. Good works do not contribute to salvation at all. Christians are saved solely through the merits of Jesus Christ.16
Conclusion
In this century Biblical Christianity has been ridiculed as mythology and irrational nonsense. But not only is Biblical Christianity absolutely true, it is the only worldview that is rational, and that provides ultimate meaning to our existence. Only the absolute, unchanging, transcendent God of Christianity provides a basis for absolute, unchanging moral standards. Only the final judgment before Jesus Christ provides perfect justice. Only the perfect, sinless life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the God-man, can eliminate sin and guilt. Materialistic atheism and New Age mysticism are irrational, absurd and nihilistic. The only God, the One who created you and sustains your life at this very moment, commands you to repent of your false beliefs and your sins and believe in His Son Jesus Christ. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame’” (Rom. 10:9-11). If you want to discuss the issues in this booklet, or if you would like to participate in a Bible study or church service, please call or write to the addresses given on this Web site.
1
This even applies to the atheist because whatever a philosophy or religion chooses as its foundation for ethics, meaning and salvation is its God (see R.J. Rushdoony, The Politics of Guilt and Pity [Fairfax, VA, Thoburn Press, 1970. 1978], ch. 6).
2
Unfortunately many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians have adopted a similar view that “God loves the sinner but hates sin.” But the Bible emphatically states that God hates both the sin and the sinner. “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand in your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Ps. 5:4-6). “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the
wicked He will rain coals, fire and brimstone and a burning wind” (Ps 11:5-6). “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Ps. 7:11). Read Revelation 20:11-15. God will cast all unsaved sinners into hell, not just their sins. God only separates sin from the sinner when a sinner trusts in the sacrificial death and obedient (perfect, sinless) life of Jesus Christ. The sinner’s sins are imputed to Christ and Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to the sinner. The sinner is justified through faith in Jesus Christ.
3
Nihilism is the rejection of any basis for knowledge, truth, morality and religion. A nihilist believes there is no meaning or purpose to our existence.
4
In a materialistic, monistic universe that is in constant flux, facts can never be defined in an ultimate manner.
5
In the atheistic worldview, personality is an illusion (epiphenomenon). Personality cannot arise from the purely impersonal. What we think of as a personal soul is, according to the atheistic system, merely electrochemical reactions between molecules.
6
In a materialistic, chance universe there cannot be universal, invariable, abstract laws of logic. The only reason there are logic and reasoning capabilities among men is because we were created in God’s image and we therefore reflect the foundation of logic and reason, the Divine Mind (Greg L Bahnsen).
 7
The originators of modern empirical Western science were almost universally Christians. Scientific progress was achieved because men believed that God created an orderly, structured, predictable universe. The modern Darwinian, atheistic scientist has denied the very foundation of science, the Christian God. Science would be impossible in a chance universe because science depends on the uniformity of natural causes.
8
The occult aspects of New Age thought such as channeling, crystals, contacting the dead, astral projection, astrology, etc., are not being dealt with here. This work focuses in on the Eastern aspects of New Age thought.
9
Autonomy is self-law apart from any external standard or direction.
10
Hedonism is an outlook on life where enjoyment, pleasure and gratification are the most important aspects of life.
11
The only thing that God cannot do is violate or contradict His own nature. For example, God is perfectly holy and righteous, therefore God cannot sin.
12
There is one God existing eternally in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There are not three Gods but only one God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not one-third God each or parts of God, but all are fully God of one indivisible essence, power and eternity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not three manifestations of one God. Each are completely equal, possessing the full Divine nature. When the Bible teaches that God is three persons it does not mean that there are three individuals “but only personal self-distinctions within the Divine essence, which is not only generically, but also numerically one” (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939], p. 87). Therefore we should never make the mistake that many cults do by referring to the Holy Spirit as just an emanation of God’s power
or energy. The Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is a person. Jesus Christ in His Divine nature should never be referred to as a created being. Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity who has existed from eternity.
13
New Age writers claim that the Bible teaches reincarnation. They try to prove reincarnation with two arguments. First they claim that the Bible teaches that John the Baptist is the reincarnation of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. And second they quote Jesus’ statement that “You must be born again” (Jn. 3:7). The first argument is easily disproved by Scripture. First, Elijah never ever died. He ascended directly to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). If Elijah was to come back literally he would descend from heaven body and soul to earth. Second, John the Baptist, when asked if he was the literal person Elijah said “I am not” (Jn. 1:21). John the Baptist rejected the idea that he was literally the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Yet both John the Baptist and Jesus taught that he was Elijah in a figurative sense. That is, John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the Elijah to come (refer to Jn. 1:22-23, 11:14). The second New Age proof of reincarnation, Jesus’ statement that, “You must be born again,” is also easily disproved by the Bible. If you read the context and Jesus’ whole statement to Nicodemus, it becomes clear that Jesus is not referring to reincarnation but to the sovereign operation of the Holy Spirit which comes upon a person enabling them to see the Kingdom of God. That is, the Holy Spirit does a work upon men who are dead in their sins. The Holy Spirit opens their eyes and ears in order that they can believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I say to you, “You must he born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (Jn. 3:3,5-8). Jesus is teaching a spiritual birth, not a physical birth. Therefore Jesus cannot be speaking of some future physical birth into a new physical body.
14
The atheist can never solve man’s problems because he rejects the Biblical doctrine of sin. He believes that man does bad things because man has a bad environment and because man just lacks the proper knowledge. Statist bureaucrats believe they can solve problems with money and education. Yet all the money and education in the world has not developed the Third World, eliminated poverty in the inner city or stopped the AIDS epidemic. Why? Because man’s basic problem is ethical not environmental. Man is a sinner. He must accept that fact, accept responsibility for his sinful behavior and turn to Christ for salvation.
15
Atheists generally have taught that Jesus Christ was just a good moral teacher. He was just a man with some interesting ideas. New Age mystics usually place Christ in a list of enlightened teachers like: Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Gandhi and so on. Both completely fail to recognize that Jesus Christ is totally unique. Jesus Christ is the only God-man. Only once in history did God come to earth and dwell in human flesh. The divine Logos, the second person of the Trinity, God the Son came to earth and assumed a human nature. When Christ became man He did not lay aside His divine nature, nor was His divine nature mixed or intermingled with His human nature. The
two natures, divine and human, are forever held in union in one person Jesus Jesus Christ came to earth and dwelt among sinners and was sacrificed on the cross in order to save His people from their sins. If you are to be saved from your sins, from your guilt before a righteous, just and holy God, you must go to Jesus Christ and Him only. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (Jn. l0:9). “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the
way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (Jn. 14:  If you place Jesus Christ alongside finite, sinful men such as Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed and the like, then you do not believe in Jesus Christ as He has Himself in His word the Bible. If you do not trust in Jesus Christ as the one and Savior, the one and only Mediator, the one and only God-man, then you cannot saved. To reject Jesus Christ’s own words is to reject Christ. It is spiritual suicide to
reject Jesus Christ: the One who created the universe (Heb. 1:2); who is superior to Moses (Heb. 3:3); who is superior to the angels (Heb. 1:4-14); who has total over the universe (Heb. 2:8-9, Mt. 28:18); who will be your judge on the last day (20:11-15, 2 Cor. 5:10). Repent of your idolatry and turn to Jesus Christ.
16
“By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a  by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:21-26).


