Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Non-Bible Answer Man

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Dr. Walter Martin was the original "Bible Answer Man" after he founded an organization called the Christian Research Institute (CRI). He was a noted authority on cults and religions, having written books on the subjects, had a radio ministry, was a guest on various programs, and more [1]. After his untimely death in 1989 at age 60, the leadership of CRI was given to Hank Hanegraaff. Dr. Martin's teachings were very helpful in the development of my own theology as well as my growing interest in apologetics.

The family of Dr. Martin has serious difficulties with Hanegraaff's demeanor, methods, lack of formal theological training, and in other areas [2]. They are not the only ones, either [3]. In addition, he has not been friendly to biblical creation science, preferring the "Framework Hypothesis" [4]. It seems that someone taking over such a position from Dr. Martin should have formal theological training and have less controversy.


Hank Hanegraaff left Christianity for the Eastern Orthodox religion
Christ the Saviour, Pantokrator, a 6th-century icon at St Catherine's Monastery
On April 9, 2017, Hanegraaff formally joined the Eastern Orthodox religion [5]. Some say that he has left the Christian faith because the Orthodox religion is diametrically opposed to some basic tenets of Christianity [6] [7] and this conversion caused a radio network to remove the "Bible Answer Man" from their lineup [8]. Hank says he has not left the faith, and his beliefs are codified in his books and nothing has changed. That is ridiculous, because of the huge differences between his new religion and Christianity (see "How Is Eastern Orthodoxy Different?" for more information).

I don't know what's going on with the Christian Research Institute. They had someone who is controversial and unqualified in his position from the get-go, but now that Hank has jumped the corral fence and become a theological maverick, will it become the Orthodox Research Institute and have the "Orthodox Answer Man" program? I know it's asking a lot, but I hope you'll consider watching the video or downloading the audio from Dr. James White, "Can a Consistent Eastern Orthodox Believer Be the Bible Answer Man?"


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Authority, Personality, Familiarity

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Seems to be human nature to defer to someone in authority. Well, let me modify that: someone that seems to have authority. The scene of a traffic accident, a stranger stops, gives instructions, directs traffic, and takes charge overall until the police and EMTs arrive. (There is something that is called presence, where someone has authority and personality.) He or she may not have had any formal status, but people deferred to the air of authority. Atheists listen to Clinton Richard Dawkins, even though he is a lousy philosopher, and evolutionists believe his ridiculous claim that the human eye was "poorly designed". Unfortunately, Christians are often persuaded by people with what they perceive as authority.


Some teachers are good, but people succumb to perceived authority of bad ones.
Evangelist D.L. Moody, from J. Wilbur Chapman, 1900
As an illustration, allow me a personal anecdote. I was raised in the Untied Methodist Church (misspelling intentional), my father was a pastor. In an adult Sunday School class, I was allowed to give a presentation on why we can trust the Bible, which may have taken about twenty minutes. My father gave some closing remarks from his liberal perspective that essentially undermined my work. How could it happen? He was the pastor, so they were familiar with him. He also had authority and personality.

Some years later, I was giving talks in area churches on biblical creation science and theology. The pastors and churches had no reason to trust me aside from what I wrote to them and told them. Should I have done this? Should they have let me in? Looking back, I am uncertain. Sure, the pastor was usually there (I wanted them to hear the messages as well), and they could have corrected errors that a stranger could have presented, but that may not have been sufficient.

Don't be disunderstanding me, I'm not saying that a church should not have a teacher that they do not know personally. There are some established Bible teachers, those giving talks from respected creation science ministries, and others who can be welcomed. No matter who is invited, church leaders need to use prayer and discernment before allowing someone into the pulpit.

Taking this authority concern further, professing Christians are willingly deceived by false teachings, whether theistic evolution, liberalism, it's all about you instead of Jesus, the prosperity gospel, or other demonic doctrines. A major part of the problem is that too many of us are doctrinally weak, and do not know the Bible that we claim to believe. Then someone comes along that has a strong personality, a tremendous delivery, uses humor, presence . . . It's mighty difficult to speak against someone that people like, but is teaching things that are untrue. People like Paul Young's blasphemous book and movie The Shack, and he spews further heresy in his latest book.

There some professing Christians go, believing lies because they were gullible and uninformed. I'll be blunt, many are spiritually lazy, preferring to be like atheists who teach "truths" through "memes" that are suited to bumper sticker mentalities. Learning the Word is too much like work for some folks. Wonder if they ever noticed attitudes such as expressed in Psalm 1:1-2?

