Building a Biblical Worldview

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 28, 2014 0 comments

In my last three posts, I established what a worldview is and what it does. I shared two primary types of knowledge: Empirical and Revelation. And I shared two methods we have used as a society on how to determine truth: the Didactic and the Dialectic. Now, I will take all these and put them together to build a Biblical Worldview. And it is this Biblical Worldview that is under so much attack in attempt to pull us away from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we need to rise up and be a warrior to defend it.

So to refresh, a worldview is a set of presuppositions and convictions that act as filters and guidelines in how you make decisions and act in every aspect of life. Your worldview addresses many questions including: Does God exist? Is he active in this world? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going?

Knowledge comes in two primary forms: Empirical and Revelation. Empirical is evidence-based, and it is also known as science-based. This is valid and we see examples in Scripture where Jesus tells us that if we have a hard time believing his words, then to believe his works, his miracles. Revelation is knowledge that comes from an intelligent source. A testimony, an account of something that happened, and especially God revealing himself to us. Both Empirical and Revelation based knowledge with back each other up, if we have a correct worldview.

Truth is passed on Didactically or Dialectically. It is passed on as a direct source of authority of an outside standard that does not change. Or it is passed on by compromising with another viewpoint to make a new “Synthesis”. The Dialectic eventually eliminates the authority and integrity of truth whereas the Didactic stands on the truth. See my previous three posts for more details on this.

Now let us take all this and build a Biblical Worldview that we can stand on with confidence. A Biblical Worldview is one that has established that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God and the complete expression of all that God wants to tell us and all we need to know to make our every day decisions. A Biblical Worldview will have God at the center of every aspect of life. He is not just your Savior, but your Creator, your Master, your Lord, your Father, your Friend, every other title God has is how he is for you. Provider, Banner, Healer, Redeemer, Hope, Shelter, etc.

A Biblical Worldview believes that God created the heavens and the earth exactly as he stated how he did it. A Biblical Worldview believes that man is made in the image of God and that the world was once a good and perfect place. It holds that man sinned and all the death, destruction, and chaos are a result of sin. It holds that Jesus is the Son of God, that he came as a baby, born of the virgin Mary, that he died on the cross, was buried for three days, and rose again. It holds that our purpose in life is to give glory to God and to have an intimate relationship with him. It holds that we, as Christians, are citizens of the Kingdom of God, God’s children, the Bride of Christ. We have a new nature, and new identity, one that reflects Jesus Christ. And we know where we are going. We know that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and reign with Christ in the New Earth.

A Biblical Worldview will trust God at his word. It will cause someone to study what God has already revealed through Scripture. A Biblical Worldview will not just trust God to do what he said he would do, but cause someone to act in true faith upon what God said he would do. And when such action is performed, the evidence will show. A Biblical Worldview will see God behind every evidence as evidence of either grace or judgment or both. It will place God at the center of all that goes on, and even in the midst of evil, it will look for God’s sovereign hand on every situation.

A Biblical Worldview will never compromise with anything that is worldly. It will stand didactically and not bend to the desires of the world or of sinful self. A Biblical Worldview will cause someone to hold the position and not allow false ideas of the forces of darkness to draw us slowly away from the fortress of God’s word. It will not allow the Dialectic to reduce the integrity of the truth or the authority of Scripture. It will not allow any thought that could reduce the deity of Christ. It will be receptive to Godly counsel, rooted in Scripture. It will listen to the Holy Spirit as it reveals deeper truths found through Scripture. But it will also recognize the difference between that which comes from God and which is coming from either the devil or our own wishful thinking. It is also open to ideas that are not explicitly found in Scripture but will be closed to anything that is in conflict with Scripture. It is Canon-minded. Open to all that is true but closed to anything that is false.

A Biblical Worldview will cause you to act in alignment with Biblical principles in all areas. In how you run your home, your circles of friends, in how you treat those in authority over you, in how you deal with your business or work, how you deal with school, in all areas. It will cause you to not want to keep it to yourself. All your actions will reflect Christ, your deeds, your words, your attitudes, everything.

This is the ideal we should pursue. The only person to truly live a Biblical Worldview completely was Jesus Christ but the good news is that as Christians Jesus lives in us. We have the one person who lived the complete Christian life with us day in and day out. To be able to live a Biblical Worldview, we need Christ to live his life through us. How could you describe the Biblical Worldview in one sentence? A Biblical Worldview is most accurately expressed in the words and life of Jesus Christ. Follow him, obey him, live for him, and you will exhibit the Biblical Worldview.

The Importance Of Children To Marriage - They Are Humble Reminders

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 27, 2014 0 comments

There have been several recent examples in the world of sports of how children allow the athlete to put his struggles into perspective. Less than an hour after the Denver Broncos were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most lopsided games in Super Bowl history, Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips texted his son Jaylen and said, “Sorry I let you down”. His son responded, “It’s okay daddy, you’re still my hero”. Phillips was so touched by it that he shared it with the media. Two weeks later, PGA golfer William McGirt was entering the final round of a tournament with the lead for the first time in his career. I watched his interview where the reporter asked him about the pressure and he said, “At the end of the day, there’s a 13-month old at home who I’ll get to see tomorrow and it won’t make any difference to her whether I shoot 65 or 75”. Finally, if you’ve watched much of the Winter Olympics, you probably saw the commercial of the skier who goes into the locker room after a frustrating performance and is visibly upset when he gets a notification out of the blue on his phone. He checks it and it’s a video message from his son saying he can’t wait to see him. The athlete’s demeanor changes instantly when he realizes what’s truly important.

In Monday’s post, Katie talked mainly about the importance of marriage to children. For the sake of providing something new, I’d like to address why children are important to a marriage. You see, athletes aren’t the only ones who lose perspective sometimes. It’s easy for husbands and wives to get so immersed in the problems and frustrations they have with one another that they literally can’t remember what brought them together. Instead of thinking good and loving thoughts when they interact with each other, all they can think about is pain and disappointment. It is in those moments that the couple could use a reminder of humility, unconditional love, and trust from their children.

Jesus himself recognized the proper attitude displayed in children. In Matthew 18, he used it to teach his disciples about what’s necessary to enter heaven. The disciples had just asked Jesus who would be the greatest in heaven (v. 1). To answer the question, Jesus calls a little child before them and says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (vv. 3-4). What? But these are his DISCIPLES. Aren’t they like super-Christians or something? Evidently, whatever standing we think we have with Jesus is irrelevant if we can’t adopt a childlike faith, trust, and humility. But this wasn’t the only time Jesus used children to demonstrate his point.

We see in the very next chapter that Jesus addresses something that was unfortunately connected to marriage back then just as it is today – divorce. You can read the story in Matthew 19 on your own, but I’ll tell you that the Pharisees were putting Jesus to the test with questions about divorce. According to Enduring Word Media Commentary, there were two separate Jewish rabbinical schools of that day that had opposing views on grounds for divorce, and whichever one Jesus sided with would either make him unpopular or show that he disregarded the Law. According to this same source, the Jews of that day considered marriage to be a sacred duty and if a man remained unmarried after the age of 20, he was breaking God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”, which we have discussed in other blogs this month. However, their very lax views toward divorce showed that they had a low view of women. Knowing this, Jesus addressed marriage instead of arguing grounds for divorce, saying, “What God has joined together, let man not separate” (v. 6). Jesus’ point was that it is God who brings together two very different people to become one, meaning the married couple should do everything they can to honor and uphold what God has created.

After the Pharisees and even his own disciples didn’t seem to be changing their view of women and the marriage covenant, Jesus tried another approach. Right after this teaching on marriage, he allows children to be brought to him so he can lay hands on them, pray for them, and bless them (vv. 13-15). Again, he addresses the need for a childlike attitude to enter heaven. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (v. 14). Do you think Jesus was making a point to his disciples about their attitudes by presenting children to them two different times that were so close to each other? And why allow these children to come to him after his teaching on marriage and divorce? I’m thinking he was trying to remind both his disciples and the Pharisees of the unconditional love, trust, and humility that are needed to preserve the marriage that God has made.

