by Nathan Buck I read an article from a medical doctor a few years ago that indicated that all health disorders we face are only 2% genetic. This means that only 2% of our DNA passed from our parents has some influence on whether we are healthy or suffer from disease. Allergies, obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, nervous or skeletal disorders, even cancer – all are only 2% genetically predisposition in us. And my immunologist stated that studies show only FOOD allergies pass from parent to child – no other allergies are genetically passed. Recently I had a conversation with a man whose father is dying of a deteriorating heart condition. And in our conversation he said, “I guess I know what I have to look forward to.” In an effort to comfort him, I said, “Well you know it is only 2% genetic, the rest is lifestyle choices.” He graciously accepted the encouragement with a short chuckle, and we moved on in the conversation. Something stuck with me though and I continued to process it. I thought about why we like to blame genetics for disease, and why it comforts us to think we are just genetic time bombs waiting to explode. Oddly there is a sense of comfort in believing this, because it gives us something “random” or seemingly “unbiased” to blame for our health conditions and struggles. After all, when a loved one dies, we don’t want to admit that their lifelong habits and choices contributed to disease. The truth is, the beer and cigarettes didn’t kill them; their choice to smoke and drink did. Obesity didn’t kill them; their choices when they ate did. Heart disease didn’t kill them; how they exercised and ate did. And the list goes on. Admitting it also means we have to face OUR own choices. We may be slowly killing ourselves. It’s easier just to blame an uncontrollable fatalistic factor like genetics – and give 100% of the power to 2% of the problem. Take a moment and briefly reflect on these Bible passages: I Corinthians 6:19-20, I Thessalonians 4:1-12, and Proverbs 23:1-3. Each of these passages of the Bible talks about our bodies. The first two are about being sure to restrain the lusts and desires of our bodies. The Proverbs passage talks about gluttony and resisting “deceptive food.” What’s important to notice about these passages is the assumption the Bible makes when it comes to any desire we have – sexually, emotionally, hunger, or sensually driven. The assumption in the Bible is that we can and should discipline ourselves to avoid things that are not good for our body. Not only for our physical health, but also to honor our body as a place where God chooses to be present by His Holy Spirit. If God were physically present with us, would we take him to a fast food restaurant for dinner, or feed him a bunch of candy, or rent a prostitute, or go to the local pool to lust after girls/guys? If we cared at all about Him, we would probably try to get the best we could afford and we would be on our best behavior. These Bible passages not only assume that we can control our bodies, but that we WANT to, because of God’s presence within those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. So what about you? Are you blaming genetics for your health, your weight, your allergies, etc.? How about for your choices to lust after men or women, overeat, get drunk, lie, cheat, steal, have an affair, tell hurtful stories about others, etc? Is your sin genetic too? We all have some predisposition to engage in destructive behavior or sin. But we choose whether or not we act on them. We all have 2% of our genetics that predisposes us to health risks. But we choose whether or not we contribute to those risks. In Jesus Christ we have the ability to use self-discipline and self-control. He promises His power through the Holy Spirit. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have that power within you. If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, that power is offered to you by committing to follow Jesus as the master of your life, and accepting His grace to rescue and restore you. You can face the truth about your lifestyle and the impact of your decisions. You have a choice – own it, or blame the 2%?
by Charlie Wolcott There is a famous scene from the book/movie, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which always gets my attention. The people were trying to figure out what was going on with why they existed, so they built a giant computer named Deep Thought and they wanted to know the answer to life, the universe and everything. Deep Thought said it would take a while to figure out the solution and to come back after 7 ½ million years. So the people did and there was a great party ready to hear the answer to the ultimate question. And the answer Deep Thought gave was… “42.” The people were outraged and Deep Thought said, “It would have been simpler to know what the actual question was…only when you know what the question is will you know what the answer means.” Many of us are seeking answers. Why is this happening? Why is that happening? If God is good, why did he let something happened to this person? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is this all about? We are all seeking answers to these types of questions. Many of us have heard that “Jesus is the answer.” I heard that growing up very often. But the answer to what? A very good friend of mine gave me a new way of looking at this and he based off “42.” Think about this. “How can Jesus be the answer unless he is first the question?” Too many times, we are asking God why this or why that, but in reality we are asking the wrong questions. Too many times we are questioning God and questioning his methods and ways instead of asking the right questions. Questions like “God what are you trying to accomplish with this?” or “God, what can I learn from this situation?” Too often our questions put us as the judge of what is going on, instead of seeking the King of Kings for what he is doing in his sovereign power. The reason men like Richard Dawkins and other atheists will not understand the truth is because they are asking the wrong questions. The answers don’t make sense because they are asking the wrong questions. This week with Worldview Warriors our topic is “Why should we read the Bible?” But is this the right question to be asking? This question puts us as the judge of whether the Bible is worth reading or not. In February, I wrote about our worldview and how our worldview affects how we read and interpret evidence. So if we ask questions that put us as the judge, our worldview is going to have an effect on the answers we get or come up with. Ultimately, only one person had a 100% correct worldview: Jesus Christ. So every one of us has a flawed worldview in some way shape or form, including me. To address this issue, we need to ask questions that will be answered by a higher standard than ourselves. Can we truly be honest about this? There is no question that the Bible is a unique book. It is different than the Koran, the Book of Mormon, or any other holy book. What makes it unique? That is a question we need to be asking. What makes the Bible stand out from all the others? Why is it singled out so often? Why is it officially banned in 51 or more nations? Why are so many people offended when something is mentioned from this book? These types of questions look to an outside source of decision than ourselves and it allows us to see the answers correctly. This brings up an issue of authority and ultimate standards. The highest authority cannot appeal to any other authority lest that other authority be a higher standard. The highest authority can only appeal to itself. That does mean circular reasoning, but this is the only case where it holds true. For an ultimate authority to be valid, it must pass its own standards of judgment. The Bible does this. The Bible passes the same standards that it holds us to. It is internally consistent. Many have claimed there are inconsistencies in the Bible, but if you study what they are, it will not take long to see that the supposed inconsistencies are quoted out of context. The Bible is different from any other holy book because it passes its own standard. No other holy book does this. The Bible is a valid ultimate standard. In the Bible, we find answers for every type of problem we may face. Jesus faced every type of temptation known to man and overcame them. He is the most brilliant tactician of all time and in every battle, every struggle we face, Jesus knows how to overcome them. So instead of asking, “Why are we facing this trial, this struggle?” ask “How can I can face it?” In the historical books of the Bible, we see the struggles of the great heroes of the faith and what they faced. We can use the lessons they learned to address how we face our problems. No other book can give us instructions on how to deal with certain issues through teaching, through poetry (like the Psalms), through history, and even through prophecy. There are many CEOs, some of whom do not believe the Bible, but will use the Book of Proverbs to get insight on how to run their business. The Bible contains all the answers we need. It is the “Logos” word of God. The complete expression, everything God wanted to say about the subject. But are we asking the right questions? Are we questioning God as though we are the judge of all things? Or are we seeking the questions, understanding that God is the judge of all things? If you have the wrong questions, any answer given will make as much sense as “42.” Ask the right questions and God will make the answers revealed in the Bible and in his Son, Jesus Christ, totally clear.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2 comments
