All posts by Peter Ditzel

The Dangers of the Christian Personality Cult (part 1)

by Peter Ditzel

A picture of Joel Osteen speaking at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. This megachurch that Osteen pastors boasts the largest congregation in the United States with about 52,000 attendees per week.

The world loves celebrities, stars, heroes, and superheroes. Although the production of superhero live-action films, animations, and television series constitutes a multi-billion dollar industry, we’re not satisfied with purely fictional heroes. We also take movie stars, television personalities, musicians, authors, chefs, medical professionals, even scientists, philosophers, and religious gurus of various beliefs, and we turn them into idols. We even have the various Idol and Idol-type shows around the globe in which we look for more idols. Given this penchant for elevating mere humans to larger-than-life status, it shouldn’t be surprising that we then apply our desire for idols to Christian speakers and writers.

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The Refugee Question: Answered by Christian Mercy or the Sword of the State?

by Peter Ditzel

A stained-glass rendering of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and a statue of a sword-wielding king.
A stained-glass rendering of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and a statue of a sword-wielding king show the dichotomy between the responsibilites of Christians and the responsibilites of kings. Stained glass: Church of Saint-Eutrope in Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme, France). Statue: Ninth-century King Svatopluk I of Moravia. Ján Kulich, sculptor. Peter Zelizňák, photographer.

There’s been an unfortunate mix-up. It’s happened because a lot of people, non-Christians as well as (very unfortunately) Christians, have not properly applied certain Scriptures that apply to two very different realms. In some of these Scriptures, Jesus Christ gives commands to His followers. Other Scriptures express God’s expectations for civil government. So, we have the followers of Jesus, and we have civil government. You might think it would be easy to keep these two distinct. But that’s not what’s happened. They keep getting confused.

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Comments on Luther’s “How Christians Should Regard Moses”

by Peter Ditzel

Either before or after you read these comments, you will want to read "'How Christians Should Regard Moses," a sermon by Martin Luther.

This article is an attachment to Martin Luther’s “How Christians Should Regard Moses.” I trust you have read that sermon or will soon read it. I have several points I want to make about Luther’s sermon.

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Are We Sanctified by Works or by Grace? (part 2)

by Peter Ditzel

A quote of Hebrews 13:12: Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate.
If Jesus completed our sanctification, what role can our works have? Wouldn’t trying to add our works to our Savior’s blood be insolence?

Progressive Sanctification, View One: Grace Plus Works or Cooperation

In this view, grace and works are usually seen as more or less balanced. Theologian Wayne Grudem is one representative of this view. He believes that sanctification is “a work in which God and man cooperate each playing distinct roles” (“Sanctification (by Wayne Grudem)“). Although admitting that an “initial moral change is the first stage in sanctification” (ibid.), he says “this moral change is actually a part of regeneration [but] we can also see it as the first stage in sanctification” (ibid.). His emphasis is largely on progressive sanctification. He writes, “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives” (ibid.). To Grudem, sanctification is not just a work of God; it is a work of God and man.

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Are We Sanctified by Works or by Grace? (part 1)

by Peter Ditzel

A quote of 1 Corinthians 1:30: But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

What is the relationship between Jesus being made our sanctification and the works Bible teachers often tell us we must do for our sanctification?

 

Why does the Bible seem to teach sanctification by works in some places and by grace in others? Do the writers of the New Testament contradict each other, or are we sanctified by both works and grace? Or, perhaps the Bible gives an answer to the sanctification puzzle that we don’t often hear about.

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Herbert Armstrong and the Crucifixion–3 Days + 3 Nights = 1 False Doctrine

by Peter Ditzel

Is knowing the precise number of hours Jesus Christ’s dead body lay in the tomb of any great significance? Worldwide Church of God (WCG) founder Herbert W. Armstrong (1892–1986) would have had you believe it is. The WCG published The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday[1] and The Crucifixion Was Not on Friday.[2] Both of these booklets—the first written by Armstrong and the second by Armstrong’s disciple, Herman L. Hoeh (1928–2004)—cover this subject.

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Q. Why are pro-lifers trying to interfere with women’s reproductive rights and their choice to have control over their own bodies?

A pink bannar saying, Reproductive Rights = Human Rights
The equating of reproductive rights with human rights is ironic considering that reproductive rights is the slogan under which millions of humans are killed each year.

A. “Reproductive rights” is one of the most insidious newspeak terms to hit this planet because it turns the murder of millions of helpless babies into a fundamental right to be defended. It distracts attention away from the victims and puts it on the so-called rights of the perpetrators, turning them into pseudo-victims.

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Q. Does the Old Testament support the idea that a human embryo or fetus is not a living person?

And when men strive, and have smitten a pregnant woman, and her children have come out, and there is no mischief, he is certainly fined, as the husband of the woman doth lay upon him, and he hath given through the judges. Exodus 21:22.
A literal translation of Exodus 21:22 shows that the word “miscarriage” is not in the original Hebrew. Also, the words “further” and/or “follow” are in neither verse 22 nor verse 23.

A. Pro-abortionists sometimes cite a passage in Exodus to support their case. It is not about women having voluntary abortions but instead speaks of the possibility of two men fighting who accidentally hit a pregnant woman. The pro-abortionists, with the support of some Bible translations, say that, even though the woman miscarries—aborts a stillborn—the husband need only impose a fine on the man who hit his wife. If the woman is injured or killed, however, then the eye for eye and tooth for tooth principle must be imposed. Their interpretation, then, implies that unborn babies were considered mere property and not living people. But is this interpretation what the Bible teaches, or has it been concocted to make the Bible seem to support abortion?

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Our Spiritual Battle Part 2

by Peter Ditzel

In the first part of this article, we saw how our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood, and that the opposite concepts of what our spiritual armor pictures show what we are fighting against in our spiritual battle (for example, the opposite of truth is lies, the opposite of faith is unbelief). In Part 2, we will see that our spiritual battle is a rational one founded upon the truth of the Word of God.

Logical Propositions

Joshua and the Israelites before the Walls of Jericho by Christoph Murer about 1600.
Joshua and the children of Israel brought down the walls of Jericho with trumpet blasts and a shout, and Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down.” Joshua and the Israelites before the Walls of Jericho by Christoph Murer circa 1600.

I’ve heard preachers attack what they call “mere human reasoning.” Some might just mean erroneous arguments. But I know that others truly believe that Christians should avoid logic to
support their ideas. This is unfortunate. Jesus is the Logos of God. Logos is the word from which we get the English word “logic.” Logos is often translated as “word” (as it is in John 1:1) because words express logical propositions. We arrange words in grammatically correct syntax in sentences the way computer programmers arrange computer code.

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