Who Should Pay for Consequences?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 22, 2017 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

I am blessed to have a good number of conversations with atheists, and a while back some atheists and I were discussing free will. For the most part, they were good with the idea of free will and making decisions for themselves, until we started discussing the consequences of bad choices. The fact of the matter that there is personal responsibility in the decisions we all make.

I asked, “Who should pay the bill, if two people who chose to have sex outside of marriage get an STD, because one of the people in this union is unfaithful sexually to the other person?”

I was accused of being a homophobe, even though I never even brought up homosexuality and in fact already made it clear that I was not talking about homosexual sex. I had stated, “Whether it be a man with a man, woman with a woman, man with a woman, whatever.”

One person then went into how we should take care of each other though and said, “So are you saying people who get stuck underground while working in mines should be just left there? After all, it’s just a consequence to their actions.”

Here’s the answer: Of course, we should help them, just as we should help people with STDs. The only question that needs to be answered is, who should pay for the consequences?

In the question of the miners the answer is an easy one: the company that employs the miners are responsible for getting those people out of there safely.

Regarding the couple with the STD, they are responsible. Society is not and should not be responsible to pay for their consequence. Now, should these people be restrained from getting adequate medicine and healthcare that is available to everyone? The answer is, of course, no. But, they are ultimately, personally responsible for their actions and the consequences physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially that follow.

As a Christian, it seems to me that Christians are called to do what God calls them to do to help people, with the provision that God has supplied for them. We are called to love people through their difficult times. Christians should pray for them and be there, telling them about the good news of Jesus Christ. Then each person can decide what to do regarding their relationship with Him.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

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The Zombie Fair vs. the Good Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Those who do not know God cannot know the good life (Romans 8:8). In the Garden, Adam and Eve turned their backs on paradise. They rejected God as the source of all life; they turned away from the water of life and instead “dug wells for themselves, broken wells that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). God gave a beating heart and two breathing lungs to experience life – life in paradise no less – but, “Although we know God, we do not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but have become futile in our thinking, and our foolish hearts are darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Death gripped the hearts of every one of us. It squeezed out the life of God, and our hearts, once alive, are now shriveled to nothing. They withered to death leaving only a hollow shape, an empty void where once God abided. “Claiming to be wise, we have become fools, and have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man” (Romans 1:22-23).

Human beings have been reproducing this shadow of God’s image for several millennia. A carnival of hollow forms, a cadre of emaciated, starving beings desperate to fill an unfillable void, a zombie fair. Like a dog with an unsatisfiable itch who scratches himself to the bone, so these ones tease the same itch until they are raw.

As a pastor, I have seen the same shiftless forms go through life bent on the lie that they can decide what the good life is for themselves – but they never can! They stay up late, they drink and eat, they taste everything, desire everything, and touch everything, until their eyes are bloodshot, their bodies bruised, and their souls desperate, forlorn, and discarded.

One of my teachers once said it this way, “I have had the ability and the freedom since I was about 5 years old, to go out into the yard and find a hot, steaming pile of dog doodoo and get down on my hands and knees and just smear my face back and forth in that hot pile. I have never yet used that freedom.” But those who throw off the restraint of God’s will and ways commit this very act of folly. They smear disgust all over them and dare God to strike them down. They think that having nothing to restrain them is a state of freedom, but it is a state of revilement. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Our foolish hearts shrivel like a leaf and blow away leaving only hollow desperation. Friends, this is not the good life. This is the life of the damned.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23). Each of us is huddling in the scant light of our own blind senses. Crouching in darkness and fear of the future, we remain hidden from God, not daring to “come into the light as he is in the light for fear our deeds will be exposed” (1 John 1:7). “No one understands; no one seeks after God. Together we have become worthless” (Psalm 53:2; Romans 3:10-12). We are “living in this world without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12 NLT).

