Lucy’s Split Personality

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 30, 2015 35 comments

by Steve Risner

Lucy. I was recently at the Creation Museum of Answers in Genesis in northern Kentucky and was able to take a look at the famed human ancestor named after a Beatles’ song—replicas of the fossils, of course. She's held up as the iconic transition from our more apelike ancestors to modern man. Have you ever actually looked at all the information regarding “her”? It's pretty interesting to look at what an evolutionist will grab onto in order to cling to their religion. There are several reasons to throw Lucy out as a transition from anything to anything. In fact, it may be pretty easy to conclude the only reason we can even suggest she was a transition from a more apelike ancestor to us is that they took bones from two different creatures and put them together! That wouldn't happen, though, would it? Some may even believe there is a great lineage we can trace back through the ages of human evolution with piles of fossil remains. But the truth is that, with room to spare, we could fit all the fossil remains of our alleged ancestors into a single coffin.

So is Lucy, found in 1974, the real mother of humanity? What was this legendary Australopithecus afarensis fossil? It's said she walked upright like modern humans but had a pretty tiny brain. This is one of the stories evolutionists will tell about the evolution of man—apelike creatures began walking upright and then slowly developed a bigger, more complex brain. Is there any support for such a notion? Not at all. In fact, some will say the exact opposite—that we began developing bigger brains and moved to the ground looking for food and using tools. So which is it? Like most of the theory of evolution, it's all stories and you can pick whatever you want to believe. Moving on...

The history of Lucy's find: Donald Johanson was digging in the Hadar area of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression, the northernmost part of the Great Rift Valley. He came upon a large number of fossilized remains including several skull fragments, jawbones of various shapes, and various other skeletal bits and pieces including some fragments of a pelvis. Johanson admits he found the knee and lower leg bones at another site a year earlier—1.5 miles away and over 200 ft deeper! That's right! How can we conclude these were form the same creature or even the same type of creature when the finds are so fragmented and so far away at such varying depths? Johanson himself tells us: “It is hard for me now to admit how tangled in that thicket I was. But the insidious thing about bias is that it does make one deaf to the cries of other evidence.” What evidence is he referring to?

Nearly every piece of the famed skeleton is similar in size and shape to the modern chimpanzee. That is to say that the skull size was identical to that of a chimp as well as its shape. The jaw was like that of a chimp. The wrist bones, very important in determining how the animal walked, are clearly of a “knuckle-dragging” ape. The ribs were more round like an ape's rather than flat or bladelike as a human's would be. The pelvis was crushed and only a small portion of it found. But Dr. Lovejoy did us all a favor and reconstructed it for us. His claim was that the bones, which seemed to want to fit together to make the pelvic shape of a knuckle-walking ape nearly perfectly, fit together “too well.” He did a famous video on this reconstruction where he actually took a saw-like tool and modified the pelvic structure to appear more like a human's pelvis. To be clear, the evidence clearly was in favor of a chimp-like pelvis so it was modified to be more human-like. That is “science” for you.

What is interesting is that all the parts of Lucy that were found at one site indicate it was a chimpanzee—pretty much without question. Even the pelvis, before it was cut and fit together to make it look human, was obviously a chimp's or something very much like a chimp. The portions of this specimen found 1.5 miles away appeared to be more human-like because of the angle of the knee joint. However, this received criticism from other evolutionary paleontologists, asserting “that it was nothing more than a monkey knee,” but as Johanson writes in Lucy’s Legacy, “I never veered from my original assertion that the knee belonged to a biped.” A biped is something that walks on two legs rather than on all four. What are the details?

Looking head on, chimpanzee and gorilla legs have an angle of 0 degrees. Humans have an angle of about 9 degrees. If the angle is much greater it gives a “knocked kneed” condition in humans. Lucy has a larger angle of about 15 degrees. Does this mean the evidence is conclusive that she walked upright? Not at all. Orangutans and spider monkeys, both of which are designed very well for living in trees, have knee angulation of about 15 degrees as well. Keep in mind that the knee joint was not found with the rest of the skeleton. These parts were found 1.5 miles away and over 200 ft deeper. Footprints have been discovered in the area as well. For some reason, scientists feel compelled to conclude that, although all the evidence shows Lucy was a chimp or something very similar to a chimp, these prints were from her or another one of her species. The prints appear to be very much like a modern human's prints.

There is a growing number of scientists who are honest enough to say Lucy is nothing but an ape—most likely a chimpanzee. Some suggest that the fame, power, and money involved in a discovery so profound forced Johanson to fabricate a story that supported his find as the oldest member of modern man's lineage. There is literally nothing physical in the evidence that supports Lucy being anything but an ape. Not a single thing. Even her gender has been questioned by evolutionists. It seems there is nothing we actually know about this creature aside from the fact that it (or they, since there seems to be at least two different organisms involved) lived and died.

It may come as a surprise that 40 years after her discovery, more errors are being found in the remains and their classification. Just this year, 2015, scientists examining replicas of the famous skeletal remains found a backbone that was out of place. It was far too small to belong to this individual. It turns out, the conclusion is that it was from a baboon! The articles you'll read on this down play it and even make use of phrases like “small mistake” or something like that. A small mistake? It's a bone from a different animal altogether.

