The Center of Education

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 23, 2017 0 comments


by David Odegard

Ever since the beginning, Satan has tricked people into seeking knowledge apart from God! Eve admitted she was not allowed to eat from the tree of knowledge, but Satan said in effect, “The old man is holding out on you, he knows the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened.” Eve didn’t resist further, the allure of independent knowledge was too great; she bit. (Genesis 3)

Just before Israel entered the promised land, God drew near to them so that they would not be swept away by the vile culture of the Canaanites. God wanted to teach them how to survive in the midst of such depravity, and not only survive, but thrive; that is, to bring up the next generation and live with God as king. One of the pivotal texts of all Scripture, known as the Shema, talks about bringing up children and their education:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

This verse is central to Biblical education. It establishes that education must be God-centered.

First, I must center my life around God, then I must incline my heart to listen to the Word of God. This is not just hearing only, but listening with the intent of obedience (James 1:22). After this, I must teach the Word of God to my children. The commands of God come before any other knowledge is pursued.

The ancient Israelis taught their children to read by memorizing Scripture. Psalm 119 is a poem that goes through the alphabet. Each stanza has eight lines and it begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Knowledge is imparted through the Word. As it says in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

This is the inescapable problem of the government schools; they cannot allow God to be central to the curriculum. If the local school is adventurous, they may allow God an ancillary mention, but giving him the central place would evoke a visit from the ACLU to ensure that he was removed immediately. The government schools cannot be God-centered, no matter how hard they try. Truth is, they never have been.

The foundation of secular education is to make the acquisition of knowledge central, not God. C.S. Lewis lamented this in his essay “Men Without Chests.” By removing God from the central focus, secular schools convey the impression that God is not that important. He is excluded from knowledge. Curricula take great pains to show that we do not need a creator to explain life, psychology, ethics, and all other disciplines. Even the teachers who are Christians are very limited in the way that they can bring God into the classroom. Truly, they would find themselves on the street by the end of the day if they ever tried to make God central to their classroom. I recognize that there are varying degrees of God-tolerance in the secular school, but there is no place where he is worshipped, obeyed, and central to the curriculum.

This presents a problem to Christian parents, because we take the Bible seriously. God said that we have to make Him the central feature of our worship, our honor, and our obedience. In the Shema, we are told to make Him the central feature of education. As a Christian parent, I recognize my responsibility in this regard.

The Apostle Peter put the emphases this way: “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

Peter says we start with faith! Next we add virtue or goodness to that faith. We only get around to adding knowledge after we have learned faith and goodness. Faith -> Virtue -> Knowledge; this design enables us to teach our children not just information, but goodness, morality, and values.

Knowledge without virtue is on display everywhere in our world. It is responsible for the ethical crisis in medicine and technology. Should a Christian participate in making a more efficient way to abort a baby? Christians across the nation do this all the time because they have practiced separating God and knowledge. Do not be surprised when your child becomes a technologically savvy barbarian.

It is on you, parent. God gave you the responsibility. And even if you refuse to obey Him, you’ll have to give an account some day for the degree to which you obeyed God’s command. Teach your children in the manner that God has commanded and you will be blessed all of your days.

Full disclosure: I have kids in the public school system. We love the elementary teachers at our local public school and appreciate their Christianity. They do the best they can within that system. But even there, God cannot be honored in the secular school, he cannot be worshipped “with all the mind” as we are commanded to do, and he cannot be given his rightful place as the center of all knowledge.

The struggle to earn a living and bring up good kids is difficult. Christian schools are not widespread, homeschooling is a difficult option for busy parents, churches seem to be confused about their role in aiding the parents in education, and the government takes our money to fund their idea of the socializing school system. All this amounts to a very steep uphill climb. I hear you.

My hope is that as you read this, you will recognize:
1. That you as a parent are responsible for your child’s education.
2. That the Bible mandates a God-centered curriculum
3. That all is not well, even in the best government schools
4. That you begin to think how you can implement the faith, virtue, knowledge mandate in your own family.

May the Lord be with you as you seek to more fully obey the command to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength. May He guide your efforts to bring up your children in the “fear and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

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Judges 20:29-36

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 21, 2017 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah. They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before. The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. While the Benjamites were saying, 'We are defeating them as before,' the Israelites were saying, 'Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.'
All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west of Gibeah. Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was. The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.
Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah.” (Judges 20:29-36)

Israel was fighting a battle against their own tribe of Benjamin, in order to rid the nation of the immoral town of Gibeah. In last week’s passage, we saw that even though Israel had a significantly larger army, they suffered defeats on the first two days of battle. They kept seeking God’s will, and God kept telling them to continue the fight.

But on the third day, Israel finally experienced the victory they had been expecting! The day starts out like the previous two, with Benjamin striking down some of Israel’s men. But this time the loss was only 30 men, significantly less than the 40,000 total from the previous two days. Israel then changed their strategy to an ambush.

Benjamin at first thought they were winning again, but the ambush changed everything. There were 26,000 Benjamites, and Israel killed 25,100 of them! After that crushing loss, Benjamin admitted defeat.

It is significant that this is the third day of battle, because 3 is an important number in the Bible. Jesus rose from the grave on the 3rd day, for example. This 3rd battle would be decisive in the war, and it was.

If Israel hadn’t been following what God commanded them, they likely would have lost again. It was clearly the Lord who won the battle, not Israel’s strength. They kept seeking God for counsel, and because of that He gave them the victory as He had promised to do. The immoral town of Gibeah was successfully purged from the nation rather than leading them astray.

What are you allowing the Lord to do in your life, rather than doing it yourself? Are you open to hearing a change of strategy from God, or are you too set in your own ways? Following the Lord is what wins the battle, not only in actual war but in every decision of our daily lives.

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Who They Are in Christ

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, August 20, 2017 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

I very vividly remember a day when my oldest son Brandon was in seventh grade. We were returning to school after an appointment, and as we were walking in, he noticed the secretary approaching the door with her hands full, and he ran ahead and opened the door for her. After I signed him back in and was walking out of the building, he turned as he was going around the corner and said, “Bye, Mom!”

I went out to my car and began to cry. I cried because in that very moment I saw my little boy slipping away and glimpses of the man he would become.

I went home and wrote him a letter telling him how proud we were of him, of his character, and of who God created him to be. I cited situations where he had shown grace and compassion, and ultimately I reminded him of who he is in Christ.

When my youngest son Nicholas turned 13, I wrote him a similar letter. We have kept these letters, as they are dear to us.

You may be wondering why I’m sharing this with you. I have a very important reason.

Ladies and gentleman, if we don’t tell our children who they are in Christ, make no mistake: the world will try and tell them who they are.

I like to say we are all uniquely handcrafted by God, but I have found that the world is more fond of molding and shaping us to look like them or however they think we should look. How many times have we heard our children say “They said I’m…” stupid, ugly, fat, too tall, too short, not cool; you fill in the blank. As parents, it is crucial that we remind our children that of these truths:

  • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb… I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
  • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
  • “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

We need to tell our children that they are a child of God, and they are uniquely handcrafted by God. Be sure to tell your children who they are in Christ, because make NO mistake that the world will tell them who they want them to be.

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.