by Logan Ames Over the last twenty years or so, there have been numerous nicknames for professional athletes that have been questionable at best but mostly bordered on ridiculous. One that always comes to mind when I think about ridiculous sports nicknames is “The Answer”, which was given to former NBA star Allen Iverson. I always wondered if he’s the “answer”, what’s the question? I mean, he was a pretty good basketball player, but that’s about where it ends. He clearly wasn’t the answer for championships because he never won any. He wasn’t the answer for modeling a dedicated work ethic because he famously missed team practices and then ranted about it to the media after his coach, one of the greatest of all time in Larry Brown, called him out on it. And he wasn’t the answer for a positive role model off the court because he had numerous criminal charges for drunkenness, drug possession, and illegal possession of weapons and also accrued so much gambling debt that he requested an NBA contract to help pay them off. My point of this post is not simply to bash Allen Iverson, but rather to show that when we are desperate for an “answer”, we will turn to just about anything that we think gives us hope even if it’s fleeting. If you’re looking for an answer in your life, you’ll find it in the Bible. It may not be direct and you may have to search for it, but I promise you it’s there. I’ve had to look for a lot of answers in my life, both those that were personally relevant to me and those that others needed at critical times. I have yet to be faced with a question that the Bible doesn’t address in some way. But God and his Word are not simply the “man behind the curtain”, the monk who sits on the mountainside allowing seekers to come with their most important question, or the inside of a fortune cookie. We use the Bible to answer the questions we present in our blog posts, but it’s more than just an answer to the many questions of life. The Bible is the answer to all of our fears and all of our temptations. One of my favorite movies in the last five years is “The Book of Eli”. The plot centers on the only remaining “book” (a King James Bible) that exists after the apocalypse and after the rest of them were forcibly destroyed. The man who has it feels it is his calling to protect it and carry it all the way to the “west”, where society is still somewhat civilized and a printing press is able to copy it for the future. There are two opposing sides in the movie who both agree regarding the power within the pages of the book, but they each desire it for completely different reasons. Eli has experienced the truth, hope, and life within its pages and wants to follow the Spirit’s leading in sharing it with the rest of the world. On the contrary, the evil enemy uses all of his available resources to try to find the book and even says at one point that he wants it because the one who has it will have all the answers, and therefore all of the power. He salivates at the thought of controlling people and using the book to force them to do what he wants. Eli faces many challenges as he is pursued by the enemy, including a surprising one that is revealed at the end. But all along the way, he reads the “book” and quotes its truth as a way of calming his fears and trusting in the faithfulness of the One who has called him. If you have fears that appear to be overwhelming in your life right now, the Bible is your answer. Do you think you have faced some pretty intense temptation in your life? Even if you have, it likely pales in comparison to what our Lord and Savior went through. Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 give us two different accounts of Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Yes, he was (and is) God. But he was also a man and he had to face these temptations as a physical human being to model for us how to do it. There are minor differences in the two accounts, but Jesus’ response to each temptation is the same in both places. I’ll focus on Matthew’s account. Jesus had completely fasted for forty days and nights, so he was hungry (4:2). Just for your information, it wasn’t “hungry” like you and I get when we eat dinner too early and need a snack before bed that night. He was actually beginning to physically starve. At Jesus’ physically weakest moment, here comes Satan to try to take advantage of his desperation, the same way he does with you and me. Jesus was prepared. You’d think, being God and all, that Jesus would just use his power to make Satan disappear. Instead, he does what you and I can do in ANY situation in which we are tempted. He quotes the Bible! See for yourself in verses 4, 7, and 10. In the verses just before those, Satan tempts Jesus with food, a chance to prove his identity as the Son of God, and the power and splendor of all the kingdoms of the world (vv. 3, 6, and 9). Rather than state the obvious, which is that Jesus can find food anytime he wants, doesn’t need to prove who he is to anyone because his identity was granted by his Father, and already owns the whole world and can’t be “given” more, Jesus just rests his case on the truth and power of Scripture. In the most difficult temptations of his life at the time, Jesus finds every answer he needs in his Father’s holy Word. Just take a minute and think about how freeing it would be to have that much trust and faith in the authority of the Bible. Satan could keep coming at you, but he wouldn’t stand a chance. You’d still have rough days, but at the end of every one you would have the assurance that you are on the side of something that cannot be defeated. Reading and knowing your Bible give you a secret weapon. It’s “secret” because it is not recognized by your enemy as an answer. But his choice to reject it has no effect whatsoever on its power and authority, and HE KNOWS IT! I urge you to begin reading your Bible today if you have yet to do so. As you start that journey, you’ll finally have an answer to every question, fear, or temptation you face.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 27, 2014 4 comments
by Bill Seng Reason 1) Authority I am a Christian. Is that about as intellectually unsatisfying of an answer as I could have possibly given for this topic? Nonetheless, the Bible’s authority begins for me at my confession of faith. Until a person acknowledges the divine nature of the words of the Bible he or she will not believe that it is any greater than any other holy book. Consider the Apostle Matthew’s description of the people’s reaction after Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount: “When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:28-29) It is one thing for one of Jesus’ friends to conclude such a thing, but in the Gospel of John, something incredible happened in chapter seven. The Pharisees sent guards to arrest Jesus and after they heard his teachings they returned to the Pharisees empty-handed. When they were asked why they did not bring Jesus back, they said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:46). Something about Jesus’ teachings was noticeably different from the religious leaders of his day. Granted such testimony regarding Jesus’ teachings, why do so many Christians refuse to believe the words of the Bible? There are many reasons why many Christians do not believe what the Bible says, but in our modern context one of the main reasons is fear. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18). Too many Christians are afraid of confessing truths that sound absurd to the rest of the world. Instead of having faith that God created the universe as described in Genesis (and Hebrews 11:3), calling evil evil (Isaiah 5:20), or even confessing the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:14), it is often easier and more popular to submit to the worldly teachings on these topics. The teachings of the world are that we already know through science how the world came into being, there is no such thing as evil, and that the dead cannot come back to life. The world’s teachers lack authority, regardless of how intelligent they claim to be. Once again, I believe the Bible over any other holy book because of it is my authority as a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. What loftier claim could the founder of any other religion make? Buddha was merely enlightened, Muhammad was merely a prophet, and Joseph Smith happened to stumble across some golden tablets that only he could read. Jesus claimed to be the source of knowledge, greater than a prophet, and He sends the Holy Spirit upon those who believe so that they might understand all truth for themselves. If these are the only choices aside from the fallible humans that we call scientists, trusting Jesus and the Holy Scriptures is a fairly safe bet.
