Thursday, September 28, 2017

Asking Questions to Reveal Answers

While it is helpful for someone to give his or her viewpoint in detail, the good stuff comes after they've finished a presentation. This can be seen in formal debates during what is sometimes called the "cross examination" period (here is one example), and audience questions after a press conference or something similar.

Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
Most of us don't commence to speechifyin' or debating very often, so how about questions in a more personal setting, without the crowds? Much better. People can ask questions to clarify meanings and positions, and even get to know the other person a little better. On social media, it gets difficult to have a good discussion with someone unless it's in private messages, else other people chime in.

Greg Koukl has something he calls the "Columbo Tactic", based on the television detective, that helps you (and often the other person) get to the heart of a discussion. Two short articles on the subject are at the Stand to Reason weblog and the Stand to reason main site. He also has a book called Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions that goes into more detail. It's interesting that Koukl uses evidential apologetics while I emphasize presuppositional apologetics, and last I knew, he believed in an old earth while I am a biblical creationist, but the material mentioned above fits mighty fine with creationary, presuppositional approaches.

Christians and creationists can use the approach of asking questions to help someone see the problems with their viewpoint, and also show them scriptural truth. We can also use the discussion to present pertinent information. Ultimately, we hope to lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Do pointed questions help people think? Good questions can make them curious and open their minds to things they might not have considered. When people express doubts about the truth of the Bible, asking the right questions can help guide them toward the right answers—biblical answers.
To read the rest, click on "Using Pointed Questions to Point to Answers". The video below may prove helpful as well.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Those Dying Leaves

In my neck of the woods — well, North America — it's autumn. (I reckon some folks call it fall because that's what leaves do.) This time of year has been used in many songs, often denoting sadness. Others are fond of this time of year, even planning to drive through areas on "color tours". You might want to consider taking route 209 which comes up here to Kingston, NY and runs down past Port Jervis into Pennsylvania. Kind of a difficult two-lane road, though. How about going off 209 into Ellenville, then onto Route 52 past Cragsmoor and into Pine Bush? You'll clip some of the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest, see some Catskill Mountains, and get lasso yourself some colored leaf viewing.

An interesting question is that if death entered the world when Adam sinned, what about plant death before then? The answer is in specific Hebrew terminology.
Image credit: Pixabay / pixel2013
I kind of wandered a mite. So, what about those leaves? People like looking at them, but get irked when having to rake their yards and clean the gutters by their roofs. We agree that they're dead leaves. Or are they? Death came into the world because Adam sinned, but we read in Genesis that everything was originally vegetarian. That means plants were eaten. How did plants die before death entered the world? There's some specific Hebrew wording involved here, as plants are not "alive" in one specific sense.
Fall in America and throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere is a beautiful time of year. Bright reds, oranges, and yellows rustle in the trees and then blanket the ground as warm weather gives way to winter cold. Many are awed at God’s handiwork as the leaves float to the ground like Heaven’s confetti. But fall may also make us wonder, “Did Adam and Eve ever see such brilliant colors in the Garden of Eden?” Realizing that these plants wither at the end of the growing season may also raise the question, “Did plants die before the Fall of mankind?”

Before we can answer this question, we must consider the definition of die. We commonly use the word die to describe when plants, animals, or humans no longer function biologically. However, this is not the definition of the word die or death in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for die (or death), mût (or mavet), is used only in relation to the death of man or animals with the breath of life, not regarding plants. This usage indicates that plants are viewed differently from animals and humans.
I won't leave you out on a limb. To finish reading, click on "Do Leaves Die?" Don't forget the last part about how leaves get their color, that's at the end. 

 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Biblical Response to Racism

Bigotry exists in many forms, and people have had fear, suspicion, and even hatred of those who are different in some way. It can even be based on geographical locations. (I've been snubbed by people in the Southern United States for being a "Yankee" — I knew an American of German ancestry who detested people in France! Strange.) The most common form of antipathy toward people who are different is commonly called racism, and I believe that both skin color and cultures are distinguishing characteristics to make it easier to hate people of other "races". The race issues will be the limiting factor for this post.

The correct response to racism is in a proper understanding of the Bible
Credit: Pixabay / Rhythm_In_Life
Today's politically-charged climate brings racism to the fore in ways that are unprecedented, many times with loaded terms and false accusations leading to violence. The racism issues seem to be either excessively complicated or oversimplified, often prompted by people having political and cultural "tunnel vision" and "thinking" with their emotions.

Some jaspers will use any excuse to cry "Racism!", which I reckon to be downright stupid because trivial and unjustified accusations detract from the real thing. As a side note, a writer on proper word usage is advising people to get away from the cutesy "grammar Nazi" handle because it trivializes the evils of real Nazis. And, therefore, of racism.