Now it's time for me to link to a lesson in discernment and how teachers can be deceptive — even demonic — while masquerading as teachers of righteousness. This takes a bit of effort, because the podcast is over two hours (!) long. I recommend downloading it so you can listen when it's more convenient. It's at Fighting for the Faith, and is called "The YOU Effect?" This message is done, but I still want to urge you to get into the Word, our final authority, and be discerning.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Creation and Crucifixion

A day called Good Friday is observed to some extent by most professing Christians around the world. Unbelievers ignore or even hate this day because there is no camouflaging it; no candy rabbits, baskets with shredded plastic grass, egg hunts, ham dinners or any other trappings like people do with Easter. The crucifixion of Jesus is plainly on display for all to see.


Jesus crucifixion resurrection Bible Genesis
Credit: Pixabay / congerdesign
The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead followed on a Sunday. He defeated death to reconcile those who believe with God the Father, and enemies of God don't rightly cotton to hearing about that none too much. They also dislike being reminded that Jesus is the Creator (John 1:1-4, Colossians 1:16), and that both the crucifixion and resurrection were prophesied centuries before those events happened. Further, the first prophesy about redemption after sin was in Genesis 3:15. For those who belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12, Revelation 21:3-4), this long-foretold event gives us joy and meaning in our lives. Those who deny God have no hope, only blind, pitiless indifference before their terrible final Judgement (Matthew 16:27, Revelation 20:11-15).
It may seem odd for people to celebrate the humiliating defeat of their leader and hero. But the suffering, shame and death of Jesus Christ are a source of hope to Christians.

No one wants to live in a world where evil is ignored, or worse still, approved. Everyone yearns for justice when they have been mocked, insulted, betrayed or abused.

Who has not rebelled when they have been treated like an animal or a thing? We have a deep desire for our wrongs to be put right, for our suffering to have meaning.
To read the rest, click on "Genesis and the Cross". Also recommended, "Easter and Good Friday: questions and answers — Does Easter have a pagan derivation? Was Jesus really crucified on a Friday?"


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Order of Creation Events Irreconcilable with Evolution

One of the main problems that many professing Christians have is ignorance of the Bible that they claim to believe, and this gets them into trouble. Such Christians get recruited into cults, follow false teachers, and are willing to compromise with evolutionism.

Days of creation do not match evolution time
Credit: Pixabay Mzlle
Some are willing to say that God used evolution for creation, but do not see the theological problems this causes. A frequent way that liberal religious folks force evolution into Scripture is to say that the days of creation match up with evolution Not hardly! This shows not only ignorance of a basic reading of the Bible, but ignorance of the story of evolution as well. The two cannot be reconciled, pilgrim.
A straightforward reading of the Bible indicates that God created in six 24-hour days a little over 6,000 years ago. This is the way the church has understood it for most of the church’s history, and the way Hebrew scholars have always understood it.

However, with the rise of long-age claims in geology led by James Hutton2 and Charles Lyell3 about 200 years ago, some conservative Christians became intimidated. So they proposed schemes by which the Bible could accommodate these long–age ideas. Various views, unheard of before this time, sprung up: day-age, gap theory, framework hypothesis, theistic evolution.
To finish reading, click on "Evolution/long ages contradicts Genesis order of Creation".


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Adam and the Gospel

Previously, we examined how professing Christians disparage Jesus, and that many of those are theistic evolutionists. Another way to undermine the gospel message is to say that Adam was just an illustration and not a real man. We hear that kind of thing and worse (such as the old "book of fairy tales" nonsense) from atheistic sidewinders, but people who actually believe the Bible should be above dismissing Adam.

Adam Eve Genesis Bible, Wenzel Peter
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Johann Wenzel Peter
If you study on it, you'll see that the Bible is written as history. Specific names, dates, events, and so on are provided. Mythology does not have such detail. The primary reason for Christians to reject a historical Adam (as well as special creation) is to force-fit evolutionary views into Scripture. These foolish folks cause themselves a heap of serious problems when they do this, such as needing to explain why a fictitious character is referred to as a real man in Luke's genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:38), that Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus (1 Cor. 15:45), and Jude also calls Adam a real person (Jude 1:14).

