Sunday, June 17, 2018

That Awful Question about Children who Died

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is an article I did not want to write, and a subject many of us try to avoid discussing. Sadly, anguished parents and many other people want to know if their children who died early are in Heaven. They may have been lost through accidents, miscarriage (a word I detest because it implies that the loss is the woman's fault), or other reasons. For whatever cause, a child is missing.


Where do infants and small children go when they die?
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
Atheists and some uninformed professing Christians chide Bible believers, saying that infants and young children are damned because they did not make a saving profession of faith in Jesus. Such a vile, wicked claim is based on bias and woefully incomplete theology. It also impugns the integrity and mercy of God, and raises the question that Abraham asked God in Genesis 18:25.

The question of the eternal destiny of the very young is not something that is Calvinist versus Arminian theology, either. I have some problems with both camps, as many adherents seem to think that they have everything figured out in the area of theology. Sorry, but no human knows everything, even with the help of the Spirit and the written Word; some things we cannot understand fully.

Have you, as a Christian, ever known something, but cannot systematically justify it? I have always believed that young children go to Heaven, but the best I could do was say something along the lines of, "God understands, and is merciful. He does not judge unrighteously". Years ago, some people were using a witch board in the apartment across the hall. I learned later that one girl (I think she was fifteen years old) had an abortion, and asked the board if her child was in Hell. That lying demon told her that it was. I was furious!

Some Calvinists would appeal to the doctrine of election and say, "God is sovereign, and he may have predestined some for Hell for his glory". Then Arminians rail against Calvinists by saying God takes pleasure in sending infants to Hell. Both sides need to be educated, and to learn about the love of our just and holy Creator. We are all created in the image of God, and children have a special relationship to him.




Related to this is my late brother, who was born with Down Syndrome and only had the mentality of a small child. I have said in several places that my father, who did not know who he was at the end, my mother, who died of a malignant glioma, and I will have a grand reunion in Heaven. All of us will be in our right minds. Atheists and evolutionists do not have such a hope, and believe that when you die, you're worm food whose only purpose is to pass on their genes. (No wonder they're so angry and bitter.) Children who die, the mentally impaired, and others have a blessed hope, and reasoning from Scripture can help reassure the hearts of many.

Let's move on to the collection of short articles by Pastor Jesse Johnson that give tremendous insight. Special thanks to Todd Friel at Wretched for mentioning the site.


Finally, a video message from Pastor Johnson is below. You can also see it, download the audio only, and get the notes at this link. I hope this information will give people peace, hope, and confidence.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Creation and Other Miracles

Christians must necessarily presuppose not only the existence of God, but also that miracles have happened. Creation itself was a miracle. Other miraculous events, such as the Genesis Flood, involve God using what already exists but still transcending the usual workings of nature. The power of God was shown when he bodily raised Jesus from the dead.


Miracles are in the Bible, and there are some happening today.
Credit: Freeimages / Robert Linder
Unfortunately, the word miracle is vastly overused and cheapened. "I rode my horse all the way into town and he didn't go lame, it's a miracle!" No, it's not. "The boss miraculously kept the meeting to the allotted time". No miracle there either, pal. Dr. John MacArthur is much more specific:
What is a miracle? Let me give you a simple definition. A miracle is an interference with nature by a supernatural power. A miracle is something outside our box invading our little box, something outside our world coming into our world and making waves and ripples. Miracles are events in the external world wrought by the power of God. A miracle is God stepping into the universe, setting aside the normal laws of nature to do a supernature act. The Bible describes miracles usually, especially in the New Testament, in three terms: signs, wonders and mighty works. And therein you have the definition of miracles, really. They were mighty works to create wonder, to act as a sign.  
. . . 
Miracles are designed by God to invade the natural world, to show the natural world that there's a supernatural world. And if you continually try to explain miracles away by natural reasoning, what you're doing is just acting like an atheist. You're disallowing God. Miracles are mighty works to create wonder that points to God.

