Thursday, October 20, 2016

Understanding Your Audience

In matters of sharing our faith in accordance with Jesus' command (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8), we need to take a thoughtful approach. First of all, we must remember that we are not the ones who are doing the saving with our own brilliant arguments, that's the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:1-5). That's why people come to Christ through simple one-on-one evangelism from an excited new convert who is unskilled in theology and philosophy.

When presenting the gospel to people with different worldviews, it's very helpful to know where they're coming from.
Modified from an image on Pixabay by geralt
People have pointed to Peter's sermon in Acts 2:14-41 as a model for evangelism, but that message was given to monotheistic Jews. For people who have different religions such as paganism, atheism, evolutionism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, cults that claim to be Christian, and others, a different approach is needed. A good working knowledge of their worldview is very important to establish communication. People who engage in serious debates take the time to learn where the other is coming from.

Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
At The Question Evolution Project, we had bully who was engaging in spam, prejudicial conjecture and other logical fallacies. When I called him out on them, he replied, "You call it 'bigotry, prejudicial conjecture, falsehood, spam', I call it truth." In the above image (a further reply to my rebuke), you can see the bigotry and prejudicial conjecture quite plainly. Further, he arbitrarily decided to create his own "truth" based on his preferences. He had said earlier that he wanted to have "discussions", but that was obviously false based on his conduct. The point is that he had no interest in knowing what biblical creationists actually believe and teach, but wanted to express his own uninformed opinions (Prov. 18:2 ESV).

I'm not saying that we need to have encyclopedic knowledge of other worldviews, that would be ridiculous. However, when having discussions with people, we can be prepared for some of the more common belief systems, and do some homework when having planned discussions with people.

When attempting to reach the lost for Jesus Christ, we need to know our own theology. From there, we must have Christ-honoring apologetics, which includes having some familiarity with the other person's worldview — even though few want to extend the same approach to us.
Before looking at Acts 17, it is important to understand the origin of religion; in order to know the meaning of anything, we have to understand its origin. The origin of religion began in the Garden of Eden when God clearly revealed himself to Adam. However, Adam and Eve rejected that revelation and chose to believe a falsehood about Him. In this act of disobedience, they chose to follow Satan’s worldview over God’s worldview (Genesis 3:4–5). They created the first human religion, rejecting God’s perfect and true religion.

Adam’s disobedience had consequences for the rest of his descendants since it affected how they viewed God and creation. This can be seen at the event of the Tower of Babel, which was the beginning of the religious diversity we see in the world today (see Deuteronomy 32:8, 16–17, 21). At the Tower of Babel, monotheism devolved into polytheism, pantheism, and the worship of anything other than the one true, living God. When the people were dispersed at Babel, they would have taken with them a hybrid truth of the living God mixed with the twisting and distorting of the truth of that revelation about Him (Romans 1:18–32). Religion then is first of all a response to God’s revelation—it is either in faith or rebellion. It is either based on God’s Word or man’s word.
To read the rest in context, click on "Exposing the Underlying Worldview: Acts 17".

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dancing the Heresy Two-Step

We are seeing 2 Peter 3:3-4 happening right before our eyes. Worse than that, Christianity is being eaten away from the inside. People will proclaim themselves as modern prophets and apostles with "new revelations" from God. Christians should be saying, "Hang on a minute. Where did you get that from the Bible? Oh, you heard from God personally? You know, like Joseph Smith? The canon of Scripture is closed,  as are the offices of apostle and prophet. Let me check your presumptuous pronouncements against the written Word of God". Instead, too many are staring in wide-eyed wonder, being gullible, and being whipped into a frenzy by the false teachers.

Image credit: Morguefile / clarita (modified)
Many false teachers with throw some Scripture into the mix, but it's a bait 'n' switch tactic, the Heresy Two-Step. Be discerning and watchful. Notice that they are not fond of reading verses in context, often reading a bit and then telling you what the passage says. This is false, they're telling you what they want it to say and mean. Even worse, they elevate feelings and experiences above the Bible. "God spoke to me, I'm a prophet, I have stories of miracles that can't be substantiated." The undiscerning get all excited about it and think they're praising God for his miraculous works.

I'll allow that it's not easy sometimes, since some of these false teachers have good presentations with personality and humor; they're often likable. 

People don't want to hear the truth, that's why they're not walking out on hucksters that tell them to give a "seed offering" to their "ministries" so they'll be blessed. Watch for it, there's a Jewish feast time, and Heaven will pour riches on you! Liars.

