Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unwittingly Establishing the Veracity of the Bible and its Author

This is a response to Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. over at Why I De-Converted from Evangelical Christianity about his unwittingly establishing the veracity of the Bible and its Author in his post about Ken Daniels, A Former Missionary with Wycliffe Translators is now an Agnostic Atheist.

There are several problems in this post that are working against Ken Pulliam's truth claim rather than for it. Unwittingly he is establishing the veracity of the Bible and its Author instead of nullifying it. Both his testimony and Ken Daniels’ testimony are perfectly and accurately described in the Bible.

Ken Daniels said, “If I could patch things up by forcing myself to believe again, I would do so in a heartbeat. Unfortunately I have tried that several times, only to be besieged again by doubt, and have come to the conclusion that attempting to will myself to believe that which in my heart I do not believe is futile.”

The Bible declares that no man can will himself to believe – “Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13 NASB). This verse not only does away with Daniels’ false notion that a man can believe of his own accord but also does away with his false credentials that you have put forward as evidence that Daniels was once a true Christian.

Daniels is right in this conclusion – “attempting to will myself to believe that which in my heart I do not believe is futile.” And what is necessary to be a genuine Christian? The Bible says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NASB). The word confess, means to speak the same and be of one mind (same logic), which means that confession of Jesus as Lord is to say the same thing about Him that God says about Him because of illumination and not imitation. It’s the difference between a parrot saying that Jesus is Lord without understanding what it is saying and a person saying that Jesus is Lord with full understanding and logic so that the truth he is declaring is inline with what he believes in his heart.

The part of Romans 10:9 that says, “And believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead”, is the part that gives rise to the confession of Jesus as Lord. There is no confession of Jesus as Lord without the accompanying belief in the heart that God raised Him from the dead. The only alternatives are for one to say, “If God raised Jesus from the dead then Jesus is Lord”, or, “I sincerely know that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is false.”

For the person that says, “If God raised Jesus from the dead then Jesus is Lord”, there is no belief in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and therefore there is no confession (speaking the same thing and being of the same mind) of Jesus as Lord but only parroting Jesus as Lord. The person that does not confess Jesus as Lord and believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is not a genuine Christian. He or she may profess saving faith but does not possess saving faith.

One who professes faith but does not possess faith may be sincere in his belief that he is a true Christian and as such would classify himself a “sincere Christian” but would nonetheless not be a true Christian irregardless of his sincerity.

So the combined testimonies of Ken Daniels and Ken Pulliam are this: Ken Daniels, “Attempting to will myself to believe that which in my heart I do not believe is futile”, and, Ken Pulliam, “You cannot force yourself to believe something that you sincerely know is false.”

Now if either one of you claims that your confession of Jesus as Lord was a result of believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, how did that belief in your heart come about? Did you will yourself to believe for a while against all sound reasoning? On what did you base your belief in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?

20 comments:

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

Here is where your premise fails. I did sincerely believe that Jesus was Lord and that he died on the cross for my sins and that he rose literally and bodily from the grave. I believed that for well over 15 years. I don't believe it now. So, if I had died sometime during those 15 years would you say that I would have gone to heaven?

I know how you will answer. You will say NO because the fact I don't believe now shows that my faith then was not genuine. It was a head faith and not a heart faith or some other such nonesense. All I can say to you is that if my faith for those 15 years was not genuine, then you don't know today that your faith is genuine. You can only know that it is once you have persevered to the very end of your life.

olan strickland said...

On what did you base your belief in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

I based it on the testimony of Scripture and the inner conviction of what I perceived to be the Holy Spirit.

olan strickland said...

OK. Would you mind elaborating what the Holy Spirit revealed to you?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

The Holy Spirit didn't reveal anything to me. He illuminated the Scripture and convinced me that I was a sinner and that Jesus died for me and that Jesus rose from the dead.

olan strickland said...

Ken,

Did that illumination square with reality?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

It did for over 15 years.

olan strickland said...

Well if it was true then isn't it true now?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

No. I believed it was true then but I don't now.

olan strickland said...

