From Bad to Worse

A Response to Soul Theory’s Proof of Reincarnation


Note to Reader: This post is an extended response to a comment left on my Resurrection is not Reincarnation blog post, by the author of Soul Theory. Please go to my blog post and review the Comments for context.


Mr. Das,

Have you read the story of the Indian girl born with four arms and four legs, who was worshipped as the reincarnation of the goddess Lakshmi? It does not logically follow that a girl born in India with genetic defects is the goddess Lakshmi. Similarly, the example you offer does not allow one to logically deduce that reincarnation is real.

I will assume, for the sake of argument, that your example is historically true – there was a boy born with a scar, he testified to having been a reincarnated soul, and he provided data from past events that a young boy would not know about. Just because this thing happened does not mean reincarnation is true. The Bible offers a different interpretation. God’s word teaches that there are evil spirits called demons, who could easily have been the power behind the testimony of the scarred boy:

  1. Demons can possess small children:
    But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. (Mark 7: 25 – 26)
  2. Demons can afflict the human body.

    Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2: 7)

    And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. (Luke 13: 11)

  3. Demons can speak through a human body.
    Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” (Mark 5: 6 – 7)

Given this Biblical interpretation of the event you use as proof of reincarnation, on what basis should I disbelieve the Bible and believe Soul Theory? Why is your interpretation more reasonable than the Bible’s?

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A Conversation With Perry Noble On Church Music


Doctrine Via Dialectic: Examining Biblical truths by means of fictitious conversations.

This conversation is based on a real event involving Perry Noble of NewSpring church, whose church infamously played ACDC’s “Highway to Hell” as the opening song of their Easter service in 2009.


Blogger: Pastor Noble, were you aware that one of the worst experiences of my Christian life was as a guitarist in a praise band, when I succumbed to the desires of my pastor and worship leader to play “Carry On My Wayward Son” as the opening song to our Easter service?

Perry: I was not aware until just now. That’s a shame what happened to you.

Blogger: Is it a shame that we played the song on Easter or that I felt bad for doing so?

Perry: It is a shame that you felt bad for doing so.

Blogger: I had a feeling you would say that, given what transpired at your church on Easter. Do you mind if we explore this idea of playing secular music in a church service?

Perry: No, I don’t mind. I like challenging the rigid doctrines of fundamentalist Christians.

Blogger: Sometimes, when exploring the truth of a doctrine, one must go to an extreme and work their way back to the middle. So consider this extreme – would you ever play a song, filled with explicit pornographic lyrics, at a church service?

Perry: No, certainly not.

Blogger: And the reason you would not do so is because you believe the Holy Spirit distinguishes between “godly” and “ungodly” music, right? Pornographic music is ungodly music and therefore unacceptable to God.

Perry: You are correct.

Blogger: How do we know the Holy Spirit finds pornographic music unacceptable?

Perry: Because of the revealed nature of God found in Scripture.

Blogger: And surely pornography is not the only type of ungodly music?

Perry: You are right. We could take what we know about the revealed nature of God in Scripture and find many other types of songs that are ungodly. It would be silly to think that only pornographic music is ungodly.

Blogger: With that being said, let me move this conversation from the realm of the theoretical. Do you believe that Highway to Hell, the song you chose to play at Easter, is godly and okay to play, or did you choose to play it even though it is ungodly?

Perry: If I were to say that the song is godly, you would review the lyrics and prove the opposite is true. But if I were to say that the song is ungodly, you would rebuke me for having a bunch of God’s people sing and play ungodly music at a service meant to worship Him. So you have put me in a hard spot and it is a hard question to answer.

Blogger: Don’t blame me for putting you in a hard spot. You are the one that played the song and put God’s people in a position to conclude only one of two things – that you think the secular song you played is godly or that you have no problem playing ungodly music at church for God.