by Katie Erickson We at Worldview Warriors talk a lot about reading the Bible and what the Bible says, on basically every topic. We believe the Bible is the authority for everything in life. There will be more blog posts published soon to go more into depth about why this is the case, so watch this blog for those. The question I’m focusing on today is one that we have been asked many times, from all sorts of people - why should I read the Bible? What’s the big deal about this book that was written so long ago? Personally, I grew up reading the Bible, basically from the time I started reading at all. It was even one of my textbooks for school, having gone to Christian schools all the way up through high school. I went to religion class 5 days a week in school, and Sunday School on Sunday mornings. You could say I’ve read the Bible a lot. I don’t tend to read novels a second time after I’ve read them (with a few exceptions), so why would I keep reading the Bible, over and over again? For one thing, any other novel is a dead writing. In a novel or instructional book, for example, I would get the same life lessons and information out of it the second, third, fourth, etc time that I read it. With the Bible, however, I can read the same passage again and again and still learn something new! I’m sure there are stories in the Bible I’ve read or been taught about countless times, and there is always something new to learn. The Word of God is a living writing - it constantly impacts its readers with something new, even from a familiar passage. I will admit there was a time in my life where the Bible did get rather stale for me, but that was because I didn’t have the right motivation for reading it. I was reading it because I *had* to, not because I *wanted* to. I was confident in myself and my own knowledge, rather than realizing that I don’t have all the answers and God does (yes, I was a teenager at the time). My most eye-opening Bible reading has happened since I learned its original languages of Greek and Hebrew. Since then, every time I read a passage it’s like I’m reading it for the first time, because there is always something new to gain from the original language. As a follower of Christ, I want to know God. But God doesn’t just sit next to me like another person would so we can have a conversation over a cup of coffee. So how do I get to know Him? I need to read what He has written, just like getting to know a pen pal where the only communication is in written letters. God reveals Himself to us through His creation, but more specifically He reveals Himself to us through His written Word. God’s Word will always accomplish its intended purpose, which is to reveal Himself to His people. As it says in Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The only way we can have a relationship with God is through His Son Jesus, since we have been redeemed through Him. We learn the story of that redemption in the Bible, from the creation in Genesis until His second coming in Revelation, and everything in between. We can’t fully understand our place in this world until we know the entire story of it, which is only found in the Bible. It’s the ultimate epic story of all time. Finally, the Bible really is a useful tool in life. As it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We need to be equipped to serve God, and the Bible is the only way that can happen. As you’ve noticed if you’ve read any blog posts on here, basically all of them refer to Scripture at some point; it truly is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training, and equipping. While I am coming at this question from a Biblical point of view, since that’s what I was raised in, make sure to watch this site this week for more posts on this topic from other points of view as well.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 25, 2014 0 comments
by Michael Homula
(Photo: General Gouverner Warren statue on Little Round Top, Gettysburg National Military Park) Between 1861 and 1865, Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers, if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible. What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States' Rights ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. By the early summer of 1863, the war was not going well for President Lincoln and the North. The previous seven months saw the Confederacy win great victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Late in June, Robert E. Lee began a massive invasion of the north that would culminate in an epic battle fought amid the rolling farmlands and bountiful orchards surrounding a little town in south central Pennsylvania – Gettysburg. The July 1-3 battle raged in places that would be forever remembered for the ferocity of the fighting – the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard, Cemetery Ridge and the Slaughter Pen, Devil’s Den, Little Round Top and the Valley of Death. The climax was Pickett’s Charge, the South’s last final and desperate attempt to attain victory. It failed. The North had won but the losses, on both sides, were inconceivable: 56,000 casualties (wounded and missing) and nearly 10,000 dead. The 2,400 inhabitants of Gettysburg watched and hid in horror as more than 135,000 men maimed and killed one another wholesale. When it was over, they had nearly ten times their number in wounded and dying soldiers to care for on their farms, in their barns, homes, school buildings and churches. Christians take comfort in places of worship. The church preaches a message of healing for sick souls, but the sight of one’s church filled with horribly wounded and dying men sprawled on pews and floor near and around where they worshipped would not be a normal scene. But such scenes were repeated in every church within a 25-mile radius of the battlefield and town. One church’s wood floor was so badly blood-stained it had to be replaced. There were countless numbers of heroic acts during the battle and aftermath. There were similar acts of Christian kindness in caring for the wounded and numerous displays of mercy for the dying. Christians on both sides would live out their faith in ways we can hardly imagine today. In those first few days after the battle there were no large kitchens to prepare and provide food to feed the thousands of deprived and ravished men. Andrew Cross, of the United States Christian Commission, arrived Sunday the 5th of July with only two boxes of hard tack when he stopped at Cemetery Ridge. He wrote, "Think of two boxes of soda crackers in a hospital of over 3,000 wounded men who had not anything to eat for three days… It was all we had. The scarcity of everything was exceedingly great, no army provisions of any kind having yet come, and the men having been without food in many cases for three days." What he really needed was a multiplication of loaves and fishes. Captain James J. Griffiths of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry was mortally wounded. He was an aid to General Oliver Otis Howard (known as the Christian General and later founder of Howard University). After being wounded, Griffiths was taken to a private residence in Gettysburg where his friend and commander, Howard, visited him one last time. One eyewitness commented on the scene: "…the General passed in to the side of the dying man (Griffiths). The two had loved each other as brothers. Howard clasped the Captain in his arms, kissed him and burst into tears. Recovering his self-possession, the Christian General took from his pocket a testament and read to the dying Captain a portion of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John… The General then knelt down and offered up a fervent impressive prayer. Arising from his knees, he again kissed the dying man, saying, 'We shall meet in heaven.'" Griffiths died July 10th. Many of the men in both armies professed, worshipped, and served the same God of the Bible. They had an enormous faith that enabled them to do extraordinary things. Same God. Same country. Different dreams. The United States is in what church historians have labeled the 'post-modern Christian era.' Christianity is under attack, some say on the decline, and even more say that those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior do not put action to their faith. In our culture, it is no longer "in" to be Christian. People are as hungry for God today as they were one hundred fifty years ago – though they do not know only God can quench their appetite. The church – meaning the body of Christ – must not run from our present culture. Today’s disciple of Christ must present not a watered-down gospel, but a direct, vibrant and lovingly pure message of redemption in Christ alone. At Gettysburg in November of 1863, President Lincoln tried to put into words what was happening to his beloved country. He said perhaps more than he knew – the war was about a "new birth of freedom." As God intervened in America's bloody past to bring a new birth of freedom, washing us of the sin of slavery. Let us pray He breaks upon America once more, using His sons and daughters who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, with a renewed commitment seek out His presence and be salt and light in the world in which we live. At Gettysburg, stories like those above are numerous and contain valuable lessons for Christians today. The Biblical Truth at Gettysburg blog posts, forthcoming studies, and one-of-a-kind retreats will explore the lives and extraordinary actions of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the days leading up to, during, and after the epic battle. In their deeds, some of them having given “the last full measure of devotion,” we will find ourselves challenged to live out our faith in a more actionable and effective way. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was the Colonel of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. We we will discuss him and his men much in the coming months. At the dedication of Maine Monuments on October 3, 1888 he said: “In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision place of souls… generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a Mighty Presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls.”
by Nathan Buck So, I will just ask this up front – If there is a God, are we just His puppets? If God is all knowing, and all-powerful, and all present, do we really have the ability make our own choices? Can we choose to accept, or deny God? Or is it already pre-scripted no matter what we do? Within Christianity you will find extremes of people who believe we have absolute free choice, and those who believe God pulls every string of our existence. Most of the time, even the strictest believer of either doctrine struggles with living it out, because they miss a big piece of the puzzle. Is God a puppetmaster? Well, if you choose to put your hand on a stove and burn it right now, is God going to stop you? He might. He might not. As human beings we do not have the perspective to predict God’s action or inaction, because we lack the information He has in forming His decision to act, or not. That’s not a cop-out, it is the truth – we cannot fully see life from God’s perspective, so we cannot predict God’s moment-by-moment interactions with us. The big problem with the question of “free will” is we often make it overly religious and strictly transactional. We saturate it with other tightly formed and systematic belief statements, and then focus “free will” on the ultimate judgment from God – Heaven or Hell. When we do that, we remove the context of relationship between God and His creation, and we diminish two beautiful aspects of God’s character – self-restraint and sovereignty. So is there an answer to the question?
Let me share two reflections from the Bible (God’s Word), and let you decide. The first reflection is out of the Book of Genesis chapters 1-3. There is a lot in there, but here are the highlights for you to reflect on. God makes humankind. He gives them a choice to accept everything as He presented it, with the blessings of freely having/using everything. He puts one limitation on them – and that is not to eat from the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” There was only one “no” in a world full of “yes.” Adam and Eve were tempted and chose the “no.” Did God know they would? Yes.
Why didn’t He stop them and destroy the snake (Satan) right there?