In another disturbing aspect, there are false teachers who appeal to the other crowd: people who want to listen to a well-reasoned presentation. These, too, use a bait 'n' switch tactic, using a little bit of Bible. People will teach "doctrines" that have nothing to do with Scripture, and are the products of imagination and traditions that nullify the Word of God. They speak with confidence and authority, which is persuasive. Like theistic and other evolutionists, they steal from the scientific principle called "Making Stuff Up™", and make their pronouncements convincing.

Here are two podcasts from Fighting for the Faith that give examples of these things. Pastor Chris Rosebrough plays material right from the sources, and does a sermon review in the second hour. Yes, second hour. You can listen online or (right-click) download the MP3. I suggest you download it, but that's just me. To get the first audio, click on "Frozen 'The Sermon'". Second, and I know I'm asking a lot of you but these are important, "Doctrines That Were Made in America". For those who are pressed for time, there are a couple of comedy sketch and promotional breaks that you can move past. For "Frozen", you can skip from the 28 minute 42 second mark and resume at 37 minutes, and the second break is at 1 hour 3 minutes 40 seconds, resuming at 1:07:02. In the "Made in America" episode, you can skip from the 29 minute 55 second mark and resume at 40 minutes, with the second break at 1 hour 12 minutes 41 seconds and resuming at 1:15:36. 

Those who are following false teachers: you need to repent.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Unravelling the Bible from Genesis

The way some people cling to their "deep time" beliefs, sometimes including evolution, while claiming to believe the Bible is mighty disconcerting to me. They are elevating man-made science philosophies to the magisterial position and are telling God that he is wrong. Scriptural teaching begins to unravel — and that's why unbelievers attack the foundations of the Christian faith, the book of Genesis.

Some professing Christians may not really know what the Bible teaches, and that compromising on millions of years starts to unravel the gospel message beginning in Genesis.
Image credit: Pixabay / bluemorphos
Now, don't get all het up, I'm not saying that every professing Christian who goes in for long ages is deliberately sabotaging the Bible or is unsaved. (If you study on it a spell, you might begin to wonder why some people attack biblical creationists and have a fervent desire to believe Earth is ancient.) What I am saying is that many people really don't know what the Bible teaches, and the implications of forcing millions of years into the text. Especially when Jesus, Peter, Paul, and many others in Scripture believed the Genesis Flood was real, Adam was an actual person, and teachings that refute long ages. 

"But I've been a Christian for years, and never heard this kind of science denial stuff!"

A good part of the problem is modern church-ianity. Switch on a religious cable television network, and what do you get? Stuff to make you feel good, with some Scripture thrown in to make it seem authentic. Watch for it, they'll tell you what the Bible "says" instead of reading from it in context — especially 2 Timothy 4:1-4 or Jude 1:3-4. False teachers do this a lot. Big churches and major denominations have become religious social clubs in too many instances, not teaching the truth of Genesis, nor Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of our sins. They want you happy and giving them money, not saved or growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

Compromise and eisegesis are dangerous things.
Christians who accept millions of years of Earth history may be unaware of the inconsistency of their position. On one hand, they profess to believe the Bible, but on the other they fail to accept Genesis 1–2 as written. They might attempt to dismiss the issue by telling themselves it isn’t that serious. After all, can’t one accept the rest of the Bible as written yet reject the doctrine of a recent six-day creation? Unfortunately, accepting an old earth logically undermines the entire Bible.

If the world’s sedimentary rocks really are millions of years old, then the fossilized remains of plants and animals within those rocks are also millions of years old. These include the fossilized remains of thorny plants. This would imply that thorns were in the world long before the first humans. So, how can thorns be punishment for man’s sin as described in Genesis 3:18? And if the third chapter of Genesis is wrong about thorns, why would we trust the promise of the coming Savior in Genesis 3:15? And why should we believe its claim that death is the penalty for sin (Genesis 3:19)?
To read the rest of this short article, click on "Genesis Compromise Unravels the Bible".

Friday, October 7, 2016

Does God Continue to Create?

A plain reading of the Bible seems to make it clear that once God was done creating, he was done, period. Varieties of theistic evolutionists join the gang at the Darwin Ranch in a hoedown, dancing around what Scripture says. One group disbelieves the Bible, the other pretends to believe it a little bit. But how can anyone get around the part that says, "God rested"? Sounds like God is done, I reckon.

