The Overzealous Monks

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 20, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

A common argument against the reliability and accurate transmission of the Bible is the Overzealous Monk argument. The argument is this: The Bible’s original manuscripts never actually had such consistency. It was edited to make it look consistent after the fact by the “latter community.” The best answer to this argument I have heard is from Voddie Baucham.

To summarize, Baucham points out one major issue with this argument: a manuscript problem. Last week, I wrote about how we have 66,000 copies of manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the Bible. Baucham only references 6000, and he is pulling from old data and specifically talking about the New Testament. These manuscripts are written in three languages (Greek, Syriac, and Coptic), and the copies he was referencing span over 300 years. So these overzealous monks would have to go steal the manuscripts, change 6000 of them the same way, lie the same way in each language, don’t show inkwork in doing so, and get them back where they stole them from without getting caught. Then do the same thing with all the commentaries by church leaders, which quoted the New Testament so often we can reproduce all but 11 verses with these commentaries alone. Call up The Sting, Oceans Eleven, or James Bond; get your best heist people and see if they can pull that off.

In the movie Paul: Apostle of Christ, we see a plausible scenario for how the book of Acts came about. A very interesting thing they do at the very end of the movie is produce 100 copies of Acts to send out. Luke wrote his book, and the local body immediate made 100 copies of it so the church community throughout the Roman Empire could be encouraged. Was this exact fact? We don’t know. But I can say the movie was plausible. It is not like the books were written during the lifetime of the eye-witnesses and then they stayed stagnant for 300 years until Athanasius gave the first formal listing of the “Canon” in 367 AD. That’s not how it went down.

Peter recognized Paul’s letters as having the same weight and authority as the rest of established Scripture, so it is clear that the church knew these were not ordinary books but special books. In looking into the timing of when the churches got the letters, to the number of manuscripts and the languages they were translated into, this is a plausible scenario of how they came about. When the initial recipients got the books or letters we now know as the New Testament, they would have shared it around the local church community, but they would have made copies of these letters then and there and began sending the copies out, while the initial audience kept the originals. It happened very quickly.

Now some manuscripts were either retired, lost, or even discarded by unfriendly sources. Many of them were written on papyrus reeds, which have a very short lifespan. Some of these manuscripts were old and either illegible or tossed aside and were used in paper mache masks, found in Egypt. The reason Josh McDowell’s claim of 25,000 manuscripts in 1999 in The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict jumped to 66,000 manuscripts in 2016 is in part because we have found many manuscripts in these burial masks.

The translations went from Hebrew and Aramaic in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament into Syriac and Coptic first. Not long afterwards as Greek was dying as the common language in the Roman Empire, Jerome translated from the manuscripts he had available into the Latin Vulgate. It was translated into other languages too as time passed and Christians spread out to preach the Gospel. What’s more is that even though some numerical copying errors have been found, (such as Ahaziah’s age of 42 when he began to reign as recorded in 2 Chronicles, which is impossible, when he was actually 22 as recorded in 2 Kings), the translators refused to make the correction because they were doing everything they could to keep with what the copies of manuscripts they had said. So they KEPT the errors in there for the sake of accurate translation.

These facts make this overzealous monk idea utterly ridiculous. Last week I wrote about the copying process, which not just kills the telephone game argument, but it also kills this one too. The copying process was so meticulous this idea would have only been attempted by an individual or small group, and even then, they would not be able to get much done on it because guess what? All those 66,000 manuscripts agree within 95% or more of exact precision, and that 5% are mere variants which have nothing to do with the actual content.

I still would like to know who did this. No one who promotes this argument has ever given a face, a group name, or even a time frame in which this was done. Apparently it was the “latter community.” Where? When? How? I know exactly why there is no face: because the argument is simply made up. It never happened. The men and women who wrote, copied, and defended these books of the Bible, especially during the Roman Empire and during the days of the Roman Catholic Church’s Inquisitions gave their lives for these books. They died and refused to recant what the Scriptures taught, even under the penalty of death. If the Bible had been edited to “make it seem to fit,” why would anyone do this and why did no one who caved to the tortures give names to give credence to these stories? It does not make sense.

Here is another interesting aspect. The Bible has numerous details that APPEAR to contradict at first. Secularists love to point out the “thousands” of contradictions in the Bible, yet each one can be explained, which only makes the passages difficult, not a contradiction. If the Bible was edited to fit nicely by overzealous monks, wouldn’t these difficult passages be edited to sound better? Why did they leave that stuff behind? I will deal with how to deal with contradictions next week.

The Telephone Game and the Overzealous Monks arguments are frequently cited but never investigated by those who cite them. They merely repeat what they have heard from other skeptics and never actually do their homework on the topics. While the information about manuscripts, copying, and such is valuable, the arguments simply do not hold any water simply by analyzing what is required for it to happen. These skeptics want you to think they are smart, but they really are not. When your knowledge base is not rooted in the Word of God, no matter what level of education you have, it is foolishness. Stick with the Bible. It has withstood any challenge thrown at it and no matter what the skeptics say today, they will pass and the Bible will remain.

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The History of Nations

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 19, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

As we continue our look at the Table of Nations, the Tower of Babel, and where people groups come from today, I wanted to touch on how this list of people is connected to the people groups of the world. There are some extra-biblical resources we can draw from here. As I stated in my last blog post, there are a great number of people and people groups listed in Genesis 10-11 and some of them we have no knowledge of other than what the Bible tells us. However, that was true for many more people groups in the not too distant past. There have been several groups unknown to us save the Bible's reference to them until finds in the area where they allegedly lived reveals that, once again, we see the Bible is accurate. Let's take a look at a few of these people groups, though there are just too many for us to investigate all of them fully.

One amazing resource to view on this topic is the ancient historian Josephus. He was a Jewish man charged with writing a history of the Jewish people for his Roman captors. What's amazing is how he beautifully connects many of the people groups mentioned in Genesis 10-11 with people groups that lived around him at the time of his writings. What an excellent resource and an excellent confirmation of Biblical history.

Josephus frequently relates the land area the people settled in, who their founder was (which generally corresponded to the name of the people), and their Greek name if it was different. For example, the Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, Israelites were descendants of Israel, Elamites were descendants of Elam, Cushites were descendants of Cush, etc. He references Japheth and his sons as well. Japheth’s son Gomer founded the Gomerites, and Josephus says they are now called by the Greeks the Galls. These, if you recall, are who Paul wrote to in his letter called Galatians. Japheth's son Magog founded the Magogites, who were known by the Greeks as “Sythians.” Japheth's son Madai was the founder of the Medes. The Medes are known for their part in the Medo-Persian Empire and are now commonly referred to as Iranians. Javan, another of Japheth's sons, was the founder of the Greeks and later the Britons. I'll discuss the history of that and a larger area in more detail further down in this writing. Thiras was the founder of the “Thracians” who are now represented in Scandinavia. Egyptian writings from as early as 1300 BC reference these people, calling them the Tarusha. The Greek historian Herodotus also mentions them. He wrote about 425 BC. From the name Thiras, the Norse people took the name “Thor” and worshiped him as a god. I'll touch more on that later as well.