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Theodicy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 18, 2017 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

What is theodicy? I stole this term from Voddie Baucham in his sermon “The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Post Modern World.” He used it when quoting skeptical students trying to trip him up with fancy terminology they learned in one semester of philosophy. Here is how it starts (near the 38:00 mark):

Student: I just wanted to ask you, if you believe in a God that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then how do you reconcile the issue of theodicy?
Voddie: To which I respond: You took a semester of philosophy, right?
Student: Oh, yes, how did you know?
Voddie: Because if you hadn’t, you’d have just said, “Listen, if God is just so powerful and so good, how come bad stuff happens?”

So forget the term “theodicy”; this is the standard problem of evil. Many skeptics ask the issue this way: “If God is good, he is powerless to do anything about it. If he is all-powerful, he is malicious and evil.” Some others have put it this way: “If your God commanded you to kill your child, would you do it?” He was referencing Abraham and Isaac when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise. What about the conquest of Canaan? What about all those babies that drowned in the Flood? God is responsible for all that. Ever heard these?

This is an issue that has stumped many, many Christians. I’ll give Voddie’s response to the question further down. When Christopher Hitchens proclaimed that one of Christianity’s most horrible contributions to society is the idea of being tortured forever in hell, his debate opponent, Douglass Wilson, asked this: “Horrible by what standard?” Hitchens never could recover from that question.

By what standard can God be called wicked, evil, or immoral? Most people I discuss this with just offer their opinions, but amazingly, one actually admitted all he offered was his opinion. But it was an opinion he held as absolute fact and argued as though I should agree with him just because he thought he was right. When most do offer some standard other than themselves, it is usually “society.” Society’s morals are arbitrary and constantly changing. What they consider moral one day is immoral the next and vice versa. It’s not a standard you can go by because it is not trustworthy. However, that is a result of relativism. What is true for you may not be true for me. Yet, no one ever lives that way or wants anyone to. Why? Because they know how quickly it can turn on them. They just don’t want God to be the standard.

By what standard is anything called “good”? Today, most people turn to humanism for that answer: “Whatever makes me feel good or whatever benefits me.” These people usually think of the here and now, not taking into consideration the long-term effects. The same people who say drinking, drugs, sex, etc. are good will not tell you of the hangover, the drug crash, or the lack of satisfaction, let alone the much higher risk of STDs and shortening of lifespans. How can the brief highs be called “good” when the long-term effects never are good? Either the whole thing is good, or none of it is.

Another angle many people take is this one: “Why doesn’t God stop the child rapists, thieves, murderers, etc.? Surely if God was all-powerful, he could stop them?” A key thing to note here is in all of these arguments, there is one thing in common: the skeptic blames God for what is wrong, even when said skeptic does not even believe God exists. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot claim God does not exist and then blame him when things are going ill for you. Let me return to Voddie Baucham’s answer to the question of “theodicy.”

Voddie: But I’m not going to answer the question until you ask it correctly.
Student: I worked on that all week. What do you mean ‘ask it correctly’?
Voddie: You’re not asking the question properly.
Student: What do you mean ‘ask it properly’? It’s my question. You can’t tell me how to ask my question.
Voddie: I will answer your question when you ask it properly.
Student: How do I ask it properly?
Voddie: Here’s how you ask that question properly: You look me in my eye and ask me this: “How on earth can a holy and righteous God know what I did, and thought, and said yesterday and not kill me in my sleep last night?” You ask it that way and then we can talk. But until you ask the question that way, you don’t understand the issue. Until you ask the question that way, you believe the problem is out there. Until you ask the question that way, you believe there are somehow, some individuals who in and of themselves deserve something other than the wrath of Almighty God. Until you ask me the question that way, until you flip the script, and ask the question this way, and say, “Why is it that we are here today? Why has he not consumed and devoured each and every one of us? Why? Why, oh God, does your judgment and your wrath tarry? When you ask it that way you understand the issue. When you ask it the other way, you believe in the supremacy of man.

I love that response. It puts the real issue on the table. How can man judge God unless man has earned the right to do so, by being perfect as God is perfect? The book of Job is one many skeptics will cite if it comes to mind. How could God make a bet with Satan and let Job go through hell just to prove a point? Job asked that question from Job 3 through 37. He constantly asked: “What did I do to deserve this? God answer me.” God did in Job 38-42. When God was finished asking him by what standard and by what abilities Job had to question how God ran things, Job responded with repentance. He realized how small he was and how much God had under control throughout the whole thing. What many people fail to realize is that Job’s trials only lasted about a week or so. Prior to that, he was untouchable. After that, he not only got more than what he had before his trial, but he was untouchable again. God had already done far more for Job than what most think about.

Is God a good God or a bad God? I have to put this simply. It does not matter what you think of God. He is God, you are not. If you think you can do a better job than God, good luck. The movie Bruce Almighty dealt with that issue and Bruce realized he could not do it. We have to play by God’s rules whether we like them or not. Why? Because he is God and we are not. If God does treat us like chess pieces on a board, that is his choice. He made us and he can do with us as he wishes. All that being said, God has also revealed his character to us. Not only does he claim to be good, kind, loving, gracious, and merciful, but he shows it. But he doesn’t just show those attributes. He also shows his justice, his righteousness, his holiness, his purity, his wrath, and his sovereignty. Call him a bad God all you want. He is God and he rules. But he is a good God and he does not desire any to perish in the judgement. He has provided a way out, which he has offered every time he brings a judgment. Will we take it? Or are we going to “take our chances”?

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What About the Ice Age?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 17, 2017 0 comments


by Steve Risner

Let’s continue this encounter with the ark. I'm enjoying delving into the ark and the Flood and the feasibility as well as the repercussions of such a terrific and terrible event. Last week we touched on some of the things they may have happened during the year-long catastrophe that we can hardly imagine. The Flood was an event to which there truly is no comparison. We can't possibly know all the terrible things that went on during this time.

The largest flood in recorded history, second only to the Flood of Noah's day, were the floods that hit China in the early 1930's. These floods were the result of a long drought followed by heavy snowfall and a lot of rain (2 feet of rain fell in just a month). Estimates range widely, but as many as 4 million died. These floods were for a short time in a small location (relatively speaking compared to the earth). Imagine if it were 500 times larger and several times longer! This is closer to the scope of the global Flood of Noah's day. If you're one of those who want to tell Bible-believing Christians why the earth doesn't look right for the Flood to have happened or for it to have been global, realize that it's hard to take you seriously when you make such farcical statements. We can't possibly know what the deluge would have done or how it actually transpired. We can make some guesses and glean from history, but to “know” very much is not likely.

We can surmise that the Flood resulted in tectonic activity and possibly volcanism because of passages like Psalm 104:8. This would have led to mountain uplift, continental drift, and possibly the Ice Age. The Flood would have caused untold amounts of sediment and erosion. The ash in the air from volcanism would have caused the air to cool, as it would block out a percentage of the sun. This has happened on a much smaller scale all over the world many times. This cooler climate mixed with the warmer ocean water would lead to huge amounts of snowfall. This huge amount of snow fall would lead to glaciation and BAM! we've got an Ice Age. Tsunamis would have pounded the lands. This would lead to waves of sediment being laid down and then receding with another layer coming behind rather quickly and receding again. Now we have an explanation for sediment layers and why some span entire continents. With the tectonic activity and continents being ripped apart and slamming into each other, we now have cause for mountain ranges and sedimentary layers that would be found all over the globe—layers that contain the same “stuff” and made from the same type of rock.

