Thursday, April 18, 2019

Appearances of the Creator in the Old Testament

On Resurrection Sunday, most Christians celebrate the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. While the man Jesus began his earthly life in Bethlehem, God the Son has always existed. He made himself known in several places in the Old Testament. These are called theophanies.


While we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we can also remember that he is our Creator. He also appeared in the Old Testament.
Abraham Receiving the Three Angels by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1667
There is disagreement among scholars about the nature of theophanies. In the broadest sense, they were encounters with God. There is some debate about the identity of the angel of the Lord (although the text indicates that this was the preincarnate Christ). God was active in human history before he (our Creator) took the form of a man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day. This is one of many reasons to humble ourselves and rejoice.
As Easter approaches, we tend to focus our reflections on the life, death, and glorious resurrection of Christ. We even mark the timeline of history by whether events happened before (BC) or after (AD) Christ’s birth. But Christ’s existence didn’t begin with His time on Earth.

. . .

The Lord Jesus Christ was present at the beginning of creation—He was and is our Creator. His pre-existence is further affirmed by His many appearances documented throughout the Old Testament. Theophany is a theological term that refers to an encounter with God prior to Christ’s incarnation. There are over 50 possible theophanies recorded throughout the Old Testament, primarily concentrated in Genesis, in the Exodus and conquest events, in Judges, and in the prophets.
To read the entire article, click on "Theophanies in the Old Testament: The Creator at Work in His World".


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Christians, Censorship, and Book Burning

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Christians were warned from the get-go that we would have persecution (1 John 3:13, Mark 4:17, 2 Tim. 3:12, 1 Peter 4:19). They were tortured in various ways, including being thrown to the lions (some atheopaths seem to want that practice reinstated, I have seen this image posted more than once). Today, atheist-run countries actively persecute Bible-believing Christians (such as China), and Mohammedans are rampant; they wiped out entire villages in Nigeria. This is only one example. However, many persecutions of Christians and biblical creationists in Western countries are subtle and insidious.


Anti-Christian and anti-creationist falsehoods that we oppose science are increasing. People who do not have the grit to learn the truth are easily deceived.
Credit: Unsplash / Fred Kearney

Poisoning the Well

Atheists and anti-creationists try to silence Christians and biblical creationists by demonizing us. After all, if you poison the well against individuals and organizations enough, who will want to listen to what we have to say — I mean, aside from bigots who seek confirmation for their biases? You will hear cries that we are "anti-science", which is based on conflating evolution and old Earth philosophies with the word science. This Machiavellian logic implies that if we reject their materialistic philosophies, we reject science itself. An intellectually honest person who peruses sites, books, videos, and so forth of biblical creationists can see for themselves that we use real science.


Suppressing the Truth

I am convinced that in their efforts to suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18-23), anti-Christians seek to justify their rebellion against our Creator. One tinhorn calls God a liar. He also claims since the Ice Age is not in the Bible, the creationist view is "fictitious" (an idea that's plumb loco, but I don't have time to explain the logical fallacies involved). He also says the Bible teaches that the earth is flat. Further, he demanded an explanation of why dinosaur fossils have not been found at the Grand Canyon, was given a link explaining that neither secularists nor creationists expect this, ignored it, and kept on making the same demand. His approach seems to be a kind of Gnostic effort to deny the Bible while elevating personal philosophies above God's Word while simultaneously making a pretense of religiosity. All this while suppressing the truth.

Old Earth proponents also deny the Genesis Flood. After all, if Jesus was wrong about the mustard seed, he was not really the omniscient Creator in the flesh. May as well ignore what he said about the Flood, God's design for marriage, and whatever else strikes a compromiser's fancy. After all, if the Bible has errors, then you treat Scripture like a buffet and pick out what you like. See how that works?

In addition, propagandists spread the falsehood that the Bible teaches that the earth is flat, and that the church fathers also held to this error. In reality, the flat Earth idea was spread by anti-Christians. The tinhorn mentioned previously cries that the Bible teaches the earth is flat based on his mishandling of Matt. 4:8. (His error is clearly explained here, but he is too  pusillanimous to accept correction.*) For a passel of links refuting the flat earth both scientifically and theologically, see "The Bible and the Flat Earth".