Now Gomer's son Ashkenaz was the founder of the Ashkenazians. These are now known as the Germans. It stands to reason, possibly, that the Angles and the Saxons (commonly known together as the Anglo-Saxons) migrated to Britain and became part of the people from today's Great Britain along with Javan's descendants. England's name comes from the Angles. A son of Javan, Tarshish, founded the Tarshians and the city we know Paul was from—Tarsus. There are many more examples of Japheth's descendants, but, again, I cannot go into great detail with them all. I would like to look further at Britain.

The history of Britain and her ancestors is, to me, very interesting stuff. There are very large amounts of historical documentation supporting the fact that the people of this area—a variety of rival groups who frequently hated each other—independently trace their lineage back to Japheth and/or Noah. These documents predate the Christianization of these people groups. Let's look more closely at this.

There are six different Anglo-Saxon people groups that trace their lineage back to Woden (aka Oden), and we know from very old records that Woden traced his lineage back to Japheth and Noah. The name Japheth in the local languages was Sceaf or Seskef. There are Icelandic, Danish, and Norwegian records going back to Japheth as well, corroborating each other. These genealogies do not perfectly reflect each other. Some include names others do not and so on. However, there are striking similarities and the names that are similar can not only be matched with the Biblical record, but they are in the same order from one people's list to another. These lists all include the infamous Brutus for whom the Island of Britain and its people were named. To me, again, this is all very fascinating. The fact that genealogies extend back to a man named Japheth or Noah in societies that have, seemingly, no connection to the Judeo-Christian faith is striking!

Some argue these genealogies are forgeries. To that, a sort of silly accusation really, I say, “By whom?” What would be the point of all of these diverse people groups, who were frequently rivals or even hated each other, claiming to all trace their heritage back to the same people? And the fact that there are slight differences, to me, helps confirm they were not forged. The fact that some lists end with Japheth (or his local language equivalent) rather than Noah also tells me it wasn't out of some zeal to make the Bible look true by local Christianized people. In fact, as I've stated, these lists predate the Christianization of this area. Many of the people in these lists were noted for their barbarism and their adherence to pagan rituals. Iceland was founded by Vikings. I don't believe anyone would argue that the Vikings, Norwegian or Danish, were Christians, especially at the time of Iceland's colonization. There's really no merit, that I can discover, to such an accusation—that of these lineages being doctored to appear to demonstrate Biblical truth. Are there other people groups that find their heritage going back to Japheth? Yes!

The Miautso Chinese people, who do not consider themselves to be “true” Chinese, are an intriguing find. They once covered much of inland China, but, over time, according to their traditions, were pushed further and further out and into the mountains of the southwest. When Christian missionaries arrived to share the Gospel with them, they were surprised to find a very similar historical account in the Miautso oral traditions to the creation and Flood accounts found in the Bible, including a story about the Tower of Babel. You can find a translation of this oral history here.

The similarities between their traditions and the historical accounts found in God's Word are amazing. They trace their ancestry to a man named “Dirt.” The first man, Adam, has a name that sounds very much like the Hebrew word for “earth” or “ground.” Sounds a lot like dirt, right? “Dirt's” son was Se-teh. In the Bible, Adam's son was Seth. See the similarities? Further down the lineage, we see a man named Lama. This resembles the name of Lamech. Lamech's son, according to the Bible, was Noah. The Miautso name Lama's son as Nuah. This, to me, is remarkable. And Nuah's sons were Lo Shen, Lo Han, and Lo Jah-phu. These names are remarkably similar to Shem, Ham and Japheth. Lo Jah-phu had a son named Go-men which is the Biblical Gomer. They detail how Lo Han's (Ham's) sons were Cusah (Cush in the Bible) and Mesay (Mizraim in the Bible). They also have in their tradition that Lo Shen's (Shem's) sons were Elan (Elam in the Bible) and Nga-shur (Asshur in the Bible who was the founder of the Assyrians). The Miautso go on to say that several of these families that were present in China became the Miautso while a minority intermingled with the invading Chinese. You can read up on the Miautso Chinese here and here or do some of your own digging. The second link there is to a small portion of Bill Cooper's “After the Flood” which I highly recommend. You can read the book in its entirety online here.

There is a great deal more to say on this topic but obviously I can't get into all the details in a short blog post. I recommend reading this paper on Japheth and Britain. You can also check out this link for the lineage to the Swedes.

The evidence here really solidly supports the historical accounts found in Scripture. There are no rebuttals I have found that seem to have any merit at all, and they generally show nothing more than desperation to reject the Biblical account. If these genealogies are correct and they represent the foundations of all the people groups in the world, then this makes the global Flood of Noah's day true history. It also means God hates sin and desires more from us. It also means the lineages found in Scripture can easily trace for us a timeline back to, at the very least, Noah but really just as easily to Adam who was created on day six of the creation week—also necessarily true if the Table of Nations is accurate. God's Word will always prove worthy of the respect and honor it's due.

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What Does the Bible Say About Fools?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 18, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

This topic is actually a pretty difficult one because so many people today want to point their fingers at others claiming them to be fools. I am hoping today’s post can be one where each individual reader takes the time to do some personal reflection on this word and what the Bible has to say about it. Piggy backing on Katie Erickson’s “What Does the Bible Say About...” series, I’d like to dig into what the Bible says about fools.

It can be quite a touchy subject because this word is such a trigger to most; who really likes being called a fool? I know I don’t. So, what I would ask you, the reader, to do with today’s post is to reflect on your own self. Please don’t just think to yourself, “Oh, I know who fits this very well and they need to realize it and change it.” I encourage you to see how in and through your own actions how you might fit this description, and then pray about it asking the Lord God to reveal to you about how you can change your own mindset and actions. In doing so, keep yourself disciplined and accountable to the Lord and His good and right ways.

So what does the Bible say about fools? We see in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” How are you doing with this? Are you being willing to listen to God’s Word and really be a learner, or do you think you’ve figured it all out?

Next up we see in Proverbs 1:22, “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” Are you a mocker, always questioning everything even when you know something is right and true? How are you doing with growing in knowledge?

Proverbs 1:32 tells us, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” What comes to my mind is a person’s passion and desire to do what is right no matter what. How is your heart in wanting to do what is right? Are you willing to strive to be the best in all you do, or have you become complacent in doing good in this world?

I would like to share three more Proverbs with you. Proverbs 13:20 states, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” What comes to my mind is the text in 1 Corinthians 15:33 which states, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” It is really true. You end up becoming like those you hang out with. I encourage you to seek out good friends and good influences in your life and hang out with them as much as you can.

Allow the following text to “simmer” a bit in your mind and spirit. Pray on it. Proverbs 14:8: “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

What I appreciate so much about this next verse is how it points out the importance of being a person of grace to others, remembering that God forgives sins and so should we. Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.”

There are so many more verses in the Bible about fools, and I encourage you to dig into them, research them, and be open to the leading of the Holy Spirt in not being a fool.

Lastly, I will leave you with Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

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What Does the Bible Say About Parenting?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 16, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This is an interesting post for me to write since I’m not a parent, well at least not of humans anyway - our household does have 5 indoor cats, 4 pet frogs, 2 bearded dragons, and 1 betta fish. This is not a topic I’ve looked into much considering I don’t have a personal need for it in my life, but here’s what I’ve found on what the Bible says about parenting.

The most often-quoted verse I’ve heard on this topic is Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs also talks about disciplining children, as in Proverbs 23:13, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.” Proverbs 29:17 echoes this sentiment: “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”

Hebrews 12:5-11 further tells us about discipline for children. Verses 9-10 say, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” God disciplines us as His children, so we have His example to follow as earthly parents disciplining our children. For some additional insight on disciplining children, check out Jason DeZurik’s recent blog post here.