You can’t expect to make a marriage work without humbling yourself and changing your view of your partner, loving them despite the pain you’ve experienced, and trusting them completely. Those are exactly the attributes we see in children. Even when you’ve failed, you know your children still love you. You know they trust you even when you don’t feel trustworthy. Most importantly, children willingly humble themselves and depend on you. If you are married and God has blessed you with children, or even if you don’t have your own children but interact with those of others, I encourage you to let them be a reminder to you of how you should treat and view your spouse. Be willing to completely trust your spouse no matter what. Learn to love them even when they fail you. Commit to being humble to the point of depending on them because God has made it a PARTNERSHIP for a reason. When you have a hard time practicing any of these things in your marriage, just take some time to watch children. It will put things back into perspective for you.

Fathers, You Are Extremely Important

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 25, 2014 0 comments

Editors Note: As we continue our series on “Marriage – What Is It?” Please share this with a father. Please share this with a young man who is not yet a father. This is too important just to ignore.

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

Gen. 6:18 - Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Marriage? The Importance of Children

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 24, 2014 0 comments

When I first saw the blog topic for this week I had to laugh. While I have been married for over ten years, we do not have any children, so it is somewhat ironic for me to write about how children are important in a marriage. But, I do truly believe that children are vitally important.

So why are children so important? Well first off, none of us would be alive if it weren’t for children! God didn’t create every person on this planet all at once; he created two people, a man and a woman. God commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:28. So, that man and woman had children, who also had children, who had more children, et cetera. Many many generations later, here we are. If my parents didn’t have children, I wouldn’t be writing this post to you today. As Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”’

Whether you have children of your own or not, it is likely that you are an influence in at least one child’s life. You may have nieces or nephews, young siblings, young cousins, or close friends who have young children. I would guess that everyone reading this can think of an adult from their childhood years who was not a parent and had a significant impact on their lives. I have a great relationship with many children in my church family, and to the children of close friends. Even if I am not directly raising them and providing for their daily needs, I do have an impact on their lives. I strive to be a good example of Godly living for them.

If you do have children, it is important to raise them in a Godly way. The Bible explains this in passages such as Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:6­-9, Proverbs 22:6, and 2 Timothy 3:14­-15, among others.

But what does this have to do with marriage? Children can be raised by an unmarried, single parent. Because of the sinful nature of the world we live in, there are circumstances where this can be better than living with an abusive parent, for example. But when children are raised inside a marriage relationship, there are two parents to love them and direct them in their lives. Mothers and fathers have different gifts and abilities; with just one parent, the child misses out on experiencing the gifts of the other parent. By being raised in a household with married parents, a child can experience firsthand what marriage looks like and why it is important. A child has two examples of Christ in their life, right there in their own household, living life together through all of its ups and downs.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Whether you biologically have a child or not, we should all play a key role in the lives of children close to us. We should strive to be the example of Christ in that child’s life.

What is Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 21, 2014 0 comments

Here is Part 3 of my series on developing a Biblical Worldview. Two weeks ago, I addressed what a worldview is. It the set of filters and convictions that you have that you use to make all your decisions in every area of life. Last week, I described what knowledge is and two primary methods we have of acquiring it: Empirical (or Scientific) and Revelation knowledge. Today, I will talk truth and how we determine truth. And I will specify two different methods that are used today.

There are two fancy terms I want to introduce to you: Didactic and Dialectic. These are two words that describe the passing on of knowledge and truth to the next generation. One was the method that the Hebrews used to pass on the truth of the Old Testament to the time of Christ. The other is about hearing both sides and coming to a consensus. One is found predominately in Eastern civilization societies, from the Middle East to China and Japan. The other is found predominately in Western civilizations including Europe and the Americas. But once you see what each does, it may open your eyes to why we have so many battles over Biblical doctrine and foundational issues.

The Didactic method is very similar to dictation. The didactic will tell the next generation that “x” is the truth regardless of time, location, culture, etc. Children in didactic cultures learn what is considered to be true by rote and memorization and they do not deviate from the set standards. Now someone may say that is rather closed-minded. What if there was something else that needs to be considered? What if there are other options? Then you have to answer the question: is truth absolute, independent of time and culture? If the answer to this question is “yes” then you cannot consider other options. If the Bible is the truth, you cannot embrace “another truth” because that would be embracing a false truth. Paul warned Timothy more than anything else to be wary of false teachers and false doctrines. Let us be didactic in passing the truth of the authority of Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Dialectic is what our modern society uses more than anything else. It has the same root as “dialogue”. There is a process to the dialectic way of thinking. The currently accepted standard is called a “Thesis”. The next idea to come along is called an “Antithesis”. After both sides discuss and talk about it, the two merge and form a “Synthesis” which then becomes the “Thesis” for the next round. This sounds at first like a great idea. It takes two different ideas and merges them together in love and peace. It is not close-minded and open to hear all the variety of different options. However, when it comes to truth, about origins and about worldviews, the dialectic is an ever worsening poison. Why? Why is it bad to be open-minded? The open-minded person, the dialectic, is open to consider all options, both good and bad. It has to consider even bad options as potentially viable. It gets worse. While it is open to all options, it cannot be closed to any option...except that which picks a side and stands for it, namely the Biblical Truth.

The best illustration I ever saw about this came from Eric Ludy’s book, The Bravehearted Gospel. In there, Ludy describes how an open-minded person will consider both options that the earth is round and that the earth is flat. However in all practical situations, said open-minded person will always side with the flat-earthers, with the side that is false. They will never go building a ship and go sailing with a round-earther, the side that is true, because they have to consider the idea that the earth is flat.

We see this all around us with dialectic thinking. They are open to all positions but they will not make a stand or support the one actual true side. The dialectic method is a gradual pull away from the truth and it eventually removes the objectivity of truth. In modern day America, the Bible has no authority anymore and it is because of this dialectic thinking. This is what we at Worldview Warriors have to face. A society that is open-minded to anything except the one true side. This is why we have to develop what Eric Ludy calls the “Canon” mind. The Canon mind is one that is open to only the truth but closed to anything that is false. It accepts pure water but rejects oil in any amounts.

We at Worldview Warriors must come from a didactic approach because we believe the Bible is indeed the inspired word of God. God is the Truth. Jesus said so himself. He does not bend to someone’s ideals. He does not compromise with that which is contrary to his character. If it goes against God’s word, against his character, it is sin. And God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. Why? Because his holiness and purity is so great that all sin in his presence will be totally destroyed. Where are we compromising with the worldly way of thinking? Where are we compromising with our own sin, forming a new Synthesis? We need to recognize where and when we have done this, reject that Synthesis, reject that Antithesis, and stand by the one True God. How do we do this? See my post for next week. Next week, I will put all this together to show how we can build and live a Biblical Worldview.

Why Can't Marriage Be Redefined? We Didn't Define It In The First Place

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 20, 2014 0 comments

It never fails that God provides the perfect material at the right time for me to begin a post when I am struggling with how to get started. Yesterday, I was watching the movie “Face Off” as it was on television. The movie stars John Travolta and Nicholas Cage and is about a police officer who undergoes a surgery to literally have his own face replaced with that of a crazed murderer while the latter is in a coma. The purpose is to enter a prison and get needed information from the criminal’s brother. It is supposed to be temporary, but the murderer wakes up unexpectedly and forces the surgeons to put the officer’s face on him. The two then go throughout the movie living each other’s lives because even those closest to the officer weren’t allowed to know about the special assignment. The line that struck me was when the murderer (disguised as the cop) was talking to the cop’s wife (his assuming wife) and walked away muttering, “Lies, distrust, and mixed messages…this is turning into a real marriage”!

Isn’t it amazing how negatively marriage is often viewed in our culture? Something that many spend their whole lives waiting for turns out to be a major disappointment. For this reason, the bride and groom often throw huge parties to celebrate their last night of “freedom” before the wedding. People talk about how difficult marriage is and even sitcoms and movies portray it as an unpleasant experience filled with pain. Maybe that’s why so many in our culture are looking to “redefine” it. Maybe it’s our way of dealing with the pain and brokenness that we have seen in marital relationships that have been marred by violence, deception, and infidelity. We figure that if it’s not working out so well with one man and one woman, maybe it would work better with same-sex couples or with couples who mutually agree to allow each other to have multiple partners.