Perry: Perhaps I had a good reason for playing that song at church. What appeared to be a bad thing – playing ungodly music at a church service – served a greater redemptive good. Many people came to Christ on Easter and were blessed by the church service, including the playing of the song.

Blogger: Oh, I see! You are adding a new term to our argument. The term is “a greater redemptive good” and you are defining this as a good end based on ungodly means, which God finds acceptable?

Perry: Yes, you have correctly understood what I said.

Blogger: Can you offer any Scripture in support of this?

Perry: You will have to give me a moment. I don’t have the Bible memorized.

Blogger: In the meantime, please explain how a pastor can tell if something sinful will serve a greater redemptive good.

Perry: I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

Blogger: Let me phrase it like this – before you played ungodly music for the greater redemptive good at your Easter service, you had no idea whether your good end would be achieved by your ungodly means. So on the one hand, if your plan worked, then God would be pleased with you. But if it failed, then you would have sinned, because there was no greater redemptive good achieved and you played an ungodly song at church.

Perry: What if I were to tell you that I knew beforehand the song was serving a greater redemptive good, and therefore I knew it could not be a sin in God’s eyes?

Blogger: How could you have possibly known such a thing?

Perry: The Holy Spirit laid it on my heart.

Blogger: Now the truth comes out! You received a direct revelation from God, and that revelation assured you that what you were doing was not a sin.

Perry: Exactly.

Blogger: And now it is time for our conversation to end.

Perry: Why is that?

Blogger: Because guys like you, who claim to receive direct revelation from God, can’t be reasoned with. No matter how unbiblical and illogical your decision to play secular music is demonstrated to be, you will always believe you are in the right, because you believe you are hearing from God when you are not. Yet I must ask, for your own safety, don’t you fear the words of Ezekiel being applied to you by God?

Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean…(Ezekiel 22: 26)

Perry: Why should I fear God’s judgment, when He is the one that told me to play the song?

Blogger: You are stubborn to the end, aren’t you? I think it is apropos to finish with a quote from your beloved Easter song. It sure seems to me to summarize your ministry:

Don’t need reason, don’t need rhyme
Ain’t nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody’s gonna mess me round

Christian Celibacy + Suicidal Despair = Matthew Vines’ False Teaching

In response to the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, pastor Kevin DeYoung published an article called “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. The purpose of the article was to challenge Christians to derive their worldview from Scripture rather than the ideas of American secular culture. Matthew Vines, a “gay Christian” who does not believe the Bible prohibits same-sex marriage, released his own 40 questions as a response.

I wanted to briefly comment on Vines’ questions 7 – 10, because they focus on the topic of celibacy. Since I lived a span of 12 years from the time I became a Christian to the time I got married, the topic of Christian celibacy is something I am very familiar with. As I read Vines’ questions, I was disappointed by his myopic handling of the topic. The questions are:

7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?

8. How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

10. Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?

Notice how Vines limits the focus of the doctrine of Christian celibacy to “gay Christians”. The fact of the matter is this doctrine impacts various types of Christians:

  • Those who never marry
  • Those who divorce and are single again
  • Widows or widowers who remain unmarried
  • Those with spouses who have a physical impairment that prevents them from participating in sexual intercourse
  • Those who are apart from their spouses for extended periods of time, due to job or other circumstances (deployed military, etc.)

Any Christian who fits into the list above is in a situation that requires what Matthew Vines calls “mandatory celibacy”, but which I think is more aptly called “God-ordained celibacy”. Through his questions Vines insinuates that God-ordained celibacy can lead to suicidal thoughts. This is not a light thing to say. Nor is it an easy thing to prove. Anyone familiar with root-cause analysis understands that “correlation does not imply causation”. In other words, if a survey is performed of gay Christians and they blame celibacy for their suicidal thoughts, this does not actually prove that celibacy is the cause. This just proves that those surveyed blamed celibacy.