The Bible tells us that man was created on the 6th day as God formed him from the dust and breathed life into him. Man was created in God's image—the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If man evolved, he isn't created special and he isn't in God's image. Therefore, he's just an animal that happens to be smarter than the rest of the animal kingdom. God doesn't hold the animal kingdom to a high moral standard and He doesn't offer redemption to them when they sin. He does, however, command a moral standard of us with consequences for violation of that code. He also, because of His great love and mercy, provides a way of salvation to us if we are willing to accept it.

Darwinian evolution is a religion. It is a religion that is pushed on us as science when it is actually in spite of all the scientific facts we can find. This example of the “science” behind human ancestry is typical. You can read a very good article on the subject of the bias and religious zeal of evolutionists at the Creation Moments website here:

Of particular note is the last half concerning things Johanson stated about his search for fossils and how money and reputation were the only motivational factors in his work. I'm beginning to think that every part of the theory of evolution is completely fabricated and no physical evidence exists to support it. In fact, one evolutionist claims creationists don't believe in evolution because they lack imagination! I couldn't make this stuff up.

So be encouraged. This icon of evolution is so filled with holes, it's insulting to an intelligent person for them to share it as they have. There isn't a single piece of evidence for an ancestor of mankind other than other modern humans. The mountain of evidence for Darwinism is really a house of cards.

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No Looking Back

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 29, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Those three words were spoken by Jesus himself in one of the little-known and shortest verses in the Bible. What was he talking about? The word “remember” can mean different things depending on context. In this section, Jesus was speaking to his disciples after addressing one of the Pharisees’ questions about when the kingdom of God would come. To remember someone could mean to make sure you don’t neglect her needs, to commit to memory something great that she did, or to learn from her example. Based on the context of the passage, it’s the latter that Jesus is using here.

If you don’t know who Lot or his wife were, go back and read Genesis 19. It’s the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah via the burning sulfur that the Lord rains down on them. Lot had two angels come to his house and stay with him, and when they urged him to leave the city in a hurry because it was about to be completely destroyed, he obeyed the commands by faith. Rather than test the Lord, his fear of the Lord led him to act quickly. In the midst of the chaos, he and his family were told, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17) Later in the same chapter, we see that Lot and the rest of his family reached a safe place away from the disaster. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (19:26). That seems a little harsh, doesn’t it? Not when you consider the fact that she disobeyed a direct command spoken through the angels and the fact that this was not merely a brief glance over the shoulder. Scholars believe her “looking back” connotes that she looked intently and may have even possibly returned back to Sodom.

Now go back and look at the full context of Jesus’ words to his disciples in Luke 17:20-37. He is talking about how quickly the world will be judged when the time comes. Jesus specifically refers to how everyone was going about their business during the time of Noah until the flood destroyed them, and then how everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah who did not fear God and expect his judgment were suddenly destroyed. He tells his followers that when he comes back to judge the world, they won’t be needing to gather their possessions. The judgment will happen before they even have a chance. He warns them to remember the poor example set by Lot’s wife and her resulting judgment, then declares, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (v. 33).

Jesus knew that the temptation for all of us who are in the world is to dwell on what is lost rather than look forward to what is being gained. While everything we hold near and dear to our hearts right now, including certain relationships, reputations, and legacies, will perish when Jesus returns, we can’t help but get sucked into the desire for things that God may not be giving us. These would include, but are not limited to, fame, money, family, marriage, other relationships, status, education, and material things. God may choose to bless you with them, or he may not. But either way, they are temporary and disappear the moment Christ returns to judge the world. Are you ready to leave them, or will you be caught looking back? If you follow along with the other blog posts on this site, you’re probably wondering at this point what this all has to do with the book of Romans. I submit to you that the temporary gifts from God that we enjoy on this earth aren’t the only things at which we might be caught looking back.

In Romans 6:8-14, Paul explains the difference between where we once were as sinners and where we are now in Christ. We are told, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11). This is because Jesus died to sin on our behalf, but that death did not have power over him because he was raised from the dead. Paul even makes the obvious point that he cannot die again since he has already gained the victory over death. But he didn’t do that for himself. He did it for you and me, for all who would believe in him and follow his example. Because we are now IN Christ, we also have power over sin and death!

The implication for this truth in our lives is found in verses 12 and 13. Paul writes, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness." Paul is one of the best at using the word “therefore." His message here is clear. Because of what Jesus did for us and how he has given us life and victory over sin, we need to stop giving it back! Think about the ways you offer “any part of yourself” to sin. What do you watch on TV or the Internet? What do you read? What do you allow yourself to hear and what senseless arguments trap you? Do you accept gossip and even pass it on, or do you turn it away? Are you living with your partner unmarried while still trying to honor God? Do you let your insecurities run wild rather than fill your mind with the truth and promises of God’s Word? If you have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as that which has saved you, all of those sins have been defeated and the ONLY way they can still overpower you is if you let them.

