The Names of God: Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Mekoddishkem

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 22, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord My Righteousness
Jehovah Mekoddishkem: The Lord My Sanctifier

The names of God are numerous mostly because our human minds cannot truly grasp an infinite description of an infinite being. Much of the names of God we find are based off His character and His actions. Here we see God being the standard of righteousness and the One who separates His people to be holy and pure, unique from this world.

I chose to tackle these two names of God together because they both address the same core process: taking sinful man, declaring him righteous, and making him holy. Christianity makes absolutely no sense at all to the natural man. It is not merely that we have a crucified Savior, but that we have a pure, righteous, and holy God administering perfect justice and justifying the wicked. It is called the “Scandal of Grace.” Yes, a “scandal” is an appropriate term, yet it was done without breaking any laws nor violating any part of God’s character. Let’s dig into this scandal.

Everything always should start with the character and nature of God. The whole story is about Him. God is a Holy God. He is pure, perfect in every detail and aspect about Him. He is righteous and just. He rewards those who do good and gives those who do evil their just reward. Every man will reap what he sows, whether good or bad. The problem is once Adam and Eve sinned and ate of the fruit, it wasn’t just them who were affected, but all of their offspring were affected too.

People complain that it wasn’t fair to be judged for a sin we didn’t commit. That is true. We did not eat of that tree, however Adam and Eve gave us that nature. That which is corrupted cannot produce that which is pure. We understand this in genetics. When a mutation in a parent takes place, that mutation is then carried on to the offspring. It is not the fault of the offspring, but it does not make situation the offspring is in null or void. We inherited the “mutation” of sin from our parents, but unlike a mere genetic mutation, we have each partaken in our own sin and that is what we will be held accountable for. We won’t be held accountable for the sins of our fathers, just the sins we commit.

But this leads to the grand conundrum. How can God be a perfect and righteous God and show mercy to wicked sinners? If God does not punish sin, He cannot be righteous. Yet how can God be merciful if He punishes every sinner? The answer is found in Jesus Christ. I like to use the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant to illustrate this point. The first servant had a completely unpayable debt and begged for mercy to repay it. It would take him multiple lifetimes to have a hope of repaying it. Yet the master forgave it. The debt didn’t go away; the master simply did not hold the servant responsible for repaying it. So, what happened to the debt? The master took it upon himself. The master “ate the bill” so to say. The parable goes on to show this servant never paid attention to what happened to him, but my point is made here. Jesus enabled the Father to forgive us by taking on the debt we owed. Because Jesus was without sin, He had no debt against God himself, and therefore He was able to repay that debt. But that debt was death. Jesus paid the debt with his very life and did so by becoming a man, living as a man, and doing what man was always intended to be able to do.

There is so much more to say on this, but here is the short and skinny: when Jesus died, all who believe in Him and have been born-again, everything that originally belonged to Christ was imputed, transmitted, onto us. His righteous, His perfect, His purity, His holiness, His standing with the Father, is given to us. This is why we can call God, Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord my righteousness. It is not of our own doing, not of our own works, not of our own efforts, but of Christ and Christ alone.

Jesus Christ is our righteousness. When God looks upon us, He does not see the scarlet red of sin but instead sees the red blood of Christ. He sees the debt we owed as settled and cancelled. In God’s eyes, we are not seen merely as though we never sinned, but even better. The term is “restored.” When a car guy restores a car, he takes an old car that was used, abused, and no longer as good as it used to be. He strips it down to its core chassis and then begins the restoration process. He gets new parts, new paint, etc. and eventually the car ends up looking exactly like the original, only now it is far more valuable than it would have been brand new from the factory. That is us. We are going through the restoration process. The theological term for this is sanctification.

God is Jehovah Mekoddishkem, the Lord my sanctifier. He takes us through the restoration process which first must strip us down to the core being and from there He can begin putting us back together the way he intended. As a clay potter must work out the stones and hard chunks before he can mold the clay into the shape and vessel he wants and as a goldsmith must melt the gold so the impurities can be scraped off, God must remove the sin in our lives so He can work with the pure substance. This is not a fast process. While the formal moment of salvation, the moment of spiritual re-birth, is instant, sanctification is not. If the goldsmith rushes the process, he’ll lose a fair amount of gold with the impurities. Likewise, if God were to just instantly wipe out our sin, He’d lose much of us in the process.

But while the process takes a long time, we can be assured that God will see the work He started through until it is completed. That said, the process can certainly take much longer than it should if we don’t cooperate with God. Very often, God has to break someone down to powder so in order to be able to rebuild him back into what He wants. It is HARD to die daily but that is what it takes to be sanctified and to be made into the image of Christ. However, when we surrender and let God do His work, the end result will always be worth it. Let us put our trust and let Jesus Christ be Jehovah Tsidkenu, our Righteousness, and Jehovah Mekoddishkem, our Sanctifier.

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 Young Earthism New?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 21, 2019 0 comments

by Steve Risner

This week we will be addressing old earth creationist (or theistic evolutionist) Michael Roberts' 7th question in a series of 10 for young earth aka Biblical creationists. This question is a great one as it allows me the opportunity to show very clearly how many of these people choose to misrepresent or rewrite history. It's far too common, and this misleading needs to stop. When I read statements like this, my first inclination is to wonder if it's a parody or spoof of some kind. Unfortunately, these sorts of statements are serious and concerning. In reality, this is an attempt to either create the image that deep time has been a traditional view (so they're looking to use an ad populum argument), or they're trying to strip the Biblical creationist of the same status, or both. The funny thing is, as Biblical creationists have said all along, popularity has no weight when it comes to the truth, but the truth is quite clearly on our side. What is Mr. Roberts' question?

Is young earth creationism the traditional Christian view?

The simple answer here, which I like to provide whenever possible, is: of course it is. However, for years I have seen old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists try to make it sound like Biblical creationism (what they term “young earth creationism”) is a recent development. They try to point to people from the 1800's or as late as the 1960's who have written on or promoted the Biblical age of the earth and/or the global Flood narrative as people who originated the ideas. This is laughable, if we're being nice.

The traditional and most widely-held view throughout all of history has been that God created the heavens and the earth about 6000 years ago with Adam and Eve being created on the 6th day. The Old and New Testaments both seem to have no issues with this. There is no way to use the text of Scripture to come up with anything else. There is no version of the Bible that even hints at the millions or billions of years old earth creationists want and theistic evolutionists require. I stated it previously in this series, but to get us all up to speed as to how the Biblical creationist (rightly called Biblical as our beliefs are drawn directly from the Bible) comes up with a date since creation of about 6000 years, I'll post it here again:

We start with Genesis 5 where we have genealogies recorded for us from Adam to Noah. This is not just a record of who was someone's father, but it also gives the number years in between. This is not like most other genealogies in the Bible which may be incomplete or without these age indicators. This makes them reliable for calculating time to within a year or so. Genesis 7:6 tells us how old Noah was when the Flood started. So, using the years indicated in Genesis 5 which ends with Noah and Genesis 7:6, we reasonably know that the Flood occurred 1656 years after Adam's creation (which was on day 6 of the creation week). This is reasonable but could be off by 10 years or so, depending on how the years actually fall. Genesis 11:10 begins another genealogy with ages assigned to its members from Shem, the son of Noah, to Abraham. Genesis 21:5 tells us how old Abraham was when Isaac was born. Genesis 25:26 tells us how hold Isaac was when Jacob (Israel) was born. Genesis 47:9 tells us that Jacob was 130 when he went to Egypt. Using only these numbers, we come up with Jacob moving to Egypt 2298 years after the creation of Adam.