There are some deeper issues involved as well, such as how rejecting Adam undermines the gospel message — which theistic evolutionists and liberal "Christians" claim to believe to some extent. One jasper plays semantic games by saying that in one particular place, the apostle Paul does not say the name Adam. Oh, please.
The Apostle Paul often found himself in a cultural context in which he had to deal with many objections to the Christian faith. In 1 Corinthians 15, for example, the Corinthian congregation was questioning the future resurrection of believers: “How do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12).
. . .
Two thousand years later, not much has changed. Just as the culture in Paul’s day was permeated with Greek philosophy, so it is today. The worldview that undergirds Darwinian evolutionary thought is essentially Greek at its core.1 Many Christians are still integrating Greek philosophy into Christianity; however we have just given it the name science rather than philosophy.
To read the entire article, click on "How Do Some Among You Say There Is No Adam?"


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Professing Christians Disparage Jesus

Almost from the beginning of Jesus' incarnation as a man, there have been strange heresies about him. Owlhoots have been trying to find ways to denigrate him and make him less that who he was when he walked the earth, and nowadays, such heresies are no longer restricted to Gnostics, atheists, and other cults; the false teachings have infected mainstream churches.

Some professing Christians disparage Jesus
Credit: Pixabay / Hans_Hofer
C.S. Lewis referred to unbelievers' remarks about Jesus being a "great moral teacher" as "patronizing nonsense", but some professing Christians are at that same level. Even though his own words, Old Testament prophesies, New Testament writers, the church fathers, and so on have made it clear that Jesus is God the Son who humbled himself and took on human form, seems that people don't cotton to paying attention. Strange when they claim to believe the Bible, but then say that Jesus made mistakes. Quite often, you can find these false claims about him from believers in long ages, especially theistic evolutionists (I believe TEs are actually Deists) and other compromisers.
Astonishingly, there are people in today’s churches who, while strongly proclaiming their evangelical credentials, actually teach that Jesus could have been mistaken about some of His teaching! Of course, since the earliest days of Christendom, people with heretical views have plagued the Church. This is why there are so many warnings in the New Testament against false teachers—to imbibe their ideas is to wander off into myths, with the serious risk of ‘faith-wreck’ (see From fables to truth). Unfortunately, the advocates of a fallible Jesus are not merely a fringe group. Rather, their ideas are becoming increasingly and worryingly influential.
To finish reading, click on "Jesus, just ‘a man of his time’?

 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is the Inerrancy of the Bible Important?

Some folks have a modicum of respect for the Bible even if they do not actually believe it. To call it the "good book" and pick out various words of wisdom is to miss the important fact that the Bible makes serious claims about itself: it is the inerrant written Word of God. What does that mean?

When investigating the statements of faith from various churches and ministries, there are some phrases about the Bible that seem a mite baffling. Expressions like verbal plenary and inspiration stand out. The first one is expensive talk for the whole of Scripture, every word, is given by God. Inspiration is a horse of a different color, because we use that word to mean several different things. Some folks say that the Bible was "inspired" the way an essayist or even a skilled fiction writers is inspired. In the Bible, it is the Greek word θεόπνευστος, theopneustos (pronounced thay-ah-noo-stahs) that many versions translate as inspired, but is more correctly rendered God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV), the World English Bible also translates it this way. Another important verse is 2 Peter 1:21 ESV, which tells us that men were carried along by the Holy Spirit (often translated as moved).

The Bible, George Harvey, 1845
These two verses are part of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. We do not have the original "autographs" (documents) that are inerrant, but are confident that the Bible we have is extremely close to what was originally given by God. There are minor errors in translation and copying, but textual criticism assures us that the major translations are quite reliable.

Do the terms God-breathed and carried along mean that the writers of Scripture took dictation directly from God? No, their personalities are evident in their writings, but the Spirit did not allow them to include errors. Pay attention here: the "errors" that are in the Bible are not errors of the Bible. That is, Scripture records when people lied, cheated, stole, committed adultery, and other things — the Bible is accurate history.

If we cannot trust the Bible to be given by God, we are in trouble as to what we can choose to be accurate. There are many reasons to believe in the important doctrine of inerrancy.
“You don’t really believe the Bible is true, do you?”

The shock expressed by those who discover someone who actually believes the Bible to be without error is often quite amusing. Inevitably, their next question takes us right back to Genesis. But what does the Christian mean by “without error,” and why are we so sure?
To read the rest, click on "Why Should We Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture?"