Why do we still get caught up in the sins that pestered us before we came into a relationship with Jesus? I believe the answer is remarkably simple. We are too often LOOKING BACK. Satan does a great job of helping us remember the very brief pleasures of our sins while we forget all the pain and suffering they caused. Like Lot’s wife, you may at times lament “the good old days,” which can be another name for your sins before you knew Jesus. If this is something you struggle with, try replacing it with actively looking forward to what you are gaining in Christ. Paul doesn’t just tell us what not to do. He urges us to offer ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. Make no mistake, you cannot be both at the same time. You are either an instrument of wickedness or an instrument of righteousness. If Christ is in the business of making all things new (Revelation 21:5), that means he isn’t interested in whatever we are leaving behind. As we are in him and know the promises about our future as victors, we have no reason to be caught looking back. I encourage you to focus on what you have gained in him and not what the devil wants to tell you that you’ve lost.

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Back With Power

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng
“…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 6:11

I believe it was in Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope that Obi Won Kenobi said to Darth Vader, “Strike me down now and I will become more powerful than you could imagine.” In dying to ourselves, in dying to sin, through the death of our mortal spirits we are made alive in Christ by the Spirit. Death is an atoning work in which people are bought back for God. Death is not an end point, though. It is not a point where God says, “Okay, all is forgiven and that is it.” No, it is a starting point.

When Moses was to die, he climbed on top of a mountain to be alone with God and to see all of the land that Israel would inherit. He saw the land, passed away, and God buried him. He was a righteous man in many respects, but just as everyone else he fell prey to sin throughout his life. It was even sin that prevented him from entering the Holy Land with the rest of Israel. We are given wonderful evidence that Moses’ death was not the end. It was a liberation of his spirit to be free in the presence of God.

In the Gospels we are told that Jesus climbed to the top of a mountain with his disciples James, Peter, and John. Of all things they were to encounter upon that mountain, Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah, a prophet of old. And what other topic would they be discussing than Jesus’ mission to the cross and probably even his resurrection.

What an encouragement that had to have been for our Lord Jesus to speak with his friend Moses whom he had consoled upon that mountain in the Old Testament. Moses’ passing was a passing away from sin and death into glory and eternal life. No longer would Moses fight with sin, but live in glory. Through his death, his future testimony would become great to us New Testament Saints.

The idea of death is frightening to us. But when we realize the power behind the death of these sin-cursed bodies, the more we will realize the power behind our glorified bodies that God will one day give us. Death to ourselves is just the beginning, and eternal life starts today if you will only hear God’s call. So when these earthly bodies pass away, our greatest adventure has only just begun.

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Romans 6:8-14

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 27, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson 

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
(Romans 6:8-14)

Wait, we died with Christ? But I’m still living! What is Paul talking about here? Go read last week’s post if this is confusing you, then continue reading here. Because we are dead to sin because of Christ’s death, we are also alive because of His resurrection!

The main point of this passage comes in verse 10: “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” Because Jesus died once, He has conquered all sin and death. Jesus was subjected to the power of sin, just like we are. So He still had to die to sin, even though He did not give in to its power. But how does that affect Christ’s life? He lives it for God’s glory. The same should apply to us. Because Christ died for our sin, we should live our lives to God’s glory.

Starting in verse 12, Paul begins using a Greek verb tense called the imperative. This tense is used for direct commands. Paul uses it here to show how we need to put this into action in our lives; that’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. We can’t let sin reign over us any longer now that we are in Christ and living our lives with Him. We are commanded to not obey sin, to not offer any part of ourselves as an instrument of wickedness, but to offer ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. There is a stark contrast here, between death and life and between wickedness and righteousness. Paul uses this dramatic contrast to really get his point across, about how different our lives should be from when we didn’t have Christ to when we do have Christ.

Verse 14 is significant as well: “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” The “law” here refers to the Old Testament laws given to Moses and the people of Israel. We still have to obey the laws God gives us (like the ten commandments), but we are no longer held captive to it. We don’t have to follow the 600+ laws that the people of Israel had to obey in Old Testament times, so we are not a slave to the rules but rather we live in God’s grace. John 1:17 sums this up nicely when it says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” We are following the ways of Jesus, not the ways of Moses any longer.

When we follow Jesus, we should desire to live like Him. We should desire that all our actions point toward God’s glory, rather than the evil of the world. Take a look at your life; how well are you doing at that? Praise God for His grace when we mess up!

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Christian Compassion

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 26, 2015 0 comments

by Michael Terrian

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” -John 15:12-13

What an awesome verse. Greater love has no one than to lay down our own personal needs for the needs of others. Again, this is not a suggestion, but a commandment from Jesus Himself. We are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give water to the thirsty. We are called to help the weak, the lonely, the hurting, and the abused. We are commanded to do all this while setting our own needs aside. We are commanded to sacrifice our own needs to the well-being of others. We do not have an option. We do not have a choice.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” -Ephesians 5:1-2

Our love for others should be the same as this. This kind of love goes beyond self-satisfaction. This love puts the needs of other in front of our own needs.

A perfect human example of this is our military men and women. What an amazing and incredible sacrifice to our country and the men and women that live in it. This goes way beyond the needs of self-satisfaction. This is a pure example of sacrificial love for a country and the freedom and liberties that lie within it. What an honor and privilege to be an American, to see the sacrifice that was given and still is given today.

