Expect the Biden administration to follow Canada in using Covid to persecute churches

Lots of pious “Christian” leaders were desperate to proclaim their virtue by talking incessantly about Trump’s deplorable character during the last 4.5 years. “Look at me”, they said, “I’m so moral – and isn’t that the point of the Christian religion? To make me look moral to other people?” Their goal was to get more non-Christians to accept them. They didn’t know or care about legislation or judges. They cared about their own happiness.

But more intelligent Christians understand that elections are always about laws, policies and judicial nominations. All that will now be decided by secular leftists for the forseeable future. We can look to Canada to see where our new secular left overlords will take us.

Press release from a Canadian church:

January 8, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PASTORS, ELDERS, AND CHURCH CHARGED FOR WORSHIPING TOGETHER

MAXIMUM TOTAL PENALTY IS $10.8 MILLION PLUS JAIL TIME IF CONVICTED

This week two pastors of Trinity Bible Chapel received two charges each for violating the Reopening Ontario Act on January 3, 2021.  An additional pastor, three additional elders, and the church itself received one charge each for violating the Reopening Ontario Act on the same date.  Each personal charge carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and one year in jail, while the charge to the church as an institution carries a maximum fine of $10,000,000 if convicted.  Please note that the fine to the church poses no personal risk to individual members.  This is all for gathering a congregation to worship Christ in obedience to Scripture.  The elders and the church have retained legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) who plan to represent us in court.

Our congregation gathered for worship from June 14, 2020 until December 24, 2020 with no reported outbreak of COVID-19 and with no interference from the authorities.  The only difference is that the Province of Ontario entered its second lockdown on December 26, 2020.

This is the second week in a row that all elders have been charged.  Last time members of the Waterloo Regional Police Service delivered our summonses to us at our homes, but this time they were delivered by regional by-law officers.

Being advised by the JCCF, we will not hold in-person gatherings in excess of 10 persons at Trinity Bible Chapel, commencing immediately, until the end of the current lockdown period on January 23. We plan to conduct drive-in services on the Lord’s Day.  We know that this decision is heartbreaking for the many people who have found hope during our church services and who are also already burdened with despair by the destructive measures of our government, but we believe it is in the best interest of the church for various reasons, which we might make clearer in due course.  We are committed to regathering as a congregation in person as soon as possible.

As we walk through this storm, our eyes are joyfully fixed upon our Saviour who can end this trial with one small word.  He is a kind and gentle Saviour, and we can trust Him.  “I lift my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

In order to demonstrate your commitment to gathering for worship, we ask that you attend our drive-in worship service this Sunday at 10:30 AM.  We do ask that all who attend our drive-in service remain in their vehicles in accordance with provincial regulations.  The Province of Ontario considers it unlawful and dangerous for you to exit your vehicles to speak with each other on the church property, but you are apparently free to exchange greetings amidst the crowds of shoppers at Walmart which is 3.6 kilometers from our lot.

Further internal communication will come to our congregation at a later time.

Bible study: Was the resurrection body of Jesus spiritual or physical?

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data

So, everyone from left to right accepts the early creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 being dated to 1-3 years after the death of Jesus, even atheists like Crossley, Ludemann and Crossan. The thing is, some people are not sure that the appearances of Jesus to individuals, groups, and skeptics really were physical appearances. They say “well, Paul’s appearance was non-physical, so the other ones must have been, too”.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s a paragraph from my friend Eric Chabot, from his blog Think Apologetics. He explains why Paul’s use of the word “resurrection” to describe what the other witnesses saw means bodily resurrection.

He writes:

If Paul did have a vision then the term “vision” is vague and must be defined. As Licona points out, visions are either objective (i.e., something that is seen without the use of our natural senses) or subjective (i.e., a  product of our minds). The real  problem is with the vision hypothesis is that it doesn’t explain Paul’s use of resurrection to explain what had happened to Jesus.  The two words are used for resurrection in the New Testament “anastasis” (rising up) and “egersis” (waking up), both imply a physical body. Furthermore, the use of the word “opethe” (the Greek word for appeared) shows the Gospel writers did believe that Jesus appeared physically. “There you will see (opethe) him” (Matt. 28:7); “The Lord has risen and has appeared (opethe) to Simon” (Luke 24:24). When they used “opethe” here, it means that He appeared physically to them.

So when Paul gives his list of appearances in 1 Cor. 15, the issues becomes whether the appearance to him is the same as it was to the disciples. There is no doubt the post resurrection body of Jesus (after the ascension) had to be somewhat different than the body the disciples saw. Also, whenever the New Testament mentions the word body, in the context of referring to an individual human being, the Greek word “soma” always refers to a literal, physical body.Greek specialist Robert Gundry says “the consistent and exclusive use of soma for the physical body in anthropological contexts resists dematerialization of the resurrection, whether by idealism or by existentialism.” [9] Furthermore, in N.T. Wright’s  The Resurrection of the Son of God shows that the Greek word for resurrection which is “anastasis” was used by ancient Jews, pagans, and Christians as bodily in nature.