"The Bible Verifiable by Miracles", which is well worth reading or hearing. Free, as usual.
Miracles in the biblical sense point to God, and those in the Bible were used to establish authority and credibility of God's representatives, as well as God the Son in the Gospels. Somewhere between the claim of the car starting "miraculously" and the raising of the dead 2,000 years ago are those other miracles.

I heard a debate between an atheist and a man who had written a large book documenting healings that could realistically be explained as miraculous. The atheist rejected them because of his materialistic presuppositions and despite the evidence. There are subjective experiences that we cannot document, cannot back up our views, but we are fully convinced of God's intervention and mercy. I believe God answered our prayers and had mercy on Basement Cat, but I can't prove it. Won't even try.

Does God work any miracles today? I reject the idea that all miracles went away, not only because that is not taught in Scripture, but also from my own experiences and those of others.
As scientific creationists we can, if we are not careful, become focused on our main issue of the historical and scientific accuracy of the Creation / Fall / Flood / Tower of Babel account of Genesis 1-11 to the point that we fail to remember that our greater mission is to uphold the authority of the entire Bible. But our underlying and greatest mission as believers in Jesus is to make disciples as we go into the world. That was the last of all the commands of our Lord Jesus that we are to obey. Our effort to uphold the truth of Genesis is only one important tool that helps Christians to effectively present the gospel as being a reasonable thing for the world to believe by faith. It can enable that world which has been completely cursed by sin and “reconfigured” by paganism, postmodernism, and all sorts of other “isms,” to see that the Bible is true and that it is relevant not only to modern life but ultimately to eternity.
To read the rest, click on "God of Creation - God of Miracles".




Thursday, May 31, 2018

From the Beginning of Time

A common sentiment in love songs and starry-eyed romantics is a promise to love someone "until the end of time". They are unknowingly admitting that time itself has a beginning. There is a related idea that God was bored, sitting there doing nothing since eternity past, so he decided it was time to commence doing some creating. This view erroneously assumes that time always existed. It is fair to ask where time itself came from.


The Bible gives insights on where time came from, when it began, and when it will end.
Credit: Unsplash / Tim Aterbury
It causes some amazement when people stop to consider that Genesis 1:1 describes time, matter, and space in one verse. All three are linked. Some secularists know this, and manufacture their own atheistic creation mythologies involving the Big Bang, the "inflation theory", evolution, and so forth. Only the biblical worldview makes sense of reality.

Further, God is outside the limits of those things he created, but he steps in when he sees fit. This is difficult for us to contemplate, because were are the created being and are constrained to space, time, and matter. The beginning of time is difficult to consider, and to strain the mind further, consider that time will also come to an end.
Questions about time often arise in discussions of Genesis and Earth’s age. Could billions of years have elapsed before the “in the beginning” of Genesis 1? When did time start? Science and Scripture suggest some answers.

As one of the seven fundamental quantities of physics, time is essential to our existence. It sets “the stage on which reality plays out.” It permits possibilities to become real and allows causes to produce effects. Over time, we observe matter change state or form. People grow, learn, and get to know one another and God. Because of time, we humans get the privilege of experiencing the present, remembering the past, and hoping for the future.
It's time for you to finish reading this article by clicking on "Time and Creation".



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ulrich Zwingli, Neglected Reformer

I suppose you thought that everyone was finished with material about the Reformation. We had the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the whole thing, where Martin Luther put out his 95 theses on what was the social media of his day. 

Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli has been called the "Third Man of the Reformation"
Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli by Hans Asper, 1531 / Wikimedia Commons
The Reformation continued developing and theology was being refined. Newer Reformers appeared on the scene, and not all were in agreement. Sincere, thinking people will disagree (just like not all biblical creationists are in lockstep). Ulrich Zwingly is often tacked on as an afterthought to Christian history, which is unfortunate. He upheld the authority of Scripture and was in trouble for disputing Papal decrees. This was not just a dispute over religion, but was a threat to governmental authority at the time. One reason I delayed posting this was to make an emphasis about how Zwingly is neglected.
[S]trangely, one of the leaders of the Reformation, often called the “Third Man of the Reformation” (behind Luther and Calvin) is often omitted. That man was Ulrich Zwingli (sometimes spelled Huldrych Zwingli). Due to his death early in the Reformation, he seems to have been largely forgotten or relegated to passing mentions in books covering this time period. This is unfortunate, as Zwingli had (and still has) a profound effect on Protestant theology. The Reformers’ aim was to point people back to the authority of Scripture, to encourage the translation of the Bible in the common tongue of the people, and to reject any tradition or man-made teaching that contradicted Scripture. Zwingli was passionate for these principles.
To read the article in its entirety, click on "The Forgotten Reformer—Ulrich Zwingli".
 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