In a time where bullying is at an all-time high, we need to know that we are the first responders to any and all situations that involve helping those in need. When situations arise and our response as Christians is needed, then we respond quickly and confidently. If it’s someone who can’t defend themselves, we charge to the front line and stand for those who are weak. If it’s someone who is on the brink of suicide, with love and compassion we charge to aid them and rescue them. We set aside our own needs to help those in need. This is not an option but rather a commandment.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone will dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8

When we were in our weakness and helpless estate, Christ came to us and saved us. We could do nothing to save ourselves. We could do nothing on our own to change the outcome. Someone had to come to our rescue. Someone had to come to our aid and save us and Jesus Christ did that for us. He died on the cross and rose on the third day to save us.

Shouldn’t we as Christians be doing the same? Shouldn’t we be helping the weak and the helpless, those who can’t fight for themselves? If we are to be like Christ, then yes, we are called to action. We have an obligation as Christians to help those in need.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” -John 3:16-17 These verses point out that God “so” loved, which implies intense passion. God “so” loved demonstrates a great importance to a specific issue. God just didn’t love the world but He “so” loved the world.

God’s love was not static or self-centered. His love draws us in. His love allows “whosoever” to be saved and have everlasting life. This is the greatest example of divine love: setting aside self-satisfying needs for the needs of others.

Our job as Christians is not to condemn the world but to save the world. We can’t get caught up in all the wrong everyone is doing before we point them to Jesus, but rather point them to Jesus and let Him fix their lives. That’s what He’s in the business of doing.

We must “so” love those in need that our heart aches for them. We must love as though our response to them will determine which road they will choose. Our spirit and attitude must be love and compassion. As hard as it may be sometimes, it’s the right thing to do!

What will you do today to positively influence someone? It doesn’t cost anything to offer encouragement to someone. Maybe it’s a smile or a pat on the back. Remember, it’s not about how it will affect your life. It’s not about if it will result in a positive outcome for you. It’s not about what you will gain from helping someone. It is, however, about those you help. It’s about standing in the gap no matter what may happen. It’s about taking a stand for right and taking a stand against evil no matter the outcome.

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Don’t Touch My Sunburn!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 25, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

  Ok, we have all had that moment when we go outside or go on vacation, and we stay in the sun too long.  Sooner or later everyone learns the searing pain it is to have a lobster red sunburn.  And some of us have those “caring” friends, or family members, who like to pat us on the back – right on our sunburn – just because they know it will hurt. In my lifetime I have found two solutions to a bad sunburn – the gooey blue aloe gel, and apple cider vinegar. If I can avoid smelling like a pickle, I use the blue gooey goodness of aloe and menthol gel.  But sometimes only vinegar will remove the pain and soreness of sunburn enough to get to sleep at night.

  Now, what would you think of someone who enjoyed the blue gooey goodness or the feeling of vinegar’s soothing (and pickley smelling) coolness, that they went out and repetitively got sunburns just so they could use them?  Apart from wondering what their future skin surgeries or epidermal melanomas might look like, we might call them sadistic or even crazy, right? And yet, when it comes to our sinful behaviors and God’s grace, we can find ourselves doing just that.

  Look at Romans 6:1-7.  Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, raises this same question almost sarcastically when he starts chapter six.  If God has revealed our sin and made us aware of grace, should we keep sinning so that we experience more grace?

  Paul emphatically answers his own question with a “NO.”  Then he makes a connection that I know I forget on a daily basis, and I am sure many of you do too.  He explains that if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, if we have been baptized as a follower of Jesus, we were baptized into His death and our old way of living buried with Him in the grave.  Why is this important?  Because if we have been connected to His death – which was meant to satisfy and unravel the results of our sin and separation from God – then we have also died to sin.  Jesus was our substitute in death, and when we are baptized in Him we are connected and receive that substitution.  And His substitution was complete – meaning he paid it ALL for us – it is as if we already died for our sin and the separation from God is cancelled through that death.

  THIS IS AWESOME, because it ALSO means that when Jesus rose to life again, WE are DIRECTLY connected to that LIFE!  His life becomes our life and we are freed from the penalty of sin and death, in order to live fully alive through JESUS.  Paul says in verse 4 that we get to “walk in the newness of (His) life” as if it were our own.

  Read Romans 6:1-7 again.  As you do, reflect on what it means for your old way of living to be fully buried and dead with Jesus.  Think of how God’s grace is meant to join us with Jesus so fully that we are no longer slaves to sin.

  Are you living free, as one whose old way of living is fully buried with Jesus?  Where are you running after sunburns, and then trying to survive another day with blue goo and vinegar? How could you change the way you look at your sin, see it as dead to you?  Can you look at it the same way as you do running after sunburns?

  If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your old way of living is dead and you are free.  Ask God to change the way you see things, shift your desires, and help you to walk in the newness of Christ’s life.  It may take time as He unwinds the tentacles of temptation and helps you endure those who want to smack your sunburn.  Be patient, but be confident – He HAS and HE WILL ensure that your old life is substituted for Jesus’ new life in you.

