Wednesday, March 20, 2019

No Gospel in the Stars

There are people who believe that the constellations contain the gospel message, and it was there before the Bible was completed. Then, it became unnecessary. This is according to a woman named Frances Rolleston, whose work was published in 1865 and influenced many people. Unfortunately, he work was full of serious errors.

There are people who believe the story that the gospel message is in the constellations. It is based on bad biblical handling and even worse scholarship, and should be avoided.
Map of the Northern Sky with representations of the constellations / Albrecht Durer, 1515
Her books was published posthumously as a collection of notes. (I wonder if some of those were notes to herself to conduct further research, but when I do that I usually have a "look up" or "check on" phrase.) The concept of the gospel in the stars relies on spurious research and taking verses out of context. Like atheists and evolutionists, Rolleston seemed to use the scientific principle of Making Things Up™. She also took verses out of context to make this presentation.

Sincere people and even good pastors have believed this false story. While it is not directly harmful, it does show how people can believe something because they want to, and because things appear to have been researched before they were presented. Christians and creationists need to exercise caution, especially when someone comes along with a "new" concept or revelation. (This is aside from the falsehoods of the old earth creationists who claim that biblical young earth creation is a new concept. In reality, an old earth is the new kid in town.) Several cults and other false teachings have begun with "something new" (see "Lost World of John Walton" for a similar caution).

If someone was to have taken a different approach and say that they are going to use the constellations to present the gospel message but disregard the mythology associated them, fine. It would take a great deal of work. But the best way is to use what God has given to us in his Word. 
The gospel in the stars is a popular topic with many recent creationists. In an earlier paper, I examined some problems with this thesis. Since that earlier publication, the primary source on the subject has become available, allowing this much more detailed examination. In this current study, I identify many problems with the assumptions, methodologies, and conclusions made with the gospel in the stars thesis. The etymologies of terms and names are questionable at best and most likely are simply wrong. The biblical arguments are poor, and some conclusions are contrary to biblical principles. While well intended, the gospel in the stars is fraught with problems, and Christians are discouraged from using it.
The entire article is quite long. The link has a PDF download option, and for ebook readers, I suggest using Push to Kindle which gives you the option to do exactly that, or to download in MOBI or EPUB formats. To continue, click on "A Further Examination of the Gospel in the Stars".

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Recent Creation and the Gospel Message

It is a sad fact that many professing Christians do not have a solid understanding of what the Bible teaches. This tempts them to abandon good teaching so they can ride the Owlhoot Trail of false doctrines. Related to this is the opinion that origins and recent creation are irrelevant. While they are not essentials for salvation, recent creation and origins are extremely important to the gospel message.


Many people, including professing Christians, say that questions of origins and recent creation are irrelevant. They are actually very important.
Image source: RGBStock/rizeli53
Atheists, old earth proponents, theistic evolutionists, compromisers, and other enemies of the Word of God exploit this ignorance. They come along with sciencey pronouncements and Scripture twisting, plus a heapin' helpin' of hostility and ridicule toward those of us who believe that God means what he says (including name-calling and labels such as "YECism"). People are timorous when it comes to standing for biblical truth, and when you mix in ignorance with intimidation, folks put the blinders on and join the crowd.

Incidentally, many of us shun the "YEC" (Young Earth Creationist) designation, because it implies that we are doing the same as enemies of the truth. Namely, forcing the Bible to say what they want it to say through eisegesis. No, we prefer the term biblical creationist because we believe the Bible teaches a young creation. Old earthers put current atheistic interpretations of science in the superior role over God's Word. We use biblical exegesis, and we use science correctly, without atheistic presuppositions. See the difference?

People have a lack of understanding of the implications of long ages, a local flood in Genesis, evolution, and other things. They do not realize that they are actually doing damage to the gospel, and even impugning Jesus himself.
Those of us who still believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that God intended it to be understood by ordinary people—not just by scholarly specialists in science or theology—have been labeled “young-earth creationists.”
We didn’t choose that name for ourselves, but it’s true that since we believe God is capable of saying what He means and means what He says, we believe that the whole creation is far younger than evolutionists accept.
To finish reading, click on "The Importance of Recent Creation".