Well think about that for a second. How would that have turned out? Can you really have relationship with someone, without the choice not to? And if someone chooses to reject you, and you care about them – does a healthy relationship override their choice? Or does it work through the consequences, as a steady and healthy companion – seeking healing and restoration? If one thing is absolutely clear in the Bible, it is that God desires relationship with His creation. He desired it so much so, that He gave us the choice to reject Him – and He chose (and chooses) not to override our choice. In love and respect, He lets us face the consequences of our choices, and lovingly provides opportunities for us to see more clearly and choose again (and again, and again, and again). The second reflection is from the following passages: Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:5, 11. In each of these passages the word “predestined” is used to describe God’s plans for believers. If you read carefully, you will see the passages all say that those who are in relationship with God are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, or to become sons and daughters of God. The challenging part is the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29. It means “to know or to choose in advance.” Here is an alternate (and completely supported in the text) way of reading Romans 8:28-30:
“And we know that in all things God works together with those who love him, to bring about good with those who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew (chose in advance) he also predestined to be conformed the image of His son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” Look at this passage carefully and ask yourself – Did God choose in advance who is going to Heaven or Hell? Or did He choose in advance who He would start His mission with? Is this “choosing in advance” everyone who will ever live, or is Paul simply directing it toward those God chose to get things started? Which brings me back to the original question – is God a cosmic puppet master over us? Whether you choose it, or He chose it for you, the purpose is relationship – not control. God cannot force us to love Him freely. To have faith in Him is an issue of love and relationship, not a transaction for hellfire insurance. So, if relationship is intended and necessary in God’s plan… you decide if God is pulling every string… or not…
by Charlie Wolcott One thing that always seems to be brought up in the origins debate is the clash between science and the Bible. Those that support Evolution clearly see a conflict between what they believe and what the Bible says. Those that support Biblical Creation say there is no conflict at all. Then there are those that say there can be a marriage between Evolution and Creation, by re-interpreting Scripture and saying “Evolution is what God used.” How can we sort this out? First we have to clearly point out what science is and what science is not. For anything to be labeled as scientific, it must have three key characteristics: observable, testable, and repeatable. If anything does not have these three characteristics, it cannot be classified as scientific. In the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, Ken repeatedly made a distinction between “observational science” and “historical science.” Bill did not get the concept. He thought all science was science. Ken did give a few examples of the distinction between the two, but allow me to dig a little deeper. Observational science is just like the regular science we see today and carry out in labs in all fields. Historical science cannot do this because we were not there to observe it. But historical science does have means of testability and repeatability. How so? Forensic crews do this all the time, as do the Mythbusters. For historical science to work, you need three things: a starting point, an account of the event, and ending point. Using observational science, if you are missing one, you can logically deduce a possible option for the third. The Mythbusters are blessed by getting all three. They know the conditions before the myth took place, they have the account of the myth, and they have the conditions after the myth took place. Forensics usually have the starting point and ending point and they use observational science to make a logical suggestions of how it got from A to B. But to be clear, this can only demonstrate the possibility of said event taking place. It does not prove it actually happened. To do that, you need a historical account of the event to confirm it did happen. Evolutionary theorists has problems here, because they have neither the starting point nor the historical account. They only have an ending point. They have to assume a starting point or they have to assume an account in order to deduce the other. And they often go back and forth between them. They have to assume no special creation and that the universe could only come about by natural means in order to suggest the account of the Big Bang, the formation of the earth, the origins of life, and the biodiversity of it. But then they have to assume the Evolutionary account to deduce how the Big Bang got started and how it originated. All this cannot be considered scientific, even from a historical context. In math, in order to solve an equation with two variables, you need two equations. Evolution has two variables, but only one equation. What about the Biblical account? The Bible has the most important part of historical science: the historical account. Biblical creation does not have a starting point and the closest we have is from what the historical account gives us. And like Evolution, we have the ending point. The ending point is what we see and observe today. Now because the Bible has the historical account, we can use observational science, in the same way the Mythbusters do. We can take the account, and test to see if the results of said account would give us what we expect to see. Let’s take a look at some examples. The Bible says God created living creatures after their kinds. In fact, it uses this phrase “after its/their kind” 9 times in Genesis 1. We expect to see that dogs will give birth to dogs. And this is exactly what we see. We do not see anything to the contrary. The Bible says due to the curse that man will return to the dust of the earth. When we die, we return to dust. That is basic stuff. Now let’s get to some big events: Noah’s Flood. The Bible talks about rain for 40 days and nights, fountains of the deep bursting forth, waters covering the mountains, and being still for 150 days. Then it talks about the receding of waters, and then the dispersion from the Ark. We only have the Bible giving a formal documentation of such an event, but if the events are true, we should be able to predict how things should look today. Let’s address a few. The Flood account gives record of only 8 people on the planet surviving. Based on observations of human population models, starting with 8 people 4400 years ago, we mathematically expect to have a population of around 8 billion people by the year 2000. We had just over 6 billion then. Factor in famine, war, disease, etc, and we actually have a very close estimation. Evolution does not have a mechanism for a bottleneck to reflect this observation at that time frame. Here science confirms what the Bible says. What about the earth itself? In studying what has happened with major flooding events, we have historical records of vast amounts of water doing overnight what many years of little amounts of water were not able to do at all. At Mount St. Helens, we have a new canyon, carved literally overnight when an earthen dam burst. Evolution predicts the Grand Canyon and many others were carved slowly over millions of years by a little water. Yet, we have scientific evidence and historical accounts that demonstrate what would happen with a mega flood. Canyons like the Grand Canyon are found all over the world. What could do this worldwide? The Biblical account has a mechanism that can account for this. Evolution does not. The list goes on and on. But what we see here is that science cannot prove the Bible is true, because the Bible is outside the scope of what science can address. But where the Bible speaks about events that happen in the natural, the science has always demonstrated it to be true. Yet, despite the numerous claims otherwise, Evolution cannot say this. Evolution’s accounts actually must go AGAINST what the science has been saying. I don’t have space to go into detail on that here. So to answer the question: are science and the Bible in conflict? The answer is an emphatic no. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand extremely well. Just pay attention to what is actually scientific and what actually just myths.
by Steve Risner “The Bible is just an old book that tells about people long ago. It doesn’t have practical application and the stories found in the Bible and the information within its pages is not accurate.” These are statements many non-Christians and, unfortunately, Christians will make. “The Bible is not a science book.” This is true. It’s also not a history book. It’s not a psychology book. It’s not a law book. It’s actually 66 different books written by a great number of people over a 1600 year time period. Its message is harmonious and its statements are true. When it speaks on science, it is accurate. When it tells us about history, the historical account is correct. If it gives us information on civil or moral laws, it’s correct. If it tells us about the human mind and how it works, it’s telling us the truth. The Bible doesn’t need to be a textbook. Whatever it tells us, it’s from the mind of God. Who knows better than He does? Sure, on occasion, it’s difficult to make sense of what it’s telling us. But this is not true for the majority of its text. So this brings us to the question, “Are science and the Bible in conflict?” The answer is a 100% “NO.” I am aware of no scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible. I’ve studied many different subjects related to the topic and cannot find a single instance where the Bible can be shown inaccurate. Let’s not be mistaken here in assuming we’re talking about the theory of evolution from a single common ancestor. I said “science” and universal common descent (the idea that we all—everything living—diversified through some unknown process from a single first living thing) is not science. Yes, it’s true that they use some scientific evidence to support their claims. But creationists do the same thing—we use science to support our claims. We also use the Bible. But the religion of Darwinism or evolutionism is not science. So often we see the two terms used synonymously. But that is either dishonest or confusion. It is, however, not correct. Science is a process of gaining knowledge about our surroundings. Evolutionism is a philosophy on the origins of life and its diversification. It’s not a scientific claim but a philosophical one. Science can be used to support the Biblical account of creation just as it can be used to support the atheist’s account of the spontaneous existence of the universe and of life on earth. After looking at both, it seems only logical to conclude the First Cause was God, and the God Who revealed Himself in the Bible has shown Himself true. I’ve written