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The End Purpose

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 24, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

What is the purpose of life? This is one of the foundational questions that every man has asked at one point. In one of my first blog posts, I described what a worldview is. A worldview addresses four key types of questions regarding Origins, Purpose, Identity, and Destination. The front line of the worldview debate lies in origins and you can read a number of posts from myself, Steve Risner, or Bill Seng regarding the origins debate between Creation and Evolution. But I want to delve deep into the question about Purpose. Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Why does the universe exist? Origins deal with how the universe came into existence. Purpose deals with why the universe exists.

For my next three posts, I will address two of the major answers to the question of purpose. One comes from Biblical Christianity and the other comes from a very popular philosophy today called Humanism. I will explain in detail the Biblical side in this post and Humanism next week. After that, we’ll look at how some try to follow both of these positions. Now most can state what the end purpose is from both of these positions relatively quickly but for those that don’t, let me make it clear for what I am talking about.

Biblical Christianity states that the end of all things, the purpose for life’s existence, is for the glory of God. It is not explicitly stated, but this is very clearly the picture the Bible gives us. Humanism states that the end of all things is the happiness of man. Now, we can make these two statements with relative ease, but do we really understand what it means and how they are carried out? Let’s dig into what it means to give glory to God.

Over the last few weeks, I talked about the Resurrection, the Gospel, and how Adam and Christ are linked together. Biblical Christianity states that everything that happens is for the glory of God. This means that Creation happened for the glory of God. That means even though Adam sinned against him, it will be used for the glory of God. It means when God judged the mankind and everything on the earth with the Flood it was for the glory of God. That means when Jesus died on the cross, it was for the glory of God. It means when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was for the glory of God. It means when we are born again, become a new creation, and have a new nature, it is for the glory of God. And it means when Jesus returns to consummate all things, it will be for the glory of God. It means this universe exists to give glory to God. It means our lives on this planet are for the glory of God. It means when we reap what we sow, be it Godly things or sin, God receives glory. By his grace and his blessing, or his judgment and curses, everything that takes place for the glory of God. Have I made this clear enough?

Everything that happens, according to Biblical Christianity, is for the glory of God. It is such an easy statement to make, but very hard to live. And I submit that most of us as American Christians have no real clue about what it really means that everything is for the glory of God. Are we truly doing everything we do with God at the front of our minds? Is God the end of the means, or is he a means to an end? Does God have the spotlight on the stage? Or does he have to share it with something or someone else? Is he even on the stage?

I was raised in the church. I grew up on the mission field. I don’t say this to boast about myself, but I say this to point out that despite my ideal background for being a Christian, I have not very well “met the expectations.” I’ve not done everything that I’ve been raised to do for the glory of God, nor have I had God at the forefront of my mind on a regular basis, let alone a continual basis. And I’ve seen others not do what they do for the glory of God either, even well-meaning Christians, who are authentically born again. True, loving, caring, Christians not doing what they do for the glory of God. And to be honest, none of us can do it. We CAN’T do it. There is not one day where I, Charlie Wolcott, have honored and given glory to God as he ought to be honored and glorified. And to be honest, there won’t be a day where I do that until I meet the Father in person in Heaven.

But this realization, this fact that none of us, including myself, can give God his proper due, is actually all the more glory to God. Because our salvation is not dependent upon us. Our faith is not about our ability to honor and follow God with the level of perfection his holiness requires. The salvation God offers works despite our shortcomings. It’s because it is about him and what he did. The work done on the cross gives God the greatest glory: that God himself became a man, lived as a man to the perfect fulfillment of the perfect standard, died in the place for sinful man, became that sin, and then rose from the dead to defeat death and sin. That is all the work of God and while we do reap the benefit of his work, it is all about him. And we need to truly understand this. It is about him and not about us.

Why do we follow Christianity? Let it be that we follow him because God will be glorified in it. God is worthy of our worship. He is worthy of our obedience. Let us seek that all we do, we do for the glory of God. Not to earn his favor, because we never will be able to do that, but for no other purpose besides giving God what he is due, and for us simply doing that which we ought.

Lastly, do not hear what I am not saying. I am not calling for perfection here. I am simply saying: “This is the standard. Let us pursue it.” Next week, I will dig into Humanism in more detail and in two weeks, I’ll address what I have hinted at here: the compromise between these two philosophies, something I will call “Religious Humanism.” Stay tuned.

