The Lord's Prayer: "And Lead Us Not Into Temptation"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 10, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We are into the last verse of the Lord’s Prayer today: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Today, we’ll look at the first phrase of that verse - “and lead us not into temptation.”

This phrase is a tricky one for us to understand theologically. Remember that this whole prayer is addressed to God (“Our Father in heaven”). Do we believe that God would actually lead us into temptation, that we need to ask Him not to do so? What is Jesus telling us by giving us this phrase in this model prayer?

First, let’s look at the verb - lead. In the original Greek, this verb has a wide range of meanings and is used in a variety of contexts. It can mean to lead into, bring into, etc. It’s a compound verb, meaning that it’s a root verb plus a preposition that makes a new verb. The preposition part of this verb is commonly translated as “in” or “into,” and the rest of it commonly means to bring, lead, bear, or carry. This compound verb can also have a causative idea to it, like to cause someone to lead into or bring into. In some contexts, it could even mean to announce or to drag into. So, it’s not necessarily an easy verb to translate.

The potential translations of this verb cause a theological dilemma for us. Does God actually cause us to be tempted and put us to the test to see if we’ll obey Him? We do see God testing Abraham when He commanded him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son (Genesis 22:1-18). We also see in Exodus 16:4 that God tested the people of Israel by giving them manna each day, to see if they would obey His very specific instructions to trust in Him for provision. In the New Testament, we read 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God won’t let us be too tempted, and He will give us a way out.

Some Biblical scholars have suggested that these words of Jesus had a different meaning when He originally spoke them. It is likely Jesus would have spoken this in Aramaic, which was the commonly spoken language of the day, whereas the gospel accounts were written in Koine Greek; the two are very different languages, both in alphabet and in structure. There is speculation that the Aramaic would have been causative or permissive - “and cause us not to enter…” or “allow us not to enter…” But since we only have the Greek text, we cannot know if that was the intention.

The next main concept in this phrase is the word “temptation.” This is another word that can have a variety of meanings in different contexts. It can also mean a trial, persecution, a test, enticement, etc. A test or a trial has the idea of attempting to learn someone’s character by seeing how they react to a particular situation, whereas temptation or enticement is the idea of luring something into doing something they should not do. Which one of these meanings is correct here?

We do not have a solid answer on that from the text of this passage. This phrase could indicate that we’re asking God to not cause us to be tested to check our character, or it could indicate that we’re asking God to not allow us to be led into doing something that would be disobedient to Him.

Since we know that all of Scripture agrees with itself, let’s look at James 1:13-14 to help us with this. That passage tells us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” Based on that, we see that God does not tempt anyone, so the translation of our phrase in the Lord’s Prayer cannot indicate that God causes temptation to happen in our lives. It’s our own evil desires, the sin that lives inside each of us, that causes temptation in our lives, not God. So praying that God would not cause us to be tempted is like praying that God would not sin, which we know is true. So perhaps this word should be translated in the Lord’s Prayer with the idea of testing rather than temptation.

But this translation also causes difficulty for us. We know that we will face testing or trials of many kinds, and that we should face them with joy. James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The word translated here as “trials” is the same Greek word as the one we’re looking at in the Lord’s prayer.

Jesus Himself, earlier in the sermon where we find the Lord’s Prayer, told us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12). We will be blessed when we experience persecution, which is definitely a type of trial.

So if we need to experience trials in order to produce perseverance and maturity as James says, and Jesus Himself tells us we will be blessed for being persecuted, why would Jesus tell us a few verses later to pray that we don’t experience trials? As humans, our innate desire is to live an easy life, free of difficulties. Jesus knows that; He lived a human life as well. But, we also know that in this sin-filled world, we will not live a life free of difficulties, especially when we commit our lives to following Jesus.

Our prayer to “lead us not into temptation” is a prayer asking God to spare us from the trials of life, whatever they may be; but when they do come into our lives, those trials should be faced with joy and the realization that they are helping us mature in our walk with God. Whether God causes temptation or testing in our lives or not, we know that He is sovereign and will be there to guide us through whatever He has in store for us.

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.

READ MORE

The Historicity of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 7, 2021 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The Bible is unique, more than any other “religious” book. The Bible is rooted in history. The Bible is the only book whose claims about the core worldview questions are rooted in history. It’s the only holy book that is actually rooted in reality. The Bible doesn’t merely record history with perfect accuracy; it showcases God’s direct involvement with history.

