Jonathan McLatchie claims the evidence for the Holy Spirit is the continuous sanctification of the believer, causing him or her to grow in holiness.
But this is at loggerheads with what we observe within Christian communities. If Jonathan truly believes the Holy Spirit works within Christians then how can he explain why Christians are often surpassed by other faith groups in self-discipline (avoiding sins) or the fact 75% of Christians are mired with struggle with pornography?
Christian men view Internet porn more than once a month, with a further 20% admitting that they succumb to temptation every so often. That’s 75% of Christian men engaging with pornography on, let’s say, a monthly basis. [Martin Saunders]
If, as Jonathan believes, the Holy Spirit is working on these people and leading them to become holier then why can’t they break free from their struggles with pornography? Now, other men of other faiths can manage to resist the temptation of pornography, Jonathan McLatchie presumably believes this is done without the Holy Spirit. So is this not proof enough to suggest Jon’s argument for the Holy Spirit being within Christians is spurious at the very least. Surely, Jon (as an evangelical Christian) would not want to suggest non-Christians are capable of greater moral feats than those led by the Holy Spirit?
To throw another problem at Jon’s reasoning, what of those Christians who have been in the church for decades promoting and defending church doctrines and then leave the church because they apostatize. Doesn’t that not throw a spanner in the works for Jon’s claims of the Holy Spirit working within Christians and causing them to grow in [Christian] holiness. If this is the case why are we seeing older Christians leaving Christianity, surely if this was the case no decades-old Christian would leave the faith?
The Bible Answer Man, Hank Haanegraaff, is thought to have left Biblical Christianity, in some quarters, recently despite his long term service for Jonathan’s beliefs.
I’m sure Jon, I and others can find other such examples.
Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 5 lists what he believes is the fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Notice, this is stuff you can observe in a Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Jew or even dare I say an Atheist. But also notice the words peace, gentleness and meekness – our Christian friends may be a little surprised to see a couple of rabbis suggesting Christians are arguably the most violent people in history. How is this if Christians have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit leads to peace and gentleness? How can other groups (Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims etc.) be seen as more peaceful and gentle than Christians?
So what exactly do Christians believe the Holy Spirit gives them that others cannot achieve in character and moral standing? Should Christians not rethink their beliefs about the Holy Spirit?
Jonathan McLatchie also cites radical transformations in lives as evidence for the Holy Spirit. But hold on, non-Christians have radical transformations in their lives too.
Lastly Jon claims Jesus was resurrected and thus believes everything ascribed to Jesus in the Bible. This is circular reasoning. He gets the view that Jesus was resurrected from the Bible. Jon then uses this as a premise to accept everything else ascribed to Jesus in the Bible. Circular.
Sam Shamoun in general is a direct refutation of this claim.
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Nobody cares about anything you say, Shame-on.
You obviously do since you are the one who mentioned me. I never mentioned you. 😉
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Non sequitur. Dismissed.
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Yahya, do you know any Christians outside of your internet world of apologetics? I mean, actually know?
Yes. I have met and spoken to many. Was speaking to a pastor last week.
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I think that one of the main reasons for this is because in evangelical christianity salvation is not based on good works but rather by simply believing that Jesus died for your sins you can get into heaven, whereas the other faiths you mention (excluding atheists of course) teach that it is through both faith and works. Why would one want to focus on self discipline when the reward is already guaranteed without any effort?
However lets not forget that both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy reject this idea and teach like Islam, Sikhism, Judaism etc, that salvation comes through both faith and works, sighting James 2:24-26 as evidence of this;
“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” – James 2:24-26
The ultimate end results of Paul’s faith based redemption are licentiousness and misguidance.
Good article Yahya,
Other than the misguided belief in a man-made innovated false doctrine of faith-based redemption, Christianity offers mankind nothing of benefit that cannot already be found in any other religious path.
A hollow faith in the Atonement by the Cross does not necessarily result in good works or spiritual growth for the self or society, because faith based redemption ultimately does not require any action.
Given this, the question should be asked: Of what use or benefit is Christianity for the betterment mankind, on an individual spiritual level and societally? If Christianity as a faith tradition, does not successfully guide one away from sin and instead actually lead one into such sinful immorality – and it does not really offer anything (including salvation) that cannot be obtained elsewhere in more rational based religious traditions……
……then why remain a Christian?