other blogs on this topic recently. One, “Creation Scientist is Not an Oxymoron” shows us that not only is science in line with the Bible and is not to be feared or ignored by the Bible believer, but that creationists are the founders of science as we know it. It was because of the curiosity of brilliant men and women throughout the ages that we have nearly every major branch of science discovered and investigated. Some of the knowledge they had to work with that inspired them was found in Scripture. Some of these insights were written about long before anyone could have had acquired the knowledge through human means. Examples of this include springs (vents) in the ocean floor as well as currents and valleys, the spherical nature of the planet and that the earth is suspended in space “on nothing,” the cycle of rain falling, running into rivers and eventually to lakes and oceans only to evaporate and end up in the heavens as water laden clouds that will again rain down on us, that light moves, that living things reproduce after their own kind, etc etc. There are numerous examples. We can even go so far as to say the Bible tells us the earth was once covered only with water and out of it was raised up dry land. Did you know the Word even tells us to wash ourselves in running water to remove uncleanliness (infectious agents)? Another blog I wrote, “Let’s be Honest About What Science Is” explains why science and evolution are not the same thing and that the origins debate is more a clash of worldviews than science. In fact, I suggest it has never been about science or evidence and has always been one philosophy against another. Far too often we hear the idea of “science vs religion” and “science vs the Bible” and other nonsensical remarks. This is an attempt by the evolutionist (atheistic and theistic) to discredit the Bible believer. However, the truth is quite simple: science and the Bible do not clash, period. How one interprets the scientific evidence based on his/her worldview can certainly contradict the Bible, but this is a misapplication of a tool and nothing more. Not only does science NOT conflict with my faith, it confirms it quite often. You can read about the relationship of faith and evidence here, here, here, and here. So the next time you hear someone question your belief in the Bible since it’s been proven wrong (or some other absurd statement), be confident that the Word of God is the authority and no one has shown it to be anything but right on. Their worldview works against the Bible, but that doesn’t make the Bible wrong.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 21, 2014 0 comments
by Logan Ames I recently bought a 2011 Kia Optima, which is by far the newest vehicle I have ever owned. Before that, I had a 2000 Saturn that I bought in 2003 and drove for over ten years. Toward the end of that car’s run, I often complained about all the things that were wrong with it. However, I knew the car and was very comfortable operating and managing it. It had very little of the newer technology that is built into vehicles these days, so there wasn’t a lot to learn. The transition from a much older vehicle to the Saturn back in 2003 was simple because there was very little I hadn’t seen before. My recent transition was just the opposite. Many of the controls on the Kia are things to which I have not been accustomed. They may not be “new” for Kia or for most drivers, but they were unknown to me. My only options in learning the car would be to talk to someone who had driven one just like it, meet its original maker, or read the provided owner’s manual. I’m not in contact with its original maker and knew no one who owned an Optima, so I had to use the manual! I’ll gladly admit that when I think about the question posed in this week’s blogs, I have a hard time comprehending why we even ask this question. That’s probably because science didn’t come as easy for me as other subjects in school and my interest level with it was never very high. For me, I’ve never really bought into the “knowledge is power” cliché. I’ve not been eager to find out how the universe works. It’s always been easy for me to accept what I don’t know regarding the world and to ask questions about things I need to know. I believe this comes from being outside a lot as a child, looking at the mountains and the stars and instantly having to accept that certain things are way beyond my understanding. And that’s just in this world! I had the chance to go to the Creation Museum in Kentucky last year and watched a presentation on just how microscopic the earth is in terms of the rest of the universe! It is impossible for us to understand God beyond what he chooses to reveal to us. The reason for this is found in Isaiah 55:9. He says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This means that whether we want to admit it or not, God is in control. We can try forever, but we’ll never come close to fully understanding him or his creation. Since the word “science” is never mentioned in the Bible, let’s think about the word “knowledge.” I say this because “science” is derived from the Latin “scire”, which means “to know, discern” (Webster). It says in God’s Word, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). Think about what that verse means. It’s the “beginning” of knowledge, meaning whatever you think you know apart from God is actually irrelevant and useless. So then, what does it mean to fear the Lord? This could be a whole separate discussion, but I’ll just say for the purpose of this discussion that it means to understand that we are NOTHING without him. This means knowing that even our ability to know anything at all comes from him and must be submissive to his will. The desire to know what God has not yet permitted us to know was one of the temptations of the very first sin ever. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, AND ALSO DESIRABLE FOR GAINING WISDOM, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6 [caps mine]). God had told Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden EXCEPT for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Before they were tempted, Adam and Eve lived in relationship with God and trusted that everything they needed or wanted would be found in him. When they decided they wanted to know and experience something he hadn’t permitted yet, they brought sin and death into the world. Since science has to do with the physical world, we must think about to whom the physical world belongs. The answer is in Psalm 24:1, which says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Since we’re comparing science and the Bible, we must also think about who created the Bible. While the words were written by a collection of human authors, 2 Timothy 3:16 says it is all “God-breathed.” That means God has spoken to us through his Word which he revealed to the authors initially. So, it doesn’t seem to me that it’s possible for science to be in conflict with the Bible when God is the Owner and Creator of both. We could say that learning to live in this world is like buying a new car, and the Bible is the “owner’s manual.” The only difference is that this owner’s manual is not our only option. Unlike the scenario when I bought a new car, we can actually talk to the original maker of this world. God has given us the ability to use our minds and has created reason within them, but they still must submit to him. If we want to truly know about this world, seeking its Maker and reading his “manual” are the only methods that will lead to life, hope, and faith rather than a dead end.
by Bill Seng The question frequently comes up regarding whether or not science and the Bible contradict one another. The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Some people would say, “No. Science and the Bible cannot be reconciled.” This might be an answer from an atheist or a super-liberal theologian. Some Christians might say, “No, but that’s because Genesis is not meant to be read literally.” It is interesting to me that when science is mentioned, what is really being talked about most of the time is Genesis because that is the story of origins (but that’s another story). Other Christians would say, “Science and the Bible are consistent but you have to know enough about the Bible in order to understand what it is really saying.” And then the most conservative of Christians will say, “Science and the Bible are totally consistent, so long as you understand science through the interpretation of the Bible.” This is under the assumption that science is defined the same in every field of study. Frankly, if we are talking about science in relation to what we would call modern science, we might as well be asking whether or not paganism and Christianity contradict one another. Do you doubt this assertion? First, let us understand that Christianity, when it was established, was a counter-culture. A lot of people thought that Christians were crazy. Upon the establishment of the Church, the people weren’t even known as Christians. They were a sect of Judaism known as the Nazarenes which called themselves The Way (Acts 9:2). They did not regard the Law of Moses as a means of salvation, which the Jews claimed you had to follow in order to be saved (Acts 15:5). They believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which the Greeks thought was just plain lunacy (1 Corinthians 1:23). And they regarded one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, which everyone considered to be totally bonkers. The early Christians, however, did not care because they knew Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). It was a difference in worldview that painted one’s perception of what was normal and what was nuts. Let’s fast-forward approximately 2000 years and look at some of our cultural stances, in regards to science versus what the Bible has to say. Certain groups of people have referred to unborn babies (fetuses) as parasites. The Bible clearly states that children are a blessing from God and several passages/stories express the absolute joy that certain individuals experienced when they discovered that they were pregnant. Many people today are fearful that man-made environmental situations will lead to the end of the world. The Bible clearly states that it will be God’s judgment that will bring a close to history. http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2006/01/27/algore_we_have_ten_years_left_before_earth_cooks So, is science really the determining factor as to whether something is morally justifiable or not? The answer is clearly no because science deals with knowledge, not moral absolutes. Does the Bible contradict science? Absolutely not! But what the Bible does contradict is the majority of the modern world’s understanding of science. If this were not true then why would people like Richard Dawkins need to be assigned positions such as professor of the public understanding of science? If science were simply left up to knowing the facts, the facts would refute any contradictory argument in a fairly satisfactory manner on their own. There truly would be no debate. But because facts need interpreted, somebody needs to explain how the facts should be understood. This is where agendas come into play and conspiracy theories are born. “Facts can be used to prove anything that’s even remotely true” (Homer Simpson of The Simpsons).