Now, I think my view on this, and I’m not sure if Eric would correct me, is that Paul got an objective but non-physical vision of Jesus. There was something there that everyone else could see and hear, in my view. But in my view Paul’s “veridical” vision was post-ascension, and so non-physical. Paul uses the word resurrection to describe what the other eyewitnesses saw (and he met them at least twice, according to Gal 1 and Gal 2), and that means physical resurrected body.

Eric Chabot writes this in another place:

Acts 9- Paul’s Damascus Road Experience

Here we see whatever happened,  this was after the ascension. Hence, to say Paul saw the exact same Jesus before he ascended is hard to infer from the text. There simply isn’t enough information here.  The Bible says, “they heard” the same voice Paul did ” (Acts 9: 7). But they “did not see anyone ” (Acts 9: 7). Notice  Paul was physically blinded by the brightness of the light.  One way or the other, the experience involved something that was external to Paul. It wasn’t something that was the same thing as a vision that Paul talks about in 2 Cor. 12:1.  Furthermore, the phrase “he let himself be seen’” (ōphthē , aorist passive, ), is the word Paul uses  in 1 Cor. 15:7 to describe of his own resurrection appearance as the other ones in the creed. As Paul Barnett says:

“It is sometimes claimed that the word appeared (ōphthē) means a mystical seeing, as of a vision, and that since this was what Paul “saw” it was what the other apostles “saw.” In other words, after death, Jesus was taken directly to heaven whence he “appeared” to various people, mystically, as it were. This however, is not all the meaning of Paul’s words. First, the word ōphthē, “appeared” is not limited to visionary seeing it is also used for physical seeing. Moreover, the verb raise used in the phrase ‘raised on the third day” is used elsewhere in combination with the words “from the dead” which literally means “from among the corpses.” Thus raised preceding  appeared gives the latter a physical not a mystical meaning. Christ, as “raised from the dead” ….appeared.”  Furthermore, when Paul asks “ Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?”(1 Cor. 9: 1), he is using the ordinary word horan, “to see” for physical sight. If “seeing” the Lord “raised from the dead” qualified others to be apostles, then Paul is, indeed, an apostle. It was no mere subjective vision that arrested Paul en route to Damascus. (8) .

In the end, word studies can’t entirely resolve this issue. We need to remember the etymological fallacy as well. We  would have to look at all the texts that speak of resurrection (including the entire 1 Cor. 15 chapter in their entire context as well as the anthropology of the New Testament. We also need to study the resurrection in light of the Second Temple Jewish period. See our reading list here for some resources that may help.

But conservative ancient historian Gary Habermas seems to think that Paul got the physical body as well.

He says:

Now, I said before in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul could have chosen to only use the word pneuma. He doesn’t. He does say “spiritual,” but he’s got an adjective there. He also says, soma, “body.” What did Paul mean?

Philippians Chapter 3. It’s a short chapter. There are 21 verses, but Paul says three things in one chapter that indicate he’s talking about a physical resurrection. In the opening verses he says, “I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews” and “as touching the law,” he says, “I was a Pharisee.” Now, it’s very well known that the Pharisee believed in a bodily resurrection. In fact, according to Acts 23, as Paul was being taken captive by the Romans to prevent his being killed, he shouted out to the group of people and said, “Why are you taking me? Because I believe in the resurrec­tion of the dead?” He meant a literal resurrection.
When the Pharisees heard that, they said there’s nothing wrong with this guy. But the Sadducees [who didn’t believe in the Resurrection] didn’t like it. So as a Pharisee, he’s agreeing with the Pharisees.
So, the first evidence is from Philippians 3. As a Pharisee, Paul believes in a physical resur­rection.
Secondly, in verse 11 he says, “That I may attain the resurrection of the dead.” Now, the normal Greek word for resurrection is anastasis, but in this passage, Philippians 3:11, he puts a prefix on there, ek anastasis. Ekanastasis, according to all Greek scholars that I know of, is translated in this passage: “The out resurrection from among the dead.” Paul said, “I want to attain the out resurrection.”
Now, to a Jew, “out resurrection” means “what goes down is what comes up.” You come out from death. And then just a few verses later, Philippians 3:20,21, he said, “From Heaven, we look for Jesus who will change our vile soma (body) to be like unto His glorious soma (or body),” when he should have said pneuma, according to this other view.
So he’s a Pharisee who believes in a physical resurrection. Ek anastasis—“resurrection from out among the dead ones.”
Thirdly, Paul says, “He Jesus will change my body to be like His body.”