Let's focus in today on the Ice Age. The Ice Age is clearly something that occurred. Secular scientists will allege there were at least 5 or as many as 50 ice ages, but Biblical creationists disagree. The evidence for a single Ice Age a few thousand years ago actually seems to be stronger than the evidence for multiple ice ages. Secular scientists acknowledge that physical glacial evidence for these supposed multiple ice ages is generally absent. They appeal to sea shell chemistry to support their claims, but this fails to account for variables we cannot possibly know. Evidence suggests that the earth was a fairly warm place until the Ice Age. By Ice Age, I mean the time when huge sheets of ice covered much of the Northern Hemisphere. Antarctica was likely already buried in ice by this time. But it appears that there are not multiple times in earth's history that we see temperatures go up and then down and up and down enough to warrant multiple episodes of huge glaciation and melting.

The Ice Age probably started about a hundred years or so after the Flood—around the time of the dispersion from Babel. It probably lasted several hundred years (roughly 500 years of accumulation and 200 years of melting) and covered up to 30% of the earth's land mass post Flood (as we have no idea how much land there was prior to the Flood).

The increased volcanic activity would have probably lasted for some time after the Flood, as the earth's crust slowly solidified and became less volatile. Dust and aerosols would have remained in the air for years, reflecting sunlight back into space and causing much lower temperatures, especially over large areas of land. This mixed with the warmed oceans resulting from such massive amounts of volcanic activity and tectonic movements would have meant untold amounts of snow fall which would have accumulated into huge ice sheets over time. There is a great deal of evidence that there were extreme amounts of volcanic activity during the Ice Age. Warm oceans would produce more precipitation which would fall over the cooling land masses as snow. Because of currents and winds, the snow would be pushed to the poles and middle latitudes. Michael Oard, a specialist in atmospheric science, says, “Warm water and cold continents are a recipe for powerful and continuous snowstorms, whose behavior can be estimated using basic weather principles.” In other words, the Flood gives us the perfect conditions for an Ice Age. It stands to reason that, from the data that's been collected concerning glacial formation and retreat, that it wouldn't take thousands or millions of years for an ice age to manifest. We can look at the ice accumulation in Greenland for support for the short periods of time it takes to acquire a great deal of ice.

What is fascinating is that the Ice Age would have allowed for massive amounts of migration of animals and man. The enormous glacier sheets would siphon off a great deal of ocean water, causing sea level to much lower than it is now. It's often mentioned that northern Asians walked across the Bering Strait and eventually became the people group we call the Native Americans. What is rarely mentioned (at least to my recall) is that during the Ice Age, the Bering Strait would have been dry land and close to 1000 miles wide! Animals and humans could easily have walked across the grassy area and made it to North America and, later, to South America. People once lived between England and the European mainland in an area known as Doggerland. Artifacts are sometimes pulled up from the sea floor from these people. Because sea level was probably close to 350 feet lower than it is now, there were massive land bridges all over the earth, connecting areas now separated by water. Lower sea levels would expose passages from Asia to Australia as well and would likely connect many islands around the world, although, obviously, not all of them. This would make the migration of animals and humans very easy as they could have walked nearly anywhere. It makes me marvel at the awesome wisdom of our God that He would split the lands up, allow for them to be connected for a time while man and animals dispersed, and then had a mechanism to separate them again. This forced a great deal of diversity into the biology of the planet as well as a great deal of diversity in our cultures.

The melting at the end of the Ice Age would have again changed the landscape dramatically. Land bridges would be lost. Ice dams would break, causing more flooding. These events and others would have isolated populations, contributing to biodiversity.

I find that the evidence here backs the Biblical account amazingly. We find the Bible records an event that quite easily can account for the time in our history known as the Ice Age. This time allowed for a great deal of dispersion of man and animals, but it also may have resulted in some animals not making it long after the Flood due to climate changes. I'm in awe at how well the Bible fits with the science we've acquired and the history we've recorded.

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.

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Who Owns the Children?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 0 comments


by David Odegard

Secularism is the official religion of America. Public officials do not question the preeminence of the secular worldview. Court cases are decided based on whether the ideas are secular or “religious.” But the secular worldview has just as many religious tenets as any other system of beliefs—and they are beliefs since they are non-falsifiable.

Secularism in America demands that religion not be supported with government funds (even though those funds were seized from religious people). Religion is then defined as belief that cannot be quantified by measurement, and hence not rising to the level of knowledge. But secularists exempt all the non-measurable faith statements made by themselves.

“We can’t know scientifically if there is a God, or if the cosmos is all there is” are religious tenets of secularism that we Christians can prove to be untrue. William A. Dembski has proven that random chance cannot produce the complexity we observe in the universe, therefore the universe must have a designer. Even though his theory is mathematically true, secular schools are not allowed to teach his theory because it disproves one of their own religious tenets, that the world evolved from nothing.

Secularist groups like the ACLU sue school boards to make sure that their religion of secularity is the only religion taught (for instance, Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District). In this particular case, the courts took the ACLU brief and used it as their opinion, while completely dismissing parental concerns. These colossal court battles have been fought to decide who gets to control the schools, and hence the ideas of future citizens. They are deciding the question of who owns the children.

Secularists build all of their systems around human knowledge. Denying God his rightful place always produces a skewed view of the sovereignty of human beings. It is called humanism. Man is the measure of all things, the highest authority. They believe that we must find all solutions for ourselves as though we were alone in the universe. This the defining rationale behind the theory of evolution, and it has evolved into its own worldview. Secular American society demands that all children be taught this worldview, and one of its components is that they are owned by the state, not unlike what is practiced in China.

But there are some secularists who believe the children are owned by the parents. They believe that children can be aborted because they do not have an intrinsic right to life within themselves. These secularists appeal to the state to decide who is a person and who is not. The state assumes that it has the right to decide who is human, and the secular parent complies because the state holds the power, so it must be right—there is no higher authority to appeal.

Also, secular parents believe the children are theirs to raise in the way they choose and that God has nothing to do with it. As one woman wrote in an article posted on cnn.com and related in Reasonable Faith (read it here): “I am a non-believer, and for years I've been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I've found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers, and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation's religious fever.”

Those who control the government schools emphatically agree. Together the secularists are shutting out everyone who does not share their view of the world.

But the Christian must reject both the arguments that the parents or the state owns the children, because . . . (drum roll) . . . God owns them! He is their creator and has entrusted children to their parents. “Children are a heritage from the Lord; offspring a reward from Him” (Psalm 127:3). Christianity is non-secular; that cannot be changed. We MUST start and end with the Bible. When the state claims ownership of the children we say, “No, God entrusted them to us to raise, not you.”

Equally true is that when the secular parent claims ownership of a child and wants to teach it a worldview without God, we also have to say no. God is there, and to properly educate a child is to teach him or her what is really real, what is good and true, and what is morally right according to God. We are only stewards of the children, so we have to give an account to God about what we teach them. Furthermore, when Christians acquiesce to a secularist education for their children, they cease to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14), allowing the secularist to throw us out and trample us. Christians fail to resist evil and combat the decay of the society they live in when they do not train up the child in the way he should go.

There are 6 things to take away from this article:

  1. The government does not own the children and they are not sovereign over God. So, they are accountable for how they exercise power. God does not make them a steward over the child.
  2. The parents do not own the children and they cannot do whatever they please with them.
    • They cannot abort them.
    • They cannot abuse them.
    • They cannot teach them falsehoods like evolution.
    • They must teach them what is true about God and the universe according to the Bible, what is morally right, what is good and bad in all areas of life.
  3. God is sovereign over nations and individual parents. He is the one who creates children and prescribes what their education should consist of.
  4. Secularism assumes certain ideas are “truth” even though they are adamantly opposed to the Bible. These assumptions are unprovable so they are held by faith, which makes secularism a religion.
  5. Christianity becomes worthless and faithless when it synthesizes with secularism.
  6. Christians must allow themselves to be accountable to God’s Word when it comes to educating the children they are stewards of.