Archaeology is a study of the past through physical artifacts. So far, we have found a minimum of 25,000 archaeological finds in the Middle East, and not one of them disagrees with any statement made by Scripture. We’ve found countless things that perfectly match the Biblical account. We have a tomb that matches Joseph in Egypt. We have Jericho in the exact condition Joshua describes. We have found historical records of the people and places Luke describes including the officers as they climbed their ranks. Now we haven’t found absolutely every little thing, obviously, but there is not one thing we have found that contradicts the Bible. Any claims of contradictions nearly always deal with the dating, which is actually the least reliable aspect of archaeology. Everything about that find matches the Bible perfectly, except the date. Well, perhaps the date should be re-evaluated.

The skeptic often will then pull the “Spiderman Fallacy.” The Spiderman Fallacy is this: Spiderman takes place in New York City; we have a real New York City, therefore, Spiderman was a real person. So, the argument thus says: “So what that we found Jerusalem, or a coin with David’s sign on it? That doesn’t mean it actually happened.” The Bible has a history that could be compared with Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It’s got the full genealogies, the royal lineages, prophecies, a “Christ-figure” (Gandalf), a Satan-figure (Sauron or Morgoth if you go further), an origins myth, an ending, just about everything. So skeptics try to compare the Bible to these fictional narratives in order to discredit it and dismiss it. But there is a major problem with this thinking. None of these fantasy stories ever reference real people or real events. On occasion a fiction story may describe pop-culture such as a movie or a book, but it will not cite a real person or a real historical event. Any that do are called “non-fiction” books. The Bible records the history of His dealings with man. God is the main character of this grand story called history.

When I deal with origins, this is one of the key issues I face with atheists and old earthers. There is an adamant stance against treating Genesis 1-11 as history. And the few old earthers who do treat parts of it as history diminish the claims it makes about history. Where do they get these ideas from? The answer is simple: false scholars who try to use the Ancient Near East mythologies to say the Bible’s origins story is also a mythology, not history. Then, they try to play educated with us and try to tell us we need to look at the culture back then and try to understand how the Ancient Near East would have understand the passage, not in our modern 21st century scientific mindsets. Let me say this straight up: these people are liars and they are doing the exact opposite of what they claim. THEY are the ones looking at Genesis from a 21st century mindset (thinking our modern science should make us re-think what the Bible actually says). What is more is that by these arguments, they show they have NEVER studied the Hebrew culture, the primary audience who heard and read Scripture. They studied the Babylonians, the Persians, the Hittites, the Egyptians, but not the Hebrews.

If you want to know what the Hebrews thought, try reading their Holy Books. Read the Bible. It tells you how they thought. And a key to their thinking is everything about their faith is rooted in history. Their image of God being a Savior, a saving God, is rooted in the REAL Exodus from REAL slavery from a REAL Egyptian power. They considered themselves as God’s people because of a real, physical father of their faith, Abraham. They believed in a real Creator with a real Creation, and to this day they run their calendar as though Genesis 1-11 is actual, literal history.

The Hebrews then took it further. All the spiritual truths they believed and taught flowed out of the literal, historical events. This is what the skeptics and OEC teachers don’t see. Their arguments say that we need to look at the spiritual side of things and ignore the history. All that matters is the spiritual lessons. Really? This is actually a variation of Gnostic teachings that the physical reality is bad, and the spiritual reality is good. It puts everything in the ethereal and “out there,” but nothing concrete, tangible, and something we can grip. Now, we are to live by faith and not by sight, but faith is something concrete. It comes with evidence and it’s something firm we hold onto.

The Hebrews didn’t just tie their spiritual understandings to history, they also used their history as images and as pictures of their future. That’s why they looked to a military commander to rescue them from Rome – because all their saviors in the past saved them from physical enemies. They thought Rome was the next one to be taken out. They failed to see the spiritual images involved with their history. Todd Friel has a spectacular book called Jesus Unmasked, and in it he goes through the Old Testament – the history, the Tabernacle, the miracles, the Exodus, the manna, the Temple, everything – and shows how all of it is pictures and images of Jesus. God used the Hebrew understanding of how their history played a big role in how they thought to present Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

Now let me make this clear. The spiritual meanings in Scripture DO NOT work unless you understand the physical meaning first. Jesus told that to Nicodemus. If I speak to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I speak about heavenly things? A number of the Young Earth Creation organizations use this verse to point out that if we don’t understand Genesis, how can we understand the cross? There is validity to this. The physical images are what makes the spiritual images concrete, and they also keep the spiritual lessons from getting off base.