So right there in Philippians 3 alone, I think the picture of Jesus being some wispy spirit that appeared to him on the road to Damascus doesn’t fit Paul’s own data.

Yes, that’s why Philippians is my favorite book. You can get so much useful theology out of it. Something about the resurrection in Phil 3, something about Jesus’ divinity in Phil 2, and loads of practical advice on stewardship, charity, fellowship, endurance and practical love for others throughout. Some of it takes a little digging, but that’s what commentaries are for, am I right? But I digress.

If you want to read something a little more challenging, I found a paper from the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from their journal, where it talks more about soma and anastasis. If you want a bit of a challenge, download the PDF and read it. It’s by Kirk R. MacGregor and the title is “1 Corinthians 15:3B–6A, 7 And The Bodily Resurrection Of Jesus”.

William Lane Craig debates Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: evil, suffering and God

Two bears fight it out, and may the best bear win!
Two bears fight it out, and may the best bear win!

This is one of the top 4 best debates that William Lane Craig has ever done in my opinion. (The other three are Craig-Millican debate and the first and second Craig-Dacey debates). If you’ve never seen Dr. Craig in a debate with a non-Christian, this one is probably the best introductory one out there. Dr. Craig is the foremost defender of Christian theism on the planet, and probably of all time.

Sinnott-Armstrong is very courteous, respectful and intelligent scholar and he is very good at defending his side. This is a very cordial and engaging debate, and because it was held in front of a church audience, it was targeted to laymen and not academics. So if you are looking for a good first debate to watch, this is it! Normally, Dr. Craig debates at major universities in front of students and faculty.

There is also a book based on this debate, published by Oxford University Press. I was actually able to find a PDF of it online. I should also remind people that you can get the wonderful Craig-Hitchens debate DVD from Amazon.com if you are looking for a debate to watch, or show in your church, this is the one to start with.

The debaters:

The format:

  • WSA: 15 minutes
  • WLC: 15 minutes
  • Debaters discussion: 6 minutes
  • Moderated discussion: 10 minutes
  • Audience Q&A: 18 minutes
  • WSA: 5 minutes
  • WLC: 5 minutes

SUMMARY:

WSA opening speech:

Evil is incompatible with the concept of God (three features all-powerful, all-god, all-knowing)

God’s additional attributes: eternal, effective and personal (a person)

He will be debating against the Christian God in this debate, specifically

Contention: no being has all of the three features of the concept of God

His argument: is not a deductive argument, but an inductive/probabilistic argument

Examples of pointless, unjustified suffering: a sick child who dies, earthquakes, famines

The inductive argument from evil:

  1.  If there were an all-powerful and all-good God, then there would not be any evil in the world unless that evil is logically necessary for some adequately compensating good.
  2.  There is evil in the world.
  3.  Some of that evil is not logically necessary for some adequately compensating good.
  4. Therefore, there can’t be a God who is all-powerful and all-good.

Defining terms:

  • Evil: anything that all rational people avoid for themselves, unless they have some adequate reason to want that evil for themselves (e.g. – pain, disability, death)
  • Adequate reason: some evils do have an adequate reason, like going to the dentist – you avoid a worse evil by having a filling

God could prevent tooth decay with no pain

God can even change the laws of physics in order to make people not suffer

Responses by Christians:

  • Evil as a punishment for sin: but evil is not distributed in accordance with sin, like babies
  • Children who suffer will go straight to Heaven: but it would be better to go to Heaven and not suffer
  • Free will: this response doesn’t account for natural evil, like disease, earthquakes, lightning
  • Character formation theodicy: there are other ways for God to form character, by showing movies
  • Character formation theodicy: it’s not fair to let X suffer so that Y will know God
  • God allows evil to turn people towards him: God would be an egomaniac to do that
  • We are not in a position to know that any particular evil is pointless: if we don’t see a reason then there is no reason
  • Inductive evil is minor compared to the evidences for God: arguments for a Creator do not prove that God is good

WLC opening speech:

Summarizing Walter’s argument

  1. If God exists, gratuitous evil does not exist.
  2. Gratuitous evil exists.
  3. Therefore, God does not exist.

Gratuitous evil means evil that God has no morally sufficient reason to permit. WSA doesn’t think that all evil is incompatible with God’s existence, just gratuitous evil.

Everyone admits that there are instances of evil and suffering such that we cannot see the morally sufficient reason why God would allow it to occur.

The claim of the atheist is that if they cannot see that there is a moral justification for allowing some instance evil, then there is no moral justification for that instance of evil.

Here are three reasons why we should not expect to know the morally sufficient reasons why God permits apparently pointless evil.