Thursday, March 7, 2019

When Professing Christians Attack Other Christians

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 3-09-2019

As Christians, we have to stand up for the faith against Satan's schemes and false arguments against God's Word (Jude 1:3). We have a great deal to do in accurately presenting the truth to unbelievers, pulling down fortresses raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5), refuting old earth and evolutionary falsehoods, and more. We don't need to be commencing cat fights with each other.


Christians must show proper attitudes toward other Christians, and be able to accept biblical rebukes and instruction. Put pride and carnality aside.
Credit: Pixabay/maturika
This has gone back practically to the beginning, where believers seemed to want to be better than others (1 Cor. 1:12-23, Luke 9:46). The Bible has a passel of things to say about pride, old son. I think that pride is one reason folks are swapping lead in the internet style, shooting at people who do not do things or believe the way other people think they should. Don't be disunderstanding me. When people are publicly teaching false doctrine, they need to be called out. What bothers me is when these hissy fits are over minor points where pride is at the root of it all. I've seen witch hunts against teachers, and it is quite distressing to say the least.



On a personal level, believers are instructed to not only put aside pride and other works of the fleshly nature that unbelievers practice (Gal. 5:19-21), but we are to walk in the Spirit (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:22-23). We are also to instruct and rebuke other believers (2 Tim. 4:2, Titus 1:9), taking care to do it in love and using care with older believers (1 Tim. 5:1-2). Paul rebuked Peter (Gal. 2:11-14), so nobody is too established in the faith to receive instruction.

However, not only must we give rebukes and instruction, we must also receive them. I reckon that when such things are not done with the love of Christ and the truth of the Word, the one doing the rebuking may not be walking in the Spirit.

I had occasion to challenge someone on Fazebook who is burning with hate toward atheists. He or she set up a Page to strike back, but there is no sign of love of the lost or urging them to repent. Just revenge. This bothered me, so I posted a comment to rebuke them:
Just...no. Sorry, but I'm having trouble keeping the players straight in this game. YES, we can respond to mindless attacks of atheopaths. YES, we can use them as bad examples. But NO, we cannot act just like they are (this only applies to Christians, however). Christians have to be above their level, and glorify God with not only our apologetics and proper use of reason, but our attitudes.
It is tormenting to these insignificant cheerleaders of atheopathy when they are ignored. Their father down below pulls their strings and they dance, and the dance step is often to waste our time. If this Page is run by a Christian, I urge you to repent and get into your Bible.
After several days, I received a reply:
Do me a favor and focus more on attacking militant atheists instead of engaging in self righteous rants against fundamentalist Christians like myself.
Whiny, pompous, and overly judgemental "Christians" like yourself have splintered Christianity into numerous factions that weaken it and give strength to the enemy. 
Remember who the actual enemy is and who the greatest deceiver of all truly is.
In these times we need warriors for Christ and not mealy-mouthed pushovers.
Notice the pride and judgmental attitude. It smells of self-importance, and is loaded with fallacies that I will not take the time to examine. But what's this about "warriors"? Since they did not use any Scripture, I doubt that this was in reference to 2 Cor. 10:4-5 or Eph. 6:10-20. I wrote another response along the lines of, "Yeah, who needs Jesus", then deleted it a few minutes later. The next response was extremely carnal:
Go run your own page. Your poor interpretation of scripture isn't wanted here. I'll worry about my own salvation you pompous pr**k (followed by a laughing with tears in the eyes emoji).
I didn't see any sign of humility or respect for someone who has been in the faith for many years. Also, the personal attack with profanity makes me wonder some things. First, is this person actually a Christian? Second, do they pray for their enemies, or are they just content to slap them down and keep the cycle going? Third (and worse), is this an atheist pretending to be a Christian? They do that, you know. A few other Christians joined in. EDIT: That Page seems to have been removed. I posted my screenshot here.

It can be difficult in the heat of the moment to accept chastening or caution from another believer, I'll allow. Even so, a Spirit-led believer should be willing to consider the words of a Christian trying to pull on the reigns and slow the gallop. Outsiders are watching our conduct, often laughing about it.

Unbelievers should know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:35, Rom. 12:10, Phil. 1:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:10). This includes humbling ourselves by receiving and prayerfully considering instruction and rebuke (Prov. 27:6), especially in our apologetics methods and attitudes. We don't need to be giving enemies of God's Word reason to rejoice, you savvy?