Exodus 12:40 tells us that Israel was in Egypt for 430 years (confirming what God told Abraham about his descendants being in Egypt for 400 years). This puts the Exodus at 2728 years after the creation of Adam. Israel wandered the desert for 40 years, so they entered the Promise Land 2768 years after the creation of Adam.

Now we need to move on to 1 Kings 6:1, which states clearly that it was 480 years after the Exodus that Solomon began working on the Temple of God in Jerusalem. This means Solomon began work on the Temple 3208 years after the creation of Adam (that's over half the history of the world now). Based on the chronologies written for us in the Old Testament (which are too complex to list here), we know that the time from the Temple to the Exile was about 345 years. I say “about” because it is a little less solid a number, but it's certainly not thousands or millions of years off. It's probably within 100 years and likely much closer than that. This puts the Exile of the Israelites at about 3553 years from the creation of Adam. Here we can jump from the timing found in the Bible and put it in our terms. The Exile is generally considered to have occurred in 586 BC. That means the year 1 AD was 4150 since the creation of Adam, plus or minus no more than 50 years! Then we add 2018 years to get us to 2019 and we end up at 6168 years since the creation of Adam, who was made in the image of God on the 6th day of the creation week.

Was it really a small sect of people, or were people on sure or clear on the age of the world throughout history? I have compiled a short list of Jews and Christians. I say “short” because I got tired of recording the names and decided this was enough. There are many more from history.

This list of theologians, scientists, historians etc. who have adhered to a Scriptural reading and have maintained the “young earth” position would include: Julius Africanus, George Syncellus, John Jackson, William Hales, Eusebius, Marianus Scotus, L. Condomanus, Thomas Lydiat, M. Michael Maestlinus, J. Ricciolus, Jacob Salianus, H. Spondanus, Martin Anstey, W. Lange, E. Reinholt, J. Cappellus, E. Greswell, E. Faulstick, D. Petavius, Frank Klassen, Becke, Krentzeim, W. Dolen, E. Reusnerus, J. Claverius, C. Longomontanus, P. Melanchthon, J. Haynlinus, A. Salmeron, J. Scaliger, M. Beroaldus, A. Helwigius, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Clement, Theophilus, Hyppolytus, Jerome, Bede, Henry F. Clinton, Maimonides, John Lightfoot, Ussher, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine, and many many others. You can see many of these names at this link. The Jewish calendar is now at 5779. This is the number of years since creation, according to their traditions.

Has Biblical creation (aka young earth creation) been the traditional view over the centuries? Without question I think we can say, “Absolutely.” It's only been widely doubted as the obvious intent of the text in the last 200 years or so, as secularists hijacked science and have tried to make the history of the world and the universe for that matter a scientific subject to back up the humanist origins myth. Roberts makes the wild claim that people prior to 1800 had no idea about the age of the earth, primarily, it seems, because no one had ever seen a rock layer or a fossil found within one. What Roberts fails to recognize is that as far back as 200 AD, Tertullian was writing about the Flood and how it accounted for marine fossils being found on mountain sides in layers of rock. It wasn't until the 1800's that secular humanists decided to rewrite history and arbitrarily assign ages to rock layers. This is literally what happened. The dates assigned long ago were arbitrary, if we're being honest and designed to remove the Bible from history and science. Flood geology didn't start in 1960, as Roberts claims. Not even close. It's been the norm in Christianity for about 2000 years and in the Jewish faith for much, much longer.

Why would most people over the centuries believe the Bible's clear teaching is a universe and an earth that is 6000 years old? Because that's what the Bible obviously claims. Biblical creationists, old earth creationists, and even theistic evolutionists and secularists for the most part, agree that the text seems quite unquestioningly in support of a 6000-year-old creation. The reason for this is clear, I hope. It's what the text says.

But perhaps Roberts, like most old earth creationists or theistic evolutionists, is confused. He is maybe mixing up Biblical creationism (his term is young earth creationism) with the apologetics used to defend the Bible that focuses on the Genesis account of creation and the age of the earth. It's all too common, really. But the fact that this apologetic didn't exist until recently is a testament to the fact that everyone until recently accepted what the text clearly tells us about creation and the time that creation occurred.

Lita Cosner from says it beautifully: “It's true that the specialized area of apologetics devoted to defending the Biblical doctrine of creation and bringing the relevant scientific facts to bear on the topic is a fairly recent development. However, there is a long line of Biblical interpreters, theologians, and scientists who have believed and defended the Biblical doctrine of creation. Indeed, it could be argued that creation apologetics is the logical outgrowth of the same sort of belief in Biblical creation in a context where the doctrine is being specifically attacked and undermined in the church. The lack of a specialized area of creation apologetics in the early church should therefore be taken as evidence of the universality of belief in creation—it simply wasn't even debated.”

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Psalm 24

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 18, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Psalm 24 is a wonderful psalm of worship and coming into the presence of Almighty God. This is what we do every time we gather together to praise and worship Him! While this was written many centuries ago, it’s still very applicable for today. Let’s dig in.

“​The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (verses 1-2)

The Hebrew language has a few different words for “earth,” and the one used here is the same one that’s used in Genesis 1:1-2. It encompasses all of God’s creation on earth! You and I are included in this, as the psalm says “all who live in it.” We belong to God, not to ourselves.

God is the one who created, founded, and established the earth - not us. God is the one who has creative majesty and power over all the earth. No human could ever hold this power, even with all of our scientific and technological advances. Think about all the things we’re still not able to control, such as the weather and natural disasters. God is still sovereign over all these things. ALL of the earth belongs to the Lord. He is the almighty, powerful God, creator of the universe.

“​Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who many stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” (verses 3-4)

These two verses build on the previous two. Are we worthy to come before Almighty God? Can we stand in His holy place? Do we even compare to the majestic creator God who created this entire universe? Nope!

Only one who is worthy can do so, who has “clean hands and a pure heart.” The word for “hands” here specifically refers to the palm of your hand. If you’re holding something, it’s in your palm. Or if we wash our hands, we make sure our palms are clean. Our hands are often used to refer to our actions. The word “heart” here also refers to our mind or our will. It shows that our thoughts and intentions must be pure as well, not just our outward actions.

This section also says we must not “trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” We may think we’re doing well at this and could approach God, but we really aren’t. Just because you don’t have a statue you worship doesn’t mean you’re not worshiping an idol. We have all sorts of “little gods” in our lives - other people, our jobs, making or spending money, our material possessions, etc., basically anything that isn’t God. We like tangible things and have a hard time putting our trust in things we can’t see, touch, or feel, so it’s really easy to get distracted by the things of this world.

But we have more to the story today than the psalmist did. We know that Jesus is that person, the one with fully clean hands and a fully pure heart! Jesus never worshipped anyone but the one true God. He led a perfect, sinless life and died the death that we deserved, so that we have the opportunity to approach God. As this psalm says, we may “ascend the mountain of the Lord” because of Jesus.

“​They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.” (verse 5)

This verse refers to the people in the previous verses, the ones with clean hands and a pure heart. These people will receive blessings from God. An interesting thing here in the Hebrew is the preposition that the NIV translates as “from.” Hebrew only has 3 primary prepositions, while English has many more, so there’s lots of ambiguity when translating. The preposition here could also mean “on account of.” So instead of saying “blessings from God,” we receive “blessings on account of God” - meaning on account of the sacrifice of Jesus, because He did the work for us. We didn’t do anything to earn it.

In the second half of this verse, the word “vindication” is better translated as “righteousness,” and again that same preposition occurs. We receive righteousness and are declared right by God on account of what He has done for us. While the name of Jesus is not specifically mentioned in this psalm, it’s clear that it’s all about His redemptive work on the cross.

