Out of Facebook Jail

Out of Facebook Jail. Will this post land me in jail again?

Proudly, I have recently been in Facebook jail for posting a meme that has a historical context, which involved a warning to concerned citizens. According to Facebook, the meme violates it’s community standards.

The meme had to do with the Nazi program of recruiting citizens to inform on their neighbors if suspected of not towing the government line. Before I could attach this quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” by George Santayana, I was suspended without being offered an appeal. The exact community standard I violated was not provided for my benefit. In other words, the nebulous community standards were cited, with no specifics as to which exact standard and to how it was violated.

Since Facebook did not offer an appeal process, Senators, Gardner, CO, Cruz, TX, Paul, Kentucky, Blackburn, TN, Lee, UT, and Johnson, WI, regarding this matter.

I post satirical, educational memes, and news story links on a daily basis and have done so for ten years. I have many positive likes and shares every day. If someone does not like my posts, they can block me or de-friend me. It is that simple. By accepting me as a friend, this comes with the understanding that my friends will receive posts from me. Facebook’s policing tactics are unnecessary, and nothing more than attempt to play “Big Brother.”

My criteria for posts are biblical, constitutional. The constitutional criteria are based upon the FCC and the Supreme Court of the United States, which enables free expression without condoning violence, profanity, threats, and sinful pornographic sexuality. Facebook’s community standards are arbitrary, capricious, and tilted towards the left. In an additional line of questioning, when Facebook deems something is offensive, it can be asked offensive to whom?

Regarding my post that violated the ambiguous community standards, an interested individual said this:

A health care professional therapist had this to say and evaluated my meme. He said:

“I saw nothing in the meme that I’ve not read in many posts on other people’s timelines. People all along the political spectrum have made similar allusions from their own viewpoint.”

Interestingly, I have seen the same meme I attempted to post a Facebook in the past. It is well known that an individual can get in trouble with Facebook for posting something reposted from Facebook itself. How ironic.

Discrimination by Facebook is serious, and involves nameless faultfinders with no appeal process. It is especially egregious because of my advertising on Facebook.

Facebook jail and civil rights:

Section 202 of the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964. Even though section 201 speaks broadly about private businesses they serve the public and their proximity to interstate highways, therefore they invite interstate commerce, which is controlled by Congress. That means that Facebook cannot avoid the CRA of 1964. The FCC highway is no different. Section 202 includes your situation. Facebook’s physical location is in California. They willfully solicit and engage in business with people from a different state, from which they profit (selling ads and advertising to me). Facebook has arbitrarily sanction me based upon my “entitled to be free.” and my “religious” and “political” beliefs, is discrimination that violates the CRA of 1964.

The following are sections 202 and 203 of the CRA, Sec 202:

“All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin, if such discrimination or segregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivision thereof.
Sec. 203. No person shall (a) withhold, deny, or attempt to withhold or deny, or deprive or attempt to deprive, any person of any right or privilege secured by section 201 or 202, or (b) intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person with the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by section 201 or 202, or (c) punish or attempt to punish any person for exercising or attempting to exercise any right or privilege secured by section 201 or 202.”

Even though Facebook has a building, they are using that building, which houses the interstate commerce and bans me from using what they offer to others based upon two actions (1) their arbitrary discrimination of me and my (1) religious and political beliefs (2) entitlement to be free. In today’s society, the restaurants mentioned in section 201 implied and if you were black and ordered a “take out” meal, but they found out that you were black and canceled the order, and then they would be in violation of the CRA. Just because being seated in a facility was the status quo in 1964, no reasonable judge would allow discrimination for take-out and bar discrimination only when seated. What I am doing is a “take out” order when I use the California facility in another state that now bans citizens “entitlement to be free” based upon a “religious” and “political” viewpoint.

Friends, help stop the censorship and “religious” and “political” discrimination. Call Senator Rand Paul Phone: 202-224-4343 and Ted Cruz 202 224-5922 today! Contact your Senator https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

Contact your House Representative https://www.house.gov/representatives

Do not be afraid of the Facebook police; stand up for your First Amendment God-given Rights. Other social media sites respect freedom of speech much more than Facebook. I can privately provide you a list of these sites.

Truly,

Jack Kettler

CC: Senator Paul, Cruz, and Gardner

Reply’ from Gardner, Cruz, and Paul

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The problem of Evil

The problem of evil                                                                     By Jack Kettler

This study will survey several texts of Scripture where God sends evil spirits to accomplish His will. How are we to understand these texts? What do these texts say about the origin of evil? The problem of evil is often described using the theological term theodicy. Theodicy is a theological word that seeks to explain the so-called dilemma of the existence of a good God with the existence of evil in the world. To some, this seems incompatible.

As in previous studies, definitions will be looked at along with scriptures, commentary evidence, and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how to live.

Definition of Theodicy:

The study of the problem of evil in the world. The issue is raised in light of the sovereignty of God. How could a holy and loving God who is in control of all things allow evil to exist? The answer has been debated for as long as the church has existed. We still do not have a definitive answer and the Bible does not seek to justify God’s actions.

It is clear that God is sovereign, and that He has willed the existence of both good and evil, and that all of this is for His own glory. Proverbs 16:4 says, “The LORD works out everything for his own ends — even the wicked for a day of disaster”; Isaiah 45:7 says, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” *

There are various attempts to solve this problem. For one example, the free will of man argument is an attempt to protect God’s righteousness. This study will focus on the free will of man argument as a possible solution.

How do we understand the following passages that are seemingly problematic in the study of theodicy? 

“Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech.” (Judges 9:23)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Judges 9:23:

“Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem,…. Permitted, yea, gave a commission to Satan, the evil spirit, to go among them, who stirred up suspicions, jealousies, hatred, and ill will to one another, and sowed the seeds of discord and contention among them; or God gave them up to their own hearts’ lusts, to think ill of one another, grow jealous, and meditate revenge:

and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech; did not openly declare their minds, but secretly conspired against him, and privately consulted ways to find means to get rid of him, and shake off his government.” (1)

We can understand this as the Lord giving Satan His approval to work upon the men of Shechem like God did with Satan in the story of Job.

“But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” (1Samuel 16:14)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary summarizes up this passage:

“14-18: The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him—His own gloomy reflections, the consciousness that he had not acted up to the character of an Israelitish king, the loss of his throne, and the extinction of his royal house, made him jealous, irritable, vindictive, and subject to fits of morbid melancholy.” (2)

Like the passage from Judges, Satan, by the Divine approval, was given to terrify Saul.

