A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 4
The lesson delves into general revelation, accessible to all through creation and conscience. Psalm 19 and Romans 1 illustrate God's qualities in nature. Individuals can respond to this revelation, moving towards God. General revelation isn't sufficient for salvation, but responding may lead to special revelation. Different viewpoints on salvation are discussed, with a preference for knowing Jesus. The text ends with the idea that seared consciences don't necessarily negate salvation.
I. General Revelation: Revealing God's Character and Moral Law
A. Introduction to the topic of general revelation
B. Definition of general revelation: God revealing Himself through creation and conscience
C. Biblical passages supporting general revelation
1. Psalm 19: The heavens declaring the glory of God
2. Romans 1: Revelation of God's invisible qualities through creation
3. Romans 2: Conscience and the law written on the heart
4. Acts 14: God's kindness shown through creation
II. Responding to General Revelation
A. The possibility of responding to general revelation
B. Cornelius as an example of responding to general revelation
C. Personal testimonies of individuals responding to general revelation
III. Interplay Between General and Special Revelation
A. The role of general revelation as a precursor to special revelation
B. Relevance of God's kindness leading to repentance in response to general revelation
C. The question of whether sincere followers of other religions can be saved apart from knowing Jesus
1. Emphasis on Jesus as the way to the Father
IV. Challenging Notions and Concluding Thoughts
A. Addressing the concept of atheism and rejection of God
B. Exploring the limits of rejecting general revelation
C. Reflection on the security of the regenerate
- In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
- Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
- This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
- Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
- Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
- This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
- In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
- In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
- This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
- This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
- This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
- This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
- Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
- This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
- Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
- This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
- Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
- Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
- This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
- Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
- This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
- This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
- In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
- You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
- This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
- In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
- This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
- You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
- From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
- By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
- This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
- Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
- Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
- This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
- From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
- This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
- Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
- Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.
Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.
A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Well, we want to turn to the second of my 10 topics going through this. So the Bible verse I used for here is from Job, "Canst thou by searching know God? Canst thou by searching find out God?" Job 11:7. So the question is, how do I learn about God, His works, and His world? A really critical question here is, where do I hear the voice of God? Where do you hear the voice of God? That becomes a very critical question is, where do I hear the voice of God? This is the general topic of revelation. Not the book of Revelation, but the theological topic of revelation. There are a number of places where we can do that, but what I want to begin with is what we're calling general revelation. The point of general revelation is its revelation that can be seen anytime, anywhere. It's constantly present. So the definition that I use here is, revelation, when I speak biblically, is what God has revealed of himself in ways that are available to everyone at all times. In my understanding, it comes through creation and conscience.
So when I think of revelation in general, or general revelation, I'm thinking particularly of this revelation. So we do a little bit of Bible work here. When I think about general revelation, remember, I'm talking about revelations available to anybody, anytime, anywhere. So if I look at Psalm chapter 19, so Psalm 19, a very familiar passage, Psalm of David, and Revelation 19, we see, "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 reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound from them, yet their voice goes out to all the earth, their words to the end of the world." So the heavens declare the glory of God. That nonverbal revelation, it says, goes to the whole earth, the very end of the world, and it's got some poetic things to talk about that. So here he's talking about God's glory, God's character, God's reality being revealed through creation and it's going everywhere. So that would be a key verse for general relation. Another one is Romans chapter one.
So if I look at Romans chapter one, starting at verse 18. Romans chapter one, starting at verse 18, another very famous passage. This is one we don't like as much because it talks about the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven against godliness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth in their wickedness. Then it comes down to the key passage of Romans chapter one, verse 19. "Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain, since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, the eternal part of divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what's been made so that people are without excuse." So what it is saying here is God's invisible qualities, the eternal power, divine nature, so character of God, is clearly seen because God made it visible. So people are without excuse because his invisible qualities are clearly seen because God made it plain to them. So if you don't respond and say, "Yes, that's God," it's not God's fault, it's our fault. If you reject this revelation, it's saying you're without excuse. It goes on from there.
