Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Most Self-Absorbed Generation?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

It has been said that every generation has a dim view of subsequent generations, but seldom with good reason. Some of this frowning is based on rejection of cultural traditions, changing etiquette, new methods of socialization, and other less consequential areas. More importantly, however, is the way morality has declined, as have critical thinking skills, in younger generations. This is very apparent in the group called the Millennials.

I'd better reign in for a spell and make a couple of points. First, sometimes we just have to say that when discussing a people group, generalities are necessary. Second, while stereotypes exist for a reason, I'm not saying everybody in younger generations (or whatever group I'm talking about) behave, think, believe, or whatever according to their age, ethnic group or demographic. People can't be pigeonholed so neatly, you savvy?


The Millennials are the most narcissistic generation, celebrating sin and denying science
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
A recent sermon called "Lovers of Self" inspired this here article. In fact, I listened to it a second time and took notes. Before I give you the link, I'm going to get the bit in my teeth and run off in my own direction.

Now, I don't cotton to putting handles on generations. Beginning in the 20th century, generations were given labels and time periods that are imprecise. The "Lost Generation" refers to people who "came of age" during World War I, followed by the "GI Generation" (also called the "Greatest" by some) because they lived during World War II. This was followed by the "Silent Generation". I'm tagged as a member of the "Baby Boomers", a group name that I loathe. "Generation X" follows, and I reckon they were low on ideas for names by then.

Of course, "Generation Y" (the Millennials) follows, and that's where I'll stop the list because they are the main subject under discussion. Let's backtrack a bit first.

Sexual promiscuity and experimentation (as well as drug abuse) of the 1960s and after were actually rebellion against God's standards of morality. Someone might object and say that they were innocent back then. Not hardly! Also, the 60s were not just peace, love, and grooviness, but rebellion against "squares" and "the establishment" was not just sexual, but included domestic terrorism and other forms of violence. Seeds were sown for later generations.

Sin does not spontaneously begin in a generation. It began with Satan's pride (Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:12-19), and he appealed to Eve's pride (Gen. 3:6) and then Adam, bringing death and sin into the world (Rom. 5:12). There have been no "good" periods in history, but nowadays, sin has been rapidly increasing. Seems to me that the violence, stupidity, and false beliefs from previous generations intensify as time goes on, and bad behavior from the younger ones feed back into older ones to some extent. Especially in secularized cultures.

The Millennials seem to be leading the charge to embrace postmodernism and the destruction of the family unit, and to reject morality — especially biblical morality. While demographics for professing atheists are rather tenuous (including the fact that some "atheists" do not know what atheism means, as some even believe that God exists), it appears that atheism increases among Millennials. (Due to the narcissistic nature of both groups, this is hardly surprising.) This rejection of morality is seen in the celebration of abortion, homosexuality, transsexualality, and other impairments that are both mental and spiritual in nature.

In Paul's second epistle to Timothy, he wrote a list of things of how people would be in the last days. The top of the list in 2 Tim. 3:2 is lovers of self. This is a primary characteristic of Millennials which I believe far surpasses that of previous generations. Millennials are the most secularized generation, and Americans in this age range reflect the intolerance and totalitarianism of Europeans. They support socialism and globalism as well as the moral and spiritual deficiencies already mentioned. It's ironic when people will call someone a "fascist" because they dislike him or her (or a particular group), but have no idea what that word means. (It's also ironic to be called a fascist by a Brit who should know what fascism did to Europe and the rest of the world.) Millennials are primarily leftists as well as deniers of their Creator's authority. They do not tolerate people expressing, or even holding, views that disagree with theirs. Notice the leftist tantrums thrown when elections and votes do not go their way. There are complaints, tears, rioting, burning of dumpsters, irrational complaints to and by the secular press — and an observer can find Millennials in the thick of it.