“And the LORD said who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1Kings 22:20-23)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on 1Kings 22:22:

“Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these thy prophets,…. That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it; which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him:

and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee: he had decreed it in himself, declared it by Micaiah his prophet, and suffered all those steps to be taken by Satan and the false prophets, to bring him to it.” (3)

Just like in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1, God within the confines of His will approved of Satan having his way.

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Isaiah 45:7:

“7. form … create—yatzar, to give “form” to previously existing matter. Bara, to “create” from nothing the chaotic dark material.

light … darkness—literally (Ge 1:1-3), emblematical also, prosperity to Cyrus, calamity to Babylon and the nations to be vanquished [Grotius] … Isaiah refers also to the Oriental belief in two coexistent, eternal principles, ever struggling with each other, light or good, and darkness or evil, Oromasden and Ahrimanen. God, here, in opposition, asserts His sovereignty over both [Vitringa].

create evil—not moral evil (Jas 1:13), but in contrast to “peace” in the parallel clause, war, disaster (compare Ps 65:7; Am 3:6).” (4)

God is the ultimate or remote cause of everything, including evil; however, this does mean that God is the immediate or proximate cause or the author of sin.

“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Amos 3:6:

“Shall a trumpet be blown, when an alarm is sounded, by which notice is given of danger approaching, of an enemy invading the land, in the city, any city, but particularly in a frontier city, in which were watchmen on the walls and towers to give notice of an enemy, Isaiah 52:8 Ezekiel 3:17 33:7,

and the people not be afraid; affected with the danger, to weigh how great it is, how near it is; whether it be best to prepare to resist it, or to flee from it? Such-like affections doth the alarm of war work in the minds of men ordinarily, and there is good reason for it: but though God hath sounded the alarm, yet brutish, stupid, and sinful Israel fear not, neither consult what is the best course to prevent the danger.

Shall there be evil, of affliction and sorrow, such as plague, famine, &c., in a city, or anywhere else, and the Lord, the eternal, holy, and righteous Governor of all in heaven and on earth, hath not done it, either immediately by his own hand, or mediately by the hands of those he employs? The evil of punishment he will execute and bring upon Israel; he will by the hands of the Assyrians in due time execute it.” (5)

As Albert Barnes notes on this passage:

“Augustine says; Evil, which is sin, the Lord hath not done; evil, which is punishment for sin, the Lord bringeth.” (6)

Gordon H. Clark’s Solution to the Problem of evil by Dr. Phil Fernandes:

“In his writings, Gordon Clark attempted to answer the question,

“How can the existence of God be harmonized with the existence of evil?” 54 If God is all-good, He would want to destroy evil. If God is all-powerful, He is able to destroy evil. But evil still exists. It seems that God cannot be both all-good and all-powerful. However, Christianity teaches that He is both. This is the problem of evil. 55

Zoroastrianism attempts to resolve the problem by teaching that there are two gods. One is good while the other is evil. Neither of the two gods is infinite since they have both failed to destroy the opposing god. Plato’s views also result in an unresolved dualism. In his thought, God is not the creator of all things. There exists eternal and chaotic space which the Demiurge cannot control. 56

According to Clark, even Augustine’s answer to the dilemma was inadequate. Clark stated that Augustine taught that evil is metaphysically unreal. It does not exist. Therefore, all that God created is good since evil is non-being. 57 (Whether or not Clark treated Augustine’s view fairly will be discussed at a later point in this chapter.)

Clark pointed out that Augustine added to his response the doctrine of human free will. Though God is all-powerful, He has sovereignly chosen to give mankind free will. God allows man to make his own choices. Mankind has chosen evil. Therefore, all that God created is good. Evil can be blamed not on God, but on the abuse of free will by man. 58

But Clark rejected this view of free will. Clark believed that the Bible does not teach that man is free to choose that which is right as opposed to that which is wrong. Clark stated that “free will is not only futile, but false. Certainly, if the Bible is the Word of God, free will is false; for the Bible consistently denies free will.” 59

Though Clark rejected the doctrine of free will, he believed man has free agency. “Free will means there is no determining factor operating on the will, not even God. Free will means that either of two incompatible actions are equally possible.” 60 This Clark rejected. On the other hand, “Free agency goes with the view that all choices are inevitable. The liberty that the Westminster Confession ascribes to the will is a liberty from compulsion, coaction, or force of inanimate objects; it is not a liberty from the power of God.” 61 Clark argued that a man can still be responsible for his actions even without the freedom to do other than he has done. Clark stated that, “a man is responsible if he must answer for what he does . . . a person is responsible if he can be justly rewarded or punished for his deeds. This implies, of course, that he must be answerable to someone.” 62

Clark then asked the question, “Is it just then for God to punish a man for deeds that God Himself ‘determined before to be done?’” 63 He answered in the affirmative. He stated that, “Whatever God does is just.” 64 Man is responsible to God; but God is responsible to no one.

Clark openly admitted that his view makes God the cause of sin. For, in his thinking, “God is the sole ultimate cause of everything.” 65 But, while God is the ultimate cause of sin, He is not the author of sin. The author is the immediate cause of an action. Man is the immediate cause of his sin. But he was not free to do otherwise. For God is the ultimate cause of sin. 66

Clark stated that, “God’s causing a man to sin is not sin. There is no law, superior to God, which forbids him to decree sinful acts. Sin presupposes a law, for sin is lawlessness.” 67 Clark explained that “God is above law” because “the laws that God imposes on men do not apply to the divine nature.” 68

Clark stated:

“Man is responsible because God calls him to account; man is responsible because the supreme power can punish him for disobedience. God, on the contrary, cannot be responsible for the plain reason that there is no power superior to him; no greater being can hold him accountable; no one can punish him; there is no one to whom God is responsible; there are no laws, which he could disobey.

The sinner therefore, and not God, is responsible; the sinner alone is the author of sin. Man has no free will, for salvation is purely of grace; and God is sovereign.” 69

This was Clark’s proposed solution to the problem of evil. God is in fact the ultimate cause of sin. But He is not evil, for He committed no sin. And He is not responsible for sin, for there is no one to whom He is responsible. God is just, for whatever He does is just. Therefore, the creature has no right to stand in judgment over his Creator.