The problem with looking at marriage that way is that it is trying to take ownership of something that we did not create. As you may have read over the past few weeks in our blog posts, we believe that God instituted marriage when he created Adam and then created a woman to be united to Adam as one flesh. This intimate, committed relationship became the only thing we have in this world that could give us a glimpse of the relationship between God and his followers (Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament). People have been given the free will to choose to go against God in whatever ways they want, but that doesn’t mean something is “redefined”. How can we RE-define something when we didn’t come up with the first definition? Can the Ten Commandments be rewritten? Can we change where the oceans and mountains are because we don’t like the setup? I’m reminded of the rhetorical questions that God asks Job in Job 38-39. I encourage you to read them all. Job and his three friends had questioned God’s plan because of suffering. God begins his response with, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?”(38:2) Wow!

Job was not unlike you and me. When we don’t like the way things are going and can’t seem to make sense of it, we either try harder to take control or we completely surrender to God and his will. Usually we do both, with the latter coming after the former didn’t work like we’d hoped. Job questioned God for answers and when he got put in his place, he surrendered. “I am unworthy – how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer – twice, but I will say no more” (Job 40:4-5). It took a long time for him to get to that point. Let’s face it, surrendering is tough!

At Worldview Warriors, we don’t say that marriage can’t be redefined because we arbitrarily hate those who seek to do so. We say that it can’t be redefined because we have surrendered to God in this area. That doesn’t make us any better than anyone else, for we also have areas where we have struggled to surrender, as well as areas that we STILL need to surrender. We meet together and encourage one another to surrender to Christ those areas of our brokenness that we are seeking to control on our own, and we’d love to do the same with you. We know that he is not truly our Savior unless he is also our Lord, and he is not our Lord unless we are willing to surrender even the most difficult areas of our lives. We have also learned, likely through our own stubborn attitudes toward him at times, that ultimately we can’t change his sovereign will anyway. “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Revelation 3:7). In other words, any decision we make to go against him only hurts us. He is bigger than our choices and bigger than our redefinitions. The issue really isn’t about marriage. It’s about who is on the throne of your life. That’s not up to the government, pop culture, what’s accepted by the majority of society, or what your parents taught you. God alone is on the throne, and only YOU can choose to live accepting it or denying it.

To The Least of These

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 0 comments

I woke up relatively early for a Saturday. I still had the bad habit of getting up early and getting a work out in before everyone was awake. For me, waking up at 7:30am was considered sleeping in especially because everyone in the dormitory was still asleep. There was no time to waste. I got up, got dressed, and went on a run. Running in Cleveland was much different from running at home. Back home was flat and easy. Cleveland had some significant hills and seemed like an endless concrete jungle. It was almost impossible to find a spot that was simply relaxing. It was nonstop hustle and bustle inside of this big city. The interesting thing about this busy city is that the greatest sights were its people. So many people of different backgrounds, upbringings, and traditions.

Seeing so many people made me think that maybe I should get out and meet some of these people. I determined that after I was done running, I would see if maybe I could talk to some of them. I ran about three miles to get acquainted with my surroundings. After returning to the dormitory, I cleaned up, changed clothes, and walked outside. I decided to walk toward Tower City, the Mall at Town Square. I came across someone on the way who caught my attention.

Aside from the fact that he was clearly homeless, he was shouting absolute nonsense in what sounded like a foreign language. In my naiveté, I decided to engage him in conversation.

“Hello.” I said.
He continued to speak nonsensical gibberish as though he did not even hear me.
“Hi, what’s your name?” I know, it sounded corny to ask a total stranger who had no interest in me what his name was, but I thought it was worth a shot.
He turned toward me, still speaking gibberish, but now he seemed angry. I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Nonetheless, I maintained my composure.
I asked him, “Do you know Jesus?”
He paused and took a few steps toward me. “Jesus works at First Federal Bank.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Jesus works at First Federal Bank on the corner of 13th and Superior.” Was his response.
“Oooookay. Do you know him?”
“Of course I do. He’s up to some no good stuff over there. He’s working with the government to smuggle plutonium in from Russia.”
“I think we might be talking about two different people,“ I clarified, “I’m talking about Jesus in the Bible.”
“Me too.”
I let him ramble on a little while longer and realized that this conversation was going nowhere so I moved on. I saw a kind looking business man holding a door open as though he was waiting for someone. So I decided to talk with him.

I greeted him, “Hello!”
“Hi, what can I do for you?” he replied.
“Oh, I don’t need anything. I’m just on a personal quest. I was wondering, do you know who Jesus is?”
Without hesitation he replied, “Do you?”
I responded, “He is the Son of God; my Lord and my Savior.”
He shot back again, “How do you know that?”
“Well, when you know, you just kind of know.”

He was not satisfied with that. “But how do you know he is your Lord and Savior when some people might say that they have experienced Buddha or Allah or other gods.”

I felt it was a legitimate question but I did not know how exactly to reply. “I don’t think that Jesus is like any of them. I mean, I don’t know a whole lot about those religions but I believe that the Holy Spirit testifies concerning Jesus’ identity as God’s only Son.”

“I disagree, but good luck with your quest.” And then he went back inside of his building. There had to be somebody around here who knows Jesus! I was becoming discouraged but it was okay because I was nearing Tower City. The nice thing about this mall is that it has a decent selection of ethnic foods and so I tried a sampling of one of them inside of the food court. As I was eating a nice man in his late twenties called over to me from two tables down.

“Hi buddy!”
I hesitated because I did not expect someone to call over to me. “Um, hi. How are you?”
“Good. I saw you over there and I thought, ‘Wow, that guy is like Mr. Cool over there.’”
“Oh, why did you think that?”
He replied, “The outfit you have on looks like something you would see someone wearing on the cover of GQ.”
I looked at my clothes. Nothing special about them but this guy seemed really nice. “Thanks. Yeah, I was just kind of hanging out here. It seems like a nice place to hang out. Do you work here?”
“Yeah, I have been out here for a while. I just clean the tables and the floors. It’s a good job.”
“Thank you. You are doing a great job. What’s your name?” I asked.
“Keith, I have been on sort of a quest today. There are a lot of people who do not know who Jesus is around here. Do you know who Jesus is?
“Yeah, he is the Son of God. You see, I have lived with my grandma for a good while now and she has been taking me to church ever since I was little. I’m not very smart, but I do know who Jesus is.”
“God bless you, I think I knew that just from how kind you have been to me today.”

Keith could tell I was about to leave so he stopped me for a minute. “Could you pray for my grandmother, she isn’t doing well. I don’t have a mother or father, so all I have is her.”
I was a little uncomfortable with the request at the moment because we were in public, but this is what I was looking for. This man knew Jesus. In essence, he was my brother. And my brother was asking for prayer. “Absolutely.”

As a result, I felt that my journey was not in vain. I asked several other people if they knew Jesus on my way back to the dormitory, but their replies were negative. But I could not help but to think about my experience with Keith out at the mall. He was clearly not a super-intelligent person, he had a low-income job, but he reeked of the goodness of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, he was what Jesus was referring to when he said, “The least of these.”

“Miraculous” Rocks That Bend

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2 comments

Here are some basics about geology: When we view rock layers around the world, there are some things that are very simple to see. First, if a layer has fossils in it, it had to have been covered by the next layer very quickly or the animal fossilized would have been scavenged. We also do not see any signs of weathering or erosion between layers, which also confirms the layers were laid down rapidly. Fossils that travel through multiple layers of rock also show the layers were laid down rather quickly; otherwise, the fossils would have decomposed in the supposed millions of years that went by between depositions. Oftentimes we see many rock layers that are bent without cracks or breaking. Hard rock cannot be bent without fracturing. So the multiple layers were still soft when this happened. This also suggests they were laid down in a short time together. Scientists often suggest fossilization takes very long periods of time to occur. However, we often find man made artifacts embedded in rock or coal or mineralized. Laboratory experiments confirm fossilization can occur rather quickly, relatively speaking. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD is a perfect example of this happening quickly in nature. All this confirms the Flood account in the Bible and contradicts evolutionary time scales. In some of these cases the maximum time would be hours, days or months. When you combine all of this evidence, where multiple characteristics apply to certain layers, the claim of millions of years is again positively ruled out.