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.

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Judges 20:19-28

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 14, 2017 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, 'Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?'
The Lord answered, 'Go up against them.'
Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords. Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, 'Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?'
The Lord responded, 'Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.'” (Judges 20:19-28)

For the context of what’s going on here, I encourage you to read last week’s post here. The nation of Israel is at war with itself, specifically the tribe of Benjamin. Israel had 400,000 soldiers up against Benjamin’s 26,000. The reason for the war was that the city of Gibeah (in Benjamin) was evil and needed to be taken care of. Israel had asked God how to proceed before rushing into battle, so going in they were confident of victory.

But on the first day, Benjamin slaughters 22,000 Israelites! Remember that Benjamin had some extremely skilled warriors. But on that day, they killed almost as many men as they had in their army.

So Israel asks God again if they should continue to go against their fellow tribe. God says yes. They want to make sure they’re doing the right thing and didn’t misinterpret what God told them initially. They were probably second guessing themselves after this initial defeat, but God gives them the assurance that they are to move forward.

On the second day, Benjamin slaughters another 18,000 Israelites! This is less than the first day, but now they’ve lost a total of 40,000 from their army - a full 10% of what they started out with.

Again, Israel feels defeat instead of the victory they were expecting, so they ask God for further confirmation. This time they also fasted and made sacrifices to show their loyalty, devotion, and commitment to God. Israel was ready to give up, especially since they were fighting against and being killed by their own men. But God assures them that victory is coming.

God was teaching Israel that the victory doesn’t depend on the size of the army, but on their trust in Him. He wanted them to keep coming to Him and showing their trust, and to not give up when things got a little hard.

Have you lived that out in your life? Maybe you expect something to be an easy win, but then it ends up being a lot harder than you expected. Do you give up? Or do you keep turning to God? Are you focused on your preparation and your skills, or are you focused on what God is doing? Victory may not always be ours, but victory is always because of God.

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Just One

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, August 13, 2017 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

This message isn’t an easy one, and you might say it cuts right to the core of the matter.

I was reading in Genesis 3 about the introduction of sin into our world. Adam and Eve had been instructed that they could eat from any tree in the garden except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This chapter tells how the serpent tempted Eve into eating from the tree. It goes on to say that Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and that she gave some to Adam. They immediately realized they were naked and made coverings for themselves, and hid from God.

Isn’t that how we find ourselves so easily ensnared in sin?
“It’s just one drink.”
“It’s just one time.”
“It’s just one look.”

Casting Crowns has a song called “Slow Fade,” and part of the lyrics go like this:
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
When black and white turns to gray
And thoughts invade
Choices are made
A price will be paid when you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade

Sin is a slippery slope. We may think we can handle it, that we have sure footing, and then one slip and we have fallen deeper than we ever could have imagined

Sin separates us from God, but there is HOPE! God provided a way out for us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sin, if we repent of that sin.

Repenting isn’t merely saying, “I’m sorry.” True repentance is turning away from our sin, closing the door on it, walking away from it, and turning toward God.

I know this is a heavy topic. I share it because many people are suffering in silence, swallowed up by sin that is destroying them from the inside out. It’s not just that they can’t admit it to others; the first step is admitting our sin to ourselves and repenting.

If these words have spoken to you today, reach out and get help! Instead of living in a life swallowed up in darkness, you can live again, being free from the sin that binds you.

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The Gods of the Ancient Near East

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 11, 2017 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

One of the common arguments I hear against the “young earth creation” account is the comparison to the myths and legends of the ancient near east (ANE). They will say we need to read the Bible with an understanding of how the people of the ANE understood life, because that is how the Hebrews would have thought. That’s the argument. There is one problem. The Bible does not carry an ancient near east worldview, nor reveal one. The God of the Bible is not like the gods of the ancient near east, nor was the mindset of the Israelites like that of the ANE. Take some time to read 1 Kings 20 for the full context of the story I am going to describe here. I am going to emphasize verses 23-30.

The most wicked king of all the kings listed in the Bible, Ahab, was at war with Syria, and yet God still sought to show himself to Ahab that he may believe. God promised Ahab victory over Syria and Ben-Hadad and he delivered. But the Syrians said something very interesting: “Their gods are the gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight them in the plain, surely we shall be stronger than they.”

Let me dig into that. In the ancient near east, people were polytheistic. They had gods for all aspects of life, from rivers to the sun to plants to fertility and even hills and valleys. Israel had the only monotheistic deity (only one God) in the entire region. Also back then, the cultures believed all the battles they fought were truly a test of strength of the gods they followed. Again, Israel did not think that way. They gave honor to God for giving them victory, however, when a nation was defeated, Israel did not confess the other god was stronger; they went back to their God to find out why they lost. Again, this is a very different mentality than the ANE cultures.

Back to the story. God does something very interesting here. He gives Ahab another victory. Remember, Ahab is the most wicked king in the Bible. He did more evil than any of the others. Here is what God said: “Because the Syrians have said, ‘The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,’ therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (verse 28).

God heard the boasts of Syria who had an ANE worldview. They thought that God was just the god of the hills because they lost on the hills. They did not see that he was the One True God, so they thought he did not have power down in the valleys. Ahab did not hear Syria’s thinking, yet God promised to give him yet another victory and he delivered.

God wanted to demonstrate not only to Ahab but also to the Syrians that he was the true God over all creation, not just in a few areas. He was not like Baal, Asheroth, Molech, or any of the other deities worshiped by the peoples. To try to compare God to these gods does not work because he does not compare with them. Yet many try.

When I mentioned God in apologetic debates, it is only a matter of time before someone says, “Which god? Zeus?” What are they doing? They are viewing the God of the Bible in the same way the Syrians did, as just another of the deities. They think the God of the Bible is a myth because the Greek gods and Roman gods were mythical. The skeptics do not see them as any different.

What makes our God different? Each of the polytheistic gods of the ANE were limited in power and rule and reach. The gods of the rivers were only in charge of the rivers. The god of fertility was in charge of reproduction, and often many forms of sexual deviancy. The gods of the hills were responsible for what goes on in the hills, and the gods of the valleys were responsible for that. But notice how there is no overlap. This is what the Syrians based their battle plan on: that the God of Israel did not have charge over the valleys because he had won in the hills. It would never have occurred to them that any god might have rule over both.

Our God is not just ruler over the hills and the valleys, but ruler over the entire universe. He made it. Few if any of the other gods even make a claim about creating the universe, and even in those cases, none of those gods claim full dominion over the creation. None of the gods of the ANE remotely compare to the capabilities, the nature, and the character of the God of the Bible.

What is also very interesting is when you examine the origins of the myths, gods, and legends of the ANE, you do see a number of similarities to the Bible, not as though the Bible got them from the legends, but almost as though it is the other way around. Now, to be clear, the Bible was not formally around when these legends were starting to come out, however, the history was. The Greek gods are an interesting study because they never had any real deistic characteristic with them. They were more superhumans, than deities and most of them are actually based on the pre-Flood and immediate post-Flood generations that lived for 900+, 600+, 400+, and 200+ years. Shem outlived the nine generations that followed him. He certainly would have been seen in a different light. This table gives a comparison of Biblical names to Greek gods. It’s not the ANE that gave the Bible their ideas, rather the Bible faithfully records the history of where the ANE got their ideas from.