Ken,

So you believed a lie then - one that squared with reality - but not now?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

I didn't believe it was a lie then. I believed it was the truth.

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

Let me ask a few questions. First, how do you KNOW you are really saved right now?

olan strickland said...

Ken,

You said, I didn't believe it was a lie then. I believed it was the truth.

Since you were deceived once, what makes it that you can't be deceived twice?

In other words, how do you KNOW that what you believe to be true now isn't really a lie?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

It could be. I am not dogmatic like you are. That's why I call myself an agnostic. Are you going to answer my question?

olan strickland said...

Ken,

Actually you are being dogmatic. If you were truly agnostic you wouldn't claim to know anything. The claim that we can't know with certainty is a dogmatic claim of knowledge in and of itself. It is self-contradicting and self-defeating.

I'll give you this: at least you're consistent in your uncertainty. You could be wrong, but you doubt it.

You said, "Are you going to answer my question?"

Which was, "How do you KNOW you are really saved right now?"

The assurance of salvation can only be had from the testimony of Scripture. The Bible gives us Biblical evidences by which to know for sure if we are saved or not. It contrasts and compares believers to unbelievers (whether they claim to be saved or not) and it spells out the characteristics of each group. One epistle in the Bible is given over entirely to this one subject so that those who are truly saved can KNOW that they are. My faith passes the test of genuine Christianity.

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

You said: Actually you are being dogmatic. If you were truly agnostic you wouldn't claim to know anything. The claim that we can't know with certainty is a dogmatic claim of knowledge in and of itself. It is self-contradicting and self-defeating.

I am not a dogmatic agnostic which would be an oxymoron (along the same lines as "penal substitution").

As an agnostic, I don't believe that anyone can know whether certain metaphysical statements like: "There is a god" is true. I am not stating dogmatically that no one can know. If I did that, it would be self-defeating.

You say that you know you are saved now because of the testimony of Scripture and specifically 1 John. I based my assurance on precisely the same criteria. You say dogmatically now that I was never saved. I maintain that I had just as much reason to believe I was saved then as you do now.

olan strickland said...

The Bible is dogmatic about the truth that you never were saved. I believe the Bible so I must be also.

Since you brought up penal-substitution, what did you believe about that during your days of illumination?

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

Olan,

We are going around in circles. If you want to believe I was never really saved, be my guest. But remember, I was as certain of my salvation back then (for over 15 years) as you are now and I based my assurance on the same Scripture you base yours on now. So if I wasn't really saved back then, you may not be either. Selah.

olan strickland said...

Ken,

We are not going in circles, we are tightening up the circle. What you believed about penal-substitution is very pertinent to our conversation.

If you could prove that your former belief was genuine biblical saving belief then you could prove the loss of salvation (which is unbiblical) and that the Bible isn't trustworthy. You could also prove that no one can have assurance of salvation which would also prove the Bible untrustworthy.

But you can't!

There is no other reason than that for apostates to attempt to prove that they were at one time sincere believers and now aren't.

I'll never verify your current belief that your former belief was true. To do so I would have to lie. I will give you the sincerity part. I have no problem with you saying that you were sincere. However, you know as well as I do that a man's sincerity is just that - a man's. So the belief that you had was yours and not that which is given by God as a gift.

cerbaz said...

So you do not believe in once saved always saved????? Do you read the same Bible as I do. Like Ken and Ken Daniels I was once a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I even led a young girl to Christ and she believed that Jesus died for her sins. I no longer believe so am I headed for hell now. Can you truly believe in a god who sends loved ones that you have prayed evey day for and have not believed to hell?? I can not and will not. Does the bible not promise that the prayers of a righteous man will be answered. Is it not God's will that all should go to heaven. So weh I prayed for those who meant the most to me in this world and they did not believe I have to accept that this is god's will for their lives that they shall spend them in hell? Where is this god of love that is taught in the new testament? This is the same god of the old testament that said murder the innocent that's okay. Your life would have been fine without god if you made the right choices!