In Ephesians 6:1-4, we see instructions to both children and parents: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” There are similar instructions in Colossians 3:20-21: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

But, some of the most important parenting commands in the Bible come from the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” It’s very important for parents to teach God’s Word to their children, and to tell their children what God has done in your life so they can see Him working in their own lives.

Joshua 4:20-24 says, “And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.’” This passage shows us the importance of handing down the stories of what God has done to future generations, that they may know God’s faithfulness.

God is our Father, so while we humans won’t be able to perfectly imitate Him, look to His example given to us in the Bible for how to treat your children with Godly love, to help them grow in their understanding and relationship of their heavenly Father.

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The Faith of the Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 15, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As our nation recently celebrated our 242nd year of independence, I found myself thinking about how many people must have dreamt about it and pursued it only to never fully experience it. We in America certainly take it for granted because we’ve all been born into freedom and have never known what it’s like to be oppressed by a nation or a government. But that’s not how it was for the original patriots who risked and in many cases gave their lives for this cause. That being said, we still have a role and a responsibility today to continue that cause for two reasons: 1) so that those who come after us will continue to enjoy the freedoms we have enjoyed, and 2) so that the sacrifices and efforts of those who went before us would not be wasted. In other words, it’s up to US to carry the torch of freedom and keep it burning.

When you think about it, this has been true about any noble cause that has ever existed. Other than Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world on the cross, God never intended for one person to do it all. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t begin the Civil Rights Movement (Rosa Parks and others came before him) and he certainly was assassinated before he got to experience the fullness of the freedom and desegregation that he dreamt of. Others had to keep the torch burning. Robert Gould Shaw (portrayed by Matthew Broderick in the movie Glory) was a white man who fought and died in the Civil War for the cause of freedom for slaves. His torch would’ve burned out if others didn’t keep it going. It’s true about ministry as well. I have a friend who is leaving in September to go to Ecuador for a year to help develop pastors and churches there who are ministering to the natives. The organization he’ll be working for put out a publication that states the work of evangelism in Ecuador began with Jim Elliot and the men who were with him in 1956. They were all martyred, but the seeds they planted were watered by others and now missionaries and native Christians are beginning to reap the harvest there.

It reminds me of the words of the writer at the end of Hebrews 11. As I have taken you through this chapter, faithful hero by faithful hero in a series that started over ten months ago, I pray that these examples of faith have ignited a fire within you to carry on their torch. That’s what the writer of Hebrews also desired. In Hebrews 11:39-40, he reminds us, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." The idea of being made perfect is actually that they are made “complete." In other words, all these heroes of the faith that we’ve talked about over the past ten months had a faith that was not yet made complete. Now, that’s not to say THEIR faith was incomplete. They followed God with boldness and total dependence on him. But the faith to which they devoted themselves was based on something God had promised but had not yet come to fruition. In that sense, the universal, Christian faith was not made complete until Jesus came, lived, died on the cross, and was raised to life again.

What does this mean for you, me, and all believers and followers of Jesus? The writer tells us as the next chapter begins. In Hebrews 12:1, we see the word “therefore," which directly refers back to every single mention of a hero of the faith, as well as the very last words from chapter 11. The writer tells us that we have some advantages that these faithful heroes didn’t have. The Church (capitalized to signify all Christians past, present, and future) ought to consider what each and every one of these faithful heroes did and how they stood firm in the incomplete faith that had not yet seen the arrival of the Messiah. Hebrews 12:1 calls them “witnesses," which is actually from the Greek marturos and is where we get the English term “martyr." You see, a martyr isn’t just someone who loses their life; it’s what all Christians are called to be to the extent that God asks of us. I might have to give up my life or I might only be asked to give up my desire for popularity and approval of those who would have me compromise the truth to obtain those things. Either way, every follower of Jesus must decide whether they will stand firm in their faith or be on shaky ground in something else.

The writer of Hebrews then tells the Church that, since we are surrounded by these witnesses and their stories - an advantage many of the faithful didn’t have as they stood out among the unfaithful - we have reason to get rid of the things in our lives that hinder us from faith and avoid the sins that ensnare us (v. 1). He says we ought to persevere in the “race marked out for us” even when it’s difficult. The way to do that is what the writer explains is another advantage that we have - we can “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). None of the ancient heroes of our faith described in Hebrews 11 could fix their eyes on Jesus because he had not yet come! They knew of him only in the sense that they believed in the promise, but it was still something they could only imagine. To our knowledge, the name “Jesus” was not revealed to any of them. So, when the writer mentions our Savior by his human name, only those who have come after him can find strength from his endurance.

We are reminded in verses 2-3 of what exactly our Savior endured. The cross was not just physically painful but also publicly shaming. Yet, Jesus “scorned its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." The author of Hebrews tells us that when we are struggling, we should consider not only all of those other faithful heroes, but the most faithful of them all - Jesus of Nazareth. If we consider all that he went through and endured, as well as his great reward of sitting at the right hand of God (the highest position of honor there is), we “will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3).

The heroes of the faith in the past chose to stand firm even though they had yet to see what was promised. If they could endure so much without seeing the promise come true, how much more reason do we have to continue to keep the torch of faith burning, knowing that God has been faithful in keeping his promises? If you are part of the Church, you have this responsibility for the next generation. I don’t know what God will ask you to endure, but I know that you have examples right in front of your eyes of those who have endured and have overcome even more. By the same faith that was central to the lives of so many before you, you can reason that God is bigger than your problems, that he has a plan, and that following him even when circumstances seem to be against you is more logical than rejecting him and his commands. As I said at the beginning of the series, faith in God is not blind. Follow the evidence, which includes all these faithful stories before you, and make your choice to stand firm in that faith. May God bless and reward you as you do!

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The Telephone Game

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 13, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There are many scholarly critics, especially in the universities who love to impress upon new freshmen that the Bible has long been antiquated and completely untrustworthy. They have three favorite arguments which I have heard numerous times, yet all fall flat. I will address one today and the other two in the next two weeks. The professors who speak of these have not studied the issues themselves and a simple examination of how the Bible got here easily refutes such notions.

The first argument is like the “telephone game.” The argument states that the Bible was copied and copied and copied and translated and translated and translated so many times that we actually do not know what the original text said. In the telephone game, you get people in a line or a circle, one person gets a word or phrase and passes it on to the next person who gets the message and passes it on as well. Eventually by the end of the line or circle, the last person’s message seems to have little to no resemblance to the original word or phrase. Therefore, the argument states that the Bible cannot be trusted because we don’t have the same message it started with. The skeptics also tend to speak of oral traditions in the same way.

To this notion I laugh, because it is not a well-researched claim. First let’s dig into the nature of the telephone game analogy. In the telephone game, there are two details about the game which fail to apply to both oral traditions and to the Bible. First, we are not in an oral tradition society where our brains are trained to retain things we hear orally. In societies where their stories are passed down orally, they have excellent memories on the topic, rehearsing them over and over again until they are memorized. Also, what needs to be memorized is often put into a mnemonic structure, usually with rhymes or song, to help with the memorization.