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ancient Chinese Artifact May Portray Genesis

China has one of the oldest cultures on Earth, so perhaps we should not be surprised to find traces of the Bible, even in this now-Communist land. Older Chinese pictographs have been demonstrated to show some elements of Genesis, and an ancient artifact from Sanxingdui may have some correlation to Genesis as well.

Chinese artifact may illustrate book of Genesis
Adam and Eve by Raphael
The identification of artifacts can be difficult, but the interpretation can be a mighty tricky thing. A bronze tree in Sanxingdui may have significant correlation with the Genesis Flood and the dispersal of nations at Babel. You might rightly wonder why, so I'll give you a couple of spoilers from the article linked below: this big tree made of bronze has a passel of details linking it to Genesis, but it is dated to about the time Moses was penning the Pentateuch. They weren't exactly telegraphing each other. So...
In 1986, workers from a brickyard near Guanghan, China, were digging for clay in the countryside when they discovered various pieces of bronze. They contacted the authorities, and archaeologists from Huaxi University in Chengdu came and excavated two different pits that were filled with outstanding artefacts of the Sanxingdui People. These archaeological efforts followed earlier excavations in the area dating back to 1929. From these two pits nearly 1,000 artefacts were recovered, including objects made of jade, bronze, gold, ivory, pottery, marble and implements of bone.
. . .

The archaeologists also recovered pieces of a tall bronze tree, which they cleaned and reassembled. As with most archaeological discoveries, there is little debate about what has been found. However, there is great debate about the meanings that are attached to the items recovered and their implications. In particular, “The meaning of the tree has been the subject of disagreement”.
To read the entire article, click on "The Bronze Tree of Sanxingdui — the oldest man-made Genesis artefact?

 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Adding Evolution to the Bible?

Once upon a time, a guy was involved with biblical creation science. Or, as he called it, young earth creationism (YEC). He became disillusioned with it, embraced evolutionism, turned on his fellow creationists in a show of public humiliation, and refused to give his name due to "harassment" from creationists. He trolls the Web to this day promoting his new religion and hating biblical creationists while pretending to be a respected Christian "professor". His knowledge of the Bible, creation science, theology, and other matters show that he is a fake creationist. I lack belief that he is a Christian.


Adding evolution to the Bible
Modified from an image at Morguefile by cbcs
But this is not about that sidewinder and his fictitious story. Instead, we're talking about Denis Lamoureux, who rejected biblical creation and embraced theistic evolution. The only way to get millions of years and evolution out of the Bible is to put them in through eisegesis. Like the character described above, Lamoreaux he was formerly a biblical creationist and rejected biblical truth to embrace Darwin. Lamoreaux's book shows his lack of understanding of both creation science and theology, and he clearly does not understand the repercussions and inconsistencies of compromise. He even goes as far as to claim that Genesis 1 was an ancient poetical structure (which has been disproved many times) and somehow, mysteriously, the first eleven chapters of Genesis are mostly irrelevant, but from chapter twelve onward, Genesis is no longer unreliable. Worse, Lamoreaux believes that Jesus didn't refute erroneous beliefs, but accommodated their brutish ignorance; Jesus was a liar.
Over the last number of years, influential evangelical theologian and scientist Dr. Denis Lamoureux has been actively promoting evolutionary creation. In his new book Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! Lamoureux offers a number of explanations to justify his belief in evolutionary creation. This review will focus on several key issues raised in the book.
Even if you're not planning on reading the book that is reviewed, I'd be much obliged if you'd read the article. Just click on "Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say No!"


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Genesis, Foundations, and Persecution

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

As I have stated many times, all major Christian doctrines have their origins in Genesis, which is foundational for the Christian faith. Some folks wave off Genesis and creation as incidental and want to get to what they consider the "good stuff", but they are doing themselves (and others) a tremendous disservice. Of course, atheists, theistic evolutionists, and other owlhoots malign Genesis because it threatens their faith in evolutionism, and they know the importance of Genesis to the Christian faith.

Why do we wear clothes? It's found in Genesis. When did sin begin? Genesis. What is first promise of the Redeemer? Genesis, again. What is the foundation for marriage? That's right, Genesis again. The world is increasingly hostile to the truth of Scripture as well as more accommodating to secularism and atheism. Although persecution in the West is mild in comparison to what Christians endure in other parts of the world, it does exist and is escalating.