http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/previous-holders-simonyi-professorship/professor-richard-dawkins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6SNxNIV08 The understanding of modern science today is about as different from a Biblical worldview as what Christianity is from paganism. “Certainly there are many gods. A king cannot be the brother of a peasant or a foreigner. And don’t try to tell me that anyone is raised from the dead.” The understanding of modern science today has popularized the ideas that there is no God, there are no miracles, and there is no life after death. In relation to matters of worldview, should I really put my trust in the public understanding of science? As I stated earlier, the Bible and science do not contradict one another, but one’s understanding of the world in which we live shapes how we interpret scientific data. For instance, I believe in God, Jesus, salvation, miracles, judgment, and the resurrection of the dead not because the modern understanding of science tells me so, but because the Bible says so. Science as we understand it today only deals in terms of the material world. Therefore, understanding the supernatural is outside of the realm of modern science. It does not contradict science. In relation to the material world, anyone who openly and honestly approaches the subject will quickly learn that the Bible and scientific facts are perfectly consistent with one another.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 19, 2014 2 comments
by Katie Erickson In order to answer this week’s question of whether science and the Bible are in conflict, I think it’s first important to define what those things are. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, recorded in the books, chapters, and verses we know today as the Old Testament and New Testaments. Science is defined by Merriam-Webster as “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.” What does the Bible tell us? Considering the Bible has over 31,000 verses, it tells us quite a lot! We learn about the stories of many historical figures, and how God has worked in the lives of those people over thousands of years. We also see God’s plan for our world: He created it, humankind messed it up, God provided a plan to save it (Jesus), and God will come again to fully redeem His creation. What does science tell us? Considering science has so many branches of study today, it tells us quite a lot! There’s biology that tells us about how life works; chemistry that tells us about all the substances we find in nature and how they react; physics that tells us about how physical objects react with each other; etc. Each of these branches of science goes way more in depth than my brief summary here in this blog, of course. I myself am an electrical engineer, so I’ve been exposed to a fair amount of science throughout my academic career. My job exists simply because humankind figured out electricity and how it works, through the study of physics. So, the Bible tells us how life works, and science tells us how life works. I don’t see any conflict there, do you? Most often, this question (of whether science and the Bible are in conflict) is raised in the context of how the earth was created. Worldview Warriors blog writer Steve Risner has addressed this topic in his posts “Creation Scientist” is Not an Oxymoron, Let’s Be Honest About What Science Is, and others. I encourage you to read more of his writing for more on this specific topic. Evangelist Billy Graham once said the following: “There is never any conflict between true science and our Christian faith. It is my own feeling that when all of the truth is known, it will be found that the Genesis story is a wonderfully accurate record of what took place when the world was created. This may be a telescoped record, giving only major points, but I believe it is scientifically accurate. To discard the Bible because we do not understand everything in it, or in the world, would be a foolish thing to do.” How do you think the Bible and science interact?
by Jason DeZurik I’m looking forward to tell you about some exciting news regarding the ministry of Worldview Warriors. Before I do that though let me give you just a bit of the background to this news. In July of 2013 my second son, Elijah, became the state champion for the state of Ohio in the Elks Soccer Shoot Out for the under 13-year-old age group. This meant he earned the right to compete in Fredrick, Maryland on Saturday, March 8, 2014 in the Elks Mid-Atlantic Regional. As his father I was proud and excited for him. Since my wife, Jaya, and I knew we were going to be making this trip we decided to go to Washington D.C. and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as a family since we had never been to those places together. It was an amazing trip! Elijah took third place in the Elks Mid-Atlantic Regional, which he was actually disappointed in because he wanted to win but someday he will understand even more what an accomplishment this really is. (Just a side note: The Elks really did it up right. Each and every participant was treated not only like a champion but was encouraged with many positive words and actions.) After the Elks Shoot Out in Maryland we went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As we got closer to Gettysburg I was excited but didn’t really understand my expectancy. We were able to not only go to the movie that is presented about the battle of Gettysburg at the visitor’s center but we were able to experience the “Cyclorama” (which was completely amazing), and go through much of the museum the first day there. We also stayed near General Lee’s Headquarters the first evening and had a great meal at a little spot called, Gettysburg Eddie’s. Little did I or any of my family realize what we were about to experience the next day at Gettysburg. My friend, Michael Homula called me to make sure we were going to go onto the battlefield with an official Gettysburg guide. I told him we were planning to listen to a CD we had brought with us about what took place at Gettysburg as we toured the field. Looking back at this I laugh a bit because Michael basically told me that this was not an option and we needed to have a field guide take us through the battlefield. I informed him it was just too much for our budget. He said, “I will take care of it. You need to go with a guide.” I relented and said, “Okay.” I am so glad that I did. Our battlefield guide’s name was Jim and to say we were beyond impressed is an under statement. I am not joking. Jim made things “come alive” on the field. He would line us up and show us how things were on the field and who was where and when. It was amazing! Growing up in Minnesota and now living in Ohio made me even more proud to be from those states to know what the “boys” from those states did at the battle. The tears I have even now as I write this are tears of pride, sorrow, and joy. It is just incredible the feelings you get from being there. To know that the less than 300 men of the 1st Minnesota charged and held off 2,000 men just long enough to allow the North to regroup at a very critical time in the battle and that less than 50 made it out of that battle is just sobering. To know what some of the Ohio “boys” did during Pickett’s charge makes you realize how much more we as a generation and people need to grow up. To say that this trip affected me is also a huge understatement. I think Michael Homula for not only pushing my family and me to get a guide but I thank him for his friendship and due diligence in getting the truth out about what happened at the battle of Gettysburg. Friends, it has affected me so much that starting in 2015 Worldview Warriors will be offering trips to Gettysburg. Not just any trips though. Michael Homula has been taking people to Gettysburg for years, and I am honored to announce that he will be partnering up with the ministry of Worldview Warriors bringing you the opportunity to experience “Biblical Truth at Gettysburg.” We will be offering trips quite possibly as soon as the summer of 2015 but in the fall for certain. Be on the look out for information on these trips. You do not want to just let this opportunity pass you up! I am not being over the top when I tell you that this truth and history needs to get out there. You need to equip yourself about what took place in history at this place in the United States. So, we officially welcome Michael Homula to the team at Worldview Warriors. He will be releasing blog posts every Sunday from here on out. Please pray for us as we continue to put the finishing touches on this and please join us for one of these trips in 2015 and possibly beyond.