What is Marriage? Why Can't it Be Redefined?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 17, 2014 0 comments

Last week I wrote on why marriage is between one man and one woman, based on what the Bible says in Genesis 2:24. In today’s society, many people are redefining this definition of marriage. The most prominent example is that of same sex marriage ­either two men, or two women ­ although there are other redefinitions in society, such as plural marriage. I will be focusing on the issue of same sex marriage in this post, not homosexuality itself; look for a blog post on that next month.

I have to admit I was surprised when I looked up the definition of the word marriage in the Merriam Webster dictionary. There are two definitions: one stating that it is between two people of the opposite sex, and the other saying it’s “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.” Evidently, this dictionary has gone along with society on this one; but it is interesting to note that it’s implied that a same sex marriage is considered not traditional.

So if society (and Merriam­-Webster) allow same sex marriage, why won’t the Bible redefine is as well? Part of the answer lies in the fact that it was written a few thousand years ago through God’s authority. God set the rules back in Genesis 2 (which was discussed last week), and God does not change, so His rules do not change either. What was a rule back then is still a rule today.

Look at the way that God created humankind, as male and female. Without getting too graphic here, think about what makes a male a male, and what makes a female a female ­ what kind of reproductive organs that person has. One of the key components of marriage is a sexual relationship. Biologically speaking, a male and a female’s parts fit together very naturally. Male parts don’t fit with males parts, and female parts don’t fit with female parts. God set this rule of marriage between a man and a women because it logically works; it makes sense biologically.

Yes, we are living in a different society today than in biblical times. But we are still living on the same earth, which was created by the same God who does not change. God instituted marriage shortly after creating the world, and His rules have not changed. We as human beings have the free will to be able to sin and go against God’s rules; that has always been the case, and that is why Adam and Eve were able to sin in the first place. God allows us to go against His rules ­ even the rule of marriage between one man and one woman ­ but just as Adam and Eve (and the rest of mankind) had to live with the consequences of their rebellion, so do we if we break God’s rules.

Biblically speaking, the only way marriage can be defined is between one man and one woman. We do have the free will to redefine it as something else, but that goes against God’s rule, and going against God’s rules is called sin. Any sin has consequences. If you redefine marriage, are you prepared to face the consequences that will have in your life?

 God’s warning to us in Hebrews 13:4 sums this up pretty well: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Faith Propels, Fear Repels

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, February 15, 2014 0 comments

Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

If you have heard that verse before, maybe it looks a little odd to you?

Here is a more common translation, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”

Is it me, or does the first translation feel more compelling? Why is that?

Isn’t it amazing how when we use another word to express the same idea, it can create a very different sense of impact and response?

Both translations are accurate, and both have deep value in helping us get parts of the idea being expressed. Sometimes our Bible reading or surfacey devotionals can leave us with very FLAT expressions of a very powerful idea or promise God has shared with us.

Look at the words “assurance” and “conviction.”
When you are assured, when you are SURE of something – how do you approach that idea or situation?
When you are convicted, when you are PROVOKED in a good way – how do you engage life differently?

See this passage is not just about some mystical phrasing that makes us think in some hyper “stone-head” philosophical haze – “like whoa man, if I have faith I might touch some invisible furniture God left lying around, or maybe...maybe I can blink my eyes and like bring a new car into my existence...”

NO WAY! This passage is straight up in your face, that if we truly believe in Christ, we will be rock-solid confident that God’s in charge and caffeine jitter-like motivated to live out what God wants to do in and through our lives.

So if we are not SURE about God’s presence, power, and plan, and we are not rattling the fences to get out into the streets and live for Him, then we need to get real with God. We need to start digging out the roots of unholy fear that have us unsure and sedated - or maybe you are an angry fear addict, and you are defensive and agitated at everything. Either way, any FEAR that has control of even the smallest hook in us, will REPEL us from God’s plan and set us out on what we think is a safer one. It will cut into even the most well-intentioned effort, and suck the life out of it at the most perfect time for Satan to dismantle any good we attempted.

If you need a mentor, or a counselor, or a friend to help you dig out your fear – pray and find one. Go after the roots of fear. Don’t let it sit there festering and growing.

If you want motivation – read the rest of Hebrews 11, (and the whole stories of those mentioned) and see what a life propelled by faith in God can look like!

If you want God to show you the next steps of His calling – wait, listen, pray, fast, and prepare. He will not let you miss it if you are living by faith.

What is Knowledge?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 14, 2014 0 comments

In my last post, I talked about establishing what a worldview is. To refresh, a worldview is a set of principles and convictions that act as a filter to determine what you accept and what you do not accept. A worldview addresses the questions about your origins, your purpose, your identity, and where you are going. And your worldview will filter all the knowledge you receive into primary categories of true or false information etc. But now we have a question. What is knowledge? Where does it come from?

Knowledge is a piece of information. It is knowing something about something. There is true information and there is false information. You can know what is true because it aligns with the word of God, the Bible. You can also know something that is false if it contradicts the Bible. Here at Worldview Warriors, we are not just interested in telling you the truth that is found in Scripture. We are also interested in showing you how to recognize what is false. To be a warrior, you need to make a stand and be ready to defend something, to fight for something. It means you have to be able to make a judgment on what you are going to fight for or against. There is true knowledge that is worth fighting for and there is false knowledge that we need to fight against. What is truth? I will deal with that next week.

Now, there are two primary types of knowledge out there: Empirical knowledge and Revelation knowledge. I’ll address each one separately.

Empirical knowledge is also known as scientific knowledge. Did you know that the very word “science” comes from the Latin word “scientia” which means “knowledge”? Empirical knowledge is what we can acquire from scientific study. Can it be observed? Can it be tested? Can it be repeated? Empirical knowledge comes from studying the world around us. In Genesis 1:28, God tells man to subdue the earth and the animals. God gave man dominion over the earth, to be able to take and study the creation. To learn about what God did to make the universe work. The vast majority of the major science fields out there today were started by men who believed in God and sought to understand what God did when he made the universe. Science and belief in the Bible are not incompatible. They are actually partners and all empirical science has demonstrated to be in favor of the Biblical account.

But that is not the only type of knowledge. There is also Revelation knowledge. Revelation knowledge is any type of knowledge that does not come via empirical means. Issues of morality, ethics, and even historical events are considered Revelation type knowledge. Why historical events? Because you cannot test and observe the past. You can test and observe what would happen if a historical event took place but that only demonstrates that said event could be possible. To demonstrate it actually occurred, you need a historical record of the event. Be careful out there because there is a great push to mix and blend Revelation type knowledge with Empirical type knowledge. I believe this is done so in order to remove the Bible as the ultimate source of true information.

The Bible is classified under Special Revelation. It is special because it is the directly-inspired word of God. The Bible contains only truth and it contains truth that crosses time and culture, impacting every area of life. The Bible is not a pure science book; it is not a pure history book; it is not even a pure romance story. It is all that and an instruction manual for life. It has the history of our origins. It gives us the purpose for being alive. It tells us who we are and is very honest about it. We are either sinners in rebellion against God or we are rescued/redeemed souls being transformed into the image of God. It also gives us a very honest take on our destination, both short term and long term. It shows us the consequences for our actions and it shows us where we will end up depending on whether we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible has everything we need to know for life and living. And in two weeks, I will be addressing what a Biblical worldview looks like.