“​Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.” (verse 6)

In the English, we see the word “seek” twice here, while in Hebrew it’s two different verbs. The first is seeking as in investigating, studying, or practicing something repeatedly. Blessings come to the one who repeatedly investigates and studies God. The second “seek” is more of a searching or inquiring about something. We should search for God and what He is doing in our everyday lives. Don’t just wait but be actively searching and inquiring for Him.

“​Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” (verse 7)

There’s a shift in the psalm here to simply praising God and declaring Him as our King of glory. The gates and doors here are referring to the literal gates and doors they would have had back then in their walled cities, but figuratively they refer to opening our hearts and minds to God’s truth. We need to let God into our lives and allow Him to work through us so that His glory may be seen by all!

“​Who is this king of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (verse 8) The natural question to ask is who is this person? We know that He is the Lord Jesus! He is strong, mighty, powerful, and heroic. These are extremely prized characteristics in Israel in that day, as warriors were needed to fend off enemies and conquer lands.

“​Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. ​Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - he is the King of glory.” (verses 9-10)

This is one of those times we’re reminded that the psalms are the songs of the early church. We could think of this like a chorus in our modern songs, as verse 9 is an exact repeat of verse 7, and verse 10 is similar to verse 8. This emphasis shows just how important this point is.

So how can we apply this psalm to our lives today? Jesus needs to be the King of our lives, in that most important position above all else. Are you letting God rule over everything in your life, or are you taking that control for yourself? We know God will always be the King of the universe because He created it, but we can choose to believe and follow Him or not. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, and He must be our King of Glory. Will you choose Him today?

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Rags to Riches

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 17, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Recently I saw the following quote on Facebook from a man whose source of income is providing several different types of services for his personal clientele: “Rich and successful folks might be the worst tippers on the planet." Obviously, that’s a matter of opinion and very much a generalization that was based on the person’s own experiences on this given day. But it made me think about how those who have a lot of material wealth and have made it their priority so easily forget about appreciating the labor of others, which made me think of 1 Timothy 6:10a: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Many who are rich are unable to find satisfaction. They are constantly looking for more or paranoid of losing what they have. Because they are focused on themselves and their “stuff," they tend to forget about the troubles of the poor. Again, these things are not true of all “rich folks," but we can certainly agree that the attitudes do exist.

James tells us that we ought to see people the way God sees them, which would mean we hold those who are poor in this world in honor because God has chosen them for something much better beyond this world. In James 2:5-7, the writer acknowledges that some in his audience of early Jewish Christians have chosen to only see people according to their rags or their riches. He directly says to them, “But you have dishonored the poor” (v. 6). Those who wore rags for clothes because that’s all they could afford were generally treated with contempt. Those who dressed in fine linens and adornment were treated with high honor because of their wealth and status. James told his audience that they shouldn’t be favoring the wealthy in this way because in those days the rich exploited and oppressed those who were poor.

We can deduce from the way James writes, as well as the history of the early church, that the majority of believers were living in poverty. Acts 2:44-45 tells us that the believers stayed together and sold property and possessions so they could meet one another’s needs. As the early church was persecuted, there is no doubt that the believers experienced great personal loss, from homes to material possessions and eventually to physical pain and death. Siding with Jesus and His followers did not lead to worldly economic success. The rich not only exploited and oppressed the poor believers through physical persecution but also by “dragging them into court” (v. 6). Those who sought to destroy the early Christian movement were willing to use any means necessary to do so, whether legal or illegal. James never encouraged anyone to seek revenge or to show favoritism AGAINST the rich either. He just wanted the believers to know that to honor the rich just because of material things was to be siding with those who persecuted them and their Lord. It was counterproductive.

More importantly than the fact that it was counterproductive, James tells the believers the biggest reason they cannot show favoritism toward the rich is that God does not (James 2:1). In fact, there is a sense in which God has especially blessed the poor. James says He has “chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him” (James 2:5). He wants them to look at their material poverty not as a reminder of their earthly trials, but as an assurance of the eternal reward that awaits them if they continue to love Him and keep their faith. They might be wearing rags now, but it’s all temporary until they are given the riches of heaven. In contrast, the rich who they favor now have no such assurance, and everything they have will pass away if they do not have faith in Jesus.

There are two different ways in which we can say that God has “chosen the poor," and both are accurate. The first is that He has given the poor more opportunities for faith. Those who are poor in the world’s eyes can choose to look at their circumstances as opportunities to trust in God to carry them. So, just like those with the most money are richest in the world’s eyes, those who have the most opportunities to depend on God during trying times would be the richest in faith. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Corinth in a similar way in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

The other way that we can say that God has chosen the poor is that He literally entered our messed up world in poverty. He didn’t have to. God could’ve chosen to come down to our world with trumpets blaring, all the riches in the world, and undeniable power and authority. Instead, Jesus came into the world through a very poor family, to an unwed teenage girl whose family would struggle to make ends meet as long as they lived. Even when He went out and about for His three years of ministry, He didn’t stay in luxurious palaces. He stayed wherever people allowed Him to stay. This is why He told would-be disciples that they had to count the cost if they were going to follow him. In Matthew 8:20, “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’" He also told the crowd in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." If God Himself was willing to choose the poor and to live among them on this earth in the person of Jesus, why would those who follow Jesus assume the rich should be more favored? Philippians 2:5-8 reminds us that we should be humble like Jesus, who set aside His nature as God, the wealthiest of all time, and took on the nature of an obedient servant. Servants were never rich in those days.

Friends, if you’ve been having financial troubles and looking at those who have money and seem to be financially set as sort of the “dream life," I encourage you to let your knowledge of the Lord change your perspective. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck and can barely pay the bills each month, you have an opportunity to live in obedience to God and trust Him to replace those rags one day with riches in His kingdom. But this only happens “if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:23). Refuse to chase after worldly, temporary wealth. Commit to viewing your struggles as unique opportunities that God chose to bless you with. Celebrate the assurance that you have in heaven with Him.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Names of God: Jehovah Rohi

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 15, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Rohi: My Shepherd

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most famous single chapter of the whole Bible. Its opening line is “The Lord is my shepherd.” While the original Hebrew would best be written as ro’i, most commonly we see this word written as rohi, so that's what I'll be using in this post. Check out Katie Erickson’s blog post here for more on this.

God is our shepherd and we are His sheep. Jesus spent a fair amount of John 10 describing how he is the Good Shepherd. He is the one who guides us and directs us while tending to our needs, cleaning up our messes, going after us when we get lost, and protecting us from wolves. Now I never grew up on a farm, so I truly cannot attest to this from experience, but in everything I have heard, shepherds never were the most desired job to have, and yet it was one of the most critical jobs in the agrarian culture of Bible times. When one thinks of “shepherd” in the Bible times, it is quite similar to that of “custodian” in the modern day. It is one of the least prestigious jobs one could have. It is menial labor usually reserved for the poor and for those who can’t afford nor have the skills for better jobs.

Sheep are stupid animals. My pastor grew up on a farm and he tells a story of how anther farmer was trying to get his sheep into a truck to move them and one sheep jumped off the ramp into the trainer and like the blind following the blind, the rest did the same. Why? Because the one in front of them did it. I heard another story that if one sheep is sick and starts to throw up, suddenly other sheep watching them suddenly start feeling sick. I’m not sure if this one is completely true, but apparently if a sheep is rolled onto its back, it cannot get up by itself. It must have help from the shepherd. Sheep must be frequently shaved. A while back a sheep named Shrek escaped and went without being sheared for six years. Sheep must have a shepherd.