"Although they knew God..." So they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thing became futile. Foolish hearts darkened. They exchanged the glory of mortal God for images made to look like mortal humans and so on. So God has made it plain is the eternal power, divine nature, and that's seen by everybody. That's Romans chapter one. A couple of passages. If I look at Romans two starting in verse 14, so [inaudible] chapter, Romans 2:14, "Indeed, when Gentiles who do not have the law, that is the mosaic code, or might do by nature things required by the law, there are law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience, also bearing witness their thoughts, sometimes accusing, and at times defending," and it goes on from there. What he's saying here is what we call conscience or heart that God's moral character is written there. Now, did God write on my heart the 613 commandments of Mosaic law? The answer is no, of course not. What did God write on the heart?
When I look around in various cultures and various times, what I find is that everybody believes thou shalt not kill thy neighbor. Kill the guy from the next tribe down, yes, but don't kill your neighbor. Don't lie to your neighbor. You can lie all you want to the other guys, but my neighbor, don't lie to them. That's a universal kind of thing that's written. [inaudible] doesn't say people don't do it, but when they do it, everybody says, "Wait a minute, that's not okay." When people said, "Oh, it's all relative," I have a little thought experiment, I say, "Could you hand me your wallet?" What do people do when I say, "Could you hand me your wallet?" What do they do?
They say no. Why? Why do they say, "No, I won't give you my wallet?" How come? First of all, they don't trust me, but second of all, "No, that's my wallet." See, that's written on everybody's heart. "I have a right to my own, my stuff, and you don't have a right to steal it." No, steal it from the guys down the way because they're bad guys and such. That's a universal morality. It's written in the heart. I think that's a part of general revelation. It's a revelation of the character of God. Now, there's mixed up in there too. It doesn't say everything on the conscience is right, but what it's saying is that's written on the heart. What it's saying is everybody has a concept of God written on the heart and everybody has a concept of the morality of God. Now, one more passage, Acts chapter 14, in this quick biblical tour, Acts 14:14, the guys here want to worship them. Barnabas and Paul heard this. They tore their clothes, [inaudible], "Friends, why are you doing this? We're just humans like you.
We're telling you about," at the end of that verse, "We're telling you about the living God who made the heavens of the earth and seeing everything in them..." Look what he does here. In the past, he let all nations go their own way, yet he's not left himself without testimony. That's Acts 14:17. He has not left himself without testimony. To the nations, he has shown, I always want to say, what has he shown there? He's shown kindness or grace by giving rain and heaven crops in their seasons. He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. That's saying that the kindness of God is shown to the nations, that's non-Jews, and that's a general relation of God, of his character. I think this is a grace word. Now, it's not redemptive grace, it's not Messiah, but I think God has shown his kindness to everyone. Romans chapter two, it talks about the kindness of God that leads to repentance. So in this very quick tour of general revelation, we see several things come out.
It's to everyone, it's through creation, it's through conscience, through a law written on the heart. I think there's a sense of transcendence that comes in that, and I think everybody has that. So when you think about that, that's what we're thinking about in terms of general revelation is those kinds of things. So it goes to everyone. It can be seen by everyone, unless they reject it. The outcome of it is that they're held accountable for that knowledge and they're without excuse if they reject it. That's general revelation. Now, there's a couple of terms here. So in your notes here I've got, is there a reasoning from nature or what some call natural theology? Can I look at creation, look at what goes on in the world and can I do logical reason from what I see in creation, come to the conclusion there is a God? There's debate about that, whether it's possible. When I look at Bible though, it doesn't ever describe natural theology. It does not ever describe somebody naturally apart from revelation looking at creation and reasoning up to God. What I see in scripture is God reaching down to everyone.