This is not life. “Man shall not LIVE by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Although mere food can animate his body, it cannot satisfy the soul. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Jesus came to give us true life and to restore the broken relationship of man to his Creator. We were created for paradise with God. We all know that something is wrong in the world. A cursory glance at creation cries out that all is not well. Evil exists, and the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, like a strutting peacock. Evil men and women gain and gain, while God’s righteous few are hunted down (Psalm 73).

Because human beings choose to throw off God’s ways, because they choose to worship the creature rather than the Creator, because they deny God his rightful place as the center of the heart, because they prefer a life of shiftless and wandering slavery than the robust life of faith, God gave them over. He gave them over to shameful lusts, to the abuse of themselves in homosexual dishonor, and ultimately He gave them over to a debased mind (see Romans 1:18-32). Like a dog that scratches himself to the bone, those apart from God pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

God did not force this delusion on them. He merely allowed them to choose what they truly wanted in their hearts. God wanted something different for them, namely life, but they would not have it. Such was the case for all of us. This must end! “Who shall deliver me from this body of death!?” (Romans 7:24).

The good life comes only from God. Augustine recognized that he walked around like a zombie, empty inside, until he found Christ. “My soul was restless until I found rest in Christ.” C.S. Lewis also referred to aimless, purposelessness in his article “Men Without Chests,” indicating the incapacity of those who have rejected God to perceive His transcendent reality.

Do you want the good life? Get to know God. That is the most practical thing you can do. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and raised again on the third day to reclaim the possibility of life with God. He offers to come and fill the void in our hearts, to deliver us from “the bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21), which is the besetting problem of every zombie.

Constant reader, I earnestly plead with you to believe the promise of Jesus: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

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Judges 18:7-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 19, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.
When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, 'How did you find things?' They answered, 'Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.'
Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. On their way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. This is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Mahaneh Dan to this day. From there they went on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house.” (Judges 18:7-13)

To get the context of today’s passage, I encourage you to read my posts from the last two weeks, here and here. Last week, we saw that the Israelite tribe of Dan didn’t trust God with the land that He had provided for them, so they went looking for different land on their own.

The Danite spies had gone 100 miles north, outside the land that God had given to Israel. This new land they found was very secure and very prosperous. It was a long distance from any of their enemies, it had water (springs that formed the source of the Jordan River), and it had the mountains of Lebanon for protection. It was called Laish, and its residents were basically like sitting ducks here in that spot.

The spies all agreed that they should take this land immediately. 600 men set out to conquer this new land, but they did stop for camp first. “Mahaneh Dan” means Dan’s camp, and that is evidently how that place was remembered for many years.

The Danite spies said God blessed their taking of this land, but that was likely based on the word from Micah’s priest, which really wasn’t from God and had nothing to do with taking that land. God had not given this land to Israel, but they wanted to take it for themselves anyway because they liked it. They misinterpreted the priest’s word from “God” to fit what they wanted it to say; that’s a form of eisegesis, or reading your own meaning into the text.

Has that happened to you in your life? You see something that is better than what you have and you want it, whether God is ok with you having it or not. Maybe it’s a new car or a new phone that you really want but can’t really afford; maybe you would have to give less money to God and His mission to afford this new thing. Do you think God wants you to have that? Do you misinterpret God’s Word to justify getting that thing you want?

Honor God by following what He commands you and being content with what He provides for you.

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Dead at the Root

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 18, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Have you ever felt like everything you touched crumbled in your hands, like everything you plant dies at the root? I have heard it said, “Bloom where you are planted.” But what if everything you plant doesn’t take root, and doesn’t grow?

My family and I experienced a season like this and it was miserable and confusing. But God has a purpose and a plan for everything we go through, even our pain. It seemed the harder we tried, the harder we fell. That experience changed us. I’m still looking and finding ways in which it changed us for the good.

My head understands the scripture of James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” But during this season, my heart didn’t understand.