EDIT: I forgot to add something. Some people seem to think that love is a manifestation of sappy emotions, which has nothing to do with biblical teachings. Here is a post with links to some sermons by Dr. John MacArthur on the subject. Also, it should not have to be said, but people progress in different rates in their sanctification. That means we're not as skilled in some areas as we are in others. This adds to the importance of being willing to listen to others who are more mature in the faith, as well as getting into the Word.



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Making Hybrid Creation Stories

Addendum added later the same day as published.

As any rancher worth his salt knows, you can have a hybrid animal such as a mule (offspring of a horse and donkey). It will likely suit your purpose, but critters like this are not likely to spread life. The same can be said for hybridized accounts of creation that mix the Bible and millions of years.


Although the Bible plainly affirms a literal recent creation, some people want to make up hybrid accounts incorporating naturalism into their beliefs. They are degrading Scripture.
Credit: Library of Congress/Carol M. Highsmith archive
Some folks reject the Bible's authority. We expect that from atheists and other non-believers, but there are professing Christians who also downplay the Word of God. Scripture plainly says that everything was created in six days. Instead of humbling themselves and submitting to Christ, they light a shuck out of there and head for the comfort of riding the owlhoot trail. They are degrading Scripture.

Why would a supposed believer want to compromise? It seems to me that these owlhoots don't want to look like one of those people who reject deep time, so they seek the praise of men rather than God. Another reason is that they want to accommodate atheistic views of science and their interpretations of evidence so they can allow for evolution. Some of these alleged Christians get a notion to add millions of years to the Bible by pretending it doesn't mean what it clearly says. Using the right chronogenealogies and using verses in the proper context, plus some decent research, is mighty helpful.

However, the age of the earth and of the universe itself is not clearly delineated in secular science, nor is evolution. Some of Darwin's disciples fight light badgers in a burlap sack about all sorts of things, and despite the protestations of devolution atheists, evolution is not settled science.


The greater irony here is this "Spock" jasper is eminently illogical
People who try to compromise with theistic evolution, old earth creation, and hybrid creation accounts do not accomplish anything of value. Indeed, such tinhorns mock God, his people, and Scripture. Do they really believe? Their insistence on eisegesis over exegesis, ridicule of Bible-believing Christians, and giving comfort to enemies of God causes me to lack belief that they do so.
There are several different approaches to interpreting Genesis 1 and 2. Theistic evolutionists not only try and read billions of years into the text, they also allow for something that is indistinguishable from straight-up evolution and big bang ideas.

Progressive creationists believe that the universe is very old, that God is the creator, and that He created things in groups, occasionally, across vast periods of time. In general, they reject chemical evolution and Darwinian evolution, but totally accept cosmological and geological evolution.

Day-age theorists can be considered a subset of progressive creationists (e.g. Hugh Ross calls himself a ‘day-age creationist’ but is widely considered a ‘progressive creationist’). Most believe the universe is as old as secularists claim, but this young man did not. Instead, he thought the universe was maybe hundreds of thousands of years old.

A popular option in (respectability-craving) seminaries is the framework hypothesis, which regards the days of Genesis 1 as real days, but in a literary framework rather than real history. This theory is less than 100 years old, and the original proposers were open about trying to fit long ages (and evolution) into the Bible.

Lastly, there are the biblical creationists. This is our preferred label for CMI’s stated beliefs. [Biblical creationist is also my view, and that of many others. -Cowboy Bob]
To read the entire article, click on "Hybrid approaches to Creation — Is there a middle ground?" ADDENDUM: Two more articles came to my attention that I want to recommend that fit the overall theme. First, "The Gap Theory" by Dr. Jason Lisle. Second, this lengthy article (a PDF download is available) is worth the attention of those who deal with the cult-like following of Rossites, "Critical Analysis of Hugh Ross’ Progressive Day-Age Creationism Through the Framework of Young-Earth Creationism".



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Genesis Axiom to Grind

An axiom is a statement that is assumed to be true without evidence, and often used as a starting point in arguments or discussions. We all use them whether we know it or not, and they make up our worldviews. They are important in logic and mathematics. The word is based on the Greek for value or worth, and the area of philosophy called axiology can be traced back to the same word.