So when skeptics try to dismiss the Biblical account because the ANE cultures did not think that way and try to interpret the Bible to fit ANE understanding, they have not fully researched the case. The Bible does not teach nor support the way of thinking of any of the ANE cultures. That is part of why the Law was written, so Israel would be separated from these ANE cultures. That is another reason why they were told to fully drive out the inhabitants of other nations, so the ANE cultures would not influence them. God was mad at Israel when they asked for a king, because they wanted to have a ruler that was not God, and they wanted to be like the other ANE cultures. Our God is not like the ANE gods. The culture he established was not like the ANE cultures. The history is not like the ANE myths. It all stands out to be separated from the rest so with any honest investigation, no confusion could be made between our God and his Word and with any of the other legends.

Who is our God? He is one who is unique and stands out above all other gods. He is ruler over all areas of the universe, not just a select few. He will intercede and interfere in the affairs of all men, not just those who believe him, or those who are supposed to believe him. He is sovereign and in charge. What he says goes, whether we agree with him or not and he will receive the glory and worship he is due, by our willing choice or by the justice delivered upon us in our rejection. Let us not treat him as one of the gods of the ANE, because he is not one of them.

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Where Did All the Water Go?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 10, 2017 2 comments


by Steve Risner

What happened 4400 years ago that changed the face of the planet? Of course, I'm talking about the Flood that Noah and his family survived, but what really happened? The Bible gives us some details, but there are a lot of things that must have happened to create, maintain, and dissipate a global flood, the details of which are not described in God's Word. Today I'd like to discuss that a bit if I may.

In Genesis 6, you can read how God told Noah what He was going to do and what He wanted Noah to do. In chapter 7, we read the beginning of the Flood. It's very clear that the entire planet was the source of God's sorrow and recipient of His wrath. In Genesis 6:12 we read, “God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” This says the “earth” (meaning the inhabitants of it) were corrupt—ALL of mankind. God further says, “I am going to put an end to all people... I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” (verse 17). Some suggest this event was local—that only some area of the Ancient Near East was annihilated. This is, of course, contrary to the story in chapter 6 of Genesis and the understanding of these passages for the last few thousand years or so. There are numerous details in these chapters concerning what would happen, how old Noah was, how many of what Noah was to have, ark dimensions and materials, and several others. Why would there be all this detail if the main part of the story—God's destruction of the surface of the entire planet for its sin—was not really the case? Were only the people of the Ancient Near East evil and disposed to violence? Did God not consider the rest of the earth as part of the earth?

We see in chapter 7 that it rained for 40 days continuously. As I've stated in previous writings, here in Findlay, we know about flooding. It can rain for an hour or two for 3 or 4 consecutive days and the river may flood. Or it can rain all day for 2 days and there's no problem with the river. It's all about how much rain falls. The most rain recorded in modern times in an hour is 12 inches - a foot of water fell in 60 minutes! That's amazing! In a day, the record to beat is 72 inches! Six feet of rain in a day. What if it rained that hard for 40 days? Or what if it only rained 1 ft per day for 40 days? That's a terrific amount of water, not to mention all the other likely sources of flooding during this time.

Now assume that since the Bible doesn't just say it rained really hard for 40 days but that other things happened to generate flooding. There was more to it than a bunch of rain. The fountains of the great deep burst open. I honestly don't know what that means exactly, but I'm assuming it wasn't good if you wanted to live through the Flood. The “deep” is generally the ocean, so it's believed the “great deep” may be something else—like water reserves within the earth. There is evidence for such reservoirs today. That link talks about a reservoir larger than the earth's oceans—all of them! Where did all the water come from/go? We may have the culprit. These subterranean reservoirs, if that is what this passage is talking about, could have all burst open at the same time, spewing unimaginable amounts of water all over the earth's surface. I have no idea what the surface of the earth was like then; it was certainly not like the earth today. In fact, I'd wager that it's possible that there was more land (or less, but I lean towards more) with fewer mountains, and mountains that were not as high as today's highest ranges. This would mean not nearly as much water as skeptics believe would be necessary was, in fact, necessary. The waters wouldn't need to be miles deep to cover the highest mountains of TODAY, but only the highest mountains of the world that then was.

It's believed that, because of the word usage in this passage, a great deal of tectonic activity was going on during this time. The Word says the fountains of the great deep were broken up. This is the same word used to describe what happened when Korah and his followers were swallowed by the earth for their mutiny against Moses. God “broke up” the earth and they fell into it. This leads me (and others) to believe that the land masses literally moved about the face of the earth during this time. I'm not talking like a puck on the ice at a hockey game, but these land masses broke apart (as secular science believes as well), slammed into each other, then rested (nearly completely although they do still move a little) in their current positions.

The effects of this relatively rapid continental movement would be rapid periods of uplift. This uplift and tectonic movement would contribute considerable tsunamis during the Flood, further adding to its destruction. If some mountains were formed earlier during the Flood, the water could easily have eroded some of them to their current lower heights, while those mountains that were formed later during the Flood wouldn't have had such erosion. To be sure everyone is on the same page here, I'm not saying I know this happened a particular way, but it makes sense and works with what we observe. Mountains do grow during periods of rapid uplift and then generally settle down with long periods of little to no growth at all. This is, again, a finger in the eye of the uniformitarian who thinks that some slow, unchanging process we may observe right now is the same process that has acted uniformly over the past however many eons. Few actually believe this is reality, but it's still taught and presented this way.

These ideas—what the fountains of the great deep were, the continental movements, the mountain uplift and erosion—are not directly from Scripture, but they are logical conclusions based on the reading of the text. This is different than twisting the Word to make it fit my preconceived ideas, like the old earth creationist and theistic evolutionist do. We need not vitiate the Word of God to force it to fit into some other religious explanation for the origins of the world or the current condition of our planet. The evidence for a world wide Flood that annihilated everything is fairly easy to see if we're willing to view it from that perspective. There are many details of the humanistic view on origins that fit with the Biblical worldview; the trouble comes with their time line. The only reason—ONLY reason—they believe in the idea of deep time is because they have to in order to uphold their nonsensical belief in universal common descent (the idea that non-living matter became alive and mutated into human beings over billions of years).

The evidence from Scripture is fairly straight forward for a global Flood. It states it quite convincingly numerous times—all the earth, all flesh, all life, etc. God wiped out the planet, which quite possibly meant He wiped out one large land mass that broke apart during the Flood, killing all land dwelling animal life and humans except those on the ark. The idea of a local flood makes no sense at all, either Biblically or even logically. Atheists despise the idea of the Flood and attack it continually. The assault on the global Flood, unfortunately, is one of the first things old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists go to in order to rationalize their marriage of Christianity and humanism. If the Flood wasn't global, they can make up all sorts of scenarios for the landscape we see today, adapting the humanistic myth for origins into their beliefs. Humanism mingled with Christianity is still really humanism, and humanism is where the idea of deep time (billions of years) comes from.

God stated repeatedly that He would and did wipe out all mankind and all land dwelling animals with a Flood. He stated that the entire earth was destroyed, and there are several references throughout Scripture to His promise to never do this again. There are also references to comparing it to what is to come—destruction by fire. Some may act like you need some deep spiritual knowledge and intimate studies of each individual word, learning Hebrew and some other things in order to understand these very simple and straightforward texts. I don't buy that at all. I think it says what it says. I asked Katie Erickson, our Hebrew egghead, about it as well and she agreed. We can make it similar to gnosticism if we really want to make something only an elect few can comprehend, but then it's not the clear teaching of Scripture. It's something else and something that doesn't work with the rest of Scripture. It's not Christianity.