54  Clark, Religion, Reason and Revelation, 195.

55  Ibid. 56  Ibid., 195-196. 57 Ibid., 196. 58 Ibid., 199. 59 Ibid., 206. 60  Ibid., 227.

61  Ibid. 62 Ibid., 231. 63 Ibid. 64 Ibid., 232-233. 65 Ibid., 237-238. 66 Ibid., 237-239.

67  Ibid., 239-240. 68 Ibid., 240. 69 Ibid., 241. (7)

Another observation from Clark:

“In the Word of God (Matthew 7:24, 25), we have an answer to the theodicy issue. It is all a matter of one’s epistemic base. With the Bible as the axiomatic starting point, the existence of evil is not the problem it is made out to be. God, who is altogether holy and who can do no wrong, sovereignly decrees evil things to occur for his own good purposes (Isaiah 45:7). Moreover, just because he decreed it, it is right.” (8)

The critic of Christianity in the theodicy debate is trying to smuggle in a foreign standard by which to hold God accountable. Clark rightly demolishes this by stating the God decrees are right, because He decreed it. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

Calvin in his Institutes (III, xxiii, 8 & II, iv. 3) makes a convincing statement:

“Here they have recourse to the distinction between will and permission. By this they would maintain that the wicked perish because God permits it, not because he so wills. But why shall we say “permission” unless it is because God so wills? Still, it is not in itself likely that man brought destruction upon himself through himself, by God’s mere permission and without any ordaining. As if God did not establish the condition, in which he wills the chief of his creatures to be! I shall not hesitate, then, simply to confess with Augustine that “the will of God is the necessity of things,” and that what he has willed will of necessity come to pass.” (9)

According to systematic theologian Charles Hodge, the best method of dealing with the question of theodicy is:

“to rest satisfied with the simple statements of the Bible. The Scriptures teach, (1) That the glory of God is the end to which the promotion of holiness, and the production of happiness, and all other ends are subordinate. (2) That, therefore, the self-manifestation of God, the revelation of his infinite perfection, being the highest conceivable, or possible good, is the ultimate end of all his works in creation, providence, and redemption. (3) As sentient creatures are necessary for the manifestation of God’s benevolence, so there could be no manifestation of his mercy without misery, or of his grace and justice, if there were no sin.

“As the heavens declare the glory of God, so He has devised the plan of redemption, To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God,” (Eph. 3:10). The knowledge of God is eternal life. It is for creatures the highest good. And the promotion of that knowledge, the manifestation of the manifold perfections of the infinite God, is the highest end of all his works. This is declared by the Apostle to be the end contemplated, both in the punishment of sinners and in the salvation of believers. It is an end to which, he says, no man can rationally object.

“What if God, willing to shew his wrath (or justice), and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory,” (Rom. 9:22, 23). Sin, therefore, according the Scriptures, is permitted, that the justice of God may be known in its punishment, and his grace in its forgiveness. And the universe, without the knowledge of these attributes, would be like the earth without the light of the sun.” (10)

Is the alleged free will of man the solution to the problem of evil?

Arminian free will defined:

To the extent that man can make any decision on his own, it is only because God has given a man that ability, unconstrained, and voluntary choice.

The Arminian asserts the sinner has a free will, and consequently, his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it.

Those of Arminian convictions promote free will-ism. Arminianism is a softened version of the ancient doctrine of Pelagianism. Is free will a solution to the problem of evil?

Philosopher Gordon Clark in his Religion, Reason, and Revelation said that such a thing as free will could not save God from being responsible for evil since the God knew that sin would come into the world, and created it anyway. If the God did not create the world and man, there would be no evil. It is clear, that even the Arminian God is the remote cause of sin. Also, see also Antony Flew’s God and Philosophy. Flew observes that the Arminian free will argument is a non-solution to the problem of sin and evil. Flew for most of his live has been a non-Christian. Recently, he has rejected his former atheism. The ignorance of god doctrine, i.e., God does not know the future is another attempt by some sectors of Arminianism to find solutions to the theodicy question. Flew and many philosophers and theologians will not be impressed by the God of limited knowledge doctrine either.

Gordon Clark regarding free will as a possible solution for the existence of evil problem:

“On the road below, to the observer’s left, a car is being driven west. To the observer’s right a car is coming south. He can see and know that there will be a collision at the intersection immediately beneath him. But his foreknowledge, so the argument runs, does not cause [that is make necessary] the accident. Similarly, God is supposed to know the future without causing it.

The similarity, however, is deceptive on several points. A human observer cannot really know that a collision will occur. Though it is unlikely, it is possible for both cars to have blowouts before reaching the intersection and swerve apart. It is also possible that the observer has misjudged speeds, in which case one car could slow down and other accelerate, so that they would not collide. The human observer, therefore, does not infallible foreknowledge.

No such mistakes can be assumed for God. The human observer may make a probable guess that the accident will occur, and this guess does not make the accident unavoidable; but if God knows, there is no possibility of avoiding the accident. A hundred years before the drivers were born, there was no possibility that either of them could have chosen to stay home that day, to have driven a different route, to have driven a different time, to have driven a different speed. They could not have chosen otherwise than as they did. This means either that they had no free will [understood as a liberty of indifference] or that God did not know.

Suppose it be granted, just for the moment, that divine foreknowledge, like human guesses, does not cause the foreknown event. Even so, if there is foreknowledge, in contrast with fallible guesses, free will is impossible. If man has free will, and things can be different, God cannot be omniscient. Some Arminians have admitted this and have denied omniscience [the open theists], but this puts them obviously at odds with Biblical Christianity. There is also another difficulty. If the Arminian . . . wishes to retain divine omniscience and at the same time assert that foreknowledge has no causal efficacy, he is put to explain how the collision was made certain a hundred years, an eternity, before the drivers were born. If God did not arrange the universe this way, who did?” (11)

Clark continues with his devastating analysis of the failure of the free will argument as a solution to the theodicy problem:

“Suppose there was a lifeguard on a dangerous beach. A boy plays by the water when the currents are strong and he is sucked out to sea by an undercurrent. He cannot swim and starts to drown. The lifeguard sits in his high chair and does nothing to rescue the boy. Maybe he would shout a few words to encourage the boy to save himself, but that is all. The boy drowns. It was his own free will that the boy went out to sea, and the lifeguard did not ask him to do so. The guard merely permitted that boy to go out to sea and permitted him to drown. Would the Free Will Advocate still say that the Lifeguard is not guilty of the drowning? Permission of evil therefore, does not remove responsibility of the lifeguard. Why then should God permitting sinful actions of man be any less guiltless just because the sinner sins in his free will? It has to be remembered that the guard is not God. An omniscient and omnipotent God would certainly have been able to made the boy a better swimmer, make the ocean less rough, or at least save the boy from drowning.

