McAtee Contra Zacharias

“When you’re dealing with apologetics there are three tests for truth normally.

1.) Logical consistency
2.) Empirical adequacy
3.) Experiential relevance

… We’re looking for an Empirical point of reference. The Bible is not a self referencing book. The Bible is a book about geography, history and events that can be tested from outside the Bible itself. Unlike the Koran which is a self-referencing book. What do I mean by that? How do you know that the Koran is the Word of God? Mohammed said so. How do you know Mohammed is right? Because the Koran says so. The Bible is not a self-referencing authority. It has points of verification or the capacity to be falsified if it is not right from sources outside itself.”

Ravi Zacharias
Sermon — When East Meets West

Here we see Zacharias’ evidentialism come shining through. The presuppositionalist would say that geography, history, and events are not self referencing realities that sit in judgment on God’s Word. In order for geography, history, and events to be able to judge the Bible they first, in order to have legitimacy, have to be judged by the Bible and the Christian Worldview that Scripture yields.

Contrary to Zacharias’ assertion the Bible is a self-referencing book. How do I know that the Bible is the Word of God? God says so. How do I know that God is right? Because the Bible says so. Now to be sure, geography, history and events confirm the reliability of God’s Word but since the world is God’s world, just as the Word is God’s Word, all properly understood geography, history, and events can do is confirm what God’s Word states. If geography, history or events were to falsify God’s Word they would only, at that point, be falsifying themselves. To insist that Scripture is falsifiable is to suggest that there is a God outside of God who has the capacity to prove God wrong. If History can prove God wrong than History is a God over God.

Zacharias wants to give independent agency to History, Geography and events as if they have any meaning outside their dependency upon the God of the Bible for meaning. To say that history, geography, and events could possibly falsify the reality of God is to say that God is only possibly true. In order to be certain we have to wait for history, geography, and events to confirm or deny the possibility of God.

Ravi wants to talk about “testing the Bible,” but any test that would test the Bible that isn’t dependent upon the presuppositions of the Bible will always come back testifying that the Bible isn’t reliable.

Ravi is a smooth talker. He is very confident. He speaks at a high velocity tempo. He has that lovely accent that Americans find irresistibly charming. These things don’t allow people to actually think about what the man is saying as he is speaking.

Ravi is just wrong here. He is wrong more often than people would like to admit. What he is saying here is false on a number of different levels, starting with the matter of which piece of evidence would qualify as an objective touchstone against which one could test the objective inspired Word? Even if one did not accept divine inspiration, you’d still be left with why we should believe the Epic of Gilgamesh over the Genesis account of the Flood or why some self-serving Assyrian stele is more reliable than II Kings.

God’s Word is not potentially falsifiable. I mean it is shocking to suggest otherwise. Boiled down what Ravi is saying is that it is possible that God could be lying.

Epistemology & Science / God’s Truth & Mad Scientists

We are dealing this morning with the matter of Epistemology. We have been here before but as repetition bears memory we are not shy about being here again.

Epistemology answers one of the larger questions for Christian. It answers the question of how do we know what we know, or, if you prefer, what is our starting point for knowledge and knowing.

We have three options presented to us.

We know either by

Unaided and autonomous Reason

Knowing by reason is the idea of the Rationalist who allegedly dismisses all ideas of faith and merely by the power of unaided reason starting from themselves as their own source knows truth either by empirical evidence or by innate ideas.

Eve in the garden is the classic example of the Rationalist. Eve decided that she could know by ignoring God’s revelation and starting from herself she could, on the basis of the empirical evidence

see that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom, she took the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate it.

You see, Eve had a decision to make in terms of Epistemology … in terms of knowing. She could either operate by way of God’s Word Revelation and obey God’s Word Revelation and not eat the fruit of the tree or she could do what she did and employ an Epistemology that insisted that she could know what she knew as depending upon her autonomous reason as a ground for truth and eat the fruit.

The second way of knowing is by intuition and it is the idea of the Mystic who insists that on the basis of some kind of Intuition they can arrive at truth.

Example – Saul and Witch of Endor. Instead of trusting God’s Word that mediums should not be consulted He looked to occultist intuition as a means of knowing… as his Epistemology.