Over in the formerly Great Britain, the rights of people to actively practice their faith is coming under pressure. (Of course, it is Christians and Jews that are targeted, not Mohammedans or atheists.) While saying that it is acceptable for parents to teach their children about faith, secularists contradict themselves by claiming that children are not receiving real knowledge. I reckon that secularists do not like having their monopoly on indoctrination in atheism challenged. See "The real extremism" for more about these efforts at censorship and persecution.

People like this are intolerant despite their protestations that they favor free speech. Those with opposing view are attacked for expressing their views. Actually, we are hated for even having differing views. Especially because we uphold the Bible. Those people need to repent, and do it quickly.


Who are the Active Censors?

Sidewinders in the secular science industry are building on the "Christians are anti-science" pedagese. They maintain that we favor censorship and maligning the apostle Paul. in a straw man argument. One in particular is asserting that Paul was in favor of book burning, and that he was therefore anti-science. Folks who don't have the grit to use their think bones or even read the passage in question will accept this prevarication. Paul didn't order it, and may not have even known that the voluntary burning of occult books by people who renounced evil had happened.

Religious schools are challenged to cave in to secular ideals. Religious liberty is under assault. For more on this, listen to or read the transcript of The Briefing for March 26, 2019.

An amazing instance of blatant censorship occurred in a 1986 debate at Oxford University. Clinton Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith debated A.E. Wilder-Smith and Edgar Andrews. Dawkins told the audience not to vote for the creationists. He thought a vote for creationists would be a disgrace to Oxford (bigotry and the fallacy of special pleading). Someone tampered with the numbers, and the usual amount of press that such events received did not happen. Dr. Wilder-Smith wrote in his memoirs:
In December 1986, I received an inquiry from the Radcliffe Science Library, Oxford, asking if I had ever really held a Huxley Memorial Lecture on February 14, 1986. No records of my having held the lecture as part of the Oxford Union Debate could be found in any library. No part of the official media breathed a word about it. So total is the current censorship on any effective criticism of Neo-Darwinian science and on any genuine alternative.
You can read the report with the above quote at "Fraudulent report at AAAS and the 1986 Oxford University debate". See the very last link on the page regarding the theft of intellectual property.

Those who seek to keep us silenced, who keep creationist research out of the mainstream science publications, those who demonize people they hate, cannot use or understand logic ("You're a liar! Prove me wrong!"), blatantly misrepresent Christians and creationists while playing the victim card — those jaspers are the real censors. Amazingly, secularists pretend that they are the victims and we are the oppressors.



Believing Falsehoods about the Apostle Paul

One reason such vile persecution succeeds is because people shun critical thinking. I also firmly believe that people are getting intellectually lazier nowadays. The subtle persecution continues.
Paul warned that Christ followers would be slandered. A book review in Nature shows it is still going on.
. . . Robert P. Crease reviewed his own book – a practice that is quite unusual. At least we know what the author thinks of his own words. That Nature printed it without any criticism tells us that the journal editors pretty much agree with him. Their headline reads, “The rise and fall of scientific authority — and how to bring it back; Robert P. Crease harks back to the shapers of our scientific infrastructure and what they can tell us about how to handle the threat we now face.” Watch for the bogeyman!
So what does Robert say about his own book under Nature's imprimatur?
To read the entire article, click on "Was the Apostle Paul a Book Burner?"

Lyrics available at the YouTube link

* As in the demand for an answer that he likes for dinosaurs in the Grand Canyon, he repeated this demand while dodging the topic under discussion. Apparently he is expecting others to be mind readers: for AiG to read his mail when he is blocked by them (and blocked by many other people). This makes me think of how leftists demanded the Mueller report about Donald Trump, did not get what they wanted, and are making fools of themselves by demanding more.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Jesus and the Mustard Seed

Among the many parables that Jesus told, one was about the mustard seed. He said that it was the "smallest" seed in Matthew 13:32, which atheists and anti-creationists attack by saying that there are other seeds which are smaller, which means to them that Jesus did not know what he was talking about.


