Division in the Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 23, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of my favorite moments I had during my time with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship while I was at college was Holy Week. The week before Easter weekend, the Christian organizations on campus would come together in a joint effort to reach the campus. We were united over one thing: the Gospel. But halfway through my time there, I became the leader of the IVCF chapter. I tried to keep that unity going and it was dropped. Each organization said they would do their own thing but nothing unified. It was tragic. This motion perpetuated a question many skeptics have about Christianity: Why are there so many denominations?

Skeptics have often pointed to the ‘fact’ that there are 33,000 denominations out there. Which one is right? I kept hearing that claim and I could not picture that many out there. Wikipedia here has a list of the Christian denominations in the world and yes I counted them. Not even 400. Even with the cults and “weird” groups like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., you won’t get 33,000 denominations.

I never really understood all the denominations issues and Paul never stood for them either. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, Paul heard about those who followed Paul, those who followed Peter (Cephas), and those who followed Apollos. He reminded the Corinthian church that their focus should be on Christ, not an individual. I take a similar stance. I don’t see Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, or whatever. I often don’t know the differences between the groups. What I know and what I focus on is “Bible-believer” or “not.” I do not separate on the basis of a given set of doctrines but more on how they get there. There are some crazy cults out there under the name of a mainline denominational group, and there are many churches (including the one I go to) who do not affiliate with any denominational group. My church is one my pastor describes as “Bapticostal.” We have flavors of both groups which can tend to seem to be at dire opposites, especially in how Baptists and Pentecostals handle miracles and tongues.

Most of the divisions took place over mere preferences of worship, gatherings, mere location, and other things. The Seventh Day Adventists split off over whether you worship on Saturday or Sunday. The Southern Baptists broke off at the time of the Civil War because they wanted the right to hold slaves. (The denomination has long since repented of that.) The Anglicans broke off from Roman Catholicism simply because Henry VIII wanted a divorce so he could sleep with whoever he wanted. Some of the divisions are so silly, yet there are others which were necessary. A prominent Presbyterian church in Boulder, Colorado, broke off from the main denomination due to the moral decline of the main group, particularly regarding homosexual ‘marriage.’

When it comes to core doctrines, political correctness, or even with worldly factors, there are times where a Christian is called to draw a line, because Jesus draws a line. Cults and heretical teachers have been around since the Garden of Eden and they all have the same voice as that serpent: “Has God indeed said…?” Here are some factors to look for.

A false teaching will always diminish God, Christ, and the work of the cross. Often it will not be direct; it is often indirect. A major front the enemy is using to sneak false teachers in is through the origins debate. Often seen by many as a “secondary” doctrinal issue, I have had to beg to differ that it is a secondary issue. Why? Because every Old Earth model promoting deep time, no matter if they go by Theistic Evolution, Progressive Creation, Gap Theory, or a new one to me, Young Biosphere Creation, they all tend to make God subservient to the laws of nature (which he created), and elevate man to the ultimate authority position.

Now, I can have a relationship with old earthers, despite disagreeing on origins, but those I can do that with do not promote such positions. I listen to them, and while they are wrong on that topic, they frequently talk about Christ and the authority of Scripture and are demonstrating a seeking after God. They do not elevate man nor pull down God. They are just wrong on this issue, likely because they have not thought it through, or that was simply how they were raised and it hasn’t been uprooted yet. They tend to intellectually agree with old earth, but when they preach the Gospel, any reference to Genesis sounds a lot like the young earth account more than the old earth account they hold. But these people really don’t run in great herds.

That said, the old earth crowd loves to accuse the young earth crowd of causing divisions because we are drawing a line between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy. They are in the churches, so when YEC spots them promoting false teachings and calls them out, they cry foul. My question is this: why were they let in and given a platform to being with? The answer: back in the mid-1800s, the church leaders were asleep at the watch and instead of standing for truth, they instead tried to incorporate these new “scientific” findings into the Bible. It is not those who stand for truth who causes the division. It is those bringing in false teachings. The evidence is in Romans 16:17-18. The false teachers are causing the division because they are not united on Christ (despite their claims to follow him) but serve their own bellies, their own reputations, and their own egos, and with smooth words, they deceive the hearts of the simple. What they teach is offensive to the true doctrine. This has been allowed in because the priests, the pastors, and the church leaders (not all) have conspired against the Lord. That’s not my claim, it’s Ezekiel's. When these false teachings are allowed through and sin is not addressed, Ezekiel said one cause of this was a conspiracy of the prophets to promote their own gain and to claim to speak for the Lord when he had not spoken.

But there is another cause of division which needs to be considered: Jesus himself. There is a great push for unity, but Jesus never actually said he would bring unity between men. He said he would bring unity between men and God via reconciliation which requires the death of self. Between men, however, he promised not to bring peace, but a sword. Any division in the church should be a result of drawing a line upon Christ and any doctrine which reveals him. I draw a line with origins because one model glorifies God as he should be glorified, and the other diminishes the spotlight upon God and in actuality diminishes the work of the cross. Christ is going to cause division because he forces everyone to make a decision: to be for him or against him. Jesus did not complain when another man performed miracles and cast out demons in his name, despite not being among his group. Yet he constantly chided his own disciples for their lack of faith, including just prior to this incident when they could not drive out a demon.

Yet there are times where the greatest opposition we will face is from within. Don’t believe me? Just try actually walking the walk in today’s modern churches, living in true Biblical holiness, praying through until the answers are done, and speaking only that which God has told you to speak. Just try that and watch some of the most “Christian” people you know start turning against you because they gave up on their walk and your success is convicting them. This is what Jesus was talking about in how you must love him more than you love your closest friends and family.

Divisions are going to happen, and yet while the skeptic insists this refutes Christianity, it actually proves it, because the Bible predicts that such divisions will take place. God is going to sort it all out in the end. In the meantime, he has given us a Book through which we can determine truth from falsehood, where we should draw the line and divide to keep out the false, and where we should not, being unified with Christ despite negligible differences. I can get along with many different people because I am united with them over Christ. I will not, however, have unity with those who diminish his name and his work. I cannot. As oil has no relation to water, neither does the Godly have anything to do with the pagan. As Tozer said, "The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step. Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable." ~A.W. Tozer, Gems From Tozer, page 48

Do not generate your own standard for division, but let Christ do it for you. Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves. And there comes a time where you must divide because God is calling you somewhere and your circles will not or cannot come with you. Follow Christ at all costs, even if it means doing so alone.

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.


What Does the Bible Say About Different Languages?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 19, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I love languages. I didn’t always realized I loved them, but apparently I did. When I was in 7th grade, I made up my own language, both an alphabet and a spoken language (though I was really the only one who spoke it, since no one else wanted to really learn it). In high school, I excelled in Spanish class and even took a year beyond what was required. I took more Spanish classes in college and pondered a minor in the language, but then decided against it so I could focus more on my engineering classes. A few years later, when I was headed to seminary, I was afraid of Greek since a relative of mine struggled with it a few years prior to that. By the end of the term, I was still waiting for it to get difficult! That was when it finally occurred to me that God had given me a gift for languages, and since then I have immensely enjoyed learning and teaching Biblical Hebrew as well.

Not everyone enjoys languages like I do, but what does the Bible say about them? To start, we should look at where different languages came from, which can be found in Genesis 11:1-9. That is the story of the Tower of Babel, which starts by telling us that “the whole world had one language and a common speech” (verse 1). Just when humanity had a good thing going with just one language, they had to go and mess it up. They got together and tried to build a tower that would reach God. So that they wouldn’t succeed, God confused their languages and scattered them to different places.

The cool thing is how God tends to bring things full circle. A few centuries later, Jesus had come to earth, lived His life, died, was raised again, then ascended to heaven. Shortly after that, the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and began to speak to a large crowd, full of people who spoke a variety of different languages. Every person in the crowd was able to understand them! The same God who confused the languages back in Genesis 11 also un-confused the languages in Acts 2 to share the gospel message of Jesus with thousands of people all at one time.

