Doug Eaton

Logical Arguments Have Neither Gender nor Race

Arguments that use the gender or race of the arguer as a reason to dismiss their opponents are fallacious. They both commit the logical fallacy called ad hominin. This fallacy is when you attack the person making the argument instead of the argument itself. As Christians who pursue the truth wherever we may find it, we should never use this kind of argumentation, and we should never accept arguments that do, even if the conclusion supports our position. 

Critical thinking seems to be on the decline. At least, that is how it feels, but I doubt that is the case. It has probably always been this way. As scripture reminds us, there is nothing new under the sun. Poor reasoning is a product of the fall. Sin affects the way we think, and we all struggle with it. In theology, we call this the noetic effects of sin. We are morally compromised, and we will often work to suppress truths that do not align with our fallen biases.
Our propensity to reason poorly is evident today in arguments made for and against controversial topics closely related to gender and race. For example, a man will argue against abortion philosophically, and the opponent will dismiss it because the arguer is male, but arguments do not have genitalia. Plenty of women make the same arguments, so the attempt to dismiss it based on gender is impotent.
Another area where this kind of bias affects reasoning is topics related to race. Many people say that one race cannot speak about the struggles of another race because race A has never experienced what it is like to be race B. Therefore, anytime someone of race A makes a point that contradicts what someone of race B says, it will be dismissed as irrelevant even if it is logical.
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The Four Separations of Sin

A just God cannot simply ignore sin. A god who does not take sin seriously is not just; he is evil. For God to end our separation from him, he must be both just and the justifier of sinners (Romans 3:26). Though this may seem like an unsolvable logical problem, God speaks to us through scripture and says, “Come let us reason together, though your sins are as scarlet they will be white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).”

Right now, you and I are experiencing the effects of sin, even if we are not conscious of it. When Adam fell and sin entered this world, it wreaked all kinds of havoc. One of sin’s most detrimental effects is that it causes separation, specifically, four types of separation. Francis Schaeffer once laid these out in his book, Genesis in Space and Time. Though all four separations are devastating, I will work from the least to most significant.
1. Separation from Nature
At this moment, nature is not at rest. As beautiful as it is and declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), scripture says it is currently in the pangs of childbirth, waiting for all things to be set right (Romans 8:22). Sometimes referred to as natural evil, this world is filled with hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, and many other natural disasters. Even animal life is red in tooth and claw. Humanity was created to live in harmony and dominion over nature. The creation mandate was to be fruitful and multiply and work the land as good stewards, Adam’s sin, along with our own, has perverted this work, and even nature is crying out for redemption. We must now work the land with the sweat of our brow, fighting against thorns and thistles which remind us that things are not the way they should be (Genesis 3:18). God is using nature to reveal his judgment against sin.
2. Separation of Mankind from Himself
We are also experiencing separation within ourselves. This is sometimes called psychological separation, but there is more to it than psychology. We are no longer at peace with ourselves. We have psychological issues. We deal with fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and many other issues. In our attempts to cover our internal conflict, we deceive ourselves and others. The truth we know about God we attempt to suppress to clear our consciences (Romans 1:18), but it will never work. In relation to the separation of sin in nature, even our bodies rebel against us; we must fight aging and decay. If that is not enough, we must also contend with disease and disorder.
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Sin, Sorrow, and the Joy of Christmas

Though sorrow may still be a part of living in this fallen world, you can have joy in the knowledge that any sins over which you mourn, and any sorrows you face, have been conquered by the child who was born in the manger: Jesus Christ the Lord.

