Friday, February 12, 2016

Question Evolution Day and Presuppositional Apologetics


by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

On this, the fifth annual Question Evolution Day, I thought it would be helpful to discuss presuppositional apologetics (or "covenental", or "transcendental", or other names) and how it relates to biblical creation science, but also why this approach is important to apologetics in the first place. I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this, but I do have a good working knowledge of it. There are also various versions (VanTil/Bahnsen, Gordon Clark, John Frame, Michael Butler, and others). Some of they get mighty arrogant, wanting to slap leather with each other because their version of presuppositional apologetics is "wrong". I want to slap faces and say, "We're here to honor Christ, not Clark, VanTil or some other jasper who did not die for our sins!" If you have a preferred method, great! Just don't attack others who differ in their presup methods. You savvy? And some will probably be upset because I use presuppositional apologetics, and I do not claim the labels of "Reformed" or "Calvinist".

But I digress. I tend to do that, don't I? But it was important.

Although this is intended for Christian readers, there will undoubtedly be professing atheists and agnostics who take a gander at it. But they will not be able to understand it. Not necessarily from lack of intelligence, but because it's a spiritual matter (1 Cor. 2:14, 2 Cor. 4:4). Still, they may get a little something out of it. I hope Christians get a great deal from the material contained herein.

Paul Preaching at Ephesus / Eustache Le Sueur, 1649


In simplest terms, presuppositional apologetics means to have a consistent approach to knowledge and reasoning from our biblical foundations; there is no "neutral ground". Atheists and evolutionists are not consistent in their worldviews, using arbitrary assertions and ad hoc arguments with many logical fallacies thrown in. They hate and ridicule presuppositional apologetics because it's bad medicine for their incoherent paradigms, and claim that they have "refuted" it through straw man arguments and ridicule. (Ironically, they are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves, basing their worldviews on naturalism and humanistic philosophies.) We all have our starting points, and the Christian's starting point should be to elevate God's revealed Word above man's philosophies.

We believe that the unbeliever is in no position to put God on trial and determine through his intellect whether or not God exists and is worthy of his worship. That's extremely arrogant, if you study on it. The limited created ones who are in rebellion against God thinking they can reason about the infinite Creator, a spirit, using naturalistic methods? That's called the category mistake, pilgrim.

An article for Question Evolution Day on apologetic methods, atheists, disingenuous apostates, and presenting the truth of the Creator in a biblical manner.

Unfortunately, there are Christians such as RC Sproul who misrepresent presup based on biases and a misunderstanding of the method. Just like the squabbling over who is "right" in the presup method, misrepresentation is not Christ-honoring, either. Yes, presups use evidence, and evidential apologists use presuppositions. We happen to present our evidence in a presuppositional framework, going back to the foundations, and do not make evidence our primary focus. Our worldview is all-encompassing, not just about science, logic, and creation, because Jesus has authority over all things, not just religion and morality.

To have coherent logic, certain things must be true about the world. Presups start with God, unbelievers start with humanism. Science needs consistency and logic, neither of which can be accounted for in a naturalistic worldview. When an atheist performs science or uses logic, he is tacitly admitting that God is real (Heb. 1:3, Col. 2:3, John 1:3, Col 1:9), because they are abandoning their worldviews and standing on ours (for example, Bill Nye). A professing atheist can reason and do science stuff because of the truth of God's Word, and because he is created in the image of God — but they cannot account for logic, morality, and so on.

There have been times when atheists have complained about my inconsistencies, both real and imagined. For instance, a complaint that we ban people from The Question Evolution Project, and I reject obstreperous and defamatory comments elsewhere (Prov. 22:10): "Do your own fascist tendencies not bother you? Apparently not since you have set up a north korean [sic] style propaganda blog for creato-fascism and suppression of unwanted facts". I have challenged atheists by asking, "So what? If that is true, why is it wrong in your worldview? Why can't I act like an atheist? Why can't I use 'survival of the fittest' and do whatever I think is right that helps me to better survive?" Indeed, to quote Mr. Gordons, we are "meat machines" — that is, in an atheistic and evolutionary worldview, we are bundles of chemicals responding to our electrochemical impulses; there is no right and wrong. Not only do they have no business complaining about a Christian's perceived faults (and irrationally using those to conclude that, therefore, there is no God), they have to live with it — we were born this way!