Genesis is foundational to the gospel. That is one reason that compromisers and other unbelievers attack it and persecute uncompromising Christians.
Credit: Pixabay / Alexas_Fotos
I have three examples of persecution here that ended reasonably well, but they illustrate the intolerant trend in society. First, pastor Mark Mackey was arrested for reading a Bible aloud outside a Department of Motor Vehicles in California, and the court ruled in his favor. Next, Tony Miano was arrested during street preaching in London. He said that homosexuality is a sin. He was charged with “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.” Arrested for telling the truth, really. Suddenly, the charges were dropped. 

Third, another from the UK, Gordon Larmour was arrested for what he said in the course of street preaching. He was asked what God thinks of homosexuals, and he responded by telling them that God created Adam and Eve to have children. The homosexual man who asked the question argued with Larmour, and even chased him. But Larmour was arrested. Eventually, the charges were dismissed. I suggest that you read his story here.

The second and third stories involved homosexuality and marriage. Again, marriage is established in the foundational book of Christian doctrine, Genesis. People of the world, whether atheists, false Christians, or anyone else who is not redeemed by the blood of Jesus, hates the righteous (1 John 3:11-13, Luke 6:22, John 8:44). Hate is a characteristic of people under Satan's control, and I think this gives us an understanding of why they try to shut down uncompromising truth in God's Word.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Adam and the Tree of Life

Some folks may miss the important of the tree of life if they're quickly reading the Bible. (It's also very difficult to find a public domain image of it.) This tree first mentioned in Genesis 2:4, along with the one we've heard about quite a bit more, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam sinned, death entered the world (Gen. 2:16-17, Rom. 5:12, 1 Cor. 15:22). There are people who will agree with Satan and charge God with lying, because we read in Genesis 2:17, "...for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die", and Adam lived 930 years. That's one of the problems we have with translation, especially ancient Hebrew to modern English: meanings are difficult to communicate and still make the text readable. More literally, it reads, "dying you shall die". Adam and Eve were not going to die, but by eating the forbidden fruit, they began the dying process.

After Adam and Eve sinned and death entered the world, God would not let them eat from the tree of life. This was actually a tremendous act of mercy.
Image credit: Pixabay / OpenClipart-Vectors
God did not want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of life after they had sinned, and stationed a guard to keep them out (Gen. 3:24). (If you study on it, you'll realize that Eden must have still been there, guard and all, for mankind to see up until the Flood happened.) The tree that was mentioned in the first book of the Bible is also discussed in the last book at the restoration of all things (Rev. 22:2). But what was the big deal? Adam ate from the forbidden tree, why not from the tree of life? This was actually a tremendous act of mercy.
In Genesis 2:9, we are told that in the midst of the Garden of Eden, God placed the Tree of Life as well as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was permitted to eat of every tree in the garden except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God warned that if Adam ate of its fruit, he would surely begin to die. (See this article for an explanation of why that is the best understanding).

In Genesis 3, the Bible describes the fall of mankind and how sin, death, and suffering entered the world when Adam disobeyed God’s commandment and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
To read the rest, click on "Why did God prevent Adam from eating from the Tree of Life after he had sinned?"


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Creation in Evangelism

For Question Evolution Day, I thought it would be helpful to emphasize the importance of a strong position on biblical creation when presenting the gospel message. Some people claim that creation is unimportant in evangelism, it's just a side issue after all, and we should just focus on Jesus. Some who believe that Earth is old, especially theistic evolutionists, spread the falsehood that creation is a hindrance to the gospel. Not hardly! Yes, creation is a sort of "side issue", but it is still very important.


Some people think creation is an irrelevant or even harmful side issue. On the contrary, it is important in sharing the gospel.
Image credit: Pixabay / qimono
When Peter preached in Acts, it was to monotheistic Jews. Paul preached to pagans, and went back to creation as the foundation. Creation evangelism is important on the mission field and in paganized evolutionary cultures in western society as well as elsewhere. Genesis is the source of all major Christian doctrines, and it is the most attacked section of Scripture. Atheists and evolutionists have teams hitched up to their propaganda wagons and are running wild, spreading atheist-making evolution, which is their mythology of creation. You can't escape it. Television, music, movies, the Web — evolution and long ages are presented as irrefragable, even taken for granted. When witnessing to unbelievers, knowledgeable creationists can show that evolution is not all it's made out to be, that God is our Creator, and we're accountable to him.
Recently I had a series of unplanned admissions to hospital. This resulted in a couple of unexpected opportunities to witness to fellow patients regarding my Christian faith. The responses varied, but we can all learn lessons from the reasons they gave for their unbelief.