The lights glow softly, the Christmas music plays, and wondrous thoughts of the birth of our Savior fill our minds. What a blessing it is for the believer who still finds childlike joy at this time of year. Being “grown-up” is a bit over-rated because being “grown-up,” according to the world, usually entails a constant stiff upper lip and a cynical heart. There are times to be stout, conceal your emotion, and be a bit guarded, but these virtues can be turned into vices too often. Just as there is a time to be immovable, there is also a time to be moved. Some events should stir our hearts and move us in childlike wonder, and the birth of Jesus is one of those moments, especially when we consider it in light of the curse of sin and the resulting pain of childbirth.
Sin is our greatest enemy, and it has been ever since the fall. In our natural condition, with hard hearts, we are the makers of our own demise. We despise what is good, and we love that which will hurt us; we are prone to our own destruction. Worse, we are continually heaping upon ourselves the wrath of a holy and just God who will not let any sin go unpunished. The thought of such things should cause us to tremble.
If this were where the story ended, there would be no hope for any of us, but as we know, in the garden after the fall, God promised that He was going to provide a seed who would be the remedy for our sin (Gen 3:15). What is often missed is that right after this promise, He also pronounced a curse upon mankind for their sinful act of rebellion. One aspect of that curse was that God Himself would cause children to be brought forth in sorrow (Gen. 3:16). Why would God do such a thing after such an incredible promise? Of all the female creatures upon this earth, it seems that humans have the greatest sorrow during childbirth, but this sorrow is not without hope.
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Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas

He bore our sorrows and carried our grief. He took upon Himself our sins, thus putting an end to the condemnation that the law demanded, and He imputes His righteousness to us, making us co-heirs in the inheritance that He so rightly deserves, and we most certainly do not. None of the rapturous joys that fill the believer’s heart would be the same had it not been for His birth in that lowly stable when God himself took on flesh.

It is that time again. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and many have already frantically begun to prepare for Christmas. The sales are plentiful, the shoppers are swarming, and the decorations and music add warmth everywhere you visit. However, even with all of these things, we can still miss Christmas. To help prepare our hearts, please take a moment with me to imagine what it would have been like to live during a time when they could not celebrate Christmas because it had not yet happened. A time when they did not know the Savior’s name.
It all started immediately after the fall when God told Eve that there would be a seed that would have His heel bruised by the serpent, but that same heel would ultimately crush the serpent’s head. Already, God had promised a remedy for the spiritual death they had brought upon themselves and all subsequent generations. The promised child would also be a remedy for the physical death that was working in their bodies at that very moment.
As time went on, God’s people were taught many things about the future one who would redeem them from the wages of sin. The prophets foretold that He was going to be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), He would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14), and He would speak in parables (Ps. 78:2-4). Along with that, He would be hated without reason (Ps. 35:19), He would be spat upon and struck (Is. 50:6), and He would be pierced (Zech. 12:10). He would do it all to save His people by being a substitute for them to make atonement for their sins (Is. 53:5). Then in the darkest hour, He would walk victoriously out of the grave (Ps 16:10, Ps 49:15).
The prophecies progressively revealed details regarding the coming Messiah. Although His people did not fully understand them, they gave them hope, but having the promise of a Messiah who was to redeem you from the grip of sin is not the same comfort as knowing his name and having that redemption finished. Those among the Hebrews who truly believed longed to know His name and see their salvation.
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Do Not Forget You Are United to Christ

Union with Christ is such a glorious reality that it should transform every moment of our day. There is never a moment when we are alone. When the day ahead of us is more than we can handle, he is with us. When we turn off the TV at the end of the day, and the silence of the house feels overwhelming, he is there.

If you are a believer, at this very moment, you are united to Christ. Did you remember that this morning when you rose and began your daily routine? How will this knowledge affect you as you go about the remainder of your day? If we truly understand what it means to be united to Jesus, it should impact us profoundly.
What does it mean to be united to Christ? The basis of our union with Christ is our legal standing before the Lord. Through faith, we have been justified. The cross of Christ has satisfied the punishment our sins demanded, and his righteousness is counted as ours. This legal standing is the foundation of our union with Christ, but it is not all that union entails.
Michael Horton reminds us of the importance of both the legal and relational aspects of our union when he compares union with Jesus to marriage. He says, “To be sure, the objective fact of one’s marriage provides the security of the relationship, but there is more to marriage than the ceremony and legal documents.”
Legally, if you are married, you are married, and that does not wax or wane. However, there is more to marriage than legal standing. There is the experiential union. Fellowship and communion are part of it. Horton goes on to say, “We grow experientially in this union as we come to know, communicate with, and respond to each other.”
As you slipped out of bed this morning, you may have been mindful that your sins are forgiven, and you have been declared righteous in Christ, but did you remember that your union with Christ is to be the most intimate relationship you have. Your salvation does not wax or wane if you are a Christian, but your relationship to Jesus can grow closer.
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The Haunting Effects of Sin