Just like some people will say that biblical creation creates barriers to people receiving the gospel message, the same accusation is made about presuppositional apologetics. I reckon that this charge is based on biases and lack of understanding. I have to continually refine my own apologetic, and can see that not only was it rather poor a few years ago, I've made headway, but I still have a long trail yet to ride.

Dr. James White had Pastor Jeff Durbin as a guest on The Dividing Line. This was rudely scheduled at a most inconvenient time for me, just before Christmas 2015 and then Question Evolution Day coming up. (As a Christian, I have to forgive them for their lack of consulting with me about my convenience, but also for ignoring my efforts to contact them about Question Evolution Day. Atheists cannot account for forgiveness, even on real infractions, in their worldview.) The video was a response to a video posted by Noah Adam, who roundly criticized Jeff Durbin.

I really hope that you will spend time on the video (or audio download). Yes, that bad boy is quite long, but you have the option of taking it in installments. (I got excited about it, saved it, and re-listened with extensive note-taking on January 22, 2016, the day I wrote this article.) If you do, you will notice that I drew heavily from material in the first half hour (can you hear that much, at least?). You will learn about presup, and also see it in action.

Side note for the presenters: Maple syrup on an Arby's roast beef sounds good to me. Try it with duck sauce sometime.

Dr. White and Pastor Durbin were too charitable to apostate Noah Adam in my opinion. That owlhoot was downright disingenuous, acting like a concerned Christian who wanted to give suggestions to Durbin, but is actually an agnostic. Pretending to be a believer and offering suggestions is an all too common manipulative trick that unbelievers employ. What would be the final goal if Durbin took Adam's advice? He would be abandoning a biblical apologetic method in favor of sinful man's philosophies. Ain't happening, old son.

It would also mean that White and Durbin are stupid, because Adam offered tribble-droppingly bad arguments based on lack of research, bigotry, and prejudicial conjecture, which brought to mind not only Psalm 53:1, but also Prov. 18:6). He also used loaded terminology in an effort to poison the well against Pastor Durbin. One thing I emphasize is that people need to learn how to spot basic logical fallacies and employ critical thinking. F'rinstance, you can see that Noah Adam is assuming that Durbin is wrong, and then attacking that position.

Enough of my presentation. I hope you'll watch or listen, go to this link: "Responding to Noah Adam’s Criticism of Jeff Durbin (with Jeff in Studio)". In addition, I recommend Dr. Jason Lisle's "Ultimate Proof of Creation" (a video on that topic is here). A video by Dr. Greg Bahnsen on "The Myth of Neutrality" is extremely helpful, but you may want to act quickly because those tend to disappear from YouTube. Speaking of Bahnsen, you can also get the book Always Ready. Jeff Durbin recommends another book in the video, pay attention for that one. I'll stop with the philosophy of science series by Michael Butler on Sermon Audio.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fighting for Question Evolution Day 5

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Once again, I had the privilege of being interviewed on Fighting for the Faith by Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio, and we not only had a good discussion on creation, evolution, Question Evolution Day, the folly of theistic evolution, and theology, but we also had some fun with it. He said he asked me back. Although after last year's interview he said he'd have me back, but I wonder how much of it is because I "reminded" him of it a few times. Hearing this back, I realize that really need to get a new microphone.

I had a passel of notes ready to go, but only used some of them. It's just as well, I had the bit in my teeth and Chris had to say whoa more than once. (The reporter I had a phone interview with the other day also found out that I like to talk on these subjects, that went for an hour.) I had some references that his regular listeners will catch, plus a couple of Monty Python remarks. Pastor Rosebrough clarified something for me, and I think you'll get a short but important theology lesson from him in this interview.

We discussed celebrating Question Evolution Day. Pastor Rosebrough suggested that we have a meal. My wife and I are having (primordial) soup, (ancestral) fish fry, and (geologic column) layer cake. There's another very appropriate idea for dessert, but neither of us are interested in that.