Hatred of the Christian faith is another characteristic of Millennials, since they are confronted with the reality that they are sinners and God makes the rules, not them. That hurts their pride. I've noticed that this age group especially hates biblical creation science, and will fight red in tooth and claw to believe in the pagan religion of evolutionism, which is, in turn, foundational to the religion of atheism. Darwin requires huge amounts of time, so long-age uniformitarianism is also defended against contrary evidence. Children are born with a belief in the Creator, so evolutionary indoctrination is accelerating. A young earth as well as the Genesis Flood, which was God's judgment, are denied outright as well as ridiculed. Interesting that Scripture seems to warn us about those things as well in 2 Peter 3:3-6. We are also told about the coming Judgment that will be by fire (2 Peter 3:7).

Another aspect that I've seen regarding the Millennials is a profound absence of logical thinking (which seems to be common among secularists). Interesting that Darwin's devotees will call biblical creationists "science deniers" because we reject evolution. That is irrational, and based on the equivocation of science with evolution. No, we use science every day. There are many examples of logical fallacies from the hands at the Darwin Ranch (over yonder by Deception Pass) which I've documented many times elsewhere. Unfortunately — tragically — far too many Christians are unable to engage in critical thinking, and are buffaloed by obstreperous atheists and fundamentalist evolutionists who assert their presuppositions as if they were proven facts, and have a terrible view of knowledge itself. Know what and why you believe, people, and how to present it (1 Peter 3:15). The world does not need uninformed, feckless professing Christians who cannot understand their own faith.

I am sorry to say that lack of critical thinking is not only a characteristic of Millennials, atheists, and leftists. Professing Christians show a lack of logic in many ways. Some will jump on a bandwagon and either love or hate a person because it's trendy, and someone they like told them what to think. Pastor Dour has a sermon based on tradition and opinion, and his followers believe what he says, not checking his source material or the Bible. Professor Liberalwhiskers starts using selective citing to denigrate Scripture, saying the Bible is unreliable, and people believe him because he has his doctorate. Doctor Mystuff claims to be a Christian, but teaches that evolution is true, there was no Genesis Flood, evolution is a fact, and Earth is billions of years old. People believe him because he's a "scientist", and put their Bibles on the shelf while they slide into apostasy, and even side with atheists against those of us who actually believe the Bible. Happy Heretic makes people feel good, and twists Scripture to "prove" his points. People buy his books that have no gospel in them.

Meanwhile, biblical creationists are trying to encourage Christians to learn critical thinking skills and spot logical fallacies, as well as proper apologetic methods. Reasoning abilities apply to being able to biblically discern false teachings, and encourage people to require evidence instead of blindly following the declarations of those in error. My own skeptical nature and developing thinking skills prompted me to ask my Christian school teachers, "Where does it say that? How do you know...?" Made them work, and it helped my own doctrinal discernment. Come on, Christians! We need to think and to believe our Bibles — and put what we read into practice (James 1:22).

Want to know who the real science deniers are? Those who redefine marriage from what God ordained, and also assert that a transgendered "man" can "give birth", and call it a miracle. What ineffable twaddle! Gender "reassignment" is denial of science. Listen up, old son. A vote, court ruling, or anything else cannot change the reality of marriage, and bodily mutilation, hormones, social approval of perversion or anything else cannot make a man into a woman, or vice versa.

God made you. We are created in God's image. Someone can be angry about how they were born, but it's utterly senseless to say that they "feel like" the opposite sex. You were born the way you are, and have no way of knowing what it feels like to be what you are not. Apparently, that is too difficult for Millennials and others who rebel against God to understand.

A whole heap of repentance is in order. People are going to a terrible eternity, and we need to stand for the gospel message — beginning from the first verse of the Bible.

I strongly recommend the sermon that was the impetus behind this article. It's free, and called "Lovers of Self" by Dr. James White, and runs about 45 minutes. You can get that at this Sermon Audio link. You can listen online or download the MP3. If you click the download button, it will ask for you to sign up. Click "maybe later" and it will commence downloading.
 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Variation on the Question of Cain's Wife

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

One of the most common questions in biblical creation science apologetics is, "Where did Cain get his wife?" I'll allow that it's a fair question, especially to people who are unfamiliar with having this kind of material presented in more than a cursory manner. On the other hand, we get folks visiting The Question Evolution Project that want to ridicule us and waste our time with insincere questions that they could easily look up themselves on biblical creationary sites. Those people inspired this graphic, and now I have an excuse to show it off:



However, I do not believe that the question that I awakened to this morning was intended to mock or waste time. But if so, it was interesting and I hope my answer will be useful to the enquirer and other readers. 