There is one more thing to add. There is absolute knowledge simply because we know something. There is someone out there who truly knows everything there is to know. If not, we truly would know nothing because we would have no way of knowing if what we think we know has any merit. That means in order to know anything there must be two options: either you must be omniscient (all-knowing) OR you must know someone who is omniscient. We believe all knowledge comes from God who is omniscient and what we do know is what he has revealed to us. And our ability to acquire knowledge empirically is a result of receiving the revelation from God to be able to do it.

Next week, I will address how we sort out what is true or what is false. I will also address two methods of how we determine what is true or false. One of them is shunned and the other has very subtly pulled us away from the actual truth. Tune in next week to find out what is going on.

Marriage: Between One Man and One Woman - Like It or Not, It's About Sex

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 13, 2014 0 comments

I think it’s safe to say that we are all in a sex-crazed society and have been for decades. It’s never been more accessible than it is now. Network television shows advertise it as one of the main attractions of their program. You can find it on the Internet intentionally and sometimes even unintentionally. Even commercials for products that have nothing to do with sex use it to try to increase sales. A large percentage of the children I work with each day do not have both parents in their lives and were born out of wedlock. The adults I work with frequently have different sexual partners than they did the previous week. However, I’m sure none of this really surprises you.

What might surprise you is that research has shown that things aren’t much different in the Church. Infidelity and divorce statistics are about the same. Some of the regions with the largest consumptions of pornography are in the so-called “Bible belt”. I have talked to several pastors who have had young Christian couples in their churches come to them seeking relationship advice without wanting to address their number one problem area of living together and being sexually active with no marital commitment! In 1997, Christian musician Michael W. Smith wrote a book called “It’s Time to Be Bold”. He encourages young people to boldly live for Christ, but reports that 62 percent of CHURCHED teens have become sexually involved by the twelfth grade. That was in 1997! I wonder what that statistic is like today.

All of the problems that have been caused by sex outside of God’s plan for it have brought the Church to a point where we don’t want to talk about it, even though the Bible introduces it as a gift from God through marriage. When Adam was all alone in this world, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). I’ve often wondered what the word “suitable” means there. I’m sure there is an explanation for it if we dig into the Hebrew, but I’ll leave that task to someone else because I think the word “suitable” is perfect! I’ve heard this verse used to explain that everyone should get married, and I’ve recently heard it as an explanation for why a man should marry again after his wife died. While I wouldn’t fully disagree with those explanations, I don’t believe they express God’s gift.

When God said it was not good for the man to be alone, I don’t believe he just meant that Adam was spouseless. Adam was the only human being on the planet! God never intended for that to be the case, so he created a way to make more humans. What a gift this was! God created the first two humans on his own, yet loved them so much he desired to allow them to bring forth life. God could have made the process excruciating for his created beings, but instead chose to bless them with an incredibly pleasant and joyful experience. Once God had created the possibility for them to procreate, he commanded them to do so. We see in Genesis 1 that it is his very first commandment to them after they are both created. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’” (v. 28a). I believe this gives us a picture of the mind of God. He desired to create a human race that he could love and bless. His plan was to create the first two and then give them the gift of “making” the rest of the human race. Eve’s body was physically “suitable” for Adam to complete the task God had commanded. Knowing this would LITERALLY cause two different fleshes to become one, God recognized the intimacy and commitment that are involved. The writer of Genesis, inspired by God, declared that the woman is the man’s “wife”, a singular feminine noun as described in Katie’s post on Monday. This was all before there was sin.

Thousands of years later and after sin had stained God’s gift of sex just like it does the rest of his creation, the Apostle Paul bluntly explains the purpose of marriage. “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). The word for “to marry” can also be translated “to have sexual relations”. Paul is admitting that complete celibacy is noble for those whom God has called to such a life, but that he has also given couples the gift of each other as the only relationship in which sex is a blessed and God-honoring event. Throughout the chapter, Paul reiterates that remaining unmarried is great for those who have been given that strength by God. “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (v. 9). Paul also commands those who are married not to deprive each other of sex “except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer” (v. 5). For the husband and wife, who agreed to the sexual relationship when they married, depriving one another of that gift would only increase their vulnerability to the enemy’s attacks through temptation.

Based on God’s desire that mankind would fill the earth, the way he intentionally designed male and female bodies to “fit” together to make that happen in an enjoyable way, and the very unique commitment and intimacy that process would require between the ONE man and ONE woman involved, I can only conclude that God created marriage to protect the gift of sex that was not meant to be shared with multiple partners. We’ve seen the destruction caused by those who have not followed him in protecting that gift, but that doesn’t change what his plan was and still is for marriage. Our God is big enough to restore all of that destruction, but we can only experience restoration when we first admit that we have broken away from his plan for one man and one woman, and then turn back to him for healing.

Talking with God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 0 comments

My roommate was gone for the weekend. It had been a long week and I was exhausted. I had so many questions on my mind. A fire was kindled in my bones and I had to open up the my Bible and seek answers. I kept my Bible underneath my Bed. So as I was laying there in silence, I reached down and picked it up.

“Where do I start?” I asked myself. “I believe that this book has the answers to my questions, but it is so big. I need a reference point to guide me. Where do I start?”

As I grappled with this predicament, I decided to pray. “Lord God, I know that you are real. I know that you are the Creator. But my friends, they don’t know that. The longer we all sit in that classroom, the more doubts we are going to have. I have heard so much from your Word and about your Word in church, but now I want to explore it myself and learn about what is troubling me today. Please Lord, guide me in your Word to what you would have me learn. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Did I hear any voices? No. Did I randomly open my Bible to where God wanted me to read? No. Did I dismiss my prayer and God’s existence altogether for the sake that he failed to answer? No. Did God answer? Yes. For as a laid upon my bed, having finished my prayer, the Lord brought to mind Bible 101 and the book of Romans. First to Romans 12,
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:2, 3)

Wow. God did not expect me to know everything but he wanted me to have the proper frame of mind when I approached the world around me. Let your mind be transformed so that you can see things for what they really are; not as other people try to tell you they are. Then, balance that out with a sober perception of myself. I do not realize the truth merely because I am better than anyone else, but because God has opened my eyes. If it were not for his grace I would still be blind and falling into the sinful pattern of the world. These verses helped me to understand that I might even encounter certain people who I perceived to be good, but did not believe in Jesus as their Lord. Yes, they are good people, but who is good but God alone? So in that sense they are my better, but because of the measure of faith God has given me it is my privilege to introduce them to the truth of the Gospel for the glory of God.

I was intrigued and decided to turn back to the beginning of Romans. So Romans chapter one was my next endeavor. It was there that I found these words: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (1:16) and then, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (1:20).

Now this really spoke to me. I was in an environment that was hostile toward Christian beliefs but God has called me to be bold and to stand passionately for Christ even in the midst of those circumstances. My fears and my doubts began to wash away and I was encouraged by God’s Word to hang in there and let the power of God be known. How would this happen? I had no clue, but clearly God was in control of my circumstances.

Furthermore, I was reassured that it was not I who was in denial about the absence of God, but Derkins who was in denial of God’s existence. If his invisible qualities are made known through his creation, certainly Derkins had to know that God was real. But did he really believe in his heart that God was real? It did not seem like it. In fact, it appeared as though God was the furthest thing from his heart. But I knew that this passage was correct. I did not know how to explain its precise meaning, but somehow I suspected that Derkins in some way or another really believed in God’s existence. He was just unwilling to admit it. But if this was true, why? Why would someone reject the existence of God when God is the one who provides salvation and eternal life. Now I was starting to develop more questions.

There is so much more to this conversation that I experienced than I could possibly express in words. It was a conversation, though. I spoke to God and he responded through his Word. Not only through his Word, he also spoke his truth directly to my heart. I was experiencing the truth of Scripture in real time. That is not to say I was reliving the events of the Bible in some mystical way; rather, I was conversing with the Living God whose very presence was in my room and in my heart.

Sure, not all of my questions were answered. There is something about God’s answers that always leave room for more questions. I was hoping for all of the answers, but what God gave me were challenges. “Humble yourself, trust me, and live your faith. Your answers will come in time. For now, you must rely upon my promises.” Thus our time concluded and I fell asleep.