If we step away from the emotional argumentation of Vines and look at the issue Biblically, we must first acknowledge that contemplating suicide to escape one’s struggles is sinful. To truly consider suicide is to truly consider murdering yourself, and murder is unequivocally a sin in Scripture. Since contemplating suicide is sinful, Matthew Vines is arguing that God-ordained celibacy has caused gay Christians to sin. One must ask, in light of this serious accusation, whether the Bible holds the position that following God’s good law can cause someone to sin. This is what Paul wrote:

Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (Romans 7: 7 – 13)

According to the apostle it is impossible for God’s law to cause us to sin. Rather, sin is distinct from the law, and it produces desires in us opposed to God’s law. When we act on such desires, and fail to live by God’s law, it is not the law’s fault, but it is our fault because of sin.

What then is the response to gay Christians struggling with sin, even the sin of suicidal despair?

The response is not to change God’s law, which is what Vines is attempting to do by advocating for same-sex marriage. By altering God’s words and endorsing behaviors God has not approved, Vines is hurting the very people he is trying to help. Rather than ministering to them in their sin, and reminding them of their hope in the gospel, Vines has eliminated the category of sin altogether, and has instructed gay Christians that their suicidal feelings are derived not from sinful natures, but from an oppressive church that has denied marriage to same-sex couples.

The response to a Christian dissatisfied with the life God has given them, and the commands God has given them, is to call them to repent and remind them of the promises of the gospel. There are not many promises a Christian has in this life from God. Are we promised money? No. Are we promised health? No. Are we promised a spouse? No. If we are able to marry, are we promised a life of never-ending sexual satisfaction? No. We are promised that God will use all things for the good of those whom He has called. And we are promised that one day, the pain and misery of this life will be over, and we will dwell forever with God in peace, because Jesus Christ has bore the penalty for our sins and has reconciled us to God.

The eternal promises of God through Jesus Christ help us endure whatever the day brings. These are the promises that have helped many a Christian endure a martyr’s death. Surely these gospel promises are good enough to help Christians living with God-ordained celibacy, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual singles, divorcees, widows or widowers, or the physically afflicted.

In conclusion, I suppose the whole of this article is my answer to Vines’ ninth question.

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

Translogic = Desiring Things Other Than God

Unless you have been living under a rock in recent weeks, you are aware that Bruce Jenner “became” Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal pretended to be black, and Dylann Roof committed racially motivated murders. You may not be aware that One Hand Jason cut off his own hand with a power tool, in order to be disabled.

In terms of cultural labels, Bruce Jenner is transgender, Rachel Dolezal is transracial, One Hand Jason is transabled, but Dylann Roof, he is a racist murderer. Except for babies in the womb, America does not support the taking of human life, and therefore Roof is simply a cold-blooded killer. He has no trans-label.

Although Dylann Roof appears to be the odd man out, he is actually just like the other three. Each one of these people had within themselves a desire to do or be something, and they acted upon that desire. Bruce wanted to become a girl, so he took the steps. Rachel wanted to be black, so she took the steps. Jason wanted one hand, so he took the steps. Dylann wanted to kill people, so he took the steps.

This hailstorm of chaos and confusion, caused by these four people acting upon their wicked desires, is the fruit of a culture that has abandoned God. Only God is able to authoritatively decree which desires are good and which desires are bad. Whenever humanity takes into their own hands the authority to declare good from bad, it will be self-serving and full of hypocrisy and inconsistency. Do you remember when the Colorado woman cut a baby out of the womb of another? She was not charged with murder for political reasons – if cutting a living baby out of the womb can result in a charge of murder, then wouldn’t abortion also be murder? Since America will not allow abortion to be murder, the woman was charged with something less than her crime deserves.