Theistic evolutionists try to sneak the idea of ongoing creation into their worldview by tampering with the meaning of Scripture. Proper reading settles their objections.
This post gives me an excuse to show Basement Cat resting on my e-book reader.
I took the option of finding something else to read.
Some people have no serious regard to what Scripture says, preferring to give current science philosophies the magisterial position above God's Word. Some people sort of baptize evolution by associating God's name with it, but that's as legitimate as baptizing the cat. They come up with some incoherent and self-refuting philosophies (click for larger):

Theistic evolutionists try to sneak the idea of ongoing creation into their worldview by tampering with the meaning of Scripture. Proper reading settles their objections.
Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
After a couple of additional exchanges, this character was banned after an obscene comment.

The way theistic evolutionists manage to sneak the idea of God's continuing of creation into their worldview is through massive eisegesis, conflation, and other tricks of intellectual dishonesty. Some of their points and objections may seem plausible at first glance, but they're reigned in with reasoning from the Bible and proper exegesis.
According to Scripture, God finished making the whole universe in six days, and rested on the seventh. However, theistic evolutionists insist that God made galaxies, planets, and all living things by means of natural processes, using the same physical laws that govern the universe today. But, if the laws of nature possess such creative power and the world continues to evolve under their influence, then is creation really a finished work? Many theistic evolutionists openly declare that it is not. Even though the Bible says that God completed the world long ago, theistic evolutionists say the world is still under construction.

Below, we will examine the Bible’s treatment of this subject in more detail. Afterward, we will consider various strategies theistic evolutionists use to try to get around the Bible’s teaching, and explain why they do not succeed.
To finish reading, click on "God’s rest — A problem for theistic evolution".

Friday, September 30, 2016

Prophesy Beginning in Genesis

The Bible is historically reliable and very specific, such as the Table of Nations in the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis. However, prophesy is both specific and hidden at times. It is a tricky thing for several reasons, including the idea that a prophet is always in the business of telling what is going to happen in the far future. If you study on it, the primary job of the prophet was to speak for the Lord, often calling people to repentance. There are short-term events that may be considered forth-telling, such as when Elisha told Naaman to dip himself in the Jordan seven times so his skin disease would be healed (2 Kings 5:14). Another specific prophesy was that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), but it wasn't apparent that this was Jesus until after the fact.

Prophesy can be direct, other times it becomes unveiled over a long period of time The promise of the coming Savior was given in the first book of the Bible, and has its ultimate fulfillment in Revelation.
Image credit: Answers in Genesis / Dan Lietha
I'm not talking about modern jaspers who call themselves "prophets" and commence to making false prophesies. No, this is about the real thing in the Word of God.

 Many of the long-term prophesies are veiled, and cannot be fully understood until the conditions are right. People have studied the prophetic and apocalyptic literature in Daniel, Revelation, and other books for a mighty long time. (Sometimes it seems like they're ready to have an O.K. Corral-type shoot-out over the meanings of passages. Settle down, boys, and remember we don't need to act like atheists, we're bought by the blood of the Savior, you savvy?) What is probably the prophesy with the longest term and gradual unveiling is the protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15, which was given shortly after the creation of everything, and the Fall of Man. This prophesy in the first book of the Bible has its ultimate fulfillment in the last book of the Bible.
Private conversations between individuals have often turned the tide of history. Think of just one example: the secret meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill, settling the Allies’ war aims before the United States’ entry into World War II. We’d all be surprised if we knew how much our everyday lives are affected by conversations among powerful individuals at the highest levels of government and society. Yet the combination of all those conversations pales in comparison to a brief, tragic conversation that took place in a beautiful garden six thousand years ago.

The conversation is recorded for us in Genesis 3. It was a dark episode in human history—involving a serpent, a woman, a man, and God. Yet from this scene shines forth the greatest beacon of hope the lost world has ever known.
To finish reading, click on "Seed of Promise in Genesis 3:15". A second, shorter article also provides some interesting commentary, "Genesis Prophesies".

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Andy Stanley, Frank Turek, and Bad Theology

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Andy Stanley has been disappointing some people, and causing quite a few to be alarmed by his opposition to the authority of Scripture. (Note: Do not be confused. Charles Stanley is his father, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and heard on In Touch Ministries. I've found most of his teachings to be doctrinally sound, and he upholds the inerrancy and authority of the Bible.) Unfortunately, megachurch director Andy Stanley has been saying things that are destructive to the truth, including recommending the false teaching of theistic evolution.