Not only is free will and permission irrelevant to the problem of evil, but, further, the idea of permission has no intelligible meaning… This permission, however, depends on the fact that the ocean’s undertow is beyond the guard’s control. If the guard had some giant suction device, which he operated so as to engulf the boy, one would call it murder, not permission. The idea of permission is possible only where there is an independent force, either the boy’s force or the ocean’s force. But this is not the situation in the case of God and the universe. Nothing in the universe can be independent of the omnipotent creator, for in him we live and move and have our being. Therefore, the idea of permission makes no sense when applied to God.” (12)

In closing:

First, a word to the non-believer, they should not worry about the issue of theodicy. Why? Because the non-believer has no ground or basis within his worldview to talk intelligently about good and evil. The non-believer is unable to define good or evil within the framework of their worldview. All the non-believer can say is nothing more than an opinion, which works out to be nothing more than arbitrary social conventions.

Summary of Gordon Clark’s biblical solution to the problem of evil:

“Clark’s answer. There are four elements of his answer that should be noted.

  1. The Distinction Between Free Will and Free Agency

The false doctrine of “free will” is that man has the ability to choose between two incompatible actions; that the will is free from any outside factor.  Clark rejects this teaching. However, he does ascribe to man a “free agency” – that man’s will is free from outside forces in the world, but not free from God. The Free Agent is independent of natural forces, but not independent of God. Thus, man makes choices as he is a Free Agent, but these choices are only made within God’s will or plan.

Thus, Clark takes a compatibilist view between the free agent’s ability to choose and the deterministic necessity of that choice occurring as God has willed it. He writes, “A choice is still a deliberate volition even if it could not have been different.”

  1. God is the Ultimate Cause of all Things Including Sin

Here, Clark pulled no punches and outright said “Let it be unequivocally said that this view certainly makes God the cause of sin. God is the sole ultimate cause of everything. There is absolutely nothing independent of him. He alone is the eternal being. He alone is omnipotent. He alone is sovereign.”

Clark found support in the Westminster Confession, which states that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass and foreordained even the means.

But, while God is the ultimate cause of sin, He is not the author of sin. The author is the immediate cause, whereas God is only the ultimate cause of sin.

  1. Responsibility is Derived Not From a Free Will but From God’s Sanction

We are responsible for our actions not because we have the ability to choose otherwise (we don’t) but because God set punishments for those actions.

Consider the Biblical example of the Crucifiction of Jesus Christ.  God foreknew, even foreordained, the crucifixion of his Son by the hands of sinful men. It was God’s will for Herod, Pilate, and the Jews to crucify Christ. . Yet, according to Scripture, the godless men who carried out the act are responsible (Acts 2:22, 23; 4:27, 28)

  1. By Definition God Cannot Sin

Whatever God decrees is right simply because he decrees it.  Whatever God does is just. What he commands men to do or not to do is similarly just or not just.

“God is neither responsible nor sinful, even though he is the only ultimate cause of everything. He is not sinful because in the first place whatever God does is just and right. It is just and right simply in virtue of the fact that he does it. Justice or Righteousness is not a standard external to God to which God is obligated to submit. Righteousness is what God does”.” (13)

In reality, there is no problem of theodicy, because:

The Westminster Confession Chapter 3 Section I:

  1. God from all eternity did, by the most wise (Rom. 11:33) and holy counsel of His own will, freely (Rom. 9:15, 18), and unchangeably (Heb. 6:17) ordain whatsoever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11): yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin (James 1:13, 17; 1 John 1:5), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures (Matt. 17:12; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28); nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established (John 19:11; Prov. 16:33).

Lastly:

In light of all of God’s Sinless Perfections and Holiness, the Reformed assert that God is Sovereign and whatever He does is right, simply because He does it! If a man is holding God to the standards of human reason, this is unacceptable. Human reason must be subservient to God’s revelation. The core issue, with which free will advocates wrestle against, is submitting human reason to the authority of Scripture and the rejection of all forms of human autonomy.

The Reformed rightly maintain that there is no law structure or standard above God that he is held accountable. If so, this law structure would be God, and one could ask, where did this law structure arise? Those who have restricted God’s sovereignty in an attempt to vindicate God have elevated human reason as a standard above God and hold him to an outrageous humanistic un-Scriptural standard.

The decretive or concealed will of God is God’s sovereign will that may remain hidden, depending on whether or not God reveals it to us. God’s purposes are not always revealed. There are remote and proximate causes. The solution of theodicy is found in these biblical distinctions.

Remote and proximate causation:

The Chaldeans thieves, in Job 1:17 were the proximate cause of the evil. Job wisely does not question the motives of the Lord, the remote cause. He said, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

There is no need to limit God’s sovereignty with a free will of man argument as a solution to the problem of evil as seen from the above material, particularly that of Gordon H. Clark.

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:23)

Notes:

  1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Judges, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 145.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 217.
  3. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1Kings, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 291.
  4. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 567-568. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Amos, Vol. 5 p.520.
  5. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 905.
  6. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Amos, Vol. 5 p.520.
  7. Dr. Phil Fernandes, CLARK’S SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/clark_evil.html
  8. Gordon H. Clark, An Introduction to Christian Philosophy (Jefferson, Maryland, The Trinity Foundation, 1993), p. 113,114.
  9. Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics, XX-XXI, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960) Book III, xxiii, 8 & II, iv. 3 p. 956.
  10. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), p. 435.
  11. Gordon Clark, Religion, Reason and Revelation, (Jefferson, Maryland, Trinity Foundation), pp. 217-219.
  12. Gordon H. Clark, God and evil: the problem solved, (Hobbs, New Mexico, Trinity Foundation), p.17-18.
  13. Douglas Douma, Gordon Clark and the Problem of Evil, A Place for Thoughts, https://douglasdouma.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/gordon-clark-and-the-problem-of-evil/

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

For more study:

A Biblical Theodicy by W. Gary Crampton http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=141

* Definition of Theodicy https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ctd/t/theodicy.html

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Ekaterina II, Catherine the Great

Ekaterina II, Catherine the Great                                                               A review By Jack Kettler

The Film Genre Drama

Created by Anton Zlatopolsky

Written by Arif Aliev

Season 1 directed by Alexander Baranov and Ramil Sabitov

Season 2 and 3 directed by Dmitry Losifov

Main Starring Cast from Wikipedia:

Marina Alexandrova as Empress Catherine the Great.