The Christian insists that we know what we know not by unaided autonomous reason reading Natural Law, nor by some mystical intuitive instinct (hello Pentecostalism) but rather the Christian insists that we know what we know by way of divine revelation found in Holy Scripture.

As the Scripture teaches,

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

I Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

The classic example of this is Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Note that the writer of Genesis does not offer any proofs of God’s creation but merely states it is an axiom … a presupposition that God created.

For the Christian God’s revelation is truth and so the way we arrive at truth. We take God at His Word and seek to base all our knowing upon God’s Word. So, God’s Word becomes our axiom and we can only prove that axiom as true as by understanding all reality in light of that axiom. We reason from God to God.

So either we reason and know as starting and ending with God’s World or else we start with some form of De Cartes “cogito ergo sum.” (I think therefore I am), thus declaring that man does not need God in order to reason or to know.

Now, keep in mind that the Scripture as some things to say about the fallen mind in its pursuit of truth and knowing. Scripture teaches that the fallen man’s mind

is “futile” and “darkened,” (Rom. 1) “depraved,” “enslaved to the flesh,” “death,” “hostile to God,” “unwilling” and “unable” to submit to him (Rom. 8), and “foolish” and “unspiritual” (1 Cor. 1). None of these characterizations are my own.

Ephesians 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.…

This is how the Bible characterizes the fallen human mind. The problem is not so much that people don’t believe in God; it is that they won’t believe in God. It is a mistake to believe that human reasoning capacities are generally amenable to arguments that point in God’s direction.”

We might say that those outside Christ, the more they are consistent with their anti-Christ means of knowing the more the likely they are to become mad Scientists.

Mad Scientists… you do remember of course that etymologically the word Science means ”what is known, knowledge of something.” So there is a snug relationship from where we started “Epistemology” (How do we know what we know”) and Science (“what is known, knowledge of something.”)

So, here we have these people who often have this incredible native intelligence apart from Christ and we can only say that this native IQ employed apart from Christ accounts for the mad Scientists among us. Here they have this native IQ but they are employing it in opposition and defiance of Christ. On the one hand
Scripture teaches

3in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

But the mad Scientists among us want to have wisdom and knowledge apart from Christ and so they become mad Scientists. They are seeking to know apart from Christ and it drives them to madness. They want to have an Epistemology that is based on their ability to know absent of the axiom and presuppositions of Scripture and it drives them mad.

Dr. E. Michael Jones is driving at this when he wrote,

“Imprudent decisions by public officials have unleashed crisis in places like Michigan whose attorney general, just happens to be a lesbian. Lesbians do not make effective leaders because their vice blocks their access to Logos, darkens their minds and renders their decisions either ineffective or or unnecessarily draconian because of the lack of prudence behind them.”

Dr. E Michael Jones

Jones premise here is that the further one removes themselves from from Christ in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge or as Jones puts it “from the logos” structure of the universe due to their aberrant behavior — which ends up working to suppress the truth in unrighteousness — the more they will pursue an anti-logos reality. So, when the electorate (largely due to their own anti-logos thinking) elects anti-logos politicians the consequence is the persecution of logos reality and the corresponding pursuit by the anti-logos politicians of anti-reality.

Thus, people like Michigan’s Lesbian Attorney General by the force of the necessity of her anti-logos disposition will persecute those who are operating as connected to logos in hopes of creation an anti-logos social reality. We have already seen this in Michigan with the Attorney General’s war on Christian adoption agencies in Michigan.

You see here this is a matter of Epistemology. The mad scientists among us insist they can know apart from Christ and His revelation in Scripture and in “knowing” apart from Christ and His revelation they come to truth and truths that are upside down and inside out.

So… what have we learned so far.

We’ve learned the incredible importance of Epistemology. It answers the question “how do we know what we know.” “What is our basis for truth.” We have said that historically our options on this matter reduce to three.

1.) Autonomous reason
2.) Intuition
3.) Revelation

We have seen that for the Biblical Christian we have no choice but to start with God’s Revelation to provide a solid foundation for knowing.