That description of sheep really does a good job at describing us. We have such a crowd mentality where if we see someone doing something, we will respond in kind and follow them. Just ask any teenager why they did something. The answer is often along the lines of, “Everyone else is doing it.” I’ve used that one myself. And don’t get me started on social media and politics because much of the battles we are fighting is perfect evidence of how man is. An appropriate term is “sheeple.” Jesus wept over Israel because the people were lost, blind, and in trouble because they had no shepherd. God was particularly ticked at the prophets and priests of Israel because for the most part, they did not seek to protect the sheep; they instead conspired to devour the sheep. There was only one solution: God himself had to be the Shepherd.

The job of shepherd is not a fun job as I already mentioned. They have to lead the sheep to places where they can feed and drink water. Sheep also don’t drink out of just any water. It has to be still and gentle water. They won’t drink from rushing waters. Shepherds often would have to be very knowledgeable about the caves and places for shelter in storms, because they typically would be miles from home often days out at a time. When at a pen or a cave, the shepherd would sleep at the entrance so not only the sheep could not get out, the wolves could not get in. That is why Jesus referred Himself as the Door. The only way in is through Him.

A good shepherd knew each of his sheep by name. I have heard numerous accounts of shepherds who would gather their flocks together and put them all into a single pen for the night because it would be easier to manage them as a group. But no shepherd needed to worry about losing track of his sheep because all he had to do was called them out or whistle his whistle. Each sheep knew the shepherd’s voice. The sheep which did not belong to that shepherd would not respond to that voice. The same is true about us. There are only two primary voices we can hear: God’s and someone else’s. Which one we listen to reveals who we belong to. Which voice do we listen to? God makes his voice clear and understood, but it is up to us to respond to it. If we choose not to, then can we truly claim God is our Shepherd?

Another job a shepherd has is to fight off the wolves. This is a harder topic for me to truly grasp than I often would like to admit. It is NOT the sheep’s job to defend himself. He can’t. A sheep is totally powerless to defend himself. Even a mass of sheep together cannot defend themselves. The wolf will always win. The sheep’s only reliable defense is the Shepherd. Now unlike actual sheep, there is one small difference between us and them. God often requires us to take a step of obedience in engaging in that battle and He wants us to exert the authority He’s given us as His children. However, for any Christian, if they are to truly fight God’s battles, it is through prayer and through God actually doing the battle. It is not the sheep defending himself; it is the sheep calling upon the Shepherd to defend him. Yet, talking about myself, I often try to defend for the faith in my own power and own intellect instead of going to my Shepherd in His power to defend His Kingdom and His Truth. Please pray for me that I may turn over the battle to God and let Him defend Himself. He doesn’t need my help. He only asks that I join and partake with Him in that battle, and mostly that partaking is simply to watch the battle. Yet even in this, God does the most miraculous thing: His sheep beat the wolfpacks because it is God doing the actual fighting.

God is Jehovah Rohi, my shepherd. He is the provider and the source of my protection. He is the one who equips me and trains me and cleans me up. He shears me so my “wool” can be used for His purposes. He protects me from the wolves, though often when I wander from Him, He allows the wolves to get a few bites to let me know to keep coming back to Him. Yet when we follow Him and obey Him, He will lead us to the ultimate paradise: a land where we will have everything we could ever want and where we will finally be able to see the Shepherd face to face. I look forward to that day. Next week, I’ll look at Jehovah Tsikednu: the Lord my righteousness.

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Were They Too Dumb to Get It?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 14, 2019 3 comments

by Steve Risner

Ever wonder if the Bible is accurate on what it tells us? I mean, if the Bible tells us about history, is it accurate history, or is it made up or an embellishment or something? What about scientific stuff? If the Bible makes mention of things that we would consider today to be in the world of scientific study, would those statements be accurate? The Bible makes a lot of claims concerning God and His creation and what He, as our Maker, expects of us. It tells us Who the Savior is and how to follow Him. He's given us a great many commands and a great many promises. If we are to trust them, would it not make sense that we should be able to trust other things the Bible teaches us? If not, by what standard do we know if something the Bible says is correct?

This week's question from Michael Roberts is one that we touched on the last 2 weeks but we'll try to be more thorough this week. That question is:

Does the Bible teach that the earth is spherical?

The Bible hardly speaks of the earth's shape. It does make mention of the fact that that earth is circular (looking at a sphere 2-dimensionally will show it looks like a circle) and suspended on nothing. As previously discussed in another post, the word translated “circle” in Hebrew can and likely should have been translated “vault.” A vault is a 3-dimensional space. A flat disc is not a vault by any stretch. Others have made the point that Jesus tells us that when the Son of man comes, it essentially could be night time for some and day time for others. This would work if the earth were a sphere but not flat. We can also take Job 26:10 into our account of the earth's shape according to the Bible. It says, “He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.” This is referring to a “terminator” (not the cybernetic organism). A terminator is defined as the dividing line between the light and dark part of a planetary body. This is only really possible with a spherical earth.

Roberts claims that the “Bible isn't interested in science.” This is a funny statement to me, really. The Bible is a book. It's probably not interested in anything, really. God, who inspired its writing, I believe is very much interested in 1) being accurate when He communicates, and 2) science which He created. The study of His creation is science. Kepler said that science is thinking God's thoughts after Him.

The Bible isn't a science text. No one has ever claimed otherwise to my knowledge. However, if it speaks on scientific topics, it is accurate. It's not a history book, but if it gives us history, it's accurate. It's not a psychology book, but when telling us about humanity and the thinking of man, it's accurate. God is fairly smart. I say that jokingly, because of course, God is omniscient (all-knowing) and His wisdom is far beyond anything man could ever hope to reason. I doubt God would make sure He inspired men of long ago to write down His thoughts for us, only to tell us things that were not true or accurate because, perhaps, at that time, we just weren't smart enough to grasp it.

Many who believe in evolution assume man is getting more intelligent. The truth is that man is getting less intelligent, not more. Sure, we've added a great deal to our knowledge, but this doesn't mean we're smarter. It just means we have discovered more (unless, perhaps, prior to the Flood, man's intelligence and acquired knowledge was also great, which I believe it was) and built on what those before us discovered. This works into Mr. Roberts' next question:

How could people in 1000 BC grasp the idea of geological time?

I think they would have no trouble understanding the far-fetched idea of “geological time.” How could they not understand it? I guess I have no idea what he's getting at here. How does anyone understand anything? Again, man is not more intelligent than he used to be. Only someone who accepts universal common descent (aka molecules to man evolution) would even consider it possible than man is getting more intelligent. Studies show us we're not, and that's okay. With the ever-increasing number of mutations in our genes, that's probably not the only thing that's not as good as it used to be in humans.

After he poses this strange question, he goes on to explain that geologists began to think the earth was older than “Ussher had suggested.” He then tells us about a botanist rather than a geologist, but that's splitting hairs. Ussher didn't suggest the age of the earth. He calculated it just as I explained a couple of weeks ago. The Bible quite easily explains how to arrive at a date for creation—this date being just over 6000 years ago. It's definitely not just Ussher's suggestion. Many others calculated the date of creation as well.

Roberts then says, “By 1800, most thought the age of the earth was in millions and that included most Christians.” He gives no support for such a statement, which is also at odds with the current belief on the age of the earth held by secularists (which is in the billions of years, not millions). What's funny is, as I showed a few weeks ago in another post, a very large portion of Christians today don't accept evolution as the means by which God created man. Wouldn't it make sense that this would include the time necessary for the humanist origins myth as well? I can't say for sure, but I don't think most Christians give it a lot of thought. If asked, they may say, “Sure, I guess the earth might be billions of years old.” But if questioned about the Bible, the same people may also say, “Sure, the Bible is true. I trust it.” The Bible obviously doesn't say God created over billions of years or billions of years ago. It does give a very clear timeline from Adam to the Exile and we are pretty sure we know when this happened.