An Old Testament scholar wanted to use humanist philosophy to judge the declaration of God that creation is good. He is horribly mistaken.
Garden of Eden image credit: Free Christian Illustrations
Jaco Gericke, an Old Testament scholar, took a notion to do some axiology on Genesis 1. God called everything good, and he seemed to take exception to that. He says it makes no sense to call something good without an axiological frame of reference. Philosophy (and its related categories of logic and ethics) is good to study in principle, but the "great thinkers" and their philosophies are brought to nothing by the Word of God (1 Cor. 1:19-25). Christians should know that there is no one greater than God. When we take an oath, we swear by God, who is the greatest. Who does God swear by? Himself (Heb. 6:13, Jer. 44:26, Deut. 1:8).

I reckon that Gericke is on the prod about God not having a frame of reference based on humanistic philosophy. He needs to read Job 38-41, because God is sovereign and doesn't need to consult with humans. God is good (Psalm 34:8, Mark 10:18). It is his nature, and what he does is good (see "The Goodness of God"). Yes, some things are "good" in different ways. Chocolate tastes good to me, but it's not good for my waistline, and it is lethal to Basement Cat. Other things are good in some ways but not so good (or even bad) in others. God's declaration that his finished work of creation is a different matter.
What God created in the beginning was “very good.” Old Testament scholar professor Jaco Gericke does not believe that: God creating things for the first time and calling them good without an axiological frame of reference is unintelligible. His philosophical reconstruction of the Most High and the axiology of Genesis 1 leads him to claim, among other things, that the “character” in the text was a realist, naturalist, and subjectivist; none of the things that God created had any objective value; nothing was assumed to be perfect; and what was good depended on whether or how much it was desired. The aim of this paper is to show that it is not unintelligible that God created everything good from the beginning; it is only unintelligible to the person who makes the claim.
It's a bit of a long paper, but worth your time. To finish reading, click on "The Most High and the Axiology of Genesis 1: Could God Create Everything Good from the Beginning?"


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Science is Impossible Without God

Addendum added 2-17-2019


Many people despise the truth, some do not know it, but science is impossible without God. In the same way, evolution is also impossible. Find out why.

For Question Evolution Day, we are going to examine something that atheists and other anti-creationists loathe, and something of which many professing Christians are unaware. Some people claim that evolution is science, but this shows the paucity of their understanding of the nature of science. Simply put, evolution is not only opposed to actual science, but science is impossible in an atheistic worldview.


via GIPHY

To be consistent, evolution is random, but its proponents want to perform science. If evolution were true, science would be impossible because the laws of logic, consistency of nature, and other things could not be consistent. Someone may object that they rely on their senses, but that is circular reasoning because they cannot know their senses are actually working; it could all be an illusion, false memories and all. Scientific predictions could not be made.

The Bible is true, God is the Creator, and he upholds all things. An atheist may get the bit in his teeth and jump the corral fence, saying, "I don't believe in God and I do science stuff anyway!" Yes, unbelievers can conduct scientific research and make predictions, but their rejection of God does not make any difference. The fact that God is real, making the laws of logic and nature possible is not negated by unbelief. It is akin to someone saying he doesn't believe in oxygen while using it.
Evolution is fundamentally incompatible with the scientific method.  That is, if neo-Darwinian evolution is true, then there would be no rational basis for trusting in scientific procedures.  Conversely, if science is a reliable tool for understanding how the universe works, then particles-to-people evolution cannot be true.  Here is why:
To read the rest of the article, click on "Evolution vs. Science". I recommend that you bookmark it or even save a copy to your ebook reader because it's worth reading a few times.

ADDENDUM: Dr. Lisle posted feedback where an angry atheist attacked the post and Dr. Lisle himself. The atheopath has the focus of a ball bearing in a blender, and did not have anything rational to say. To read this, click on "Is Genesis Historic and Reliable?"



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Origns Discussions and the Main Message

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

In the lead-up to Question Evolution Day, I posted and promoted "Taking a Stand for Biblical Creation". Naturally, this garnered a prairie schooner-full of comments. Normally, that Fazebook Page is not intended for debate, but I let them go for a spell. Nobody that I saw gave any comments about the content of the article that was featured.