In an extraordinary way, the Lord uses the haunting effects of sin to bring his child to the point where we will no longer be able to be haunted by them. By using them to conform us to His image, not only will we avoid sin in the future, but when the accuser rears his head, we will understand that all his work is in vain, and the more he tries to afflict us, the more we will grow. Then, before long, Satan will be looking over his shoulder because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

David thought it was over. His sin had been exposed, he had sought the Lord’s forgiveness, and it had been granted. A right spirit had been renewed, and a clean heart had been created. Then came the news that his child was gravely ill. The revelation threw David to the floor in anguish as thoughts of his sin filled his mind. Months had passed, but now his sin had come out of hiding to remind him of his treason against the God of the universe.
Years later, another son rebels, and again David is reminded of the sword that has been driven into his family because of his sin. Another brutal reminder that he, at one point, thought he knew better than the Lord of all creation. In his sinfulness, he desired something that the Lord had forbidden, but David ignored the law because he thought he knew better than his creator what was good for him. Oh, but how that sin has haunted him. How many times he thought he was done with it. He had repented, he had been forgiven, but regardless, it seemed to pursue him. Though it had no hold on his life, and there was no possibility that his sin could exact its wages from him due to the redemptive plan and work of God, it was not going to let him forget.
It seemed to sit in silence for extended periods to make David comfortable. Then as he would be going about his day, there would be those moments when something, whether it was something he saw or something he heard, gave his sin an opportunity to spring up on him and cloak his day with darkness by taunting him of his failures and reminding him of his foolishness.
You see, one or two moments of sin do not simply last for a season. Many times, they have a way of coming back in little reminders which sink your spirits every now and again, and the fact that it comes on when you least expect it is what makes it all the more difficult.
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Trojan Horse Christians

Though we may deceive ourselves and those around us, God will not be mocked. We may have avoided a few traps, but we have jumped right into the most damning trap of them all, and there is only one way of escape.
If the Greeks had delivered their gift to the people of Troy and said, “This is a huge wooden horse filled with soldiers ready to kill you.” the people of Troy would have known what they were getting. Instead, a real Trojan horse involves deception; it involves treachery you would not see coming.
Here is the problem with deception. As much as we try to see the snares laid out for us, there is often someone more clever than us trying to trap us. What might look like a snare may be a cleverly laid decoy to move us right into another, more dangerous trap.
Take, for example, the temptation to cheat on your taxes. Suppose something came across your path that showed you a way to fudge the numbers and not only avoid paying the government but receive a windfall from them instead. It is foolproof, and after all, we have all heard people say taxation is theft. This act would be a way to take back what is rightfully yours.
After careful consideration, you wisely avoid the temptation. Even if you could get away with it, you realize that it would put your family at risk, destroy your peace, and, more importantly, be an affront to God. You file your taxes as you should, you give Caesar what is Caesar’s, and you breathe a sigh of satisfaction as you do it.
You have successfully sidestepped temptation, and you thank God for it. “Lord, thank you that you have made me righteous enough to avoid these temptations.” As you live out your life, there are many moments like this. Snare after snare, trap after trap, you are a bird that always seems to escape the fowler. You protect your nest, and your family lives a long and joy-filled life because of your decisions and guidance.
Others are not so wise. As you go along life’s journey, you hear story after story of shipwrecked lives on the sea of temptation. As you watch some of them pick up the pieces, you see them beat their breast before God and say, “Lord have mercy upon me, a sinner.” Then they claim to have found it. They claim to be a friend of God. You do not exactly know what to do with those claims, but if it gives them peace, so be it. You are only glad God gave you enough wisdom to avoid their fate.
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The Prodigal’s Return