We have seen that if we will not have God’s Revelation as the means of knowing that the only other option left will be putting ourselves in the hands of mad scientists.

We have seen that the idea of science and epistemology are two bed bugs who are as snug as a bug in a rug.

From this we can now say that Science is only as good as the Epistemological basis upon which it is based upon.

This is absolutely important for us to understand because we live in an age which has made Science King.

In the climate we our living in right now how often do we hear about the importance about following the science?

But what we are learning is that if Science is not based upon the proper Epistemology than what we are left with is Mad Scientists. In order to Science to be genuinely Scientific we need to ask which God is Science serving? Is Science serving the God of autonomous reason? Is Science serving the God of intuition? Or is Science in service of the God of the Bible and His revelation?

If we genuflect before a Science that isn’t particularly Scientific precisely because its Epistemology is ruinously errant then we are apt to come to all kinds of silly conclusions and make policy from those conclusions.

We might come to silly scientific conclusions about cosmology and origins. We might come to silly scientific conclusions about punctuated equilibrium. We might come to silly scientific conclusions about the ability to go to the graveyard and stitch body parts together and create life. We might come to silly scientific conclusions based on silly scientific models that claim that 2-4 million Americans will die because of a severe strain of the Wuhan flu. We might come to silly scientific conclusions like abniogensis – something that was long held as being true. We might come to silly scientific conclusions that gender is a social construct. There are all kinds of silly scientific conclusions we might come to if we do not have an Epistemology that is based on God and His revealed Word.

I hope that you see here that you should not be hornswaggled by the claims of Science for it is simply the case that Science is only as good as the Epistemology and Theology that is driving the train. The problem with Science is that often it is not particularly scientific.
Science is like models that predict death totals from the Wuhan virus. Science is only as good as the assumptions you feed it. Feed it lousy Epistemological assumptions and you are going to get loopy belly laugh Science, just as if you feed your Wuhan virus model loopy assumptions it is going to spit out a gazillion deaths.

Let’s take just one concrete example of a Mad Scientist.

Meet Trofim Lysenko.

Lysenko was illiterate until he was 13 and because of that bare bones upbringing became known in the USSR as the barefoot scientist. Lysenko rejected Mendelian Genetics in favor of a theory that allowed him to contend he could change winter wheat into spring wheat.

Lysenko promoted the Marxist idea that the environment alone shapes plants and animals even going so far at one point to deny genetic impact completely. Lysenko believed that if your put plant and animals (and human were just animals) in the proper setting and expose them to the right stimuli, and you can remake them to an almost infinite degree.

Of course this line of thinking was following the Darwinian evolutionary idea which is contrary to Scripture’s creation account. Lysenko became a classical mad Scientist in opposition to God’s truth.

Eventually Lysenko gained the approval of Stalin and as a result Soviet scientists who refused to renounce true science in the field of genetics were dismissed from their posts and left destitute. Hundreds if not thousands of others were imprisoned. Several were sentenced to death as enemies of the state, Scientific dissent from Lysenko’s theories of environmentally acquired inheritance was formally outlawed in the Soviet Union in 1948.

Science was outlawed in the USSR in the name of Science so called. The Science of kind after kind which is found in Scripture

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind , and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind : and God saw that it was good. Gen. 1:25

was set aside for false science all in the name of Science and the results were catastrophic.

Wheat, rye, potatoes, beets—most everything grown according to Lysenko’s methods died or rotted, records the book “Hungry Ghosts.” The famines resulting from this mad Scientist science killed at least 7 million people. Still Lysenko’s practices prolonged and exacerbated the food shortages. The Soviet Union’s allies suffered under Lysenkoism, too. Communist China adopted his methods in the late 1950s and endured even bigger famines. Peasants were reduced to eating tree bark and bird droppings and the occasional family member. At least 30 million died in this Scientific starvation.

So … all this to say that Science can be based on the premises of Scripture … the uniformity of nature … the idea of kind after kind … the idea that men and women really are different or Science can serve other Gods and so become Mad Science.