So when I look at it, I think the first thing should be general revelation, God revealing his character and his moral law, and then people respond to that. So it's not neutral, peaceful arguing philosophically up to God. It is rather a caring God, reaching down to all people to reveal his eternal power and divine nature. That voice goes everywhere. There's a law written on the heart, and I think there's everyone. Is there resulting knowledge in unredeemed persons? Is there truth outside of Christianity? Questions like that. I think yes, there is truth outside of Christianity because of that general revelation that gives us a sense of God, a sense of morality. From that, there's genuine truth in the morality of non-Christians, other religions or even a non-religion, but the Christian morality goes well beyond non-Christian morality. So does it go everywhere? Yes. What does it show us? God's eternal power, divine nature, God's moral law. Do people know it? [inaudible] read in Roman chapter one, it says they do know it. Now, it's not a responsive knowing because if they reject it, that's not a responsive knowing.
But I think it says they know God and they refuse him. They suppress the truth. You can't suppress the truth you don't have. [inaudible] say no, they don't know it because of depravity. It's like they have blinders over their eyes. The knowledge is right in front of them, but they don't see it because of their depravity. I think Romans one says they suppress it, though it was plainly seen, not just plainly visible. So I think there's actually a knowledge that is rejected. Now, here's the tough question. Is it useful? Excuse me. In Romans chapter one, it says this. It says that they're without excuse when they reject it. My question is, does anybody respond to general revelation? I think they do. I think Romans chapter one is talking about those who reject general revelation. I think Romans chapter one is talking about those who reject general revelation. Let me show you the thing here. Go back to your Bible again. Go to Romans chapter three. Go to Romans chapter three. He begins, "What advantage then is there in being a Jew or what value is there in circumcision?" This is Romans three.
I mean, it's amazing. They've entrusted the very word of God. But then what do you do when he goes on and talks about this? He comes to the conclusion, and I won't read all the verses to you. Verse nine. "What then shall we conclude? Do we have any advantages, Jews? Not at all. For we've already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike under the power of sentence written, there's no unrighteous, not even one." Now, here's my question. This is about Jews getting no advantage of having the law of God, the mosaic code and the revelation. Were there any Jews in ancient Israel that did respond to the law of God? Did any Jews respond to the law of God? Say yes.
You're all wondering what I'm up to. Yeah, I mean you look at David, you look at Daniel, you look at Job, you look at all these guys who are the faithful remnant, there's a good number who did and many who didn't. The condemnation here, there's none righteous, is those who reject. It doesn't say everybody rejects. I think the same is true for general revelation. I think the same thing is true for general revelation. So let's go to... What we should do is go back to Romans chapter two. This is a passage nobody ever reads. Romans chapter two, remember now, Romans chapter two is still a general revelation context. We don't get special revelation until the very end of chapter two. Really, the beginning of chapter three. Romans two is still a general revelation context. You know what he said? Romans 2:4, you realize that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance. Okay, verse five and six, what's the eternal status of these people in verses five and six?
"Because you're stubborn [inaudible] heart, you're throwing up wrath against yourself in the day of God's wrath when his righteous [inaudible] revealed, God [inaudible] according to what they have done." What's the eternal status of these people? Down.
How come? Because they rejected God's kindness that leads to repentance. Okay, that's pretty much [inaudible]. What about verse seven? What about verse seven? "To those who by persistence in doing good see [inaudible] and honor and mortality, he will give eternal life." How do they get eternal life? Well, it says they're doing good. So this meaning that they're earning their salvation by doing good? I hope you don't believe that. You just put yourself out of the evangelical camp. What's the doing good? Well, it's responding to God's kindness that's intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4, "God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance." Remember, this is general revelation context. This is talking about people who do not have the mosaic law. Some reject it and, under his wrath, that's the inexcusable, Romans chapter one. But in verse seven is talking about some who do good, which is responding to that general revelation that leads to eternal life. He did the same thing in eight and nine. Those that are self-seeking reject the truth and follow evil will be wrath and anger.