Megachurch leader Andy Stanley has been getting into trouble over his denial of the authority of Scripture. He has also had some very dubious defenders. Here is some information to help bring the issues into focus.
Gray wolf image credit: US National Park Service
While shooting from the hip can be a good thing, someone claiming the title of pastor should reign himself in. Stanley was disrespectful of small churches, then apologized later. In another instance, "What did he just say?", Stanley may have used a very bad word in a sermon. When the segment was legally posted on YouTube according to Fair Use provisions, his organization filed a take-down order and then edited out the questionable area. Making corrections in a Weblog post or article is one thing, but this looks like they're trying to hide a bad blunder.

For quite some time, Bible-believing theologians have been giving warnings about Andy Stanley. Back in May 2012, Albert Mohler noticed Stanley's tacit approval of homosexuality. Moving forward a few years, I'm more familiar with Chris "Fighting for the Faith" Rosebrough's podcasts about Stanley. Early in 2016, Rosebrough examined a sermon about the so-called "Temple Model" and a rewriting church history. He also reviewed the "Atheist 2.0" message, and others that you can search for on the site.

Andy's antics have been attracting the attention of others. Apologist Frank Turek, author of the book Stealing from God. (Ironic, because he says that atheists have to stand on the Christian worldview because theirs fails, which is what Cornelius Van Til and Dr. Greg Bahnsen said long ago. Who is stealing from whom?) Turek's bad theology and weak apologetic methods were the impetus of his defense of Andy Stanley, which was addressed by Dr. James White in devastating (albeit lengthy) detail on The Dividing Line. You can watch the video or find the link to the download here, the good stuff begins at the 12 minute 55 second mark. (If it helps, here is a link to the YouTube post of the same item, I instructed it to begin at the pertinent section.) There are several other video/audio links at Dr. White's Alpha and Omega Ministries site where he discusses Stanley's false teaching.

Most of what I've posted has been multimedia. For those who do not have time or interest but prefer to read, here is a very good article:
Andy Stanley has a church network of over 30,000 people in the Atlanta area, and his church was rated the fastest-growing in America in 2014 and 2015. Recently, he has been criticized by many evangelicals for saying that we need to take the focus off the Bible and put it on the Resurrection, because he claims that gives us a firmer foundation for our faith. As Stanley put it: “We believe Jesus rose from the dead not because the Bible says so. It is way better than that! Christianity does not hang by the thread of ‘The Bible told me so’.” And: “The original version [of Christianity], the pre-Bible version, was defensible, it was endurable, it was persecutable, it was fearless, it was compassionate, and it was compelling,” but he claims “it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible”.
To read the rest, click on "Pastor Andy Stanley says the Bible is too hard to defend". We can pray for Stanley's repentance and submission to the Word of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ETWN is not Roman Catholic Enough?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

When translating the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible, Jerome had an easy-to-make but serious "oops" with Genesis 3:15, the protoevangelium, the first prophesy of the redemption of man. Most Bibles render it, "...he shall bruise you on the head (or, crush your head), and you shall bruise him on the heel". But Jerome made it say, "...she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel", as found in the Douay-Rheims Roman Catholic Bible.

Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate, and fouled up in Genesis 3:15. Roman Catholics have used this for their own mythology, yet admit the error. One self-appointed RC "prophet" isn't happy with the ETWN Catholic network over this.
The Virgin and Child (The Madonna of the Book) - Sandro Botticelli, 1480
Where can I get a hat like they have?
That mistranslation fits in well with Roman Catholic mythology where Mary is the co-redemptrix along with Jesus, which is a blatant violation of Scripture. Although the Vatican's Neo-Vulgate corrected the error, Catholics still managed to force-fit poor Mary into the text, since she gave birth to Jesus. If you study on it for a spell, you'll see that RC theologians have managed to weave a tangled web of deception that can be torn down by examination of the Bible.

The Eternal Word Television Network promotes Roman Catholicism, and they also admitted that Jerome did the translation of Genesis 3:15 wrong. Enter William Tapley, self-proclaimed scholar of prophesy (with experience in furniture), "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" and "Co-Prophet of the End Times". He said so, then it must be true. Tapley is Catholic, and was unhappy with ETWN's admission. Now we can let Pastor Christ Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith come in. He played some of Tapley's material and gave commentary. My recommendation is that you click here to download the episode, skip ahead to the 18 minute 37 second mark, and listen through 27 minutes 30 seconds. Or just play the whole thing if you like. For the original Tapley video, click here. But I'll give you my conclusions on him: his porch light is burning, but ain't nobody home. And how nutty can you be when another nut calls you out?