In discussions about origins, some Christians seem to forget that this is not a parlor discussion. We must not keep the gospel out of it if we care about the eternal destiny of other people.
Credit: Openclipart
Naturally, we had atheopaths and other anti-creationists show up to tell us how st00pid we are because atheism, because evolution. Obstreperous trolls get banned, but some seemed to want actual discussion. At first.

I have to mention that it become very difficult to keep track of the comments and respond to them, and we have to track them down when informed, "Horatio Hornblower replied to your comment..." (This is especially difficult when I'm checking during breaks at the workplace, but not much better at home on the big computer.) I tried, though. Unfortunately, the notifications seldom go directly to the comments like they used to.

Those of us who use presuppositional apologetics begin with the truth of the Word of God, our Creator, and naturalists don't want anything to do with him. One aspect of this method is to do an internal critique of the unbeliever's worldview, and they get burrs under their saddles when we show that they are inconsistent and the failings of their logic. They have their faith in materialism and evolution, and are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves.

We also have to be prepared in our apologetic to show that the Bible is the foundation for logic, wisdom, and science itself. Unfortunately, some of the theists were commending themselves on their intellectual development, or congratulating unbelievers on some aspects of their worldview. They would also give stock answers for reasons to believe that God exists. From the content, I lack belief that some of these theists have saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Brethren, these things ought not to be!

In some cases, I was able to picture people sitting in the drawing room with cigars, wearing smoking jackets while they intellectualized and made the discussion very clinical. This is not a game. While we can and should provide some evidences in a presuppositional framework (none of that "neutral ground" nonsense) which may remove some stumbling blocks that are in the minds of some people, we cannot make others comfortable in their rebellion against God! I'm am not saying to use the Sword of the Spirit as a club, but we cannot divorce faith and reason.

One Christian responded by pointing out the inconsistency in an atheist's position, and received a lie in response, followed by, "How very Christian of you". The Christian did show some of the problems in the atheist's worldview. (I was going to add to it, but another Admin decided that some of these recalcitrant atheists had run amok long enough and banned some. I was getting very close to doing that myself.) The atheist wanted to hold Christians to our standards in his concept of Christianity. How Saul Alinsky of him! And, uh, to what ultimate moral standard do you live up to, Mighty Atheist™? None. His worldview is incoherent.

Discussions are useful, and I'll allow that they can be difficult on social media. However, we must remember that people are going to Hell if we do not tell them about Jesus. Savvy that? Many Christians know the middle part of 1 Peter 3:15, "...always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..." but neglect the first part, "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts". God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and we must keep in mind both love and their eternal destiny. You do want to meet them in Heaven, don't you?



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Authority and Our Worth

There are people who seem to think that being under the authority of another person implies inferiority, but that is not necessarily the case. In the workplace, we need to submit to our superiors but that does not mean they are better people than us. In a biblical context, submission to the authority of God actually brings us self worth and security.

 It may seem counter-intuitive, but submission to the authority of God's Word gives us security and confidence that we are loved.
Credit: Unsplash / Ben White
People are interested in their own opinions and how they feel about something, and these things change frequently. This is often coupled with rebellion against God where people choose which parts of Scripture they want to believe. It seems counter-intuitive to to the natural mind, but being under authority gives us stability. For the Christian, submission to God's Word is vital to our spiritual lives.

There is submission in the Trinity, but no inferiority is implies. Likewise, wives are to submit to their husbands, while husbands are to love their wives sacrificially like Christ loves the church. When we are in submission to Scripture, we can trust it and know that we are loved. Indeed, we have the Creator of the universe living in us; the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are his children. Prayerfully, submissively, seek God's Word first in all things.
When facing difficult questions, do we respond by asking God or searching His Word? Or do we think we know best? Such self-idolatry reaches as far back as the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6). Just as it did for Adam and Eve, failure to recognize God’s authority will lead to a path of sin, death, and judgment (Romans 13:1–2). There’s zero humility in seeking ‘me first’ and what I think instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).
To read this short article in its entirety, click on "Submission to Scripture—the key to understanding our worth".


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

God Made Monsters Too

Bible believers know that God made every kind of critter. Some of those we think are ugly or creepy (they probably have unflattering thoughts about us as well), or even downright scary, take some people a bit of time to appreciate. (My wife isn't fond of when I talk about fascinating traits in reptiles.) Some creatures we think of as monsters.