It was powerful and surreal, and yet there was one problem that remained: tomorrow.

As subtle as it may sound, tomorrow will be a challenge. The challenges of tomorrow, again, are unique to his previous ones. For tomorrow is a day off…Saturday! How will Ryan spend his time and what will he encounter that challenges his faith? Only time will tell, but it should be interesting as Ryan spends some time walking the streets of Cleveland.

Do You Trust God’s Word?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 11, 2014 0 comments

It’s important to note that the theory of evolution from a single common ancestor has no basis in science. Those who say, “Evolution is a fact” and “All biology stands upon the shoulders of bold theorists such as...Charles Darwin” are either misinformed or they are being deceptive. Evolution from a common ancestor cannot claim a single advancement in science. Most examples given (antibiotic resistance or genetically modified crops) demonstrate a misunderstanding of the concepts. All it can claim is wasted billions of dollars.

Evolution also has no basis in Christianity. Many have tried to combine the Bible with evolution. This does not work on any level. The inconsistencies are immense. One cannot adapt a logical connection between what God’s Word clearly states (not just in Genesis but in a variety of other passages in the Bible) about the creation of the world and life with Darwinian evolution. This is true for the origins of life and of death. Commonly referred to as theistic evolutionists, they have no ground whatsoever to stand on. They do not have the support of those who align themselves with Scripture or the support of atheists. They generally reject God’s Word and attempt to manipulate it to match how man has interpreted the world around him, knowing full well that interpretation will be thrown out in a few decades and replaced with another set of ideas which will be thrown out in a few decades and replaced with yet another set of ideas. Man’s understanding is continually evolving. God and His Word do not change. There is nothing wrong with the evolution of ideas, but standing on those ideas as “fact” or “proven” is foolish. The idea that God created the earth in six literal days and put life here in its various forms is backed very well with science. There are scores of scientists who believe the Bible and its explanation for life’s origins.


Genesis chapter 1

What is Marriage? One Man and One Woman

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 10, 2014 13 comments

In last week’s post, we discussed how the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church is what an ideal marriage relationship should look like, even though we all fall short of that ideal. This week, we will look more at the definition of who is part of a marriage: one man and one woman.

This definition of marriage is being challenged in many ways in our society today, especially with the issue of homosexual marriage, whether it be two men or two women. Another way that some claim to redefine marriage is through plural marriage, such as one man with multiple wives. Many people today insist that marriage needs to be redefined in these ways for our modern times, and that the ways of the Bible are too old­-fashioned.

So first, let’s look at what the Bible actually says about this. Last week we examined parts of the passage of Ephesians 5:21­-33. Verse 31 in that passage is actually a quotation of an Old Testament passage, Genesis 2:24, which says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Notice that this verse starts with “That is why...” which should beg the question in your mind of what’s the actual reason for this?

The context of this passage in Genesis 2 is that God has just created the first people, Adam and Eve. God created Adam first, but He knew that it was not good for Adam to be alone (v18). When a suitable companion for Adam could not be found among all the animals that were created, God made the woman, Eve, from one of Adam’s ribs (v21­-22). When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (v23). That is what leads into verse 24, which I quoted above.

Notice the important nouns there in Genesis 2:24: “a man” and “his wife.” Both of those are singular nouns in the Hebrew, which rules out plural marriage of one man with multiple wives. The first noun is ish in the Hebrew, which is a masculine noun. The second noun is isha, which is a feminine noun. This rules out the option for a marriage of two men, or two women.

But, does all of this still apply today? Back in January, I wrote about why Jesus matters. In that post I explained how earlier in Genesis 2:15­-17, God set the rules for mankind. Because God created the entire world, God has the authority to set the rules for it. In Genesis 2:24, God set the rules for marriage: one man and one woman. But why can’t that be redefined for today’s modern society, thousands of years later? Stay tuned and find out in next week’s post.

The Year of the “Selfie”

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, February 8, 2014 0 comments

Selfie = to snap random pictures of one’s self, and upload it to the internet for others to comment, enjoy, judge, pay money to see, etc.

Perhaps you have been tempted, or actively participate in this thriving exercise in public exposure.

At the heart of it is a desire to be known and to be validated by others. Even if a pic is ridiculed, it ends up being a weird sense of validation that a person exists.

I recognize everyone wants to be noticed and validated somehow. While apart from online predators, a few candid snapshots are not necessarily dangerous, I do think the underlying attitude it takes to get a good selfie, is a toxic one. Think about it – to take a good selfie, you have to be aware of...? YOU of course! This level of personal awareness, and the hunger to be known can drive us to very unsafe places. It leads us to upload ourselves into every situation, hoping we will be noticed. Which means truly helpful, truly selfless motives become second, third, or never even enter our minds. Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-5, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

So in these couple verses he addresses the heart of the issue:

- our bodies are meant to serve God and for us to find our validation from Him.
- our minds are to be renewed in God’s word, which transforms us (and our bodies) from the inside out
- our thoughts should not be about validating ourselves, but rather seeing ourselves through God’s eyes
- our actions should always reflect that we are connected to and belong to one another

There is a lot to unpack there, and I welcome you to do some digging in. But let me sum it up with one thought. As followers of Christ – we should be those who validate others with the love and grace we have received from God. Let’s face it, when I am loved, accepted, and appreciated in my community of people, I am validated. My drive to gain the approval of others drops considerably.

So, here is a challenge...let’s unravel and make the “selfie” market collapse.

Let’s make 2014’s word of the year – “self-less.”

What is a Worldview?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 7, 2014 0 comments

There is very little that impacts our daily lives and plays a role in them more than our worldview. What is exactly is a worldview? It is something we hear about from time to time but many of us do not understand it nor do we understand what kind of a role it has in our lives. I have the amazing privilege to be part of a Biblical Worldview training seminar called the “Cadre”. It is put up by the Creation Truth Foundation outside Oklahoma City and the program is a four-part series over a span of two years of intense training on Biblical worldviews with the goal of teaching the material to the next generation. I have completed the first of the four parts and will be returning to the Creation Truth Foundation three more times in the next two years.

In this program, I have learned in depth about what a worldview is. So this post is the start of a four-part series. Here I will explain what a worldview is. Next week, I will discuss what knowledge is and how we acquire knowledge. Then I will discuss truth and how we determine what is true. And in the end of the month I will address what a Biblical Worldview is and what it should look like.

To put it simply, a worldview is how one views his/her surroundings and the world around them. But it goes much deeper than that. Your worldview addresses many questions that you rarely think about. For example: Does God exist? If he does, is God involved in this world? Or with me personally? Many of the decisions you make, you do so based on the answer to these questions. Most of the questions a worldview answers are summed up by the acronym O.P.I.D.

O -> Origins: Where did I come from?
P -> Purpose: Why I am I here?
I -> Identity: Who am I?
D -> Destination: Where am I going?

Where did I come from? Am I specially created in my mother’s womb? Am I a descendent of an ape-like creature and ultimately a pile of goo that made a few molecules on its own, which became a few cells and eventually a fish, then an ape, then man? What’s my story? Was the world once a much better place? Or has it always been this way? Why am I here? Why am I alive? Is life meaningless? Do I have a reason to be alive? Why do I have this skill when I want to have that skill? Why am I going through this hard time? Why do I have all that I have? What I am going to do with what I have?

Who am I? Am I a special creation, made in the image of God? Am I just another animal on this planet taking up space? Am I worth loving? Am I worthy of doing anything? Am I a good person?

Where am I going? Do I have a destination? Do I have a vision of what I am to do? Do I have a dream I am pursing? Is all I have now the best it will be? Will I be going to heaven? What will my future look like?

All these questions and those that follow the answers make up your worldview. Most of the time, we don’t think about these questions in the same way we don’t think about our heart beating. Your heart will continue to beat whether you think about it or not. We usually only think about our heart when we are checking our pulse, after we just did some intense exercise, or when we are dealing with heartburn (though that is actually your stomach). And likewise, we don’t think about our worldview unless it is brought to our attention.