However, I did pour over these scriptures:

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Be strong and courageous. God not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

It was these truths that guided me through that challenging time. If you feel like you are in a difficult season, my encouragement is to cling to the truth of the Bible, reach out to fellow believers for prayer, and take one day at a time. Remember that this is a season, and seasons don’t last forever.

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Science in a Vacuum

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 16, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The origins debate has brought in an interesting aspect about the use of science. The Evolutionary side practices this aspect religiously and demands the creation side do the same. What is it? Doing science in a vacuum. Does that mean we go up into space and perform science there? No. Doing science in a vacuum means you’re completely ignoring or setting aside any other data that is already present.

I get asked all the time where the scientific evidence for the Biblical Creation is and I cannot point to pure science. Why? Because pure science cannot answer that question. To be able to answer the past, I need more than scientific processes. I am going to delve deeper into the difference between historical science and observational science next week, but to give you a preview, you cannot scientifically prove you read this post. Why not? You can have the document in front of you and you can cite information that came from it, however you cannot repeat the process. If you tried, that would be reading it a second time. You cannot scientifically prove you read it the first time. You can’t repeat it. You can, however, historically prove you read it. More on that next week. My point is, to do science, particularly on past events, you need more than just science. You need history. You need anthropology. You need archaeology. You need written documents. You need oral records. The problem is when you try to do science without taking of all these into consideration.

The Old Earth Creation model follows the general evolutionary timeline for mankind to start coming around in the hundreds of thousands of years ago and if they have an Adam and Eve, they would be around about 30,000 years ago. The Young Earth model has man arriving suddenly at 6000 years ago in Day 6 of Creation and the people groups dispersed shortly after the Flood, around 4400 years ago due to the Tower of Babel dispersion. Here is my question. If the Old Earth models are true, where is the history of man? According to several old earth models, Adam and Eve lived about 30,000 years ago, and at that time they had the power of understanding language and could communicate clearly, both with God and each other. Where is the history for the 25,600 years of an intelligent man to the first records of modern written history?

Some will say, “Writing had not been developed yet.” I can give credence for that argument, however regarding writing, there is no evidence anywhere of it “gradually” developing. There are nice theories about how it developed, but we have no records of a gradual development. It appeared suddenly with full language, letters, context, grammar. If the Young Earth account of history is true, this “sudden appearance” makes sense because God would have instilled in Adam a full language and writing it down would not be an issue. If any Old Earth models are true, this is a hole in their model that remains unaccounted for.

We have cave paintings that seem rather “amateurish” to some degree. These date tens of thousands of years old to hundreds of thousands of years. The secular concept is that these were primitive mankind showing their battles with large creatures. However, the only places we see adults writing on walls like that are to leave messages for other people. The Juarez Mountains (in Juarez, Mexico) have two pieces of art work on the mountains. One is “La Biblica Es La Verdad. Leela” (The Bible is the Truth. Read it). The churches of Juarez gather every few years to white wash the mountain. It is the largest Biblical message on mountains in the world. On the other side is a seemingly childish depiction of a horse. However, this was white washed to be a sign to travelers that there was an outpost there. But let me throw in a wrench to the common understanding of these cave drawings. What if they were not done by primitive man, but by children? Our kids draw on walls all the time. This makes absolute sense in a post Tower of Babel dispersion. But if from primitive man, where is the history for tens or hundreds of thousands of years? Cavemen were not bumbling half-apes with only grunting language at best. King David was a caveman for a few years of his life. Would it not be reasonable to suggest children in a hunting group, or even merely a travelling group, staying in a cave to escape the weather or a war could have done those drawings?

Oral traditions are greatly misunderstood today because we don’t live in one. The oral tradition of the passage of history is not unreliable as is perceived today. It’s actually extremely reliable. The telephone game is the common example to refute this idea, but any who uses this argument has not playing this game with an oral tradition culture. In oral tradition cultures, they emphasize on mnemonics and memorization. These cultures have incredible memories. Many Jews were illiterate. They could not read, so what did they do? They memorized the Torah. It was expected every 12-year-old boy would have the first five books of the OT memorized. Try playing the telephone game with that mindset. You’d get a perfect transmission of the message, or at the most minimal errors.