Clearing up some misconceptions about Question Evolution Day. People can participate wherever they are, as little or as much as they wish. Also, difficulties for biblical creationists to be heard in Bible-believing churches.
Made this using a chalkboard menu generator.
It's interesting how both of us are working in parallel on some things, which includes dealing with bad reasoning and "proof texting" (in evolutionary science, the Darwinistas use "cherry picking"). Both of us also use snark to some extent, and I appreciate Chris' recommendation of Pastor Hans Fiene's message on the use of it.

Some things I brought up are definitely worth mentioning here in addition to Question Evolution Day. Christian churches need to take a stand for biblical creation and against compromise by having Creation Sunday, click here. Second, there are legislators in the US that want to establish "Darwin Day". Not hardly! Secular humanism is already creeping in as the established state religion, against the Constitution, and making a Darwin Day just makes this establishment of religion more blatant. Check out "Stop Darwin Day" for more information. 

Am I already in trouble for making waves on a government religious holiday?


Also, I told him about the fabulous Christian rock parody band, ApologetiX. See their excellent video "Monkeys for Uncles", below.

Jumping ahead, after the interview was Pastor Rosebrough's review of a heretic's "sermon". Interestingly, there were some things I saw in there that go back to Genesis. The hyper-faith sidewinders emphasize the power of your words to speak things into being, and they often refer to creation week: God spoke, and it was so. Now you speak and "release your faith". Except that I have never seen or heard of someone causing something to appear from nothing. (Well, some atheists say that everything came from nothing, but that's their blind faith masquerading as science.) When people hear that stuff, they need to slow down and check the claims with the Word in context.

All right, I've run on at my unregistered assault keyboard long enough. If you've a mind to hear the podcast, click here to listen online or download. On my browsers, I right-click on the part that says "download" and save the MP3 that way.



Friday, January 22, 2016

A Cowboy Bible?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Before I get going on this, I'd better clarify something, even though many of my regular readers (and podcast interview listeners) know: my "cowboy" moniker is not earned. It's a nickname I picked up a few years ago, and it shows my cowboy attitude. I don't know nothin' 'bout no hayburners; tell me to saddle up a horse and ride, I'd probably get kicked, fall off, and land in poo. So, I need a guide. Yes, I lived in the West — the west side of Michigan. Anyway, being a cowboy at heart has helped me get things done. My father had a cowboy attitude as well, which is something I learned from testimonials at his funeral. Anyway, adding some Western-style lingo in posts and articles adds color and personality, I reckon, even though I usually have a conversational style for the most part.

Portions of the "Simplified Cowboy Version" of the Bible are available. But this paraphrase is insulting to both the Bible and to the cowboys the writers are trying to reach.
Assembled from components at Clker Clip Art
A while back, I was looking for cowboy Bibles and came across the "Simplified Cowboy Version". It is not pretending to be a translation, but a paraphrase. As they say on their Facebook Page, "The SCV is NOT a bible. It is a Bible paraphrase. Think of it as The Message (for cowboy and cowgirls)." Oh, thanks a heap! The Message is a dreadful paraphrase-commentary, and should be avoided by Christians.

My problem is that, although the folks behind this at "Save the Cowboy" seem to have good intentions, they are ultimately corrupting the Word of God. For example (again from their Facebook Page):
Jesus calmly replied, "Isaiah foretold the future about you when he said:
'These people will say that they ride for me,
but it's just all talk.
What they call church is just
teaching a bunch of rules and stuff that they came up with. They aren't teaching what God said.'
Y'all don't ride for God. You just make up stuff and say it comes from Him."
-Mark 7:6-8 Simplified Cowboy Version
This makes Jesus look like a dumb hick, and is also insulting to the people they are trying to reach. If you want to give them the Word of God, then do so — without insulting their intelligence. I'm definitely not one of those folks who thinks that the King James Version is the only true Bible and that every Christian should learn how to read its 1769 English. For people who want something accurate but not too difficult, there are many accurate modern Bible translations available, whether full-sized or New Testament shirt-pocket editions. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by the World English Bible, which is available in many forms, including free versions to download. Many people consider the New American Version to be the most accurate version in English, but is not the easiest to read. Also, the English Standard Version is readable and accurate, as is the older New International Version. (A special NIV New Testament, "The Way for Cowboys", has the Bible text, plus some extras for people of a cowboy persuasion. I have one.) Less known is the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which is also considered accurate and readable. The New King James Version is reliable and readable as well.