How does our worldview influence our thinking? Morality? If your worldview tells you that God exists and that he is involved with us every day, you will want to please him. If your worldview tells you that you are a pile of goo that evolved over millions of years, and that there is no ultimate consequence for your actions, who cares what you do? What about trust? Who can you trust? What can you trust? Your worldview will tell you what is trustworthy, what you can believe, who you can believe, and what/who you shouldn’t. Your worldview is your filter that determines what you consider to be valid or invalid, true or false. While some facts can help shape your worldview, for the most part it is actually your worldview that determines which facts you include and which ones you reject.

Think about these questions over the weekend and during the month of February. For many of you younger readers in your teens, your worldview is still being shaped. Who are you going to let shape it? Who are you going to trust will help you determine what your worldview will be? What filter will you use to sort out the good stuff from the bad? Next week, I will build on this post and speak about knowledge - what it is and where it comes from. Then I will talk about truth and two processes we use to come to believe the truth is. And I will wrap up the month with a post on what the Biblical Worldview is and why we at Worldview Warriors speak from this position. You don’t want to miss it.

Marriage Between God & the Church - The Example of Unconditional Love

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 6, 2014 1 comments

While the concept of marriage in our culture continues to be a heavily-debated one and beliefs about it seem to be increasingly distant from the declaration of Genesis 2:24, there are still some things about the marital bond that clearly distinguish it apart from any other type of relationship. It’s the only type of relationship in which God approves and even encourages sexual intimacy. For dating relationships, we use descriptors like “partner” or “significant other”. In marriage, we use phrases like “other half” or “better half”. These phrases come from the feeling that we are not even whole people until we have found our 2nd half. The idea of oneness is present only in marriage, where the man and woman can be “united together as one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). We have no other relationship like it!

Perhaps that is why it is commonly expressed that “there is no pain like that from the opposite sex”. In marriage, no one can love you the way your spouse does and no one can wound you the way your spouse does. The betrayal of spousal infidelity seems to cause more destruction and grief than any other type of betrayal. Politicians, athletes, and other celebrities have had their marital infidelity plastered all over the news and social media. Many of the murders that we read about or hear about in the news stem from someone’s desire for revenge after being betrayed by a spouse. Only when we understand the pain of adultery can we really begin to understand unconditional love, especially as it relates to how God loves his people.

In Monday’s blog, Katie talked about the example of marriage we see in the relationship between Christ and the Church. She pointed out that Jesus is God. However, the relationship between God and his “bride” goes back even further than the human life of Jesus of Nazareth. The Book of Hosea is written by the prophet of the same name. At the beginning, he writes that God told him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (1:2). Hosea does as God tells him and marries an adulteress named Gomer. They then have three children that are named according to what God tells them about the people of Israel. Hosea’s marriage to the adulterous woman becomes a picture of God’s relationship with Israel. The word for “church” in the Bible literally means “assembly”, and the people of Israel were the first ASSEMBLY of God’s people. So, in a sense, the “marital” relationship between God and his people began with Israel.

Before I go any further, I want to remind you that the name “Israel” literally means “struggles with God”, according to Genesis 32:28 when God changed Jacob’s name to it after he wrestled with God and survived. That in itself should show us how unconditionally God loves his “bride”. I certainly wouldn’t want to marry someone named “struggles with Logan”. Who wants to go into that type of committed relationship with that foundation? Most of us wouldn’t even enter into a business partnership in that way. Yet, God desired to love his people despite the intense pain he knew they would cause him. The rest of Hosea, whose name comes from the same root as JESUS, shows us what true and unconditional love means. At times, God is angry, not really with his “bride” but more with her choices. In Chapter 2, he chooses in love to allow her to face the consequences of her actions and experience pain that will ultimately send her back to him. After allowing her to be hurt, he says, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her” (v. 14). Even after Israel has cheated on God, he is willing to pursue her, to woo her, to speak tenderly to her.

God tells Hosea to do the same. “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes” (3:1). Are you kidding me? They forgot what love, affection, and faithfulness they had in God and chose “sacred raisin cakes” over him! That’s like rubbing salt in the wound. To see your spouse cheat on you with someone who doesn’t love them even a fraction of the amount that you do is a tough pill to swallow. The God that created the universe was being dumped in favor of the sacred raisin cakes. Yet, he continued to love and pursue them. In a representation of God’s willingness to buy us away from our infidelity with the blood of Jesus, Hosea pays a financial price to buy back his prostitute wife (3:2). He then tells her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you” (3:3). Wow!

Hosea pays the price for his wife BEFORE he has any assurance that she will be faithful. God does the same thing with Israel and eventually with the church. He does not demand fidelity to receive his unconditional love, but also loves us too much to excuse our adultery. He allows consequences and pain to come from our choices so that we will see just how futile our pursuit of other “lovers” is and return to him. Please take time to read the rest of Hosea on your own so you can see how God balances affection and discipline, both of which are present in unconditional love. As we move into further discussion about marriage, I pray you will understand God’s intentions for it. I pray also that a clearer picture of your own adultery in spite of which God has continued to love you will motivate you to bear with the shortcomings of those around you, especially your spouse if you have one. May we continue to strive for unconditional love.

My Reaction to the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye Debate

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 1 comments

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:5

What is the best book in the Bible for the purpose of helping us understand the non-believer’s thought process? You might suspect I would say Genesis, because it lays the foundation for all knowledge, according to a Biblical worldview. Or maybe you would suspect Romans because of its explicit description of human depravity. Perhaps you would take the most obvious route in answering my question by concluding I have 1 John in mind as evidenced by the above quote. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. These books are wonderful in helping us to understand the world and the people of the world through the eyes of one with faith, but I believe there is only one book in the Bible that shows us, through the eyes of a worldly person, how a person of the world thinks. This book is Ecclesiastes.

“So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17

What a horrible thought that is so contrary to the real message of the Bible! But when it is considered from the standpoint of a secular humanist it is horrifyingly true. If you confront someone of this frame of mind and attempt to speak truth into his or her life you will have much difficulty because this person’s heart has become hardened and cynical. For a Christian to share John 3:16 with this person is as gratifying to them as raking your fingernails across a chalkboard: Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech! It sounds so good that it is annoying. On the other hand, if you share with them the secular mantra that when you die, “that’s it,” they are strangely satisfied. How bizarre and twisted is such reasoning that one would rejoice over bad news and decry good news?

Last night I listened to Ken Ham debate Bill Nye at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum in St. Petersburg, Kentucky and these were some of the thoughts that went through my head at its conclusion. The topic was “Is creationism a viable model for science?” Bill Nye’s famous assertion has been that creationists cannot function as productive and innovative scientists. He seemed to define one’s productivity and innovative abilities as a scientist that can develop a functional model through which future discoveries and results could be predicted. At the end of the debate he strongly denied that Ham had succeeded in providing any evidence that the creation model fulfilled such criteria and, therefore, was not a viable scientific model. But did Ken Ham really fail to provide evidence that creationism meets such criteria or did Nye simply refuse to acknowledge the evidence that he so clearly provided?

I would not be writing this if I did not espouse the latter view, so let’s talk about what Ham provided. I don’t recall the order in which he provided his examples, but they really were compelling. Directly from the Biblical text he drew examples of mankind’s descent through one (two) common ancestors and the fact that animals only bring forth offspring after their own kinds. The Bible did more than predict such a conclusion, it tells us that it was established this way by Divine decree. Science would not dispute these points because it has actually been observed as being true. But maybe you would say that this is not good enough to establish creationism as a viable scientific theory. To humor this argument, let’s suppose that a Divine decree is not really a prediction and does not provide a model through which the scientific method can be employed.