Those who come to the Father by faith, in repentance, will receive all the kisses of God. He gives us the kiss of a new heart and a new spirit. Our hearts of stone are turned to hearts of flesh by the grace of God. We are kissed with strong assurance. Though the prodigal may have intense fears of walking away again, we see that the father is not apprehensive that the son will disgrace his mercy and forgiveness. For the Father knows that of those who are His, He will not lose one of them.

But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. – Luke 15:20
The kiss of the father in the parable of the prodigal son is full of meaning. The prodigal has returned home, but only after forsaking his father and laying waste to his inheritance. Living comfortably in his father’s house, the son wells up with pride and renounces his father’s authority. He requests his estate and leaves. Filling his life with evil, he takes harlots as his companions, feeds his lusts, and squanders his father’s precious gifts. Oh’ but the child of God is never outside their Father’s providence, and famine hits the land. The prodigal’s hopes are soon dashed upon the rocks of vanity and sin, and he finds himself in bondage.
He is joined to a citizen of that country where he is required to feed pigs. In this state, the lords of this country offer him nothing but to eat and sleep in the pig stalls. For a Jewish man to live with pigs is but another image of his descent into spiritual impurity. Sin brings temporary satisfaction but piles on long-lasting burdens, impossible to remove. The prodigal is in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction and delusion, but the grace of God is far-reaching, and the prodigal comes to himself and says, “It would be better to be a slave in my father’s house than to live here.” What a shame it is that many never come to themselves and never feel the burden of sin on their back, and what a pity many who do feel it never venture to go home. They die in their despair, seeking some way to have the burden removed. They sink ever slowly into the “slough of despond.” What a shame many have even taken their own lives in this despair.
In his unworthy state, covered in the stains and wounds of the foreign land, the prodigal walks slowly home, crestfallen, seeking only servitude in the house of his father. However, he is not even worthy of that, for dishonoring your father and mother is a crime worthy of death under the law.
When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion. Our Father’s eyes are ever on us, even when we cannot see Him. When our heads hang low, dejected from our sin, He looks and has compassion: even when our pain is self-inflicted. The prodigal’s father then ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Before the son could say a word, the father had placed his lips upon his son. He did not wait until the filth was washed away. Nor was he concerned with any of the scoffings that the community might bring.
Oh, the kiss of the Father says so much. Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon on this parable, highlights what this kiss shows us. Here are a few of his points. The kiss shows much love for the son. There has been no loss of love in the heart of the father. No uncertainty in the love for his child has occurred due to his son’s crimes. The kiss demonstrates complete forgiveness, as it speaks of absolution. The debt the son incurred has been forgotten, and the burden of sin and guilt is gone. In the kisses of God, we see full restoration. The son is as much a son as he had ever been; the thoughts of servitude in his father’s house are to be rejected. No more food fit for swine, nor clothes fit for prisoners. There shall be a feast fit for royalty, a new robe is to be placed upon him, and a ring to signify to the world that he is part of his father’s family. The son has complete restoration, and all this happens before the son can speak his confession, which he has undoubtedly been rehearsing.
There is a beauty in true humility, for it does not flow from our natural self. It is the direct result of the working of the Spirit of God.
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7 Characteristics of Good Bible Teachers

Several things come into play that impacts the quality of teaching. The sound of your voice, your cadence, and even the way you dress. There are even more important aspects to teaching scripture than what I will cover below, such as having a clear understanding of the Bible, studying your topic diligently, and most importantly, being faithful to the text. If we do everything I will cover below but misrepresent the Bible passage we are teaching, we have only done a better job of leading people astray.