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A Clash of Worldviews

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 23, 2015 182 comments

by Steve Risner

Is it alarming to anyone else that 25% of your children will stay connected with their faith once they leave high school? It’s shocking to me. So my point in writing this is to try to 1) encourage you, 2) equip you to deal with this, and 3) to challenge you a little. This is a very big deal and it’ll take a little commitment to handle it. But we’re talking about the futures of our children, so I’m guessing the work is worth it.
According to Barna, 1% of our teens have a Biblical worldview. This is defined by Barna as:
• that absolute moral truth exists
• that the Bible is completely inerrant
• that Satan is a real being, not symbolic
• that a person cannot earn his way into the kingdom of God though good works
• that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
• that God is the supreme Creator of the heavens and the earth and reigns over the whole universe today

Studies also suggest that students spend, on the average, about 30 hours a week in class and 30 hours a week online or watching TV saturating their minds with the secular humanistic philosophies so prevalent in our society. They will, on the average, also spend about 45 minutes a week in Sunday school or some sort of spiritual training. The problem with this is not that we don’t have enough for them at church. The trouble is, I believe, that many parents have made the church where their kids learn about God and how to live practically as a Christian rather than at home. We aren’t preparing our children to enter into a world that hates Jesus. So today I’d like to give you some ideas as to how to combat this at home. Raising our kids in His ways is the highest priority God has given us. The battle here is between worldviews. Let me explain what I’m talking about.

Our worldview is what helps us filter everything we encounter in the world. It’s true that some things we experience will shape our worldview, but for the most part, our worldview will actually shape how we interpret our experiences. Your worldview is much like your heart in this respect. Your heart is beating all day everyday no matter what you’re doing whether you’re aware of it or not. Your worldview is constantly at work whether you are thinking of it or not. Is your worldview consistent? Or do you have ideas or philosophies about life that are actually at odds with each other? For example, I have a friend who, for a long time, would say he believed in evolution. At the same time, he would also admit he believed the creation story in the Bible. He one day realized these two beliefs were in contradiction to each other so he needed to make a decision. He chose the Bible, God’s Word, over man and his word. I fear this is a common problem, and the inconsistency can lead to destruction or a falling away from the truth.

Our worldview will answer a large variety of questions for us including: “Where did I come from?” “What is the purpose or meaning of my life?” “Who am I?” “Where am I going or what happens after this life?” These questions cannot be answered by science. They are well out of the scope of what science is capable of teaching us. These are philosophical questions or even spiritual questions and must be entertained as such.

As a parent, I’ve come to realize that saturating my child in the Christian or Biblical worldview isn’t enough. They need to be shown what secularism or humanism says. They should be shown what the Biblical responses to humanistic philosophies are in a logical, consistent way. When exposed for the foolish arguments they are, our children should easily be able to conclude that secularism is a denial of reality and that it must first borrow from the Christian worldview in order to argue against it. All of us, and our kids, will be exposed to secular worldviews—there’s no way around that. It will happen whether they’re in public school, Christian school, or home school. I would much rather walk my child through the tough questions or accusations made by atheists instead of having them be unequipped and be hit with them head on as they enter the “real world.” Exposing them to atheist writings and ideas and explaining God’s position according to the Bible on those same positions is critical. Only teaching the Christian side of the issue is often a sentence of struggle and confusion leading to a falling away. Any argument can seem logical if it’s presented well. If the most foolish ideas are presented to you in a polished fashion, it can lead to doubt. Truth be told, there is nothing wrong with doubt as long as you have the critical thinking skills necessary to work through a dilemma. But if you hear an argument and have no idea how to respond, you could be set up for failure. Let’s equip are kids to deal with these issues rather than ignoring them.

Tim Lambesis, a founding member of a huge Christian band, over time became an atheist due to his inability to work through the secular philosophies he was exposed to in college. He says, “At a Christian school, you’re presented with one argument… So later in life when a counter-argument surfaces, your whole world is thrown into shock, because you’ve been indoctrinated. I’m not blaming religion. But this was one of the factors that sent me into this massive moral decline.”

I have seen several atheists who claim they’ve walked away from their Christian faith speak about science and how it brilliantly demonstrates this or that, insinuating that the argument is over science. This is nonsense. The argument has never been scientific. Science cannot tell you about origins—of the universe or life. It’s so far out of the scope of what science can actually do. Many don’t get this. Many in science don’t get this, which is frightening since they’re teaching our children philosophy and religion and backing it with a science degree. We need to give our kids the chance to think for themselves and help them understand the difference between science and philosophy. Higher education is not pro free-thinking nor is it pro Christian. So equipping our children to enter into a world that hates Jesus Christ is essential for them to keep the faith, to run the race, and fight the good fight. Parents, be encouraged that you can raise them right. But be challenged because it will take time and effort on your part. Study the secular philosophies and questions atheists have that can shake your child’s faith and be prepared to work through them with your kids. Don’t run from atheist literature. Read it and be prepared for a response. The Word tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he won’t depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Deuteronomy 11 starting in verse 16 says, “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them…Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind the on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”

God gives us a divine order: raise your children to know His ways and equip them to go into a world that hates Him lest they turn from Him and bow down to other gods. The “other gods” of today are man, science, money, power, sex, the experience, momentary happiness, and so many other things. Fill your life with righteousness and your kids will see it. If you live a fake faith—different on Sunday at church versus the rest of the week—they will not want anything to do with your “faith.” As we fill ourselves with righteous living, we have less and less desire for the things of the flesh. Be encouraged and don’t back down.

To get a start, you can read my 3 blog posts on arguments for the existence of God here, here, and here and share them with your kids.