Yuliya Aug as Empress Elizaveta Petrovna.

Aleksandr Yatsenko as His Highness Pyotr Fyodorovich and Emperor Peter III.

Pavel Tabakov as His Highness Pavel Petrovich

Isabel Schosnig as the mother of Catherine

Vladimir Menshov as Count Alexey Bestuzhev-Ryumin

Konstantin Lavronenko as Count Johann Lestocq

Alexander Lazarev Jr. as Count Graf Alexey Razumovsky

Nikolay Kozak as Count Alexander Shuvalov

Rinal Mukhametov as Count Sergey Saltykov

Sergey Strelnikov as Captain Grigory Orlov

Sergey Marin as Count Grigory Orlov

Mikhail Gavrilov as Alexey Orlov

Artyom Alekseev as Count Alexey Orlov

Vladimir Yaglych as Grigory Potemkin

Sergey Koltakov as Chancellor Nikita Panin

Mikhail Gorevoy as councilor Stepan Sheshkovsky

Stanislav Strelkov as cabinet secretary Adam Olsufyev

Alina Tomnikov as Her Highness Natalya Alexeyevna

Artur Ivanov as Yemelyan Pugachev

Angelina Strechina as Princess Tarakanova

See the other recurring cast members listed on Wikipedia.

Production locations: were in Saint Petersburg; Moscow; Crimea; Veliky Novgorod; and Prague.

Season 1: Catherine 2014

Season 2: The Rise of Catherine 2017

Season 3: Catherine Impostors 2019

Set decorations: Superb time-period costumes are authentic

Casting: is fabulous

Cinematography is stunning and breathtaking

Locations: Were in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Crimea, Veliky Novgorod, and Prague.

Film Locations in St. Petersburg: the Hermitage museum, which is housed in the Winter Palace, Peterhof, or the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, Catherine’ Palace, the Church of St. Peter and Paul.

Review with some historical tidbits:

The three-season epic covers the Russian Empress Ekaterina II or “Catherine the Great.” Sophie Friederike Auguste came to Russia from Prussia, now Szczecin, Poland. Empress Elisabeth renamed Friederike, as Ekaterina, which is a girl’s name of Slavic origin, meaning “pure.” Friederike was brought to Russia to be the bride of Peter III (Pyotr III Fyodorovich himself renamed and German-born as Karl Peter Ulrich). Pyotr’s aunt Elisabeth chose Friederike to be married to Pyotr to continue the House of Romanov dynasty (1613 to 1917).

Ekaterina came to power in a coup d’état that she organized with help. During her reign, through council, her name was changed to “Catherine the Great.” Ekaterina dramatically changed the Russian empire during her 34 years on the throne. She defeated the Ottoman Turks on more than one occasion. Catherine supported and was obedient to the Orthodox Church and quite literally saved Russia as a nation. In addition, to her political shrewdness, she was the greatest benefactor and collector of art that Europe has ever seen during her life.

Having the great opportunity to visit St. Petersburg in 2019, the three-series film held numerous cinematic special moments. It was extraordinary to revisit in the film, locations such as those inside the Hermitage museum situated inside the Winter Palace on the bank of the Neva River, Catherine’s Palace, The Church of Saint Peter and Paul inside the fortress by the same name, and other locations near or around the above. The visual imagery in the film is incredibly magnificent and spectacular. Having seen some of the locations in the film is it understandable why they are a great source of Russian national pride.

Since this reviewer does not speak Russian, the accuracy of the English translation for the subtitles cannot be discussed. It is known, that at times, the Russian translation into English is difficult. However, it would have been a travesty if the film were overdubbed in English. Being in Russian added to the beauty of the film. The actors were outstanding. Especially, Marina Alexandrova as Empress “Catherine the Great” and Yuliya Aug as Empress Elizaveta Petrovna or “Elisabeth.” Both were powerful and convincing in their roles. Channel One in Russia did a commendable job of bringing the story of Catherine to the screen. If the reader appreciates great historical movies, do not miss this three-part series.

Quotes from Catherine:

“The laws ought to be so framed as to secure the safety of every citizen as much as possible. … Political liberty does not consist in the notion that a man may do whatever he pleases; liberty is the right to do whatsoever the laws allow. … The equality of the citizens consists in that they should all be subject to the same laws.” – Catherine the Great

“It is better to inspire a reform than to enforce it.” – Catherine the Great

“I sincerely want peace, not because I lack resources for war, but because I hate bloodshed.” – Catherine the Great

“The more a man knows, the more he forgives.” – Catherine the Great

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat.

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John Bunyan B. 1628 – D. 1688

John Bunyan B. 1628 – D. 1688

John Bunyan was an English writer and Puritan preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. Bunyan came from the village of Elstow, near Bedford. Wikipedia

John Bunyan Quotes:

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” – John Bunyan

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan

“I will stay in prison till the moss grows on my eye lids rather than disobey God.” – John Bunyan

“Just as Christian came up to the Cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, fell from off his back, and began to tumble down the hill, and so it continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre. There it fell in, and I saw it no more!” – John Bunyan

“Fear, lest, by forgetting what you are by nature, you also forget the need that you have of continual pardon, support, and supplies from the Spirit of grace, and so grow proud of your own abilities, or of what you have received from God.” – John Bunyan

“In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.” – John Bunyan

“…Great sins do draw out great grace; and where guilt is most terrible and fierce, there the mercy of God in Christ, when showed to the soul, appears most high and mighty…” – John Bunyan

“Wake up, see your own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus. He is the righteousness of God, for He Himself is God. Only by believing in His righteousness will you be delivered from condemnation.” – John Bunyan

“The glory of the next world that will never wear out, while the good things of this world will vanish.” – John Bunyan

“Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” – John Bunyan

“My name at the first was Graceless.” – John Bunyan

“The pilgrim’s progress: from this world to that which is to come, delivered under the similitude of a dream, wherein is discovered the manner of his setting out, his dangerous journey, and safe arrival at the desired country.” – John Bunyan

“(Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. – Heb. 11:25-26)” – John Bunyan

“Christ is my righteousness. I am neither less righteous for my ill deservings nor more righteous for my good deservings, for Christ is my righteousness, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – John Bunyan

“Blessed Cross! Blessed grave! Blessed rather be The Man who there was put to shame for me.” – John Bunyan