Corey asked,
I'm sure most of us will agree that a 4.5 billion year old Earth or a 70 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex is such a shot in the dark based on assumptions that you may as well say any figure and believe it. My interest is to ask what people think about this: Cain said, 'I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.' So who were these people that could find him that didn't know who he was?
His question was more in depth than the one about Cain's wife, noting that there were other people on Earth as well, and they might be on the prod about Cain slaying Abel. What follows is an expanded version of the reply I gave him.

There are many articles related to the question, "Where did Cain get his wife?", but unfortunately, I could not find any that specifically addressed your concern. Many links would give you bits and pieces, but that's tedious. (I thought I could easily find a link for you, then I realized that I had heard it the subject in a sermon/podcast by someone somewhere maybe in the last month. Not helpful.) 

Remember that Cain was a liar and a murderer (Gen. 4:8-9), had been confronted, and punishment was pronounced (Gen. 4:10-12). Scripture does not tell us if he was trying to get sympathy out of God or trying to be manipulative in his complaint (Gen. 4:13-14). Even so, God marked him so that he would not be killed by someone else (Gen. 4:15). I should add that we have no idea about the "mark of Cain", but it was specifically for the man himself and not his descendants (who were probably wiped out in the Genesis Flood). Yes, some sidewinders take that verse out of context to justify white supremacy.

I think the central question, related to the one about where Cain got his wife, is the origin of these other people. Cain took his wife and newborn son, and built a city (Gen. 4:17). It's reasonable to think that there must have been people around to put it to good use. When Cain said, "Whoever sees me..." would have contained a grain of truth. The Bible is not as linear in its narratives as our modern sensibilities may prefer; only four people were named at this point, and we don't learn about others until after Cain lit a shuck out of there.

When we read "the begats", we may tend to neglect certain aspects. Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters —

"Wait, Cowboy Bob. You're telling us that Cain married his sister?!? I admit my sis is kind of cute, but I ain't touching her!"

Yes, I'm saying Cain married his sister, or another close relative. God told Adam and Eve, and therefore mankind, to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). They were genetically perfect. (Just between us, the perfect people produced the woman that Cain would marry, and since they were perfect, whatcha wanna bet that she was a "hot babe", especially after Adam's apparently joyous outburst at their first meeting in Gen. 1:22-23?) God said, "...for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Some owlhoots say that the Bible is not true or that God was lying, because when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they did not drop dead on the spot. Sin entered the world through Adam, and death through sin (Rom. 5:12-14); the more precise translation of God's words is, "Dying you shall die". The death process began, and people did eventually die — as we well know.

So, there were people, and they had long life spans. Lots of people appeared from the first couple and their offspring as time went on. They married close relatives until God said, "All right, cut it out" much later, in Exodus (correction, Leviticus 18:6-18 and other verses). In addition to variations in people, genetic degradation was more pronounced, and genetic entropy was increasing.

Ever notice that people complain about close relatives getting hitched up and making babies in early chapters of the Bible, but don't bat an eye when Darwin, Einstein, and others in more recent (and far more degraded times) married close relatives? Just a thought.

So, we don't really know certain things related to Corey's question. Cain may have been using hyperbole in his complaints to God, or his concerns about retribution may have had some merit. The children of the first parents would have, by necessity, married close relatives. Genetic degradation was beginning and increasing, and God put a stop to marrying close relatives later.
 