God destroyed all life on land, and we have evidence for that with a lot of dead stuff all over the place. He covered the earth with water. There's evidence for that with sediment layers all over the planet and with fossilized sea creatures on mountain tops. He hates sin and His wrath demonstrated it. He's also merciful and made a way for the righteous few to continue on. Think about these truths and consider what it would mean if just one of them isn't true.

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Government Funded Schools and the Theft of Your Kid

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 9, 2017 0 comments


by David Odegard

There was a time in America when children were regarded as belonging to God and entrusted to parents by Him to be raised according to His moral law (see Psalm 127:3). Even though the wealthier parents hired tutors, most local parents banded together to educate their children. Teachers were employed by parents and conformed to their values. The curriculum typically dealt only with classic education: reading, writing, history, arithmetic, and usually some language like Greek or Latin.

There were many benefits to this system; let me point out a few. It was far less expensive than the modern system (yes, I adjusted for inflation). It achieved better academic outcomes. It was locally accountable. It was non-politicized and student-focused. Let me expand these thoughts briefly.

It was far less expensive. Local communities came together, built a little building by themselves, and collected money to hire a teacher. As more children were added to the system, more staff would be added, but costs were always low.

The modern government system is like a morbidly obese man; there is so much cholesterol clogging his bloodstream that he can barely move. Government schools are morbidly obese with grossly expensive, lumbering overhead expenses. The differences between modern public and private school costs are well documented. The higher cost is not because of the teacher’s salary, the cost of the aides, or the salary of the cooks and janitors. It is due to buildings and administration.

But mostly, the real costs of public schools are hidden, and people pay for it indirectly thinking that it is free. Nevertheless, the school budget is typically the highest expenditure in any county or state budget. Public schools cost the taxpayer more per student than the best private schools charge. But is it worth it? Are public schools more effective educators?

The old system produced better academic outcomes. Public school is tragically outdistanced by private school and homeschool performance. Again, think of our morbidly obese man trying to run a race against youngsters; it ain’t happening. Defenders of the public school system blame this performance gap on many factors, but they can’t deny its existence. Furthermore, they have been trying to close the gap for 40 years straight and, regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem, the gap continues to widen! Perhaps the foundational concept upon which the government schools are based is flawed.

Before the government takeover of education took place in America, schools had higher academic standards and more people met those standards. Literacy was higher.

Also, there were better results in mathematics. For example, Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic was published in 1877, served tens of thousands of local schools for generations, and was exponentially better than common core. Furthermore, you can get a free copy anytime you want because it is not published by some rip-off textbook producer like Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, etc. You can read it for free here. Read the instructions and do the problems; see how far your public school education can get you!

It was locally accountable. Whoever pays the teachers controls education. Even though ALL the money comes from taxpayers, they have little say in how the money is spent because the employer is the government. This is how the con works. Governments collect the school taxes through various means. Then they decide how to allocate it and infuse their own values into that allocation. They ignore the concerns of parents and push their own educational agenda, which is increasingly concerned with social issues and politics. They make themselves the employer at the expense of the parents. Add incredibly powerful unions, giant textbook producers, and the entire political machine of government and the local taxpayer doesn’t have a chance!

The days of parents hiring a teacher are completely gone. Parents, and even school board members, have almost no input into the curriculum, values, and core policies. These are all set at the national level and conformity comes through intense pressure. The ACLU has more influence over your local school’s policy than the school board does. As a small example, look at the way the Obama administration imposed transgender acceptance onto the local school regardless of the millions of parents who were incensed at the idea of their child being exposed to showering with the opposite sex! Also, the transgender focus is in the textbooks as well. Schools have to use them because they are the mandated curriculum. Any parent or teacher can share how the values they hold dear are routinely ignored by administrations and politicians. Teachers, parents, the PTO, and the school board are all mandated policy and nobody is listening to them.

It was non-politicized and student-focused. The pre-government system had only one objective really: to teach the student basic academic skills. And they did. Parents, teachers, and students were the main persons involved in educational decisions. Sometimes school boards try to fight the government as it regards policy and curriculum, but the courts almost always side with the government, enforcing values that parents despise.

In addition to all of this, the notion that God owns the children and that they are entrusted to parents to be brought up to be good, virtuous, and moral has vanished. The state thinks they own not only the children, but also the parents. This creates a moral dilemma for Christians.

As early as the mid 1800’s, progressives like Horace Mann infiltrated the school system with the intention not of education only, but also socialization of their values. They make themselves the employer with your money; they make merchandise of your children; they mock your values to scorn!

It is not equally bad everywhere. My local school district is very good. We have good Christians teaching and in administration. There is as much local control as possible and it sits in a conservative area. Yet, even our school spends about $900,000 a month to deliver education to 800 kids. Several teachers have told me that they hate the common core curriculum, but they can’t change it because the state mandates it. Their consciences are violated when they are not allowed to tell students about the superiority of Intelligent Design over evolutionary theory even though ID is much more plausible scientifically. Teachers also complain that the bad teachers cannot be discarded because of the union protections that are in place. All these things cause the students to suffer.

Sadly, lobbyists are the focus at the state and federal level and the local school has no choice but to comply, causing enormous budgetary overruns. But is there another way that gives local control, reduces costs, and produces better educational outcomes? You bet there is! That will be the topic of the next several weeks as we explore Biblical Education in our pursuit of a comprehensive Christian social ethic.

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Judges 20:12-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 7, 2017 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, 'What about this awful crime that was committed among you? Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.'
But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred able young men from those living in Gibeah. Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle. The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, 'Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?'
The Lord replied, 'Judah shall go first.'” (Judges 20:12-18)

This passage definitely needs context, and this story actually goes all the way back to the beginning of Judges 19. The short version is that a Levite and his concubine were traveling, and they stopped for the night at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. While there, the concubine was killed by the immorality of the men of Gibeah. To avenge her death, Israel banded together against the Benjamites and was seeking to get rid of the immorality at Gibeah.

Naturally, the tribe of Benjamin didn’t band together with the rest of Israel, because Gibeah was in their territory. But was it right for Israel to fight against their own people? In this circumstance, yes. Deuteronomy 13:5 and 21:21 clearly command Israel that rebellious parts of the nation must be purged: “You must purge the evil from among you.” This is similar to the saying about how one bad apple spoils the whole bunch; just one evil town can spread that evil and immorality throughout the entire nation, if it’s not taken care of.

The leaders of the tribe of Benjamin could have simply turned over the town of Gibeah to be punished by the nation as a whole, but instead they chose to fight. What began as simply trying to rid the nation of one evil town now because a civil war. The other 11 tribes were fighting against Benjamin.

In Genesis 49:27, it was predicted that the Benjamites would be good warriors, and this held true. We see in this passage in Judges that they were so good with the bow and slingshot that they could use it with either hand! So if some of the men from Gibeah were among these skilled fighters, it’s understandable that Benjamin would be reluctant to hand them over to be punished and likely killed. So, the rest of Israel came with a huge army of 400,000 men, to fight against Benjamin’s 26,000 men.

But rather than rushing into battle, Israel inquired of God as to how to proceed. “The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God” (verse 18). This was a big deal for Israel to be fighting against herself, so fortunately they did involve God in this matter.