Another story that has to do with language in the Bible is in Judges 12:1-7. For the details on that, you can check out this blog post. In that story, a simple pronunciation difference determined which side you were on in a civil war among Israel.

Of course, the whole Bible is made up of language as well. The Bible is God’s Word given to us in written form, and anything written has to be in a language. The Old Testament was originally written mostly in the ancient Hebrew language with some Aramaic, while the New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. Today, the Bible has been fully translated into over 670 languages (and the New Testament into over 1500 languages), thanks to the work of many people and organizations, but it is still God’s Word. I would encourage everyone to learn it in its original languages as there is so much depth and richness there, but if that’s not a skill you have, then praise God for those who do enjoy languages and have provided you with multiple English translations for you to read and to bring you closer to God!

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.


The Faith of Caleb

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 18, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever planned to do something that you were absolutely certain God had set in your heart to do? It could be a dream or passion that you believe he gave you, a command you feel you have to follow that came directly from God, or a promise he guaranteed for you if you simply trusted in him every step of the way. Anyone who has walked with the Lord for any period of time can probably point to a season of their lives where they were following a plan they thought God had created just for them only to find that nothing but obstacles stood in their way. How we respond to those obstacles is a matter of faith versus fear.

Recently, a story out of college football and the annual NFL Scouting Combine further illustrated this. A young man from the University of Central Florida by the name of Shaquem Griffin, who dreams of playing in the NFL, was able to bench press 225 pounds 20 times and also ran the fastest 40-yard dash time in the history of the combine for linebackers. He also had a wonderful college playing career that culminated with him being named Defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl just two months ago. While these accolades would be impressive for any athlete dreaming of making it to the NFL, they are exaggerated by the fact that Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was just 4 years old! Observers at the bench press said they’d be surprised if he was able to do even 5 reps, but he blew them away by getting 20 even with a prosthetic hand to grip the bar. Shaquem Griffin has had a dream of playing in the NFL since he was a kid, destined to join his twin brother who is already there. But even if he felt it was his destiny, his resolve was tested with the obstacle of having one less hand than everyone else. His passion, desire, and hard work has allowed him to face that obstacle and many others with faith rather than fear. If he is drafted into the NFL in just over a month, his dream will have been realized despite the circumstances that stood against him.

I have no idea if Shaquem Griffin is a follower of Jesus Christ or not, but I do know that his determination in the face of adversity is an example to all of us, especially believers. When God gives us a command or a promise, it’s not even about chasing our own dreams and desires at that point. We have something even greater. In the Old Testament, God had promised Abraham and his many descendants in Israel that they would be given a land of their own, a land flowing with milk and honey. This would become known as the “Promised Land." To experience God’s promises, we are generally required to take some action. God often works in a way that includes us. When Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness and they knew they’d be approaching the Promised Land, he was told by the Lord to send men from each tribe of Israel to explore the land of Canaan, which was the Promised Land. Moses obeyed God and ordered the men to go just as he had been told to do (Numbers 13:1-20).

When the men who went to spy on the land returned, the difference between walking by faith and by fear was all of a sudden crystal clear. Numbers 13:27-29 tells us that most of the men first talked about how the land indeed flows with milk and honey just as God said it would, but then immediately turned their attention toward the obstacles, which included fortified cities, lots of enemies, and some very large people who would be impossible to defeat in their eyes. It was at this moment that one of the spies, a man named Caleb who represented the tribe of Judah, decided he had heard just about enough of this malarkey. According to verse 30, Caleb “silenced the group," stood up before Moses and everyone else and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." This took some serious guts, but more importantly, serious faith. Caleb was probably a little stunned that his countrymen could be so easily driven away from God’s promise by a few obstacles. Unfortunately, Caleb’s attempt to steer them back onto the road of faith fell on deaf ears, and the men continued to live in fear and even “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored” (v. 32).

We should not miss what happened there. The spies who allowed their fear and negative circumstances to cripple them weren’t just content with keeping it to themselves. They made sure everyone else knew how they felt. In general, even when we’re wrong, we try to win the popularity contest. Even when we’re wrong and caught up in sin, we need to get as many people on our side as we can. It changes nothing about truth and reality, but sure does make us “feel better." This has been a problem with humanity for thousands of years. Today, just like back then, the only way out of this problem is to re-focus our eyes and hearts on God’s truth and promises.

Caleb, this time with help from Joshua (the same one who would later take over as leader of Israel after Moses died), tried again to dissuade everyone else from their fear and negativity. In Numbers 14:6-9, Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in front of the entire nation of Israel and then proceeded to remind everyone that the land they explored was “exceedingly good” and that it had everything God promised it would have. The tearing of their clothes was a common expression of intense grief. How sad they must have been to see that they were in the minority led by faith while their friends and family members crumbled in fear! After reminding them of what they saw in the land, they spoke about the need to stay on God’s side in order to receive his promises. They pleaded with the people to not rebel against the Lord.

Sadly, even this plea did not change the hardened hearts of the Israelites. True to the words of Caleb and Joshua, he rest of the men who spread the bad report about the land never actually got to receive the promise of God. They were struck down by a plague and died in the wilderness (Numbers 14:37). However, because of Caleb’s faithfulness and Joshua’s support of it, they alone from the group who explored the land were kept alive by God until they could physically enter the Promised Land themselves.

Caleb is not mentioned by name in Hebrews 11, but the writer tells us in verse 33 that some of the unnamed faithful heroes “gained what was promised." There is no question that this description would fit Caleb among others in the Old Testament. The good news is that it can fit you too! In a world where people, even many in the Church, are held back by fear and circumstances that appear impossible, you can stand up and gain what is promised by reminding others of God’s faithfulness, his power, and his promises if we simply walk with him, obey him, and trust him completely. No matter how big the giant is, your God is bigger!

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.


Follow the Money?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, March 17, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

There is an old saying, "follow the money," that is used when people are implying that there is a financial motive behind a situation, decision, corruption, crime, etc. It is a saying that is considered a "truism," because although it is not ALWAYS true that people's motives revolve around money, it is OFTEN true that getting or keeping wealth (or some form of security) is at the heart of how decisions are made. When the Apostle Paul writes his letter to Timothy, he states that "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." Take a moment and read 1 Timothy 6:3-21.

Notice the two issues Paul ties together as he mentors Timothy: the love of money, and an unhealthy interest in controversies. It's important for us to realize that these two go hand in hand. Whenever someone is determined to get rich, or keep their wealth and security, it leads directly to - or may require them to create - conflict and controversy.

Consider the story by Dr. Seuss called The Sneetches. One group had stars on their bellies and one did not. The ones with stars thought they were better. The ones without thought if they had stars they would be better. Along came Sylvester McMonkey McBean, with a machine to solve their problems - for a price. He capitalizes on their class/race war and rakes in the money as the sneetches go round and round adding and removing stars from their bellies. Eventually, they have no money left, and all of them are a mix of star-bellied and non-star-bellied sneetches again. The sneetches are left with the consequences of their vanity and discontentment, and McBean drives off with the cash.

In that one story, Dr. Seuss captured the heart of greed, the nature of discrimination, and the insidious destruction that comes from pride. He also perfectly illustrated what Paul was writing to Timothy and lays a groundwork for considering our current events.

Let's look at a couple recent examples. Few considered there may have been a profit motive for the Parkland, FL school district. According to an editorial article by The New American there was an alliance between the school district and local law enforcement, with a specifically stated goal to end the pipeline of students going to jail. Federal funding is not favorable toward schools with high crime rates, because funding is linked to attendance numbers, and attendance is directly affected by crime rates. If a school holds kids accountable for crime and expels or suspends them, then their attendance drops and so does funding. The pressure to keep kids in school at any cost and report a low crime rate is very high. So, was money part of the formula for disaster in Parkland? Very likely.

