Judges 18:14-21

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 26, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laish said to their fellow Danites, 'Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod, some household gods and an image overlaid with silver? Now you know what to do.' So they turned in there and went to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s place and greeted him. The six hundred Danites, armed for battle, stood at the entrance of the gate. The five men who had spied out the land went inside and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods while the priest and the six hundred armed men stood at the entrance of the gate.
When the five men went into Micah’s house and took the idol, the ephod and the household gods, the priest said to them, 'What are you doing?'
They answered him, 'Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?' The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people.” (Judges 18:14-21)

For the context of this story, check out last week’s post here. The Danite spies had found land they wanted to take for themselves, and they were about to capture it. They remembered Micah’s house, his shrine, and his ephod. They wanted to make further use of Micah and his possessions, so they robbed the house of the idol and the ephod. With 600 against 1 (or maybe a few if you consider the rest of Micah’s household), there wasn’t much Micah’s priest could do to stop this from happening.

At first the priest was annoyed with the theft, but then he gets invited to join the Danites in their quest. He is easily swayed by the promise of something better, so he gives up on his loyalty to Micah and goes for the better life with higher pay.

This story shows some of the bad things that we as humans do. The priest was fickle in his loyalties and got swept up by whatever good thing came along. That’s how he ended up in Micah’s house in the first place; Micah gave him an offer that was better than what he had. So when an apparently better offer came along, the priest took it.

The Danite spies stole from their fellow Israelites without even caring. This behavior was predicted back in Genesis 49:17 which says, “Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.” These spies from Dan caused Micah to lose both money and his live-in priest from their theft.

This situation reminds me of Psalm 1, where in verse 4 it says, “Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.” The wicked, or those who do not follow God with their lives, will get blown around by the wind. They don’t have the solid foundation of faith in God to be their roots, so they are swayed by whatever comes along and appears at the time to be better. This is also reminiscent of James 1:6: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” The context of that passage is about having faith that God will provide what we ask for when we are following him, but one who doubts and isn’t following God will be like a wave in the sea, tossed about by the wind.

A person who stands for nothing falls for anything. Where are you at? Are you standing firm in God’s Word and in His plan for your life, even if it’s not exactly what you had hoped for? Or are you trying to do things your own way, then hoping that God will bless your decisions? Take a lesson from the people of Dan and Micah’s priest, that trusting in God and keeping your loyalty firmly rooted in Him is always the best way.

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Fertile Soil

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 25, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

What is the condition of your heart? I fear we are often afraid to let God in. We guard our hearts and aren’t pliable like soil that is ready to be molded into Christlikeness.

Are we hard and unapproachable? Are we easily offended? Are we accepting of new people? Are we open to new situations? Or do we feel dried up, been there done that, or bored with our faith and burned out.

Are we willing to let God work over somethings in our lives? Are we willing to let Him weed out the things that pull our attention away from Him?

Good fertile soil needs to be turned over, and weeded so that it is ready to receive the seed to be planted. Are you ready to truly give your heart to God? Are you ready to allow Him to turn over and weed out things, and maybe even people, who are preventing us from growing closer to God?

This is an ongoing process that is never ending if we want to continue to grow in our faith. I think people sometimes think that this transformation takes place all at once; I know I thought that at one time. But it is a day by day, month by month, year by year process. It is daily abiding in a relationship with God through all seasons of life, not just loving Him and serving Him when life is good. It is like the beauty of spring, but also enduring the trying times in our lives when it feels like a long, cold, dormant winter.

Let’s take some time today to examine our hearts and ask ourselves the tough questions about where we are in our faith walk, and how the condition or our hearts is reflected in our day to day lives. Are our hearts pliable and are we willing to allow God to mold us and shape us to be more like Jesus?

I know I am asking some difficult questions and this can be challenging, but I know you can do it with the Holy Spirit’s power. I know that God has great plans for each of our lives, but we have to be willing to let Him work us over from time to time to get there and be fertile soil.

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Science vs. History

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 23, 2017 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

When it comes to the origins debate regarding Creation and Evolution, very few fields of study are confused more than science and history. I would suggest this is a problem on all sides of the debate, not just the secularists and the Old Earth crowd. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis infamously makes a distinction between observational science and historical science, however I personally find his distinction to be lacking in clarity. I believe is he right to make such a distinction, but my opinion is it needs more work. In his debate against Bill Nye, Ham did accurately showcase the difference between science that builds computers and rockets and studies of past events, however I noticed he tended to talk negatively towards the secular historical science, but failed to point out what his side is doing is also historical science. He has not polished that argument properly yet. Is there a difference between science and history in the origins debate?

Last week, I discussed how science cannot be done in a vacuum and how the science suggesting an old earth never considers the written and historical evidence that demonstrate the opposite. Here I want to zoom in on this science vs. history issue. I was in a discussion with an atheist who has a PhD, and he kept talking about how science proved Evolution and a millions-of-years-old earth. However, every time he opened his mouth he kept talking about historical events, not scientific observations. So I challenged him to prove he was born. His response: “That’s a categorical error.” I initially didn’t catch on to his tactic, which was to pin his error as though I was the one committing it. I knew he was trying to use science to prove history, and I was trying to get him to see the folly of his logic. However, instead of admitting his own error, he tried to make it my error. When I said, “Scientifically prove you were born,” I was not confusing science and history, but was rather seeking to point out science CANNOT prove history. Allow me to explain.