The other detail is that in the telephone game, you can’t ask what the phrase was a second time. There is no way to validate what you heard. If you were trying to pass on information and all you had was an oral passing, would it not be wise to hear the message twice, repeat it, and make sure you got it right? The telephone game does not allow for this. But the Bible was not merely passed on orally. It was written. So anyone who heard Scripture could go to the text and validate what they heard. That is what the Bereans did with Paul and Silas and Luke praised them for it.

But now let’s get to the meat of the claim: the copying and translation aspect. The telephone game fails to account for this as well. The primary claim here is that the Bible went from one manuscript to another manuscript to another manuscript to another manuscript (again, without verification) and due to copying errors, the current manuscripts have no relation to what was originally written. That’s the argument. However, the only Bibles I know of which would remotely make this claim are the paraphrases such as The Message (I personally consider them commentaries, not versions). Each of the versions (KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, etc.) go back to the manuscripts in the original languages to get the most accurate translation in the modern language we can get. I will address the versions debate in three weeks.

The copying process itself was very intricate and detailed; it was not a casual process. Josh McDowell does a great job at describing this process in his books The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict and God-Breathed. I am just going to highlight a few of the points. The parchment, pen, and ink each had to come from specific sources and be prepared in certain manners. They could not use just whatever they wanted. Each sheet for the scroll was cut to exact sizes and then lined and columned. Each letter had to be written with a specific spacing and size range, and each line had to contain a certain number of letters. Each line and column would be numbered so if a mistake was made, the scribes could pinpoint precisely which letter was off by this system alone.

The name of God was treated with such reverence that the scribe would stop on the word before saying the Lord’s name, go cleanse himself, and prepare a new pen and ink well. He would write the word prior to the Lord’s name so the ink would not blot, and then write the name of God. If a single error was made on this name, the entire page of the scroll had to be burned and start over. Then to top it off, before a copy of the Scriptures was considered a valid copy, the manuscript had be carefully inspected letter by letter, a process which often took about three years. No other ancient book, written by hand, on perishable material, went through this kind of process.

Now, have errors been introduced into the copying process? Yes. They are called variants. But there is more to this claim than that. What kind of errors are they? Spelling and grammar, number disagreements, pronoun use (exchanging “The Lord” for “He”), and the like. Not a single variation found had anything to do with the actual content of what was being said. Look at this quote regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.

"Once the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated and compared with modern versions of the Hebrew Bible, the text proved to be identical, word for word, in more than 95% of the cases. (The 5 percent deviation consists of mainly spelling variations. For example, of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, only 17 letters are in question. Of those, ten are a matter of spelling, and four are stylistic differences; the remaining three letters comprise the word light, which was added to Isaiah 53:11.)"
~Josh McDowell, God-Breathed, pg 154-155

“But there are thousands upon thousands of these variations.” Are there? Each error is counted with each manuscript we find. We have thousands of manuscripts. Two years ago at a conference I attended in El Paso, TX, Josh McDowell cited that there were up to 66,000 manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the Bible, some of which date to within 50 years of the events written. In many cases, multiple copies have the same error. So we aren’t talking about hundreds of thousands of errors, but very few. No other ancient text can compare. The Iliad, Sophocles, Herodotus, Julius Caesar’s Gaelic Wars, and others all have single digit copies to hundreds, and the absolute best less than 2000 copies, many of which date multiple centuries after the originals were written. Those are accepted without question. So why are they skeptical about the Bible, when if they applied the same criteria to any other ancient history which they accept, that history would be unreliable? The answer is simple: they don’t WANT to believe the Bible, so they search for whatever excuse that allows them to sound smart in their unbelief. It works on impressionable freshmen, but to anyone who has done their homework, it is silliness at best.

The Bible did not go through the telephone game to get to us. Each translation goes back to copies of the original in the original language, pulling from the thousands of copies which enable us to get a clear picture of what the text says. It takes teams of numerous scholars, fluent in in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and likely Coptic, Syriac, and other languages from the area to put together a translation. They do so what they believe is best to get it as accurate as possible and as understandable as possible. And finally here, one does not need to be a language scholar to understand the Bible. The translators can be verified by other scholars on their work. To discuss which translation is best is worthy for another post. But do not believe the claims that the Bible got to us via the telephone game or something like that. There is nothing of the sort to support such claims. Next week, I will address another popular claim: The Overzealous Monk Theory.

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Is the Journey the Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 11, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

We live in a day and culture of people seemingly enjoying “the journey” of life. While there is nothing really wrong with enjoying the journey, it seems to me that too many people are focusing way too much on that journey. I am not against someone walking through life and processing what is going on with them and in them during this life. But it seems to me that instead of looking for answers, people these days are more focused on the journey and believing the journey is what is the truth of life, instead of using the journey and enjoying the journey of life along the way to lead them to truth. Do you see the difference?

Perhaps you have experienced this yourself or know someone who is like this in your life. You know, the person always looking for truth but even when finding truth decides to keep going down the path looking for truth, even though they have already found the answer to their question. Since the answer they have found, which is truth, doesn’t fit into their already preconceived notion of how things should be, they keep looking for an answer that fits what they so desire it to be. Or are they?

It seems that even when many find the answer they are looking for, they keep seeking and searching because for them the truth IS the journey. They keep moving down the path. Even if they find real truth, they ignore it because the quest is more important to them then actually finding answers. Have you ever experienced someone like this in your life? Are you like this?

I have experienced people like this even before I became a Christian. The reason this topic is so near and dear to my heart is because when I was a young man, who was going his own way instead of following God, I came to a point of realizing that my way was the wrong way and I wanted answers. I came to a point in my life that I was going to seek and search out truth no matter where that search led me. I came to a decision that I would stand on truth, even if I didn’t like the direction it took me. I was looking for answers.

I have come to realize that the journey is very important, but it is not the answer. The answer to life lies in the person of Jesus Christ. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to Father God except and only though Him (John 14:6-7). If you are looking for truth just in the journey or the process, you will find nothing but emptiness and a place reserved for you in hell.

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What Does the Bible Say About Love?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 9, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

They say that love makes the world go round, and that love is all you need. But what does the Bible say about love?

That’s an interesting question to answer, because the Bible is God’s Word given to us, revealing who God is. God is love, so the Bible is technically all about God’s love. It’s like the transient property in math (yes, I’m a geek): if A=B and B=C, then A=C. So if the Bible = God and the God = love, then the Bible = love.

Think about it; every story we read in the Bible has to do with God’s love. God loved humankind so much that He created us and the world we live in. God loved humankind so much that he at least saved Noah and his family from the Flood, so they could repopulate the earth. God loved us so much that He made a covenant with Abraham and made him into a great nation. God loved that great nation, the people of Israel, so much that He kept sending them judges and prophets to turn them back toward following Him when they’d stray. God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to die and be raised again for us so we could have eternal life (John 3:16). God loved us so much that He gave us His Word, so we could be equipped to do His work on this earth (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The entire Bible shows us God’s love!

But the Bible does talk specifically about love in many places as well. The most common place is what’s known as the “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13. I encourage you to go read the entire chapter, but I’ll highlight a few verses for you here: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Another often-quoted passage about love is 1 John 4:7-12: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands us to love one another: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus reiterates this command to His disciples in John 15:12-14: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” While this was a new command in light of the love that Jesus brought to earth, this was also a very old command for the Israelites. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (known as the “shema” in Hebrew) says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

The Bible also tells about love in human relationships, including that of a husband and wife. Ephesians 5:25-33 talks about this, as does the book of Song of Songs. Ephesians 4:15-16 highlights how we should interact with others: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that love us one of the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” When we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in us, all of these things will flow from our lives and the Spirit working through us.