In the last few days, news analysts have questioned if there is incentive for sanctuary cities/states to hide their crime and illegal immigrant numbers in order to keep federal funding dollars. The law suit between the Justice Department and California will bring to light a lot of legal, jurisdictional issues, and financial motives.

It doesn't take long to realize that there are very few decisions that we make on a daily basis, for our work or personal lives, that do not involve money or financial security in some way. We are naive if we think money doesn't play a significant role in the situations boiling over in our culture today. If we look closely, the conflicts over gender norms, wage gaps, abortion, healthcare, immigration, etc. all have underlying profit or security motives. In every one of them, the strife is created by wanting something we think we need, or the strife is being provoked by someone who stands to gain from the conflict. We need to be able to see the REAL motives and not get caught up in the controversies. The controversies are the smoke screen to hide what is really going on politically, morally, or socially.

When the surface level reactions are all we see and respond to, when the media frenzy and emotional stories are all we hear, we lose sight of the facts and get caught in the spin cycle just like the sneetches, all the while we are being fleeced by Mr. McBean.

So, how do we break the cycle? Paul tells Timothy how, in verse 6 and verses 11-21. He says, "Godliness is a means for great gain, when mixed with contentment." There were those in Paul and Timothy's day who thought they could use their religion to get rich. Paul has pointed out previously that their lifestyle was not godly because the motive was wealth and not true godliness. Here he is telling Timothy that if someone is truly godly (God focused) and is content with who God has made them to be and where He has placed them in life and society, then they will have everything they need. In fact, he indicates they will have something more valuable than any worldly wealth or security they could try to get.

The hard part is being content with God, with ourselves, and with our situations. Humans have a tendency to lay aside moral standards to suit themselves. Friederich Nietzsche, the famous nihilist philosopher wrote in Beyond Good and Evil, "A living being wants above all else to release its strength; life itself is the will to power." In His view, the 'will to power' was the driving force behind life. Not moral goodness, not the betterment of humanity, just power. Because once you remove moral standards and morality is relative to your perspective, then really no one else matters. All that matters is your expression, your narrative that leads to power. We cannot have it both ways, either everything is meaningless beyond our own grasp for power, or moral standards by God are essential for the common and the extraordinary good. Now, consider this: are intersectionality, identity politics, gun control, sanctuary cities, gender norms, the new feminism, etc. a result of godliness mixed with contentment?

Are we willing to look at who is pulling the strings and what they stand to gain? Are willing to look at what we stand to gain (or lose) by participating in the spin cycle? Don't misunderstand my point in looking at what Paul tells Timothy. When there is injustice and discrimination and abuse, we need to address each with facts and take action to hold people accountable with evidence. We should make policies to correct it with sound judgement and facts as well. But if we think we can make good policy or bring justice without godliness and contentment at our core, then we are mistaken. And if we think, as an ally to any of these, that we are safe from examining our motives because we "don't stand to gain" from helping a cause, we should take caution. Even on issues we don't directly gain from, we may be being used as the machine of Sylvester McMonkey McBean.

Take some time and read 1 Timothy 6:3-21 again. Reflect on what Paul is telling Timothy. Then consider the news items that get you stirred up. Consider why they matter to you, what you actually know through verified fact, and what God has actually taught on the subject (not just what you heard in a sermon or on a TV show claiming what the Bible says). Then prayerfully consider what action you should take that will help others take hold of the full life God has intended for them.

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.


The Superiority of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 16, 2018 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Many people love to talk about the inerrancy of Scripture. The Bible in its original writing contained not a single error in any detail it discussed. In the copying and translation process, some errors have been introduced, however they are extremely few and each one is completely irrelevant to the actual content of what is being said. These errors, or variations, are spelling/grammar issues, number disagreement, and/or pronoun replacements, nothing of valuable content.

Fewer people will talk about the sufficiency of Scripture. Especially in light of academic arrogance, many, many Bible teachers, pastors, and scholars will listen some to what the world says, and add in something from their education, usually in some form of humanism into their theology. I wrote about the sufficiency of Scripture last year, but since then, I got inspired to take that idea even further. The Bible is not just sufficient to provide answers for every type of topic in every type of field, but it is superior to every other authority in attempting to address such topics. Not only can each major type of field be answered with the Bible alone, but the Bible provides better answers than any other authority.

One of the words used to describe Scripture is the word “canon,” which in the Hebrew it means “rod.” Throughout the Old Testament, this word “rod” is used in four different ways. Two of the ways are in context of a shepherd. The shepherd will use his rod to correct a sheep who has wandered off and bring him back onto the right path. He will also use the rod to help keep the sheep from wandering off in the first place. A third use is related to authority, namely a king’s rod. This rod is the symbol of the man in charge. But the fourth use is the one this post will address: the measuring rod. (See Eric Ludy’s sermon “Canon” for more details on this.)

You cannot go through a basic education without using a ruler at some point. A ruler is a device we use to measure short distances. We use thermometers to measure temperature, weigh scales to measure weight, and a clock to measure time. You can to go Wal-Mart or any store and get household devices to measure these things. Yet, what happens if a yard stick happens to be an inch short? What happens if the thermometer’s needle gets stuck? How are they fixed and reset? They have to be calibrated to a given standard.

At my job as a substitute in the public schools, the bell schedule changes every Friday so we can insert an anti-bullying program. As a result, while my watch stays steady, every time the bell schedule changes, my watch ends up getting a little faster and a little faster to the bell. So every few months I have to change my watch to match my work’s clock. My watch is not the standard, the clock at the school is and in order for my watch to be accurate, I must change it to match what the school is doing. Now, I can leave my watch alone for a while, knowing it is 5 seconds or even a minute off the bell. I introduce an error factor, but I have to correct for that error every time I look at it.

The Bible is like the school clock. It is like the formal definitions of weights and measurements. It is the standard upon which all other standards are derived. The Bible is superior to all other standards because no other authority is given by God to do what the Bible does. The Bereans were praised for listening to what Paul and Silas has to say and then going back to Scripture (which then was just the OT) and verifying what they said. Jesus repeatedly cited the authority of Scripture in his debates with the Pharisees, using Scripture as not just sufficient for his own teaching, but also superior to any other teaching.

Paul was the scholar of all scholars in his day and yet he treated all the knowledge of this world as rubbish and foolishness. He made a purpose to know only Christ and Christ crucified. Everything he was to know was to point to Christ and that cross. Anything that did not point to Christ he treated as dung. He frequently cited Scripture as his primary authority both before his conversion and after. What was the difference? Before his conversion, Scripture was just the end of the means. After, he saw Scripture as the revealer of Christ. But Scripture still was his first and highest authority, not just rigid in text but also in spirit.

The skeptic will be quick to say, “I worship God, not the Bible. God is above the Bible.” That’s actually not what God said in the Bible. Psalm 138:2 states that God puts his Word above his name. Why? Because his name is of no value unless his word is true. This is true of any person. A man who cannot keep his word is a man whose name cannot be trusted nor valued. God is not a man that he should lie. Some also say, “The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God.” This is also false. BOTH are the Word of God. The Bible is the Word written in text. Jesus is that same Word in living flesh. The Bible makes no sense unless you insert Jesus as the key into the lock. The reason Jesus is trustworthy is because he fulfills the written text perfectly. Jesus is no longer here in physical form. Yes, the Holy Spirit is ever present with us, but it is the Bible that is the only physical, tangible connection any person has with God. It is the ultimate authority and the standard upon which we are to discern the spirits.

No other standard can compare to Scripture. No other authority has been given the weight God has given Scripture. No other authority can boast of being God-breathed. No other authority can boast of never being wrong. No other authority can boast of coming from God and bearing God’s fruit. Science cannot do any of that. Education cannot do any of that. Politics cannot do any of that. Money and business cannot. Sports cannot. Drugs cannot. Sex cannot. Listening to sermons and Christian music cannot replace digging into Scripture.

