Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Aliens, Evolution, and the Bible

Right from the get-go, I want to make some things clear. I believe in UFOs in the real sense, but reject the concept that they are piloted by beings from space or a parallel universe for both scientific and theological reasons. Also, the belief that extraterrestrials exist does not make someone foolish or an unregenerate heretic. There are Bible-believing Christians who believe that God created aliens; I disagree with them, but it's not a hill to die on, you savvy? Some of us who disbelieve in ETs still like a rollicking science fiction show now and then, too.


Note that these discussions ate usually about intelligent life, not about space bugs ot other unintelligent life. Evolutionists would sat that any life forms evolved. Although we're getting ahead of ourselves since no alien life has been found, their evolution would need evidence, not assumptions.  

Belief in aliens raises theological concerns for Christians
Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net / dan
Aliens are a staple of popular culture nowadays, appearing in fiction, alleged personal encounters, UFO investigations, New Age buffet-style religion, and more. Unfortunately, believers in them are also receiving propaganda from proponents of minerals-to-machinist evolution. Since they cannot account for the origin of life on Earth, they assume it happened on one or more planets, so we'll eventually see evidence of their existence. In addition to evolution, there are other problems for Christians to consider.
A 2012 survey reported that more than a third of Americans believe aliens have visited the earth, and only about one-fifth do not (the rest were undecided). With ET believers outnumbering non-believers nearly two-to-one, the intense fascination with aliens is obvious. Aliens permeate our society, as evidenced by warm and fuzzy—and sometimes not-so-fuzzy—ETs on every Cineplex marquee.

Given all this hype, should Christians care? Does the Bible have anything to say? In case you’re worried that you might have missed the Bible’s account of an alien visitation, let me assure you that it does not actually mention ETs or flying saucers. However, as with so many other issues, biblical principles help answer whether flying saucers and ETs are real. It’s not a trivial question.
To read the rest of this article or download the MP3 version, click on "Is Belief in Alien Life Harmless?"
  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Those Who Never Heard the Gospel

A subject of debate has existed for a very long time regarding the salvation of those who never heard the gospel. It's a fair question, and many Christians have wondered about it. Misotheists have also used it for the purposes of ridicule, even though the incoherent atheistic worldview should not allow them to care about the actions of God who they claim does not exist. "Why should there be only one way to your God?" can be replied with, "God did not have to provide any way to sinful humanity, but he gives both justice and mercy".


Salvation through Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible
Credit: Pixabay / jclk8888
God's Word tells us to share the gospel, and emphasizes the importance of doing so. We must be read (1 Peter 3:15, Matt. 28:18-20). It's vital to be true to Scripture, and not resort to subjective claims of "God told me such and so", or "I was led by the Spirit". Making things up does not work, either, and we cannot assume that someone will be saved based on...wishful thinking? Good feelings? Making excuses? We must stay true to what God has revealed to us in the Bible. It is also important to use a creation foundation in this increasingly pagan evolutionary culture, as Genesis is the source of all major Christian doctrines.

What follows are two feedback articles, the second of which is a direct response to the first one. I hope you will read both of them.
Charles S. United States, writes:
It is my understanding that everyone will have an opportunity to accept or reject Christ. I am sure that down through history and even today there are people who have never had that opportunity. People in some obscure tribe who may have never even knew who Christ was. Young children and babies who had no understanding of who Christ is. My question is what happens to those people? Will they, at some future time be given the opportunity to accept or reject Christ? Will they again be born to live again as humans to have that opportunity to accept or reject Christ. I understand that once we die we no longer have that chance to accept or reject Christ. Thank you for allowing me to ask this question. I look forward to your answer.
Lita Cosner, CMI-US, responds:

Dear Charles,

Thanks for writing in. Scripture says, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This indicates that we all only have one life in which to respond to the Gospel. As I’ve said before, while the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we’d like to know about salvation, it tells us everything we need to know. With that in mind, here are a few principles which help us to think through this difficult issue.
To see the rest of Lita's response, click on "What about those who have never heard the Gospel?" The next article follows:
Among the responses to the article What about those who have never heard the Gospel?, there were some professing Christians who seemed unclear about some of the basic realities of the Gospel. We publish one reader’s comments and my responses below in the hopes that it will be edifying for those reading it, and that it may clarify biblical doctrine for those unclear on these matters.