For additional reading, and I encourage people who want to know more to search the sites recommended below:

I hope and pray that the materials are helpful to all y'all.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Unbelievers Use Word Games to Reject the Bible

It is common for people to use tropes and exaggeration to make a point, even when the original meaning has changed or been forgotten. I referred to my current employer as the Thieves Guild because they cheat employees out of their pay. People can pick up the meaning even if they are unaware that the term came from various fantasy stories, and is used in role-playing games. My wife likes to put peanuts outside for the blue jays, nuthatches, and titmouses. A few minutes ago, she did this, and told me, "I had 500 blue jays out there!" Uh, no. She was using exaggeration to add color and make her point.

Writers of the Bible used expressions that were not meant to be literal (such as sunrise and sunset, words that are regularly employed by many people who know full well that the sun does not actually rise or set). Some owlhoots are playing the "Gotcha!" game by saying that phenomenological language means the Bible has errors. This somehow gives them license to insert different meanings into the text so they can justify their beliefs.


Mostly made at Glass Giant
We expect atheists to contrive various excuses to claim that the Bible is untrue, but there are professing Christians who commence to badmouthing the Bible so they can justify deep time, theistic evolution, and other things. In a 2005 debate with Dr. John Crossnan, Dr. James White said something better than I have done: "In my experience, those who argue against the authenticity of the gospel accounts always do so in defense of a preexisting commitment to a particular religious or anti-religious viewpoint." In this case, people are denigrating Scripture so they can believe things that it doesn't say. They claim to believe the Bible, but like atheists, they reject its authority.
Denis Lamoureux seeks to resolve perceived contradictions between science and Scripture by persuading that Scripture is not inerrant, but is infallible in doctrine, and he reasons that the phenomenological language defense (as he terms it) fails to recognize the impact of ancient science upon the text. This is in contrast to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, which argues that phenomenological language does not invalidate the inerrancy of the Bible. Lamoureux describes himself as a “literal non-literalist,” but his work exhibits a certain naïveté about lexical semantics (along with a number of other hermeneutical issues undergirding his analysis). The problems with Lamoureux’s analysis can be seen, for example, in his analysis of the mustard seed motif in the gospels, and a wholly inadequate understanding of the idiomatic nature of hyperbole. But, more telling is his failure to recognize the impact that ancient science might have on the terminology used to describe natural phenomenon. This problem is best demonstrated by the impact that ancient theories of biology on the semantic domain of the words translated “heart” in the Bible. This being the case, his arguments against the inerrantist position loses much of its force.
To read the rest, click on "Phenomenological Language and Semantic Naïveté".
   

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Signs in the Heavens and Prophetic Significance

In one respect, this post will be outdated very quickly, as September 23, 2017 will come and go. However, the principles that are expressed in the articles linked below are applicable to other events as well as the excitement and confusion they will generate.


A blood moon is a common occurrence. A tetrad of them less so. Neither means the end of the world.
Credit: Pixabay / Ulrike Bohr
Although the Bible clearly tells us that no one can know the time of Christ's return, some folks like to commence to doing "date setting", and think they've figured out some special message or code. These consistently fail. Yes, Genesis 1:14 has the word "signs", but that is not a call to use the heavens for divination on Revelation instead of their real purpose: timekeeping. 

"But there's a tetrad of blood moons!"

Yes, the moon turns read during a lunar eclipse. Has to do with refraction. The four blood moons thing has happened before, too. Pass the cheese curls, willya?

"The sun will be in Virgo, the sun and some planets will be in it, and Virgo means Mary the mother of Jesus!"

That constellation has been known by many names, and there is no reason to believe it refers to Mary. The sun and planets go into that constellation all the time. Got any more spinach dip?

"Three planets in Leo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, makes the number of stars in it up to twelve!"

You may be unclear on the concept of a constellation, old son. It is based on our view from Earth, but there are many more stars out yonder than we see here. Stargazers picked out certain stars and "saw" Leo (an ornery cuss, and has no real association with Jesus), but had to ignore other visible stars. Yes, planets were considered "wandering stars" in days gone by, but to add three planets to bring the total of Leo's stars up to twelve is really reaching. Can I have a slice of that pizza?