When Ezekiel saw the vision of the angel measuring the Temple, he had a rod of which was used to measure it. The temple is not a physical temple but the body of Jesus Christ. The measuring rod is not a physical ruler but the test of Scripture. No other measuring rod is accurate and no other temple matches the measurements of Christ. That is why every person needs a Savior. Every other standard puts man at the helm. Scripture is the only authority which puts God at the helm. Scripture is not just inerrant. It is not just sufficient. It is superior. Why seek your advice from others gods when you can get it from the real thing? Why depend upon that which will fade and burn when you can depend upon that which will last forever? The wisdom of this world is shameful and will be put in its place. The wisdom of God, while it seems foolish to this world, is the everlasting truth and will always not merely outlast this world, but completely dominate it. Seek the Lord who has revealed himself in Scripture. He is always right.

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.


Fathers, You Are Extremely Important

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 15, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Editor’s note: Due to the popularity of this post, we’re re-posting this one today for your enjoyment.

Dads are extremely important. I mean, fathers: I’m guessing you have absolutely NO IDEA how important you are in the lives of your children, and in the lives of your wives, AND very much so in the life of the church. We need dads to be who God called them to be. Understand I believe moms are exceptionally important, as well. Today, I’m writing about dads because I think we have a big problem concerning dads. In order to understand the greatness of dads, we need to look at what God has to say to dads:

Genesis 18:18-19: "Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Abraham is the Father of our faith, so to speak. Abraham wasn’t a perfect man, but he did something that God commanded: …he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD…so [He] will bring about …what He has promised. That is: He will make him great.

So how do we direct our children to keep the ways of the Lord? God’s Word further says, in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, "Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

So in order to do this we need to know the Word of God ourselves and we need to talk about it. We have plenty of opportunity to learn about God’s ways from the Bible, in church services, small groups, and the internet.

God has called us, dads, to train up our children. He’s called us to be the head of the household and direct our children in the way of the Lord. You may not have signed up for that, but that doesn’t change the fact that God has made an order to things and you’re much closer to the top than many of us would like to take responsibility for.

Fatherhood is in decline. Fathers are portrayed on TV as imbeciles and they have little to no authority at all. Men have bought this and have become Doug Hefernan and Ray Barone, Tim Allen or Homer Simpson. With fatherhood on the decline and men simply playing their Hollywood role of bread winner and neighborhood clown, we’re in trouble. Men have decided to let mom be the authority. She can teach the kids. She can be in charge. Let her make the decisions and let her go out and represent the family in the community or church. I believe this is a BIG problem.

Here are some staggering statistics that may help you realize why I feel God placed this on my heart.

A survey was conducted to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is alarming in light of what I just told you concerning attendance. There is one critical factor found in the survey. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.

So let me share the survey results so you can see why this is amazing: If both parents are regular in their church attendance,74% of their children will remain faithful to one degree or another. If dad is irregular in attendance while mom is regular, 62% will attend (that’s a loss of 12% because dad was not a regular attender). If dad doesn’t attend but mom is regular in her attendance, 39% of their children will have a faith of some sort (that is a loss of 35% compared to dads that attend regularly). 2% of their children will become a regular attendee. 2%!

In short, If the father attends at all, 50-74% of his children will attend church on some level. If the father does not attend, 2% of his children will become regular worshippers and not even 40% will attend at all.

Said another way: If mom stays home but dad goes, a minimum of 2/3 of the children will be in church. If dad stays home and mom goes, 2/3 of the children will not go to church. If neither goes to church, 80% of their children won’t go either.

When a child gets to the age where they begin to differentiate themselves from mom and dad, more than anything, they’ll use their dad as the role model—this is for boys and girls. Where the father is indifferent, inadequate, or just plain absent, the task of differentiation is much harder. When children see that church is a "women and children" thing, they will respond accordingly—by not going to church, or going much less. Curiously, both adult women as well as men will conclude subconsciously that Dad’s absence indicates that going to church is not really a "grown-up" activity.

We live in a time where fatherlessness is the norm. I’m not just talking about single moms, friends. How many dads do you know who live with their wives and children but are really absent?

Children with involved Fathers are more confident, better able to deal with frustration, better able to gain independence and their own identity, more likely to mature into compassionate adults, more likely to have a high self-esteem, more sociable, more secure as infants, less likely to show signs of depression, less likely to commit suicide, more empathetic, boys have been shown to be less aggressive and adolescent girls are less likely to engage in sex.

I had a bunch of stats for you to confirm this, but I honestly thought they’d be too depressing. I will share a couple just to make the point stick:

--85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. 20 times the national average.
SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice
--children living in two-parent households with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households.
“Without two parents, working together as a team, the child has more difficulty learning the combination of empathy, reciprocity, fairness and self-command that people ordinarily take for granted. If the child does not learn this at home, society will have to manage his behavior in some other way. He may have to be rehabilitated, incarcerated, or otherwise restrained. In this case, prisons will substitute for parents.”

SOURCE: Morse, Jennifer Roback. “Parents or Prisons.” Policy Review, 2003

The bottom line to this is that Dads are a gift to their children. As a father, you must realize that your presence is a gift to your child. Fathers represent a lot more than just a paycheck to a child; they represent safety, protection, guidance, friendship, and someone to look up to.

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.


What Does the Bible Say About Rainbows?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 12, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Rainbows: one of my favorite things to draw as a kid, and I’ve always loved all the colors (as long as the colors are in the right order, of course). When I was growing up, rainbows were always considered a beautiful thing and a reminder of God’s promises, but that has changed some today with the LGBTQ movement adopting the rainbow as their symbol. (Side note: is homosexuality a sin? Find out here.)

As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is important to base our beliefs on what the Bible says rather than what culture says. So, what does the Bible say about rainbows?

By far the most prominent rainbow reference in the Bible is right after the story of Noah’s ark and the big flood found in Genesis 6-9. Specifically, Genesis 9:12-16 says, “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Scientifically, today we know that rainbows appear in the sky because of reflection and refraction of sunlight when it hits water droplets, such as when the sun first comes out and there’s still a bit of rain coming down. But we can also look at that rainbow as a remembrance of the promise that God made to Noah many generations ago, that He will never again destroy all life on earth with a flood. We know that God is faithful to His Word, and while there have been localized floods that do much damage (including in Findlay, OH, where I live), there has never again been a flood that destroyed nearly the whole planet like the one recorded in Genesis.

The next mention of a rainbow in the Bible is in the prophet Ezekiel’s first vision. Ezekiel 1:25-28 says, “Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.” Here, the rainbow is a descriptive term to show the brilliance and radiance that surrounds this figure in his vision.

The final mentions of a rainbow in the Bible are in the book of Revelation. Revelation 4:3, referring to the scene John saw in the throne room of heaven, says, “And the one who sat there [on the throne] had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Later, Revelation 10:1 tells us, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.” In these instances, the rainbow is seen again as a symbol of hope and of God’s love, glory, and majesty.

What does the rainbow mean in your life? Does your interpretation of that refer to God’s faithfulness and His glory and majesty, or something else? I encourage you to take a look deeper at what the Bible says, even when it may be counter-cultural.

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.


The Faith of Josiah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 11, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

How hard would you be willing to work with no guaranteed tangible reward whatsoever? Most people know what their jobs pay them and know exactly what they get for any extra work that they do. If they do the work, they expect to be paid fairly. The Bible even tells us this is a good and right concept. Jesus himself said, “Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7). This was what he told his disciples as he was sending them out to minister. Many Christians know the quote “the worker deserves his wages," but they don’t remember the first part. Sometimes, we’re called to do work and to accept WHATEVER the reward is. It might be a million dollars, it might be nothing, or it might be something in between. Either way, the work almost always gets done before the reward is given.