  1. the ripple effect: the morally sufficient reason for allowing some instance of evil may only be seen in another place or another time
  2. Three Christian doctrines undermine the claim that specific evils really are gratuitous
  3. Walter’s own premise 1 allows us to argue for God’s existence, which means that evil is not gratuitous

Christian doctrines from 2.:

  • The purpose of life is not happiness, and it is not God’s job to make us happy – we are here to know God. Many evils are gratuitous if we are concerned about being happy, but they are not gratuitous for producing the knowledge of God. What WSA has to show is that God could reduce the amount of suffering in the world while still retaining the same amount of knowledge of God’s existence and character.
  • Man is in rebellion, and many of the evils we see are caused by humans misusing their free will to harm others and cause suffering
  • For those who accept Christ, suffering is redeemed by eternal life with God, which is a benefit that far outweighs any sufferings and evils we experience in our earthly lives

Arguing for God in 3.

  1. If God exists, gratuitous evil does not exist.
  2. God exists
  3. Therefore, gratuitous evil does not exist.

Four reasons to think that God exists (premise 2 from above):

  • the kalam cosmological argument
  • the fine-tuning argument
  • the moral argument
  • the argument from evil

Far-left activist charged after Washington, D.C. incitement of violence incident

Guess what? A far-left activist has been charged in connection with the recent rioting in Washington, D.C. No, no, it’s not the CEO of Facebook or the CEO of Twitter or the CEO of Google or the CEO of Amazon. Those are not the far-left activists I am talking about this time.

Fox News reports:

A left-wing activist who told Fox News last week that he’d followed a pro-Trump mob into the Capit0l in order to “document” the siege is now the subject of a criminal complaint in connection with his alleged participation, according to the Justice Department.

J0hn Su11ivan can allegedly be heard egging on protesters in video he provided to the FBI, according to a federal criminal complaint. He has also shared the video to his YouTube and Twitter accounts under the pseudonym Jayd3n X.

He was charged Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C. after being arrested by the FBI. He remains in custody in Toeele County, in his home state of Utah, on a U.S. Marshals Service hold request.

Inside the building, he told rioters that “We gotta get this s— burned,” and “it’s our house m————,” according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Matthew Foulger.

He faces federal charges of civil disorder, entering a restricted building and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

[…]Su11ivan, the founder of a Utah-based group called 1nsurgence USA… has denied ties to Ant1fa in recent interviews, his group 1nsurgence USA had advertised an event called “Kick These Fascists out of DC” on Wednesday around the same time as a pro-Trump rally near the National Mall that preceded the Capit0l chaos.

If you’re wondering why I said “incitement of violence” in my title, it’s because I think that “we gotta get this s— burned” is an incitement to violence.

National Pulse adds:

Su11ivan, the founder of “an activist group formed after the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020” entitled 1nsurgence USA which “calls itself anti-fasc1st and protests police brutality,” insisted he was only inside the U.S. Capit0l on January 6th to “record.”

READ THE DESCRIPTION OF HIS GROUP. HE IS A LEFT-WINGER AND HIS GROUP IS A LEFT-WING GROUP.

Politifact, which is one of the fake-news “fact-checkers” employed by Big Tech, issued an entire fact-check, in which they claimed that this person isn’t linked to Ant1fa at all:

Su11ivan denies antifa affiliation

Social media users have linked Su11ivan to ant1fa and Black Lives Matter because of his past protest history and social media activity. His Twitter accounts have frequently used #antifa, #blm, and other anti-Trump or anti-police hashtags, PolitiFact found. The cover photo for one of his accounts advertised a Jan. 6 1nsurgence USA event to “Kick These Fascists Out of DC.”

Su11ivan has also been filmed using incendiary language in the past. At a small August rally in Washington, D.C., he described the need to “rip” Trump out of office, according to Fox News. Photos highlighted on his personal website show him holding a firearm.

But Su11ivan said he’s not a part of the ant1fa coalition often blamed for violent events, noting that Trump supporters at the riot were shouting “f— ant1fa.”

So if he says he’s not linked to Ant1fa, then he’s not linked to Ant1fa. That’s called journalism. No need to check any evidence. That’s real journalism with a journalism degree right there. That 200K in student loans was well worth the money, for the useful journalism skills you learn when you’re spending 4 years being a drunken slut and getting indoctrinated with far-left propaganda till you can’t reason your way out of a paper bag. But Big Tech has a use for you.

This fact check was used by Big Tech corporations like Facebook to suppress any criticism of far-left fascist groups. That’s their goal. The journalists write their “fact check”, they label your actual facts “missing context” or “mostly false” and then every dissenting voice is banned from social media. I remember when they labeled a video of Joe Biden talking as “Missing Context” and reduced my page’s audience for quoting Joe Biden in his own words talking continuously for over 2 minutes. They just didn’t want people to see it, so they censored it. They censored me. They hate free speech. They’re totalitarians who suppress anything they disagree with.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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