What is the evidence that you could use to prove your birth? Or that you went to Hawaii on vacation? Or have an education? Most people would present a birth certificate, or a plane ticket, or a hotel receipt, or a diploma. That is fine, but that is not scientific evidence. I can see many people crying foul already at that statement. “The evidence is right here!” Yes, that is evidence, but it is not scientific evidence. It is what we would call legal or historical evidence. You see, to make claims about a past event, you cannot determine them in a lab. You would rather determine them in a court room setting.

We can use science as part of the analysis of historical events, but science cannot be the only factor considered. The Mythbusters do a great job at using science in testing a myth. They take the myth, or the historical account, and try to replicate the event. If they succeed, they consider the myth confirmed. If they cannot replicate the event, they consider it busted. If there are factors they cannot scientifically test, or not quite fully replicate it but get close, they consider it plausible. But here is a key thing we have to understand: science, no matter how much we’d love it to do so, can never prove history true. You cannot scientifically test that George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day. You can scientifically show it was possible, but you cannot demonstrate scientifically that it happened. Why not? Because you cannot replicate the event. You can replicate the conditions of the event, but you cannot replicate the event itself. To validate the event itself, you need a historical document or a historical claim.

Skeptics will usually respond to this line of thinking with “So forensics is not a valid science then?” Two things to this objection. 1) Most of these skeptics think of forensics from NCIS, CSI, and other crime shows. Most actual forensic scientists will tell you outright that much of what they do is not very reliable compared to what the shows tell us. One can spot numerous “Hollywood-ized” scientific “facts” from those shows that cannot happen in the real world, and even the Mythbusters themselves often busted numerous of these shows’ takes. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, but forensics is not the “great science” Bill Nye seems to think it is. 2) I do not deny forensics from having a role to play. They just aren’t the standard of truth and, void of other factors in play, they can easily be misleading. We can use them, but they are not the ultimate standard that settles all cases.

“But, but, what about clearances from DNA and such like that?” Again, I am not denying the use of forensics. Yes, many people have been cleared of charges due to forensics, however, how many innocents were incarcerated because the forensic evidence was planted? In the movie Training Day, Denzel Washington’s key phrase to Ethan Hawk was, “It’s not what you know. It’s what you can prove.” Washington played a corrupt cop, and his purpose was to show how to make the forensic evidence fit the story he wanted to tell, whereas Hawk’s ideal was to speak the truth in every case, even if the evidence was not in his favor.

My point is not “forensics is invalid,” but that forensics cannot be done in a vacuum. They work when you combine them with eyewitness testimony and other fields. Ever notice how in every criminal case the detectives do not go to collect evidence as their first step? They actually look for eyewitnesses first. They do look for evidence to see if the eyewitness claims are legit, but a key part of deciding court cases is the eyewitness testimony. That is why courts take so much time to determine if the witness is reliable or not. If we wish to know the true past, we need to examine both science and history and NOT treat them as the same field.

Regarding Genesis, I am tired of skeptics accusing young earth creationists of treating Genesis as a scientific textbook. We never do and never have. Such a statement not only shows ignorance of YEC, but also an ignorance of the field of science. Genesis is a history book. It’s not poetry. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not an allegory. It’s not a myth. It is not written as any of those. Now, you do not have to believe the historical account to recognize this. The secular-humanistic account of Evolution (the big model, not merely biological evolution) is also a historical account. It is not a scientific claim; it is a historical claim. I expect many to be crying foul with that statement too. If you are dealing with past events, you are making historical claims. If x happened millions of years ago, that is a historical claim. It’s not science. You can use science to help make the claims, but that does not make it a scientific claim. The origins debate is not science vs science. Nor is it science vs the Bible. It is history vs history. The question is, which account has the evidence that backs it up?

As I mentioned last week, the historical evidence for any old earth model is missing. There is a lot of scientific evidence put forth, but that evidence was generated in a vacuum of all other fields of knowledge. I would also question what makes such proposed evidences “scientific.” Where is the observation, testing, and repeating of experimentation? There is a lot of scientific evidence for a young earth model as well. Many reject it, primarily because it disagrees with the history they side with, not because it is actually invalid science (try as they may). That being said, the young earth audience needs to be careful about what is science and what is history. We are more aware of the distinction than our secular peers, however, we too can easily fall into the trap of confusing them. Next week, I’m going to dig further into this aspect and how we use science, or what we think is science, as our “evidences” for our models.

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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.

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.


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.

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Forbidden Fruit

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 11, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

What is your forbidden fruit? What is the one thing that you think will fill that empty place inside? Is it food, excessive shopping, alcohol, being a workaholic, drugs? What is your temporary fix?

I have to say food is my weakness. When I am stressed, tired, or sad, I like donuts. You may have heard me share my Krispy Kreme donut story about temptation and how I was tempted several times by fresh donuts before I left the grocery store one evening. That night, I was able to leave the store without the fresh donuts, but believe me I wanted one! Well, maybe two.