There are even Proverbs written about love. For example, Proverbs 17:9 says, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

I could go on and on with more passages about love in the Bible, but as I started with, the whole Bible tells us about God and His love, either directly or indirectly. I’ll leave you with one final passage to close this post.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

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The Faith of Logan, Clara, and Evangeline

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 8, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I bet that sounds pretty arrogant, doesn’t it? I mean, who in the world would write a blog post about their own faith in a series about the heroes of the faith? Well, it was suggested to me by another writer based on what has taken place in my life over the past few weeks and I feel it’s appropriate for several reasons. First, I don’t think that any of the “heroes” of the faith that I’ve discussed in my writings over the past ten months would have considered themselves as such. They did and experienced great things by faith not in their own abilities or merit, but through a righteous, just, and loving God. In their own eyes, they weren’t even almost heroes, but were simply doing what they knew was right in God’s eyes even when it was difficult. Secondly, God honored their faith even though they were ordinary human beings who struggled with sins just like we do. And third, those individuals who were faithful had no special power to see the future. When they chose to be faithful, they had no idea how God would use their circumstances to reveal himself to others. Each of these things ought to be true about our lives as well.

If you don’t already know, my wife Clara and I welcomed our first child into this world on June 19, 2018. We chose not to find out the gender of our child ahead of time, but are now blessed to be the parents of our precious daughter, Evangeline Myra Ames. As I think back on the faith of my wife and I over the course of our relationship, there have been so many times that we struggled, sinned, or frankly didn’t even stop and consider what God would have us do. But God, who is always faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24), has continued to do his work even when we weren’t concerned with him.

Clara and I did not always honor God in our relationship with the way we viewed and treated one another. However, we made the decision of commitment in 2015 and were married on July 2, 2016. If you’ve followed my writings over the years, you may remember that I took a season away from Worldview Warriors during that time. Even after we said our vows, we learned that marriage is a blessing but not always easy. We both struggled with where God had us in our jobs in Ohio and wrestled with any changes he would want us to make. God turned our discontentment into an opportunity to trust him when we began to consider moving to York, Pennsylvania, which was only 40 minutes from where I grew up and about two hours from where she did. I was offered a lead pastor position at a local church in PA and we decided to take it. I can certainly say that we prayed about it, but I’m not sure how much we listened. Like many of you, I presume, we do a lot of talking in our prayers but find it hard to sit and silently listen. Yet, God was faithful anyway.

We made the trip back to PA on June 19, 2017. If you’re keeping track, that’s exactly one year before our little angel arrived in this world. We grieved having to leave what was comfortable in Ohio and bid farewell to the many friends we had made during our time there, but we saw many ways that God was with us during the process. From the many people who helped us with the move on both ends to the fact that God provided a job in PA for my wife where she gets to help people who struggle with mental illness from a faith-based perspective, we’ve experienced God’s goodness all the way. Then came the biggest blessing of all. We decided that while we were open to having children if it be God’s will for us, we would do very little to “plan” it. It would be totally up to God if and when it happens. We found out in October that Clara was expecting and, to say the least, she had a blessed pregnancy with very little sickness and no complications.

Evangeline graced us with her presence exactly a year after we made our giant step of faith. She is the best gift of all. We chose the name Evangeline for two reasons. The first is that it is part of Clara’s family history, but the second is that her name comes from the Greek εὐαγγέλιον or euangélion, which simply means "the good news." We know that she is a blessing from above and that she represents the good news of Jesus in our lives. We don’t deserve her and we don’t always know what she needs or how to best care for her, but she puts her faith in us daily just as we put our faith in God daily. One of the most important aspects of faith for any Christian is knowing that you need more of it. Read the story of the man whose son was demon-possessed until Jesus healed him in Mark 9:14-29. The man declared that he believed, yet still asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. That’s where we all should often find ourselves, admitting that we need Jesus’ help to fully trust him. A person who has NO faith cannot utter these words, for it is only by faith that one can realize that they need more of it.

We’ll never consider ourselves heroes of faith, and most days we just hope to make more right choices than wrongs ones in God’s eyes. But the more we trust in him, the more his providence is obvious in our lives. We pray that Evangeline will not only strengthen our faith and dependence on God but also be an example to the world around her. What steps is God asking you to take that make you afraid today? Think about the endless possibilities of how he might just be waiting to bless your socks off until you trust him a little bit. Once you’ve practiced trusting him a little bit, then move on to trusting him more and more. Not everything will be easy, but God is faithful even when we are not and you will never regret depending on him.

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The Biblical Worldview

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 6, 2018 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I discussed five key questions regarding our worldview. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? Who do I listen to? How we answer those questions is how we see things around us. The way I answer those questions is how Charlie Wolcott sees this world. The way Jason DeZurik, Katie Erickson, Steve Risner, Nathan Buck, or Logan Ames answers these questions is how they see things. Same with each atheist, Christian, Muslim, politician, scientist, etc. Today, I am going to address the only worldview that actually matters: God’s worldview, which is revealed to us in the Bible.

Now pay very close attention to the distinction I am about to make because so many do not and will not see it. What I am about to describe is not MY idea or MY perspective. It is what God says to us about how he sees it. He tells us his perspective through the Bible, but he also shows it in action the closer we get to him in our relationship and walk with Christ. We do have access to the mind of Christ and our lives as Christians is to be transformed to be more and more aligned to God’s worldview. So how does God answer these five questions about us?

Origins: God is the Creator, the initiator, the author, and the ruler over all. He gave us a record of who did the creating, what mechanism he used to create (he spoke them into existence, without natural methods), the order of how he did things, the time frame he did it in, how much time has passed since he did it all, and the condition of the Creation when it was finished. It is not difficult to figure this out. Our job is to believe God in what he says. Many say this is a secondary issue, yet EVERY doctrine of Christianity actually traces directly or indirectly to a foreshadow, reference, or foundation laid out in the first few chapters of Genesis. I have done that study and have a book in the works on it.

On a personal level, God sees each person’s past in the same way an author does his/her characters. He looks at the whole story, examines what each person is going to encounter, and he allows things to happen for the purpose of getting people in action and prepared to do things. He does allow man to make his own choices, and those choices often have terrible effects upon others, however he will see wrongs made right. There is also Satan out there who seeks to devour any he can. But God sees our past, every right and every wrong, and if we trust him, he will work them out for good.

Purpose: God made each and every person for a reason and with a task to do. He equips people with skills and talents to do a job. He offers every person a chance to work with him and alongside him, but many refuse it. We do not see the whole picture, but God does, so while we go through dark times, God knows where each person is and is in the process of positing us to be where we need to be when the right moment comes. All of this is for the purpose of glorifying God. Every person exists to glorify God, by will and choice, or by the smoke of their torment in hell as God’s judgment is poured upon them. It’s always best to do things God’s way.

Identity: Each person is created in the image of God and has value. Even the poor and disabled are precious in the sight of God. He seeks that none should perish but all might repent and have ever-lasting life. However, he also sees every person in their state regarding sin: either still lost in their sin or as a redeemed child of God. He sees every legitimate Christian and every faker. God never sugar-coats the waters. He always says exactly what each person is and what their actions are. He will call defiant sinners as “Sons of Satan” and those who constantly seek after him as “children of God.”