Here, it says at the end of verse nine, first of the Jew and then for the Gentile, what's he's saying here? What he's saying here is this is for everyone, but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew and Gentile. Again, that doing good is not good works, not hypothetical good works. The good work is responding [inaudible] to God's kindness that leads to repentance. I think that can happen to somebody who's never heard the gospel preached. So here's the [inaudible] point I'll tell you right off the path that I'm right, but many people disagree with me. What if people never hear of Jesus? That's a question [inaudible]. What about people who never heard of Jesus? I've got a Chinese friend whose grandmother was a huge positive impact in her life and her grandmother never ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. She lived inland China during the Maoist area and such, and there were Christians in China, but there weren't in her area. She died having never heard the gospel. My friend was a young adult convert. Her parents weren't and aren't Christians, she lives in Hong Kong.
Now, what about grandma? Did she ever have a chance? See, my view is I don't think there's anyone who said, "I didn't know God." I come because Romans chapter one says that he made it plain. They did know. I think some can respond. I think people can respond to God's drawing. God's kindness leads to repentance. That kindness is a general revelation thing we saw in Acts 14:17, and can move toward God. Now, generally they don't because they prefer their self, they refer their own gods, their own tribes. But if they do move toward God, I think God will respond to them. So let me just run through some things. Will the one who rejects general revelation be condemned for that rejection? Okay, audience, what do you think? If somebody rejects general revelation, will they be condemned for that rejection?
Yeah, I mean, that's what Romans one says clearly, if they reject it, they're inexcusable because God made himself plain. Quite clear. Will they have the excuse the general relation was insufficient? See, I don't think so because the general relation of kindness leads toward repentance. Now, it's not Messiah to be sure, but there's something that can be responded to, I think. General revelation is a revelation of grace and goodness to which people can respond and move toward that goodness and kindness. So the problem leads to [inaudible] excusable and condemnation isn't our response to it, not in the revelation itself, it seems to me. Does anyone respond properly to general revelation? Does it say, "I want to know more about this eternal power of God? Do I want to know more about this kindness that I see in the world?" I think Romans two is clear that that does happen. So I think yes, they can do that. Though it will not get you eternal life by itself, you can begin the journey toward God from general revelation.
So my friend's grandmother was touched by God and I think could respond. Is general revelation sufficient to overcome human sin? My answer is no, I don't think so because there's no Messiah in that revelation. So in my understanding, what will happen is somebody does respond to general revelation, seeing kindness or seeing the beauty of creation or the majestic reality of the human or just life or all kinds of stuff, and says, "Huh, I think God will respond with special revelation." My example is a guy named Cornelius in Acts chapter 10. I assume that you kind of know it because you wouldn't be in here if you didn't know anything about the Bible, but Cornelius, what was he before he became a Christian? He was a what? He's a Roman centurion. Good guy or bad guy? Think Nazi storm trooper. Good guy or bad guy?
Seriously bad guy. These are Russian soldiers in Ukraine. These are Syrian troops in Lebanon. Pick your eras to what it is. These are occupying forces that are not nice guys. What's he doing? He's moving toward God. In Acts chapter 10, it talks about God sends an angel to him and says, "Your prayers and your alms have come up. We got to get you saved." He's not saved, he's not a Jew, he's not a Christian, but he's responding and he's beginning to move toward God. God sends an angel to him and says, "Hey, there's this guy, Peter, go find him and bring him over." Then he has to do a lot of special work with Peter to get Peter to come. When Peter comes, the guy is quickly saved. I think this is an example of somebody moving toward God. Now, the problem is he's in Jewish context that he's seeing some special revelation as well as general revelation. The first story I ran across is this when we were in the Philippines, we were teaching a Faith Academy and planting Montakina Calvary Baptist Church. We lived next door to Byrd Brunemeier.