I will also ask this to those who only want the “spiritual lessons” out of Genesis: “Is your salvation just spiritual? Or is it real?” It is a real Creator, with a real historical creation, who dealt with a real Adam and Eve who committed a real original sin, who issued a real divine judgment and curse upon creation and man, and who then set out the chain of events to establish His plan for a real salvation, by sending Jesus as a literal man, to die on an actual cross, to pay for the actual sin debt, taking on the real wrath of God, and making a real salvation available to all man. He is also going to bring all real things to a close, make every person face real judgment, and then set our fate to a real Heaven or a real Hell. Everything about the Bible is real because its Author is real. The Author of Scripture, God, is not a distant idea out there. He is a real, actively and intimately involved, sovereign God, who loves us and holds us responsible for our choices and actions.

We are called to a real faith. To be actually saved. To be a literal new creation. To be reconciled to the real God. We live in a real world, under the authority and sovereignty of a real God, who recorded actual history through actual authors of Scripture. Is your faith real? Or is it some distant quasi-religious feeling? I preach a message on reality and I proclaim a real, historical Jesus who is still real today. And I proclaim a real salvation from a real Hell, because that is what the Bible teaches. Is your faith real? Is it rooted in history? Or is it just a “spiritual experience”?

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.

READ MORE

The Lord's Prayer: "As We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 3, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

With this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, we’re jumping into the middle of a sentence. The whole sentence is, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). To get the context of the first phrase, check out last week’s post.

Asking God to forgive our debts (our sins, our disobedience, our wrongdoing) is only half of the whole concept of forgiveness. We sin, make mistakes, and disobey God, but others also sin and make mistakes against us. How do we handle those who have sinned against us?

The key is in the conjunction. Asking God for forgiveness when we sin against Him is great, because we know that He is faithful and will forgive us when we are truly repentant of those sins. But the important conjunction here is the word “as.” It also means like, according to, in the same way, or just as. Notice how emphasizing the conjunction highlights the meaning: “Forgive us our debts, in the same way as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Well, that just got more difficult!

How are you doing at forgiving others? Perhaps you need to forgive someone for a direct sin against you. Perhaps you need to forgive someone for a way they sinned against God, where you also felt the negative consequence of that sin. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for wrongdoing that you know you committed or negative feelings you’re harboring against someone else. Any of those situations require us to be the one doing the forgiving of the wrongdoing.

When we put this whole verse together, we see that we cannot separate God forgiving us of our sins from us forgiving those who have wronged us. We would all love to always be on the receiving end of God’s forgiveness, but it’s much more difficult to be on the giving end of forgiveness to others.

Notice the timeline of verbs in this verse. The first half is us commanding God to forgive us (an action in the future), while the second second half says that we “have forgiven” our debtors (an action in the past). That appears to indicate that we must forgive others in order to earn God’s forgiveness, but I do not believe that’s how our loving God works. We know that being forgiven is not based on our work, but on the work of Jesus Christ in the cross. Ephesians 1:7 tells us plainly, “In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

While this was originally written in Greek, it is believed that Matthew (who wrote this gospel) was Jewish, so he would have spoken Aramaic in daily life. Early Christian scholars believe that Matthew actually was thinking of an Aramaic verb tense here in this second half of the verse that would be more accurately translated like a present perfect - as we should forgive our debtors in the way that God forgives us. The verb tense used in Greek often indicates past action, but it can also mean habitual action in the present. This means that it could be translated “as we habitually forgive,” which lines up with the Aramaic thought that Matthew may have had.

Another school of thought is that it’s all about our attitude. We do not need to earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others, but we need to demonstrate an attitude that would make forgiving others possible. If we are truly repentant of our sin and we see how badly we have been disobedient to God, then the sins of others to us are really quite small in comparison. When we realize that we are asking God to forgive an enormous sin - what we have done that’s disobedient to the God of the universe - anything that any human can do against us is miniscule in importance.