He also knows where each and every person will go. That is NOT an endorsement for “God picks and chooses who goes to heaven or hell,” but rather that he knows each person so well he knows which decisions they will make before they do it. He will hold a Day of Judgment where every person will stand before him and give an account for every word said, every deed done, and everything which should have been said or done and wasn’t. He knows where each person’s journey needs to go and which detours are required to get them there. Some destinations are good and some are bad. The bad ones are a result of God’s judgment for poor decisions. The good ones are rewards for choosing correctly.

Finally, God is the ultimate authority. It truly is “my way or the highway” with God. Why? Because he’s God and we are not. God establishes every authority on earth, raising up kings and setting them down. Every kingdom and every authority is under God’s rule and authority. The kings and “experts” who are in rebellion against God are fools and God laughs at them, holding them in derision. They have absolutely no real power or knowledge because the only true power and knowledge comes from God. Man has no need to fear any authority of man, but he has every right to fear the authority of God.

This is just a brief snapshot of how God deals with each and every question we ask. Did I give it proper justice? Absolutely not. Again, this is not from my opinions. This is what God has revealed through the Bible. I just happen to agree with it. Our job as Christians is to align our worldview to God’s worldview. Will it ever completely match? Not on this side of life, because we are finite beings still living in sin-cursed bodies. However, we can work and strive to make our worldview align to God’s worldview. He is the standard, not us, and we are not capable of being correct on anything unless it aligns with what God says on the matter.

I’ll close with this quote from Eric Ludy from his sermon “Betrayed with a Kiss” about what a “Canon-Mind,” or as I describe a “Biblical-Mind,” is. THIS is what I wrote is all about. This quote is at the 35:00 mark of the linked video.

“A mind given wholly to God, implicitly trusting God’s definition of reality, exclusively devoted to God’s opinion and command, closed to all thoughts, ideas, or philosophies that would lead the mind to take on another reality. The Canon-Mind is built on God’s Word as if it were, in fact, God’s Word. The Canon-Mind is built upon the rock-like conviction that God’s Word is the perfect revelation of Fact. It cannot lie and is 100% truth. And the Canon-Mind knows that God intends his Word to be comprehended by his saints, understood by his saints, and lived out by his saints. The Canon-Mind is not open to any thought, notion, or definition of reality that is not 100% concurrent with the Revelation of God’s Word."

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Intro to the Table of Nations

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 5, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Today I was hoping to take an introductory look at the famed Table of Nations found in Genesis 10. The Table of Nations stands today as an enormous testament to the truth of the Bible. If you're unfamiliar with this piece of history, read on, and hopefully I can explain a bit. Thanks for reading.

Genesis 10 is amazing; here's the background. God determined that man's thoughts were evil all the time and He was sorry He made him. He decided to destroy all mankind in a worldwide Flood about 4400 years ago (give or take). In all the earth, God found but one man's family that He felt was worth saving to repopulate the earth. The Flood waters rose, but Noah and his wife along with his three sons and their wives survived because their father had received orders from God to build an Ark. I'm sure you know the story. It rained a lot and the entire earth was engulfed in water, killing everything on land and likely rearranging the planet's surface. All (land dwelling animals) that survived were on the Ark—Noah's family and 2 of each kind of land animal. After the waters receded, the Ark rested on the Mountains of Ararat. As the animals and men exited the Ark, God told them to “ fruitful and multiple and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). He said this twice in a short period of time (again in Genesis 9:7), emphasizing its importance, blessing them, and establishing His covenant with them.

However, rather than fulfill this command of God, the descendants of Noah decided to join together and stay in one place, making a great name for themselves. This is the historical account of the Tower of Babel. I'll get into that later, perhaps, but God was not happy with the people and confused their languages so the different families couldn't understand each other. This drove them apart and the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Noah's sons) went their separate ways, filling the earth and establishing the nations. The Table of Nations gives us a look at who these descendants were and what people groups they became. Let's take a look further.

The first verse of Genesis 10 says, “This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the Flood.” It goes on from there to give us a detailed look at the offspring of these men, and their offspring, and so on. At that time, the time of the dispersion where everyone went their own way, there were 70 different families accounted for in the genealogies listed for us. The heads of these families literally became the founders of all the major people groups in the world today. Of course, over time, some of these groups have been extinguished—either killed altogether or assimilated into another people group, or they've mixed with other groups making a new group, in a sense. But every people group on earth can trace its origins back to these 70 families and, eventually, back to Noah through his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I think that's remarkable.

Archaeology and anthropology both seem to confirm what is written in these pages for the most part. I'll delve into that in future blog posts, but I say “for the most part” because there are peoples mentioned in the Table that we have no knowledge of. That's okay, of course. As I stated, there have been groups that have been lost through history due to war, wide scale tragedy, or assimilation. But for some of these groups, a great deal of them were unknown to us at all except in the Table of Nations only to have evidence unearthed thousands of years later. I find that strong evidence for the veracity of the text and also for the Bible in general. This is recorded history. It confirms that the Bible is true and also confirms without question the account of the Flood. If it confirms the Flood and the lineages outlined are to be trusted, it then confirms the creation of man—Adam and Eve—and gives us a pretty good look at when this might have happened. And if Adam and Eve were real people, it stands to reason that the previous 5 days of creation are historically accurate as well.

In other words, if the Table of Nations is accurate and true, then the Flood was a real event that was global in its extent. If the Flood was a real event, then all of geology testifies to this and leaves no room for 1) evolution and 2) billions of years. If this is true, then the creation week must have been a real event and we have no excuse for suggesting it's some sort of poetic literature or metaphor or anything else other than an historical account of something that, according to the family histories outlined in the Bible, occurred about 6000 years ago (give or take).

Over the next couple of weeks, I intend to review what the Table of Nations says. I want to explore the origins of the major people groups around the world as well as look at languages and their origins. Have you ever thought about where a language comes from? How is it developed? It's been a bit of a mystery for us if we fail to recognize the truth of Scripture. But if we accept it, we know where language came from as well as where all these groups of people came from. From these groups, we would eventually develop what some (incorrectly I feel) call races of people. A “race” is a subgroup within a species. I feel that immediately builds walls of separation and disunity. We are all members of one race—that being the human race. We have a variety of skin shades, eyes shapes, hair and eye colors, etc. But we are all descended from the same family—from Noah's sons and their wives. We can actually limit the number of our ancestors to 5. That is one man and 4 women. All of the sons of Noah were just that—sons of Noah. So all the children born of his daughters-in-law were his grandchildren. And his sons' mother was Noah's wife. So... 4 women and one man. From there, it is reasonable to believe that all the genetic variety we see around the globe within mankind is from this family.

I hope you'll stick with me as we explore this topic. The Table of Nations is a wonderful proof for the truth of Scripture, especially for the truth of Genesis. It means the Flood happened and was global, and it means the creation week happened about 1600 years previously (give or take). This eliminates the need for deep time or evolution and, in fact, makes them necessarily false. Thanks for reading. I know I've made some big claims in this blog post. I will be supporting those claims over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned, faithful reader.

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Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 4, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

Years ago, when my wife and I had our first child, we had a decision to make. In fact, we had a whole lot of decisions to make. One of those decisions was, how are we going to teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and how would we administer this teaching? We decided very early on to be consistent in our teaching and in our delivering of benefits or consequences to one’s actions.