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Down with the Old, Up with the New

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 22, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were watching the CBS show “Undercover Boss." That particular episode showcased Armando Montelongo, who is apparently nationally known as the founder of Armando Montelongo Companies. They are in the real estate business and offer workshops and seminars across the country for individuals who are looking to make a lot of money in a very short time by flipping houses. There are many seminars that are free, but if you want to attend a special 3-day workshop or even have Armando himself come and train you, you should be prepared to spend a fortune. My girlfriend and I were both amazed at how much people were willing to spend just to try to get the training that they believed would make them rich. One woman on the show talked about how this was her “last chance” because she was spending everything she had and was even borrowing money from family members, just to make it to the meeting with Armando. The woman talked about spending close to $46,000!

Get-rich-quick schemes are nothing new. They’ve been around for a long time and are probably here to stay. Companies that offer people the chance to essentially own their own franchise by selling products from home and online are very popular. People sign on to participate with the promise of success only to come to find out that it doesn’t happen very easily. In some cases, people give up when they realize how hard it will be. Unfortunately, this is the same way many Christians view walk with the Lord. We want the “fire insurance” that keeps us out of hell, but aside from that we just wish Jesus and his other followers would leave us alone so we can live the way we want until our days are over. This is surely not what the Lord intended for us.

In Romans 6:1-7, the Apostle Paul addresses the question that some of his readers may have been asking: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (v. 1) Paul recognized that, as he taught salvation by faith alone and not by works, people might misconstrue what he was saying and believe that they can live a life of sin and just keep receiving God’s grace through Jesus. This is the mistake that people make today. I encourage you to ask yourself whether your salvation in Christ has changed anything about your life. It should, so if it hasn’t, you might want to rethink what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Paul’s immediate response to the question is an emphatic, “By no means!” (v. 2) But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to explain that we actually DIED to sin, which means we can no longer live in it. While Jesus’ death is the only physical one necessary for your salvation, your spiritual death is required. In other words, you must go from being dead IN your sins to dying to them. If you are wondering what this looks like, think about what happens in baptism. Paul goes on to talk about being baptized into both Christ’s death and his life (vv. 3-4). In the practice of baptism in the church, a person can’t rise from the water without having first been dunked in it. You may be thinking, “Well, thank you Captain Obvious,” and you’d be right because it is a concept that is very easy to understand. Unfortunately, as simple as it is, many Christians live as if baptism doesn’t require anything to be drowned. Their lives indicate that they believe they can follow Jesus without having to give up anything. Jesus, of course, spoke directly the opposite. He told his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). It sounds to me like there is some kind of loss involved.

Fortunately, we gain much more than we lose. We willingly die to whatever was in the past, which includes sins, past dreams, accomplishments, and more, and we are raised back up as a new creation in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). In the Romans 6:1-7 passage, Paul explains that this leads to a new life. If we are willing to die to our sin the way Christ did even though he was not a sinner, we will also be resurrected as he was. As our sins were crucified and buried with him so that they could no longer rule over us, we have been raised up without them. That means you and I get a fresh start. Jesus talked about this with Nicodemus when he declared that one must be “born again” in order to even see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). You can’t be born again without experiencing death regarding your past.

Death is never pleasant. Christ’s death was the most horrifying there ever was. For us spiritually, we can’t come to know Jesus without realizing how lost we are without him. That’s a painful experience at first. Some of you may even be holding off on surrendering to Christ because you recognize that would mean having to give up whatever you have thought was right for all this time. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. Surrendering to Christ means major changes. It means you will experience loss. But that’s just the first part of it. Once you have fully surrendered and allowed your old self to be drowned, you experience the joy of the resurrection and the new life found only in Christ. You are then set free for good!

We can’t try to live the Christian life without drowning those parts of our lives that don’t agree with the teachings of Jesus. We can’t keep living in sin and pretending that Jesus is okay with it because he already died for them. We can’t choose to believe that what the Bible says is sin actually isn’t. We must be fully surrendered to him. Continuing to live in sin or in old ways of faulty thinking would be like agreeing to be baptized but then choosing to stay drowned in the water rather than rising up out of it. Believe that you ARE a new creation, and that in your new life you have the strength to live as a servant of Jesus. Don’t let the devil trick you into staying in the sins that were already crucified and buried with Christ. As you continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, take joy in your own resurrection as well if you have already died to what is in the past. If you have not, it’s time to be baptized spiritually. I’ll close with Paul’s words in another letter that show his desire to share in everything with Jesus: “I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

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The Price of Righteousness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 21, 2015 2 comments

by Bill Seng

“We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” ~Romans 6:2

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” On April 14, 1865, the United States of America was about to revisit the truth of this prophetic statement. A war-worn Abraham Lincoln, who not long before had mourned the death of his son, was settling down at the Ford’s theater for what was supposed to be a night of entertainment and relaxation. Unknown to him, and most everyone else, his assassin John Wilkes Booth traveled up the stairs to the President’s seat to put an end to his legacy. (Link)

The purpose of a sacrifice is to make people right in the eyes of God by covering over sin. Since the consequence for sin is death, only death can satisfy the cravings of sin. But it is always the righteous who must suffer on behalf of the wicked. In the book of Leviticus, it is written that the burnt offering must be a “male without defect” (Leviticus 1:10). Historically, this has been the case time and time again as mankind has gone astray; not just in the form of animals, though, but people dying for noble causes.