God made dinosaurs and other monsters, but some of that depends on what you mean by the word "monster". Then there are those other monsters we live with.
Credit: RGBstock / Adrian van Leen
It's a fair question to ask why God would make monsters. He has his plans, and many things we consider to be monsters are not dangerous after all, while other cute and pretty things can be deadly. In the beginning, there was no predation; T Rex may have been a fierce melon eater! Aside from movies and television shows showing scary monsters, actual monsters are a matter of perception.

There is another kind of monster to consider: that taniwha on the inside of us, prompting us to sin, be imprisoned by our fears, and more. We have that sin nature, you see, the product of living in a fallen world. All of us are wretched sinners that need to be saved by grace through faith. Because are sanctification is gradual, we don't become perfect instantly and have to deal with that dirty creature on a daily basis. The ultimate victory belongs to God.
After one of my dinosaur presentations in the Dallas area, a mother told me a question her son had asked. She didn’t know the answer. If God is good and Genesis creation is true, then why did He create monstrous dinosaurs? After all, look at tyrannosaur teeth. What kind of good God would make monsters like that?
It took me a few seconds to find the flaw in the question. It was worded to sound like only one option exists—that God made monsters. But what if God didn’t make monsters? In other words, the question has a logical error. It leaves out an option.
You can read the rest of this short article by clicking on "Why Would God Make Monsters?" Also, I want to do something different. The music video below is about dealing with inner fears (the lyrics are here), and it struck me about how it is a (probably unintentional) allegory to our sinful nature. Compare the song with Paul's frustration expressed in Romans.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Taking Jesus for a Test Drive

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Most people admit to belief in some sort of God, which is consistent with what the Bible teaches (Romans 1:1-22, Ecclesiastes 3:11). Most do not know the true God in a personal way. Some have had the gospel message clearly explained to them, but they have rejected it or traded the truth for false religions and philosophies.


Many people profess belief in God but are not truly in the faith. We do not "test drive Jesus", but must humble ourselves and submit to his Word.
Used car lot, Lancaster, Ohio, 1938 photo by Ben Shahn / US Library of Congress / Public Domain
Some people think that they are Christians because they attend(ed) church and participated in rituals. Perhaps they get a twinge of sentiment around Christmas and Easter which inspires them to give an intellectual assent to Jesus. Unfortunately, many of these professing (or "former") Christians demonstrate little or no knowledge of biblical Christianity.

Easy Believism

Some folks want to make evangelism simple and pleasant. They come up with "ask Jesus into your heart", "God has a wonderful plan for your life", "say a little prayer", sales approach evangelism, and similar schemes. Some of these riders on the Owlhoot Trail do not know the real gospel message and may not be truly saved themselves. Check out this episode of Wretched Radio for examples of people who do not know (or even deny) the gospel. Such shallow evangelism leads to false conversion and people who think they are Christians, but do not understand salvation.

The Unbeliever Judges God

One approach to presenting the truth to atheists and other people who want to put on intellectual airs is to present all sorts of evidence, catering to the unbeliever's ego, allowing the Mighty Atheist™ to decided whether or not God exists and is worthy of worship. Not hardly! As shown above, Scripture teaches that people already know that God exists, but suppress that knowledge. In addition, the heart of man is deceitful and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV), or as the King James Version renders it, "desperately wicked". Do you really want to be guilty of trusting the hearts and minds of fools (Psalm 14:1, Proverbs 1:7) above God's Word?

Knowledgeable Christians are divided on a philosophical approach called Pascal's Wager. Simply put: if we're right, they're lost for eternity, and if they're right, we have lost little in our lives, so they may as well live as if God exists. Some Christians think that is a good idea, but again, it puts the unbeliever in the superior position. It also seems to appeal to works-based salvation.

The Test Drive

In a similar way, some people give the dreadful offer of "Try Jesus". Some even say to try him for thirty days! Pretty insulting to almighty God. This attitude makes it sound like they are giving Jesus a test drive and they can move on if they're dissatisfied. Perhaps another philosophy will suit someone better, another epistemology will be fulfilling instead of the Word of God. Cornelius Van Til said, "We cannot choose epistemologies as we choose hats". I would add, "... epistemologies or vehicles". There is only one way to salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).