Warren E. from New Zealand wrote:

The photo of Huka Falls is so appropriate for the article as it shows a photo taken from the walking bridge across the ‘raging torrent’. The viewer is unaware of the bridge, but nevertheless it has saved them from almost certain death! While visiting a friend and devout Jew in hospital in the 1980s, who died a few days later, I wanted to tell him about Jesus, but the Lord spoke to me and showed me a truth about John 14:6—Jesus is the only way, but some people may never know of, or see the ‘Bridge’ (Jesus) and yet God saves them through their faith in Him. My daughter died at 15 months old, and while we can and do believe she was saved, she can only enter heaven through Jesus. I believe my friend (like many living in ‘un-reached’ parts of the world) was saved through his faith in the one true God and creator and also, as he entered Heaven he saw the ‘Bridge’ over which he passed.
Lita Cosner responded:
To see her response, click on "Must we believe in Christ to be saved?"
 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Sabbath and the Christian

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

There are Christians who feel obligated to "keep the Sabbath", so they go to church and worship on Sunday. Some rigidly avoid unnecessary activity, and even shun things like sporting events and other pursuits that they consider "worldly". There are several problems with this approach. First, it is not scriptural, and more of a cultural belief. Second, the Sabbath was not changed to Sunday, it was established for the seventh day. Third and most important, Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath at all. Don't be disunderstanding me now, I'm not saying it's wrong to be church going. What I am saying is that we're not under the Law, the Mosaic Covenant.


No Sabbath required Christian church
Credit: Pixabay / tpsdave
The Sabbath has its origin in Genesis 2:3, where he rested on and sanctified the seventh day. God was the only Sabbath keeper at first. In Exodus 16:29-30, the day of solemn rest was established for Israel. See that? It was for Israel, not a universal command for all people for all time. After the Sabbath was set forth in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11), additional instructions were given in the Pentateuch. If you study on it a spell, you'll see that there is no command to worship on the seventh day. The Jews used their day off for that purpose. 

Those who insist that we keep the Sabbath forget that it is impossible to do so! There had to be a sacrifice by the priests to begin it. Also, Scripture makes it clear that we are to obey the Law in its entirety, not just Sabbath keeping, or accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection by faith, because Christ is our Sabbath (Heb. 4:8-10)! Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant, and we have the New Covenant.

We can worship on Saturday or Sunday (the Lord's Day, the day of his resurrection and the day that the disciples met together), or any day we choose; there is no "Christian Sabbath". However, we must not judge each other. Some Jewish Christians worship on Saturday, not to keep the Law, but as a witness to other Jews. I know of a church that rents space in a school and had meeting times on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.

I've been mighty free with a prairie-schooner full of bits and pieces of information, but I want to give you a couple of messages to hear. There's a bit of overlap, but each speaker gives some useful insights from his series from which each of these is drawn.

Each is free to hear online or download the MP3.

First, Pastor Chris Rosebrough's message, "How Christians Observe the Sabbath". There are also several links if you cotton to doing additional reading on the subject. Next, a no-frills page from Dr. Albert Mohler, simply entitled "Exodus 20:1-11 (Part 2)". If you want the lead-in, helpful but not required, here is Exodus 20:1-11 (Part 1). I hope you're listen to these, and possibly save this post as a resource. You may want to share it with people who are getting confused by the Hebrew Roots cults, Seventh-Day Adventists, and others.
  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

God's Written Word, Man's Hands

Something that many people have wondered about is how the Bible itself was written (aside from the vacuous "written by illiterate Bronze Age goat herders remark). After all, it is God's written Word. Did they take dictation? No, the Bible was not given to us through what is sometimes called mechanical dictation, where the writers were acting like secretaries.