Ham actually sees such an argument and trumps it by providing testimonies from living, breathing, real life scientists who also happen to be creationists. Did I mention that these scientists are innovative? Forgive me for not including their names, but let’s look at their accomplishments. The first one was a microbiologist who has been published in credible, secular research journals as many times as the number of years the earth is old, according to atheists. He has debunked the notion that E. Coli is evolving new functions. This, of course, would be predictable through a creationist model. Second, he presented the inventor of the MRI, who also happens to be a creationist. Furthermore, this particular scientist passionately insists that evolutionary science is not needed, nor used, in the process of operational science. How does the MRI relate to predictability? Well, you would not mass market a sophisticated piece of medical machinery if you could not predict through your scientific method that it was going to work. What is more, the MRI is used at just about every major hospital in the United States. This man was not hindered by his belief in creation and even claims that it aided him in his innovation. Thirdly, and subtly, he mentioned a portion of the team of scientists who contributed in putting together the Hubble Space Telescope. He said that both the creationists and the secularists on the team all agreed on the functionality of the telescope but not on the interpretation of the data it collected. Personally, if I were one of the creationists involved in its development, I would be insulted at how NASA, the Federal Government, and the popular media have pretended that creationists play no part in improving this country’s understanding of science. Clearly creationists can be as intelligent and innovative as scientists who hold to a secular model.

And yet at the conclusion of the debate, Nye was still insisting that creationism is a hindrance to science and essentially that creationists cannot be scientists. How is it that he missed all of those examples that Ken Ham provided, not just of information to support creationism, but of real, living, breathing, PhD scientists that approach their work with the Word of God at their starting point? Could it simply be because the modern scientific community has defined science as being inherently atheistic? Although Nye attempted an emotional plea with Ham by stating that other religious people of the world don’t espouse creationism, he hinted that those people are dunces, nonetheless. And what of our Intelligent Design friends? He hinted that they merely insert God when they cannot explain a particular phenomenon, which means that they are just as foolish as their fundamentalist peers. To Bill Nye, if you want to believe in God, leave that belief at the door when you enter the lab.

To those who tuned into the debate who already agreed with him, I’m sure Bill Nye was the clear winner. The evolutionists have a strangle hold on the definition of science (as Ham pointed out) and refuse to let go. Whenever a person comes along and meets their criteria with a different model, they conveniently change definitions so that the new model is disqualified. After all, it was not until Ham presented creation scientists that Nye introduced the idea of predictability into the equation; and even then his definition of predictability was manipulated enough that nobody really knew what he was talking about and Ham’s examples of innovative creationists that operated from a creationist model just didn’t make the cut.

Granted Bill Nye’s failure to recognize the scientists cited by Ken Ham as being credible examples, it is only fair to point out the weaknesses of Nye’s argument. Some of these things will appear as harsh criticisms, but my intent is not to be harsh but to be frank. I think for those who were not familiar with the creationist side of the argument, it would have been very easy for them to believe that Bill Nye cornered Ken Ham with some of his questions. This leads to his first weakness, that also served as a strength: he did not stick to the topic of the moderator’s question and did not respect Ham’s obligation to do so. There were at least two instances where Nye went on a tangent where he posed at least five questions and then expected Ham to respond to those questions, on top of answering the question the moderator chose to ask. At the end of Nye’s questioning the moderator would then announce, “Mr. Ham, you now have five minutes to reply,” or my favorite, “Mr. Ham, you have one minute to reply.” Fortunately, Ham eventually replied to Nye by informing him that he would use his allotted time to answer the moderator’s question.

Weakness number two: I am convinced that Bill Nye was almost entirely unfamiliar with Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis website. In his long line of questions that were left unanswered, Nye mentioned the fossils in the geologic column, the fossils of “primitive” humans, the speed of light in relation to the distance of stars from earth, ice layers, tree rings, and quite a few other examples that he claimed were problems that were ignored by creationists. But if anybody were to go to, they would be able to find answers to these questions in the “Get Answers” section of the website. I think it was entirely unprofessional of Nye to ignore the website, or worse, maybe he posed those questions because he knew that Ham would not have the time to answer all of his questions. Such a strategy would be quite devious and I would like to think it would be below Bill Nye.

Thirdly, Bill Nye proved, to those who are familiar with their Bibles, that he had very little and possibly no understanding of what the Bible says or how it is composed. Ken Ham was asked the question, “Do you interpret the entire Bible literally?” His response was that he interprets it “naturally” because with how the Bible is written certain parts are clearly not meant to be taken literally and other parts are clearly written to be taken literally. Anyone who has studied how the Bible was written would be able to tell you there are different genres of literature inside of the Bible. In Bill Nye’s rebuttal to Ham’s answer, he said that he has made the observation that Ken Ham picks and chooses what parts of the Bible he takes literally and what parts he does not. I do not think that Mr. Nye should have commented on that question at all because he simply was not educated enough on the topic to attack Ham in such a way.

Finally, there were a few instances when Bill Nye admitted that he did not know the answer to certain vital questions. For instance, “Where did matter come from?” Of course, the secular premise is that if we are given more time, we will eventually find out how matter came into existence. But the problem would not end there. Cells were once thought to be very simple organisms but are today found to be more sophisticated than the satellites in outer space. Even though we know a lot more about cells than what we did one hundred years ago, we have learned that there is possibly an infinite amount of information about cells that we still do not know. I suspect that if anything more is discovered regarding the creation of matter, it will open up new questions that will yield even more questions. There was also the problem regarding, “Where did life come from?” Bill Nye conceded that he does not know the answer to this and that it is a great mystery. This was probably the weakest point of the debate for Mr. Nye because it validated Ken Ham’s claim that there are certain abstract concepts, like information, logic, and consciousness that have no material basis from which they can evolve. Why and how could something inanimate all of a sudden become a living creature? Mr. Ham asserted that there is a book out there, called the Bible, which answers these questions.

Wouldn’t you think that a worldly person would welcome the possibility that there is something more to life? Is it not worth it to entertain the possibility that there is something to look forward to after death? Shouldn’t it be comforting that many intelligent people actually espouse such a worldview? If you answered “yes,” you are mistaken, because the person who rejects God has been sent a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11). This delusion is defined by the futility of Ecclesiastes where the only comfort to the toils of this world is death. In a similar fashion as Solomon, Bill Nye realized that he can find some consolation in embracing his life’s work, which he expressed in terms of discovery (Ecclesiastes 3:22). Unfortunately for Nye, he rejects Solomon’s wisdom by rejecting the other half of the equation that leads to a fulfilling life. This missing variable is nothing less than embracing the Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14). Because of this, Nye does not see John 3:16 as good news, but as bad news. To his secular ears, John 3:16 expresses bigotry and exclusivism. But in his spirit, he knows that it spells out his condemnation as one who does not believe the Gospel.

Sure, most people’s minds were already made up before the debate. If anyone out there is like me, I was looking for a competition that would satisfy me more than the Super Bowl did this past Sunday. Mission accomplished. In fairness creationists, on the whole, were as satisfied with Ham as secularists were with Nye; commending, applauding, cheering, and thus is displayed the divide between believer and non-believer. Aside from this reality, some people’s minds were changed. But let’s say a person was convinced that Nye was correct. What would be gained with such a victory? It would only result in one more person to lament the futility of life. As Solomon wrote (minus God), “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from the dust, and to dust all return” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-20). But what if a person accepted the Gospel that Ken Ham presented? For each new convert, we have snatched a person from the flames of hell, provided purpose for their lives, and have gained a brother or sister; for the Bible tells us that there is much rejoicing in heaven when even one person, who was lost, becomes found (Luke 15:10).

This is what the whole debate has boiled down to: an open discussion has been established. The fears of the atheists who opposed Nye’s decision to debate Ham have been validated. It is possible, and very likely, that there will be more open discussion between atheists and creationists if for nothing else, to at least determine who won this past debate. Although it is possible that public schools will discuss the debate, I don’t know that much will come of it in a political sense. Odds are evolution will still be the only acceptable explanation for origins allowed in the science classroom, but who knows what backlash this debate might bring? Maybe students will finally start thinking outside of the box of the public school system. Maybe they will investigate Ken Ham’s claims for a young earth and the authority of the Bible. For better or worse, Bill Nye may have opened up a Pandora’s Box of creationism that will wreak havoc on the currently accepted scientific model.

Bill Seng is the author of the book “The World That Then Was