Jesus said that the mustard seed was the "smallest". Atheists and other anti-creationists jump on this, but an examination of context and other factors gives us the truth.
Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net / jk1991
We expect atheists to find excuses to claim that Jesus is not God, but it is disheartening when owlhoots who claim to be Christian will also claim that he was mistaken in an effort to justify theistic evolution. No, he is the Creator, and knows what he is doing (Col. 1:16, John 1-1-3). As is the case in many instances of confusion and alleged Bible contradictions, context is vitally important. Here, we can look at not only the immediate context, but the greater context.

Jesus was not giving a botany lesson, pilgrim. The parable was an illustration about the kingdom of Heaven. He would have used figures of speech. In fact, I referred to someone as "the tiniest thing", but there are many things tinier. It is interesting that the New International version translates the phrase as, "the smallest of all your seeds" which would apply to the context of his audience. The phrase has also been translated as "the least of all the seeds".

While I have discussed the context, purpose, and figure of speech aspects, the article featured below adds some science aspects for our consideration.
In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus calls it the smallest seed. But was it really? Both evolutionists and old-earth creationists latch onto this parable, evolutionists to discredit the Bible entirely, and old-earth creationists to prove that the Bible does not have to be taken literally. Both approaches attempt to undermine the authority of God’s Word and challenge the foundation upon which the Christian faith is based.
To read the rest, click on "Are Mustard Seeds the Smallest or Was Jesus Wrong?"


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Big Bang and the Bible

There are Christians who believe the Bible, but they are not too keen on digging deeper. This is very unfortunate because it contains words of life and doctrine so we can avoid being led astray. Certain areas of discussion do not interest everyone, which is to be expected. However, questions of origins and the age of the universe are far more important than they think.


There are Christians who think that the Big Bang supports the Bible. Upon closer examination, we see that it is contrary to Scripture and also dreadful science.
Background image from Freeimages / Flavio Takemoto with a cross from Clker clipart
We have examined how theistic evolution is in opposition to biblical creation and sound doctrine, but some folks are willing to accept what "science says" about the age of the earth and the origin of the universe. I saw one post from a Christian who said that "science caught up with the Bible" with cosmic evolution from the Big Bang. That'll be the day! For one thing, the Big Bang is constantly changing when rescuing devices are added when its flaws are found. 


Further, the Bible has always been right, even when it discusses science, and it is unchanging. There are major problems with the Big Bang, both scientifically and theologically. It is not a good idea to use atheistic interpretations of bad science to supplement God's Word, Pilgrim.
Many Christians and others today see the big bang theory as a means of harmonizing what the Bible says about the origin of the universe with the current ‘pronouncements of science’. So we shall examine what the big bang theory involves, and compare this with what God actually says.
To read the entire article, click on "Can Christians add the big bang to the Bible?"



Wednesday, March 20, 2019

No Gospel in the Stars

There are people who believe that the constellations contain the gospel message, and it was there before the Bible was completed. Then, it became unnecessary. This is according to a woman named Frances Rolleston, whose work was published in 1865 and influenced many people. Unfortunately, he work was full of serious errors.

There are people who believe the story that the gospel message is in the constellations. It is based on bad biblical handling and even worse scholarship, and should be avoided.
Map of the Northern Sky with representations of the constellations / Albrecht Durer, 1515
Her books was published posthumously as a collection of notes. (I wonder if some of those were notes to herself to conduct further research, but when I do that I usually have a "look up" or "check on" phrase.) The concept of the gospel in the stars relies on spurious research and taking verses out of context. Like atheists and evolutionists, Rolleston seemed to use the scientific principle of Making Things Up™. She also took verses out of context to make this presentation.