In Genesis 3, the serpent was tempting Eve with the fruit from the only tree in the garden that God had told them not to eat from or even touch. He encouraged her and assured her that what God said wasn’t true. So she and Adam ate the fruit, but instead of being more fulfilled, they were ashamed and hiding from God.

Isn’t that how we feel when we give into temptation? We want to hide our sin from others and hide the evidence; we feel ashamed and guilty.

What lie is the enemy telling you?
If you just had that donut…
If you just had one more drink…
If you just had that new thing…
If you just watch a little bit…
Then you will feel better, right? Maybe for a brief moment, but then the shame, guilt, and remorse sets in.

What is your forbidden fruit? What is the enemy using to pull you away from God?

Together, let’s examine our lives and ask ourselves what is our forbidden fruit. Recognize the lies the enemy is feeding us.

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Free Thinkers

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 9, 2017 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The “free thinkers” are those who claim to be able to think for themselves freely from the influences of religion, namely the God of the Bible. But are they really free? Are we as Christians free to think on our own? The answer is none of us are truly free as the idea would like us to believe. We actually are only free to choose between two choices: God’s way or against God’s way. Keep in mind I am not talking about “free to choose what shirt to wear today.” I am addressing a way of thinking, a mindset.

It all began in the Garden of Eden. God gave Adam and Eve several commands. “Be fruitful and multiply, have dominion over the earth,” and “do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” But then the serpent came and suggested a new law: “You shall be as God, knowing good from evil.” This law was not God’s law, but Satan’s law. They had a choice: to listen to God’s law or listen to Satan’s law. They were free to choose between them, but the choice what who to submit to. They chose Satan’s law.

One of the things I teach on when I speak or write about Biblical worldviews is the question of authority: Who do I listen to? Who do I allow to have influence in my life? Are we truly free thinkers? The real answer is none of us are truly as free as the free thinkers think they are. We all listen to someone.

The Christian’s thoughts are guided and directed in accordance with the Word of God. When Jesus lived on this earth, he would not say anything he did not hear his Father saying, nor did anything he did not see his Father doing. He lived his life completely and totally yielded and submitted to the will of his Father. That is how we are to live: completely and totally yielded and submitted to the will of Christ Jesus, as per Romans 12:2.

The skeptic usually responds to this way of thinking with something along the lines of: “Can’t you think for yourself? How do you know if what God is telling you to do is good or not?” These are legitimate questions, but most who ask in this way tend to fail to look in a mirror. The person who lives apart from God refuses to submit to God’s orders and commands. He is free from God. But is he free? The answer is no, and here’s why.

When someone rejects God’s laws, he embraces a different law. All he actually does is change who he listens to. In the Creation/Evolution debate, the evolutionists do everything they can to deride and diminish the role the Bible has on the origins account. However, when I talk with them, I notice that no matter how smart they are, none of them really know anything of their own. From the layman even to the PhD, they all say the same thing almost word for word like they memorized the same speech. But what is really interesting is that very, very few of them, regardless of education level, know anything outside those claims. I rarely, if ever, see any of them analyze their models for logic or internal integrity. Every now and then you will see some who admit difficulties and when creationists cite those admissions, we get blasted for “quote-mining.” Yet at the same time, if they cite the same source, they say their scientists are just being honest.

But are creationists guilty of the same thing, just repeating what they have been told and not knowing much of a thing beyond that? In many cases, I cannot deny it. No creationist is perfect and we do need to hold to high standards, but it certainly is amazing how creationists always have to be absolutely perfect on everything even then they get mocked and ridiculed, while the evolutionist can lie, constantly change their own models and definitions to fit the argument, and completely butcher anything a creationist says and get away with it. Is that freedom? Free to lie? Free to grossly misrepresent the facts? Free to mock and ridicule just for the purpose of it? Are they free? Here is what I have noticed: they are enslaved to that. How do I know? They are not capable of telling the truth. They are not capable of getting the facts correct. They are not capable to speak with any form of dignity. They can try and maybe keep it going for a while, but the person who rejects truth is not capable of speaking truth, let alone live it. Jesus gave a long speech about that in John 8.

What God says will free you, the world says enslaves you. What the world says will free you, God says will enslave you. Who is right? Here is one of the big differences between God’s system of knowledge and the world’s system of knowledge: God is not afraid of a challenge. If you question what God says, he is not afraid to listen to you and help you work out the issues. God NEVER tells us to accept what he says by blind faith. He leaves his standards open to be validated. He set up the universe to be able to be checked out and it will point to him. He set up the Bible so that its claims could be publicly validated. God is a faithful rewarder for those who diligently seek him. I have never seen anyone who sought the actual truth, no matter what it may cost, find the Bible or its Author lacking. I never will.