Cultures that had an oral tradition would have a history that far exceeds the written language. Why aren’t there any cultural legends that describes even a few tens of thousands of years? Why do the oral traditions actually point back to a recent creation, a massive flood with a few survivors, and a dispersion? What really surprised me about Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson is the fact that polytheism actually came from the lost knowledge of the One True God. The secular models insist it was the other way around, that the monotheistic religions got their ideas from simplifying the polytheistic models. Again, where is the history for the secular claims? We have it for the Biblical account.

We cannot do science in a vacuum. We cannot do science properly without understanding the historical context, not just of our day but of the past. The old earth models have absolutely NOTHING to anchor their models to. If Adam and Eve lived about 30,000 years ago, where did that number come from? The Bible? Science? Historical data? The answer is… NOWHERE. It’s a made up number. So are all the figures of millions of years. Scientists try to get dates established with their methods, however with such a wide range of results from the methods, which is reliable? Because such methods are done in a vacuum, they have no basis for any of their claims, let alone any legitimacy of their methods.

When YEC does their science, they anchor to a historical account, namely Genesis. But we do not look at the Bible alone. We look at history. We look at archaeology. We look at anthropology. We look at all these well-established fields and consider them together. The secular models depend exclusively on their dating methods, which provide one giant circular reasoning argument. It is not uneducated to believe in a young earth. YEC tend to be far more knowledgeable on numerous fields, in part because we have to be, but also because we have the data that supports our position. The written and oral history matches with precisely what we should expect from the Biblical account to be true.

Which science do you support? That which is done in a vacuum and completely misses what the other sources have to say, or that which constantly checks with the context to see if the results match with all the other fields? The secularist will deny the Bible has any input into the equation and that they need to do science to validate the historical accuracy; however, what validates their science? They can only point to themselves for that. With the Bible, however, it not only matches itself, but everything else matches with it. When you do science, check with all the other fields and include the Bible in the equation. When you do that, the science will work itself out and reveal the truth, as the Bible always does when it is used as the standard.

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The Good Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 14, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson directly quoted John Locke’s phrase “life, liberty, and property” but substituted “the pursuit of happiness” in place of property. What was behind this? As I mentioned last week, this did not destroy the enshrinement of property; rather, he wanted to make a statement that we are free to pursue the good life.

There are basically two kinds of freedom: libertine and eudemonistic. Eudemonistic is a big word that entails a pursuit of the good life, hence “pursuit of happiness.” Libertine freedom usually means casting off moral restraint and doing whatever gives you pleasure. But I use it in the sense of libertarian freedom: a person is completely free to choose those actions which do no harm to another or impede on another’s life, liberty, or property. Libertarian freedom implies the ability to make choices that can be harmful or destructive, as long as that harm or destruction does not spill over onto another person. I will call this the libertarian minimum. The state has a responsibility to guarantee this. No one can take your life, liberty, or property without repercussions from the law. This is freedom, but it is far from the good life.

The good life cannot be guaranteed to anyone. No use of force can bring it about, because it is the result of people’s choice to follow God or not. Government can only give us the opportunity for the good life by securing the libertarian minimum guarantee, or as Jefferson put it, “the pursuit of happiness.” To ask the state to give us the good life is asking too much. The state guarantees our freedoms, but Jesus sets us free to pursue the good.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Each person must be allowed to take the risks and accept the consequences of his own use of freedom. If someone chooses a path of self-destruction, he must walk it alone. You eat the fruit of your own labor. If you choose a life of sin, remember the wages of sin is death. But remember, they are your wages, honest pay for your own deeds.

Happiness is elusive. If we make happiness the object of our pursuit, we will never get it. We will always be focused on happiness and highly aware of our lack of it, since there is always room for more. But the oddest truth that life on earth has taught the wise is that happiness comes to those who live for something other than themselves. Mother Theresa was happy.