You Cannot Be Neutral

Neutral is useful for machines and a color palette, but for people, not so much.

You can be neutral about a variety of topics, but that kind of neutrality is often hitched up in the team with apathy and ignorance, among others. Will Manchester United win the next FA Cup? I neither know nor care, so I'm neutral. Do you have an opinion on my picture of the Catskill Mountains near the Ashokan Reservoir, or are you neutral. I'm neutral about your opinion.



When emotions are involved, it becomes more difficult to remain neutral. From there, we have matters of involving spirituality, origins, and so forth. Whether atheists and evolutionists believe it or not, they have faith-based positions just like Christians have.

When discussing God, the Bible, creation, evolution, and other things, unbelievers often say that they want to "leave God out of it" and to discuss on "neutral ground". Sorry, pilgrim, you cannot be neutral. As the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen said about people who want you to be neutral, "They're not, and you shouldn't be". This is not about evidence, as you can "one up" each other until the cows come home. Instead, it is a spiritual matter — something that secularists deny. Why do you think secularists defend evolution so much? It is their creation myth, which is foundational for atheism.

The neutral ground plea is actually getting you to admit that the Bible is not true about the heart of sinful man. We presuppose the Bible is true, and they want us to drop our presuppositions and deny Scripture, instead standing on their naturalistic presuppositions. Someone may demand that we "prove that God exists using evidential or scientific means", but God has already said that they know he exists (Romans 1:18-23). Also, to attempt such a proof, that the Creator, who is spirit and is not confined to space and time that he created, can be materially proven is a logical fallacy called the category error. Not going to do that, old son.

The unbeliever has a worldview through which he or she filters evidence, just like we have. But when you're talking, they are often telling themselves (or maybe telling you as well), "That's not true!" or even calling you a liar because they do not like what you say. They cannot logically refute it, and their worldview is threatened, so they get on the prod. Be firm, and do not compromise on your stand. An honest enquirer is more likely to respect you and be open to Scripture. For a more complete explanation, here is an article that makes some excellent points.
Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matt. 12:30).

Those seeking to secularise society often claim that their position is the most reasonable because it is the only one that’s neutral—the only one that’s free from influences arising from religious beliefs. Prominent among these is Jonathan Miller, who rejects the label, ‘atheist’, describing himself simply as a ‘disbeliever’. This, of course, implies that he has no belief. How ridiculous! As someone who doesn’t believe in a creator, he must believe the alternative—that life arose by only natural processes. As someone who does not believe in God, he must believe that there is nobody to whom we are morally accountable. Presumably, as an ardent Darwinist, he also believes along with Richard Dawkins that we are no more than ‘survival mechanisms—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.
To finish reading, click on "The myth of neutrality". For something that is not easy but very enlightening, a 49-minute video of Dr. Greg Bahnsen, "The myth of neutrality". (I used a YouTube-to-MP3 online converting service so I could listen to it instead of watching.)



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Apostasy, Deconversion, and Atheism

There are people who have actively chosen to leave the Christian faith, using a pretense of intellectual and even moral superiority to those who do believe. Some professing atheists claim that they are "former Christians". These riders of the owlhoot trail exhibit little or no accurate knowledge of the Christian faith, however, and often attack Bible believers, even seeking to destroy us in the public square. Especially biblical creationists, as they need evolution in atheism.