Byrd was a missionary who came back after World War II. He was a radio engineer, zero emotion, the entire man. Not an emotion anywhere in and maybe loved his wife. I don't know, totally faithful to her, but I don't think he emotionally cared for her. That's [inaudible] I'm overstating. But he was down on the southern island of the Philippines, Mindanao. He was walking through a big city down there and he, I'm loose on the details of the story here, but he saw up on the wall, "Wanted dead or alive," and is a bonobo chief who was a murderous headhunter. He literally [inaudible] out for his life. He was just a really bad guy. As Byrd looked at that poster, which he just saw as he was walking by, he heard God say to him, "Go to that man, find him, and tell him you've come from across the waters to tell him about my son." Now, Byrd Brunemeier is not a Pentecostal. He does not believe ongoing revelation.
But he couldn't argue the fact that God said, "Go find that man in tell him that you've come from across the waters to tell him about my son." So what did Byrd Brunemeier do? Well, he'll obey his God. He's a radio engineer. You do it. He did it quickly. Got up there, found the guy, a difficult thing. Got there, gave the message through two translators, and people went crazy happy. Are they happy because lunch has been served, i.e. Byrd Brunemeier and these guys? No. What had happened is this murderous headhunter had had his son killed in a tribal fight and it blew him up and he was, "How can we possibly end this murder cycle that has cost my son now?" Byrd Brunemeier came and said, "I'm a white man..." That he had dreamed a white man will come from across the waters to tell you about my son. He saw it in a dream. A few days later, Byrd Brunemeier shows up and says, "I've come from across waters to tell you about God's son." The whole tribe was saved that day. Now, that's an example.
That's first one [inaudible] cross of somebody who's responding to general revelation over need for kindness. God sent a, in this case, a missionary. I've heard those stories many times now. Fellow in China, Chinese communist doing well in the system, university, doing really well. It's extremely Darwinian, survival of the fittest and he was doing really well, but in a place he was well up in the system and he was just longing for somebody who would care about him and be kind to him because it's so ruthlessly Darwinian. One night in his room as he was just in shock from or just in despair really. There's nobody who cares. A white being appeared in his room and [inaudible] his attention and said in Chinese, "I am who you are looking for. My name is," and in English, said, "Gospel." In Chinese, "I am who you're looking for. My name is," and the English word, "Gospel." Now, he had a good knowledge of English, but in Chinese communist system, you do not learn the term gospel. Didn't take him long to do it.
When I met him, he's a pastor of church just outside Shanghai, very evangelistic because he said, "I got to figure who this is," and was soon saved. Same kind of thing, seeing the character of God in kindness, but was missing it. I could multiply those stories many times. Sometimes a dream, sometimes a SAT seven radio broadcast, sometimes it's a vision, sometimes it's a missionary. I think that's what happens when people want to know more about God through general revelation. God will send them special revelation. I think that's the way it works. So goes to everyone, character of God, plainly seen, I think can be responded to, but you need more revelation. Can a sincere Buddhist be saved? Can a sincere Buddhist be saved? My answer? I don't think so. There's one way to the Father. It's Jesus Christ. There are a lot of ways to Jesus, but there's only one way to the Father and it's not through the Buddha. So I don't think a sincere Buddhist can be saved. Now, if God overrules me, I'm not unhappy about that.
But as I put the dots of scripture together, I don't think so. Can a person be saved apart from knowing Jesus? My judgment? I don't think so. I think God will give you special revelation of Messiah if you're moving toward him through general revelation. So that's my take on things. Goes to everybody. Eternal power in nature, creation, conscience, everybody perceives it at some level, and I think that you can respond to it. So I think my friend's grandmother, I think God did touch her heart. I don't think anybody could say, "Had God touched my heart, I would've come," because God touches every single human heart with his kindness as I understand it. Now, it's not an overpowering voice, but I think it's a hearable voice. Questions from the peanut gallery, so to speak? I'm aging myself at that spot.
Peanut gallery number one.
The retraining in Romans one is that God gave them up, God gave them up, God gave them up. Is it possible to think for someone who once believed there was a God, whether to general revelation or [inaudible] and who's rejected it and they're giving up [inaudible] their conscience so they truly are an atheist, or do you think our approach to people who claim to be atheist is no, you really do believe that there's a God?