What is Lacking?

Easy believism and catering to the ego do not produce actual converts. Those modern churches that put on shows, preach from movies, and do other gimmicks may pack in the attendees, but they do not preach solid biblical truth. Jesus did the opposite of modern preachers, and drove away people! Being a Christian is not easy, and Jesus said that we have to deny ourselves and take up the cross (Luke 9:23). Indeed, we are guaranteed persecution (Matthew 13:21, Acts 13:50, Romans 8:35, 2 Timothy 3:12). Ever hear the word repent from these jaspers? It's in the Bible, you know, such as Luke 24:46-47, Acts 20:21, 2 Peter 3:9, 2 Corinthians 7:10. Go ahead, look it up. Repentance means to not only change our minds, but turn away from our sinful actions in conjunction with the leading and convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

For an excellent sermon, you can read or download the audio of "The Call to Repentance".

We must humble ourselves and submit to Christ, growing in knowledge and grace (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:15, Romans 12:2). Our faith grows primarily through sound teaching and the reading of God's Word. I'll allow that there are some parts that are difficult to receive, but we cannot say they are not true because we dislike them. There was judgement of the global Flood at the time of Noah, as Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others affirmed. We are sinners and deserve eternal punishment. Jesus is God the Son, the Creator of the universe. He took on human form and humbled himself before God the Father (Philippians 2:6-8, Romans 5:8). Jesus died on the cross but bodily arose three days later (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). He did this out of love (John 3:16). If we humble ourselves and receive him through faith (not by works), we will be transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17) and adopted as children of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:15, 23). People might think they can earn salvation by how swell they are, but Scripture disabuses them of that notion; there's no room for pride, just the grace and mercy of God.

Evidence in Good Works

Don't be disunderstanding me now! We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and not by works; we cannot earn our salvation by what we do (including rituals and such), nor can we keep it by our actions. That leads us to a spirit of fear. No, what I'm talking about is that our commitment to Christ and the Word is displayed by our works.

If you've spent any amount of time reading and hearing biblical teachings, you will have heard mention the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus also talked about bearing fruit (e.g., Mark 4:20, John 15:2-5, and others). Those who only have a superficial, emotional, or cultural acceptance of Jesus will not be demonstrating the fruit of repentance and knowledge of the Word. We must show Christian love to other believers (John 13:35,

People need to not only repent but also to have Jesus as the supreme authority in our lives. No, not everyone is riding the Sanctification Trail at the same pace, so we have to let God do his work in their lives as he chooses, you savvy that? I know full well that I'm mighty weak in some areas, and see other areas where my fruit-bearing is decent but other people are lacking. That's between God and each of us, except in cases of willful sin where we need to lovingly rebuke or correct some people, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Detailing the Chosen Car

There are people who profess belief in God but show little or no real knowledge of biblical teachings, and their lives do not reflect the transformation and regeneration of being truly born from above. Some will choose what they want to believe and reject things they dislike. This is not about disagreements regarding side issues (such as baptism of infants, for example), but foundational truths of Scripture that get chosen and rejected during the car detailing process.

To be blunt, when they do this, they are building a God they can keep on the knicknack shelf to shine up when they need him. This is idolatry, old son, and requires repentance.

Continuing the test drive analogy, one guy decided he hated God and parked the car. He bounced around with atheism, agnosticism, made some Gnostic remarks (calling God evil and a liar) — and then announced the did believe in Christianity after all, and would essentially give religion another test drive. He resumed attendance of an extremely liberal church that has little regard for the Bible. In addition, he rejects biblical truth about the global Genesis Flood, and utterly hates biblical creation (as well as those of us who teach it, and the Bible likens hatred to murder), forget John 13:35. He is his own god, and the real God is kept on that knicknack shelf. Obviously, any Scripture that disagrees with his preconceptions will have to succumb to his "wisdom" and preferences The sad fact is that far too many professing Christians justify rebellion against God and prefer the idols they made their ownselves.