Teaching scripture is a spiritual gift, but it is also a skill. This means that not everyone is called to be a teacher; it also means just because someone is gifted does not mean they do not need to improve their skills. Several things come into play that impacts the quality of teaching. The sound of your voice, your cadence, and even the way you dress. There are even more important aspects to teaching scripture than what I will cover below, such as having a clear understanding of the Bible, studying your topic diligently, and most importantly, being faithful to the text. If we do everything I will cover below but misrepresent the Bible passage we are teaching, we have only done a better job of leading people astray.
Assuming all the foundations of biblical understanding are in place, and the teacher has studied with diligence, here are seven things to keep in mind as you prepare to teach.
A good teacher is concerned about wasting their student’s time.
If you are teaching scripture, you tend to have a captive audience. If you work for an academic institution, your students must be there to pass the class. For the rest of us, we tend to teach in a church setting. What this means is the faithful will tend to show up whether we are good teachers or not. Never use this as an excuse to phone it in. Be sure to respect their time by delivering the truth to them. Do not buy into the temptation that if you fill your lesson with funny stories, you have used their time wisely because they had a good time. Learn to use illustrations to further the truth you are speaking, not to entertain.
A good teacher is more concerned with clarity than appearing highbrow.
The goal of teaching is for the student to have a better understanding of the topic. Know your student’s level of theological training and speak to them on their level. Avoid the temptation to impress them with your knowledge by using terms and concepts that will not resonate with them. Sometimes learning new words and ideas is part of the lesson. In that case, use the appropriate terms, but explain it to them using what they already understand. Remember, clarity is an apologetic. Students will retain and adhere to what makes sense; the muddled and confused will blow away like chaff.
A good teacher explains why what they are teaching is important.
Sometimes, it is not apparent why what we are teaching matters. If that is the case, make sure the topic’s significance is part of your lesson. For example, if you teach the census counts in the book of Numbers, do not simply tell them how many tribes there were and how many people were in each tribe. Be sure to let them know how this shows God’s faithfulness, how he fulfills his promises.
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Knowing and Enjoying God by Tim Challies and Jules Koblun

This tendency to get off track in seeking God is why I am thankful for the book, Knowing and Enjoying God by Tim Challies and Jules Koblun. They have provided us with clear signposts showing us the road that often gets lost in the overgrowth of ideas. They have also done it in a unique way. Jules has provided every page spread with an artistically designed quote by a Christian author. Tim has collected these quotes over time, and he speaks to their truths on the remaining page. Each page can stand alone and be read as a daily devotion, but unlike most devotions, the flow of thought continues from page to page. 

Knowing and enjoying God is humanity’s highest aim. It is what Jesus is talking about when he says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” It is also the underlying call behind the warning, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” Martyn Lloyd Jones once said, “It is the greatest campaign known to man.” The problem is, we are often presented with misguided information on how we should do this. From drawing circles to walking prayer labyrinths, it seems we are seldom satisfied with the ordinary means of grace our good and gracious King has provided.
This tendency to get off track in seeking God is why I am thankful for the book, Knowing and Enjoying God by Tim Challies and Jules Koblun. They have provided us with clear signposts showing us the road that often gets lost in the overgrowth of ideas. They have also done it in a unique way. Jules has provided every page spread with an artistically designed quote by a Christian author. Tim has collected these quotes over time, and he speaks to their truths on the remaining page. Each page can stand alone and be read as a daily devotion, but unlike most devotions, the flow of thought continues from page to page. It is a book you can sit and read straight through if you choose.
I had the privilege of asking Tim why he felt it was important to write about this topic at this time. He answered,
I felt it was important to write about the means of grace because, though they are essential to the Christian life and faith, they are too often overlooked or even disparaged. Before I wrote about much else, I wanted to be sure I was writing about the very basics—relating to God and enjoying the friendship we share with him. 
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