Sure, it hurts me that someone told a lie to me. But it hurt Jesus even more that all of humankind sinned against God, and all of that punishment was heaped on Jesus on the cross. While all sin is sin, the magnitude of sinning against God is so much greater than offenses between humans. Surely we can forgive what that person has done to us if Almighty God can die for the forgiveness of all of humanity’s sins against Him!

God’s Word has much to say about forgiveness that helps us interpret this section of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gives additional teaching on forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-22. This phrasing of the Lord’s prayer is echoed by Jesus in Mark 11:24-25, where Jesus is teaching after HIs triumphal entry into Jerusalem: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

The Apostle Paul also teaches us about forgiveness. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” John echoes these thoughts in his first letter. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Does being forgiven by God depend on us forgiving others? No, it depends on the work of Jesus on the cross that has already been accomplished. But, we do need to be truly repentant of our sin in order to receive that forgiveness, and if we truly have a repentant heart, then we should not be harboring grudges or ill will against others who have sinned against us.

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.

READ MORE

The Perspicuity of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 30, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

What is “perspicuity”? That’s a good $200 theological term that essentially means “clarity.” This is perhaps one of the most important doctrines in our post-modern world that denies absolute truth and the clarity of anything. One of the goals of post-modernism is to deny absolute truths so no one can tell someone else what they can or cannot do. Post-modernism hates the Bible because it has perspicuity. It has clarity. It says everything in black and white and with far more specificity and clarity than we’d like it to be.

I write about false teachings often, and one thing all false teachings have in common is denial of the clarity of Scripture. The first thing Satan said is: “Has God indeed said?” The first thing Satan did on earth was to raise question on the clarity of what God said. God has spoken. Let me say that again: God has spoken. He said it. He means it. And He holds us accountable for believing it or not. It does not matter what we think about it. It does not matter how we “interpret” it. It’s black and white: we believe God or not. When people like Rob Bell question the clarity of “love thy neighbor as yourself” by declaring that it raises more questions than answers, I’m like “oh really?” What does it mean to “love”? Who is my neighbor? Bell thinks these are unanswered. Every author of Scripture would say otherwise. There are multiple areas where the clarity of Scripture is being attacked, and I’ll address a few of them here.

Origins: It simply amazing me how few people know what the word “day” means. They read in any other context and there is no question, but put it into Genesis 1 and suddenly everyone loses their minds. How is that possible? “Day” means “day” in nearly every single context EXCEPT when it obviously is referencing a period of time surrounding a significant event or person. How many Bible studies and discussions have had to take place over the word “day” on Joshua or with Christ or with Jonah? Yet in Genesis, there appears to be some fog that just kills basic reading comprehension skills. Genesis is CLEAR. Do you really think that God would go through so much detail about the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the Crucifixion but leave the origins of it all so unclear? That doesn’t make sense. But people want to MAKE it unclear, so they can insert their opinions into the text. Trace every “old earth” model and argument you hear, and at the root you will find some unbeliever seeking to undermine the authority of Scripture. There are believers who do believe in an Old Earth, but they did not get that idea from Scripture. They got it from reading someone, who read someone, who read someone, who was an unbeliever and didn’t check it out or test it.

Sexual morality: Yes, there are teachers who say that God’s commands on proper and improper sexual relations don’t actually mean what they say. They didn’t have our “modern understanding” in mind, therefore it wasn’t talking about those issues. Check out the series of posts I wrote on Matthew Vines and his “Reformation Project” which is just a means of attempting to justify sexual sin and getting the church’s approval for it.

Christ: Did you know there are arguments that “Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name? Yep. That is an actual argument being made. It comes from the notion that Jesus actually isn’t the Messiah. But rather, the “Christ” is a “universal” Christ, the savior for all religions. To the Christian he appears as Jesus. To the Muslim, he is Allah or Muhammad. He is Krishna, Confucius, or Buddha. But not the only begotten Son of God, the only means of salvation, under which no other name can mankind be saved. But here, the argument is to make God, namely Jesus unclear. One of the men behind this is Richard Rohr who has a LARGE influence of many modern “preachers.”