The first opportunity involved a discussion with two men—the guy in the bed next to me (guy A) and the guy diagonally across from me (guy B). Guy A, in his late 60s, was a tough manual worker on a country estate farm. He was recovering from a heart attack and awaiting coronary bypass surgery. Guy B, in his mid-60s, was retired, recovering from a life threatening chest infection that had very nearly irreversibly damaged his heart. During our time together we had some interesting three-way conversations; one lasted for almost an hour, by which time we were all exhausted. I listened to what they had to say and they listened to me.
To read the rest, click on "Biblical creation proves pivotal to evangelism". 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Liberal Theology Fails Churches

Before we saddle up for the journey, I wanted to share some personal remarks from my history.

Way back when, my father was the pastor in the liberal United Methodist Church denomination. He denied the inerrancy of Scripture, supported the ordination of women as pastors, and had other unsavory views. (Interestingly, he was against ordaining homosexuals, and was ready to resign if the denomination passed that in a vote. Sad that it was subject to a vote in the first place! He also rejected evolution, and that was before all the evidence we have refuting it and affirming special creation that we have today.) The UMC denomination has become far more liberal after his time.

When I attended a Christian high school and learned the truth of the Bible, things began to get my attention, such as the phrase "reach the unchurched". Seemed to me that they were more interested in building up numbers than in reaching the lost with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, after I had left the denomination, I had not officially requested to be dropped from the registry. I was living quite a distance away, but they sent me a bundle of tithe envelopes. Gotta keep that money coming in, don'tcha know, but no interested in my family and me, or our spiritual well-being.

Many Protestant churches have gone into liberal theology, which includes compromising on the foundations in Genesis. This may have been a way to appear "relevant" and "intellectual" to pack the pews. This compromising was part of the reason the Fundamentalist movement started in the United States, and it was also a reaction against anti-faith intellectualism (see "Fundamentalist and Literalist" for my thoughts on Fundamentalism).


Mainstream Protestant denominations went into liberal theology. A new study suggests that this bad idea has led to their membership losses, and more people coming to conservative churches.
Image credit: Morguefile / Denna
One problem that many churches have to build up membership is worldliness. I know, I know, that word is used too freely, and often means, "Something I don't like", so they call it "worldly" and misquote Scripture. For an extremely enlightening message on worldliness and Christians, I recommend "Brothers, We Are Not Worldlings" by Phil Johnson. Free to listen online or download the MP3.

 Liberalism is a passel of hassle. Not only are liberal church rosters falling, but conservative churches are growing. Mayhaps it's because people do not respect compromise, but are more likely to respect those who stand for what they believe. It may be that they know they need the Word of God and not religious sounding schlock, that's a strong possibility.
Shrinking church congregations have been a problem in the West for many years now, particularly for mainline Protestant denominations. For example, “since the 1960s, Canada’s mainline Protestant denominations—made up of the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United churches—have lost anywhere between 40 to 60 per cent of their membership.”

Pastors have been encouraged to adopt liberal theology to stem this exodus. But a new study suggests liberal congregations are still shrinking, while conservative congregations are growing.
To finish reading, click on "New Study: Liberal Theology Doesn’t Save Shrinking Congregations".


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Source of True Knowledge

Scoffers are fond of their own wisdom and knowledge, but that is based on worldly standards and comparisons to other people. They presume that the Bible is mostly (or completely) worthless, but therein lies the starting point of all true knowledge and wisdom.


Bible source of all true knowledge and wisdom
Image credit: pazham at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
People who deny God usually have a materialistic worldview that has no room for the Creator that they know exists, but suppress that truth. If God did not exist and we were the product of time, chance, random processes and so forth, we would not be able to trust our own reasoning.
How do we know that God exists and the Bible is His Word? Many people think God’s existence is just like any other truth claim—a hypothesis we can confirm or falsify by proper reasoning from more certain knowledge. Commonly, people start with the things they know for sure by their own experiences and then reach a conclusion about God’s existence. Perhaps their experience with cause-and-effect leads them to reason that the universe must have a cause and maybe that cause is God. Perhaps the intricate design of the human body prompts some to believe in the biblical God. In all such cases a person begins with what he knows to be true from his observations of the world and then applies his rational faculties to draw a conclusion about God’s existence.
To finish reading, click on "The Beginning of Knowledge".