The world, however, tells you that you are free, free to think as they think. In our modern age of tolerance and open-mindedness, are these people tolerant and open-minded? There’s an easy way to tell: challenge their position. You cannot challenge their position and expect them to try to reason with you. This world has abandoned logic and reasoning and everything is based on emotions and your feelings, in accordance to the sinful flesh. When “truth” is determined by feelings instead of fact, free thinking is long gone. Flat out thinking, period, is long gone. I watch these evolutionists and liberals and I see no sense of freedom whatsoever. They truly do not know anything factual. They cannot validate their claims. Basic levels of scrutiny wash them out quickly, and to be honest, they deserve pity and need rescue. The power of deception is at an all-time high. It is far easier to fool someone than it is to show them they have been fooled. Today’s world does a great job at showing that statement to be true. What opened the door for this total lack of logic, reasoning, and true knowledge? Evolution. Well, you could say Adam and Eve, but in today’s world, evolution is what opened the floodgates of rebellion against God to new extremes and every society touched by it had/is deteriorated/ing into virtual madness.

I’ll wrap up with this picture. There is an ocean to swim. The person who wishes to swim wherever he wants can swim in any direction but will never be able to get far and will always be swept away by the winds and the waves wherever they go. A swimmer is “free,” but subject to whichever direction the water is going. The Christian confines himself to a ship and because of the protection of the ship, he is able to sail the ocean wide. But a Christian who does not know how to sail and can run into trouble. If Christ himself is at the helm, he can take that ship to places no man could ever dream of going on his own. I know this by experience. If you surrender to the direction of the only Perfect Master, Jesus Christ, you will know true freedom and nothing will be able to hinder you as you do his bidding.

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Rigorous Freedom

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 7, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

“Life, liberty, property.” John Locke lists these as inalienable rights. He claimed that they come from God and are not granted by the state. but that good government will guarantee them to its people. Rather, these rights are retained within the individual person and can only be ceded temporarily to the state. Inalienable means that no one can separate them from the individual because they were placed there by God Himself. What God has joined, let no one put asunder.

But in America, we love politics. In many cases, politics is even more important than religion, because the political realm is perceived as the arena of real societal change. Sometimes even pastors abandon the church in order to enter the political stage, because they think that is the way to bring about real change. But Jesus didn’t do that. He came to set people truly free. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God what belongs to God. You belong to God. Expecting the state to supply you with what only God can give you is idolatry.

Americans love to worship government. But state worship is idolatry and Beast worship. I say it again, expecting from others what only God can give is idolatry. It is a false yielding of oneself.

Speaking of Beast worship reminds me of Thomas Hobbes’ book Leviathan. Hobbes drew the imagery of Leviathan from Job chapter 41. The Leviathan is a monster of high terror. No one can oppose it. Fear and submission are the only responses to it. Resistance is futile. As ugly and brutal as the Leviathan-esque government is, Hobbes believes it to be better than anarchy.

Hobbes claimed that without government, we have a state of total war: everyone against everyone. He believed that the only thing keeping people from torturing babies for fun was government and that is why God instituted it. He also believed that is why it had to possess absolute authority over people, as that was the only way to make them behave for their own good. Leviathan asserts that you shouldn’t be overly concerned if your government is capricious, violent, thieving, corrupt, or oppressive; just duck your head and obey. As long as it isn’t directly trying to kill you, just do as you’re told.

So, I suppose if an agent of the state says stop, you stop. If he says, “Papers,” you show them your papers. If she says, “Get in the cattle car,” you get in the cattle car. Only when you smell the Zyklon B are you allowed to try to run. Up to the direct threat on your life, your obedience is obligatory.

The opening illustration of the book is a woodcut by Abraham Bosse. It depicts (here) the Leviathan as a terror to all. It wears a chainmail shirt made of human skulls and carries a sword and a staff. It is depicted as reigning far above church and people in absolute, unassailable authority. What you can expect in a Hobbes-ordered state is protection (from foreigners, but not the king) and a life of absolute obedience. As Gerald Ford might have said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

This idea that the state is in charge and we ought always to obey is not American and it is not Christian. America was modeled largely after the political philosophy of John Locke, who believed the authority of government was dependent on the will of the people. The people are the actual source of authority, rulers hold power by their permission. And in the American system three values are held as primary life, liberty, property. As I showed last week, this is Christian.

Thomas Jefferson substituted “pursuit of happiness” in place of property. This did not destroy the enshrinement of property; rather, he wanted to make a statement that we are free to pursue the good life.

Two kinds of freedom - libertine and eudemonistic - are available to us and we must spend our lives pursuing one or the other, but government can only give us the opportunity for the one by securing the other. I will explain that next week.

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The Concept of the Rule of Law

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 6, 2017 4 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

America’s founding fathers claimed repeatedly to have found the principles of republican government in the Bible, but what did they mean by that? Modern theologians claim that the Bible promotes either monarchy or theocracy as the ideal form of government. What did the founders see differently? Are there really republican principles in the Bible?

The first principle of republican government is that of the rule of law. John Adams once wrote that “the very definition of a Republic is ‘an Empire of Laws and not of men.’” This idea that a republican government is founded on the rule of law has been discussed by philosophers for millennia. One of the earliest references to it is found in Plato’s writings where he claimed that:
"Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state."

Plato envisioned a state in which the law was supreme and all men, both rulers and citizens, were subject to the written law of the land. But this idea of the rule of law did not originate with Plato.