Dealing with it

People need to get serous about their salvation and commitment to God. Ask yourself, "Am I really in the faith?" Sure, everybody stumbles. It has been rightly said that people may fall, but diving into sin and staying there is a different situation altogether. Christians can repent of their sin (1 John 1:9) and continue in fellowship with God and other believers. If rejection of foundations of the faith, the essential teachings, is your lifestyle, I strongly urge you to examine yourself. There is no "trying" or "test driving" Jesus, but only repentance and commitment. The teachings at this link should help.




Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Interpreting the Bible with "First Mention"

There are many biblical scholars that I have heard and read (including Dr. James R. White, who can translate an ancient manuscript from the Greek on the spot). They never mentioned the Law (or Principle) of First Mention, so I was surprised to learn that this concept is a problem for hermeneutics and proper interpretation.

There is a concept called the "Law of First Mention" that is used to interpret the Bible. Unfortunately, it has several problems, leads to errors, and should not be used.
The Bible, George Harvey, 1845
I was also startled to learn that some educated biblical creationists actually use this Law of First Mention. Essentially, it means that the meaning of a word is determined by where it first appears in the Bible. That may appear sensible at first, but there are some things to consider. 

First of all, an argument for First Mention may appear more believable if people were reading from the original languages instead of translations. Another problem with the concept would be that the books of the Bible are not laid out chronologically — Job is considered to be the oldest book, Mark is considered to be the earliest Gospel, and John's Gospel is not synoptic, not following the timeline of Jesus' ministry. Also, there is no indication in Scripture that this approach is valid. There are other reasons to reject the pitfalls of First Mention.
Since the Bible is God’s Word, it is of utmost importance that Christians properly understand its message. To do that, one must learn how to rightly interpret Scripture. Sadly, many believers have never been taught basic principles for interpreting the Bible. This oversight has led to many verses being taken from their contexts and too many aberrant theologies based on other unsound methodologies.

. . .
Nevertheless, proper interpretation of the Bible must be held in such a high regard that any deviation from sound hermeneutical principles should be corrected. Young-earth creationists are not immune to mistakes in this area. While Bible-believing Christians may occasionally disagree on the correct application of certain interpretive principles, we can all agree that using a demonstrably poor principle to defend a correct position is unnecessary, inappropriate, and unbecoming of those who are committed to upholding the truth of Scripture.

One such principle has found favor among some young-earth creationists, and it is occasionally used by others who disagree with our view. It is known as the “principle of first mention,” or sometimes the “law of first mention.” Not everyone agrees on exactly what it means.
To finish reading, click on "Is the 'Law of First Mention' a Legitimate Interpretive Principle?"

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Doubling Down on Darwin in Denmark

Someone dared to question evolutionary science and point out moral problems with mixing Christianity with the Bible. The state church of Denmark wants him reeducated.

The joys of living in a civilized world where independent thought is encouraged, disagreements are discussed, violence and defamation are not used to get others to surrender to your point of view, atheists and evolutionists do not force their religious views on others — let me know when you find such a place. While most people believe in the separation of church and state (no, it is not in the US Constitution) and reject the idea of an official state religion, atheistic secular humanism is becoming the state church in the United States. Evolutionism is foundational to atheism and other religions that reject the authority of God's Word, and this is readily apparent from the actions of my distant kinfolk in Denmark.



Apparently, it is a sin to question Darwinism in the state Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. One priest found out the hard way. Now, don't be disunderstanding me. Mads Jakobsen does not seem to hold any creationist views, but he does have problems with evolutionary science interpretations and how hitching up the bride of Christ with Darwinism can result in moral problems. Bishop Harpy's reaction was to malign the errant priest and call for his reeducation. Sorta like a Stalinist but with different lingo, or maybe from George Orwell. Intelligent people believe in evolution, you know, and we can't have idiots like that in our state church, no siree!  Can't be putting the Bible above fallible man's science opinions, can we?

If you study on it, you'll see why this is yet another reason we need Question Evolution Day.
Even within some churches, Darwin skeptics can face censure and calls for re-education in the religion of evolution.
That Darwin doubters can expect persecution within secular academia is old news. But in the church? Karsten Pultz, an intelligent design supporter in Denmark, reported a story he found in a “Christian newspaper” in his home country. He tells about the difficulties a Darwin doubting theologian encountered within the Danish church. 
To read the rest, click on "Danish Church Persecutes Darwin Doubters".