Free Audiobook: The Holiness of God by RC Sproul

Each month christianaudio gives away one premium audiobook download for free.  To promote the upcoming Ligonier 2011 National Conference on the holiness of God, this month’s free download is R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God.

In addition to the free download, there is also a $20 discount to the conference in Orlando offered to christianaudio.com customers.  Check out the video to learn more.

 

Ligonier Ministries 2011 National Conference (March 24-26 in Orlando) from Ligonier on Vimeo.

Euthanasia:

I have been arguing that legalizing euthanasia will have a negative effect on society by creating a culture of death in which death will become the accepted means for dealing with life’s difficulties, it will lead to abuses that will endanger the weak and elderly, and it will result in other forms of euthanasia (such as nonvoluntary and involuntary) that can endanger everyone, and, therefore, should not become an acceptable means for dealing with the difficult end-of-life dilemmas, for rather than promoting death with dignity, it will provide a license for killing with impunity.

The viability of this slippery slope argument can also be vindicated by the worldview agenda that underlies the euthanasia movement. The foundation of euthanasia advocacy is the utopian objectives of Secular Humanism. The rhetoric of the “Right to die” movement displays a worldview that is interrelated with Secular Humanism. Their arguments for euthanasia echo the doctrines set forth by the Secular Humanists as found in their official literature known as the “Humanist Manifesto (I, II, and III).” The seventh article of the Humanist Manifesto II states liberty in a society built upon Humanist ethics, “also includes a recognition of an individual’s right to die with dignity, euthanasia, and the right to suicide.”[1] Joseph Fletcher, who was one of the signer of the Humanist Manifesto II and major advocate for euthanasia uses explicity Humanistic language that reveals his Humanistic philosophy in his arguments advocating euthanasia, “let him ask himself if he is a humanist or alternatively has something he holds to be better than the well-being of human beings.”[2]

But what is the big deal that the proponents of euthanasia operate in light of a Secular Humanist worldview?

Secular Humanis is a philosophy and value system that has been developed to provide an over arching system for understanding the world in light of its postulation that scientific and technological advances have proven religious, and especially biblical, faith to be false and an outmoded means for understanding the world and society. The problems of the modern age are beyong the pale of solution by belief in ancient religious beliefe and there is, therefore, the need for a change. Its stated “social passion” is based upon “the comple realization of human personality. . . expressed in a heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to promote social well-being.”[3]

The ultimate end for humanism is a utopian society society free of anything that would abate its quality or progress. Included in this is a consideration for issues such as economy, natural resources, and population growth. Becuase of its utopian agenda, secular humanists believe that euthanasia and suicide should be viewed as a valid course of action for doing away with things and persons that are deemed a burden to society and an impediment to their utopian agenda.

I hope that you read this and weigh it carefully–and I hope that you become repulsived by the extremely and explicitly inhumane statments of the secular humanists who advocate euthanasia. The fourteenth common principle of the Humanist Manifesto II states, “The world community must engage in cooperative planning concerning the use of rapidly depleting resources. . . . Ecological damage, resource depletion, and excessive population growth must be checked by international concord.” Furthermore, the fifteenth common principle states, “It is the moral obligation of the developed nations to provide . . . massive technical, agricultural, medical, and economic assistance, including birth control techniques, to the developing portions of the globe.” Although these statments seem tame, they become frightening when we see how they are utilized and applied in euthanasia literature.

According to Christian Barnard, the best way to deal with the problems brought about becuase of an ever increasing population competing for ever depleting natural resources is death. Because of his secular humanist committment to the evolutionary principle of natural selection, he thinks that suicide is the natural and logical course of action for dealing with the problem. He says,

As the aged are already one of the high-risk sucide groups, it seems logical to assume that the total number of sucides for almost all population groups will increase dramatically . . . I cannot think of a more civilized approach to the problem. Suicide is a basic human right and should be an option always available to the individual.

By

>American Religious Groups on the Decline?

>In USA Today, there is an interesting article on the findings of the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). The article begins:

When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers. The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.

It would seem that the disestablishment of American religion has reached an all-time high. It would seem that good old American individualism and trendy post-modern notions of relative truth claims have combined in a new spirituality of the self:

More than ever before, people are just making up their own stories of who they are. They say, ‘I’m everything. I’m nothing. I believe in myself,’ ” says Barry Kosmin, survey co-author.

In addition to the main article, there is a link that takes you to an interactive chart that compares the answers from different faith traditions on questions concerning Hollywood, homosexuality, politics and prayer. One notable question that I will highlight here is “Do you believe there are clear and absolute standards for what is right and wrong?”. Among Evangelicals, only 51% said that they completely agree that there are.

As I read the article and the chart, there were two major things that stood out to me. First, I am not represented in the article. In the different groups that are listed there was no group representing confessionally Reformed Protestants–there wasn’t even a conservative Protestant group. Once again, it would appear that the only two options are Mainline Protestants and Evangelicals. But why don’t you fit into the Evangelical group you may ask. Well that leads me to the second thing that stood out to me.

The article seems to make distinctions within the different Protestant groups according to a piety gap that defines the different sides of the culture wars, “Its about gay marriage and abortion and stem cells and the family.” However, the article suggests that in the middle there is a softened version of Evangelicalism developing. But what is interesting to me is that in addition to the role of politics and ethics, the article identifies an “Evangelical” style of worship that marks Evangelicalism, which is really more a matter of aesthetics. It is not theology, practice and piety that defines Evangelicalism (according to the article) but politics, ethics and aesthetics.

The irony to me is that an article about religion is establishing religious identity based on anything but religious belief. Being a confessionally Reformed Presbyterian puts me outside their categories. My religious identity is based upon my theology, piety, and practice as summarized and outlined in the Westminster Standards. Neither Mainline Protestants or Evangelicals share those standards. There are more options than those provided in the article–so if you don’t find yourself there, as I didn’t, know that there are others like you.

>Why Do You Think This Idea For A Gospel Tract Was Rejected?

>A friend of mine sent this to me this morning and later commented:

“A great image. Here is another reason why the biblical Gospel call is the great embarrassment of what goes under the name of “Christianity” in the modern world: it doesn’t fit the assumption that God is there to make you happy and full. Instead, only as we suffer like Christ will we be glorified with him (Rom. 8:17). But that doesn’t sell very well in the marketplace. It won’t bring lots of people in. And it sure doesn’t fit our ideas of “God’s wonderful plan for my life.”

For more on the theology of suffering, see the feature article “Called to Suffering” by Theodore Georgian here.

The irony of the gospel is that God’s wonderful plan for you life is suffering that leads to exaltation and glory. Despite what our flesh tells us and what we see on TV by the “Health and Wealth” charlatans, the two are not opposed to one another.

>A Model of Herod’s Temple from the New Testament

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An English farmer, Alec Garrard, has spent the last thirty years (and is still not finished!) creating a model of Herod’s Temple during the time of Jesus. There is a nice gallery of 19 images that show the different aspects of the model to help one see the breadth of his work. The model is very helpful for getting a visual aid for reading the New Testament. Mr. Garrard has also published his research for the model in a book,The Splendor of the Temple.

>On Campus at Grove City College

>Today I am on the campus of Grove City College with my pastor, Dan Knox, manning a table promoting Northwest Theological Seminary. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of NWTS for it is a small and recent school out near Seattle, Wa. They are self-consciously reformed, confessional and redemptive-historical. They have some great resources available on their website, especially audio resources. So check them out.

For those unaware, the picture above is of the Grove City campus. What a beautiful campus! Upon arrival you could just feel the academic buzz in the air. What a fantastic place to get to study. J. Ligon Duncan is here lecturing as part of Grove City Evangelical Scholarship Conference, which is focusing (as you might guess) on John Calvin–“1509-2009: 500 Years of John Calvin.” Hopefully we will catch a lecture later today. If so, I’ll let you know how it goes.