Long before Plato was ever born, God Himself established a government on the principle of the rule of law. God gave Israel a written Law that all the people, both rulers and citizens were subject to. As we read in Deuteronomy 4:1-2:
“Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”

In Israel, not even the king was above the Law. In fact, God specifically commanded of the king that:
“When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

Thus, when John Adams spoke of the rule of law being the foundation of a true republic, he was not just echoing the writings of ancient philosophers, but the Bible as well.

Ronald Reagan once famously claimed that, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” This sentiment is the key to republican government, and it is exactly what we find in Scripture. As long as Israel was submissive to the rule of the Law of God, they lived in freedom and prosperity. But every time one of their rulers sought to exalt himself above the Law, the nation suffered. This has been pointed out by theologians for thousands of years, and it was just as widely known among the theologians of the revolutionary period as it is today. The rule of law – that concept which forms the cornerstone of republican government – is taught clearly and emphatically in the Bible.

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Judges 17

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 5, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After a month of writing on topics pertaining to the Judges narrative and other things, I’m back to writing on the passages themselves. Between Judges 16 and 17 was a good place for the break, since the tone of the book changes starting in chapter 17. Israel is no longer simply going through the 5-step cycle of sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence. Instead, the nation is continuing a downward spiral into ongoing religious and moral decay, which would lead to Israel wanting a king for their nation.

Today, we’re taking a look at Judges 17. I would encourage you to read the chapter, then come back to finish up this blog post. The events in this section of Judges are closely linked and set in the hill country of Ephraim. We meet a man named Micah who we see has stolen 1100 shekels from his own mother. This shows the moral decay that was happening; stealing is bad, but stealing from your own mother is even worse! How much did he steal? Well in that time, a yearly wage was approximately 10 shekels, so this was 110 years worth of wages! To put that in today’s dollars, if we say the average yearly wage is $40,000, then this would be $4.4 million! That’s a pretty significant chunk of change.

Naturally, Micah’s mother was not happy about this theft, and at first she didn’t know it was her son who stole it, so she cursed the thief. Often curses were pretty effective into scaring the thief to come forward and confess (so they could be un-cursed), and that’s exactly what happened her. Micah confesses his crime, and his mother gave him a blessing to undo the effects of the curse.

Micah’s mother is grateful, so she desires to dedicate the money back to the Lord. That sounds great, but she doesn’t do it quite right - she uses 200 shekels (about 18%) of the money and has a silversmith make an idol with it. God’s command to Israel in Deuteronomy 27:15 says, “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.” That seems pretty clear, right? Well Micah’s mother violated it on both counts; she made an idol and set it up in secret, in their home. Micah and his mom already had a shrine set up in their house, and along with that he made an ephod to wear during their worship of the idol. This is just one episode that demonstrates how everyone did as they saw fit - they felt free to worship whatever they wanted to worship.

Ideally in the world of idol worship, there would be a priest for that idol. At first Micah has his son fill that role, until a Levite comes along. Levites were the priestly tribe of Israel, and they had no land of their own but would rather serve as God’s priests throughout Israel. If Levites are already priests for God, then Micah saw this as an upgrade; it’s like he has a professional now, not just an amateur! This Levite became a part of Micah’s household and was paid a living wage for doing his priestly duties there.

So now, Micah has a shrine, an ephod, and a priest from the tribe of Levi. He figures he’s sitting pretty well and will get some great blessings from God for this! But alas, he was sadly mistaken.

Micah tried to do what he thought would please God, but his thinking had gotten so perverted that he really missed the mark. He thought worshiping an idol was what God would want, but that’s clearly not how God had commanded the people. Worship is important, and we all worship something, but the key is that we must be worshiping the one true God, not an idol - whether that idol is a physical statue or something else.

Where have you gone astray in your thinking? It can be so easy to do. We may even think we’re following Christ when really we’re not. Are you following a Christian teacher and reading their books more than you’re following God and reading the Bible? Are you worshiping your church (whether the building, or the programs, or the service) rather than God on Sunday mornings? Just like Micah, we can easily be led astray, even by “churchy” things. Take a look at your life and make sure you’re on the right path of truly worshiping God in your everyday life.

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Empty Me of Me

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 4, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

I wanted to share with you a prayer that I pray often:
Empty me of me
Fill me up with you, Lord
Full to overflowing
So that ALL that I say and ALL that I do
Glorifies you!

On several occasions, I have taken the time to break it down like this:
Empty me of my sin, anger, doubt, pride, worry, insecurities, fear
Fill me up with you, God: your wisdom, love, forgiveness, grace, joy, and hope
Full to overflowing with you
So that all that I say, write, and do brings glory to you!

I would like to encourage you to write out this prayer and take time to quietly evaluate each phrase and apply it to your life.

Empty me of me
Fill me up with you full to overflowing
So that all that I say and all that I do
Glorifies you!

Join me as we empty ourselves of our wants, our needs, and our desires, and place our focus on God and being filled with him daily, full to overflowing.

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Why Should We Remember? Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, June 3, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Family traditions can be really simple, or they can have very deep significance, like getting ice cream after a little league game, or like a special rite of passage for a teenage daughter or son. It is what we remember from those moments that makes those traditions meaningful and worth passing on. If we don't remember, the meaning is lost, and usually so is the tradition.