“Even as the law uncovers sin and forbids it, it does not provide the power to subdue it.” – John Bunyan

“Our sins, when laid upon Christ, were yet personally ours, not his; so his righteousness, when put upon us, is yet personally his, not ours.” – John Bunyan

“that we fulfilled the law by Him, died by Him, rose from the dead by Him, got the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell, by Him; when He died, we died, and so of His resurrection. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise, saith He. Isa. xxvi.” – John Bunyan

The International John Bunyan Society

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“The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” Psalms 19:1-6 A Devotional

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” Psalms 19:1-6 A Devotional                                             by Jack Kettler

{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.}
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psalms 19:1-6)

This Psalm has tremendous apologetic value, because all creation testifies of God’s glory; For example, “his handywork is seen in creation.” And, “there is no pace in heaven or earth where His voice is not heard.” In the New Testament book of Romans, the apostle Paul refers to Psalm 19 and in particular 19:4. “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18). Fallen man may try and evade this testimony, yet he cannot escape it. Redeemed man, marvels at this powerful all encompassing testimony.

In verses 1-6 of the Psalm, David shows that the creation, the heavens and the earth, proclaim God’s existence everywhere. There is nowhere man can go to hide from or escape this testimony. This creation testimony is what is known in theology as “general revelation,” in contrast to “special revelation.” Special revelation is the testimony of Scripture. These two types of revelation are not opposed. They work in harmony. God is the author of both.

To start our devotional exegesis of the Psalm, Matthew Henry’s general observations provide an excellent over-view:

19:1-6 The heavens so declare the glory of God, and proclaim his wisdom, power, and goodness, that all ungodly men are left without excuse. They speak themselves to be works of God’s hands; for they must have a Creator who is eternal, infinitely wise, powerful, and good. The counter-changing of day and night is a great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe, that, as in the kingdom of nature, so in that of providence, he forms the light, and creates the darkness, Isa 45:7, and sets the one against the other. The sun in the firmament is an emblem of the Sun of righteousness, the Bridegroom of the church, and the Light of the world, diffusing Divine light and salvation by his gospel to the nations of the earth. He delights to bless his church, which he has espoused to himself; and his course will be unwearied as that of the sun, till the whole earth is filled with his light and salvation. Let us pray for the time when he shall enlighten, cheer, and make fruitful every nation on earth, with the blessed salvation. They have no speech or language, so some read it, and yet their voice is heard. All people may hear these preachers speak in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. Let us give God the glory of all the comfort and benefit we have by the lights of heaven, still looking above and beyond them to the Sun of righteousness.1

Henry concludes his comments with the summary of what the Psalmist has observed when he says:

“Let us give God the glory of all the comfort and benefit we have by the lights of heaven, still looking above and beyond them to the Sun of righteousness.”

Known as the prince of theologians, John Calvin is lucid and logical in his exegesis of Psalm 19:1:

1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork”

1. The heavens declare the glory of God. I have already said, that this psalm consists of two parts, in the first of which David celebrates the glory of God as manifested in his works; and, in the other, exalts and magnifies the knowledge of God which shines forth more clearly in his word. He only makes mention of the heavens; but, under this part of creation, which is the noblest, and the excellency of which is more conspicuous, he doubtless includes by synecdoche the whole fabric of the world. There is certainly nothing so obscure or contemptible, even in the smallest corners of the earth, in which some marks of the power and wisdom of God may not be seen; but as a more distinct image of him is engraven on the heavens, David has particularly selected them for contemplation, that their splendor might lead us to contemplate all parts of the world. When a man, from beholding and contemplating the heavens, has been brought to acknowledge God, he will learn also to reflect upon and to admire his wisdom and power as displayed on the face of the earth, not only in general, but even in the minutest plants. In the first verse, the Psalmist repeats one thing twice, according to his usual manner. He introduces the heavens as witnesses and preachers of the glory of God, attributing to the dumb creature a quality which, strictly speaking, does not belong to it, in order the more severely to upbraid men for their ingratitude, if they should pass over so clear a testimony with unheeding ears. This manner of speaking more powerfully moves and affects us than if he had said, The heavens show or manifest the glory of God. It is indeed a great thing, that in the splendor of the heavens there is presented to our view a lively image of God; but, as the living voice has a greater effect in exciting our attention, or at least teaches us more surely and with greater profit than simple beholding, to which no oral instruction is added, we ought to mark the force of the figure which the Psalmist uses when he says, that the heavens by their preaching declare the glory of God.

The repetition which he makes in the second clause is merely an explanation of the first. David shows how it is that the heavens proclaim to us the glory of God, namely, by openly bearing testimony that they have not been put together by chance, but were wonderfully created by the supreme Architect. When we behold the heavens, we cannot but be elevated, by the contemplation of them, to Him who is their great Creator; and the beautiful arrangement and wonderful variety which distinguish the courses and station of the heavenly bodies, together with the beauty and splendor which are manifest in them, cannot but furnish us with an evident proof of his providence. Scripture, indeed, makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory. As soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme Architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power.2

Calvin zooms in on the apologetic power of David’s words: “David shows how it is that the heavens proclaim to us the glory of God, namely, by openly bearing testimony that they have not been put together by chance, but were wonderfully created by the supreme Architect.”

The redeemed, will rejoice in response to David’s testimony of God’s glory in the Psalm.

Commentator Matthew Poole makes the following observations on Psalm 19:1:

The design of this Psalm is to adore and magnify the name of God, for the discovery of his wisdom, and power, and goodness, both by his great and glorious works of creation and providence, and especially by his word and the Holy Scripture; which he prefers before the former.

The heavens declare the glory of God, Psalm 19:1. So do night and day, Psalm 19:2,3, and the sun, Psalm 19:4-6. The perfection, purity, and extent of God’s law; its effects, Psalm 19:7-12. He prayeth against presumptuous sins, Psalm 19:13.

The heavens; these visible heavens, so vast and spacious, richly adorned with stars, so various and admirable in their course or station, so useful and powerful in their influences.

Declare; not properly, but objectively, as the earth, and trees, and stars are said to speak, Job 12:8 38:7 Isaiah 55:12; they demonstrate or make it evident and undeniable to all men of sense or reason; they are as a most legible book, wherein even he that runs may read it.

The glory of God, i.e. his glorious being or existence, his eternal power and Godhead, as it is particularly expressed, Romans 1:20; his infinite wisdom and goodness; all which are so visible in them, that it is ridiculous to deny or doubt of them, as it is esteemed ridiculous to think of far meaner works of art, as a house or a book, &c., that they were made without an artist, or without a hand.