This is especially true when talking about work that is right in God’s eyes, or even work that he has commanded us to do. The thing we all have to decide for ourselves is whether we are willing to do whatever is right in his eyes, no matter the cost, with the knowledge that he commanded it being the ONLY reason to do it. That’s where the rubber of faith meets the road of life. Today, we look at an unnamed hero of the faith who was willing to do what God said JUST BECAUSE he said it.

Last week, I wrote about King Hezekiah and his refusal to cower in fear to the threats and ridicule of Israel and the living God, as well as his leadership during that time. Hezekiah’s faith may have had an impact on those who knew him or heard the stories of what God did through his leadership. But two people who clearly didn’t care about his faith enough to follow in his footsteps and faith were his son and grandson. The two kings who immediately succeeded Hezekiah were his son Manasseh, and then after that, Manasseh’s son, Amon. 2 Kings 21 tells us briefly about their reigns as king, but the most important thing to know about them is that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord and worshiped idols. Hezekiah had destroyed all the idols that previous kings and generations had worshiped, but Manasseh decided it was a good idea to go through all the effort to rebuild them. Hard work and effort can be completely wasted if it’s toward ends that are not pleasing to God. Manasseh reigned for 55 years, so his detestable practices led his people into sin for a long time (v. 11). After he died, Amon simply followed in his dad’s evil and his reign only lasted two years before he was assassinated by his own officials (v. 23). Because the kingship was passed through the blood line, it had to go to Amon’s son, despite the fact that he was only 8 years old! His name was Josiah, and he’s our hero of the faith for the day.

Whether it was because Josiah wasn’t old enough to understand or enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin that his father and grandfather pursued or because someone spoke truth into his life to turn him toward God, Josiah chose to go back to the glory days of his great-grandfather Hezekiah’s reign and worship the Lord only. 2 Kings 22:2 tells us, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left." I find two things about this verse fascinating. First, it lists his father as “David” even though we know his biological father was Amon. That shows us that David was his “father” in the sense that the faith tradition which had been ignored by the previous generations began all the way back at David’s reign. Secondly, it says he didn’t turn aside to the right or to the left. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the author’s purpose for that statement, but isn’t it interesting that “right” and “left” are the two words used to characterize the intense division in our politically-crazed and agenda-driven nation right now? This one verse in the Bible ought to remind us that NEITHER side is always right in the eyes of the Lord!

I consider Josiah one of the unnamed faithful heroes in Hebrews 11 because verse 33 says that the faithful “administered justice." Now, that’s what my NIV translation says. However, I realized that another translation I look at from time to time, the NKJV, says they “worked righteousness." This is where any knowledge we can gain from the original Greek is critical. In our language, those two phrases are not as synonymous as they are in the much broader Greek language where words can meet a number of different things in English. So, I did some research in my dusty old Greek New Testament from seminary. While “administered justice” would not be wrong, it appears the more accurate representation here is “worked righteousness." This would especially be true if applied to Josiah and the work that he did.

I encourage you to read 2 Kings 22-23 to see all that King Josiah did during his reign. I’ll try to give you a brief overview. In the 18th year of his 31-year reign, he sends his secretary to the high priest at the temple of the Lord so that those working hard to repair it are fairly and honestly compensated. While his secretary is there, the high priest tells him that he has found the Book of the Law in the temple. This suggests that previous generations didn’t care to read it or follow it, and we already know that is true. The secretary takes it back to Josiah and reads it in his presence. This is the life-changing moment for Josiah. As he hears the Law of God, he can’t bear the thought of how long his throne and the people of Judah have been far from him. He recognizes that the Lord has every reason to be angry with them and seeks the Lord through a prophet about how they should respond. The prophet tells him that disaster will be brought on the nation and its people because of their disobedience, and all Josiah is promised is that he will actually die BEFORE any of the disaster happens so he doesn’t witness it. Gee, thanks Lord!

Josiah then decides to read the Book of the Law in front of the entire nation of people and calls for them to renew their covenant with God. The people do so, but then Josiah gets to work. 2 Kings 23:4-24 then tells us how Josiah systematically destroyed all of the idols of the pagan gods his people had been worshiping and even killed some of the priests who made sacrifices to those gods. One of the idols he destroyed was for the god Molech, to whom human child sacrifices were made (v. 10). Not only does Josiah destroy everything that was evil in the eyes of the Lord, but he also restarts the observance of the Passover to the Lord (v. 21), which had been commanded in Exodus 12:24-27, yet had not been observed for many generations. You see, true repentance and fear of the Lord has to do with not only eliminating the sins of commission, but also the sins of omission. If you haven’t done what God says, it’s time to start.

Make no mistake about it, the work that Josiah had to do was long and hard just to get his people back on track. I’m sure it didn’t make him happy to slaughter the unrepentant priests. I’m sure he had people ridicule or hate him for tearing down their precious statues. But he knew this was what was righteous in God’s eyes and he was committed to “working righteousness” back into the nation for which he was responsible, no matter how hard it would be. And we’d think that after everything he did, he’d be blessed and things would end well for him. But it wasn’t so. 2 Kings 23:26 tells us that God did not change his mind about bringing disaster on the nation of Judah, and then verse 29 tells us that Josiah was killed by the king of Egypt in battle. So, God kept his promise to Josiah and spared him from having to witness the destruction of his people and country. But still, it doesn’t seem to us like a fair end to Josiah’s story. He reigned 31 years, meaning he died at the age of 39. And it wasn’t like he slowly went to sleep and never woke up either. He was killed in BATTLE, so not fun at all. He received no tangible reward for his faith. Back to one of the original questions: Is doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord enough for you? Do you need something more? It’s a question of faith and total surrender to him that only you can answer.

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.


Suffering and Laws: How Do We Respond?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, March 10, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

[This is my third blog post on recent events, and builds somewhat on the previous two. You may want to read my last two posts here and here for additional insights on navigating policy, public debate, and checking our motives.]

A recent trend in our culture has been to elevate someone who has experienced a trauma or suffering, as if they were an expert on making policies that may be related to their experience. Jimmy Kimmel positioned himself as a spokesperson on healthcare, because of his child's experience with tetralogy of fallot. Soon after, the #metoo trend went around, and women who had experienced sexual assault or harassment positioned themselves as spokespersons for women's rights. Then we had the Florida school shootings, and students who suffered severe trauma were put out on the media and encouraged to make statements about policy and gun control.

In each situation, the policy changes requested, the platforms advocated for, and the legislation demanded were narrow and tuned almost exclusively into the one slice of experience that impacted these individuals so greatly. Now let me say that each of their situations are worthy of our listening, support, compassion, and care. They are experts in their own experience, and it is worthy of our respect and attention to hear their story, to consider our role in helping them move forward, and to guard others from unnecessary pain - in so far as that is possible and purposeful. I would think that any human being with half a heart would want to see healing and wholeness come to the hurting, the broken, the abused, and the grieving. That is a given.

It is a separate issue though to consider policy measures and laws based solely on their experiences. It is a fair question to ask if their experience had in some way endowed them with an expertise or insight that should dominate the focus of policies on related issues. Consider the story of Job (pronounced “jobe”). In chapters 38-42 we see the conclusion to his story, which answers that question pretty clearly.

Let me set the stage with Job. His story challenges the notion that those who are suffering are cursed and those who prospering are blessed. In his day, there was an assumption that God always blessed the righteous, and as long as you didn't do anything wrong, God would make you wealthy and healthy. Now Job is a guy who did everything right. He was wealthy and everything he had was healthy and prospering - his family, his herds of animals, his fields, etc. Unknown to Job, there is a conversation Satan has with God. It's essentially a dare; Satan dares God to let Job experience pain and loss to see if Job will curse God. God accepts the challenge and is confident that Job will pass. The only condition God ultimately puts on Satan is that he cannot harm Job himself.