Apostle Paul, Rembrandt, 1653
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is God-breathed (often translated as "inspired"), θεόπνευστος, theopneustos. We see that the personalities of the writers is evident, but that God was in control. I'll allow that it's a fair question to ask if errors crept in, since the dictation approach did not happen and they wrote in their own words. God preserved copies of Scripture through the ages, and he is also able to have guided his chosen writers. I reckon that the book we can First Corinthians is not the first letter Paul sent to them, but only the first one we have, so it could very well be that the "missing" letter is missing by God's design. Other works are referenced in the Bible that may have also been "lost" by design. That's just my own speculation, though. So, the subject is whether or not there are errors, since God used people and allowed them to express themselves in their own ways. Unfortunately, liberal theologians tell us that the Bible is not entirely true. They tend to focus on the first eleven chapters of Genesis. This raises the question: If you cannot trust some parts of Scripture, how do you know you can trust the end of the Bible, or even those verses you depend on for your salvation?
It has long been recognized that both Jesus and the apostles accepted Scripture as the flawless Word of the living God (John 10:35, 17:17; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Unfortunately, many attack this view of Scripture mainly because they assume that the human authors’ capacity to err would result in the presence of errors in Scripture. The question that needs to be asked is whether the Bible contains error because it was written by human authors.

Many people are familiar with the Latin adage errare humanum est—to err is human. For instance, what person would ever claim to be without error? For this reason, the Swiss, neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth (1886–1968), whose view of Scripture is still influential in certain circles within the evangelical community, believed that “we must dare to face the humanity of the biblical texts and therefore their fallibility.”
To read the rest, click on "Does Scripture Contain Error Because It Was Written by Humans?"
   

Friday, June 2, 2017

Importance of the Age of the Earth to Christians

Supporters of long ages are often frustrated at the way biblical creationists defend the young earth, and some even make the false claim that we claim belief in recent creation to be a requirement for salvation. To sidestep those sidewinders, we occasionally need to go on record: believers in an old earth as well as theistic evolutionists are not automatically excluded from the grace of Christ. Further, belief in recent creation is not a salvation issue, nor is acceptance of the Ussher chronology of biblical lineages. You savvy?


Age of the earth is an important issue for Christians
Credit: Freeimages / Petr Wija
There are folks who will call us "science deniers", but there's a problem in that the age of the earth is in no wise a proved scientific fact. For one thing, it is historical in nature, and not something that can be repeated and verified. Also, there are many different age-determining methods that yield different results. These methods rely on certain assumptions which determine the interpretations of the data. Essentially, we do not deny any scientific facts, but rather, the interpretations and opinions of secularists.

But so what? Why should a Christian care about the age of the earth? The main reason is that a young earth is in keeping with the teachings of Scripture. In fact, Jesus believed in a young earth. More than that, an old earth does violence to the gospel message itself, and implies that God is a liar. I'll give you a "teaser" about deep time: the Bible describes death as an enemy. Death will be removed at the final restoration. But there is a serious conflict if death was a means of God's creation, and existed before Adam's sin because what, exactly, is God restoring? Death and sickness are clearly not in our future. We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe based on our personal preferences or liberal theology, old son.
From time to time, we meet people who reject evolution and would call themselves ‘creationists’, but who, nevertheless, accept that the earth and its rocks are millions of years old. In some cases, they feel that identifying as ‘young earth creationists’ would cause them to appear foolish and that this would undermine the credibility of their Christian witness. In responding to this, I believe that it is a mistake to begin with science. Instead, I find a better approach is to talk about God, His nature and glory, His original, perfect creation and how this changed due to our sin. This helps people to see why an ancient earth cannot be reconciled with the Bible’s teaching.
To read the rest, click on "The age of the earth and why it matters". I suggest that you take a look-see at the "Related Articles" afterward, too.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Gospel and Noah's Ark

People who have little understanding of the Bible or have a low view of the authority of Scripture tend to wave off the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Regular readers have seen how a rejection of creation leads to errors all the way to Revelation, and the same thing happens when denying the Genesis Flood. What about the claim that the Flood was only local? That may seem to be a nice compromise with those who believe in long ages, but that's the opposite of the truth.