There are good Bibles available for people who don't want to struggle with the text, and can be used for evangelism as well as discipleship. There's no need to add to God's Word and dumb it down. In fact, this "Simplified Cowboy Version" could be considered blasphemous, but I won't hang my hat on that accusation just yet.

Friday, January 1, 2016

False Teaching and Spousal Abuse

This post will be rough, and I make no apologies. Maybe one, though, the podcast was available for almost two months, and I put it off. Probably because it was difficult for me to hear (including the parts about false Christians). But I have to present it because the material is important.


This is not fluffy feel-good material. Spousal and child abuse are serious problems affecting the church. Where do you go when you have a false church that will not help?
Image credit: Pixabay / Counselling
I don't take kindly toward spousal abuse for either party. (Yes, men are abused by women, but you don't hear about that nearly as much.) One time, I was stretching my arms in Cubicle Land and a co-worker was walking by. I said, "I almost hit poor Caitlin". She smiled and said, "Sometimes I need it." She was probably joking, but I felt a twinge. No, you do not "need it". Ever. If I see some ruffian laying a rough hand on her... Domestic abuse is not just physical violence, it's about control. From a Christian standpoint, it involves spiritual abuse and possible demonic influence. Even more so when the kids are involved...

Someone in an abusive relationship should be able to go to the church for help. Unfortunately, many churches are apostate and have low regard for the Word, emphasizing "seeker driven" and feel-good stuff presented as theology. In the case of Kerri Ferguson, she went to alleged pastors Phil Pringle, Brian Houston, Ian Treacy, and Gary Dench. They were no help. For that matter, they were anti-help.

Chris Rosebrough of "Fighting for the Faith" interviewed Kerri Ferguson. The free download is here, and there is additional information here. I really hope you'll tough it out and listen.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Unpardonable Sin

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Sadly, there are some people who are afraid that they have committed the unpardonable sin and are beyond redemption for eternity. While it is good to be concerned, the unpardonable sin is not something that can be committed casually. Think about it. God is not capricious and willing to condemn someone for such a serious sin committed in ignorance or by something said in haste.


Some people are concerned that they have committed the unforgivable sin, and are going to Hell no matter what. It's not that easy. Here are some helpful resources to settle the issue.
ESV Bible text added to Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees by James Tissot / Public Domain
There are several views on this sin. One is that it cannot be committed today, it was a "game over" for the Pharisees who had been condemning him and had finally crossed the line because of the constant hardening of their hearts. Another view is that this sin is the rejection of salvation, where someone dies without Christ. (In the latter case, the end result is the same.) Even some Christians are afraid that they fouled up somehow, and take the unbiblical view of losing their salvation because of it. Indeed, one view is that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is resisting his promptings to repent of specific sins, and it implies that a Christian can lose his salvation, which is false. But if someone is worried that they have committed this unpardonable sin, that itself is a sign that you are not beyond hope, and the situation can be resolved.

A tragic imagining: Someone has died and stands before God. He asks why that person rejected salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The offender replies, "I figured I committed the unforgivable sin, so I went on with my business". 

Here are some articles, and a link to three sermons by Phil Johnson on the subject. Although I found the second sermon to be the most interesting, the first one is very helpful in setting it up. The third sermon is interesting as well. To hear those, click on "The Unpardonable Sin".

Helpful articles:
While a truly born again believer in Jesus cannot commit this sin, there is no excuse to "live like the devil". Someone who claims to be a Christian and does not "bear fruit in keeping with repentance" is probably unsaved. In fact, a sign of true repentance is wanting to live to please God. I recommend hearing "Hell's Best Kept Secret" as well as "True and False Conversion", available at this link. The above resources should help settle anxieties and disquieting doubts about going to Hell because of a mistake.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bible References and Mobile Devices

The other day, I happened to visit one of my sites that uses numerous Scripture references with my cell phone. (Some of the articles here can be chock full o' references.) People with mobile devices will see something like Luke 6:22 as plain text, and may be asking, "What does expect us to do, go and look up all of those references?" No, not really.