Friday, January 27, 2017

Biblical Creation Does Not Hinder Evangelism!

One of the signs of the end times that Jesus warned us about is that the "love of many will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12 HCSB), due to the increase of false teachers and other things. I believe this applies to the disdain that many people have for God's Word, and the blatant compromise from various old Earth, "progressive creationist", and especially from theistic evolutionists. (Many TEs, I am persuaded, are actually Deists because of their low view of Scripture and their vicious temperament toward biblical creationists.) Love for Scripture, and a straightforward reading of it, has grown cold for them.


Theistic evolutionists and other old Earth proponents spread the falsehood that biblical creation interferes with evangelism, therefore, we should compromise on God's Word. The linked article shows why this is ridiculous.
Image credit: Pixabay / mary1826
Unfortunately, too many professing Christians succumb to the minatory threat of ridicule; they don't cotton to looking like "science deniers" or "stupid" in the eyes of those who hate God. So, they compromise with long ages and even with theistic evolution. TEs often link arms with atheists in their ridicule of biblical creationists, and it is often difficult to determine whether an argument is being presented by a TE or an atheopath. One falsehood that old Earth proponents present is that biblical creation hinders evangelism, so it's best to go with materialistic interpretations of science. Not hardly! (They show a glaring inconsistency by wanting to allow what "science says" about history, but still claim to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, which is contrary to secular science views as well.) Here is a "feedback" article that responds to some challenges, the first by a TE, the second from an atheist.
First, Matthew P, a Christian evolutionist from the UK asserts that young-earth creation is harmful to evangelism. Dr Jonathan Sarfati shows the opposite, and explains the baneful consequences to the Gospel of denying its foundation in Genesis. Then NH, an atheist from the US, hurls elephants about science and asserts that God deceived us and set up Adam and Eve to fail. Dr Sarfati explains some of the science and why God did NOT entrap the first couple.
To finish reading, click on "Biblical creation impedes evangelism? Plus yet another uninformed atheist".

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creation and the Names of God

Nowadays, a person's name is simply a means of identification, perhaps only having significance for the family of a child ("You were named after your great uncle") but little more. Way back yonder, names carried deeper meanings. Just take a look in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and you'll see that names were not casual (such as Gen. 5:29, Ex. 20:10).


There are different names for God in the first two chapters of Genesis. Some people use this as an excuse to deny the divine inspiration of Scripture. Let's take a closer look at what's happening.

There are people who will react to anthropomorophizing God (assigning human attributes to him) in the Bible, such as arguing against the Bible's divine inspiration because God is described as having eyes, arms, hands, and so on. That's a cheap excuse. Something a mite more interesting, however, is the use of God's names in the Bible. He has several names, and the creation account uses more than one name for God. To some people, this indicates that there were several unnamed and unknown authors, others ignore common sense and claim that there are two contradictory accounts of creation. It's really not that difficult, especially when you ride this trail with a guide.
In Biblical times a person’s name had deep significance and was often an expression of his or her origin, character or destiny. There are many terms for God in the Bible, all having special meaning or significance. Even the first book, Genesis, uses different terms, for very good reasons, as we shall see.
To finish reading, click on "What’s in a name? — The terms for God in Genesis 1 and 2: no contradiction!"


Friday, January 13, 2017

Adam, Eve, and the Created Roles

Some folks don't cotton to God's plan for man and woman back in Genesis and elsewhere in Scripture, so they resent it and even rebel. Sometimes we hear things like, "Girl power!", as if women feel they have been made subservient to men. I'll allow that societies have treated women as second-class citizens, especially Mohammedan cultures, but that's not the way God planned it.