Genesis Flood was not a local event
Credit: Freeimages / Christian Carollo
I have pointed out one simple problem with people using the loco local Flood scenario. Peter discussed the global Flood (2 Peter 2:5, 3:6) and compared it to the coming Judgement by fire (2 Peter 3:7). So, if the Genesis Flood was only local, will the Judgement by fire also be just a local event? Not hardly!

More than that, the Ark is a type of Christ. When limiting the Flood, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is also being limited.
About 1,656 years after the creation of the world, God destroyed all humans, except for eight on the Ark that Noah built, and all air-breathing land animals (except those on the Ark) in a great global judgment. Many marine creatures were also destroyed—some 95 percent of all fossils found are the remains or impressions of creatures that once lived in the sea. We see evidence of this deluge all over the earth, including on the highest mountains. Mt Everest has marine fossils at its peak.
To read the rest and learn the significance, click on "Noah’s Ark and salvation — Another reason the Flood could not have been local".
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unmasking the "Holy Ghost" Movie

Unmasking the fraudulent, demonic, deceptive Holy Ghost movie

This post could be subtitled, "Why Unbelievers Hate Christians, Part 4", and is another that will probably cost me some friends. Don't that just take the rag off the bush, standing up for truth and getting professing Christians into a lather? It happened before, and it'll happen again because I seek to please God, not men, which makes me think of Galatians 1:10.

Did you know that most Americans who call themselves Christians are actually functional heretics? While this kind of news is very sad, it is also not surprising. In my experience, especially online, there are many people who profess to be Christians but have a very low view of Scripture, and very little working knowledge of it. Yet, they claim to believe it. When people fall in to deception, disregard for scriptural authority as well as biblical illiteracy are key factors.

 I run across all sorts of people while administering The Question Evolution Project. I'll see some who claim to be Christians because they liked the Son of God miniseries, the Holy Ghost movie, and some other dubious religious things (including Pages run by cultists). If I say that people like Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyere, and others preach a false gospel, they get on the prod. Well, if those folks had some spiritual knowledge and discernment, they wouldn't be following false teachers in the first place, would they? Also, I suspicion that TQEP loses followers because we uphold the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, which doesn't set well with modern churchians. They prefer feelings and experience over the written Word of God, and such things are a distraction from the truth.

Why would unbelievers hate us over the Holy Spirit? Because too many professing Christians are gullible and think that acting in an uncontrolled ecstatic manner is somehow the way God works (1 Cor. 14:33). Very often, hateful atheists will find instance of people being nutty for Jesus, and then overgeneralize that such behavior is typical of Christians.

I have to be direct here. Such people need to repent, get into the Word, and renounce false teachers. More importantly, they need to examine themselves and see if they are really saved. Don't be gambling eternity on the desire to have good feelings.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. The Holy Ghost movie is something that should cause Christians to weep because of the deceptions involved. Instead, demonic activity is cheered by people who claim to believe the Bible. (It received high marks from the Dove Foundation, which detracts from their credibility in my eyes.) If you're willing to learn the truth about this spiritual thimblerig, I have a something well worth your time.

On the "Fighting for the Faith" podcast, Pastor Chris Rosebrough spent about an hour on the Holy Ghost movie. He also embedded a video on how someone can set up a con that has all the appearances of a modern "move of the Spirit" that have nothing to do with the real Holy Spirit. This video is not from a Christian source and contains a bit of profanity, but is extremely enlightening. For the podcast and link to the video (both are free, and the podcast can be downloaded), click on "Debunking the Holy Ghost Movie". Rosebrough's podcast set up in an audio-only video format is here. I pray that you will listen carefully, and get into the Word. This is not the time for Christians to be dallying and playing at spirituality when faithfulness to God's Word is essential — as is proper discernment.