What happens next is so traumatizing that most of us would go insane with grief. Job's herds of animals, his crops, and all of his children are stolen, destroyed, or killed in ONE day. Then when Job doesn't curse God, Satan afflicts his body with sores from head to toe. It's so painful and dramatic that Job's wife even tells him to "curse God and die." I can't imagine the pain, the grief, or the suffering.

Job's three friends come and sit with him for 7 days and say nothing. It's the most compassionate thing they do. Because after the 7 days, each of them speaks in turn and each of them tries to get Job to admit to some fault or sin that must have caused this. Chapter after chapter of Job's story is their discussion with him, insisting he MUST have done something wrong. Eventually, Job has defended himself against their accusations long enough, and he demands an audience with God to vindicate him and show that He committed no sin, even in the depths of his grief. 

Now, if we were to accept the idea that Job is an expert by his suffering and that somehow he had gained insight into the workings of the universe and wisdom for policies that would benefit humankind, then we would expect God to vindicate Job and the story to be over. This is not what happens. Yes, Job had not sinned to cause any of this. But in his suffering and frustration with his friends' assumptions, he stepped into a place that appears to be indignation. Somewhere, in the midst of his pain, the absolution he wanted became something he felt he deserved, to the point where he accuses God of denying him justice. And after the youngest friend speaks to defend God and convince Job of his own guilt, then God speaks.

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me..." (Job 38:1-2)

In the very first sentence, God demonstrates the simple truth that Job has not seen and cannot see what God sees. I love the "brace yourself like a man" statement; I can hear both sarcasm and a loving father about to deal a hard truth to his child. God goes on to ask Job if he was there at the start of creation, if he helped build all that exists, if he has the power to put the stars in place, if he can create or tame the great creatures of the earth, etc. By the end of God's questioning, the one clear thing displayed is that Job is NOT an expert on justice, or creation, or anything in comparison to God. And it's important to notice Job's attitude in Job 42:1-6.

While Job's experience was painful and his suffering worthy of compassion, it had not imparted him with greater knowledge of who God is or how God works. He also didn't have greater insight into justice or policies to protect people from bad things happening.

We learn that our lives and experiences are part of a greater story in which our gains and losses all play a part in the victory of good over evil. God revealed to Job what He planned from the beginning after the testing by Satan. He blesses him with more than he had previously and let him see his grandchildren to the fourth generation. God also confronted Job's friends and affirms that Job had represented Him well throughout their accusations.

In Job's story we are reminded that not only are those who suffer not experts in regard to passing law and policies, but also those 'friends' who seem wise may not be experts either. There is only one sound way to have good laws and policies, and that is to have insight beyond our own experiences. We need to have God's perspective on things if we hope to have laws and policies that benefit society and build people up. So, we can listen and learn from those who are hurting, and we should. But before we set to writing laws and policies, we need to take a breath, pause, then discern God's guidance for the decisions ahead.

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.


Creation and Legalism

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 9, 2018 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

I and many other young earth creationists (YEC) often get accused of legalism by insisting on the authority of Scripture in regards to origins. But is the accusation true? First, let me examine what is actually being said. When the YEC are accused of being legalistic, what the accusers are really saying is, “YEC are closed-minded. They need to be more open to other ideas.” In only a few occasions are the accusations actually about legalism.

Now to be honest, it is very possible for a YEC to become legalistic. So we need to actually address what legalism is. I would describe legalism in this way: Legalism is the practice of enforcing laws beyond their intended purpose and making the laws both the means and the end of all things. I want to emphasize the latter part of this definition I am using.

It is easy for a YEC to make Creation the center of everything. While it is foundational to every part of Christianity, the center of Christianity is Christ, not Creation. I can see many old earth creationists shouting “Amen!” to that statement, but they best hold it. The OEC will take such a statement and then say that Creation is unimportant enough that they can insert their opinions and pagan-based ideas into their theology. Even in supposed secondary issues, there is never any right to insert pagan ideas into the Bible at any point. Where YEC often go wrong is focusing too much on Creation without using creation to point to Christ. The young earth position by itself is meaningless; it needs the cross. Where YEC get into trouble is when they make a young earth the end of the means. But where YEC get it right is using Creation to point to Christ. While I don’t agree with everything they say, this is one thing I greatly admire about Answers in Genesis. You will not attend a single one of their presentations without hearing the Gospel in some way, form, or shape. That is their end goal. Creation is the primary angle they use to get to Christ.

However, there is an equal and opposite fallacy to legalism: and that is the spirit of the Nicolatians. In the letters to the churches at Ephesus and Pergamum in Revelation 2, these people were addressed. Jesus praised Ephesus for hating that teaching, but chided Pergamum for letting them in. It is not clear who started their teachings but what they taught was clear and very dangerous. The Nicolatians taught that because of the grace of God and once we are saved, therefore everything else is a free-for-all. It does not matter if we sin or not because God’s grace covers it. It does not matter about any other “side issues” because all that matters is Jesus, so therefore we can believe whatever we want on anything else. At the time, they taught that it was okay to worship other gods as long as you gave Jesus credit, and sexual immorality was no big deal because there is freedom in Christ. And all of this is a lie straight from hell.

Paul saw this argument coming as he wrote Romans and in 6:1-2 he addressed it. Those in Christ have died to sin, died to this world. Why should any of us continue living after its lusts? And yet this Nicolatian spirit is precisely what the Old Earth crowds put forth. Among their favorite arguments is: “All that matters is Christ, therefore which model of creation does not matter,” and then proceed to promote a pagan ideology decorated in Christianese.

While Christ and Christ crucified should be our focus, that means that he is the center. It does not mean that the only thing that matters is the cross. It means that everything should point towards the cross. If Jesus on the cross is the only thing we needed to know, then the entire rest of the Bible is meaningless. The cross has to stand upon something and be anchored in something, and that something is Genesis. A cross by itself cannot stand up. There has to be a hole in the ground deep enough so the cross doesn’t topple. But without the cross anchored to that foundation, it is nothing but an empty foundation.

YEC and the cross are inseparable, just as sin and death are inseparable. Any attempts to break them apart is heresy. The cross means nothing outside the context of Genesis 1-12 as written. Likewise, YEC is useless without the cross answering for the problem YEC lays out. OEC has no connection to the cross, something that the OEC crowd praises. That is also why they are wrong, because they provide is no connection to Christ or that cross. If Paul makes every effort to know nothing but Christ and Christ crucified, that does not mean he dismisses Creation, the end times, or other supposed “side issues.” It means any topic he addresses, he is going to speak about it and use it to point to Christ. We live in a day and age where intellectualism and scientism reigns supreme. There needs to be a way to show the Bible as reliable from Genesis 1:1 all the way to the end. That is what Henry Morris set out to do when he started the Institute for Creation Research. His primary angle of addressing the cross was through Creation, but the cross was his end goal. He was not out to start a new origins model, and he never did. He was out to win souls for Christ by showing that in every statement the Bible makes it is true, including where it touches on science and history. The old earth founders were not seeking for God or his truth. They were out to destroy the authority of Scripture, and in the minds of many, they succeeded. It will go down as one of the most successful hoaxes played on mankind.

No one likes a legalist and that is why it often makes a good “catch-all” to silence those standing for truth. However, when one calls standing for the truth of Scripture “legalism,” that is a very clear sign of apostasy. Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:21-23 is against those who claim to be his disciples and yet live as though he gave no law to follow. Being a Christian is not about getting out of hell. It is about surrendering to Christ and letting him live his perfect life in and through you and about getting out the sin which has so corrupted us. If you think you can be a Christian and not change your entire paradigm, you are lost. If you think you can claim the name of Jesus, make a profession of faith, and live and believe whatever you want and however you want on those “side issues,” you are lost. That’s not Christianity at all. Jesus did give a law and part of that law is to keep away from worldly thinking. Yet many OEC out there chides and mocks us YEC for not bowing and caving to the world’s “expertise.”