These types of stories will only continue to increase, for America shows no signs of stopping in their rebellion against God. People will continue to pursue their wicked desires, no matter where they may be led. The comfort we as American Christians have, living in this dark time, is that we too were once slaves to our desires. We too once acted upon our desires with no thought of God. Yet by the power of the Holy Spirit we were granted faith to believe in Jesus Christ, we were given power to resist our evil desires, and we were given power to desire to live for God in accordance with His good commandments. Since we have received forgiveness for our sins, we know many others can too. We must never forget that God came for the sinner, not the righteous. God did not come for a culture of light, but He came to shine brightly in a culture of darkness. God did not save us so that we might flee a wicked culture, but He saved us so that we might share His gospel with the wicked culture.

But God will not be mocked forever. He will judge the actions of all the unrepentant sinners who refuse His grace and forsake His law. To all such people we can apply the rebuke of God through the prophet Jeremiah, when he said to Israel

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil. (Jeremiah 13: 23)

No, the Ethiopian cannot change his skin. No, the leopard cannot change his spots. Therefore, no, man cannot do good.

Do you need proof that man cannot do good and is unable to administer justice outside of God? Consider the hypocrisy of secular jurisprudence and ethics:

  • If you are a man who pretends to be a woman, you are a hero.
  • If you are a white woman who pretends to be black, you are a liar.
  • If you are a pregnant woman who aborts her baby, you are a champion of rights.
  • If you are a young man who takes the life of another, you are a murderer.
  • If you act upon your sexual desires for a member of the same-sex, you are brave.
  • If you refuse to sell a gay couple a wedding cake, because you don’t recognize gay marriage as a legitimate concept, you are a coward and intolerant and worthy of having your business shut down.

Only in a culture ruled by translogic can these contradictory and hypocritical ideas coexist. As Jesus said, the natural desires of the human heart are wicked, and we know from experience that a culture of wickedness has no desire to maintain any sort of logical consistency.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man…(Matthew 15: 19 – 20)

We are most certainly living in a defiled culture. This defiled culture will not be made clean through translogic. Rather, in accordance with the logic of the gospel, it can only be made clean through the blood of Jesus of Nazareth. Only the blood of Jesus has the power of washing away our sins.

A Conversation with Bob Enyart On Open Theism


Doctrine Via Dialectic: Examining Biblical truths by means of fictitious conversations.

This conversation is inspired by Bob Enyart, who in a debate with James White stated that time has eternally existed with God and that God does not know the future. You are encouraged to listen to the debate, located at the bottom of this post, to learn more about the unbiblical doctrine of open theism.


Blogger: So in your debate with James White you declared that time is uncreated?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: And this is important to your position on open theism, because it allows you to state that God has eternally lived in sequence?

Enyart: Yes, that is right.

Blogger: And God living in sequence is important because it allows you to state that God does not know the future, and the future is open?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: So let us look a little deeper then, at this notion of God having always lived in sequence.

Enyart: Okay.

Blogger: You believe that God thinks, right?

Enyart: Of course.

Blogger: And you stated in the debate that God thinks new thoughts?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: So, if we had a timeline, we could plot the times in which God thought new thoughts.

Enyart: Theoretically, yes, we could place God’s new thoughts onto a timeline.

Blogger: We could then follow the timeline backwards, and in doing so we would see the sum total of God’s thoughts reducing as we work backwards in time.

Enyart: Yes, you are correct. If God thought a new thought today, and His total thoughts were X, then yesterday His total thoughts would be X-1.

Blogger: And so logically, does it not follow, that we would reach a point on that timeline when God only had one thought?

Enyart: I perceive you are trying to trap me.

Blogger: How so?

Enyart: If I were to say that God eternally existed in sequence but that His thoughts could not be reduced to one, you would likely accuse me of being inconsistent. However, if I were to say His thoughts could be reduced to one, I would be in an even more difficult position.

Blogger: I am not trying to trap you, but you are right about being in a difficult position. If you admit that God’s thoughts could be reduced to one, then not only do you have to defend that position, but you have to address whether it was possible for God to have had zero thoughts at some point in eternity past.