Copyright © Brian Schwertley, Lansing MI, 1999

3 comments:

{ Al } at: January 28, 2011 at 2:32 AM said...

"...as the highest form of evolution..."

If I read this quote correctly then I believe you misunderstand the concept of evolution or that you are interpreting evolution from a different paradigm to mine. In my understanding there is no highest point in evolution, evolution is a continuous process and the direction or impact of a species within history will be decided by the timing and environment (Environments change with time) of a particular species, not its place in a hierarchy of beings. In fact the idea of a Hierarchy makes little sense in evolutionary theory as an animal is normally 'best' in a particular environment rather than being an absolute pinnacle in the sense that I read the above quote.

{ Al } at: January 28, 2011 at 2:52 AM said...

"atheism is the religion of nihilism.3 Because atheism leaves man in a monistic (all is matter) impersonal universe, it leaves man without any basis for ethics, meaning,4 personality,5 logic6 and even science."

Maybe in the 19th century when people felt they didnt have a basis for these things (like so called 'hardcore atheists' (Haught 2008) like Neitszche, who felt the death of God due to the lack of understanding in these areas; ). But since then science, the model used to test the ideas of a large portion of Atheists, now has much to say on these matters. From a modern Atheistic worldview it could be argued that our place in the universe demands ethical behaviour from us, not because we are the pinnacle of anything but because our evolved sense of fairness (via empathy; e.g. Franz de Waal 2006) demands it due to our knowledge. Through science we understand the consequences of our actions and our evolved conscience demands that we should act in a way that impacts others (including animals a Hierarchy of being would discount) less negatively. 'Do unto others' so to speak but at a much more inclusive level than most religions can manage due to the implicit Hierarchy of being in the ontology. We understand we are not special and that there is likely no God, because we understand the things that you have listed.

{ Al } at: January 28, 2011 at 3:15 AM said...

"In every country where the Christian worldview has been replaced with a secular worldview the basic institutions of society have decayed."

Going to have to disagree with you here. Most of the evidence shows that the more secular a nation is, the better it fairs on all wellbeing measures (e.g. Zuckerman 2010) and that the standard of living and life chances in most secular nations are the best in the world. One of the exceptions is the the U.S. who measures poorly on many societal health statistics and who happen to be the most avowedly religious of the secular nations.

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