Do you apply this idea in your own life? Do you inquire of God before making big decisions in your life, or even small decisions? Or do you just rush in, thinking you can handle it yourself? Israel’s 400,000 men versus Benjamin’s 26,000 sounded like good odds for them to just rush in and start fighting, but instead they set a good example for us and turned to God first. They asked God, and then actually listened to and followed His answer. I encourage you to do the same in your life.

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Do Not Fret

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, August 6, 2017 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

Sometimes when studying Scripture, something really stands out. I would like to share some of what I learned when recently studying Psalm 37.

It starts out saying “Do not fret.” We see this phrase repeated 3 times in the first 8 verses of Psalm 37.

Verse 1 says, “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong.”

Verse 7 says, “Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when the carry out their wicked schemes.”

Verse 8 says, “Do not fret it only leads to evil.”

I looked up the definition of the word fret. It means to cause to suffer emotional strain or to become worried. So, it is saying, “Do not suffer emotional strain, become worried, or envious when you see others getting ahead in their wrong doing or unfair ways, because this leads to evil.”

Verse 9 goes on to say, “For evil men will be cut off but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

It is clear what we aren’t supposed to do (do not fret), but what does Psalm 37 say we are supposed to do?

Let’s go back to verses 3-5: “Trust in the Lord and do good. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord trust in him and he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn.”

Verses 7-8 encourage us to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… Refrain from anger & turn from wrath.”

Let’s break it down like this:
Do not fret because of evil men.
Trust in the Lord.
Delight yourself in the Lord.
Commit your ways to the Lord.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Do not fret when men succeed in their own ways.
Refrain from anger.
Do not fret because it only leads to evil.

We live in a broken world where we see people who lie, cheat, and manipulate to get ahead all the time. This can be discouraging and frustrating, but together let’s take Psalm 37 and apply it to our lives and continue to do good, trusting in the Lord, waiting patiently for Him and do not fret!

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Who is God?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 4, 2017 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Who is God? This is a very pertinent question today with many misconceptions about who he is, what he is like, how we should approach him, and how we should represent him. So this will start a 4-part series dealing who God is. Today, I want to address a very critical aspect about the nature of God: Did we figure God out, or did God reveal himself? With that, do we define God or does he define himself? It not just the secularists who fight with this; it is deep within the Christian community.

I have to ask you, friends: do you really know who God is? My experience in listening to other Christians, and even reflecting back on my own life, tells me that many of us do not know who God really is. I’m STILL learning who God really is. Paul Washer (I don’t remember which sermon) is bold enough to say that on Sunday mornings, America practices more idolatry than any other time period. In a sermon excerpt that is no longer on YouTube, Charles Stanley asks, “Who is the one true God? What is he like? Can we have a personal relationship with him? If so, how?” Stanley suggested that many people who call themselves Christians cannot answer these questions correctly today. The skeptic at this point will likely ask, “So how do you know who God really is?” This series of posts will answer that question.

Brian McLaren used to be a very popular pastor about a decade ago. He is known as the founder of the “Emergent Church” movement, which now goes by the moniker “Progressive Christianity” if they have not moved on to another one. He wrote a popular book called A Generous Orthodoxy that has helped shape much of the Christian community ten years ago with its effects still lingering. Here is a quote that illustrates a grave concern of mine on this topic.

"For them, God could no longer be conceived of merely as "God A", a single solitary, dominate Power, Mind, or Will, but as "God B", a unified, eternal, mysterious, relational community/family/society/entity of saving Love.
Think of the kind of universe you would expect of God A created it: a universe of dominance, control, limitation, submission, uniformity, coercion. Think of the kind of universe you would expect of God B created it: a universe of interdependence, relationship, possibility, becoming, novelty, mutuality, freedom. I'm not sure which comes first--the kind of universe you see or the kind of God you believe in, but as a Christian who believes in Jesus as the Son of God, I find myself in universe B, getting to know God B."

~A Generous Orthodoxy, pages 84-85

This book was first brought to my by Eric Ludy in his sermon “Betrayed with a Kiss,” but I have waited to speak on this quote until I read it myself. McLaren in the previous chapter speaks about seven Jesuses depicted by seven major denominational groups. He only examines one major aspect of the teachings about Jesus in each group, purposing to show the uniqueness, and suggests that each depictions is a unique shadow of the whole. He suggests that we actually all worship the same Jesus, just different aspects about him.

And then McLaren brings what I quoted into the discussion. We have God A, who is the kind of God that McLaren does not like, and God B who is someone McLaren could very well get along with. McLaren chooses to worship God B. Let me speculate a little further about who God B really is. I have good reason to suspect God B is none other than McLaren himself, or who he wishes to be or what he would be like if he were God. How can I say that? I have listened to many people who do not stand on sound doctrine describe God. Their god tends to like what they like, dislike what they dislike, love what they love, hate what they hate, exists to provide for their desires and dreams, is a problem when things don’t go their way, and ultimately sounds a lot like them. There is a phrase in many evangelical circles about what this is: making a god in our own image.

Not many people are on that extreme level, but most do practice it to a large degree. “My God would not send anyone to hell.” “I could never worship a God like that.” “My God would never tell me what to do.” “God would never judge me over that.” Or arguments like “God just wants what is best for me. He wants me to live the best I have ever lived right now.” “God wants you to think big. He’ll provide your greatest dreams.” “God broke a law because he loves you so much.” Sure, many of you would like to hear the context of these claims and I do not have space to go into detail on them. I have heard the bulk of them in context of responding to a preacher calling sin “sin” and describing God’s attributes of holiness, purity, justice, and wrath (in the first set) or by preachers who give a “Prosperity Gospel” (in the latter set). The God of such claims does not exist because he is a figment of the imagination.

A big problem I see in McLaren’s analysis of the seven Jesuses and God A and God B is that he did not once turn to Scripture to find out who God says God is. Let me say it straight. We could not define the one true God in our own abilities if we tried. Why not? We are finite beings, with finite understanding. God is infinite and that is without getting into the nature of man’s sin which causes us to never seek after God. There is only one way we are ever going to seek God: if God seeks and draws us first.

God had to reveal himself to us. He is who he says he is. Two years ago, I did a series on the attributes of God. I did not come up with those attributes. God had to show me as he has shown every person through the Bible. I still have much more to learn. I have seen many of his attributes in action in my life, and some I have not yet seen in action. To understand who God is, you cannot not piece together what other people describe God as, but rather, you must take all that he has revealed himself to be holistically. You also cannot just take what you have experienced; otherwise you are like the blind men trying to figure out the elephant. That means while God is a God of love, he is also a God who will and MUST punish sin if for no other reason but to be a God of love. God cannot break his own standards nor violate his character. He also will do what he said he would do and he is not obligated to do anything he did not promise.

Let me put it bluntly. Even after what Jesus did on the cross, if God saw fit to send us to hell even after committing our lives to him, he has the right to do that and would be right in doing so. I honestly have not yet grasped the full weight of what that means because it should bring us to our knees in true humility. The only thing that allows us to go to heaven is his mercies and his grace. He has no obligation to give it us. It is this description of God that makes people freak out, and they prefer to worship a god who gives nothing but caters to their sinful, selfish desires. That being said, God does not desire that any should perish but longs that we would repent. But let us be clear: it is a terrible and fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and when he returns, he is not merely going to save those who are his; he is going to conquer and slaughter all who are not identified as his. To receive his free gift of grace and mercy, you need to follow the real God’s method, not one of our own making.