Sincere people and even good pastors have believed this false story. While it is not directly harmful, it does show how people can believe something because they want to, and because things appear to have been researched before they were presented. Christians and creationists need to exercise caution, especially when someone comes along with a "new" concept or revelation. (This is aside from the falsehoods of the old earth creationists who claim that biblical young earth creation is a new concept. In reality, an old earth is the new kid in town.) Several cults and other false teachings have begun with "something new" (see "Lost World of John Walton" for a similar caution).

If someone was to have taken a different approach and say that they are going to use the constellations to present the gospel message but disregard the mythology associated them, fine. It would take a great deal of work. But the best way is to use what God has given to us in his Word. 
The gospel in the stars is a popular topic with many recent creationists. In an earlier paper, I examined some problems with this thesis. Since that earlier publication, the primary source on the subject has become available, allowing this much more detailed examination. In this current study, I identify many problems with the assumptions, methodologies, and conclusions made with the gospel in the stars thesis. The etymologies of terms and names are questionable at best and most likely are simply wrong. The biblical arguments are poor, and some conclusions are contrary to biblical principles. While well intended, the gospel in the stars is fraught with problems, and Christians are discouraged from using it.
The entire article is quite long. The link has a PDF download option, and for ebook readers, I suggest using Push to Kindle which gives you the option to do exactly that, or to download in MOBI or EPUB formats. To continue, click on "A Further Examination of the Gospel in the Stars".

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Recent Creation and the Gospel Message

It is a sad fact that many professing Christians do not have a solid understanding of what the Bible teaches. This tempts them to abandon good teaching so they can ride the Owlhoot Trail of false doctrines. Related to this is the opinion that origins and recent creation are irrelevant. While they are not essentials for salvation, recent creation and origins are extremely important to the gospel message.


Many people, including professing Christians, say that questions of origins and recent creation are irrelevant. They are actually very important.
Image source: RGBStock/rizeli53
Atheists, old earth proponents, theistic evolutionists, compromisers, and other enemies of the Word of God exploit this ignorance. They come along with sciencey pronouncements and Scripture twisting, plus a heapin' helpin' of hostility and ridicule toward those of us who believe that God means what he says (including name-calling and labels such as "YECism"). People are timorous when it comes to standing for biblical truth, and when you mix in ignorance with intimidation, folks put the blinders on and join the crowd.

Incidentally, many of us shun the "YEC" (Young Earth Creationist) designation, because it implies that we are doing the same as enemies of the truth. Namely, forcing the Bible to say what they want it to say through eisegesis. No, we prefer the term biblical creationist because we believe the Bible teaches a young creation. Old earthers put current atheistic interpretations of science in the superior role over God's Word. We use biblical exegesis, and we use science correctly, without atheistic presuppositions. See the difference?

People have a lack of understanding of the implications of long ages, a local flood in Genesis, evolution, and other things. They do not realize that they are actually doing damage to the gospel, and even impugning Jesus himself.
Those of us who still believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that God intended it to be understood by ordinary people—not just by scholarly specialists in science or theology—have been labeled “young-earth creationists.”
We didn’t choose that name for ourselves, but it’s true that since we believe God is capable of saying what He means and means what He says, we believe that the whole creation is far younger than evolutionists accept.
To finish reading, click on "The Importance of Recent Creation".



Thursday, March 7, 2019

When Professing Christians Attack Other Christians

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 3-09-2019

As Christians, we have to stand up for the faith against Satan's schemes and false arguments against God's Word (Jude 1:3). We have a great deal to do in accurately presenting the truth to unbelievers, pulling down fortresses raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5), refuting old earth and evolutionary falsehoods, and more. We don't need to be commencing cat fights with each other.


Christians must show proper attitudes toward other Christians, and be able to accept biblical rebukes and instruction. Put pride and carnality aside.
Credit: Pixabay/maturika
This has gone back practically to the beginning, where believers seemed to want to be better than others (1 Cor. 1:12-23, Luke 9:46). The Bible has a passel of things to say about pride, old son. I think that pride is one reason folks are swapping lead in the internet style, shooting at people who do not do things or believe the way other people think they should. Don't be disunderstanding me. When people are publicly teaching false doctrine, they need to be called out. What bothers me is when these hissy fits are over minor points where pride is at the root of it all. I've seen witch hunts against teachers, and it is quite distressing to say the least.