If I look at it just in the terms of meaning, when I say there is not a God, there has to be in the definition of God to reject. So if somebody says they're really an atheist, I think they've already got a concept of God and they don't believe in it. Now, you could just ask them, "What is your concept of God? I find I don't believe in that God either." So we have a lot of agreement. Your question, can somebody's truly saved move so far their conscience is seared? I don't think... Well, my view is I'd call this the security [inaudible] regenerate. But can somebody look at Christianity and reject Christianity without truly becoming a Christian and become seared and hardened? The answer is yes, absolutely. I've had experiences with that.
I just want to make sure I'm understanding you. Back then on Roman 3:10, "No one is righteous, not even one."
You're saying that no one is the context are Jews and Gentiles who are [inaudible] Jews who have rejected?
Not everyone in the world.
Some Bible scholars notice that there's a quotation mark on that. If you're seeing a quotation mark, what should you do? You go to source and see what's in the source. Of course, that's from Psalm 14. It's Psalm 14 is... Psalm 14:1 second half is, "There is no one who does good." But what's the first part of that verse? "The fool who says there's no God." This is somebody who rejects the revelation of God, and in that crowd, there is no one good. There's no one who understands. I don't think it's a statement of all humanity because it's not describing David and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel and those guys. When he says there's no one good, he's talking among that crowd that's rejected God's revelation. So that's why I read that. I think there are good people. They're the ones who responded to God's kindness and come into the same relation with Jesus. There's a whole sociology we're going to get into there. But yeah, that's a hot battle too.
When we look at different aspects of creation and talk about general revelation, there are aspects of it that it takes more faith to believe that there's not a God than that there is one, just the odds of everything happening naturally or thinking about how if human beings are just made to respond to stimuli, then how do we have the capacity to have abstract thought? How do we have the capacity to appreciate nature, to have a logical argument? So when we think about general revelation and those kinds of things, then it takes almost more faith to believe that there's not a God in some ways.
Yeah, I think that's what Paul is describing in Romans one when they reject and they're inexcusable and they become foolish. When I think about, for example, what's called biogenesis, life comes from non-life. Go to any university, go to the biology, ask them, "Does life ever come from non-life in your laboratory?" What would they say? "Never. Life never comes from non-life." Go to any laboratory anywhere in the world, any era in the world. Have we ever had an example of life coming from non-life? The answer is no. So if you say that there isn't God creating life of some sort, then you have to say life came from non-life so-called odd biogenesis. Every biologist, if they're doing experimental, would say it can't happen. But the evolutionist, evolutionary biology says it did happen. I say, "How can you believe that?" "Because there's life here now and we know there's no God around, so it had to happen."
I mean, that's being sarcastic, but there are a number of places like that where, well, a book written by an agnostic that I heard in lecture a while back is called Darwin: A Theory in Crisis that was written back in the mid-eighties. He wrote another one seven or eight years ago. Darwin: A Theory Still in Crisis. What he's saying as an agnostic, not a Christian, "It doesn't work, guys." There's a number of people who are not coming from a Christian perspective, a scientific perspective, "We have no explanation." At least say we have no explanation. That doesn't make you a Christian. It makes you a good scientist, seems to me. But when you get into evolution of biology, worldview type stuff, then you have to say, "Well, it did happen, and it happened through Darwinian natural selection or something. More and more people are saying, "You know, it doesn't work. Let's just admit we have gaps we can't answer."
I think the genuine science say, "We don't know how it happened, but we believe it did." That leaves an open question. So I think that if you are honest, you have to say there's intelligent design. There has to be an intelligent designer to explain what's happened, seems to me, that it means God who created heaven and earth doesn't mean that's certainly the God who cares and kind, but there sure seems to be an intelligent designer. So Discovery Institute, we'll talk about that [inaudible] creation a little bit more, some of the histories of things.