There are many other areas where this happens. But I again, want to emphasize that behind every false teaching is an intentional muddying of the waters. There is always a question of the clarity of Scripture. Look at how most people talk about God today – very vaguely and generically. He’s a “higher being,” a “sky daddy,” a “higher power,” but not the God of the universe. This is a god you can you talk to, get comfort from, and get you want you want, but he has no actual control over things. He is distant and unknowable. And because he’s unknowable, because “his thoughts are higher than our thoughts,” we can’t understand God, therefore, God can’t hold us accountable for sin. Notice how I used Scripture to showcase the argument. EVERY choice we make has a moral basis, and an unknowable god is very convenient because he gets us what we want but doesn’t have say over what we do. That’s idolatry.

Now there are passages that are unclear. We do see things through a lens darkly. Think about what I wrote last week: sin corrupts our view of reality. And likewise, sin is what makes Scripture “unclear” to us. I’ve even had someone try to cite 2 Peter 3:16 to argue that Genesis isn’t as clear as it is. That’s total hogwash. 2 Peter 3:16 is Peter talking about how some of Paul’s writings are unclear, but not because they aren’t actually clear; rather, it’s because sinful people seek to distort them as they do other Scriptures. I told this person that in using that verse, he put himself in the category of unbelievers seeking to twist and distort Scripture. He didn’t reply to that. In reality, there are something we don’t quite get yet. Some of it is due to us being removed from the Hebrew culture and knowing the ins and outs of their system. Some of it is due to speaking about prophetic events that no one has ever figured out how they would be fulfilled prior to their fulfillment. But most of it is due to our sin. Most of the “lack of clarity” in Scripture is due to our unbelief. It’s “unclear” because we don’t like what it says. Yet, also in sinful man’s rebellion, we tend to think it’s alright and can get along with God. Because when God is unclear, we can make standards that God would approve of based on how we think He should operate. Said people are going to be very disappointed when Jesus tells them, “I never knew you.

While there are some details that are not absolutely clear, the Bible is clear enough to give us a concrete framework to define reality. The Bible does not say “the earth was created in 4004 BC on October 23” for example. But it does say “6-day creation” and it does tell us that approximately 6000 years have passed between creation and now. Whatever we want to try to address must fit within that framework. Any scientific model must fit within these guidelines to be even remotely accurate. Likewise, every worldview is wrong is except that which God has offered. Every means of salvation except by grace alone, through faith alone, via Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, and for the glory of God alone doesn’t work, and that is crystal clear. There is no other way. It is so clear that these are the very points where Satan has attacked to create confusion. If the length of a “day” didn’t impact your worldview on who God is, what He does, and how He operations, Satan would leave that point alone. If there were any other means of salvation, then Christianity would not be singled out as a point of ridicule by the world. It is clear, so clear a child understands it and so clear the unbelieving community knows when the Christian actually believes it or not. If you don’t believe any part of Scripture, the first honest thing you can do is just say, “I don’t believe it.” But if you claim to love Scripture, uphold Scripture, and then promote the muddying of the waters and inserting opinions into the text, I have little choice but question your integrity on the matter.

If we are going to call ourselves Christians, our duty is to believe the Bible. That means we submit to it, we heed its word, and we align ourselves to what it says. And if we, in our sinful state, do not understand what it is saying or why, the Christian response is: “Lord, I believe Your word. Help my unbelief. I don’t get this, but I trust you anyway.” Those who seek to justify their unbelief by changing definitions and re-interpreting it to make it fit their sensibilities had better examine themselves because they may find themselves in a very uncomfortable place in the near future. God is clear, and He will hold us accountable to every word He gave. He expects us to read it, understand it, believe it, and obey it. Don’t play games. Your soul is at stake here.

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.

READ MORE

The Lord's Prayer: "And Forgive Us Our Debts"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 26, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

In last week’s post, we looked at the phrase before this one in the Lord’s Prayer - give us today our daily bread. You may notice that this week’s phrase, “And forgive us our debts,” begins with the word “and,” linking it to the previous phrase. But what does forgiveness have to do with God’s daily provision of our physical needs?

Perhaps, God’s provision for our physical needs is not enough. Yes, we need food to sustain our bodies and maintain physical health; but our overall health is so much more than physical. Our health also contains aspects of emotional and spiritual health. We all commit sins against God and against one another, so forgiveness is a key part of being spiritually healthy.