Last week we looked at 2 Chronicles 34, the life and kingship of Josiah. His passion for God, kindled perhaps by someone who remembered God, lead to God's Word being found. With God's teachings and laws now available, the whole nation could have their identity restored. The amnesia of comfort, distraction, and false religions gave way to a renewed understanding of who the one true God is, and how Israel was to represent Him.

Our need to remember God is even more potent than our remembering the meaning behind family traditions. We have no idea how God may use our life to be the next part of His story. We may even be the key to someone else discovering God, or many others being rescued from destruction.

Read 2 Chronicles 35:1-18. As a result of Josiah's passionate faith, the Passover Feast/Festival was celebrated again across the nation. This feast retold the story of Israel's exodus from Egypt and celebrated the four promises God made to Israel: I will bring you out of Egypt, rescue you from slavery, redeem you with mighty acts of judgement, and take you to be my people so I will be your God.

These four promises were kept by God, and they are a huge part of the identity of the nation of Israel. The Passover Feast was a yearly reminder and celebration of what God had done in the past, but it was also an ongoing celebration of these promises to EVERY generation. God's promises were not just for those physically present at the time of the first Passover. They were lasting promises that applied to anyone who would trust God with their life. But if no one remembers and no one celebrates the feast, how can anyone else trust these promises?

Josiah's faith lead to the festival becoming a vibrant part of the nation again. People would remember, people would be reminded of their identity from God, and people would trust God again with their lives. But the impact of this is far greater than just the years surrounding Josiah's kingship.

The Passover Feast is likely the last meal Jesus had with His followers before His death. He unpacked the promises of God in that feast with the connections to His own death and resurrection. Because the Passover Feast had been remembered in Israel, Jesus' followers were able to see how Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises for the whole earth, not just Israel.

So, what traditions do you have that help tell God's story through your life? Prayerfully consider how you and your family, or a group of friends, can develop ways to share the meaning of God's story with others. Maybe it’s as simple as getting ice cream together, maybe it’s a rite of passage at a certain age, maybe it’s celebrating the Passover Feast each year, or maybe it’s just reading and discussing God's promises together each week. Whatever tradition helps you remember, keep it fresh, keep it pure, and pass it on.

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.


Know Your Enemy and Know Yourself

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 2, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Sun-Tzu cites this statement as one of the three most fundamental things any military general should put into practice: “Know your enemy and know yourself and in 100 battles you will never be in peril.” The same concept should apply to any Christian, especially those seeking to be able to defend their faith. It is sadly a concept I have noticed both atheists and many Christians greatly lack in applying. If you are going to make a stand, you need to know your stuff and you need to know what and where opposition is coming from.

Do we know why we believe what we believe? Do we even know what the position we believe entails? Most really do not know what their position actually requires nor have thought through the logical implications that result. When I hear Evolutionists say “abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution,” they are saying, “how biology started has nothing to do with how biology diversified.” In actuality, abiogenesis is the power supply for Darwinian Evolution. Without the former, the latter never takes place. On the other side, many Christians think if they just mentally accept Jesus into their hearts they get to go to heaven, but fail to see that this requires dying to self and a lifestyle of repenting from doing things our own way. So it is not just the Evolutionist who doesn’t understand their own model very much; many Christians do not either. It usually gets worse when trying to get both sides to understand the other side.

One of the great problems is a lack of listening. Most people do not listen to understand, they listen to respond. I have been guilty of this quite a bit and I am learning. It is really easy to get sucked into debates, and I love a good wrangling. It is also very easy to want to be right and very, very difficult to back off once you set your foot down. Then as a result, you are no longer trying to grasp and understand the other person, regardless of whether you agree or not, but simply trying to prove that person wrong and vindicate yourself. If you want to actually refute another person’s argument, you need to know what they are saying, and you will not know what they are saying unless you listen. If they won’t listen to you, that’s their problem.

The other great problem is not merely a lack of listening but a lack of any desire to even know the other position. I have seen several atheists and old earth creationists claim something like: “We are right, so it does not matter if we misrepresent your position or not.” Many of them do not care if they are doing nothing else but beating up a straw man of their own imagination. What about us who believe the Bible? Do you or I care enough to listen to the other side and understand what they are saying and why? There are many trolls out there that have absolutely no desire to learn anything, but there are others who honestly are looking for truth and want to see if you are going to stick with them long enough to give it. Sometimes it is not easy to distinguish between the two.

But it is not just a lack of knowing the other side that is a problem. A bigger concern is when you do not know the position you claim to believe. The vast majority of Evolutionists I have encountered, including at the PhD level, truly do not know their own model. When you hear them speak, it is as though you are hearing a parrot talking. They generally give the exact same arguments but also often use the exact same wording, and to top it off, they know nothing about their model outside those details. What is learned in the classroom, even in upper college levels, is usually a watered down version where only the “best” details are cited and rarely are the holes in the theory brought up. Many of the topics related to Evolution are rarely tied together in the classroom, despite being one big singular worldview of secular, naturalistic humanism. Big Bang, abiogenesis, and biological evolution are taught as separate units, but the teachers rarely, if ever, reveal how all three are completely dependent upon each other. And this is without addressing the implications upon history, morality, society, etc. The Evolutionists I deal with hardly ever know their own model.