by Nathan Buck The CEO and shareholders stood there looking at this employee who was begging for his life. The employee had invested unwisely and lost his shirt on several business ventures he was in charge of. He owed more money than he could ever repay. In fact, if he gave his daily paycheck over to the company every day, he would have to work 200,000 days (548 years) to pay off the debt. Here he was begging for his life, begging for mercy from the CEO to keep his job and somehow repay / regain the loss. To the amazement of everyone, the CEO had mercy. Instead of making him repay the debt, the CEO gave grace to the servant – forgiving the debt, and letting him keep his job and his freedom. When the employee left the boardroom and walked outside, he bumped into “Jack – from accounting” a coworker who owed him a couple hundred bucks for afternoon “mocha latte” coffee breaks. As soon as he saw his co-worker, he grabbed him by the throat and started demanding he pay him back for all his “fufu mocha lattes.” When “Jack – from accounting” begged him for mercy and to give him a chance to pay him back, the man who had been forgiven his debt to the company, called security and demanded that his “mocha latte” buddy “Jack” be treated as a thief and escorted from the premises. The rest of the company employees were enraged and took the elevator up to the boardroom and told the CEO and Shareholders what happened. They brought in the man who had been forgiven, and then decided to attack his co-worker. The CEO said, “I forgave you your debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have done the same for ‘Jack – from accounting’?” And in a rage, the CEO had the man arrested and imprisoned in a correctional facility that made inmates work to repay their debts. Ok, so I modernized the Biblical object lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 18:21-35. Indulge me for a moment with your imagination. Isn’t this story playing out for us every single day? This was not just a situation isolated to Jesus’ day. This struggle is alive and well today. In fact, I’ll be honest, its alive and well in my own heart – every single day! I know that as human beings we want grace and forgiveness for our shortcomings, but we do NOT like extending grace and forgiveness for the shortcomings of others. THIS fact about my nature as a human being, this judgmental factor of my existence, is one of the things that drives me to seek God. I know it is not in my power to be good, and it is my nature to put myself ahead of others. I know that no matter how big my pile of mistakes, I want someone to take them away – but I am unwilling to help take away the simple mistakes of others. And the injustice and selfishness of this self-oriented human existence drives me to search for one who can rescue me (and others) from myself. I found that Savior, in the only one willing to give His life to rescue me – Jesus Christ. Like the “CEO” above, Jesus took the weight and penalty of my debt and my sins and cancelled them by sacrificing His own life for mine. It is a debt I can never repay. But if I accept that grace that saves, it is a debt of forgiveness that I can share and pass on. How do I keep it in front of me? How do I keep from forgetting the incredible grace that has been extended to me? Well, I don’t do that very well. I am human. And like the “employee,” I struggle to remember how much God has forgiven. The amazing thing about grace, though, is that we have reminders everywhere. And if we are looking, those reminders can help keep us on track. Look at creation, look at the sunrise, look at the rain, look at the seasons, listen to the waves of the ocean, the lapping of waters in a lake, consider the wonder of the creatures of the earth, the beauty of the sunset, stars, and universe. There is so much that shouts the wonder of our existence. Grace was given even before we knew we were selfish and broken. All of those daily reminders, while I sip my “fufu mocha latte,” should be enough. The fact that God created all of this existence, and allows me to live here, even with my failings and my flaws – that grace confronts my soul! I am reminded that even before the dawning sun of a new day, I already have been given more than I deserve. It is that grace, that wonder and grace, that drives me to believe God and seek Him out – I need that grace and want to live fully in it. That grace that tells me I am loved even when I am unlovable. That grace leads me to understand Jesus’ sacrifice for my selfish sinful decisions, and fuels my faith to walk with Jesus and share his forgiveness and grace with others. When grace shows me who I am in God’s eyes, it challenges me to see (and treat) others the way He treats me. And that grace leads to hope, and the hope leads to perseverance, growth and change. When you look around you, what do you see? Ask God to show you His grace, and let it change the way you see… forever.
by Charlie Wolcott In the last six weeks, I have gone through each piece of the Armor of God. In January, I wrote about the Israelite War Cry, “Rak Chazak.” The topic of spiritual warfare has always been one that grabs my attention. It is a topic that is challenging to grasp and one that few know how to prepare for except when in the middle of it. Why? Because we think in physical terms and we are dealing with a spiritual enemy. In fact, a friend of mine has pointed out that in all of world history, every army has always using war games to train for how to expect a response from the enemy, how to handle enemy movement and tactics, and how to be able to respond and act in certain situations. Every army, except one: the church. Why? Because how can you practice against a spiritual foe, with spiritual weapons, in a spiritual battle? I didn’t think about it in this light when I started a personal project but when this point was revealed to me, I discovered that my project does this very thing: giving us a tool for how we can visualize and prepare for spiritual battle through a series of “what if this?” situations? or “how might this look?” questions. What is this project? I wrote a novel. It is a story about spiritual warfare, a story that intended to reveal the nature of what spiritual warfare is like and how I could use the art of storytelling to explore how different people might respond to certain situations. Thus began the journey of the writing of a novel titled Call to Arms. When another friend of mine wrote a fictional biography of his own life and allowed me to read his first draft, he ended up with an epic tale that sucked me into his world. And as I gave him feedback, he recommended that I try to write. So I did. All my previous writing attempts were terrible. I could not come up with an original storyline or an original character that was not literally myself or someone I knew. But I decided to give it a shot anyway, and in three months, I had a 280-page epic story. But God told me to set it aside and started on another project: what would end up becoming Call to Arms. This was April 2007. I wrote the first draft at 250 pages in just six weeks but the draft was so bad I had to scrap the whole thing, keep a few characters and some plot scenes but re-write the entire thing. Then God gave me a better idea on how to illustrate spiritual warfare, using two separate stories and slowly weave them together. It worked. I now had a means of showing how people would respond and act in certain situations while also showing what the spiritual side may look like. There are literary liberties I took, but I sought to keep what happens in line with a Scriptural basis. And after several more drafts and revisions, the story came together. Over time, I met with a Christian self-publisher who really liked my work and offered me a contract. Still having a lot to learn about the industry, I accepted, but I soon learned they did not do the final editing job I was expecting, which was due to my inexperience and understanding of the system. My book was out for a time but felt like it was not yet finished. That was January 2011. In May 2012, I got the chance to go to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference where I met with OakTara Publishing, a small traditional publisher who loved my work from the get go. They asked for a revised manuscript (some new names, and a better editing job before they got it) and a new title. With this, Call to Arms was ready to go. But I had more work going on. I already had a sequel in progress and to publish the sequel, I would need the same publisher. OakTara wanted the sequel as well. With a different publisher, I would have to chip in some more dough. As the contract with OakTara was finalizing, I realized I needed to split my 2nd book into two which was perfect because it gave me a nice trilogy. And OakTara gave me a contract for all three books. Then on May 1, 2014, Call to Arms was released and I will have two more books coming. But my journey does not end here. God opened the door for me to be a speaker this year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference on a topic that is dear to my heart: spiritual warfare. And God timed it so that on the same day this post is published, I will be giving my workshop. I am speaking today about how to use writing as a tool to train a generation of warriors who will contend for their faith and contend for souls come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. A study of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and the Book of Nehemiah provide the foundation of the talk I will be giving. I don’t have space to share the basis of that here though. Writing has been a skill that I never knew I had until the last few years. I still look back and remember that when I was 12 years old, I still had no reading comprehension. I could tell you what was on what page, but I could not tell you what was going on or why. And God has brought me to a point where now I can share my knowledge and my passion with you at Worldview Warriors and I can share what God has shown me through my novels. Call to Arms is currently available at the publisher Oak Tara and at Amazon in Paperback and Kindle. It will soon be available at Barnes and Noble online in paperback and Nook and at Christian Book Distributors but it is taking time for them to get it all set up. My second book Rak Chazak is currently targeting a release date in September and my third book The Mighty Gibborim is now in the editing phase and I am expecting that one to be ready for release sometime early next year. Together, The Battle Cry Saga will keep pages turning through intense action and ‘gutsy realities,’ all the while teaching you Biblical principles without preaching. If you have enjoyed my posts with Worldview Warriors, you do not want to miss this book.