While a YEC can fall into the trap of legalism, the model is not legalistic by nature. And those who accuse YEC of legalism do so because their standing for truth convicts them of their sin of the Nicolatians. You who are YEC. Are you being legalistic in how you approach Genesis? Have you made YEC the end of your means, not the means to the end who is Christ? Then repent and make Christ your focus. Continue defending the authority of Scripture but make Christ the goal and purpose. You who are OEC, are you more fascinated with the expertise of this world than you are of Almighty God? Then repent and turn to Christ who will show you very clearly how the Creation was done and whose wisdom is supreme. Next week, I’ll address another aspect of this issue: the supremacy of Scripture.

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.


All You Need is Love

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 8, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Another tragedy has filled the news and social media, with everyone weighing in on their opinion. Unfortunately, many of those opinions were thrown out onto social media or covered by the “news” before any information was really known and with an exceptional amount of emotion. My purpose here today with this blog post is to express what I believe is the obvious issue or issues allowing for these sorts of things to happen. I'm talking about the school shooting at Parkland, FL.

On Valentine's Day, February 14, 2018, an evil person sought to kill as many as possible before being apprehended by authorities. This terrible individual was taken into custody, but not before killing 17 unsuspecting individuals—14 students, 2 teachers, and the athletic director. There were multiple heroes and some who may be counted as villains.

Back to the lashing out we saw (and still see, unfortunately). Most of the loud, highly publicized opinions being spouted on Facebook, Twitter, CNN, and the other “news” outlets were very one sided and very uninformed. And I get it. This cowardly, heinous act demands we do something. But blame and going after people who had nothing to do with this tragedy isn't going to fix what happened or prevent it in the future. Will more laws concerning who can own firearms and what kind fix this? No. Of course not. Repeating firearms have been around for centuries—literally existing before any European colony was in the New World (that's America for those of you unsure). And the AR-15 is just one of them. There are many firearms available today (and they've been available for some time) that fire faster and shoot more damaging rounds. And the NRA did not do this or even remotely contribute to it. They have not killed a single person since their formation and they are not even in the top 20 for lobbyists. President Trump didn't do this and his power to change things are exceptionally limited.

The facts here are eye opening and, unfortunately, the story is all too familiar. There were dozens of warnings that this person was going to attempt some sort of horrific act. We know that the FBI was aware of this person's threats 6 months prior to the shooting. We know the local authorities had been notified long before February 14th, 2018. The fact is the system was set up to stop this from happening, but it didn't. More laws won't get this fixed. That would just mean more laws and procedures that won't get followed. Had proper attention been given to this threat, it may not have happened at all. Had the proper information been shared, it's possible the AR-15 may not have been able to be purchased. Does this mean the mass killing wouldn't have occurred? Of course not. Nearly 3000 people were killed on (and many since due to) September 11, 2001. Not a single gun was used in this mass killing. In Oklahoma City, on April 19th, 1995, a man killed 168 people including 19 children and didn't fire a single shot. You see, it's not a gun problem. Mass murder has been around for a long time and there are many more ways to inflict death and destruction than with firearms—ways far more efficient than guns. Blunt objects (like hammers and bricks) have killed a great many people. Fists and feet have killed a large number as well. So have cars, knives, poisons, and explosives.

The worst school killing in US history was in 1927, the Bath School Disaster. Forty-four people including 38 children were killed with an explosive device. No guns were used to kill students or teachers. The worst school massacre in the world was in Russia and did involve firearms. This resulted in over 300 dead and nearly 800 injured! I can't believe that myself, but it seems to be how it's reported. So the idea that this is an American problem is also not sound. In fact, the 4 worst (in terms of numbers) mass killings at schools were not in the US. Please don't take this to mean I'm trying to minimize the events of February 14th this year. I'm not at all. Any shooting—especially a shooting involving children—is tragic and inexcusable. I'm trying to express the truth about what's wrong here, in my opinion. The truth that it's not about guns is evident to me fairly clearly. Let's move on.

Some suggest we need to regulate or even prohibit who can buy what gun. The truth here is that we already do this. There are many firearms out there that I am not able to buy as a responsible, law-abiding citizen. I understand why someone would irrationally lash out concerning this. But most of them don't understand some of the basics concerning guns. I'm not going to get into the minutia of that topic. But some will suggest that even though the US Constitution gives us the right to own firearms, that doesn't mean we should. They want to suggest that either modern firearms change the discussion or that one must be part of a “well-regulated militia” in order to own firearms. Both of these arguments are void of logic. I'm not suggesting someone saying or believing these things isn't smart or sincere. I'm simply saying such things are easily proven false.

As stated already, repeating and/or rapid fire guns were in existence long before America was a nation. It is true that such weapons were not widely available to the layperson, however. This was changed by James Madison, who sponsored actions to create mass production of rapid fire or repeating firearms and to make such firearms affordable for the average American. If one of the Founders (James Madison is a Founding Father) desired to make it possible for average Americans to buy repeating firearms, I think it's fair to say this argument is finished. Concerning a “well-regulated militia,” let's read the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The argument goes that this reading makes it necessary for the owner of a firearm to be in a militia. In a recent discussion with former Worldview Warrior's writer Michael Homula, the two statements (maintaining a well-regulated militia and owning a firearm) in the Second Amendment are not connected so strictly. In fact, I would argue the connection is the other way around. In order for a militia to exist, the citizens must have the right to bear arms. According to Mr. Homula, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote on the topic significantly in the Federalist Papers (which are useful in interpreting the Constitution of the United States) and it seems rather clear that they believed armed citizens and a militia were not the same thing but both were important.

Noah Webster (another Founder) said this: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." This sounds like being able to defend yourself, in the minds of the Founders, was less about home defense against an assailant and more about keeping the government in check. Doesn't it?

I heard a person talking about this and said it this way: “The FBI failed to investigate this guy. The local sheriff failed over and over to look into this guy's statements and possible actions. He shouldn't have been able to buy a weapon but was able to because of this breakdown in procedure. These people (the governing authorities) want me, a law-abiding American, to give them my guns so we can be protected? Are you kidding me?”

This senseless act was a symptom of a major problem our nation and our society has. Before I go any further, I want to say that I realize many people will read what I have to say here and roll their eyes and check out. That in no way is an argument against my statements and certainly doesn't mean they're not true. The foundation of any further issue I'll describe for you today is Jesus Christ—or a lack thereof. Come on, Americans! This nation was founded by Christian men on Christian principles derived from the Bible to govern a predominantly Christian people. There is little rational or fact-based argument against this nation being a Christian nation. This isn't to say it’s a theocracy but it’s a nation built by Christian men using Jesus Christ and the Bible to govern a Christian society. In 1835, Alex de Tocqueville said of Americans, "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other." This was based on his observations of American society. How I long for such a thing to once again be true. We have lost our first love and the Truth that our nation was built upon. Because of this—this rejection of our Savior and the Lover of our souls—all other issues cannot be treated. If we treat the symptoms of the problem while leaving the problem untouched, we'll end up frustrated and the problem will not be resolved at all.

Our society is becoming more and more withdrawn. People interact over online social media and have less actual face-to-face relationships. This is a problem. It creates isolation and can easily lead to depression. It also leads to empowerment through anonymity. If we're just typing words on a screen, it's easy to feel like you're not really going to be accountable for your actions. Cyber bullying is one of the major results of this. Without real (and, let's face it, online interaction with someone is not a real interaction... and I'm not saying Facebook or Twitter or whatever are not useful, but they shouldn't be used as a permanent substitute for human interaction) interaction and relationships, our society turns into isolated, angry, lonely people with less conscience. I believe there can be a lot of healing in our land if we'd just value people over technology. If we took time to sit with someone and chat rather than mess around on an online game or waste time on social media, we'd probably find a little more value in humanity. And this leads to my next point.