It takes a passel of time for me to give links to many references in, say, Bible Gateway or something. And that's after looking things up myself in the first place. (This article I did for Genesis Week has a passel of Bible verses embedded in the text, and putting those in took almost as long as writing the article itself.) I have something installed called Reftagger that works with computers that use mouse pointers — just hover over the link, and the verse pops up, as well as a link to read more if it's a long passage. Unfortunately, mobile devices are left out of it. They have to be — no pointers to hover with.


A short explanation of what's going on with Bible references, and why people with mobile devices are unlikely to see what I tried to make available to them.
Reconstructed with a screenshot and clip art of a pointing hand.
So, it looks like my suggestion is that if someone wants to check out my Scriptural support and see if I'm using proper references, come back to the article when you're on a computer that has mouse stuff happening. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought I should at least explain what's happening.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Clarifications on Calvinism

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is a clarification of some remarks I've made about Calvinism and Reformed theology. Some of those may prompt people to think that I'm an enemy of Calvinism. Not hardly! So, if you're an angry Arminian (read closely, I'm not talking about Armenians), don't be looking to recruit me in a crusade against Calvinism — I get good teachings from both camps.

There are Calvinists who are arrogant, and meaner than a sack full of rattlesnakes, acting like Mormons who are trying to convert Christians from Arminianism or something else to the "doctrines of grace". I don't cotton to being told I'm an immature Christian ("Once you grow in the faith, you'll understand") or even that I'm unsaved because I don't accept all of their views. Someone who acts like that is full of pride, despite the false modesty of saying that "the elect were chosen by God before the foundations of the world". For having no choice in the matter, some are amazingly un-humble — which makes as much sense in me taking pride in winning my division ("display class" thematic) of a stamp collector's exhibition, of which I had the only entry. Hooray for me! (As the crowd yawns.)


Some things I've said in the past may make people think I'm an enemy of Calvinism. No, I'm not an enemy, but refuse the label of Calvinist or Arminian.

Remarks like those above can get me into trouble, what with people putting words in my mouth, reading too quickly, and the like. Fact is, there are Reformed doctrines that I fully agree with.

One is perseverance of the saints (or the somewhat derogatory "once saved, always saved"). That doctrine is misunderstood by its detractors, but I can make a reasonable case for it. This belief is contrary to traditional Arminianism, but briefly, if you cannot obtain salvation by your own efforts, you cannot keep it that way, either. Or was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross insufficient after all (Heb. 10:10-14, 2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 4:1-8)? A doctrine saying that you can commit a sin just before you die and end up in Hell is unscriptural, and disgusts me. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but security and peace.

Another doctrine that Calvinists and Arminians agree on, and I join in, is often called total depravity. No, it doesn't mean that nobody can do good things (Matt. 7:9-10). Rather, it says that sin taints every part of us, including our thinking. People can have a measure of "goodness", but do not meets God's standard. Anti-theists and anti-creationists believe they are doing "good" by persecuting Christians and creationists, but their thinking is corrupted, and they are actually doing evil. We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23, 6:23) and need God's mercy (Eph 2:8-9).

When I study on it a spell, it seems that the foundation of Calvinism is the doctrine of election. Now, I cannot debate the subject effectively, and freely admit that there are some support verses that I can't fully deal with. However, there are verses that also seem to indicate that Christ died for all, not just the ones he chose ahead of time that would be saved. When those are pointed out to Calvinists, they give a kind of answer that indicates that the plain reading of the inerrant Word is unclear, and they have the right understanding, so they have to explain it to you. The first two doctrines that I discussed above can be defended without the doctrine of election, but it seems to me that if Calvinism loses that doctrine, the others collapse.

Calvinists seem to have a high regard for Scripture) which surprises me when people like Dr. R.C. Sproul vacillate on Genesis). I've encountered Arminians who not only have a low view of Scripture, but are willing to introduce heresies (theistic evolutionists use a form of the Pelagian heresy). So, I am convinced that neither camp is completely right, but both have truth in some of their views. Also, there are people that I believe will accept doctrines or beliefs because someone they admire accepts them (a kind of genetic fallacy). Whatever teaching or doctrine is presented, compare it with Scripture, keep it in context, and don't reject a fellow Christian who does not happen to hold to your favorite views on these matters.



Labels

Stat