by Steve Risner “…it’s time for who do you trust? Hubba hubba hubba. Money money money. Who do you trust?” — the Joker Do you have faith in me? If I told you I rolled the dice and rolled 2 sixes, you could believe that, right? You could have faith I was telling you the truth. If I told you I did this exact thing 10 times in a row, you may begin to doubt me, correct? Your faith, which is not based on anything other than your trust in me, would be tapped out. You would believe I was lying or I fixed the dice so I could only roll 2 sixes. How much more exceptional is it to believe in a theory that states everything came about by enormous amounts of chance and through a series of untraceable mistakes? Faith is trust in something or someone who is faithful. That means that your faith is placed in something trustworthy, reliable, and/or dependable. Evolution does not qualify, as it is not faithful at all. It is ever changing. “Blind faith” is what the evolutionist has since his/her faith is not based on anything faithful or trustworthy. It is based on a hope that what they believe is correct. Some believe that, “As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion, or something one chooses to believe in or not, like a religious proposition.” — Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today The unfortunate thing for Tom here is there is no such thing as “settled science.” To paraphrase Albert Mohler, by its very nature, the goal of science is to test and test and test again to either confirm or toss out a belief. In so doing, hosts of new discoveries are made. No one was given a Nobel Prize for “settled science.” An interesting thing to note on the trustworthiness or faithfulness of science is that many of these prizes were given to men and women whose discoveries were later rejected. Science is not faithful and it is far from settled. The God of the Bible, however, is completely trustworthy, dependable, reliable—He is faithful. Some would try to marry their faith in God to their faith in man (evolution). However, to do so means one must disregard fundamental characteristics of both. Basic tenets of the theory of evolution and of Christianity must be suspended in order for one to hold onto both simultaneously. This is because their faith in their God and His Word is rivaled by their faith in man and his word. They are forced to meld the two because they give them equal footing. The error is catastrophic and while it, in and of itself, is not a salvation issue, I personally have seen its corrosive effects on the life of a believer to the point where such a person has little to no faith in Jesus Christ because His Word is no longer trustworthy to him. “But there is a mountain of evidence from many different disciplines that confirm evolution,” is the canned response we get from so many evolutionists. This seems strange since “evidence” doesn’t do anything—it can’t. It’s mute, so it can’t say anything. It’s inanimate, so it can’t show us anything. Based on our worldview, we put the evidence together in such a way that it tells a story. There is no such thing as “evidence for evolution” just like there is no such thing as “evidence for creation.” There is simply evidence. How one interprets that evidence is based on presuppositions—our preconceived notions that we observe the world through. Everyone does this. Every theologian, every scientist, every politician, etc; every person must take in information, interpret it based on a set of improvable presuppositions, and then use it to tell a story. The same evidence can be interpreted multiple ways. A very simple way to demonstrate this is using the president. Some would see the outcomes of his presidency and think he’s doing a great job. They would believe he’s seeking what’s right and just and is working hard for our nation’s prosperity. Others may see the exact same outcomes of his presidency and may believe he’s doing a terrible job. They may see him as trampling the Constitution and he may rank as one of the worst presidents to hold office. Both of these viewpoints are based on the same information—evidence that doesn't say anything on its own—but the information is filtered through different lenses to arrive at very different results. This is because facts don’t speak. The observer makes them say something. What the observer believes the evidence is saying will be based on their worldview. There is really no way around this. So often we’ll hear it said that science is based in facts (and comically, evolution will be equated with science in general) while religion or creation is based on blind faith—it’s just a belief. But is this what we observe? Hardly. There have been claims that science (and therefore evolution since they want us to believe they are the same thing) happily changes with the evidence. This is just not true. If the evidence modifies a current fringe belief in terms of evolution, it may be accepted or at the least scrutinized further. But if some evidence seems to completely contradict a major principle of the theory, accusations of fraud or contamination are the response with little to no justification and the credibility of the scientist (rather than their work) is questioned. To further confirm that evolutionism is a religion, we see creation scientists are mocked and ridiculed and the world is told no true scientist can deny Darwinian evolution. In fact, Dawkins said to deny evolution means you’re either stupid or lying. You can read about that here. So we, as followers of Christ, have faith in the One who is faithful. And we have faith that the Word of God is true. This faith is bolstered by evidence—historical, scientific, experiential, and logical as well as a variety of other sources. An evolutionist (which means one holding the belief that life on planet earth came about spontaneously through natural processes and diversified from some unknown “simple” biological prototype through a series of copy mistakes to give us the total number of species we see alive today and in the fossil record) has faith in something completely different. They trust their belief that the universe and everything in it is a product of accidents, chance, and natural processes both known and unknown. But it all boils down to faith of some sort. Creationists have faith in God and in His Word and this faith (which is far from blind) is supported by the world around us—the evidence as we see it. Evolutionists have a faith that is based in ever changing “truths” that they rest on today and reject tomorrow. Their faith is foundationless apart from humanism and naturalism—which are ideologies rather than evidence. Where do you put your faith? Is it in the God of the Bible who has proven He is faithful or in man and his claims to be the pinnacle of a pyramid of errors? Hebrews 11:1-3: “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God’s command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen.”
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1 comments
by Logan Ames I grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, home to one of the greatest amusement parks in the country - Hersheypark. Our parents, who had very little interest in amusement parks themselves, would take my brothers and me there when we were very little. All I can basically remember about those trips is how terrified I was and how much I was crying as we rode up the hills at the beginning of each roller coaster preparing for some kind of drop, upside down loop, or a combination of the two. My parents would later tell me they forced us to go on the roller coasters because we would talk about how much we wanted to go to the park and ride them, they would spend the money, and we would then cry and say we were afraid to go on them. They also said they wanted to teach us to overcome our fears. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the only thing that could help me overcome that fear was faith. I’m not talking about faith in God. As a kid who was scared of heights in general and roller coasters specifically, God wasn’t on my mind. I needed to KNOW that I would be safe if I got on that thing. To this day, I’ll admit there is still a hint of anxiety when I get on a roller coaster. But the reason it’s just a hint and not a paralyzing fear is that as I grew into adolescence, I could begin to look at things logically. The only problem with that is that I had no clue how a roller coaster logically works. So, my “reasoning” had to come from something else. I remember when it suddenly came to me that I had no reason to think a roller coaster would lead to my death when I saw hundreds of other people board the ride, endure it, and walk away completely whole and with smiles on their faces. My faith in something I didn’t completely understand was in the clear and convincing evidence that people were not dying on roller coasters! Unless you completely understand everything there is to know in the world, you live with some kind of faith at some point. But faith does not have to be blind. Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Those first four words – “by faith we understand” – are not words we typically hear together. So many churches and pastors have mistakenly taught that faith is the opposite of understanding, that it defies logic or is unreasonable. The writer, however, uses this verse as a springboard for telling the reader a collection of stories in Hebrews 11 about real people from the Old Testament who put their faith in action during trying circumstances and were able to experience a taste of God’s blessing as a result. That initial verse is the key to understanding how the people in the stories that followed were able to have their faith. They first looked at the evidence of an ordered creation all around them and REASONED that it couldn’t have happened by accident. They then concluded God must have used what is not visible to command the formation of the earth. Once they had this understanding as their foundation, the trials they faced were basically small potatoes in comparison. For example, Abraham and Sarah were told to trust God that a son would be born to them even in their very old ages of 100 and 90, respectively. If our foundation is based on worldly principles and no knowledge of what God has already done, then we must consider this feat as unreasonable and impossible. But if the foundation is that God has already spoken an entire universe into existence, then believing he could allow a barren woman to become pregnant at the age of 90 is completely within reason. The same could be said for all the other stories of Hebrews 11, as well as any trial you are facing today. My point is not that the evidence has to be absolute. You can come up with another way the universe was formed if you really want to, but that would be just as much a matter of faith as anything else. For those of us who have entered into relationships with God, we have other “evidence.” I can think about all of the ways God has protected me before, as well as all of the time he showed up and showed off when I was desperate and needed him most. When I face an uncertainty in my life that requires faith, I can simply look at the evidence from my past and know that God will come through in the way that he knows is best. It also works when we hear how God came through for others. I’m not saying following God is always easy. Many times, it is difficult. But whether we feel God has failed us or protected us, it’s still a matter of looking at the evidence from our past and determining our faith based on that. Even if you feel God has let you down in a big way, I ask you to look at the big picture of your life and see the other ways in which he came through for you. Ultimately, all of our faith comes from some sort of evidence. I’ll close by sharing how Jesus encouraged his disciples to have faith based on the evidence. After his resurrection, he appears to them and they are “startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost” (Luke 24:37). In the next few verses, he tells them to “look at his hands and feet,” “touch him and see because a ghost does not have flesh and bones,” and then sit with him while he “eats a fish in their presence” (vv. 39-43). Jesus knows his disciples’ faith is weak, but rather than condemn them he simply urges them to look at the evidence. At no point in the story does Jesus ask or command his disciples to believe something that is contrary to their senses. I assure you that no matter how you feel about him, Jesus extends the same offer to you. He’s not asking you to blindly believe something impossible. He’s asking you to be open to the evidence that we can see in an ordered universe, which can only lead us to conclude that “all things are possible with God” (Matthew 19:26).