We don't teach the value, as a society, to our youth (or adults) of human life. We don't value life. We're outraged by a man who likely has some mental issue who killed 17 people with a firearm when nearly 3000 innocent lives are terminated in the womb every day—EVERY SINGLE DAY—in the US. No one has a thing to say about that? Almost 1/4 of all pregnancies are ended by willfully killing the child in the womb. Yet we're up in arms about gun rights and mental health? We teach that whatever you feel is right. We teach that whatever you do is right. Your morals are between you and no one else. We teach that you evolved from an animal, so how can we be confused when our children act like animals? I'm seriously asking this question. We don't value human life as we should. The value of human life is derived from God Himself because He breathed life into man, creating him in His own image. We alone have this distinction. The Ten Commandments tell us not to murder. This is explained further in Exodus as meaning not just the intentional killing of a human being, but the death of a person due to negligence or carelessness. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die to save humanity. If this doesn't give us a hint as to the unspeakable value God places on human life, I'm not sure what does. We are all—every single human being—something of value. We are valued far above all else in creation according to Jesus. We have failed as a society to teach this unwaveringly.

We also are a fatherless society. One in three children in the US don't have a father in their home. This is a significant and connecting factor in many of our society's woes. But the underlying problem is a lack of Jesus Christ; I'm convinced of this. Every school shooter to my knowledge, or at least a very high percentage of them, has come from a fatherless home. Fathers provide something in a stable family situation that leaves an enormous hole when he's absent. Read more about that at this website, and I also wrote about that in this blog post.

Connected to our society's lack of value for human life is its lack of interest in other. Something I found heartbreaking was this statement from a person from Parkland who knew the shooter: “I never really got close to him, because I always had a feeling there was something wrong.” I've seen many of my Christian friends on social media ask questions after a tragedy like this like, “Why wasn't this person loved?” or “How could we have shown this hurting person the love of Jesus?” and others. These are good questions but the answers are the concern: we're an apathetic society. We need to take an interest in the “unlovable” and the “undesirable.” If we are around people on a regular basis that there seems to be “something wrong” with them, what if we took an interest in them and showed them the love of Christ? No. We'd rather go home and play Candy Crush or Minecraft or binge watch Walking Dead or This is Us. The phrase “Be the Change” has been worn out, I suppose, but it's good advice. Be the change. Make a difference. Get uncomfortable.

This is also true of many parents concerning their children. We are so stressed and high paced in this culture that it becomes a burden to even care what our kids are doing. This obviously isn't true of all families, but way too many. I know teachers who've told me about conversations they've tried to have with parents concerning their unruly children. Very commonly, the parents seem disconnected and quite often just don't care. Recently, a teacher in Florida named Kelly Guthrie Raley made waves by stating the woes of a many teachers—that students behave terribly and have no respect for themselves or others and parents don't care. Children talk with disrespect, react with violence, and play role-playing video games where they kill people up close and with graphic detail (sometimes as an act of terror rather than the role of a “good guy”). If parents take an interest in their children (as parents and NOT as friends), many children would better understand their value as human beings and members of society and, hopefully, this would lead to an increase in the awareness of the intrinsic value of the rest of the human beings they run into day to day. Children need to force themselves onto their parents and vice versa. Truly. Let's be families again. There is so much that would be resolved if we would just unite as families again. But these families need to have, at their core, Jesus Christ and His principles.

I guess, really, what I'm getting at is that love is all you need according to Kevin Prosch or, as the Beatles would say, all you need is love. First and foremost, the love of Jesus Christ in the hearts of man would change this nation and for the better. There's healing in the love of God and it's immeasurable. This would trickle down from Christ to each of us, to those who are “unlovable,” to our children, to our classmates and coworkers, to strangers on the street, etc. With the love we share from Jesus Christ would flow a feeling of acceptance and self-worth. From it would also flow a great appreciation for the value of human life. It would bring an end (or at the very least a drastic reduction) in the number of cases of this sort of tragedy. I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

The nation seems to be going insane and has no interest in literally the ONLY thing that can help heal our land. Who can argue that the longer and further we turn and run from God, the worse this nation becomes. I hardly recognize it and I'm only 40 years old. When I was a kid growing up in the 80's and 90's, I felt safe and had little fear of being attacked or shot or whatever. I felt secure because I was. Sure, there were dangers, but nothing at all like there are today. I was permitted to do things as a child that I would be investigated for today if I allowed my kids to do them. The world (the American world) is very different and I don't mean better at all. And it all stems from our public or national rejection of our Savior. We built this nation on His principles and then told Him to get lost.

Seek Him. Seek His will. Share His love. What do you have to lose? What could the down side possibly be? If our nation continues this way—attacking decent folks for things bad people do, desiring to DO SOMETHING even if it's the wrong thing for the wrong reasons, lashing out at people who didn't do anything, and making this about symptoms rather than addressing problems—we will only get worse. We can't heal if we don't want to accept the truth of our condition. Jesus is the only answer, friends. If you're one of those who roll your eyes and sigh when you read that, you're probably part of the problem or not far from it, in my opinion.

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.


Is the Second Amendment Really About the Militia?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 1 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, America has once again turned her collective attention to the Second Amendment. Our nation is split between two competing views of this small portion of our Bill of Rights. On the one hand, there are those like Jeffrey Toobin, a contributor at CNN and the New Yorker, who claims that “the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.”

And on the other hand, there are those who take the position advanced by Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association in CNN’s town hall on gun policy. When asked how the Second Amendment applied to the gun policy debate, Loesch answered that, “In the context of the time, a ‘well-regulated militia’ meant an American man, an American woman, a citizen of the United States of America who could operate and service their firearm.”

These two competing statements offer a nearly complete overview of the current gun control debate. Those in favor of gun control claim that the Second Amendment only applies to militias, and those opposed to gun control respond by claiming that every American citizen is part of the militia. Both sides claim to have the support of the founders, and they’re both right on that account since the founding fathers were somewhat divided on the issue of state and local militias.

However, I think that both sides are missing the mark on their interpretation of the Second Amendment. In fact, neither of them is even aiming at the right target. The real key to understanding the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the militia.

The single most important part of the Second Amendment is not its reference to a “well-regulated militia,” nor is it the question of what is meant by “keep and bear arms.” No, the most important part of the entire Second Amendment is the small and often overlooked phrase: “the people.”

The right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment is not a right that belongs to the federal government, for that right existed before the federal government was formed. It is not a right that belongs to the state governments, for it preceded them as well and was present in each territory long before it became a state. It is not a right that belongs to the militia, for it still exists even when militias are no longer needed. The right to keep and bear arms is specifically designated as a right of “the people.”

So who exactly are “the people” to whom this right belongs? That question is answered repeatedly throughout the Constitution.

According to the Preamble, “the people” are the collective body of individuals who authorized the Constitution itself. Our constitutional form of government was ordained and established by “We the People” – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

According to Article I Section 2, “the People” are the ones who vote for the members of the House of Representatives – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

According to the First Amendment, “the people” cannot be a reference to a governing body since “the people” are the ones who have the right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

According to the Fourth Amendment, “the people” are those who have a right to be secure against warrantless search and seizure by the government – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

In the Ninth Amendment, “the people” are recognized as those who retain rights not granted to the federal government – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

And in the Tenth Amendment, “the people” are contrasted with both the federal and the state governments as those to whom rights are reserved by default if not delegated to a government by the Constitution – i.e. the entire citizenry of the United States.

As you can see, the meaning of the phrase “the people” in the Constitution is fairly easy to ascertain. “The people” are the ones from whom our government was established, by whom our government was established, and for whom our government was established. This body must necessarily include every single citizen of the United States.

There is much that could be said about why the need for a well-regulated militia justifies the right to keep and bear arms. And we could spend a great deal of time discussing the extent of the arms which were intended to be including in this right. But all of that is of no benefit to us at all if we do not have a firm grasp of the most important part of the Second Amendment. In order to discuss the scope of this amendment, we must first understand that the right being discussed is a right of “the people” – a right which belongs to every single citizen of the United States of America.

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.