Which God do you follow? One you made up? Or the true God who reveals himself and in whose mighty presence we find both love, joy, and mercy, AND justice, humility, and cleansing of all that is self. Too many of us, myself included, take God too lightly. He does not mess around. We should not mess around regarding him.

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The Flood Rocks

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 3, 2017 4 comments


by Steve Risner

Over the last few weeks, I've written on the trip my wife and I took to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. It was great, and I appreciated the fact that it was true to the Word of God. We discussed in the last 3 writings the decks of the Ark Encounter, the impact overall of the attraction, some common claims by skeptics concerning the size of the Ark compared to the animals inside, the vast expanses of sedimentary layers that span entire continents or even are found in multiple continents, fossil graveyards, and several other things concerning the Flood. My plan is to continue in that vein today.

I was taught in school that sedimentary layers were the result of millions of years of accumulation, and that fossils were trapped in the layers as they accumulated. This is called uniformitarian philosophy and is rarely an accurate way to describe anything we find in nature. It happens, but it's not near as common when we're looking at geology or anything that deals with the age of the earth or universe. The earth's surface is riddled with the scars of catastrophe. They're everywhere.

Canyons are of particular interest. If you do some reading, you'll find that uniformitarian beliefs monopolize the popular thinking on canyon formation. The trouble is, the ideas are all unverifiable because of the time they require. Another issue with the idea that canyons are slowly cut by tiny rivers over eons is that we've seen canyons form very quickly in—drum roll—catastrophes like Mount St. Helens and others. What I find amazing is that we've seen canyons form very rapidly when large volumes of water travel very quickly over land. We cannot see if uniformitarian views are accurate because they require too much time. So what do you read about in the literature? The uniformitarian view on the subject.

Sedimentary layers were quite clearly laid down very quickly. At least, those that contain fossils had to have been rapidly laid down. An organism that dies in the mud and sits there for eons while it gets covered would not leave a fossil behind. It would, in fact, be eaten or simply rot away with no evidence. But an animal buried quickly in sand and/or mud would be covered and would be able to be suspended in time for us to find later. Polystrate fossils also suggest rapid burial. These are fossils that extend through multiple layers of the geologic column, most often of trees. I'm sure we all understand the absurdity of a tree standing up for a hundred millennia while it gets buried slowly in sediment. This quite logically explains the petrified forests of the western US, but that's a topic for later. The bending of rock layers without breaking or cracking also suggests the layers (many of them at a single time) were still soft and were more pliable. This means numerous layers of sedimentary rock were bent at the same time and with no cracking or breaking, as you can see in the picture below.


That seems weird, right? When was the last time you bent a rock? They seem a little brittle, so rather than bend they will tend to break. The deep time proponent will tell you that this is an easy fix: pressure and temperature played a role here. They'd like us to think that you could heat these enormous rock layers enough to bend them without breaking them and without changing their composition because of the heat. This is highly unlikely.

The idea of rapid burial of organisms that leads to fossilization is also supported by some of the fossils themselves. There are numerous examples of fish giving birth or in the process of eating another animal frozen in time as a fossil. We have fossils of animals that we can identify what's in their stomachs (often times mammals with dinosaurs in their bellies, which is interesting).


How do we have many fossils like this from around the world if these creatures didn't die in a massive and very fast catastrophic event? Rapid burial is the only way to make sense of it that I can see.

To review: I, like most of you, was taught that sedimentary layers were laid down through some mysterious process that took millions of years. This is contrary to the evidence as 1) fossils wouldn't exist if they had to lay uncovered in mud for years, decades, centuries or eons of time before being buried in sediment, 2) fossils frequently show animals caught in some action (giving birth, eating, etc.) and can still have food products in their gut, and 3) sediment layers must have been laid down in a short period of time because many of them we find bent together as though all of them were still soft since there are no signs of fracture or cracking. To me, these all speak to the historical nature of the Flood of Noah's day.

We'll continue our look at elements of the Flood next week.

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The Bigger They Fall

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 0 comments


by David Odegard

A few years ago our church expressed discontent over the shallowness of the commercial vacation Bible school curriculums in a can. We decided we would get our material straight out of the Bible, and I firmly recommend this strategy. The kids remembered so much detail from the skits and Bible stories, the songs, and of course the games.

Nearly the whole church participates in the venture. We begin building sets and making costumes several weeks in advance. We write all the skits and lessons ourselves. We make everything. It is a great time of fellowship and ministry for the church. Then, the army of children show up like some kind of barbarian invasion.

This year was the Life of Daniel. I was struck by the contrasts in his book which escaped me in the past. Israel had just been assaulted by Babylon and the best of the best were carried away to serve Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon grew incredibly prideful at becoming the masters of the known world. The world had become Nebuchadnezzar’s footstool.

Imagine him standing on top of his luxurious palace in his rooftop garden. From there he could see one of the wonders of the ancient world: his own hanging gardens. He had built a mountain and covered it with lush vegetation to please his mountain-born wife. Nearby was the grand temple of his god Marduk, one of the tallest buildings of that time. He could stand above the vast city of Babylon the Great. He could see the double wall which chariots could race on. He could laugh at all his enemies. Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold, ruler of all the world, humbler of all nations. He said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). He just knew that he was great.

Then there is little Judah, so easily defeated by his grand army. They pulled down the walls, entered the city, and even took the sacred objects from the temple of the Hebrew God. He reasoned that this God was unable to stop Nebuchadnezzar! He waltzed right into God’s own house and took whatever he wanted.

Nebuchadnezzar’s prideful assumption reverberates in the Hebrew people as well. They wonder if God has abandoned them or maybe he wasn’t as strong as he said. Confusion abounds, but among the early exiles are only a few who continued to believe in the one true God.

Nebuchadnezzar goes completely insane. God strips him of his royal authority until he realizes that the reason that he was able to defeat Judah only because he had permission. God allowed it for his own reasons. These are his words:

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation… Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:34, 37)

Nebuchadnezzar had to learn humility, a very hard lesson for the conqueror of the world to learn. But through several encounters with God’s people, he learned that God is more powerful than anyone.

Belshazzar never does learn the lesson of his father. He arrogantly sets out to prove his superiority as the king of the earth by drinking out of the dedicated cups from God’s temple in Jerusalem. He goes as far as to toast his own idols. But they cannot save him from Yahweh’s wrath. The handwriting on the wall humiliates Belshazzar. In front of everyone it says, “You have been weighed and measured and found wanting!” Oooh, sick burn. “Your stuff ain’t enough, Belshazzar.” He died that night. (Daniel 5)

But contrast this attitude of pride to the attitude of Daniel and of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They humbly accepted God’s working in their lives. They made their appeals and then trusted God to do whatever he wanted to do. When threatened with the fiery furnace, they showed a resolve. “God is able to deliver us if he wants to, but even if he doesn’t, he is still God!” (Daniel 3:16-18) Such trust. As the apostle Peter would later write to Christians who were being similarly persecuted by the Romans: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6). Victory came to the Hebrew children when they realized that it is God’s reputation that means anything. The same is true for us today.

These few were seemingly invincible. They not only survived a hostile culture, but they thrived and were advanced at every turn. Everything that was meant to destroy them was changed into their advantage.

I think about our own times. We see people compromising with modern culture all around us. People have lost faith in the one true God. They bow down to naturalism, post-modernism, and the homosexual cult, all at the expense of faithfulness to God and his Word. The Apostle Paul told us to not “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold!

“Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

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.

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