A Major Difference Between 2K and R2K

When historic Two Kingdom (2K) theology was developed it was developed so as to keep the Pagan state from overstepping their bounds as it pertained to Church matters. So, for example, the Church reminded Charles I (I might have the King wrong… going from memory) that when it came to matters of the Church he was merely a member in the Church like the rest of the members. He had no Jurisdiction over Church affairs as King.

However, what Radical Two Kingdom (R2K) has done is to flip this arrangement. What R2K “theology” does is that it keeps the Church from influencing the pagan State, going so far as to suggest that the Church doesn’t have a role in speaking a “thus saith the Lord,” to the Magistrates in what it calls “the common realm.”

Whereas original 2K was concerned with protecting the Christian Church from pagan influence, R2K is concerned with protecting the pagan State from Christian influence.

I don’t think one needs historic 2k as much when the whole social order is shaped by the Christian ethos. It just wouldn’t be an issue where the State and the Church are both expressly Christian. However, for the times when either Church or State went haywire 2k allows the Christian Church as against the pagan State or the Christian state as against a apostate Church to exercise a godly interposition.

The Church Is Wrong To Keep Its Doors Shuttered At The State’s Demand

At the outset, I want to make it clear that if a genuine public health issue were at hand — the black plague or Ebola for example — I would have no problem shuttering Churches for a brief period of time until the threat had diminished. What is below is more of a jeremiad against the modern Church for being such lapdogs of the State then it is a blanket condemnation of shuttering churches during a genuine pestilence crisis.

Having said that I want to articulate why I think the Church, exceptions notwithstanding, was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan virus.

1.) The Church was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan crisis because in shuttering their doors they revealed that they automatically believed the State.

I’ve written on this before so I won’t spend a great deal of time here. Living under the current Government we are living under our disposition concerning official Government pronouncements needs to be one of deep skepticism. To put it bluntly, the Church had no business automatically believing what it was told by State officials.

This blind trust seems to communicate that the contemporary Church does not understand that the State is its sworn enemy. Like Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, or the Herods, or Nero, our State hates Christianity. It is not to be trusted. Ever.

Perhaps one could argue that closing for a week or two until the smoke cleared made sense but having kept the doors closed longer than that only communicated that the Church doesn’t know that her enemy is the State.

2.) The Church was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan crisis because in shuttering their doors they revealed that they do not understand the Biblical concept of Jurisdictionalism, or Sphere Sovereignty. The State has no standing to just command the Church to do this or that in the context of the Church’s jurisdiction. Such commands fall outside the jurisdiction of the State. The State may consult with the Church and provide counsel and may encourage the Church to take this or that action but the State cannot by its fiat word dictate to the Church. Just as the Church does not pay taxes to the State because the Church belongs to a different Kingdom with a different Sovereign and so is not beholden to the tax laws of the State so the Church cannot be told by the State when to close its doors. Again, the State may consult the Church but it has no authority to merely announce that the Churches must close. Just as the US embassy in Tokyo is on American soil and so cannot have Japanese laws impressed upon them so the Church is an embassy that cannot be dictated to by the alien State.

3.) The Church was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan crisis because in shuttering their doors they revealed that they know how to butcher Scripture.

It seems that the shuttered Church has used “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” without thinking through the implications of what they were twisting. The shuttered Church wanted us all to believe that we were hating people by having our Churches open because in having our churches open we would be exposing people to the Wuhan virus. However, the shuttered Church never paused to ask about how we were hating our neighbor by shuttering our Churches. In shuttering our Churches we were contributing to a narrative of hating our neighbor by implicitly sanctioning the destruction of their livelihoods. In shuttering our Churches we were contributing to a narrative of hating our neighbor by implicitly sanctioning the economic shutdown which will lead to the significant impoverishment of our neighbors. In shuttering our Churches we were contributing to a narrative of hating our neighbor by supporting a narrative that will lead to our neighbor’s despair, depression, and debilitating stress. I can make a better argument that shuttering our Churches has been more hateful to more neighbors than it has been loving to a few neighbors. As usual the Church demonstrates it can’t think outside the narrative that it is officially handed.