However, many Christians are in the same boat of not knowing their own model. Many Christians today do not see the connections between Genesis, the exodus, the kings, and Christ. Not many see the Bible is one complete, cohesive story, but not just a story, but the records of history. Many see the stories of the Old Testament to be just stories, not actual historical events. There are significant implications to rejecting the historicity of the Bible. It means that what the Bible states on how we should live cannot be lived, because no ever did. But it gets worse than this for Christians. Many, many Christians, especially in Europe and America, have this idea that once you make a proclamation of faith, then you can live however you want and still go to heaven. While the Evolutionist tends to only know the “good” parts of their models, many Christians have the same problem. Not many preachers today talk about sin, the need for repentance, the justice of God, the holiness of God, or the wrath of God. The idea of being born again is practically completely lost, and so is the idea of living separated from how the world thinks.

Do we know what we believe and what it entails? Do we know the logical conclusions our model leads to? If we are going to argue against other positions, do we know them? There are many false teachers out there in the secular world and in the church. Unless we know ourselves, what our models preach, and our enemy’s models and tactics, how are we going to tell who is who? I am taking care not to speak about those who are claimed to be false teachers until I have read their material or listened to their material directly. I am realizing when I take quotes from others and I go back to the original sources, there is a much deeper meaning behind the quotes than what I initially heard. Little illustrates this better than listening to Eric Ludy speak about Rees Howells in an African mission declaring that no one on his mission would die during a plague. It is great boldness, but what Ludy did not mention is what Howells had to train through and lay down in order to get to that point. Howells did not just make that claim out of the blue and it was not without wrestling with God over it first. Ludy was still accurate, but I see a much bigger picture now that I have read the biography myself.

For me to speak and write, I need to come from a position of knowledge, not a position of hearsay, half-knowledge, and blind faith. To do this, I am reading far more now than I ever have. Just a few weeks ago I ordered nine books, mostly biographies of preachers and missionaries, and some “bad” books which I know have false teachings in them. I would not recommend these bad books to anyone, unless they are going to be in a position to teach and speak about warnings against such topics, yet at the same time, I don’t want my readers and audience to be dependent upon me for their information. Yet, while I am doing all this reading, I cannot let my position be determined by the ones I like. I need God to determine my position so he can operate in and through me.

Know your enemy and know yourself. In the words of Marilyn vos Savant, “Be able to defend your position in a rational way, otherwise all you have is an opinion.” Too many people just have opinions, yet they treat them like facts and expect everyone else to as well. This includes pastors and militant atheist professors. Do you know your position? Do you know your enemy’s? If so, then you will never be in peril. If not, then you are easy prey. Which are you?

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.


Who's the Bad Guy?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 1, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

People are human and therefore, according to the Bible, are twisted and their every thought is evil all the time (more or less). Man, without God, is a reprobate. A man with God truly in his heart is still able to do terrible things, not because of his faith, but in the case of Christianity, in spite of it. Every man is a hypocrite. Every man is a liar. Every man does evil, whether he is “religious” or not. (“Religious” would include atheism).

The fact that there have been mass murders, genocides, infanticides, and the like is because we are human—we are fallen creatures who have lost our way long ago. We rejected our Maker who is love. If Jesus Christ hadn't changed the world 2000 years ago, the planet would no doubt be a much darker and likely unspeakably evil place that we only see now in movies. Imagine the horror of Schindler's List. Now imagine that this was the case all over the world. People in power killing as they wish, terrorizing with no fear of being stopped. If you're in power, you kill at will. If you're not, you're living, barely, in a camp as a slave. Imagine the terror lived in a Mad Max film—where morality has been lost completely and the world is one large nut house. This is the world without Jesus Christ, in my imaginings.

Jesus Christ brought peace and love—peace with God and love for all mankind. He taught us to turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies. He died for the very people who tortured and murdered him. He taught humility and charity and the highest moral standard. Anyone who has done something horrible to another person “in the name of Christ” was a fool or crazy or something else. They were not acting as Christ taught. You cannot murder for Jesus. You cannot torture or mutilate another human out of your love for Christ. Christianity has often been proclaimed by unbelievers as a source of hatred or violence. I would like to explore some of those ideas today, keeping in mind that doing as Christ taught is being a Christian.

Quoting Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion” who also quotes Voltaire and Russell: “The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism - as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: 'Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.' So did Bertrand Russell: 'Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.'”

What do you think of that quote? Is religion, period, a cancer the world is suffering from? I see countless hospitals, homeless shelters, food pantries, and charitable organizations that serve mankind that are built on “religion.” Religion, in my opinion, is the only reason this world is as good as it seems. Without Christ, the world would likely have been burned a long time ago by our own hands. Voltaire may believe that a belief in God is an “absurdity,” but I feel quite strongly that the evidence is overwhelming that God is real and the God of the Bible is the one true God. There is really no doubt, to be honest. The Bible is miraculous, and fulfilled prophecy as well as many other proofs found in it are convincing. And since we cannot explain the existence of the universe, our planet, or life without naive stories about large expanding nothingness or pond scum to people fairy tales, I'd say the fact of God's existence goes without saying. No argument for His existence is really necessary as nature cries out to us of His majesty. What of atheism?