When I learned the Lord’s Prayer growing up in the church, the word “trespasses” was used instead of “debts.” The word in Greek is opheilema, which can mean a debt, an obligation, something that is owed, a wrong, a sin, delinquency, an offense, a fault, etc. As you can see, there is a wide range of meanings for this one word. Today, the word “trespass” is most often used in the context of trespassing on someone else’s property - being in a place where you should not be. Instead, the word debt has the idea of something being owed, though this often has a financial connotation to it.

My fellow writer Charlie Wolcott wrote about the idea of debts being forgiven a few weeks ago. Being forgiven of a financial debt means we no longer need to pay that debt. The debt still exists; someone needs to pay for it. But if I have a financial debt that is forgiven, I am not the person responsible for paying it any longer. From a spiritual sense, we owed God a debt because of our sins, and Jesus took on that debt through His death on the cross. The debt was still owed, but we’re “off the hook” for paying that debt because Jesus paid it for us. It still had to be paid.

The idea of forgiveness is spoken of in many places in the Bible since it’s something that we all need! Psalm 32:1-2 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Psalm 130:3-4 says, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” Ephesians 1:7-8a says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Jesus Himself forgave sins in Mark 2:1-5. He also shared how His blood would be poured out for the forgiveness of our sins during the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29).

This phrase of the Lord’s prayer calls out our sins for us and reminds us that we need to confess those sins. As 1 John 1:8-10 tells us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” Anyone who says they have not disobeyed God is not being truthful. Saying we have not sinned makes God out to be a liar, and we know that God does not lie. Instead, we need to confess the times that we have sinned against God, and then we can receive His forgiveness for those sins.

Confession of our sins is important to recognize the ways we have done wrong against God; if we don’t recognize and acknowledge our sin, then we are much more likely to repeat that same sin. If we think we’re perfect (or even “good enough” to meet God’s standards, which we aren’t), then we’d have no need for God’s forgiveness. Confessing our sins keeps us humble.

This phrase of the Lord’s Prayer also reminds us that forgiveness of our sins is not something we can accomplish on our own. We need to ask God to accomplish this for us. The verb here used in Greek for “forgive” is an imperative, which means it’s a command. We’re strongly asking God to forgive our sins; we know we can’t do this on our own, we need God to do it for us. We know that He is fully capable of this because of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. Jesus paid that debt that we all have. We have all been disobedient to God and require His forgiveness for the sin that exists in our lives.

Confess the sins you have committed against God. Ask God for His forgiveness. Know that you will be forgiven, out of God’s great love and mercy for us. Next week, we’ll look at forgiveness between people.

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.

READ MORE

Sin Distorts Your Worldview

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 23, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

I have written about worldviews quite a bit through my time with Worldview Warriors. I teach five key questions: Origins, Purpose, Identity, Destination, and Authority. How we answer these questions determines how we view and see things. The big push I make is that we need to align our worldview with God’s worldview because unless we do that, we do not see reality as it is. Answers in Genesis uses “eyeglasses” or a “magnifying glass” to showcase the difference between how we see the same evidence but come to different interpretations. It’s accurate, but there’s more to it. Ken Ham often compares man’s opinions to God’s Word, and he’s correct in saying that. But I think we’ve come short of saying what it really is.

I am proud to announce that I will have a new book coming out with Worldview Warriors, slated for an August release date. It’s currently titled The God of the Psalms, and it’s a study on the attributes and character of God I’ve found in the book of Psalms. In one of the chapters I was reviewing the beauty of God, and I emphasized on how beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what we view as beautiful is determined by how we see things. Then I discovered this statement that I wrote at least 3 years ago: “Sin changes the appearance of everything and masks it in a false image.” Reading that today, several years later, it took a whole new meaning and sparked this blog post.

Why can we all look at the same thing and all come to different conclusions? It’s not really because we are merely coming from different perspectives. It’s because of SIN. Why does the universe look old? It’s because of sin. Why does it seem like God isn’t doing anything about wicked people? Sin. Why does God seem so harsh when He does? Sin. Sin corrupts everything. I mean everything. Paul said we all look through a glass darkly. It’s not merely because we are finite people trying to see the eternal perspective, but because we still have sin in our lives.

Sin is an intentional defiance and rebellion against God. God said, “I created everything in six days.” Man in his sin says, “No, it happened over billions of years.” God said, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” Man in his sin says, “No, I’ll do things my way.” God said, “There is no other name by which man might be saved.” Man in his sin says, “Surely, there must be another option.” It does not matter the topic. Salvation related or not. God says one thing; man intentionally goes the other direction. There is NOT ONE who is without sin. There is not one who seeks after God.