"But there's an ancient gospel in the stars!" No, not really. That concept has been discredited. Trying to Christianize astrology is not a good idea. Stay away from divination and other occult practices, God hates that stuff. Do you have any antacid on hand? I ate too much of your food.

Stargazing is fun and educational. If you're in areas that frequently get cloudy, have difficulty in traveling, or something else, you can do a form of it on your computer. Here is some astronomy software, and I see that Stellarium and Celestia are freeware that get recommendations.
From time to time, sensational claims hit the media that the world will end, or the Rapture will come, because of some supposed coming event. Now CMI is not an end-times ministry, for reasons stated in End-times and Early-times, so what follows is not specific to any eschatological view. In general, one wonders what part of the following words of Jesus are so hard to understand:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36 ESV).

But apparently these soi-disant prophets know better than Jesus, God the Son and the Incarnate Word (and see Hypostatic Union: Did Jesus know when he was coming back?). Added to that hubris is usually a basic ignorance of astronomy.
To finish reading, click on "Will the world end on 23 September? — How to think about doomsday scenarios", which has quite a few links for further reading. Also, you may want to see a similar article, "What Will Happen on September 23, 2017?" Just for fun, come back here and re-read this post after that date.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Genesis and the Fall of Man

Liberal theologians and compromising theistic evolution sidewinders (you can't get more liberal and compromising than an "evolutionary creationist") have bushwhacked Scripture for many years. They cannot tolerate the creation account in the first two chapters of Genesis, so they say that it was allegory or myth. But that's not enough for some folks, and they attack the doctrine of the Fall in the third chapter of Genesis.


Although Genesis 3 does not say words like guilt and sin, the clear teaching of those concepts is there.
Credit: Pixabay / Activedia
These compromisers are telling us that that the Fall was not in Genesis, but was added later on. One contention is that certain words were not in the third chapter, such as guilt and sin. Those words do not need to be there, since the concepts are clearly taught. Further, if you study on it, you'll see that original sin is affirmed elsewhere in Scripture, as are death and the Curse. They need death before sin so they can force in millions of years and evolution. That's eisegesis, old son, and does violence to a heap of doctrines — including the gospel message.
Critical scholars have long rejected Genesis 3 as an accurate account of actual events, such as the Creation and Fall of man. However, in the recent debate over the historical Adam, many professing evangelicals, and once-professing evangelicals, who have adopted the methods and conclusions of critical secular scholarship, have pointedly argued that the doctrine of the Fall, which teaches original sin, is not original to the text of Genesis 3. These scholars see the doctrine of the Fall and original sin as an invention the church Father Augustine of Hippo (354-430) read into the text. In the recent book Adam and the Genome, which rejects a historical Adam, theologian Scot McKnight argues:
You can read what Scot says and the rest of the article by clicking on "'In Adam’s Fall We Sinned All': Does Genesis 3 Teach the Fall of Man?
  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rapid Plant Growth in Creation Week

Seems like some professing Christians look for excuses to shove long ages into the plain reading of Scripture (like some atheists, who claim to reject it altogether), but the only way to get millions of years out of the Bible is to first put them into it through eisegesis. It's interesting that these same people claim to believe other miraculous things, especially the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but they get all het up about Genesis. Never could figure why they want to compromise on the Word of God, but I suspicion it's to look smart in the eyes of secularists.

Plants grow slowly now, does not mean they were slow in creation week
Credit: Freeimages / Viktors Kozers
I reckon that it's a fair question, though to wonder about plants can accelerate from zero to fruit in such a short time. Part of their confusion may occur from expecting that plant growth then should be like plant growth now. If you study on it, you'll realize that we're talking about creation week — the whole thing is a series of miracles in a context of literal days. To say that days mean long ages or that plants need a long time to grow so God doesn't mean what he clearly says is plenty inconsistent.
One critic of 24-hour creation days has argued, “if the author were thinking here of 24-hour periods of time, what he would have to be imagining would be something like time lapse photography where the little seed bursts out of the ground and then erupts into this tree, grows up and pops out blossoms all over and then bam! bam! bam! all the apples pop out on the tree. I just can’t persuade myself that this is what the author was thinking of—that he imagined this looking like a film being run on fast forward.”
That owlhoot was using the fallacy of the argument from incredulity, but we'll leave that alone right now. To read the entire article, plant yourself in front of "Foliage in fast forward — Why rapid plant growth during creation week poses no threat to the biblical timeframe".
  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Real Reasons to Care about the Environment