4.) The Church was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan crisis because in shuttering their doors they revealed that they are more inclined to obey man than God. God clearly commands us to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”

The Westminster Larger Catechism speaks in such a way about Worship that it is hard to believe they would have counted internet “worship” as Worship.

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?

A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the Sacraments; Church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;… all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Given that language above do we really believe that the Westminster Divines would have considered private worship done publicly via the internet as worship?

5.) The Church was wrong to shutter their doors during this Wuhan crisis because in shuttering their doors they revealed that they are clueless about what the State can and cannot do per the Constitution.

Remember the Bill of Rights is based on the reality that the Rights both expressly articulated there and many not expressly articulated there are Rights as given by God. The State cannot, in any circumstance, declare those rights forfeited. The State does not have the authority to cancel the Right to freedom of assembly because the Right to freedom to assemble is God given and so cannot be abjured. The State cannot tell the Church it cannot assemble.

Listen to the language from the Supreme Court in 1866 on this matter,

The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 121 (1866).”

By shuttering the Churches, without so much as a whimper of protest, the Church has ceded to the State power and authority it does not have by way of our political covenant (Constitution). It is the nature of Government that once it has seized power it does not give power back.

For all these reasons it is my conviction that the Church which now continues to shutter its doors, in the face of mounting evidence that the Wuhan virus is a hoax is dishonoring its Savior and Liege-Lord.

Allow me to add, by way of codicil, that none of what is said above is intended to suggest that individuals who are primary candidates to contract the Wuhan virus should be obligated to attend Church. The fits commandment requires us to be careful of our lives. As such people who are aged, who have immune systems that are weak, who have co-morbidity health issue would be best served by shuttering themselves until matters become even more clear than they already are.

Kipling Meets McAtee / 2020

As I study World history – every age and each race,
I notice the Triune Sovereign God is routinely kicked out of His place
As the various cultures are traced in their rise and then their fall
The God of the Bible, I notice, alone outlasts them all

We were living with borders when God called us. He showed us each in our stations
That strangers would certainly destroy us if we disregarded the need for nations
But we found Him lacking in PC, and insisted that He was most blind
So we crafted a New World Order that intended to leave God behind

We moved as our hormones drove us. God remained revealed in His Word
Our strange wives and bastard children demonstrated we were absurd
We insisted that family was malleable, it was a social construct we could leave

Only later to discover God was right when he said “every Adam must have his Eve.”

With illusions we created our world and, God was singularly unimpressed
He denied that gender was uncertain, so commanded that queers be oppressed
He denied that sodomites could marry, He denied Trannies should be a norm
So in our insistence on these illusions he sent a Beelzebub storm

The Ashtoreths, Molechs and Baals promised only upward economic growth
But we discovered that money trees were a fancy and that they were all false to their oaths
We discovered that credit can’t be eternal and that money has to be backed
And the God of the Bible said, “paper money and debt economies will certainly one day crack”

When Noah came descending from the ark after the deeps combined for the global flood
God’s Rainbow was arching with God’s promise and Noah’s sacrifices poured out their blood
But the sodomites stole God’s rainbow and made it their symbol instead
And the God of the Bible spoke, “the man who sleeps with a man is dead.”

When the Marxist progressives were campaigning they cast a vision of tranquility without guns
They promised if we surrendered our weapons, it would save our daughters and sons
They promised that we would be happy, and that violence would certainly decrease
But the God of the Bible said to the contrary, “Pacifism means war and not peace.”

The Ashtoreths, Molechs and Baals insisted that their lugenpresse we could trust
They promised that lugenpresse outlets would tell the truth, give wisdom, and be just
They promised that lugenpresse would never lie, dissimulate or spin
But the God of the Bible said to the contrary, “listening to known liars is sin.”

Certain as the sun rising, certain as the death of all men
There is a foursome that will be constant regardless of where and when
That the slothful will soon be poor, and the fool will wisdom abjure
And that the wicked will be certain to be profligate, injurious and impure

And fourth and most of all we can be as certain as sure as the night follows day
That man who sows the wind will with the whirlwind find his pay
As sure as whatsoever a man soweth that he will also reap
The God of the Bible will not slumber, and neither will He sleep!