Man, apart from Christ, does not think after God. A group of men is called a society. All societies together are called the world. The world’s system, the way the world thinks, is run by the prince of the power of the air. That’s Satan, the great deceiver. Because sinful man is in total rebellion against God, Satan seeks any lie he can produce to get sinful man to believe him. And where he is most clever is when the lie gives the appearance of sounding Biblical and religious. There are many models that give an appearance of truth but are flat out lies. I’ve addressed many of them before. Old Earth Creation, Prosperity Gospel, and Progressive Christianity are three of the main false teachings we deal with. Each much be addressed. But what do they all have in common? A false worldview. A false view of God. A false view of Scripture. It’s been corrupted by sin. It’s not how God sees things. It’s not how God defines things.

Another book I’m working on is on Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” I can’t emphasize enough how much we lean on our own understanding. Again, we are SINFUL people. Even those of us who have been redeemed and regenerated, born-again, still have sin in our lives that corrupts our vision. How did we get saved to begin with? It wasn’t because we saw something we needed; it was because God showed us that we were in need. And part of the process is a continual dying to self daily and being cleansed of sin. What comes with that? A purifying of our vision.

I know all kinds of things. Some good, some not good. Some valuable, some not. But I’ve learned this: the only things of any real value that I’ve learned have come from either my own studies of Scripture or from others who are studying Scripture. Everything else can be nice but is ultimately of no value. I have much to learn about Proverbs 3:5 and putting it into practice. But I have mastered one thing: “If God says it, He means it.” I have NOT mastered, “If God said it, believe it then obey it.” I never will master that one on this side of the veil. But how I can obey what I don’t believe? Scripture says we are to live by faith, not by sight. Do we trust God? Do we actually believe His word? Not our interpretations of His word. Not our understanding of how things should be. Do we believe HIM? God is the only one who has a 100% correct worldview. Frankly, that’s the one I go with. Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. But when do I get them wrong? When I lean on me and when I rely on my own understanding. When I rely on what God says, I cannot be wrong because God cannot be wrong.

We must ditch our sinful worldview that refuses to see as God sees and embrace His worldview to see reality as it is. We won’t see the whole thing, but we will see what God shows us, and He won’t lie. We need to stop being “theologians” and “educated people” thinking we can figure it out. We need to be Christians who are continually yielding ourselves to Christ Jesus in full faith in Him. Paul longed to be freed from the body of death. What a wretch! So am I. I long to be free from this body of sin myself. Thanks be to God that He has saved me, is continually saving me, and will one day separate me from the very presence of sin and completely clear my vision so I can see God as He truly is. As I await that day, I will continue to trust and place my hope in Christ and see what He says about my situation so I can respond correctly to it.

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.

READ MORE

The Old Ad Hominem

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 22, 2021 0 comments


by Steve Risner

We’re 3 posts into a series discussing the kindly given advice of an evolutionist to creationists on how they should conduct themselves in the creation/evolution debate. The backstory is that I discovered a post in a group on Facebook from a person who wanted to help us creationists out by telling us what we should avoid when debating. We discussed preaching in the first post, and last time we looked at circular reasoning. This week is a fun one: ad hominems.

The Facebook post said, “AD HOMINEM ARGUMENT. A disparaging statement about a person’s character is not an effective argument, and it alienates instead of convinces. Better to stick to the elements of your argument and the reasons for them.”

This, of course, is absolutely true. Getting into a discussion where insults fly, characters are assaulted, or you vilify a person or simply appeal to emotions is never a good way to go. I couldn’t even guess on how many times and how many ways I’ve witnessed someone being called a liar or having their integrity questioned simply because they believe something that is at odds with someone else’s beliefs. It’s tragic because the person who says such things has walled themselves off so securely that they will just call someone a liar so they can relieve themselves of the opportunity to either learn or educate.

I wanted to present an example of this. I went to the group I mentioned in my previous post to see if I could find an example. It took only a few minutes to find this quote: “Why is every creationist post just another empty lie?” I have a difficult time dealing with people like this. They won’t discuss much, but they are happy to say you’re lying because you see it differently.