The most vile thing common in the world today has been brought on by a lack of love for Jesus Christ and, I believe, therefore, humanity. This tragedy that is commonplace today is the murder of the unborn. You can see for yourself the numbers here, which I would hope would move you to tears. At the time of this writing, worldwide since 1980 (nearly a decade after it was made legal in the U.S.) the number of babies killed in the womb stands at nearly 1.5 billion lives. They were terminated before they ever had a chance to bathe in the atmosphere of our planet, before they ever saw the light of day.

This is due to a the worst kind of evil and is directly opposed to Christianity and to love in general. To suggest you love anything and yet support crushing the life of an unborn baby in its mother's womb is a disconnect for me. People may make mistakes and regret them, but many support and even march for the “right” to kill their children in the womb. Is anyone more responsible for this crime against humanity more than atheism? How about the anti-religious idea of “all beliefs are equal,” so killing babies in the womb is a belief that should be respected like anyone else's beliefs? I feel this is absurd. I can't say how many times I've heard someone say, “I wouldn't get an abortion, but I wouldn't stop someone from getting one if they wanted one. It's their right.” This is to turn away from unspeakable evil and, I feel, is evil itself.

Dawkins wants us to believe he's taken some sort of moral high ground in not believing in God. This idea is actually hysterical because you can't even find a reason to be moral or define morality without first drawing on the notion of a Being that would decide what is right and wrong above a subjective belief. If Dawkins doesn't believe in God, and therefore objective morality, then if he feels or if his society feels that rape, incest, sex slaves, or child abuse are morally viable ideas, then they are in the atheist's version of morality. True morality transcends society or the individual—objective morality. But the idea that Dawkins explains—that God is some sort of evil tyrant—is also bankrupt on the scale of intellect. God defines goodness, so I would be curious by what standard Mr. Dawkins is making his claims about God's nature. And how can one suppose to be morally superior to God when they don't believe in objective morality and don't believe in God?

It's often claimed that religion has claimed terrible numbers of lives over the centuries. By “religion” obviously we are talking about religions other than atheism. But the fact is that atheism or some form of it has claimed countless lives over just the last century—more lives, I believe, than all “religious” wars of the last 4500 years. Within the last century, monsters like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao among others have murdered at least 20 million, about 20 million, 1.5 million in 4 years, and 2 million respectively. From 1929 to 1979, these 4 men systematically murdered nearly 50 million people. In the case of Hitler, the numbers can jump to more like 75 million lives he's responsible for taking if we include fallen soldiers from World War II that spanned half of the globe. Atheism gives no hope and places no value on human life, if atheists are to be consistent in their beliefs. Why would they? Humans and any other form of life are just an accidental collection of matter no different, really, than a rock or puddle of water. Fortunately, not all atheists live like this is true, but at its core, this is atheism. This is how atheism can lead a man or group of men to murder millions of innocent lives. This is how it creates the Holocaust or the Killing Fields.

There have been religious wars that have spilled innocent blood, I believe. However, there have been wars credited to religion that I don't feel are warranted. This would include wars like the Dungan Revolt where 20 million died. It was a revolt of Muslims against non-Muslims, yes, but it was not over religion. It was over unfair treatment or a broken agreement. It was not over their faiths but, really, over money. So the semantics get thick. It's hard to agree on anything when it comes to this stuff. But in over 4000 years, I think it's safe to say religion has not resulted in more worldwide deaths than atheism (again, also a religion but they'll try to act like it's not) and certainly not more than secularism.

I think what's important to take home here is simple but a deep truth about humanity. We are broken. We do evil things. We do terrible things to one another. Many times, this has to do with the human heart and not a particular religion. Of course, there are those whose faith teaches from birth to be violent and to hate others. That's one of the symptoms of humanity's plight. We're evil and some want to teach their children to be evil. There are those who do awful things in the name of some religion, but the truth is many if not most of those people use religion as an excuse to do terrible things they would have done anyway. There are some faiths that promote killing and hate, but most do not. Christianity teaches love and grace. Anyone who acts “in the name of Jesus” but is acting against the teachings of Jesus is not acting because of their Christianity but in spite of it. Jesus taught us to love on another and pray for those that persecute us. He valued human life so much that He allowed Himself to be brutally beaten and torn and nailed to a cross to save humanity. Atheism is much different. Atheism is cold and empty. Atheists may love but they have no explanation for it. Atheists may be moral but they cannot tell you where that morality comes from.

The moment an atheist claims to have some sort of moral high ground because of the Crusades or some such thing, be sure to point out that humanism (a very popular form of atheism) is responsible for the deaths of, to date, about 1.5 billion children whose only crime was being conceived. Atheism has the potential to create the most ruthless monsters the world has ever seen. It's made the murder of the unborn a topic for discussion on television news programs rather than a terrible crime that should be punished severely. I've mentioned just a few of the world's notable murderous atheists in this blog post. On top of this, the silent holocaust of human children speaks loud enough to, I believe, silence any critic of the God of the Bible or those who follow Him.

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.