We decided to administer first time obedience with our children. Once they knew what we expected of them, if they chose not to obey the very first time, they would receive a consequence for their disobedience. My wife and I agreed long before the offense what this consequence would be, and we also agreed that if we were not consistent with our children in administering this consequence then my wife and I were the ones at fault because we were allowing our children to continue disobeying us without said consequence being administered. We decided to take responsibility for our own actions.

For instance, if I came home after working and was sitting in my chair in the family room relaxing and decided I was too tired to administer the consequence or discipline when an offense occurred, then I was now becoming a part of the problem because I was not teaching our children the difference between right and wrong. If I was “too tired” to parent, well, I was in the wrong. Why? Because the God of the Bible had given my wife and me these children and had chosen us to raise them in His good and right ways. By us not taking responsibility in training them up in His ways, we were teaching them that our comfort was more important than following God and His ways. Let me dig into this idea just a bit.

Years ago, a friend of mine told me, “I have come to realize that if there is a son problem, there is more than likely a daddy problem going on.” Ouch! But that is so true. It’s not that fathers are bad or are not needed, it’s that we as fathers need to take responsibility for our actions and be willing to show our children what is good and right and true in every circumstance. In fact, when we do mess up, that is a great time to show your children what true humility really looks like.

I praise God that He sent me an amazing woman into my life who is a very strong-willed Christ follower and yet also understands the importance of working together as a team in our marriage. This means that even when she thinks my leading might be too tough or strong, she still honors my decision because we made decisions together long before we got into the situation. We believe character is not built in trials, character is tested in trials; it is built before the trial begins. This goes for not only someone in raising a child but also on a very personal note for each person in this world as well.

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The Founding Fathers on Immigration and Naturalization

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 3, 2018 0 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

There has been much debate over the years in regards to the view of immigration and border control that was shared among the founding fathers of our nation. Historians on both sides of the argument have attempted to co-opt the founders into their camp, and there is so much misinformation on the subject that it is difficult to ascertain anything about the actual view of our founders without abandoning modern research and returning to the original source documents from those great men who formed our nation.

When we return to the original writings of the founders, we can see two extremely important points about immigration that are often overlooked by modern scholarship on both sides of the debate.

1. There is a huge difference between immigration and naturalization.

Most of the quotations floating around the internet and purporting to reveal the founders’ views of immigration are actually statements about naturalization. For example, when Alexander Hamilton wrote that: “the influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to … change and corrupt the national spirit,” he was not writing about immigration (the act of moving to a new land) but rather about naturalization (the process of becoming a citizen). This statement was part of Hamilton’s argument for requiring foreigners to live in America for five years before they could apply for citizenship and gain the right to vote. He concluded his argument with this statement:

“Some reasonable term ought to be allowed to enable aliens to get rid of foreign and acquire American attachments; to learn the principles and imbibe the spirit of our government; and to admit of at least a probability of their feeling a real interest in our affairs. A residence of at least five years ought to be required.”

Hamilton was not arguing for limits on immigration; he was arguing for delayed naturalization.

Similarly, James Madison said that we should invite “the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us,” that the goal of this invitation was “to increase the wealth and strength of the community,” and that those not adding to the wealth and strength of the community “are not the people we are in want of.” In all of these statements, Madison was speaking of naturalization and not of immigration. In fact, Madison introduced these statements with the explanation that:

“When we are considering the advantages that may result from an easy mode of naturalization, we ought also to consider the cautions necessary to guard against abuses.”

He closed his address with the statement that:

“I should be exceeding sorry, sir, that our rule of naturalization excluded a single person of good fame, that really meant to incorporate himself into our society; on the other hand, I do not wish that any man should acquire the privilege, but who, in fact, is a real addition to the wealth or strength of the United States. It may be a question of some nicety, how far we can make our law to admit an alien to the right of citizenship, step by step; but there was no doubt, but we may, and ought to require residence as an essential.”

Once again, Madison, just like Hamilton, was arguing for delayed naturalization and not for any kind of limit on immigration.

In regards to naturalization, our founding fathers were adamant that assimilation into the American language and culture should be a requirement for citizenship. In regards to immigration, however, the founders never once argued for a limit on the number or type of people allowed to enter our borders.

2. Immigration was not just about improving America.

Throughout the writings of the founders, there are many references to the benefits of immigration, and some of those benefits have been forgotten in the flurry of debates. Both sides seem to be focused on the benefits of immigration to America, and the founders spoke of such benefits as well. More often than not, however, the founders were just as focused on the benefits to the immigrants themselves and even on the benefits that were enjoyed by the nation being left.

Jefferson, for example, explained that America’s immigration system was not based “on the selfish principle of increasing our own population at the expense of other nations” but rather on a desire “to consecrate a sanctuary for those whom the misrule of Europe may compel to seek happiness in other climes.” He then went on to explain how America’s open immigration system actually provided a benefit for other nations. He wrote that:

“This refuge once known will produce reaction on the happiness even of those who remain there, by warning their task-masters that when the evils of Egyptian oppression become heavier than those of the abandonment of country, another Canaan is open where their subjects will be received as brothers.”

Washington also expressed his desire for America to be a safe haven for those oppressed in other countries. He explained that:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

Madison’s 1791 article on immigration lists several benefits that America’s open immigration policy would bring to other nations. According to Madison, one of those benefits was that allowing immigrants to come to America would help the economy of the nation that they were leaving. He pointed out that many nations were “permitting, and even promoting emigrations to this country” in order to boost their own economy, and he praised them for their efforts.

Madison then proceeded to endorse open immigration in order to provide relief for the poor and the beggars of other nations. He wrote that:

“Freedom of emigration is due to the general interests of humanity. The course of emigrations being always, from places where living is more difficult, to places where it is less difficult, the happiness of the emigrant is promoted by the change: and as a more numerous progeny is another effect of the same cause, human life is at once made a greater blessing, and more individuals are created to partake of it.”

He even argued that increased immigration would improve the declining morals of other nations.

“It may not be superfluous to add, that freedom of emigration is favorable to morals. A great proportion of the vices which distinguish crowded from thin settlements, are known to have their rise in the facility of illicit intercourse between the sexes, on one hand, and the difficulty of maintaining a family, on the other. Provide an outlet for the surplus of population, and marriages will be increased in proportion. Every four or five emigrants will be the fruit of a legitimate union which would not otherwise have taken place.”

Over and over again throughout the writings of the founding fathers, we find them praising what Madison termed “the character of liberality” which formed the foundation of our immigration system. They realized that “America was indebted to emigration for her settlement and prosperity,” and they recognized that the “part of America which had encouraged [immigrants] the most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture, and the arts.” At the same time, the founders were also very careful to ensure that immigrants did not become citizens until after they had been properly assimilated into the American culture. We would be wise to remember both the founders’ desire for open immigration and their caution against rapid naturalization.

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 Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 2, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Truth is an important topic in our culture today. Many people say it’s a subjective thing - what’s true for you may not be true for me. We’ve written on the topic of absolute or relative truth previously, here and here, so I encourage you to go check out those posts. Today, we’re going to focus on what the Bible says about truth.