As I said, racism existed for a mighty long time, but Darwin and his followers managed to make it fashionable and "scientific" until it became unpopular. (See "Evolution, Racism and the Bible", "More Modern Evolutionary Racism", and "Further Studies in Scientific Racism", for starters.) There are evolutionists today who will use abuse of science to justify racism, but the biological differences between people are extremely small.

Anti-creationist bigot supports evolutionary racism
Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
Click for larger
People groups exist, and there are definite differences. These extend to skin color, culture, languages, geography, and so on. However, biblically speaking, there are no races. I shouldn't have to say this, but bigotry has no place in the body of Christ. Jesus did not die on the cross for any particular race, and all are one in our risen Lord (Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:14-17, Matthew 27:50-51). We can trace backward and see that people groups came from Noah's sons, and the dispersion at Babel. The correct response to racism is not in evolutionary science or politics, but in biblical Christianity.
Our nation and society continue to suffer from strained race relations and subsequent racism. This is evidenced by the increased racial tensions experienced with tragic consequences such as killings, destruction of property, and general social unrest over the last two years in cities such as Ferguson/St. Louis, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina; New York, New York; etc. For our reference and understanding on the terms of race and racism, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines race: family, tribe, people, or nation of the same stock: division of mankind based on hereditary traits; racism: discrimination based on the belief that some races are by nature superior.

This article will attempt to provide some understanding on the divisive issues of race and racism and how we can cope with these issues, with considerations from a creation and creation science or naturalistic evolutionary perspective. To help us understand and cope with the issues of race and racism I will address a number of important distinctions between creation and evolution as they relate to man or mankind and our social, moral relations.
I hope you'll invest a little time and read the rest. Just click on "Race and Racism: Understanding and Coping". Something else Christians may want to look at (but I'm not endorsing the entire site, haven't read more than this here article), "Critical Theory and the Unity of the Church".
  

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Handcuffed by Evolutionary Indoctrination

Darwin's disciples have done an excellent job in promoting their materialistic viewpoint, with the conflation of evolution with science as one of their main tools. This provides these owlhoots with an emotional manipulation tool, since people do not want to be seen as "science deniers" when they reject minerals-to-misotheist evolution.

The propaganda is everywhere we turn, whether textbooks, television documentaries, entertainment... A scene in the 1977 movie High Anxiety has Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) giving a lecture and saying, "...that each patient is a supreme individual endowed with those qualities that distinguish the human being from the slime from which he emerged". Even Bugs Bunny used it when he was told to start at the beginning: "...in the beginning, there was no life. The earth was forming..." To appear intelligent and sciencey, add evolution. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you'll see what I mean.


People are handcuffed by evolutionary propaganda and indoctrination
Credit: Pixabay / ROOKIE23
Bible-believing Christians go to church on Sunday and sometimes midweek, read the Scriptures, talk to God, and so on. With the constant bombardment of secularism and evolutionism, how is someone supposed to hold to biblical truths about creation and theology? Let's face it, many Christians do not put much effort into meeting challenges, or nominal Christian parents do not provide sufficient information to their children, which contributes to their minds being enslaved by secularists.

Nathan van Ree professed to be a Christian, but significant areas of his life were lacking. The bombardment of Darwinism at the foundation of the faith helped accelerate his doubts, but strangely, he was not taken in by the hollow arguments of Sam Harris and his ilk. Nathan was not going to float downstream with the rest of the deadwood, and started investigating. Biblical creation science materials are rare in Christian bookstores, and mighty scarce in secular bookstores. (Fortunately, we have a wealth of material online and through special order.) Nathan was able to learn the truth. Children are not so fortunate, being in church for a couple of hours a week, but at the mercy of government-run indoctrination centers many hours a week for several years. We must be proactive!
Around the beginning of 2015 there was trouble looming in my life. I realised my desire to attend church was completely missing. Perhaps even worse, late in the evenings, discussions between me and my wife often arose about the whole issue of faith. It all seemed to boil down to the question of whether what we heard every Sunday was all true and was written in our Bibles. In fact, the problems started a few years earlier, partly because of a particular Bible translation in Dutch that we had started reading after dinner. It had never occurred to me so much before, but this new translation told things in a plain, understandable way and it hit me—entire peoples being slaughtered, that sort of thing. I couldn’t help feeling that what we were reading wasn’t right. Mind you, we hadn’t reached the New Testament yet. As we continued reading through the Bible, I would get angry occasionally, and pouring out my frustrations on my wife wasn’t, of course, very helpful.
To read the rest, click on "Breaking the shackles of evolutionary propaganda — One man’s testimony of ‘seeing the light’"
   

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Heresies, Modern Thinking, and Evolutionism

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

People who want to slap leather with biblical Christianity may think they have some new concepts, but they are actually reworking old false teachings. This applies not only to those things that have been condemned as heresies, but the remarks of mockers and "skeptics" are often rehash hoary thinking from past centuries.