Atheists, compromising Christians, and others rebel against God
Credit: Pixabay / Edward Lich
Although atheism is a blatant rebellion against God, another form of rebellion is to "deconvert" from orthodox beliefs. Michael Gungor used to believe in creation, then went on to theistic evolution, and went on record rejecting the inerrancy of the Bible. Singer Don Francisco came out rejecting inerrancy as well. Some pastors and teachers who held to the Bible's teaching on homosexuality jumped on the compromise wagon. Karl Giberson does not exhibit much knowledge of Christianity, and prefers to promote his religion of evolutionism. Andy Stanley is rebelling against Scripture, and seems to be getting worse. What I have seen in many cases is when people rebel against God, their compromises lead them to further apostasy.

Whether it is an atheist, theistic evolutionist, theological compromiser, or something else, it is frequent that these people who jumped the fence to run to their false freedom try to convert others to their way of thinking. Atheists flat-out seek to destroy the faith of Christians, and the others are more subtle, trying to "reason" with others to join them in their slide toward apostasy. Note that quite often, any of these types will play the victim card.

One that made news early in 2018 is Jen Hatmaker. She claims the moral high ground, and shreds Scripture while trying to gain converts to her viewpoint. Thanks to The Domain for Truth for the link to this article.
When it comes to reaching the “lost,” one of the most tried-and-true methods is the personal conversion story. Whether done privately or publicly, it’s compelling to hear about how someone came to believe in the truth of the gospel and the Bible. Such testimonies can personalize and soften the message so it is more easily understood and received.

But when it comes to reaching the “found,” there’s an equally effective method—and this is a method to which the evangelical church has paid little attention. It’s what we might call the de-conversion story.

De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians. And their purpose is to convince them that their outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent. A person simply shares his testimony of how he once thought like you did but have now seen the light.
To read the rest of this very interesting and informative article, click on "Jen Hatmaker and the Power of De-Conversion Stories". For a related article, you may also appreciate "Pain, Disappointment, and Apostasy".



Thursday, May 10, 2018

Logic and the Bible 2: Unbliblical Worldviews

In "Logic and the Bible", we saw that the three main laws of logic are impossible without God. That does not mean a requirement to believe in God's existence, or to be a believer in Jesus Christ is necessary for logic to work. However, it works because God exists, whether someone believes or not. Now we can saddle up for another part of our journey.


people will try to generate excuses to get around the necessity of God for logic to exist
Credit: Freeimages / Drew Pendleton
It seems like we should be able to file this under "Completed", but some folks will not be satisfied with what Dr. Lisle said before. Just as we see Darwin's disciples use rescuing devices even after deep time and evolution are shown to be insufficient, people try to get around the necessity of God for logic to exist.

We cannot assume laws of logic exist because of our experiences, because we may have faulty memories, be deluded, and the irrational assumption that logic will be the same in the future. There is also the claim that logic is a convention; that is, the laws exist because we agree on them. That doesn't work, because other people may come up with their own logic systems and expect them to be true, but that cannot happen. Someone else may say that laws of logic are simply the way the universe is, and there is no need for God the Creator. Since the universe keeps changing, there is no reason to expect the laws of logic to remain constant. 
We saw previously that the Bible can make sense of laws of logic and their properties, and that the three laws of thought are rooted in the nature of God.  However, non-biblical worldviews cannot make sense of laws of logic or their properties.  As one example, consider materialism: the belief that all things that exist are physical and extended in space.  It is quite obvious that materialism cannot make sense of abstract laws because abstract things are non-material, and the materialist does not allow for the existence of the non-material.  But really, any worldview that denies the Bible cannot make sense of the existence and properties of laws of logic.  Why should there be abstract laws that govern all correct reasoning?  Who decides what these laws are?  Why would such laws be universal, and invariant?  Even if a person were to presume that laws of logic existed and had all these properties, how could that person possibly know that laws of logic are such?  What are some possible ways in which the non-Christian might attempt to account for laws of logic?

My remarks are just an overview, but you can read Dr. Jason Lisle's more detailed explanations about those points and more. I'd be much obliged if you'd read the rest by clicking on "The Failure of Unbiblical Worldviews to Justify Laws of Logic".