Many of us see and hear about caring for the environment, please recycle, do not litter, watch your water usage, and so on. Nowadays, it seems that most people have a semblance of concern for nature and the environment as a whole, but it wasn't so long ago that stupid and greedy people were forced to stop polluting through legislation and fines. Of course, there are those who have evolutionary and socialist viewpoints upon which they base their interest for the environment. Some are muy loco en la cabeza, seeing humans as a plague on Earth and want to see us killed off!

Tinker Falls New York a part of God's creation
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / javajoe6 / CC BY-SA 3.0
We can agree with evolutionists that this planet is all we have, and we'd best be taking care of it. But the motivation of Christians is mighty different. We are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and Earth was created to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). Earth was not created for us to act like polecats and trash the place. After all, it was not only created to remind us of our Creator (Romans 1:18-23), we have a job to do: we're stewards of creation. Go back to Genesis and see that God began with putting Adam in the Garden to work it (Genesis 2:15).
Before knowing Christ, my affections had revolved around earth’s beauty and her creatures. I held two views. First, I was biocentric. Because of my background in biology, I saw how all organisms were interrelated. . .

Second, I was also an ecocentrist. I focused on the interconnectedness of nature and how our survival depends on being in harmony with nature. . . I “knew” that, if nothing else, spaceship earth was all there was, and we must do all in our power to save her.

As my relationship with the Creator grew, I realized that my belief in the natural world as the source of all value was wrong and a form of idolatry. So I rejected both views.
You can read the entire narrative in context (or listen to the free audio version), and get some interesting information on creation care perspectives, by clicking on "Caring About Creation for the Right Reasons".
 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Christians and Big Lies

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is one of those articles that I do not cotton to writing. Not only is it likely to cost me "followers", friends, and associates, but the whole thing is painful to deal with. Specifically, Christians behaving so badly that I don't want to be named among them.

Also, I'm going to leave names out of this, because I'm not calling people out for heresy, such as in 2 Tim. 4:14-15, 3 John 1:9-10, and elsewhere. It may come to that, because demonstrably false claims about brothers in Christ have been made, and sin needs to be exposed. Not sure that my doing so will be helpful, though. Christians who are in certain circles will know who I'm discussing, but I'd rather stick with principles at this point. Besides, when I spend many hours searching for web documentation that may or may not be available tomorrow, people tend to ignore the supporting links anyway.

Looks like I need to make up some names so we can keep things clear. Are you paying attention, Hoss? I'm making up names. That means if someone else has the same name I'm using here, it ain't him.

Christians are called to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3), and there are large sections of the Bible that warn about false teachers and apostasy. Some folks don't seem to know about these things, and have an "everybody gets to Heaven anyway, so let's just get along" attitude. Those who do know about taking a stand for the faith often get on the prod and want to slap leather with people who disagree with them, whether over small things or serious matters of the faith. In their zeal and pride, they commence to misrepresenting and even lying about other Christians, then recruit others into their causes. Then people are shooting at anything that moves, and disaster ensues.


Christians against Christians leads to a lot of  pain
Smoke of a .45, Charles Marion Russell, 1908 / Wikimedia Commons
John Wheeler (first made up name) is an ordained minister, teacher, author, has an online ministry that includes live webcasts, debates with people of various persuasions, and more. Although I don't agree with everything he says, I respect him and have learned a great deal from him. Mr. Wheeler has a heart for Mohammedans, and wants to accurately learn about their beliefs for the purposes of not only debate, but especially for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Brian Hoffman is an author, has a daily radio program, believes in teaching biblical doctrine, emphasizes the moral law and true repentance, and uses his online organization as a way to help Christians understand the importance of a biblical worldview. He knows which end of a Bible is up.