How many parents put in their eighteen years waiting for the time when the kids would grow up? That day would bring freedom to travel, a clean house, peace and quiet. But when Junior graduates and moves out, parents always cry. When they look back, they realize they were happy all along. Perhaps they even wish for days gone by. It doesn’t always work that way, but it often does.

People have been searching for the good life for a long time. Many people have been sidetracked by thinking that if they had more things that would make them happy. But happiness isn’t in bigger steaks, clothes with a higher thread count, or $3 “smart” water. The Ancients knew that you cannot make a god of your belly or sex or wine because those things can’t ever really satisfy. They are all good things, but they cease to be good if you make a god out of them. They make good servants but bad masters.

Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Surely, I can exist on bread alone. My body can survive, but I can’t LIVE. For those of us who have come to trust what Jesus says as the Truth of God, we know that “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions" (Luke 12:15). Rather, we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Only Jesus can give you the good life. “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). I know that many people object to this truth. They feel that God has let them down. They know that life is meant to be better than this. What has gone wrong? Sadly, if people limited their freedom to the libertarian minimum, they could only harm themselves. But a life spent serving oneself always leads to harm for others, too. You and I have used our freedom in a way that has hurt someone else. But Jesus came to reverse this. He came to redeem each person, to change them in a substantial way in order that they can pursue the good life again.

True life, the good life, comes to those who don’t seek happiness but rather they seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It sounds like a paradox, but it is exactly what I and the other Christians I know have experienced. Jesus is knocking; open the door.

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Judges 18:1-6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 12, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“In those days Israel had no king.
And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, 'Go, explore the land.' So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night. When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, 'Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?'
He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, 'He has hired me and I am his priest.'
Then they said to him, 'Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.'
The priest answered them, 'Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.'” (Judges 18:1-6)

This passage starts out with the phrase, “In those days Israel had no king.” This phrase occurs 4 times in the chapters of Judges 17-21. This shows how much Israel wanted a king to bring the nation back to morality, since it had gone so far downhill.

This passage focuses on the tribe of Dan. All of the tribes were supposed to have their own land (except the Levites who served as priests throughout the nation), so why didn’t Dan? Back in Judges 1:34-35, the Amorites had confined them to the hill country. They were stuck between the Amorites, Philistines, and their fellow Israelite tribe of Judah. They had land there as given to them by God, but they didn’t like to be stuck like that. They wanted something better! This showed their lack of trust in God, that they wanted to have something more than what God had provided for them.

So the tribe of Dan sent spies to search out a better place for them to live. Those spies ran into the Levite living in Micah’s house. The Levite’s accent likely caught their attention, since he was from Judea. They were surprised to find a Levite in that area.

The Danite spies assume that this Levite is a priest for the one true God, so they inquire to him about their journey. They had no idea that he was the priest for idol worship. It’s likely that the Levite was wearing the ephod while making their request, since ephods were transitioning from use in worship of God to worship of idols. We don’t know if the priest’s response is really from God or not, but it at least appears favorable for the spies.

This lack of a king in Israel was causing all sorts of unrest and ungodly things to happen. The people of Dan didn’t trust God for His provision of their land. The spies didn’t know if they were doing the right thing or not. Idol worship was happening. The spies didn’t seem to care whether their answer really came from God or not. If Israel as a nation had been truly focused on God and not entrenched in the immorality of idol worship as well, they would have had clear answers and trust on all of these matters.

Where in your life are you losing focus on God? In Proverbs 3:5-6, we’re commanded, “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (caps mine). We’re not supposed to trust in God with only that part of our lives that attends church on Sunday mornings, but with ALL our heart - that means in ALL areas of our lives. It’s so easy to lose focus on God or not be willing to put our trust in Him for everything in our lives, since we like to control things (or try to) ourselves. Look to God for provision in every aspect of your life, and He will provide.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.