Socinianism, evolutionism, and other heresies affect the church
Fausto Sozzini (Faustus Socinus) was cracked
Derived from a public domain image at Wikimedia Commons
Before I go further, I must say that I'm doing something I've done before: taking material from smarter people and adding thoughts that pertain to my own areas of study. This article was heavily influenced by Phil Johnson's series on five major heresies (linked below). I hope you'll ride the trail with me and you'll see how some things come together.

There have been several times in Christian history when the faith appeared to be on its way to becoming hopelessly corrupted. God raised up faithful men to uphold the faith, sometimes appearing to be all alone in their efforts. I reckon that that they thought of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:14. 

As a side note, legend has it that the giver of gifts in secret, bishop Nikolaos of Myra (who later became associated with Santa Claus), didn't deck the halls at the Council of Nicea in 325. Instead, he decked the heretic Arius. Don't think Jude meant exactly that when he said to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3-4).

Emperor Constantine, who called for that Council, had a "Why can't we all just get along?" approach, and wasn't overmuch concerned with doctrinal accuracy. I commenced to pondering that evolutionism is rooted in bad thinking and paganism, but also invading the church. Indeed, theistic evolution is a form of the Pelagian Heresy. Also, evolutionism has elements of Gnosticism, which is esoteric knowledge imparted by the enlightened, and is found in New Age teachings.

The church fathers almost universally believed in recent creation through most of church history. Today, we have people who are compromising, adding deep time and evolution to the Bible, and accusing biblical creationists of being "divisive". Not hardly! They are the dividers.

Something that really takes the rag off the bush is a newer aberration called the Socinian Heresy. An owlhoot named Fausto Sozzini (in Latin, Faustus Socinus) was the driving force behind this one, drawing inspiration from his uncle, Lelio Sozzini. It is a collective, incorporating several other heresies and logical fallacies. Essentially, modern liberal theology is Socinianism. Postmodern and post-truth philosophies can have comfortable homesteads in Socinianism as well.

Socinianism essentially relies on two major points: rationalism and skepticism. Both of those philosophies are antithetical to biblical Christianity, as well as to science — and even rational thought itself. Rationalism is hardcore humanism, making human reason the arbiter of truth. Skepticism is a bit confusing for some people, because thinking people need healthy skepticism.


Unfortunately, many times folks who call themselves skeptics are not seeking convincing evidence. Rather, they are like those who practiced the ancient philosophy of skepticism, maintaining that absolute knowledge is impossible. (It's like some forms of agnosticism, "I don't know, and you don't either".) They have their minds made up, but are asking questions without being desirous of learning or answers. True Christianity is bad medicine to skeptics, postmoderns, and the like, because we affirm that there is ultimate truth, and it is found in Scripture. These "no truth" people are unthinking, and should realize that, according to their own philosophies, they are worthless people! That's a long ride on a bad trail away from the truth that each person has value in Jesus Christ.

Mr. Johnson quoted from John Calvin regarding Lalius Socinus, who kept badgering him with insincere questions that were intended to undermine the faith. Calvin wrote:
You need not expect me to reply to all the monstrous questions you propose to me. If you are gratified by floating around in such high-minded speculations, I pray you permit me, a humble disciple of Christ, to meditate on those things which tend to the edification of my faith. And hereafter, by my silence, I will indeed accomplish the thing I wish for: that you no longer annoy me in this way.
Biblical creationists have to deal with annoying people like this, and we get our share at The Question Evolution Project. We are trying to glorify God, presenting the truth of creation, and upholding the authority of Scripture. "Skeptics" come along with insincere questions for which they have already determined their answers, seeking to justify their rebellion against our Creator, and reveling when a Christian's time is wasted. Calling us cowards for refusing to waste our time on disingenuous, self-gratifying misotheists is preposterous. We've been expecting them (2 Peter 3:4-7). Most likely, other apologists would agree with me that we want to be about our business and have those tinhorns find other sources of gratification.

I regret reporting that there are some professing Christians who accept many heresies in one form or another, even renouncing logic and reason. Crackpot religious people like that (among others) are pleasing to angry atheists, who use the fallacy of hasty generalization to present those oddballs as representatives of all Christians (or even all "religious" people). No, we do appreciate logic, because it is a part of God's nature. Despite the claims of many atheopaths, faith and reason are at definitely not at odds with one another.

Elements of heresies can be found in churches, and in liberal theology. Bad philosophies and religious views, including pagan evolutionism, have crept into the church. We need to take a stand for the truth, even if we're unpopular and feel alone, like Elijah.

I'd like to strongly urge you to give a listen to the messages in Phil Johnson's series, "A Survey of Heresies".
It’s important for Christians to have a grasp of heresies that the church has battled over the centuries, because they often return with new clothing, and the unprepared Christian is likely to fall into these old pits. Phil does an excellent job of looking at some of the major heresies that are revisiting the church today: Socinianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, and Judaizing. This is an excellent 6 part series that will shore up some weak points in the church today.
They are free to hear online or download the MP3s. USA and Canada, you can order the CD free of charge as well.