Perhaps one of the most commonly known passages about truth is found in John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If you look at the context of that passage, you’ll see that Jesus spoke that line right after saying, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” (verse 31). The truth comes from Jesus’ teachings, and it will set us free when we are His disciples. Jesus and the Jews then have a discussion about sin and being Abraham’s descendants, and Jesus ends His discourse with this: “Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (verses 45-47). Jesus did not sin, so He never lied, so He always told the truth. But the truth wasn’t what those Jews wanted to hear, so they did not believe Him. Sound familiar, like anything in our culture today?

We know from a few chapters later in John that Jesus Himself is the truth. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6). If we know Jesus, then we know the way to the Father, the truth about everything, and we can have life through Him. He is the truth. 1 John 5:20 says, “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

A few chapters later, in Jesus’ message to His disciples, He shares that the Spirit we have received is the Spirit of truth. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit helps us understand and comprehend what the truth is, because the Spirit is truth.

The belt of truth is part of the armor of God, in Ephesians 6:14. We are to have it buckled around our waist. You can read more about the belt of truth here.

Speaking truthfully is important for all believers, and it’s even part of the Ten Commandments. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). This is echoed many times in the book of Proverbs too. Proverbs 12:19 says, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” Proverbs 19:5 says, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.” Similarly, Psalm 15:1-3 says, “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others.”

Proverbs 30:5 also tells us that God’s Word is true: “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” In John 17:17, when Jesus is praying to the Father for the disciples, He says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The message of Jesus is truth: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13).

There are many more passages about truth in the Bible; these are just scratching the surface. Why are there so many? I believe that’s partly because the Bible IS truth. The Bible is THE authority, the standard by which we measure whether all things are true or false. Naturally, to hold that place of authority, the Bible must speak about truth. Also, the Bible is the way that God has specifically revealed Himself to us. God is truth, so His Word is truth, and again should speak on what truth is.

What is truth in your life? Do you try and make your own “truth,” or are you holding to the truth of the Bible? I encourage you to find out more about what the Bible says about truth and what the Bible says the truth is.

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 Obadiah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 1, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Irena Sendler, whose story can be found here, was a woman who risked everything to save the innocent and oppressed. She valued God’s standard of justice, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:8) over the current laws of the land. Her “land” happened to be Nazi-occupied Warsaw, Poland during the time of the Holocaust. Irena actually did what many of us would like to think we’d do if we were in her situation. She used her position as a social worker to rescue some 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw ghetto, giving them fake identities, and arranging for them to receive the care and shelter they needed in safe places. She had an understanding, just like Queen Esther in the Bible, that God had probably given her the position she had for such a time as the one she faced. Irena is quoted as saying, “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory." She did not see it as something for which she could boast, but as the ONLY reasonable choice for a true follower of God to make in that situation. She risked everything to save those children and endured severe torture and imprisonment, but never gave up the names or locations of the children she rescued. Irena Sendler is a true, contemporary hero of the faith.

Her story reminds me of a man from the Old Testament, who will be the final specific hero of the faith I will address in this series. As we come toward the end of Hebrews 11, the writer tells us that “the world was not worthy” of the faithful heroes about whom he’s been writing (v. 38). In other words, the collective group of the despised, mistreated, and martyred servants of God were of greater worth than all the rest of humanity combined. The world did not see them as valuable and likely forgot about them after they were gone, but the writer reminds us that God will not forget about them and neither should we if we want to know what it’s like to live out our faith in the midst of the trials we face today. But then, after making what appears to be a concluding statement about the heroes of the faith, the writer surprisingly adds one more description of them: “They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground” (v. 38). We can’t be sure why the writer came back to this, but it’s worth noting that two of the most well-known heroes from the Old Testament, David and Elijah, would BOTH fit this statement. Both men followed the Lord and were forced to live as fugitives as the evil kings leading God’s people sought to kill them. Since we’ve already discussed those men in this series, I want to turn your attention to a lesser known faithful hero, but one who still played a major role in the history of faith and specifically in the story of Elijah.

The man’s name is Obadiah. Now, we know that someone named Obadiah wrote a book of prophecy in the Old Testament, but we can’t be sure which one it was because there are numerous “Obadiahs” mentioned other places in the Old Testament. The name means “servant of Yahweh” and that’s no surprise because the Obadiah of Elijah’s day certainly fits that moniker. You can find his role in the story in 1 Kings 18:2-16, which are the verses directly preceding Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. This is where I can begin to draw similarities between Obadiah and Irena Sendler. Obadiah was the palace administrator under the evil King Ahab. This means he was in a unique position to work for justice even as the maniacal king and his crazy wife Jezebel were slaughtering many of the Lord’s prophets. We might think that he should’ve stood up to them, but remember that even Jesus told his followers to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Sometimes, we’re too quick to leave bad situations. We see discomfort for ourselves or evil all around us and we conclude that God must want us to leave. But maybe God wants us to be the change agent, or maybe he just wants us to use the platform he has given us to do his work in some way. This is a perfect example of understanding what it means to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:15-16).

Obadiah was put in a position, within an administration where he clearly didn’t agree with the rulers, to do God’s work even at great personal risk. 1 Kings 18:3-4 tells us that he was a “devout believer in the Lord” who “had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water." I understand that all indications are that Obadiah himself did not have to go live in a cave, so the writer of Hebrews was likely talking about the great faith of the prophets who trusted him. There’s no doubt that they also are to be commended. But they faced a certain death had it not been for Obadiah risking his life for them.

Obadiah’s faith didn’t end there. As the story continues, he is commanded by Ahab to go look for grass to feed their mules and horses because they are nearing starvation during the major famine across the land. As he follows the command of his superior, he is out walking and stumbles across Elijah (v. 7). Elijah tells him to go and tell Ahab that he has found Elijah. Obadiah, knowing that Ahab has been searching all over God’s green earth looking for Elijah to kill him, understandably has a brief moment of trepidation. He is certain that the Spirit of God is leading Elijah and worries that if he goes and tells Ahab that Elijah is there and then Ahab cannot find him, he’ll be called to account with his life (vv. 9-14). Elijah simply gives him the assurance that he would present himself to Ahab later that day, because we all know that if you’re following the Lord wholeheartedly there really is nothing and no one to fear. After that, we see that Obadiah puts his faith in God and in the promise from Elijah and spills the beans to Ahab. He had already been willing to die if he got caught hiding the 100 prophets, so why not keep leaving his life up to God anyway?

Obadiah’s part of the story ends there. We know what took place between Elijah and Ahab after that, but we don’t know what part, if any, Obadiah continued to have. We don’t know how much longer he served Ahab, or whether he was alive or dead when Ahab finally got what was coming to him. What we do know about Obadiah is that he was faithful. God doesn’t call us to worry about the results. We can trust those to him. He just calls us to be faithful. Obadiah was faithful in smuggling prophets into caves just like Irena Sendler was faithful in smuggling children into homes. Both individuals didn’t stop there but continued to supply those they had rescued with their daily needs. Both of them put doing what was right in God’s eyes ahead of loyalty to an evil and wicked man. Are you willing to live like these individuals, or do you constantly seek whatever is most comfortable and then try to tell yourself and others that it’s what God wants? What he truly wants is obedience and faithfulness regardless of the comfort level. He has put you on this earth for a reason. You do not exist unto yourself alone, but you have a purpose and a responsibility to use whatever platform or position he has given you to bless, love, and serve others. What’s stopping you and why? Surrender it to the Lord this very day!

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