On a personal level, believers are instructed to not only put aside pride and other works of the fleshly nature that unbelievers practice (Gal. 5:19-21), but we are to walk in the Spirit (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:22-23). We are also to instruct and rebuke other believers (2 Tim. 4:2, Titus 1:9), taking care to do it in love and using care with older believers (1 Tim. 5:1-2). Paul rebuked Peter (Gal. 2:11-14), so nobody is too established in the faith to receive instruction.

However, not only must we give rebukes and instruction, we must also receive them. I reckon that when such things are not done with the love of Christ and the truth of the Word, the one doing the rebuking may not be walking in the Spirit.

I had occasion to challenge someone on Fazebook who is burning with hate toward atheists. He or she set up a Page to strike back, but there is no sign of love of the lost or urging them to repent. Just revenge. This bothered me, so I posted a comment to rebuke them:
Just...no. Sorry, but I'm having trouble keeping the players straight in this game. YES, we can respond to mindless attacks of atheopaths. YES, we can use them as bad examples. But NO, we cannot act just like they are (this only applies to Christians, however). Christians have to be above their level, and glorify God with not only our apologetics and proper use of reason, but our attitudes.
It is tormenting to these insignificant cheerleaders of atheopathy when they are ignored. Their father down below pulls their strings and they dance, and the dance step is often to waste our time. If this Page is run by a Christian, I urge you to repent and get into your Bible.
After several days, I received a reply:
Do me a favor and focus more on attacking militant atheists instead of engaging in self righteous rants against fundamentalist Christians like myself.
Whiny, pompous, and overly judgemental "Christians" like yourself have splintered Christianity into numerous factions that weaken it and give strength to the enemy. 
Remember who the actual enemy is and who the greatest deceiver of all truly is.
In these times we need warriors for Christ and not mealy-mouthed pushovers.
Notice the pride and judgmental attitude. It smells of self-importance, and is loaded with fallacies that I will not take the time to examine. But what's this about "warriors"? Since they did not use any Scripture, I doubt that this was in reference to 2 Cor. 10:4-5 or Eph. 6:10-20. I wrote another response along the lines of, "Yeah, who needs Jesus", then deleted it a few minutes later. The next response was extremely carnal:
Go run your own page. Your poor interpretation of scripture isn't wanted here. I'll worry about my own salvation you pompous pr**k (followed by a laughing with tears in the eyes emoji).
I didn't see any sign of humility or respect for someone who has been in the faith for many years. Also, the personal attack with profanity makes me wonder some things. First, is this person actually a Christian? Second, do they pray for their enemies, or are they just content to slap them down and keep the cycle going? Third (and worse), is this an atheist pretending to be a Christian? They do that, you know. A few other Christians joined in. EDIT: That Page seems to have been removed. I posted my screenshot here.

It can be difficult in the heat of the moment to accept chastening or caution from another believer, I'll allow. Even so, a Spirit-led believer should be willing to consider the words of a Christian trying to pull on the reigns and slow the gallop. Outsiders are watching our conduct, often laughing about it.

Unbelievers should know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:35, Rom. 12:10, Phil. 1:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:10). This includes humbling ourselves by receiving and prayerfully considering instruction and rebuke (Prov. 27:6), especially in our apologetics methods and attitudes. We don't need to be giving enemies of God's Word reason to rejoice, you savvy?

EDIT: I forgot to add something. Some people seem to think that love is a manifestation of sappy emotions, which has nothing to do with biblical teachings. Here is a post with links to some sermons by Dr. John MacArthur on the subject. Also, it should not have to be said, but people progress in different rates in their sanctification. That means we're not as skilled in some areas as we are in others. This adds to the importance of being willing to listen to others who are more mature in the faith, as well as getting into the Word.