Some of Hoffman's theology differs from Wheeler's (and vice versa, obviously), but neither party presents heretical views. I don't think they even have heterodox views, either. I've found warnings against both people online where they are called "deceivers" and need "repudiation". Unfortunately, this kind of thing comes from people who believe that their narrow view of Scripture is the correct view, and dissenters need a good slapping down. No grace, no tolerance, no kindness in nonessentials, but a passel of vituperation — often yoked with horrible misuse of the Bible.

I need to holler whoa for a moment. In apologetics, and especially in biblical creation apologetics, we emphasize critical thinking. That doesn't mean what some people may think: looking for reasons to think and speak negatively. Instead, it means to think rationally. We want people to be able to spot bad reasoning and catch on when they're being led down a primrose path to faulty conclusions. Christians must add the desire and ability to think biblically to their critical thinking skills.

We have two men with ministries and desire to do outreach, but have theological differences. It happens. Sincere believers disagree on some things. I think that in a discussion with each of these guys, they would enthusiastically agree with me on some things, and want to slap some "sense" into me on others. I'm still learning, and no human has all the answers, but there are people who think more highly of themselves and their worldview than is appropriate.

I've learned from John Wheeler something that I believe is very important, not just in apologetics, but in serious discussions as well. He believes in learning the opposing view so he can avoid misrepresenting it. (Watch or listen to some formal debates with atheists, who are constantly using logical fallacies against Christians and creationists. Especially misrepresentation. It's one of their favorites.) Christians need to be accurate when we address opposing viewpoints, whether in debates, discussions, articles, lectures, or whatever. If we're attacking a position that someone does not hold (and therefore, does not need to defend) or we are using logical fallacies, we are not being good ambassadors of Christ. Learning the opposing viewpoint is very important with detailed witnessing to people in cults and other religions. You don't have to be an expert on everything, and you can share the gospel and what the Bible clearly teaches. When you don't know someone else's view, admit it.

On the receiving end, I've been challenged to "debates" from atheistic evolutionists who constantly misrepresent what I say, what creationists teach, what the Bible says, and more. Lack of knowledge, lack of respect (I should add bullying and abuse as well) certainly do not motivate me to expend time and intellectual energy on people like that. If they want to ask something, that's different (1 Peter 3:15).

Time for a side trail. How did Jesus respond to sinners? He was friendly, treated them like people (Luke 19:10, Matt. 11:18-19), and did not quirt them into submission. Unbelievers are at enmity with God, but that does not justify our getting all uppity and treating them like horse apples. We were lost sinners as well, saved by the grace of God (Rom. 6:23, Eph. 2:8-9). How can we reach the lost by being as pleasant as a burlap bag full of rattlesnakes? It most certainly is not biblical!

Mr. Wheeler has had formal debates with Mohammedans, and has done so in a knowledgeable, respectful manner. He also had a dialogue, an informal conversation with a Mohammedan scholar. This was done in a church setting, but not as part of a worship service. (I believe a similar conversation happened in a mosque.) Some people were outraged, others were less bothered by the location. Phil Johnson, associate of Dr. John MacArthur and executive director of Grace to You, said that they do not use the worship area for unrelated activities is because "...the facility is dedicated to the proclamation of God’s Word and the corporate worship of God’s people . . . this is one of the ways we keep a sharp focus on what we as a church are most committed to". Personally, I think it can be used for debates and so on, but I respect Mr. Johnson's views.

Five or six months after Wheeler had these discussions, Mr. Hoffman and others who saddled up to ride with him began circulating some outlandish material that Wheeler was promoting Chrislam. That claim is false. Worse, Hoffman was posting a video clip that was incriminating Wheeler — but he edited out very important comments before and after the segment that he used! I have to be blunt: such manipulated information is lying. I'm not talking about the kind of "lying" that some people disingenuously redefine, where they are unwilling to distinguish disagreement from deception. No, this is definite deception going on.