Lying has a very specific definition. Lying means that you are purposefully presenting false information or presenting true information in such a way as to deceive others. This could be leaving out key details or spinning something to be false even though much of the information might be true. So in fact, you can present completely wrong information and not be lying. To be honest, I believe we see this every time an evolutionist posts on the topic. Universal common descent is completely bogus in my opinion, so if you’re giving me facts about how it happened, while I think you’re totally wrong, I don’t necessarily believe you’re being dishonest.

Calling someone a liar because you don’t like what they’re saying means you believe you actually know someone’s intentions and what is in their heart. Of course, only God knows these things about the person in question. It also likely means you’re not mature enough to handle adult conversation. It’s important to realize that two different people can see the same information and draw two completely different conclusions. It happens all the time. The truth here is that one of you may be correct, both of you may be correct, or neither one of you may be correct. That’s just how it works. But attacking someone’s character because they think differently is a real problem.

This is just one of the many forms in which the ad hominem attack can manifest. A common reason for ad hominem attacks is to appeal to emotions. When we appeal to emotions, we’ve left the world of logic and reason. Irrationality is the way of emotions quite often. A great example can be found on the Worldview Warriors Facebook page as a comment on one of my recent blog posts. You can find this gem: “I told you to come back when you repent, hypocrite.” This is such a terrible statement for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the derogatory term at the end. But this is an attempt, I guess, to have a conversation or debate about something in this person’s mind.

There are several types of ad hominem arguments: abusive which is a direct attack on the person (as I mentioned above), circumstantial which means the person’s motives or circumstances have rendered their argument void, guilt by association which means because of some negative association an argument is rendered void, and tu quoque which essentially means a person’s argument is discredited because their actions are not consistent with their argument (example: you must not believe smoking is bad for you since you smoke). These are all quite common, and all of them are logical fallacies.

Another common use of the personal attack would be to criticize a person’s argument because of the person’s education level. This is also a very common tactic used by atheists and skeptics who do not believe the Biblical account. Akin to this is also attacking someone’s intelligence, making the claim that they’re too stupid to be taught anything or to see it the “right way.” Again, to reference a real example you can find on our Worldview Warriors Facebook page, when I asked someone to explain what they meant or what they thought I didn’t understand, the reply was, “To you? What a waste.” This was an insinuation that I was either too stupid or not good enough for this person to explain something to. I don’t believe anyone who actually wants to present a good argument for a position or who wishes to persuade someone or influence another’s position would speak like this. It makes no sense at all.

This tactic (questioning someone’s education) is very common. Scientists who are creationists get this a lot. Finding examples online would only take you a few minutes. They’re either not published in credible journals so they’re stupid, or they didn’t get their degree from Oxford so they’re stupid, or they work for a creationist organization so they’re too stupid to be taken seriously.

There are so many examples of this. Most of us have experienced this, I’m sure. And I’m not saying that creationists don’t do this. I’ve done this, unfortunately. It’s certainly not my first line of defense but I’ve been pushed long enough and hard enough that I have waded into these waters with people. On occasion, pointing out a personal flaw may actually have relevance, but it’s not common and, in general, it should be avoided.

If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of an ad hominem attack, the first thing to do is stay calm and not respond in kind. You don’t want to tarnish your argument or reputation by stooping to that level. Once a person decides to mock or ridicule you rather than discuss with you, there’s generally no turning them back. It’s like a dam that’s been breached. Once it ruptures, it’s very difficult to stop it. I would suggest gently encouraging the person to refrain from such attacks and if they receive that (which is not likely but possible), continue in your discussion. But if they refuse and continue to berate you, wish them well and call it a day.

God’s Word has a great deal to say about this topic. Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” This might seem to be a contradictory statement, but it needs to be pulled apart to make sense of it. The first part, “Don’t answer…” means we are not to accept the fool’s (unbeliever’s) premise as our own but we argue from the Truth of Scripture. The second part, “Answer…” means for the sake of argument that we can accept the premise to expose its absurdity. It’s the “Don’t answer… answer” technique. This link explains a great deal about this so you can read it there and I won’t repeat it here. This link also may prove useful.

You can also usually rest assured that if someone you’re debating with starts to attack you personally or appeals to emotional arguments, you’ve likely made some headway in the discussion and they’re uncomfortable with it. Keep up the good work!

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.

READ MORE