God created distinct roles for men and women. This does not mean one sex is "better" than the other, and a proper understanding of God's plan back in Genesis clarifies many things.
Background image: Adam and Eve in Worthy Paradise, Peter Paul Rubens, 1610-1615 (cropped)
There are roles that have been assigned, and this even applies in the Trinity itself. We see various roles in our daily lives: my supervisor is someone I need to obey, but that does not make her a better person than I am, it's just the way the job is structured. Unfortunately, men have abused Bible passages to force women to submit in a way contrary to God's Word and design. Men and women are different, there's no getting around that. Men are better at some things than women, and vice versa. A proper understanding of the hows and whys of creation puts things in proper perspective.
You only have to look at the starry sky or a butterfly’s wings to see evidence of our Creator’s design. God’s indelible imprint exists on all of His creation. Yet one aspect of creation, His crowning work, is worthy of special study: the making of man and woman, which the Creator pronounced “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The psalmist exclaims, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:3–6).

Understanding God’s design for males and females is central to understanding His plan for our lives. The modern confusion regarding gender identities shows the devastation that can result from ignoring God’s perspective. The Bible provides specific, clear, and abundant guidance on the noble purpose for each sex from the very beginning.  
To read the rest, click on "A Match Made in Heaven". 

 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Seeking Belief Challenges

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

No, I'm not the one seeking challenges for my beliefs. Someone was asking what people read that challenge their "deeply held beliefs". The inquirer (who shall remain unidentified as well as my source) does not want to be pigeonholed as someone who believes because he or she was told to believe, and commenced to reading books by atheists. Other folks chimed in and said it was a good idea.


Some professing Christians think they need to seek out challenges to their beliefs. That is not how faith works.
Image credit: Freeimages / Stephen J. Sullivan
Before I continue, ever have a situation where you explained something correctly, then found out that the person receiving the explanation didn't need it? That's how I feel here. What I'm about to say is valid, but I don't know if the one doing the asking even needs this information, but I'm doing it for someone who may need it. Hope that makes sense.

Why seek out challenges to your faith? A Bible-believing Christian gets those on a regular basis from temptations, media, social media, friend, family, atheists, evolutionists, compromisers, cultists, and so on. Keeping on a good spiritual walk is challenging, and we need to seek out God on a daily (even hourly) basis. 

"But the only way you'll learn is by reading stuff by people you don't agree with, Cowboy Bob!"

That may be true in philosophy, politics, peripheral matters of Christian doctrine, and so forth, but not when it comes to salvation and the development of faith. Our source for life and thinking is the Bible, and there's nothing in there that tells us to seek out enemies of God to build ourselves up. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV tells us that Scripture is God-breathed to equip us for every good work. Further, we are indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, Acts 1:8, 1 John 4:15, Romans 8:15-17, Ephesians 5:25), and are to dwell on good things (Jude 1:20-21, Philippians 4:8). Paul did not rely on clever arguments and lofty words, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

We have no need of their philosophies, which are harmful (Colossians 2:8), and they are enemies of God (Romans 3:10-12 and Romans 5:10, John 8:44). Further, Scripture calls them fools נָבָל (Psalm 14:1), which denotes moral deficiency. Don't disunderstand, that doesn't mean that they are necessarily stupid people (although I can point out some amazingly stupid atheopaths), and some unbelievers are brilliant in their own realms. However, their pursuits and affections are in opposition to God's ways (Psalm 10:4, Romans 8:7, Colossians 1:21).

Is this "I don't want people to think I'm a Christian just because I was told to be one" attitude based on pride? There's no reason to be remotely interested in what unbelievers say or think about why we became Christians. More importantly, I wonder this individual wants to say that he or she reasoned into the Kingdom by weighing the evidence and making a decision for Christ. Doesn't happen that way, old son. We are not saved by human reason, but by faith, and we are regenerated (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John 5:12). It is spiritual, which is something atheists deny. Faith is by the grace of God. A reader who does not understand this may not actually be saved (see "How to Become a Christian").

Someone who is not grounded in the Word and spends time reading worldly philosophy, especially by those who actively hate God, can become confused and abandon the faith — if there was a commitment to Christ in the first place (1 John 2:19). All Christians need to spend time in the Word, prayer, and receive solid biblical teaching. There are people who are built up in the faith and have the support of other believers who research false teachings, evolution, atheism, and so on in order to refute them. Those are called to apologetics ministries, and are not doing it to impress others. 

Let's take the approach that someone is reading this and has a problem with both pride and is actually unsaved. I implore you to carefully consider what I have written, and especially the Word of God. Are you truly born from above, or playing at Christianity? If the latter, please repent and make Jesus Christ the lord of your life today. Otherwise, we all need to exercise caution on what we put into our minds, and spend time on the things of God, not the haughty scribblings and vain philosophies of those who are opposed to God.