Hoffman has his disciples who took his word for what happened, and refused to give Wheeler a fair hearing. If they did, they would see the deceptions perpetrated by Hoffman. Other people in various outfits circled the wagons and joined in the defamation of Wheeler — they, too, were being dishonest. The whole thing turned into a witch hunt (see "Season of the Witch Hunt" for similar topics). Hoffman did not give Wheeler a fair hearing or allow him a chance to discuss what had happened. (One "journalist" was questioned by John Wheeler as to why he did not investigate what Wheeler actually said, and was told that he did not need to, because Wheeler is wrong!) Some people went to Brian Hoffman's social media sites to correct him, but were banned.

This is where we lasso the critical thinking that I mentioned above. When presented with sensationalistic claims, it's best to do some investigation and find out the facts for yourself. Sometimes, it is easily done, but in cases like this one, podcasts must be heard and articles must be read; getting the accuser's version and blatantly rejecting additional information is irrational and dishonest. These folks need to read the verses about Christian love for the brethren, and also the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians would be helpful, too. Brian Hoffman should feel blessed that John Wheeler believes what the Bible says about suing other Christians, such as in the fourth chapter of 1 Corinthians.

If Mr. Wheeler was promoting heretical views, Mr. Hoffman should have been biblical about it and confronted him directly instead of going to the web. If a Christian is lying or actively practicing other sin, there are biblical directives for confronting him or her for the purpose of repentance. Wheeler is guilty of doing things that some people do not like, but there is no evidence of sin.

Mohammedans are the objects of fear, hate, and suspicion. What Mr. Wheeler was pointing out is that there are different varieties of Islam. After all, not all Christians are the same, you savvy? I'll allow that Mohammedans are not helping themselves. Not all interpret the Koran in the same way, not all want Sharia law imposed on Western nations, and not all approve of terrorism. But we are not seeing moderates protesting the actions of the radicals (which may be out of fear of reprisals). While many hate us and want us exterminated or to be submitting to dhimmitude, not all share those beliefs. Some want to have honest discussions and learn. All need Jesus.

Now a personal question for people who know the participants in this dispute even though I used made-up names; how are you going to react to Brian Hoffman's deceptions and misplaced zeal? Another question: are you going to disassociate with, or even hate, those of us who are trying to educate you? Writing this article has not been a pleasant experience, and negative (unchristian) reactions from professing Christians would not surprise me.
  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cancer and Creation

Unfortunately, cancer seems to be increasingly common, and I think it's safe to say that it would be difficult to find someone who has not encountered cancer, whether personally, through friends, or relatives. (It's tremendously ironic that John Wayne's final movie, The Shootist, was about a man dying of cancer made by an actor dying of cancer.) Many people even refer to it as "the C word". Sometimes, people worry that a rash, cough, lump, or something else is becoming cancerous. By all means, get things checked out by your doctor.

Cancer part of the curse and genetic degradation as recorded in Genesis
Cancer cells image credit: Dr. Cecil Fox / National Cancer Institute
Things were going mighty fine in Eden. Everything was created very good (Gen. 1:31), then Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan, and brought sin into the world — and with sin came death (Rom. 5:12) and the curse. Genetic degradation began, and those wonderful repair systems within us are unable to keep up with the demand. For the Christian, we can look forward to the restoration and consummation where there is no more death (1 Cor. 15:26, Rev. 21:4). It is interesting that some recent scientific research supports what Scripture teaches!
Cancer’s devastation directly or indirectly touches almost everybody on Earth, and a great deal of research focuses on finding the cause and cure. A new study’s results showed that the number of cell divisions in body tissues is a more significant cancer contributor than any other factor. A separate study revealed that the bodies of older people produce declining amounts of a cancer-minimizing molecule called NAD+. Although cancer currently lies beyond the reach of any person to cure, Scripture offers a long-term solution available to anyone.
To read the rest of this short article, click on "Cancer Research Confirms the Curse".
  

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".