The firmament; or, the expansion, i.e. all this vast space extended from the earth to the highest heavens, with all its goodly furniture, the same thing which he called heavens.

Showeth his handywork; the excellency of the work discovers who was the author of it, that it did not come by chance, nor spring of itself, but was made by the Lord God Almighty.3

Poole sees the apologetic value when he focuses on the objective power of the creation testimony.

Poole says:

“Declare; not properly, but objectively, as the earth, and trees, and stars are said to speak, Job 12:8 38:7 Isaiah 55:12; they demonstrate or make it evident and undeniable to all men of sense or reason; they are as a most legible book, wherein even he that runs may read it.”

Since the apostle referenced Psalm 19 in Romans 10:18, there is no doubt that Paul has Psalm 19 in view when he indites man and declares:

“Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:19-22)

Psalm 19:4 has in particular, two parallel passages:

“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17)

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;” (Job 12:7)

In a similar way, Isaiah reminds us of God’s creation testimony:

“Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)

Everywhere man looks, he is confronted with God’s testimony. This is our point of contact with fallen man. Man has knowledge of God, yet suppresses it Romans 1:19. We must challenge fallen man to forsake his rejection of God’s testimony.

God’s attributes of Omniscience and Omnipresence make it impossible for man to hide:

“Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

In conclusion:

Therefore, man is without excuse. God’s creation speaks, and His printed Word speaks with authority.

“The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.” (Psalms 14:1)

“Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.” (Song of Solomon 2:8)

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

The redeemed will surely say: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” ( Psalm 119:103, 105)

Notes:

  1. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Ethereal Library), p. 831.
  2. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume 1V, Joshua, Psalms, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, Reprinted 1979), pp. 308, 309.
  3. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 29.

There is not a single square inch of the entire cosmos of which Christ the sovereign Lord of all does not say, ‘This is mine.’” – Abraham Kuyper

 

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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Ludwig von Mises B. 1881 – D. 1973

Ludwig von Mises B. 1881 – D. 1973

Bio: Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian School economist, historian, and sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on the societal contributions of classical liberalism. He is best known for his work on praxeology, a study of human choice and action. He published a total of 98 books. Wikipedia

Ludwig von Mises Quotes:

“Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities.” – Ludwig von Mises

“He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.” – Ludwig von Mises

“If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization” – Ludwig von Mises

“The Marxians love of democratic institutions was a stratagem only, a pious fraud for the deception of the masses. Within a socialist community there is no room left for freedom.” – Ludwig Von Mises

“The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.” – Ludwig von Mises

“Every socialist is a disguised dictator.” – Ludwig von Mises

“Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water.” – Ludwig von Mises

“Praxeology is a theoretical and systematic, not a historical, science. Its scope is human action as such, irrespective of all environmental, accidental, and individual circumstances of the concrete acts. Its cognition is purely formal and general without reference to the material content and the particular features of the actual case. It aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts.” – Ludwig von Mises

“The worst thing that can happen to a socialist is to have his country ruled by socialists who are not his friends.” – Ludwig von Mises

“If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” – Ludwig von Mises

“It has been necessary to dwell upon these truisms because the mythologies and metaphysics of etatism [“etatism” or “statolatry”] have succeeded in wrapping them in mystery. The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says “state” means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.” – Ludwig von Mises

An aside:

Von Mises as a libertarian economist. In spite of his incredible wisdom and invaluable critiques of Socialism, he was anti-Christian.

Christian analyzes of Von Mises:

Gary North and Christian Economics https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/gary-north-and-christian-economics

Connections Between the Austrian School of Economics and Christian Faith A Personalist Approach by Paul A. Cleveland https://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=1596

Why Libertarians Need God by Jay Wesley Richards https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/03/libertarians-and-religion.html

Did Mises Become A Christian? By Roger McKinney Did Mises Become A Christian?

 

“The careers of men who pioneer fringe ideas are testimonies to hope that flies in the face of politically correct reality. Consider Rushdoony, Mises, and Rothbard. In terms of the number of books per title sold, the size of the mailing lists compiled, the votes in Congress recorded, and similar documentable artifacts suitable for inclusion in a Ph.D. dissertation on social history, all three were on the sidelines of history. But, in the long run, when bad ideas are implemented by civil governments in terms of the statist casuistry of the Powers That Be, societies begin to shift off-center in reaction, and move in new directions toward the periphery. Men who spent their careers marshaling logic and footnotes on the sidelines of respectable culture are seen in retrospect as the pioneers.

 

We can only guess in advance about who these retroactively successful pioneers will turn out to be, but we do know this: their intellectual opponents are strategically short-sighted in ignoring them during their lifetimes, and their followers are not content to roll over and play dead at the suggestion of a self-tenured establishment. The center does not hold. Those who stake their reputations and their careers on the preservation of the center eventually get left behind.” – Gary North

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What Happens To Those Who Never Hear The Gospel?

What Happens To Those Who Never Hear The Gospel? By Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, definitions will be looked at along with scriptures, commentary evidence, and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how we live.

In this study, the answer will be stated at the beginning, and then Scriptural proof will be marshaled in support of the answer. There are those who struggle with answering this question. If a person were lost who has not heard the gospel, some would say this is not fair.

First off, there are many today and in times past who have not heard the gospel. What happens to them? Are they sinners or not? What about those who perished in the flood? Were they sinners or not? Did the pre-flood sinners hear the gospel or not?

What is natural revelation? Natural or general revelation is God speaking and making Himself known in His creation.

God has spoken to all of humanity through natural revelation:

The answer to this question is simple. Since all are sinners, they are lost whether they have heard the gospel or not. Those who have not heard the gospel will not be punished for not hearing the gospel, but for not responding to God’s testimony in nature. God has spoken clearly to all of humankind through natural revelation.

All have heard God’s voice and suppressed it:

“His handywork is seen in creation.” Moreover, “there is no pace in heaven or earth where His voice is not heard.” In the New Testament book of Romans, the apostle Paul refers to Psalm 19 and in particular 19:4. “But I say have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18). A fallen man may try to evade this testimony, yet he cannot escape it. All humankind is guilty.

God’s natural revelation is so clear, that is why according to Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

It can be concluded that all whether hearing the gospel or not are justly under God’s condemnation.

Is it fair?

The problem in answering the starting question is that emotions and feelings govern or interfere with interpreting the Bible to find the answer.