His last statement is, “In the 20th Century, radiometric age dating showed the earth is 4.6 billion years old. That is based on the physics of radioactivity and has nothing to do with evolution. If the dates are wrong then so is all physics.” Radiometric dating has so many issues. And how were those methods calibrated? If they actually were, was it not by using fossils in rock layers that were arbitrarily given ages by people before who literally had no idea when these organisms lived? We can use radiometric dating to come up with various ages for the same sample. This is if we use different methods on the same rock layers or use the same methods on the same rock layers. They can be wildly erratic. Which dates are accepted? Those that closest fit the preconceived age for the sample. In other words, if the scientists believe a sample is 800 million years old, all dates not in line with that assumption are tossed while those that are close to this age will be accepted. It's pretty common, actually.

This link is an interesting review of a book about dating the age of the earth. This link, from my friend Rod Carty, shows how invalid (not just inaccurate) radiometric dating is. Just about 9% of all the ages arrived at in this example were consistent with the predetermined age of the moon. Which ones get published? Of course, only the results that agree with the predetermined age. If these are the “proven results of science” that Mr. Roberts is relying on rather than the unchanging and perfect Word of God, I'll take the Word of God any time. He claims that radiometric dating is a solid way to calculate the age of the earth and/or its rocks. This is laughable, truly. It is a way to calculate how much of a certain isotope is found in a rock. Any conclusion derived from this information is fanciful at best. All that's going on is determining the amount of a substance and then guessing what that means.

He claims this has nothing to do with evolution, but it has everything to do with it. If evolution were not part of the humanist origins myth, the absolute necessity of deep time would not be there at all. He claims it's just the physics of it. No. In fact, it is not the physics at all, not even accidentally. The truth of the matter is that after analysis of how much of something is in a rock, a lot of guessing and speculation and assuming goes into using those numbers to come up with an age. Where is the physics? He's assumed the physics involved and has no idea if his assumption is valid or not. Nor does he care, I suspect. As long as 9% of the results remain the published results and they support deep time, no one cares to actually think about it for a moment.

Be a thinker. Try not to let the philosophies and religious beliefs of advocates for evolution and deep time interfere with your ability to think critically and honestly. Unfortunately, many times it's hard to get all the data—the whole story. But if you dig deep enough, sometimes the information is there. Have faith, dear reader. Man's arrogance and his skewed understanding of God's creation and how he interprets it is no match for the perfect Word of God. Stay tuned.

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Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, March 13, 2019 0 comments

by David Odegard

The movie opens to a drug bust of an oxycodone ring. The drug ring leads to Kermit Gosnell, an abortion provider who boasts of his value to the poor Philadelphia community where his practice was located. He had been selling prescriptions through several of the persons working for him. As the various law enforcement agencies discovered the extent of Gosnell’s criminal activities, murders of several infants who were born alive began to surface.

Staff admitted to selling the drug prescriptions and to administering many drugs to patients though they had no training, including anesthetizing women who came in for abortion procedures. Staff also admitted to witnessing Gosnell snipping the necks of hundreds of born-alive babies and eventually providing evidence for seven.

The lone law enforcement agency interested in investigating the murders faced opposition from the District Attorney’s office since charging an abortion doctor with murder would be bad press; nevertheless, the agency was able to obtain a search warrant for Gosnell’s practice.

The movie cuts to Gosnell’s charnel house. It is a conglomeration of three residential homes sewn together by back hallways and doors chopped between walls. The police who searched the place were continuously disoriented. Every scene in this place was half-lit, frenetic, chaotic, and filthy. Cat feces were everywhere. Body parts were stored in the break room refrigerator in milk cartons and old food containers or laying in the hallway. Mice nibbled on the body parts, blood was on the floor and all the equipment, women were sitting on bloody blankets, other women were urinating in the hallway. (All of these descriptions came directly from the police report.) Women waited in the flickering half-light for their turn in the stirrups. But Dr. Gosnell’s magnum opus is a trophy room with over a hundred severed and pickled babies’ feet. Gosnell smiled and defended them as “research.”

The camera zooms in to Gosnell’s face while he talks to his turtles and feeds them clams. The eerie smile as they feed is indicative of the disturbing inner life of “America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”

The camera then pans to a woman who looks to be in labor. Gosnell enters the room and conducts an abortion while the police search the building. He emerges with bloody gloves still on, sits down, and begins to eat his supper. The police stare in shock.

At this point in the movie, my teenage daughter and I both broke into tears. The carnage, the pleasure Gosnell took in his grim work, and the utterly sickening conditions stunned us. How could this take place in reality, in Pennsylvania, nine years ago? Surely, this must occur rather in someone’s nightmare, perhaps somewhere on Elm Street.

The film eventually winds its way through a search of Gosnell’s equally dirty home where large amounts of cash were found, but several key documents were not. Meanwhile, Gosnell sits in his bathrobe, plays classical piano, and offers to make breakfast for the officers while the house is searched. Nero’s violin comes to mind.

The trial is a gritty exposé of Gosnell’s criminal activity, but the disinterested media fails to show up. A photo of all the empty seats reserved for media eventually sparks a pro-life Twitter campaign with over 100,000 retweets shaming the news outlets and forcing them to cover the story.

When the media journalists finally drag themselves to the trial, they try to put as positive a spin on the proceedings as possible and may have succeeded had not one of the young workers produced a photograph of “Baby A.” The jury is horrified by the photo (you can view it here). Gosnell is reported to have said of Baby A, “This boy is big enough to walk me to the bus stop.”

The movie reasserts repeatedly that this case “is not about abortion.” The film depicts a great effort to insulate the practice of abortion from Gosnell’s criminal activity. At one point a very nice looking, professional woman from Planned Parenthood takes the stand and exclaims with horror that the way Gosnell practiced abortion is a scandal on the upright abortion providers—they kill more cleanly.

But her hypocrisy is apparent to all. She is defiled by her admission to have personally conducted 30,000 abortions; furthermore, she admitted that a baby of a failed abortion attempt would be left on the table to die. The film justly smears the entire abortion cabal with the blood, feces, and urine from Gosnell’s hallway.

This movie acts like a depth charge: it sinks deep into the psyche and then suddenly a flash of light and people are horrified by the reality of abortion and emerge feeling unclean. In spite of the total media blackout of the book that the film is based on (which went directly to Amazon’s best-seller list), a blackout from Hollywood claiming that the film is too controversial (unlike Cider House Rules, I guess), and a media campaign to justify abortion while belatedly condemning Gosnell, the nation has been appalled to discover what abortion is really like.

Gosnell confirms rather than contradicts what the public has learned about the abortion industry in the last few years: Planned Parenthood sells body parts over a wine-soaked meal (see the video here). New York passes a law allowing abortion up to the moment of birth if a doctor deems fit; the New York legislature erupts in wild applause, whistles, and hoots (see it here). Del. Kathy Tran of Virginia introduces a bill to legally kill babies up to the moment of birth.

Virginia Governor Northam, recipient of $3 million dollars for his campaign from Planned Parenthood, commented about Tran’s bill saying, “If a mother is in labor, the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother.” (See the video here.)

Folks, Gosnell was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and many other felonies and misdemeanors. His entire existence was saturated with despair and death. The chilling truth is that the net effect of the New York and Virginia laws would be to justify Gosnell’s actions. It would make 95% of what was shown in this movie legal. If Gosnell practiced in New York today, rather than in Pennsylvania nine years ago, he would be guilty only of bad taste.

America has a fascination with death culture. The violence is overwhelming. But this violence and death ultimately springs from this lethal game of king of the hill that we all must play if there is no God above us. Nietzsche called this deadly game the Will to Power, and he was right when he observed that if God is lost from our consciousness, then we have to create ourselves. He viewed it as an incredible opportunity, but the historical record shows that it has been a disaster.

If all goals, all hopes are bent toward the self, if all thought is given to my future, my happiness, my fulfillment, and my goals, then all that is left is the will to power. Everyone is a means to an end, and the end is only whatever I say it is for myself—damn the world.

Everyone knows that this is the opposite of love (and parenting for that matter). But when there is nothing higher than the here-and-now, nothing more important than myself, I have nothing to live for. I scratch around trying to stay busy till despair finally overwhelms me. Life becomes a series of meaningless jerks toward suicide.

Yet few seem to consider the Christian alternative of God-centered life. Biblical Christianity recognizes that God is there, and because of that we can hope in His goodness. As bad as the world is, God has not abandoned us to it, nor has He been aloof to our suffering. God loved human beings so much that He became one. Jesus Christ became human in order to rescue people “who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).

Jesus has authored a culture of life. The reason that we fought so hard to end slavery, and why we now fight to end abortion is because the Bible teaches us that each person is made in the image of God. This means that the essential identity of humanity is wrapped up with the identity of God. The inherent worth of a human being means that she cannot be exploited, owned, or murdered. Christians have long stood for this value, and in this titanic struggle of abortion our duty is clear. We must speak for the human persons who are being destroyed. We must speak life and not death.

Please do not abort your baby. Christians are dedicated to life. Please call a pro-life call center like the one found at 1-800-712-4357. We will find a home for your baby! Every life is worth living!

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Psalm 23

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 11, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I would say that Psalm 23 is likely the most well-known psalm, or perhaps even one of the most well-known passages in the Bible. It’s often used at funerals or other times when people are seeking comfort and peace in the midst of life’s difficulties.

This psalm is only 6 verses long, but it’s packed with meaning and significance, especially in the original Hebrew. There is so much richness that is not seen in the English translation, and I’ll be sharing some of that with you here.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (verse 1)

The name for God here is YHWH, the proper Hebrew name for God that we should hold in so much reverence that in Hebrew we can’t even pronounce it. The Hebrew of this first phrase literally says, “The Lord shepherds me, I do not lack.” The “verb” is actually a participle, which shows continuous action; God is constantly shepherding or guiding us. Because of that, we do not lack anything.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” (verse 2)

God does not just make us lie down in this comforting place. The Hebrew verb form used here means that He actually causes us to lie down. It is only through God that we truly can lie down and find rest, regardless of whether we are in a time of hurt or a time of joy in our lives.

God does not just lead us beside quiet waters, but He does so intensely with this verb form. The connotation of that Hebrew verb is that of being led with purpose. It is not just an aimless wandering, but rather a specific, intentional direction in which He leads us. It is God’s purpose that we are near these quiet waters, again regardless of where the world is trying to lead us.

“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (verse 3)

The word translated here as “refreshes” more accurately means “restores,” and again it’s an intensive verb. This is not just a slight refresh, but a full restoration of our souls that can only happen through Jesus. When He guides us along these right paths, He is doing so with purpose, just as He was leading with purpose in the previous verse.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (verse 4)

This valley spoken of is a place of utter darkness and gloom, and it has the shadow of death lingering over it. When others see a minor crisis in our lives, we may feel that we are in this place of utter darkness. But, we fear no evil because YOU, God, are with me, even in this place of deep despair! The word for “you” is written out in the Hebrew, which shows that this is for emphasis. It’s not just anyone who is with us, but God, our shepherd.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (verse 5)

The phrase here “in the presence of my enemies” could be more literally translated “in front of the ones who attack me.” If the words of verse 4 are true that we fear no evil because God is with us, then we are able to even eat with those who we fear might attack us! That’s the power of the almighty God at work in our lives.

The phrase “you anoint my head with oil” is one that always amuses me in the Hebrew; it could literally be translated as “you make my head fat with fat.” The idea of anointing or making fat is richness. In that culture, if you were fat then you must be rich because you clearly had plenty to eat and didn’t have to expend much effort for it, as opposed to those people who had to work hard labor for each meal. We have that through God - He did all the work for us through Jesus on the cross, and all we need to do is to have faith in Him and He will make us rich in His grace, so much so that our cup overflows! This is another image of not only having enough but having plenty. The Hebrew for this phrase literally says that my cup is saturated.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” (verse 6a)

The Hebrew word for “goodness” here is the same word that God used to describe all of Creation when He looked at it and saw that it was good (Genesis 1:31). This goodness that will follow us is not just something nice but the total perfection of God’s original Creation. This form of love mentioned here is the word hesed in Hebrew. Hesed is a combination of love, mercy, compassion, and kindness. We don’t really have a word for that beautiful, all-encompassing emotion in the English language. When the text says that goodness and love will follow me, that’s not just a haphazard following. That verb has a meaning of pursuing someone intently. Anyone going through a troubling time needs to know that we have this perfection and love not only following us, but literally chasing after us!

“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (verse 6b)

The Hebrew for this final phrase is interesting, because there is actually some discrepancy on which verb is used. The Hebrew verbs for “I dwell” and “I return” are very similar, and in this particular form, it honestly could be either of them. So it could mean that we will dwell with the Lord forever, or that we will return to the Lord forever.

Even when we have trouble on this earth, we know that we will have a joyous homecoming of going to the Lord’s house for the rest of our days. Our troubles are only for a short time here on earth; we will have everlasting joy forever with Jesus! While that won’t erase today’s burdens, the hope of what is to come and dwelling with our Lord forever gives a glimmer of hope through any dark valley we walk through, that we will be fully restored through Christ.

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Through His Eyes

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 10, 2019 2 comments

by Logan Ames

How many judgments have you made about other people already today? I’m serious. Just take a moment to stop and think about it. Even if you haven’t left your house yet or truly interacted with anyone else in person, chances are you've already seen something on Facebook, some other social media outlet, or even the news for which you’ve judged the participants. This happens even when we don’t even know the people, and I’d argue it happens especially then. A few months ago, someone close to my family experienced one of the worst tragedies imaginable with the accidental death of their child. It was ruled accidental by the coroner, investigated by the police, and confirmed that no one was negligent or at fault. Yet, as soon as the story hit the news media and was subsequently shared on Facebook, everybody and their brother had an opinion about what the parents should have done differently or how they could have prevented the tragedy. Truth be told, I’ve probably had those similar thoughts about people in those circumstances in the past. I’ve made judgments based on seeing a very little part of the picture. But when I was on the other side and KNEW that the people didn’t deserve what was being said about them, it was easy for me to see how quickly most of us make judgments.

In the Bible, James understood that the Christians who were part of the early Church were susceptible to the same faulty thinking that they could accurately judge others with such a small portion of the big picture that God sees. In James 2:1, he writes, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism." So, he’s talking about not only making a judgment but also choosing to treat others based on the judgment that is made. But there are a couple important things to point out here. James uses the phrase “glorious Lord Jesus Christ” to remind these earliest Christians that the one they follow is actually the glory of God himself who came down and revealed himself in the flesh. It was a clear reminder that they are not following or worshiping a mere prophet or great human teacher, but the One who WAS actually God (John 1:1).

It’s also gigantic that James reminds these people that favoritism, or partiality, cannot co-exist with faith in Jesus as God. Jesus often spoke to and welcomed those who were outcasts in the eyes of everyone else, such as “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:9-10). The reason James brings it up is because he wrote to a largely partial audience that had no problem favoring some over others. We know this by following the steps of the early apostles through the Book of Acts. Peter was one of the leaders and he was certainly born again and sold out for Christ. Then, all of a sudden one day, he is praying to God and falls into a trance, during which God challenges his long-held convictions regarding what is “clean” versus “unclean." After that, he meets a man named Cornelius who, though a Gentile and unclean in the eyes of Jews, is a devout, God-fearing man (Acts 10:2). Peter, having had his world of fake religion completely shattered, enters Cornelius’ home and reminds everyone that Jewish law prohibits from him associating with Gentiles, but that he is doing so because God had shown him that he cannot pre-judge anyone to be impure or unclean (Acts 10:28). After he hears Cornelius’ testimony of how God has been speaking to him, Peter declares, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). This chapter is known as “the conversion of Cornelius," but many people realize that Peter also experienced a conversion here. He was no longer at odds with his faith, showing favoritism toward Jews over Gentiles, yet claiming to follow a God who welcomes all who are truly seeking Him.

At this point, Peter had already been on fire for Jesus. He had performed miracles by the name and power of Jesus. He had urged the Jewish leaders to repent and be baptized, and he preached a sermon that led to some 3,000 people believing in Jesus. He spoke the gospel boldly and even experienced flogging for his efforts. Yet, despite all of this, he still couldn’t see MEAT through God’s eyes, let alone other human beings that were Gentiles. Before the Church could really begin to grow and spread out from Jerusalem, any seeds of favoritism within the apostles and other early Christians had to be dug up and destroyed. James knew this was the crowd he was writing to in his letter.

Then, he gives them a perfect example of how they might show favoritism without even realizing it. In James 2:2-4, he explains that when they all meet together and they offer a wealthy person a much better seat than an obviously poor person, they “become judges with evil thoughts." We see more evidence that James is talking to mainly Jews here when we look at the Greek word for “meeting," which happens to be sunagogen, which happens to be where we get the word “synagogue." Even if they had to meet in houses due to lack of buildings, they still referred to their gathering as the synagogue. Apparently, in those days paying more attention to the wealthy than the poor was quite common. But who are we kidding? It’s common now too, especially in churches. I once had a pastor tell me that we SHOULD treat those who give a lot of money to the church with greater respect than others. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But I’m sure that is a temptation for many pastors as we are all human. I have to work hard to make sure my mind doesn’t start playing those games.

Ultimately, the reason many Jews treated the rich better than the poor is the same reason so many Americans treat the rich better - we might get something from them. Chances are, there’s nothing an extremely poor person can give back to you. John Bunyon once said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." This is one of the true marks of following Jesus. He never focused on getting paid back, He never avoided Gentiles, strangers, or unclean people, and He didn’t show favoritism toward the rich.

The reason we all fall into the traps like the earliest church did is because we judge based only on what we can SEE, not the eternal work that God is doing. We have a hard time seeing the big picture like God does, and we focus way too much on what we can evaluate based on the outward appearance. Well, in the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel had to learn that lesson too. He was told, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The bottom line for any of us who claim to follow Jesus is that we MUST learn to see past what’s right in front of us and trust in God’s big picture and His perfect plan. We MUST ask God to give us clarity and wisdom as people come into our lives. We must seek Him and ask Him to help us see others through His eyes rather than our own warped, incomplete view of things. If you reflect on this and find that you have been unintentionally treating someone poorly according to the ways you have already judged their outward appearance, ask God to destroy seeds of favoritism and prejudice in your heart and plant seeds of love and a welcome spirit to all who seek Him.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Names of God: Jehovah Jireh

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 8, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Jireh: My Provider

The name Jehovah is frequently used in the place of the most holy name of God, transliterated as “Yahweh.” It means Lord or something along the lines of “the Supreme One.” It was a name so holy that the Jews did not dare properly state the name lest they in their sin commit blasphemy. Jehovah had numerous particular descriptors to give Him “definition” or description that man could understand. Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Tsikednu, Jehovah Macceddeshum, Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Sabbaoth, and Jehovah Ghmola will be the ones I will address in this series.

Jehovah Jireh is one of the most well-known of these names. While the original Hebrew would best be transliterated as 'yireh,' most commonly we see this word as 'Jireh,' so that's what I'll be using in this post. Jehovah Jireh means God is my provider. The first place this idea or concept is brought up is in Genesis 22. This is the account of when Abraham’s faith was put to the final test: he was to surrender, to sacrifice, the very son whom was promised to him years earlier. Abraham obeyed without question and even in his obedience, he believed Isaac would return with him. God stopped Abraham right at the moment he was about to strike him and instead God provided a ram in Isaac’s place. But God’s provision extends far beyond that.

God is the source of my being, my sustenance, my food, my life, my finances, my hope, and everything I need. I don’t always recognize it, but if any of us were truly honest about it, there is absolutely NOTHING we have that God did not provide. I truly mean that. You can do absolutely nothing apart from God. You cannot even breathe without God giving you that breath.

Some of you may be thinking, “What about my work? Don’t I earn my paycheck?” To which I reply, “Yes, you did work and you did provide for your needs, but who gave you that job? Where did the talent for that job come from? Where did the ability to study and learn to get that job come from?” It all goes back to God. The sooner man realizes this, the better off he is. God literally has given us absolutely everything for what we do. He gave us the physical bodies we have. He gave us the mental capacity to do what we do. He gave us the raw natural talent to do what we do. He gave us the food and supplies we need to survive. He gave us the air we breathe. He gave us the provisions for our clothes. He gave us the raw materials for our scientific and technological developments.

There is the classic joke of the scientists who goes to God and says, “God, we have advanced so high in society that we no longer need you. We can even create life.” So God says, “Ah, interesting. Let’s have a contest, shall we? Let’s take some dirt and make a man. I did it before. Surely you can it too.” The scientist agreed and bent down to scoop up some dirt. God stopped him and said, “Hey! No, no, no. You get your own dirt.”

In man’s defiance of God in proclaiming his knowledge and expertise, he fails to grasp that anything he ever could do was a gift from God to start with. They seek to use all sorts of laws of science to try to explain the origins of the universe without God, and yet in doing so, they invoke procedures and processes that make absolutely no sense for their existence unless God upheld them. Why does gravity work? Why do forces work? How did they come about? We never invented the laws of science. We only discovered them and gave them mathematical formulas. It is God who upholds them. God is the Creator who provides for everything we use to live.

But God does much more than merely provide the raw material for us and life to exist. He also cares about our intimate “small” needs as well. I can testify to God’s provision in more ways than I can count. In 1995, my dad quit his well-paying job to go full-time in ministry. He went from a good job at a government plant (we were not wealthy, but we weren’t poor either) to having zero income. Yet, we never went hungry. For six months we got donated day-old bagels and bought flats of expired yogurt and eggs for a buck a piece. We had bagels in more ways than you can image. Bagel sandwiches, bagel chips, bagel this, bagel that. We understood why Israel complained about the manna, yet we even had an advantage over them. We had different flavors. But God provided.

He got creative with his provision as well. When I lived on the mission base where we housed and facilitated mission teams, we would get some very interesting donations. Some came from people getting rid of their Y2K stock. (For those that don’t remember, Y2K was a panic that swept the country because when the computers turned from 1999 to 2000 on the calendar, everything would shut down. Nothing ever panned out.) We got all kinds of canned goods which not only supplied us as a ministry staff but also supplied a food bank we ran. We got to try out emu and ostrich meat from one of the most famous steakhouse restaurants in Texas that was only 8 miles away. On one occasion, the freezers to the local grocery store (where I worked at the time) went out so they had to get rid of it all. We got two 4x4x7 foot pallets of ice cream, ice cream bars, Haagen Dazs pints, Ben and Jerry’s pints, fruit popsicles, and the like. We not only ate it, we got to give it away with our food bank ministry which at that time served 80-100 families a week… for three months.

A couple years ago, I got into a wreck that totaled my car (we were all fine; it was ultimately just a fender bender, but it messed up the engine of my car). We thought about taking out a loan to get a new car for me, but decided we better wait and let God provide. About 6-9 months later, He did. A friend of mine gave me a car for free other than the cost of switching ownership. That car has been great and exactly what I have needed. God provides. And as I shared five weeks ago, God called me to teaching and after 6 ½ years of preparation, He gave me the job. Not only does he provide, His timing is perfect.

God is Jehovah Jireh. He is my provider. He is my source and my true sustenance. I sadly do not give Him the credit He deserves. I do not thank Him as I should nor as frequently as I should. There is nothing about me or that I do to deserve all God gives me. It is only because God loves me. God’s provision is a display of His Grace. He offers it freely, but it is up to us to take what He has offered and use it as He desires us to. Let us not usurp God’s provision and claim it for our own. That is called stealing because all our talents, all our skills, and all our resources, were never ours to begin with. And we will be held responsible for how we handled His provision. God is our Provider. If we have a need, all we need to do is ask. If He can give my family ostrich meat, ice cream, and a car, would he not also provide for you if you trusted him? Next week, I will look at Jehovah Rohi, my shepherd.

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Is There Really No Evidence?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 7, 2019 2 comments

by Steve Risner

In last week's post, I began answering a question by Michael Roberts, an old earth creationist or possibly a theistic evolutionist on the age of the earth. An old earth creationist may believe that God created all that there is fairly like it is now, but he would believe this took place a much longer time ago than the Bible indicates. There are various versions of it that I won't get into here. Most reject the clear teaching of the Bible as to when God created the universe and us, and they also reject the Genesis narrative on the global Flood. Again, there are various versions of this Flood rejection as well. A theistic evolutionist goes much further than this, rejecting that God created the heavens and the earth at all like He claims to have done in the Bible. He would also not accept that man was created special or that life was created fully formed and functional during creation. They would generally accept evolution (cosmic and then biological) as the means by which God created the universe and life. Mr. Roberts wrote this piece listing 10 questions he'd like to ask “young earth” creationists (what would appropriately be called a Biblical creationist). I am fulfilling his wish in answering his questions.

The question we started to answer last week concerned the importance of the age and shape of the earth. Are they important to us as Christians? Well, not in our day-to-day living, I suspect, and not really even to our Gospel message. However, they do have some weight. I would say the age of the earth is weightier here simply because the Bible doesn't speak a great deal about the shape of the earth. However, it gives us a lot to go on concerning the age of the earth. I covered that in detail last week.

Why does it matter? The short answer is if the Bible tells us something, God thought it was important enough to have written and to preserve for us for thousands of years. If the Bible gives a clear timeline as to when God created the heavens and the earth, rest assured it's accurate and true. Rejecting this for any reason is to reject the very Word of God and to make Him out to be a liar or just incompetent. Neither of those is possible, really. There have been a large number of attempts over the last 150-200 years to reinterpret the Bible to make it fit with the “proven results of science” as Mr. Roberts puts it. Unfortunately, the “science” he's talking about isn't science at all. It's philosophy and it's based on a worldview at odds with the Biblical worldview. It goes against the long-accepted (and I would say obvious) interpretation of the Bible's creation and Flood accounts.

Michael finishes his statements on this by saying something so inaccurate and so genuinely bogus, it makes me cringe to think people actually accept his statements without really thinking them through or investigating them. He says, “For 250 years, geologists have only found evidence for an ancient earth and none for a young earth.” In my opinion, this is a terrible statement to make for several reasons. He will undoubtedly resort to an appeal to authority in defense of such a foul declaration (his own authority and that of others) but this is smoke and mirrors. Let me explain.

Geologists have not “only found evidence for an ancient earth.” Geologists have certainly not been unable to find evidence for a “young earth.” As I've stated many times, 6000 years is actually quite ancient, and this supports the Biblical creationist's contention all along that it's a matter of perspective. Perspective in this case is primarily with the facts geologists discover. Do they “only” support an earth billions of years old? Of course not. Facts simply just are facts. They don't support anything on their own. We use them to support or refute something, but that's what WE are doing—not what the facts are doing. Facts are inanimate and have no ability to say anything. We, as their interpreters, make them say something.

Notice Mr. Roberts offers exactly zero examples of the evidence that he's asserting supports an old earth. Not one example. Let's take a quick peek at geology as a study for a moment to see if his claim holds true. In a writing of mine from early 2014, I note:

Nicolas Steno is credited with 3 defining principles of geology. However, many had described different geologic features and even some processes for centuries before Steno. It was assumed for centuries that the Flood was at least partially responsible for many geologic features. Modern day geologists who are young earth creationists would include Andrew Snelling, Ph.D., Steve Austin, Ph.D., John Morris, Ph.D., Kurt Wise, Ph.D., and Emil Silvestru, Ph.D.

You can read more on Steno here. Tertullian, a Christian writer from the early 3rd century AD, explained that geologic formations, especially noting those with marine fossils trapped in them, were the result of the global Flood of Noah's day.

In another writing on the subject:

For a very long time, many in the Western world believed the geologic column and the fossils found in it were a result of the Flood of Noah’s day. This is demonstrable since at least the early 200’s AD. However, belief in a global catastrophe that changed the planet forever was believed in since the time it occurred. A literal reading of Genesis 1-11 in the Old Testament would give us too many references to list in a blog post. Catastrophism, the belief that the current geologic features of the earth are primarily the result of catastrophes, was a long held view—for centuries, in fact. It was the belief held by many geologists up through the 17th and 18th centuries, including the arguable founder of modern geology, Nicolas Steno. This began to change over a period of time and in 1830, a man by the name of Charles Lyell wrote Principles of Geology which outlined the idea of uniformitarianism. This is the belief that “the present is the key to the past,” which just means geologic features we see today came about through current rates of geologic change.

We know without question that current geological features like sedimentary layers, especially folded layers, canyons, beaches, sand dunes, mesas, pediments, laccoliths and batholiths, dikes and scarps, etc. can easily be accounted for via catastrophism rather than uniformitarianism. That's not to say catastrophism explains ALL geological features, but it certainly can explain a great many of them. In a lot of cases, a catastrophe is a much better explanation. But the interpretation is what we're interested in here. So many, including Mr. Roberts it seems, fail to recognize how important one's worldview is in determining what evidence tells us.

It's fairly obvious that evidence can be interpreted a variety of ways. Look at a court of law. There are almost always at least 2 very different sides to the same story—using the same evidence. Look at Super Bowl LIII. Many thought it was a terrible game—too boring. Others didn't like the outcome. Others loved the outcome and/or thought it was an exciting game. Everyone who watched had the same evidence—the same facts. They all watched the same game. How do they all come up with different interpretations of the game if the “evidence speaks for itself”? This is no different than a scientist who has been indoctrinated into the ideas of deep time and evolution who views evidence differently than someone who holds to a more traditional view of the evidence (since most branches of science were founded by Biblical creationists, including geology as noted above). This is why Mr. Roberts claims there is ONLY evidence for an “ancient earth” and “none for a young earth.” He's indoctrinated and can't see outside the tiny box he's created for God's creation. The evidence is there for a younger earth and many geologists have recognized it as such; it just needs the proper interpretation.

I suppose another response to the statement that geology only affirms an ancient earth is, “So what?” My confidence is placed in the Word of God, which is perfect, and I believe God made no mistakes when He had it penned. If a geologist's interpretation of nature varies greatly from the clear writings found in Scripture, that geologist either needs to change his interpretation or he is not to be trusted with such information. I simply say that because he is only a man, a man consumed by the Fall, and he's viewing a creation that is cursed and was ravaged by a global Flood. And he's viewing that world through the glasses of secularism and the humanist origins myth. This won't do, especially if this person claims to know and love Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior—how much more if he claims to respect the Bible as the Word of 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.