If you are going to deny that God’s thoughts could be reduced to one, then you have to somehow defend the position that despite living eternally sequential, God had an unknown amount of thoughts, greater than one, that did not occur sequentially. You would then also have to account for God, at some point and time, beginning to think new thoughts in sequence.

Enyart: I’m not sure how to proceed from here. I am certainly not going to address this issue right now.

Blogger: I guess our conversation is over, then. I must point out your argument is terribly ironic, since in your debate with James White you accused reformed theology of deriving their attributes of God from Greek philosophy rather than the Bible. This whole concept of God living eternally in sequence and thinking new thoughts and not knowing the future sure seems to be philosophical to me, rather than Biblically based.



Revisiting Creational Monotheism

In fairness to John Mark Comer, whose sermon Yahweh Elohim caused much controversy two years ago, and which was the basis of my blog post Creational Monotheism = Polytheism = Henotheism, I wanted to say I was recently made aware that he posted the statement below (click it to enlarge) in light of the controversy:

comer_response

It is somewhat hard to listen to his sermon, which seems to be teaching polytheism and which has many disconcerting particulars, and reconcile it with his post-sermon comments, which state he is a monotheist. If someone says contradictory things, which of the things that they say do you believe? I know for myself, I would want to listen to more of Comer’s sermons to determine whether he has a habit of truth obfuscation or whether he is, on average, a good teacher.

At the very least, his teaching on creational monotheism, if not a heretical discourse on polytheism, is extremely confusing and full of error. It warranted the controversy. The entire premise of the sermon is based on an equivocation of the term monotheism. Most people would assume monotheism means belief in one god. But Comer redefines contemporary monotheism as belief in one God with no belief in any other spiritual beings. And then he teaches creational monotheism in response to his audience’s lack of belief in spiritual beings other than God.

It should be obvious that if there is a deficient understanding in the existence of other spiritual beings, the answer is not to teach “creational monotheism”, but to simply teach from Scripture and demonstrate that there are other spiritual beings. The belief in spiritual beings is a basic tenet of Christianity – it is not advanced technical doctrine. Randy Alcorn, writing on the unnecessary controversies resulting from creational monotheism, says it well:

Monotheism isn’t the problem, failure to recognize the reality of supernatural evil powers is the problem…1

To all the monotheists who teach creational monotheism, please throw away the doctrine and quit causing strife.

1 http://www.epm.org/resources/2014/Jun/25/ive-heard-some-pastors-say-they-believe-one-true-g/

A Conversation With Robert Morris on Tithing


Doctrine Via Dialectic: Examining Biblical truths by means of fictitious conversations.

This conversation is inspired by Gateway Church’s lead pastor Robert Morris, based on his false and dangerous tithing doctrine.

For a more thorough analysis of the heresy, I recommend Chris Rosebrough’s review on his radio show Fighting for the Faith.


Blogger: Do you realize your tithing doctrine is being called heresy?

Robert: God’s prophets have always been persecuted for speaking hard truths.

Blogger: Don’t you find it odd that your tithing doctrine is based upon an exposition of the Mosaic Law?

Robert: What is odd about that? It is God’s word.

Blogger: It’s odd because Christians are members of the New Covenant. Don’t you know the difference between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant?

Robert: Of course I know the difference.

Blogger: So you don’t have a problem with teaching the compulsory tithe of Moses to New Covenant Christians?

Robert: Obviously I don’t, or I wouldn’t teach it or have written The Blessed Life.

Blogger: Are you aware of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians regarding financial giving, which completely contradicts you? For he says

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9: 7

Robert: Of course I am aware of Paul’s words. I am a pastor, after all.

Blogger: So you have no problem teaching a compulsory tithe, while at the same time knowing that Paul instructed giving should be based on what the Christian has purposed in their heart?

Robert: No, I don’t.

Blogger: I don’t know what to say, other than given this obvious double-mindedness, it is no wonder Mark Driscoll sought counsel from you in the final days of his Mars Hill ministry. The proverb seems to be true – birds of a feather flock together.