To answer the question one must not let experience, feelings or emotions influence the interpretation of God’s Word. God is holy and righteous and whatever He does is right simply because He does it. There is no standard higher than God is. Are you O man, going to hold God to your standard?

Think about it, holding God to your standard. That would mean your standard is higher than God is. Consider O man who would dare to be God’s counseller:

“Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counseller hath taught him?” (Isaiah 40:13)

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counseller?” (Romans 11:34)

“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? Or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

In contrast with natural revelation. Special Revelation from Article 2 of the Belgic Confession:

“Secondly, he makes himself more clearly and fully known to us by his holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to his glory and our salvation.”

Scriptures and commentary on the universal sinfulness of all humanity:

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

From the Pulpit Commentary on Genesis 6:5:

“Verse 5. – And God (Jehovah, which should have been rendered ‘the Lord’) saw – indicative of the long-continued patience (Calvin) of the Deity, under whose immediate cognizance the great experiment of the primeval age of the world was wrought out – that the wickedness (ra’ath; from the root raa, to make a loud noise, to rage, hence to be wicked) of man (literally, of the Adam: this was the first aggravation of the wickedness which God beheld; it was the tumultuous rebellion of the being whom he had created in his own image) was great (it was no slight iniquity, but a wide-spread, firmly-rooted, and deeply-staining corruption, the second aggravation) in the earth. This was the third aggravation; it was in the world which he had made, and not only in it, but pervading it so “that integrity possessed no longer a single corner” (Calvin). And that every imagination – yetzer, a device, like pottery ware, from yatza, to fashion as a potter (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 8:19). Cf. yotzer, a potter, used of God (Psalm 94:9, 20). Hence the fashioned purpose (ἐνθύμησις) as distinguished from the thought out of which it springs – “a distinction not generally or constantly recognized by the mental philosopher, though of essential importance in the theory of the mind” (Murphy) – of the thoughts – mahshevoth; from hashal, to think, to meditate = ἔννοια; cf. Hebrews 9:12 (T. Lewis) – of his heart – or, the heart, the seat of the affections and emotions of the mind. Cf. Judges 16:15 (love); Proverbs 31:11 (confidence); Proverbs 5:12 (contempt); Psalm 104:15 (joy). Here “the feeling, or deep mother heart, the state of soul, lying below all, and giving moral character to all” (Lewis). Cf. the psychological division of Hebrews 4:12 was only evil continually. Literally, every day. “If this is not total depravity, how can language express it?” Though the phrase does not mean “from infancy,” yet “the general doctrine” (of man’s total and universal depravity) “is properly and consistently elicited hence” (Calvin).” (1)

“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalms 14:2, 3)

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary captures the Psalmist’s thought on verse 3 from Psalm 14 perfectly:

“3. Filthy—literally, “spoiled,” or, “soured,” “corrupted” (Job 15:16; Ro 3:12).” (2)

“But we are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah 64:6:

“(6) We are all as an unclean thing . . .—Better, as he who is unclean, scil,* like the leper of Leviticus 13:45.

Filthy rags point to that which to the Israelite was the other extremest form of ceremonial uncleanness, as in Ezekiel 36:17.

Have taken us away – scil, afar off from the light and favour of Jehovah.” (3)

* Scil is equivalent “to wit”

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9

Again from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Jeremiah 17:9:

“(9) The heart is deceitful . . .—The sequence of ideas seems as follows: If the blessing and the curse are thus so plainly marked, how is it that man chooses the curse and not the blessing, the portion of the “heath in the desert” rather than that of the “tree planted by the waters”? And the answer is found in the inscrutable self-deceit of his nature blinding his perceptions of good and evil.

Desperately wicked.—Rather, incurably diseased, as in Jeremiah 15:18; Jeremiah 30:12; Jeremiah 30:15; Isaiah 17:11, and elsewhere. Wickedness is, of course, implied, but it is regarded rather as a moral taint following on the deliberate choice, than as the choice itself.” (4)

“There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:11-12)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Romans 3:11:

“There is none that understandeth; a more particular proof of the corruption of the soul, and the faculties thereof; and first of the mind, taken out of the forecited Psalms, which may be compared with the scriptures which speak of the ignorance and blindness of the mind, Deuteronomy 32:29 Job 32:9 Isaiah 1:3 Jeremiah 4:22 10:14.

There is none that seeketh after God, a proof of the corruption of the will, which follows also in the forecited Psalms.” (5)

From the Westminster Catechism question 60, which answers the starting question:

Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?

A. They who, having never heard the gospel,[253] know not Jesus Christ,[254] and believe not in him, cannot be saved,[255] be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature,[256] or the laws of that religion which they profess;[257] neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone,[258] who is the Savior only of his body the church.[259]

Scriptural proofs:

[253] Romans 10:14. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

[254] 2Thessalonians 1:8-9. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Ephesians 2:12. That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. John 1:10-12. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

[255] John 8:24. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Mark 16:16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

[256] 1Corinthians 1:20-24. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them, which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

[257] John 4:22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. Romans 9:31-32. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone. Philippians 3:4-9. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

[258] Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

[259] Ephesians 5:23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

In closing:

A fallen man can lay no claim on God’s favor. Because of man’s entirely corrupt nature, resulting from the fall, God is under no obligation to save anyone. Once more, what about those who have not heard the gospel? They have heard God’s testimony in nature, Psalm 19:4 and suppressed it and are awaiting God’s wrath Romans 1:18.

Historically, the people and nations who have not heard the gospel are “heathen.” The fact of those in spiritual darkness without the gospel has always been the prime motivator for missions to the heathen nations. Pray that God will give increase to the missionary zeal of the Church.

Notes:

1. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Genesis, Vol.1., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 103.

2. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 411.

3. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol.4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 570.

4. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Jeremiah, Vol.5, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 63.

5. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 487.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more Study:

General revelation: the universal disclosure of God in nature, in providential history and in moral law within the heart (conscience), whereby all persons at all times and places gain a rudimentary understanding of the Creator and his moral demands. (Romans 1:18-20).

Special revelation: God’s self-disclosure in redemptive history and in the interpretive word of Scripture whereby He makes Himself and His truth known at specific times and to specific people. God cannot be known redemptively except as He reveals Himself to us. Jesus is the culmination of God’s self-disclosure to man and since Jesus cannot be separated from His word; the Scriptures are the ultimate form of divine revelation from God to us, for without them, we would know nothing certain about Jesus or any of the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.

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