Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Atheist Buddhist

The following is the result of a conversation with and atheist Buddhist. From the conversation, I realized that we agreed on a few things:

• It is difficult to prove a positive.
• It is impossible to prove a negative.
• Believing something doesn’t make it true, e.g., believing the earth is round does not make it round, and believing the earth is flat does not make it flat.

As I understand it, there are three kinds of atheists. You can recognize them by what they say:

1. “I don’t believe in God.” “Don’t” modifies “believe.” It does not modify God. This kind of atheist is really saying, “There is a God in whom I do not believe.” He is not really an atheist.
2. “I believe there is no God.” Here, “no” modifies “God.” It is a belief statement. This man is really saying, “I have a positive belief in nothing (or “matter” or “naturalism” or Darwinism). That is a greater faith than I have.
3. “There is no God.”That is a dogmatic statement about a supposed “fact.” Once someone makes a statement like this, the burden of proof rests upon him. He may not say that he sees no evidence that there is a God. The only thing that says is that he does not see the evidence. That is describing himself, not the evidence. We have already agreed that it is impossible to prove a negative. So you are forced back to options (1) or (2).

The vast majority of Buddhists, whether Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajara, are all involved in practical idolatry as evidenced by their many idols, temples, and prayer wheels. You may call this folk Buddhism, but it is not atheistic. A few years ago, the Pope visited Thailand and made a statement that Buddhism was atheistic. It caused a national uproar—a world uproar. The Buddhists said the Pope was wrong.

According to Tibetan Buddhism, Gautama did not reach Nirvana until his 50th or 51st reincarnation as a living Buddha. (Nirvana is like floating down an endless river in a coma and in a fog—no consciousness at all.)

Four or five hundred years before Gautama was even born:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” (Psalm 19:1-6)

Verses 7-14 of Psalm 19 are about special revelation. The first six verses are about general revelation to everyone.

About the same time, Psalms 14 and 53 said: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 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 men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:18-22)

In Hebrew, a “fool” is one who is morally deficient.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Murder, Sin & the Law

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

A few years ago, a man was convicted of a double murder here in Moscow. He had killed his wife and the baby she was pregnant with. The baby was considered a human being who had been murdered. However, if a woman wishes to abort her baby, the baby is not considered a human being, and killing the baby is not considered murder. Apparently in this country we can have it both ways.

We cannot have it both ways with God. There are two kinds of laws of men (of all nations):

1. malum in se: This refers to behaviors which are evil in themselves.
2. malum prohibitum: This refers to something which is evil simply because it has been prohibited.

An example of the first is murder. All states have laws against murder. Making the law is not what makes the murder evil. It was already evil.

An example of the second is a 55 mph speed limit. Exceeding that limit is not intrinsically evil. It is only wrong because the civil law says that it is wrong.

We have come to believe that malum prohibitum is senior to malum in se and can override something that is intrinsically evil, saying it is okay. This is calling evil good and good evil. The murder of infants is allowed in this country if the mother wishes it. The same murder is commanded in China. Other countries such as Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia, and many other totalitarian states have both practiced and commanded murder.

The laws may change in this nation. We may say that evil is no longer a crime. That does not mean it is no longer a sin. Sin is a violation of the holiness of God. Sin is not relative. It is absolute. It is not defined by the Constitution.

God has a solution for sin. It is not by changing the definition of sin so that we do not feel guilty.

“Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.” (Romans 7:13)

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

False Religions

All false religions require complete loyalty to their teachings. To leave their teachings is to be lost in hell. This keeps people in bondage. They are afraid to leave.

Islam says the Injil (the New Testament) was changed by Christians in the first five hundred years.

Mormonism says the Bible (the KJV version) is inspired when it is correctly translated. Any place where it differs from Mormonism is “incorrectly translated.” As a result, Mormons do not read the New Testament.

When they do read the Bible, faith is created in the idolaters, atheists, animists, Muslims, and Mormons, and they turn to the Father through the Son.

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:19)

Do not study these religions. Become an expert in the Truth. In your contact with these people, love them, befriend them, be kind to them. But do not let your conversations dwell on Mohammed and the Koran, or Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, or anything of their beliefs.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson

Monday, April 15, 2013

What God Thinks About Mormonism

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:6-9)

Joseph Smith either wrote the Book of Mormon himself, plagiarized it, or got it on the golden plates from an angel.

In any case, it is “a different gospel which is really no gospel at all” (vs. 6-7).

All false religions change three things:

1. Who Jesus is: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
2. The complete work of salvation on the cross: “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
3. Salvation by grace alone: “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6).

Here is what Mormonism teaches about each of these three things:

1. Jesus became a god.
2. Salvation is by obeying Mormon rules, both positive and negative ones.
3. Salvation is by grace after all that you can do yourself.

Monday, April 08, 2013

What God Thinks of Animism

Animism is not the same as idolatry. It is the direct worship or placating of demons. It is found from Finland to New Guinea. It is in Africa, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Siberia.

Animism is found in thousands of languages which cannot speak to each other. There were no missionaries to propagate it. It is everywhere.

These demons are believed to dwell in rocks, trees, houses, mountains, and streams. They do not dwell in these created things, but they are real and dwell in people.

Jesus cast demons out of people.

“They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’ News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” (Mark 1:21-28)

“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.” (Mark 5:1-18)

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson