Sola Scriptura

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 4, 2020 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The entire Gospel can be summarized in five statements: Our salvation is by “Grace Alone,” through “Faith Alone,” in “Christ Alone,” according to “Scripture Alone,” and for the “Glory of God Alone.” In the original Latin they are: “Sola Gratia,” “Sola Fide,” “Sola Christus,” “Sola Scriptura,” and “Sola Gloria Deus.” These statements were initially coined by Martin Luther during the Reformation, but they are central teachings that have been taught throughout the millennia in the church. While these statements are easy to learn and easy to memorize, the depths of them are inexhaustible. I am going to change the order of the statements around and do “Sola Scriptura” which is “Scripture Alone” first for two reasons: 1) this is the foundational tenant for which all other tenants get their base from, and 2) so that “Sola Christus,” (“Christ Alone”) is published on Christmas morning. So without further ado, let’s dig into “Sola Scriptura.”

First, here’s a little background into how and why Luther coined the phrase “Sola Scriptura.” He had come out of a Roman Catholic background, which at that time was selling indulgences (ultimately a fundraiser for the Sistine Chapel), and people could come to the church to buy an indulgence which would allow them “free sins” by confessing in advance. The practice then, as it is now, is that there are three authorities in the Roman Catholic Church: the Bible, the church Tradition, and the Magisterium, comprised of the Pope and his high council. What Luther realized is the Bible alone gives the authority to all things, not traditions or man-made council.

Todd Friel in his “Drive By Theology” teaching series with Steven Lawson makes the observation that many of the major creeds and confessionals that many churches use begin with the Bible. That means each tenant and statement don’t come from their church traditions or elder councils but from Scripture. I’ll go even further to state that unless we truly believe and operate with “Sola Scriptura,” we cannot believe the other major tenants of our creeds. How do we know that salvation is by grace alone? Simple, because Scripture teaches it. How do we know that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Simple, because Scripture teaches it. In everything, Scripture, the inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and superior Word of God, must be the standard. It must give the foundation. It must give the framework. You can see the Scripture and writings on that in the links provided.

Now the skeptic to this will quickly ask: “Are you a geo-centrist?” Just in the past few weeks, I have received this specific question from believers when I speak about Scripture being the authority. Where are they coming from? They are confusing numerous things here. First, the Bible never actually teaches geo-centrism. There is no set of verses that teaches the sun moves around the earth. All we have is observations from the people just as our modern weathermen speak. Yes, Joshua asked the sun to stand still. Does that teach geo-centrism? Actually no, it doesn’t, not any more than your weatherman giving us the sunrise and sunset times. But what are they really aiming at? They are suggesting that we actually use our “modern science” to interpret the Bible on this issue. And they use this with the intention of saying that we can’t use the Bible to dictate the history of the universe. It’s comparing apples to peanuts, not even similar enough to compare both topics to fruit. The geo-centrist debate is a scientific model we use with our observations NOW, and it has nothing to do with the historical account of Genesis. And Genesis is a historical account. The models of how it actually took place are secondary to this. So, the argument doesn’t actually do what they want it to do.

Now, the Bible does not give us the details of the galaxies or microbiology or Newton’s Laws or chemical reactions. It’s not a science book. And those who accuse me and those who believe the historical account of Genesis of trying to make it a science book need to learn what science is and what it isn’t. But that said, the Bible gives us the framework through which we are to see everything. Not every detail, but the framework. Anything outside that framework is not of God and not valid. So when the Bible gives the history of how long God took to create the universe and how much time has passed since and what kind of events took place (sin bringing death, a Global Flood, the Tower of Babel dispersion, the Plagues, the Exodus, the Conquest of Canaan, all the way through Jesus’ birth, death, burial, resurrection, and return), that means that all our studies MUST includes all these factors. If we do not take the Bible’s account as the primary authority, then we are not doing a Biblical study nor operating out of a Biblical worldview.

When I teach about worldviews, I address five major questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? Who do I listen to? I make an emphasis that each of these questions MUST be answered from the Bible’s perspective or it is not a Biblical worldview. The depth of these questions is bottomless and each one is inseparable from the other. You will always answer one holistically with the others. Origins includes our views of creation, what’s wrong with the world, how did I get here, what is my personal background, etc. Purpose includes my reason for existing, my role in life, and where I belong. Identity is who I am as an individual and who I am in the collective. Destination includes where I am going in 5, 10, 20 years, heaven/hell, how will what is wrong be made right, etc. Authority deals with which voices I will listen to: parents, family, peers, teachers, elders, pastors, scientists, media, God/Bible, etc. If we are not answering these questions by the Bible, then we are missing something and our worldview will be broken, backwards, and more than just “wrong.”

Now, can we include other sources of authority? Science, psychology, math, history, literature, etc. The answer is “Yes!” Without question. However, each one of these must be submissive to what the Word of God teaches or it is a false authority. I love math and when practiced I can do calculus in my head. The Bible doesn’t teach calculus, but it does give the framework that enables calculus to work. That said, I also have learned this phrase: “Math doesn’t lie, but wrong equations do.” If the mathematical construct we derive is not based on the accounts given by Scripture, it is not a Biblical construct, nor will it likely produce anything of real value.

If Scripture does not explicitly talk about it, at the very least it cannot disagree with any statement the Bible makes. That’s why all “Deep Time” models suggesting millions to billions of years of the earth’s history are totally wrong. Not only are they merely mathematical constructs (no science is ever used to show Deep Time, only math is), but they are based on equations that purposefully and intentionally leave the Biblical account out of it, if not intentionally trying to refute it. These models directly contradict what is explicitly given in Scripture (6-day creation, only about 6000 years having passed, and a global flood) and were initially created for that purpose. So, any such model is not part of a Biblical worldview nor is it part of a practice of “Sola Scriptura.”

The Bible must be our authority – our first, foremost, and final authority. When anything is in conflict with the Bible, that anything must go for inspection first. Where is the flaw likely to be found – in the scientific models or the “interpretation” of Scripture? Frankly, I’ll hedge my bets that man’s opinions are the flawed ones, not the clear reading of Scripture. And I’ll be right every time, even when I am the one who doesn’t have the correct doctrine. I’ll be right that the Bible had it right every time. I am wrong often, that’s why I don’t put a lot of weight to my opinions, but I go by what Scripture says. And it is Scripture that teaches that our hope is by the Grace of God alone, and not by any of our efforts. That is for next week.

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The First Step to Oblivion

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 1, 2020 2 comments


by Chad Koons

Let’s just get this out of way: if you have embraced Universalism, LGBT inclusion into the Body of Christ, Progressive Christianity, the removal of Hell, or think fondly upon the deconstruction of one’s faith, then you’ve likely tripped over the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy to get there. Not only tripped over it, but perhaps yanked it out by the roots. Or maybe you just haven’t understood what it means or why it is important.

Now that I have your attention, let’s take a quick look at what “Biblical inerrancy” means and why your Christian life may depend upon it.

“'Inerrant' signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.” – The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

In simple terms, the doctrine of inerrancy states that the Bible is true, without error, and from God. We at Worldview Warriors believe that inerrancy applies to the original texts of Scripture (not necessarily the translations of the original language texts, as translations vary on several levels). We acknowledge that there are minor scribal variations that have occurred over time, but none that have affected its meaning. To believe this inerrancy is of primary importance to the life of every believer in Jesus Christ. If we remove this truth, we open the door to becoming weird at best and heretical at worst.

Do you believe that the Bible is “inerrant”? Not sure? Answer these questions:
1. Do you believe that the Bible gets some things wrong, that it may contain errors?
2. Do you doubt that the Bible is the authoritative “Word of God”?
3. Is the Bible old-fashioned, irrelevant, or needing to progress with modern times?
4. Is the Bible a product of human invention?
5. Are some events in the Bible fictitious stories?
6. Has the Bible been changed or adapted since it was originally written?

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, then you have either intentionally or unintentionally rejected the inerrancy of Scripture. And yes, that is a huge problem. Although culture will not admit it for some reason, the slippery slope is very real. What you allow today will become the new standard tomorrow. Believing that the Bible is wrong in some way will lead us down a very dark and destructive path.

Many reject inerrancy because they think that they’ve stumbled upon an error. A skeptic may cite a few perceived issues such as grammatical misunderstandings, mathematical issues such as the measurements of Solomon’s Sea, or seemingly contradictory passages such as whether there were one or two demoniacs in the Gadarenes. These issues are quickly resolved with a little research, yet more often than not this begins the journey of doubt. This doubt, unless put into check, will lead to the idea that the Bible is not trustworthy, authoritative, or divine.

Most of the time, however, the supposed contradictions or errors are not the problem. When a person claims that the Bible is wrong, it’s usually because that person doesn’t like what the Bible has to say. They disagree with a particular passage and they become offended. Their emotion drives them to devalue the Bible, dismissing it as irrelevant, errant, or simply unrealistic. Rather than deal with the truth of the Word of God, they find it easier to write it off or seek to change it. This is when the more insidious roots begin to grow.

At odds with the Bible, many Christians will declare that we have “outgrown” the old-fashioned notions of Scripture, arguing that particular passages of the Bible are best disregarded or perhaps updated to coincide with our evolving modern times. Then along comes the many Christian teachers and philosophers who will support this divided mindset.

I think of Rob Bell’s infamous dismissal of the legitimacy of Scripture. In his opinion, the Bible is out of touch with modern man and therefore irrelevant to our current culture. Speaking of how culture has evolved, Bell stated, “I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense.” In Bell’s mind, Scripture is not the enduring Word of God. This, my friends, is where false teachers have introduced their own pet heresies, having long ago released themselves from the bonds of God’s eternal truth. Reinventing Scripture to suit their own positions, they make their followers twice the sons of Hell that they are.

I do not want you to be led astray, dear Child of God. Teachings of demons come through those who have rejected inerrancy. Go read 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

To quote the title of this blog post, the rejection of inerrancy seems to be the first step to oblivion. In my experience, it is the gateway through which all sorts of false doctrine burst forth. I’ve seen good people lose faith or begin a journey of grave error after rejecting Biblical inerrancy. Do not become one of them.

To deny Biblical inerrancy is to make yourself the judge over Scripture. We are not privileged with the authority to break apart Scripture in attempts to pick and choose what is from God and what is not. The Word of God stands alone regardless of our approval. If we attempt to pick and choose, then we have become the judge over it. God forbid, Scripture is not ours to break. “The Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

The Bible claims itself to be flawless; it is perfect. The authority of the Scripture is available through responsible and accurate translation of the original language writings. We possess these translations today. “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)

You would be correct to say that men wrote the Bible. However, they wrote only what the Lord had instructed them to write. Do not mistake human authorship with divine instruction. We also recognize that the Bible uses allegory and imagery; do not misinterpret this as error. The Bible can be trusted, and the authors wrote through the Spirit of God Himself. “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Finally, to deny inerrancy is to deny what God had already said about His own Scripture. To disagree with inerrancy is to set yourself at odds with God. The Bible truly is the Word of the Lord.” “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16)

If you are still on the fence, I implore you to take the time and effort required to wrestle through this. Listen outside of your current sphere of influence and discover the proofs of Biblical inerrancy from sources who believe it. Your Christian life depends upon it. Perhaps you already believe that the Bible is inerrant. If so, can you intelligently defend it? Take a few moments to digest the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. We must always have a strong defense of the inerrancy of Scripture.

For more on this topic, check out Ten Reasons to Believe the Bible by C.A. Wolcott.

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

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Advent Reflections: Hope

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 30, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Yesterday marked the first Sunday of the church season of Advent - the season where we celebrate the anticipation of the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Each Sunday of the Advent season has a theme traditionally associated with it, and this year, I will write on each of those themes as we go through this season.

The theme for this first week of Advent is hope. What exactly is hope? Hope can be interpreted in two main ways. One definition for hope is a desire that something we would like to happen, or an expectation that we would like to be fulfilled. A second definition for hope is the knowledge that something will happen for certain. Do you see the difference there? Sometimes, hope is just wishing something would happen; other times, hope is knowing that something will happen and waiting for it expectantly, though we may or may not know exactly when it will happen. The difference is in the degree of certainty we have.

We often hope for things in this life without certainty. Perhaps I hope my job will go smoothly this week; I do not know for certain that will happen, but I hope so. Perhaps I hope there will be a chocolate cake magically waiting for me in my kitchen; that’s unlikely, but a girl can hope, right? These are things that we may want to happen, but they’re not necessarily certain.

The hope that is given to us in the Scriptures, and that we focus on during this Advent season, is one of certainty. When we put our hope in God’s promises, we know He will fulfill them. He may not fulfill His promises in the way we would like Him to, but they will always be fulfilled according to His perfect plan and purpose and to give Him glory.

As we think about hope, take a look at a few passages from Scripture that encompass this idea:

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:114)

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” (Ephesians 1:18)

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” (Psalm 130:5-7)

There are many more passages in Scripture that point to the certain hope that we have in God. Do you see the difference in these passages between a hope that might happen and a hope that is certain?

Having a hope that is in uncertain things will cause a sense of uncertainty and anxiety in our lives. Instead, hope in the Lord, for He is faithful. He has shown us time and time again through His Word and through His working in our lives that He is worthy of our hope, and He will fulfill HIs promises.

Let me share a story to illustrate this from my own life. In 2010, I graduated from seminary with my Master of Divinity degree. Since not long after then, I desired to pursue another degree, whether it would be another master’s degree or a doctorate. I hoped it would happen, but year after year it didn’t, for a variety of reasons. In 2017, I had a moment of hope when I was told that a doctorate could be possible for me, but then that hope was shot down by some other life factors.

In the early summer of 2020, that hope was reignited in my life, and I began to see how God had been working in my life over the past 10 years to align everything that needed to happen to make my hope a reality. Throughout the summer, God kept revealing more and more how He had been working to make this happen - but in His timing rather than my own. For years, my hope was uncertain, but I kept hoping in the God of certainty and waiting on His plan. In September 2020, I began classes toward my Doctor of Ministry degree. Now, I have the certain hope that God will continue working in my life to sustain me on this journey that He so clearly has prepared for me.

What are you hoping for in your life? Is it a hope of uncertainty or a hope of certainty? Put your hope in the God of certainty that He will keep His promises to you. God promised to send His Son to earth to be born of a woman, live a sinless life, die an atoning death to take on the punishment that we deserve, and be raised again to reign in glory. We know with certainty that all of that happened some 2000 years ago, and every promise God has made has been fulfilled in Jesus. We can truly put our hope in Him, and I encourage you to do so this Advent season.

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The Holy Spirit: Revealer of Christ

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 27, 2020 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and how one of His jobs is to reveal, explain, and teach the meaning of Scripture. But this is all to lead to His ultimate and primary job: to reveal Jesus Christ. The real Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, very few people in this country are left who know who He truly is, so let’s look into how the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus.

How is Jesus spoken of in the church or ministry? What kinds of jobs and roles does Jesus have? Many churches have this view of Jesus as being a “divine butler.” He is there to serve you, love you, care for you, come to your rescue, and give you your heart’s desire. This is a “genie” type of Jesus. Others have this view of a mere facilitator. He sets up the process but lets it run its course on its own and doesn’t interfere with what man wishes to do, except for when man wants him to come. A while back I wrote a three post series on “Another Jesus” and you can see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here. If the church or ministry speaks of “another Jesus,” the Holy Spirit is not there.

Is the True Jesus revealed? Not the lovely, fluffy, shampoo model, but the real Jesus? The One whose eyes are ablaze when sin abounds. The One who stoops down to care for the broken and the weak. The One who calls out the self-proclaimed “educated” for their hypocrisy. The One who has compassion on the hungry. The One who stands for truth like a soldier in battle. The One who forgave an adulteress caught in the act and a thief dying next to him. The One who obeyed the Law perfectly but had no regard for the traditions held beyond that. The One who gives a call to all to come follow Him but doesn’t chase after those who reject Him. The One who came to save the world, not to condemn it, yet will bring judgment on those who reject the Son and stand condemned already. Is this the Jesus taught at your church? Or at the ministries you follow? Is this the Jesus taught by me, or the rest of us at the Worldview Warriors ministry? Test us, too, to see if we pass.

Is Jesus just a good teacher or is He the Son of God? Was Jesus a prophet or God come in the flesh? Is Jesus the Messiah or is he just one manifestation of a greater “spiritual energy” that all religions find in common (most of the “Progressive Christianity” churches follow Richard Rohr who teaches this, for the record. See “American Gospel: Christ Crucified” for details.). Do we have the right Jesus? This is why it is so important to know Scripture so we can test and approve/reject what we hear.

Who gets the glory in the preaching? Whom is the message about? Many churches today do not preach about the greatest of God, but about how special man is that God had to come to save us because of how precious we are. There is partial truth to that, but in reality, Jesus didn’t come to die for our sins so we can go to heaven because we are so special to Him. He died voluntarily, fully submitted to the will of the Father, and for the glory of God alone. It’s not about us at all. If the Holy Spirit is involved in your church, it will be about God and not about you.

Does the church wink at sin or does it call out sin? One of the primary jobs of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and expose sin, individually and corporately. How does your church speak about sin? There are three ways people do it today: 1) don’t speak of it at all, 2) sin is a barrier between you and God’s blessing, or 3) sin is a treasonous act against a thrice-holy God. Unless your church takes this third position and calls sin for what it is, the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with your church. When the pastor and the church leadership refuse to address sin, they do so in rebellion against God. A low view of sin reveals a low view of God. Now, I’m not talking about “fire and brimstone” preaching, though there are times where there is a place for that. I’m talking about describing what sin is, what sin does, and what the consequences of sin are, and letting the Holy Spirit do the convicting. There are preachers, however, who refuse to speak against sin and are proud of it. The Holy Spirit has absolutely nothing to do with said people, unless He is working against them.

The relationship between God and sin are inversely proportional to each other. The greater the view of God, the greater the disdain for sin. The less we take sin seriously, the less we’ll take God seriously. The Holy Spirit will convict His people of sin. It will be specific. He will tell you exactly what you did wrong. He also will tell you what you need to do to rectify the situation. He won’t condemn you, giving you no hope. But He will deal with the sin in your heart. If you are reading Scripture and you realize you have sinned against God because a passage “leaps out to you” that you were certain wasn’t there before, that is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. If you heed His word, life will still have hardships, but they certainly will be easier to manage.

The Holy Spirit does not speak much of itself. If a church/ministry always emphasizes the Holy Spirit through miracles and power, be wary, because the Holy Spirit may have nothing to do with them. But if that church/ministry is all about Jesus, you can safely say the Holy Spirit is working in that ministry.

Is the Holy Spirit in your church? Is He in your life? Use these tests to evaluate yourself. There are others, but this is what I have to offer on this topic. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit to rid ourselves of sin, to have a high view of Scripture, to read and understand Scripture correctly, to lift high the name of Jesus, and to live lives holy and separated unto God.

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Sources of Authority

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 23, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Everyone has different people or things in their life that they consider to be an authority. Each source of authority can have little or a lot of weight in life, depending on how much we count on them to advise and inform our worldview.

The question is, how do we know what to believe? What authorities are true, and which are false? Every person has different sources of authority in their life, whether they realize it or not. Our sources of authority inform our worldview, and they determine your beliefs and actions.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have different sources of authority than those who do not follow Jesus. We should definitely see the triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as an authority. The Bible is also an authority. But what about your church congregation or denomination? Your pastor? Your family? Those traditional things that you do because you’ve always done them?

Today, I want to look at our sources of authority through the illustration of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. This is a way to picture what emphasis we place on each of the sources of authority in our lives. The four sides of this quadrilateral are Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. These four areas show us how we gain information about God, and how we know what to believe about Him.

This quadrilateral shows all of these sources as being even, but that’s not usually the case. Each person relies on each of these aspects in varying amounts. This is often, but not always, determined by a person’s upbringing.

For example, this is what my personal quadrilateral looks like:

As you read below about what each of these sides mean, ponder what your quadrilateral might look like.

Scripture
The Bible, or the Holy Scriptures, are commonly considered to be the “norming norm” for Christians - the ultimate source of authority. There are many reasons for this, and you can read about some of them here. The Bible is an attempt to describe the unknowable God in human language. We need to constantly be looking at the context of any passage and its language for the best interpretation of it. Christians will always have diverse understandings of Scripture, but we need to remember that it’s ok to disagree on the parts of it that don’t matter for salvation.

Tradition
Tradition here does not refer to tradition in the sense of always doing things the same way or doing the same things in a repeated pattern. Here, it refers to those who have gone before us - great church fathers like Augustine, Athanasius, Irenaeus, Martin Luther, John Wesley, etc. The word tradition has different meanings to Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Protestants. The Protestant Reformation in the 1500s brought the idea of tradition as spiritual baggage, as the focus was on Scripture Alone. But, if tradition is completely rejected, the church will be shaped solely according to personal desires. Tradition helps us put our beliefs in the proper perspective of the whole of history. However, there is also a danger any time tradition is too rigid that the moving of the Spirit cannot be seen.

Reason
Reason is our God-given ability to think through things in a logical manner. It is a necessary gift, and it is very much a part of who we are. Being created in God’s image gives us this ability to think for ourselves, however if reason goes too far, then it becomes rationalism and there’s no room left for accepting things on faith. It’s important to understand where the boundary is between reason and faith. We need to think logically and reasonably, but we also need to allow God’s Spirit room to help us grow.

Experience
The idea of experience is that we know and learn about God first though our personal experiences. These can be good or bad. For example, if you experienced a loving father growing up, then your idea of God as Father is a good one; but if you experienced an abusive or uncaring father growing up, then you’ll have a negative view of God as Father. The danger with experience is that it can result in heresy (anything outside of the accepted Scriptural tradition), and it can distort our beliefs of God if it becomes our primary source of authority. When we focus primarily on experience and reason, we may end up with relativism where we believe that my truth is the same as The Truth.

So, knowing all of this, what does your quadrilateral look like? Where do you place more or less authority? Consider what you allow to be an authority in your life, and where God may want you to place authority.

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

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The Holy Spirit: Teacher and Upholder of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 20, 2020 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The least talked about member of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. There are two reasons for this: 1) the misuse of Him, thus many avoid talking about him, and 2) the Holy Spirit Himself doesn’t talk about Himself. But how can you tell if the Holy Spirit is truly active in your church? With so many fakes and counterfeits out there, what is real? Can we know? Today, I want to share some tests we can use to see if a church has the Holy Spirit active in it, or if the service is just a ploy, a game, or an emotional high.

First, when we examine the tests for being a Christian as found in 1 John (see my two blog posts for this: Part 1, Part 2), he is talking about an overall style of life, not necessarily absolute perfection. The ONLY person to ever live a perfect life is Jesus Christ. And not once has any local church congregation ever held 100% correct doctrine. So, as I examine several tests we can use to see if your local congregation is actually being led by the Holy Spirit or not, I’m not calling for perfection here.

Second, as I examine these tests, I am ALSO not going to insist that there must be a massive revival going on either. Many of these are fake, but God does indeed give what can be called a “mercy drop.” I’m talking about the day-in, day-out working of the Holy Spirit in a congregation. So, while what I am talking about may include such moves when many people get saved and miracles happen and entire communities repent and cease sinning, I’m looking at what a normal church that is following the Holy Spirit should look like in their normal circumstances.

The Holy Spirit has multiple jobs in this age of the church. One of His primary jobs is to reveal the message and clarity of Scripture. I am amazed at how many people can read Scripture and quote it but miss the whole point, including Christians. Again, I’m not talking about getting 100% correct doctrine. We at Worldview Warriors believe and teach that the Scriptures are divinely inspired. That means that the prompting, intention, and cohesion of Scripture came from God, specifically from the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to be God-breathed. Those who are not saved, who have not been born again, will not understand Scripture. They literally cannot understand it. They are not capable of it because the things of God are spiritually discerned, and they are foolishness to those who are perishing. But when the born again person reads the Scripture, they have the Holy Spirit with them, illuminating and explaining it. Sadly, very few people know the difference between a personal opinion about the text and the Holy Spirit’s revelation about it.

The Holy Spirit only speaks one message from Scripture as well. There is only one correct interpretation. My favorite quote from my favorite sermon starts with this: “Did you know the Word of God says one thing? It doesn’t say 20 things. It doesn’t say 2000 things. It says one. God doesn’t stutter!” If two people are studying Scripture and getting two very different ideas about the text, then one or both of them aren’t listening to the Holy Spirit. Now, due to people’s personalities and learning styles, they may approach the same truth from a different angle, but it’s still obviously the same truth. The Holy Spirit may give one person a logical explanation and another person a picture or image, but it will still be the same truth. The Holy Spirit never gives contradictory messages.

The Holy Spirit speaks well of Scripture. It always speaks of Scripture as being the first, foremost, highest, and ultimate authority on every topic it touches on. Jesus operated by the Holy Spirit and knew the Scripture. He didn’t appeal to emotions. He didn’t appeal to the teachings of this person or that person. He appealed to Scripture. “Have you not read?” A little secret on this: all Scripture reveals Jesus in some way, shape, or form. Jesus is the Word of God in living flesh. He is the Message, so all Scripture points to Him.

That said, if you hear a preacher that brings question to the Word of God, he not only doesn’t have the Holy Spirit with him, but he may be of the devil and a false plant there to deceive. Now, I’m not talking about “I’m not sure what this says.” I’m talking about any form of teaching that says “This is wrong.” I remember watching a video of a seminary professor who was teaching his class over Romans 5 and said Paul was making such a great case for sin and salvation until he brought Adam into the picture. He thought Paul was wrong for using Adam to explain how sin came to all men. Why? Because of his theistic evolution position, he didn’t believe Adam existed. That is a false teacher because he did not preach to defend and uphold and submit to Scripture. He taught to question, to marginalize, and to disbelieve the text of Scripture.

If you hear a preacher that does not put Scripture itself as the highest authority but appeals to the scholars of men, the “experts” of this world, and does not get his primary message and meaning from Scripture, he is not operating via the Holy Spirit. That said, any person that gives a “theme” message that itself is ultimately not derived from Scripture, but rather uses Scripture as a “proof text” is giving a false message. It is not of God. Those people take their ideas and look for a passage or an “interpretation” that can fit their idea instead of building their ideas from Scripture. That also said, if you come across a passage and you do not know what it means or what it says, don’t force it. Simply say, “I don’t know what this means, but what God says is true.” Keep it between you and God and only bring it up if you have to. Don’t serve uncooked meat. However, if the person you are listening to uses doubt upon Scripture as the basis of his message, let alone ministry, that person is of the devil.

The Holy Spirit’s primary job above all these is to speak about Jesus. He doesn’t reveal Himself; He speaks of Jesus. You can tell the Holy Spirit is in your ministry if He is revealing Jesus. More on that next week.

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A Household of Liberty vs. a Household of Law

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 18, 2020 0 comments


by Jason DeZurik

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” - 1 John 5:3-4

When my wife and I began raising the children that God had given to us, we knew we wanted to at least strive to raise them up not only in Godly ways but for them to learn how to discern the Word of God to make good and right choices on their own. We came up with only 2 rules to follow in our home. Those rules were as follows:

1) Honor and obey God and your father and mother

2) Do not lie.

We taught first-time obedience to all of our children from a very young age.

By only having these two rules to follow, our home became a very permission giving household. Our children learned the importance of liberty versus fear, shame, and control. This also freed up my wife and me to be able to give our children grace when they might do something unwise or sinful, and we would allow God’s “special revelation” (natural law) to teach them the importance of benefits and consequences in decisions they would make.

We did our best to try and follow God’s example in the Garden of Eden. God only gave Adam and Eve one simple rule to follow: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. If they did eat from it, they would eventually receive a consequence and they would surely die (Genesis 2:15-17). Everything else was fair game! Think about that for a moment. Nothing else was sinful. As it states in 1 John above, God’s commands are not burdensome. He desires for us to live without fear, shame, and control. God’s Word is very clear not to worry or to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). God’s Word also tell fathers to not exasperate their children and to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Another thing my wife and I decided to implement in our household was the importance of first-time obedience and to administer discipline right away. Even if I would be relaxing in my easy chair after a hard day of work, it was my responsibility to get out of that easy chair and administer discipline, right away, if one of our children chose to disobey me or their mother. I could not be lazy, whine, or make up an excuse that I was too tired from a hard day to show our children love in this way. If we would let them get away with sinning now, how much more would that take place later in life? Our children learned that talking back to their mother or father was not honoring them and that this was not obeying us the first time we told them to do something, which was disobedience. This was a breaking of our first rule.

Discipline needed to be administered swiftly but lovingly. One way we chose not to exasperate our children was to make certain they knew why they were going to be disciplined for their action. This could literally take 30-60 minutes of our time to have a conversation with our child and talk out what had just taken place, allowing our child to understand that what they did was breaking not just our house rules but breaking God’s law as well. It was very important to us to instill this into our children to help them understand that as their parents we weren’t just making up rules willy-nilly but trying to honor and obey God ourselves. We would do this behind a closed door with just the one child who committed the offense, usually with just one parent. This helped our children to learn that they could trust us and that we were not going to embarrass them in front of others.

This also gave us the opportunity to allow our children to learn about the wonderful gift of grace. You see, my wife and I learned very early on that we couldn’t share with our children every single bad thing that might happen to them by making sinful or bad decisions. But, it gave us freedom to discuss things with them later and give them some grace after talking to one another so they could then have the liberty to make their own choice later on. So, sometimes we wouldn’t administer any discipline because they might have already learned the lesson needed to make a good and right choice on their own. After all, it really is about a heart issue, isn’t it?

Jason and his wife Jaya have been married since 1997 and have been blessed with 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls. If the topic in this post interests you, check out Jason’s book on leaving a life of security for a life of liberty in “How Being Consistent Changed Everything.” You can get your own copy here.

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You Have Said So

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 17, 2020 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

“You have said so.”

As each day ends, our faith in God should grow. What this looks like we cannot compare from one to another because our journeys are as different as the stars in the sky. But what Jesus says here when He is facing Pilate and His eventual death is resounding, especially for those of us today who struggle with being a Christian in a world that essentially hates us.

On a personal level, I tend to not focus on what people think about me because their short-lived emotions are not as everlasting as me pleasing God. There was one exchange recently, however, that got me thinking. Is it acceptable to accept the satirical remark that we as Christians are more morally correct than non-believers?

Definitely being a double-edged sword, we need to tread carefully when trying to discover these types of questions, because our final authority should always remain the Bible. My personal method of assessment to these types of questions is always, "What about Jesus?" After all, if I'm going to model my life after anyone, it's going to be Him. So then, what would Jesus say to someone calling Him out on having a “moral high horse" as it was coined to me? The answer is simple and effective but also can come off as arrogant, and that is "I am what you say I am."

Of course, the scenario between Pilate asking Jesus if he was the Messiah and someone on Facebook calling me morally intolerant are not absolutely comparable beyond the surface. But this is where understanding how to apply the Bible to our current lives comes in. Jesus was not responding in a way that inflated His ego. He knew who He was, and He also knew what He was; it was up to others to discern their own worldly perspective of Him. All Jesus could do is basically smile and continue on with His work set out before Him.

The same applies to the situation above for me. Having had various discussions with this person in the past, I knew where their morality came from (subjective or from feelings), and I knew where mine came from (objective or from the Bible as much as possible). It is not only impossible but also improbable to have morality based on feelings as then there's no standard of what is right or wrong. Our feelings and heart are as deceitful and deceptive as our fallen nature is. With this being the case, I knew early on in my Christian walk I needed to not trust myself but to trust God.

The concept of letting people think what they want is not new. Growing up, I am sure we all heard the phrases "So what?" "Let them think what they want," or "Don't let their opinion bother you" said once or twice. Even more popular is the sticks-and-stones mantra where words can't hurt us. But what is greater for us being able to glorify and honor our most holiest Father than by modeling our response to discontent about our character to what Jesus said? We have to first and foremost consider why we have the view we do.

For an example, lets look at same-sex marriage which the Pope recently endorsed as of this writing. The Biblically Christian view of this should be that homosexuality is a sin (more on that here) and should not be endorsed, especially by a Christian who proclaims to be a child of God. If you follow this view and state that you do not believe it should be legal, then you are often met with either acceptance because those around you share the same worldview, or chastisement because those around you share a different worldview from yours. I have been called intolerant, ignorant, and far worse for believing marriage is man and woman only, a unity of two at that (1 man and 1 woman).

So, then, the dilemma faced is how to respond. If we change our worldview, whether just as a facade or entirely, then we are living of the world and not truly as a child of God. But if we stick to the view that it is a sin, then we risk losing friends, family, our job, etc. Really it could even cost us our lives as persecution grows. The choice is ours to make, but ultimately our choice should be to let God’s Spirit lead through us in His will not ours. We should not be concerned with defending ourselves but instead just focus on being loving, but holding our morals to a standard of God's perfection and excellence, even at the risk of losing what we deem important to our life.

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God and the Pandemic

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 16, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

If you’ve been a regular reader of the Worldview Warriors blog for some time, you’ve probably noticed that my blog posts are pretty Biblically-based, and I only speak to cultural events in the context of whatever Bible passage I’m writing on that week. But, now that we’re 8+ months into the Covid-19 pandemic and show no signs of getting out of it anytime soon, I’ll be addressing it in this post - but from a Biblical point of view, of course.

The most frustrating aspect of the pandemic for me is the lack of consistent truth. As a person who greatly appreciates the consistency of God and the absolute truth of His Word, not knowing who to believe or what I can believe is difficult for me. It seems like every week there is something new that the media is telling us, and opinions of health officials keep changing. I realize that scientists are constantly learning new things about this relatively new virus, but the lack of truth in the world is frustrating.

But from a theological point of view, one of the biggest issues that plagues many people is why did this pandemic happen in the first place? We live in a sinful, fallen world, so it’s a guarantee that bad things will happen in this world. We will have diseases and death as long as we are living in this imperfect world. Some will attribute this pandemic to the great sinfulness of the world, perhaps as a judgment from God.

That’s what the people thought back in Jesus’ time when we look at the narrative of the man who was born blind in John 9 (it’s a long story, but I encourage you to take a few moments and read the whole thing). We see this right at the beginning of the narrative: “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:1-3). A bad thing happened to this man in that he had no eyesight from birth; in that culture, that meant he had no way to support himself except through begging. But did it happen because he or his parents sinned? No; it happened so “the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In the story of the man born blind, Jesus doesn’t look for the cause of why this happened to that man. Instead, He directs the attention to what He (God) is going to do about it. Healing the man’s blindness was needed in that present moment, not determining the cause of that ailment.

If we are looking forward rather than backward toward the cause of the pandemic, what should our response be to it? One key answer can be found in the Lord’s prayer: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4). God is holy, always and forever. We pray that His Kingdom will come on earth; it is already here, but we often need a bit of help to recognize it. We pray that God would provide for us. We pray for forgiveness of our sins (whether they lead to a pandemic or not), and we pray that we would forgive others as well. No matter what’s going on in the world, we are called to follow Jesus Christ and be His disciples. Yes, cases of the virus have been growing significantly (at least where I live in Ohio) recently, but God is still in control and still fully worthy of our worship!

We as humans are always looking for signs in what’s happening to give us an indication of what is to come. But we already have that sign - Jesus! When Jesus died and was raised again, it was a turning point in history. Everything prior to Jesus’ life pointed forward to Him, and everything after it points back to Him. We know that someday this world as we know it will end, and many people are saying this pandemic and other events surrounding it are indicators of ushering in the end times. But when Jesus was resurrected, that ushered in a new era and explained what God is doing in this world. Everything is all about the gospel story of Jesus!

N.T. Wright in his book God and the Pandemic writes, “Trying to jump from an earthquake, a tsunami, a pandemic, or anything else to a conclusion about ‘what God is saying here’ without going through the Gospel story is to make the basic theological mistake of trying to deduce something about God while going behind Jesus’ back.” Jesus gave us all the information we need about what God is doing in this world. He is the only messenger we need; there is no need for other warning signs of when the world will end, as we should always be ready.

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has all the power through His resurrection (Romans 1:1-4). Jesus is already reigning over this earth and will continue to reign until He subdues the last enemy, which is death (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). As N.T. Wright goes on to say, “If you want to know what it means to talk about God being ‘in charge of’ the world, or being ‘in control,’ or being ‘sovereign,’ then Jesus himself instructs you to rethink the notion of ‘kingdom,’ ‘control’ and ‘sovereignty’ themselves, around his death on the cross.” It really is all about Jesus.

What does that mean for our daily lives during this pandemic? We need to continue to give God the glory in all things. Interpret everything through the lens of Jesus and His death and resurrection. We need to actively proclaim Jesus as Lord in all things. We need to continue to pray for our leaders (all of them!) and to put our hope, faith, and trust not in them but in Jesus Christ.

I’ll leave you with one final thought from Psalm 43:3-5: “Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

I encourage you to read God and the Pandemic by N.T. Wright for more on a Biblical response to the pandemic; what I have written here only scratches the surface of this topic.

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Compartmentalizing Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 13, 2020 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Our lives are divided in many different areas: family, work, religious, education, recreation, etc. But how do we keep each one separate, and should we keep them separate? Men have a great luxury here. Men’s brains are able to focus on just one thing at a time and completely shut out everything else. Women can’t do that. Women tend to have everything running all at the same time. This is one of the reasons why they are able to know exactly where everything is, while knowing what each kid is doing often before they do it, all while having dinner planned, appointments in order, and never losing track. Both skills complement each other and are necessary. One is not better than the other, just different, and both are needed. See Joe McGee’s talk for more details (and some laughs).

This difference is why men are suited for war. Men are able to completely shut out everything going on and singularly focus on the task at hand. Then when the battle is over, after they take some time to settle down, they can shut out the battle, so their family doesn’t have to face the horrors they had to. But send Mom on vacation while Dad runs the house? We all know how that tends to turn out; not too well.

There are times where we need to compartmentalize life. Our spouses and our children do not need to know the ins and outs of work and how rough things are. They don’t need to fight those battles. But at the same time, there is a need for venting and seeking advise about how things are going on. Many people are so overworked that they have to bring their work home with them, and then the kids who want to spend time with Dad cannot because he has to work. As a teacher, as long as I am on campus, I don’t take my work home unless I have to, and that includes lesson planning.

However, the compartmentalization of things can be done wrongly too, keeping certain areas of life out from other areas when they should be included. Many of you know I teach about worldviews and I address five key questions regarding origins, purpose, identify, destination, and authority. Whether we want to realize it or not, our worldview colors how we see the world in every area of life. Our worldview is reflected in the religion we hold (or lack thereof). Yet many people have made it a prerogative to separate their religious life from all other aspects.

In the documentary “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus,” there were two Jewish scholars whom every year celebrated Passover with their family, as though they were there getting ready to leave Egypt. Yet in their academic life, they denied it actually happened. I wondered, “How can you do that?” Their answer: the celebration is their tradition, but the academic life is the facts. I’m still confused on how they think that makes sense, but I see similar things all the time. Scientists who claim to be Christians go to church, but when they leave church and go to the lab, their faith stays at church. It’s also seen in politics where the person’s “faith” says one thing, but their political views and approaches says something else. They’ve compartmentalized these things, and they are very quick to lash out at those who bring their faith into every area where it should be.

This comes, at least in part, from the false notion of the 1st Amendment, the “separation of church and state,” which by no means, hint, or fashion remotely showcases how it has been interpreted. This 1st Amendment only means that government has to keep out of the church and cannot formally declare one or the other to be “official.” That means Congress itself cannot pass laws banning churches or formally endorsing churches. But it does NOT mean that those in Congress cannot practice their religion in Congress. It’s a one-way door: keep the state out of the church. It does not say get the church out of the state.

As Christians, our faith is meant to cover every area of our life, from family to business, to education, to military and politics, to science, to entertainment, to everything. God doesn’t ask for your Sunday morning only and everything else is up to you. He asks for your everything. That means everything. You cannot be a Christian and only think about God on Sunday during church. Stephen Manley said to be a Christian means to be “obsessed” with Jesus, where He so dominates your life that He is all you think about. This should even be to the point where Jesus determines when you get up, when you go to bed, how you make your business deals, and so on. That is what it means to be a Christian. You are a follower of Christ, and Christ dictates what you do, how you do it, and when. (Please note, I’m not calling for perfection, but if you are saved, you will be heading this direction.)

Paul goes on to say “In everything by prayer…” Not some things. Not most things. In everything by prayer. A. W. Tozer has a very good sermon about this. He explains that we tend to do things by money, prestige, public relation, compromise, committees, and basically anything but prayer, when prayer gets it done faster and far more efficiently. Our faith should be in all areas of our life.

But that said, let’s also keep those areas out of our faith life. Our education should not influence our faith; our faith should influence our education. Our politics should not influence our faith; our faith should influence our politics. Our family should not dictate our faith; our faith should dictate our family. Same with careers, entertainment, everything. While we can keep all our main areas of our lives separate from each other, our faith should never be put into a box and only brought out for talking about our faith. Jesus is the supreme authority over all the universe. All things are under His feet. And we think we can let Him out just for our church services and Bible study groups? He doesn’t share the stage with us, nor does He take partial ownership over our lives. It’s all or none with Christ. We need to learn that. So, while we can separate our business from our family, our politics from our education, we must not and should never separate our faith in Jesus Christ from any area of our lives.

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What Are Your Silos?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 9, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

In 2016-2017, I had the opportunity to participate in the Missional Leadership Initiative put on by the Churches of God, General Conference. During each of the six weekend retreats, author and speaker Reggie McNeal would teach us about living lives on God’s mission. One concept that has remained with me from those training times is Reggie’s idea of living our lives in different silos.

This idea comes from his book Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. Church culture can either be considered as a “member culture” or a “missionary culture.” A member culture is when people join a particular congregation, and that congregation is their focus. A missionary culture is when the focus is on the Church as a whole, not just one particular congregation of it. Reggie writes:

“The member culture views society as a series of silos: politics, business, education, arts, media, technology, health care, social sector, and so forth. All of them are separate. The church culture has developed its own silo - a parallel culture in many respects - complete with schools, businesses, educational institutions, health care facilities, sports clubs, travel associations, and social agencies. Positioned as one silo among others, the church works to recruit people and resources from the other domains, vying for attention and money. In this way, the church effectively becomes a desalinization plant, sucking salt out of the community. Or a salt dome. Its activities serve effectively to take a lamp and put it under a bushel. The member-culture church violates the intent of God for his people by focusing the efforts on the spiritual silo” (Missional Renaissance, page 54).

This concept applies not only to the Church but also to our lives as individuals. Take a good, honest look at your own life. Do you have different silos? Perhaps you have a school silo, a family time silo, and a friends silo. Perhaps you have a job silo and a family/kids silo. Perhaps you even have different silos for people you know - these are my work friends, these are my church friends, these are the friends I go out to parties with, etc. My guess is that those different silos rarely, if ever, interact with each other.

As Reggie said, we in America learn the concept of silo-ing our lives from the very culture around us. We like to categorize things into nice, neat silos. This is the world of education, this is the world of politics, this is the world of religious things, this is the world of science, etc. We like to keep things in their categories so they don’t intermingle with one another, and everything is neatly placed in its own silo where we can contain it.

But is this concept Biblical? Last week, I wrote on many Scriptural passages that show us what Jesus said about discipleship. Go read that post and the linked passages if you haven’t already.

From what Jesus said, we see that discipleship should not be something reserved for church, or when we're feeling particularly spiritual. Rather, it should encompass our entire lives – work, home, school, church, and wherever else we go. It should become a way of life and not merely one part of our lives. We should not have a silo labeled “Jesus” in our lives. He is not meant to encompass only part of our lives, but we are called to surrender our entire lives to Him. That means EVERY silo, not just one.

But again, should we even have silos in our lives? Look at how Jesus lived with and taught His disciples. They literally did everything together for the duration of His earthly ministry. Jesus didn’t tell them, “Okay, guys, I’m going to take a break from this religion stuff and go be a carpenter for a while.” Jesus didn’t tell them, “You guys leave for a while, this part of my life doesn’t matter for you.” No! Jesus holistically formed His disciples by having them follow every part of His life with every part of their lives. Jesus’ disciples didn't keep working at their jobs and follow Him on the weekends or their off-hours. Instead, they gave their whole lives to follow Jesus.

Jesus addressed all of His disciples’ needs while they were with Him. He made sure their bodies were taken care of with food and rest, He made sure that they realized the love of God in their lives and taught them how to deal with their emotions through His own example, and He instilled faith in them and taught them all about Himself and God's plan for the world. Nowhere do we see Jesus separating out parts of His life as the Discipleship Silo and other parts into other silos.

For us to be holistic disciples, we need to let Jesus into every aspect of our lives. We need to allow Him to live with us and care for us in much the same way as He did for the disciples, though He is not physically present with us. We need to learn to trust Him to supply our physical needs, feel His love and presence through the Holy Spirit, and participate in spiritual disciplines for our spiritual health.

Does your love for Jesus encompass every silo of your life? Or do you tend to put Jesus in His own silo and only visit Him occasionally? Maybe you visit the Jesus Silo every Sunday morning when you go to church, and even throughout the week for a few minutes each day when you pray or have devotional time. But is that enough? Jesus is not content to be one silo in our lives; He needs to encompass every area of our lives. We are called to give up all the other aspects and things we run after in life to follow Him in everything.

Luke 9:23-25 says, “Then [Jesus] said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’” We need to deny the silo-ing effect of this world’s culture and instead focus on following Jesus with our whole lives.

The pattern of this world is that our lives are siloed into all these different areas. But we are told, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Yes, we will still have different areas of our lives. We can still have a job, a family life, attend school classes, etc. But we need to be sure that Jesus is not hanging out in His own silo, but that He’s fully invited to everything in our entire lives.

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Institutionalized

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 6, 2020 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The Shawshank Redemption is considered one of the greatest movies ever made. It’s about a banker who was charged with the murder of his wife, when it wasn’t him, and sent to prison. He befriends another prisoner, Red, who acts as the narrator of the story. In one scene, a prisoner, Brooks, who had been there for nearly 50 years was released on parole and he couldn’t handle life outside of prison, committing suicide. When the other prisoners got word about it, they couldn’t understand why, and Red explained it perfectly. Brooks had been “institutionalized.” Red said, talking about the prison walls, “First you hate it, then you get used to it, then you can’t live without it.” Brooks was a well-known respected person in the prison, but outside the prison, he was a nobody and it made him snap. But the truth Red speaks about being “institutionalized” extends far beyond the prison system.

We humans are creatures of habits and we love institutions. We love to build ourselves concrete structures that define what we do and where we go and when we do things. But we are prone to something with that: we get so attached to a process or a way of doing things that it becomes “institutionalized” and we don’t know how to think outside it. Traditions are the same thing in this case. My pastor describes a tradition as “something you do without knowing why you do it.” There are many institutions and traditions we do where we don’t know why we do it and they’ve become a “prison” without walls or guards.

Remember when I wrote about Brainwashing a few months ago? Institutionalization IS a form of brainwashing. It gets you used to a system to the point where you are dependent upon it, and to the point that you cannot comprehend getting the services from any other means. A great example is the welfare system. Once a person gets onto welfare, it is easy for them to get “institutionalized” with it, and they cannot comprehend life without it: a life of actually doing quality work, earning what you get, and truly living freely. (That is not a blanket statement, as there are many people who truly don’t want to be on the system but cannot make ends meet at that time.)

Public schools are another example. Yes, I am a public school teacher, so I can talk about this first-hand. Did you know that the “summer vacation” was scheduled in so kids could join their parents and work the harvest for the farms? Now we do it just to do it. I love my fellow teachers and I love my administrators; they are doing the best they know how to do. However, the school system has failed. When I was in college, 85% of incoming freshman had to take remedial math courses. The schools are turning out people who are literally uneducated and illiterate all the time, just passing them on to keep “failure rates” down and so they can get their federal funding. And when parents pull their students to go to “charter schools” or private schools, the main public schools whine that they are losing money by these “competition” schools. But do we have to do school THIS way? The arguments for shutting down the Department of Education have nothing to do with shutting down education but actually getting the government out of it and to revive what it actually should be: training and equipping students to be independent thinkers and able to live and operate without being dependent upon the state, and to be able to test what they are hearing. It’s the complete opposite of what students are getting now.

Science itself has become institutionalized. Two weeks ago I spoke for a mini-conference about radiometric dating and I quoted John Woodmorrappe from his book The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods where he points out how “Deep Time” has been institutionalized and so thoroughly that no one ever questions Deep Time itself or the methods that showcase it. They’ll examine every detail about conditions etc. but never the methods themselves. An example is when soft-biological tissue was found. No one ever thought to ask, “Are these fossils really millions of years old?” Instead they asked, “Wow, what could have preserved it this long?” They never question the ages.

Guess what? The church isn’t immune to this either. Voddie Baucham has an intriguing interview in which he suggests we abolish the “youth ministry” programs as we know it because they obviously aren’t working, and they have produced a very dangerous side effect. Parents have abdicated their role in raising their children, giving the spiritual lessons over to the youth pastor, and expecting the 1-3 hours the youth pastors have with the kids to undo the 40+ hours kids spend each week in the public schools. Parents need to be involved, yet the churches not only are not encouraging this but they get on parents’ cases (including church staff) if their kids aren’t in the youth programs (Baucham gives anecdotes about this). Youth ministry has been institutionalized, and doing anything different is a strange concept.

Beware that COVID right now is “institutionalizing” us with all the masks and social distancing regulations. The whole “new normal” is exactly this: institutionalization. I know MANY people are frustrated with these rules and know they are utterly ridiculous, however, they have been institutionalized enough themselves to not know how to operate outside the system or how to question it. As our president Jason DeZurik has been saying, “The way forward is back.” For our country to return to what it was, we must go back to when the government did not have such overreach. The only way this can happen is if we as a nation return back to God and get elected leaders who also fear God.

Now, do not hear what I am not saying. I am NOT calling for antinomianism or anarchy or a free-for-all. I know more than many others the necessity for structure, but structure should not exist for the purpose of structure. Jesus constantly got on the Pharisees’ case for this. Yet, Jesus still gave commands, even though they are easy and light. The difference is why are they there: because of man’s traditions or because of God’s order? When we follow Jesus, He gives us freedom. Freedom to do so much more than we could possibly imagine, but it’s not whatever we want to do. We must have boundaries. A common analogy is if you want to swim the ocean you are free to do so. You can go wherever you want, but you lack the resources to get anywhere. Instead you need to confine yourself to a ship and you can sail the ocean. But it takes a master navigator to get you to certain places that you can’t get to on your own. Jesus can get us there, but to get there we have to let Him direct where and how the ship goes.

The rich young ruler and Matthew the disciple were both very wealthy men. One was institutionalized; he could not figure out how to live his life outside his system of a lavish lifestyle. The other gave it up in an instant. Jesus did not come to set up an institution (the church Jesus envisioned is not an institution), but a Kingdom. This Kingdom does have structure and order, but that order comes out of the headship of Christ and the counsel of the Holy Spirit, not an institution. And often we’ll be asked to “break the rules” (man’s rules, not God’s) just to get us out of institutionalized thinking and into an even greater freedom. As Jesus told Simon Peter after calling Matthew to join him in The Chosen, “Get used to different.” The life of a Christian means we need to “get used to different.”

I used to be very institutionalized. My worst tantrum as a child was when my babysitter put me to bed 30 minutes LATE. It threw me off my schedule. That said, my journey with Christ has been amazing, where for 20+ years now, I’ve known nothing but my general direction/calling and what I am doing at this moment. Tomorrow, it can all change (this year has been a LOT of change), but if it does, I know the faithfulness of my God and it will be challenging, but it will be an adventure worth taking. Let’s break free from our “institutions” and instead enjoy life with true order and structure found in Christ.

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A Closer Look at Climate Change

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 5, 2020 0 comments


by Steve Risner

Climate change is real. It’s been changing rapidly for at least the last 4400 years, after the Flood. If you don’t believe there was a Flood, that’s fine. The data confirms what I’m saying about the climate regardless. When people complain about climate change (almost always meaning man-made climate change) I usually ask a few questions: is the climate changing for the better or worse? How do you know? Is it warming up to the right temperature? Or cooling down to the right temperature? How do we know the right temperature? We have tropical fossils all over the globe including in the Arctic and Antarctica; it seems like it must have been warmer in the past. There have been several periods in the past where the temperatures were much warmer and colder than now. For example, the Medieval Warm Period a thousand or more years ago and the Roman Warm Period 1000 years before had temperatures warmer than today. I don’t think SUV’s were doing this then. And the Little Ice Age four or five hundred years after the Medieval Warm Period had the opposite effect.

A great deal of “evidence” the planet is warming is based on the starting point. If we start with the Little Ice Age, we find we’re much warmer. If we start with the Medieval Warm Period, we find we’re actually much cooler than 1000 years ago (when we didn’t have massive industry allegedly destroying the atmosphere). For some time, we saw scientists claiming we were heading into another Ice Age as it appeared temperature trends were falling drastically. But it was much warmer during the time of the Romans as well. The Romans wrote about growing wine grapes in Britain in the first century and then it got too cold during the Dark Ages. Ancient tax records show the Britons grew their own wine grapes in the 11th century, during the Medieval Warming, and then it got too cold during the Little Ice Age.

A large portion of arguments we often hear (which is a logical fallacy in and of itself) is that almost all scientists agree climate change is real. What they don’t say is that everyone agrees climate change is real. What most of us understand, though, is that it’s natural. Man-made climate change is a farce.

S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the National Association of Scholars that “the number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily; I would guess it is about 40% now.” A 40% rate of doubt that man-made climate change is a thing doesn’t seem like “most scientists” or a consensus to me. In fact, it’s absurd to suggest we can even know this. We have such little data to go off and we’ve kept our own records for such a short time it’s amazing anyone wants to think we know what we’re talking about here.

And what of all the predictions that the world will end? We heard a teenage girl last year angrily rage against the world as she painted a scary picture of the world she believed she would inherit. I, personally, believe she’s been abused mentally, and I feel very badly for her. She was appalled that anyone would question her dark forecast, repeatedly saying, “how dare you.” Come on. We’ll look at these predictions in a moment.

What’s interesting is the chronic forecast of earth’s destruction due to man-made climate change (once called global warming until cooling seemed to be the trend) has continually gotten a pass on being completely wrong. Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster for nearly 60 years. They continue to do so today.

1967: dire famine in 1975
1970: Ice Age by 2000
1970: water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980
1971: new Ice Age coming within the next 50 years
1972: new Ice Age by 2070
1974: new Ice Age coming fast
1974: ozone depletion will end life on earth
1978: no end in sight for cooling trend
1980: acid rain will kill life on earth
1988: drought will plague the 1990’s
1988: DC will go from 35 to 85 days a year over 90 degrees
1988: Maldives will be completely under water by 2018
1989: rising seas will obliterate nations by 2000
1989: NYC’s west side highway to be under water by 2019
2000: children won’t know what snow is
2002: famine in 10 years
2004: Britain to have Siberian climate by 2020
2008: Al Gore says Arctic will be ice free by 2013
2009: only 8 years to save the planet
2009: 50 days to save the planet
2009: Arctic ice free by 2014
2013: Arctic ice free by 2016
2014: 500 days to climate chaos

And the list goes on and on. The only thing worth noting in this list is how NONE of it has come to pass. There are other predictions that are 50 to 100 years in the future, but we don’t know yet if they were right. But if we compare their predictions with previous predictions, we’ll quickly see they are highly unlikely.

Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change. See talk of Greta Thunberg above.

Some scientists are honest enough and bold enough to stand against the establishment:
“I also care about getting the facts and science right and have in recent months corrected inaccurate and apocalyptic news media coverage of fires in the Amazon and fires in California, both of which have been improperly presented as resulting primarily from climate change… no credible scientific body has ever said climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species.” -- Michael Shellenberger

All of this seems rather pointless, however, when the left and the media are so bent on the doomsday scenarios, regardless of what the data really shows. For instance, there are major stories from 2009 and from 2015 concerning government manipulation of the climate data to make it appear that it’s getting worse when, in reality, it is not. This was to get us deeper into a war on climate change in ’09 and to get us into the extremely impossible Paris Climate Accord in ’15. Whistleblowers have come out several times claiming they and others cooked the books (no pun intended) to make it appear that we are in a warming phase and that the climate is rapidly changing because of man-made pollutants which will result in the end of the world. It’s all bogus. The failed predictions outlined above prove it, but the fact that some scientists with a conscience have come out saying they’ve been doing this makes it case closed. Let’s move on and fix real world problems.

What’s really curious to me is why the left continues to act like this is a major issue for Americans. It’s not. First, in the top 12 issues reported by voters, climate change is #11. That’s not high on the list. Secondly, we are a small contributor to the problem. China is pouring massive amounts of pollutants into the air and into water all the time. They account for 30% of the world’s pollution. India accounts for 7%. The U.S. is between these two nations. If we cripple ourselves over this, we’ll make a very small impact if any to the total amount of pollutants that our environment is taking in. This will further make nations like China, Russia, and certain Middle East nations very, very happy. Thirdly, man-made global warming or climate change is not really a real thing. The climate is changing, sure. It always has. But to suggest we are responsible when the same things have happened in the past is just denying reality as far as I can tell. Also, since we know the data has been fabricated, it seems rather silly to continue to push the narrative. We know it’s false and we know the actions some want to take to fix a problem we have no control over will bankrupt us as a nation. The world needs America strong. We can’t be strong if we don’t have energy.

God has given us dominion over the earth. This doesn’t mean we’re free to destroy it. We need to be responsible and take good care of the earth. It’s the only planet we’ve got. However, making a major issue of fixing a problem we didn’t cause, couldn’t cause and can’t fix is nonsense. We are to be good stewards, but we are not God.

God Himself sustains us and His creation. The Word reveals that God is at the helm. He’s in charge and will continue to cause these natural cycles to persist until He restores all things—bringing in the new heavens and new earth. I don’t believe it’s correct to assume the only cycles He sustains forever are those listed. The list is just an example and, I believe, reflects natural cycles that we see happening around us all the time. I trust Him. I encourage you to do the same. We can see evidence of temperature fluctuations throughout history. Why would we conclude this time we’re doing it when we know we weren’t in the past? Let’s take care of what He’s given us but also understand that we’re not in control of everything—far from it! And ruining ourselves, our livelihoods, our economy, our nation or even our world to stop a problem we’re not causing is ludicrous.

I look forward to all the links and opinions contrary to my own that people will want to share with me. Please understand that while I’m open to honest and thoughtful information, I believe it’s getting harder and harder to find such information. We’ve seen that scientists can change data or omit data to support their needs. We’ve seen censoring of information and censoring or even cancelling those who supply contrary information. My first response to any of the issues we see in our world today is, “What does the Bible say?” I start there.

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

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