There is no doubt that slavery was one of the sins of America. Although there were many that stood against the institution of slavery, there were still many that supported it. Not only did people support slavery, but they also attempted to justify its wicked practice through Scripture. And not just slavery, but racism as well! I cannot speak for Abraham Lincoln’s true intentions, but he is famously credited for siding with the words of the Constitution in saying, “All men are created equal.” True, he is only thought to have converted to Christianity at the end of his life, but he still recognized this truth inside of the Holy Scriptures, in which he believed, for quite some time. It was for his boldness against slavery that he would one day pay with his life. (Link)

The above Scripture verse states, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Most of us are fortunate that we do not literally have to pay in the form of martyrdom. We are fortunate enough that we get to enjoy the duration of our existences as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). But how beautiful it is when someone stands for truth and righteousness to the bitter end. Take, for instance, Abel.

If you do not recall, Abel was the first martyr. He and his brother Cain brought sacrifices before God. God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, as it was nothing more than crops he had gathered and probably not even his best, while Abel brought his best livestock before the Lord as a sacrifice pleasing to him. God’s rebuke of Cain did not lead toward repentance. Cain’s hatred toward his brother was ignited through God’s gentle warning. Eventually Cain invited his brother out to the field, for whatever reason. Unsuspecting of his brother’s ill intentions, he accepted this invitation and went out to the field. Shortly after, he was murdered. Jesus refers to Abel as righteous, and that is because he was murdered for doing what was right. Through Abel’s death a separation between light and darkness was created in the land of the living. Within two generations following the death of Abel, though, a child was born named Enosh. It was after the birth of Enosh that mankind finally began to call on the name of the Lord.

Yet, there have been others who have blasphemed the name of God through self-righteous hatred. There is an infamous law of Islam that states that if one gives his life fighting in the name of Allah, he most certainly will be rewarded in paradise. This teaching has been taken to an extreme as it has led to suicide bombers, savage murders, and rhetoric that sends chills to your very soul. The Quran clearly states,  “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward” (Quran 4:74) and “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (Quran 8:12). When we were still God’s enemies, Jesus died for us. But in this instance, it appears the enemies of Allah are to suffer horribly, lest they recant.

Do not hold these teachings against those who promote them. They simply do not know what they are doing. Jesus warned that people would kill his followers because they think they are doing God’s will. We know that Satan blinds the minds of the unbeliever and causes them to do atrocious things against the saints. But it is for us to stand in the gap and suffer for Christ’s sake. For to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Lincoln died, Abel died, and Christ died. Can we not die to our sins? There are still many others who have died for righteous causes that I have not mentioned and many of which are not Christians. Even though we know that as Christians we need to suffer for the sake of Christ, sometimes we behave as though we desire the death of the unbelievers. Let us not be so arrogant. If Jesus died for our sins, so that we no longer need to bare them, we can rejoice in our sufferings. For as the Apostles once wrote, we should be honored to suffer for the sake of Christ (Acts 5:41).

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Romans 6:1-7

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 20, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:1-7)

Previously in chapter 5, Paul explained the assurance of our salvation. He then went on to explain how Jesus’s death and resurrection could obliterate the power of sin (here). When Paul originally wrote this letter, there was no chapter break between what we know as the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6; the verse and chapter markings that we have are simply a method of organization so we can more easily refer to the specific pieces of Scripture. So immediately before today’s passage, Paul wrote, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Reading the end of chapter 5 probably raises the same question in your mind as it did to those original readers: What now? What does all that stuff mean for someone who has faith in Jesus Christ? How should it change how we live our lives?

Jesus Christ has set us free from not only the penalty of sin (which is death), but also from the power of sin. Being set free from the penalty of sin means we will not face eternal spiritual death. We will still die a physical death, but we not live out eternity in condemnation. Without Him and His Spirit dwelling with us, we are powerless to resist the sin and temptation that is all around us. But with His Spirit dwelling with us, it is possible for us to resist sin and temptation! It may not be easy for us, since we are still humans, but it is definitely possible. That is what it means to be released from the power of sin.

As verses 1-2 say, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” We as humans may think that if we want have to do the bad thing (sin) to get the good thing (grace), we should do more of the bad so we can get more of the good! But that’s not how it works with God’s grace. You may think that because of grace, your actions are irrelevant and you can just keep on sinning. But Paul makes sure that his readers see that is NOT the case! God’s grace does not condone sin, and we are no longer slaves to it.

We’re now dead to living a sinful life. If you’re dead, you can’t do anything, so if we’re dead to sin we shouldn’t sin anymore. The image of dying to sin is powerful because of how final it is. There is no coming back from the dead (unless you’re Jesus). That is how far we are away from that sinful life that had a hold on us before we had faith in Christ Jesus.

The good news is that we don’t just die to our sins by participating in Jesus’s death, but we get to participate in His resurrection too! Because we’re dead to sin, that sin no longer separates us from God, so we can be with Him forever. We do still sin, but God sees us as righteous because of the grace we can have through Jesus.

This hope should transform our lives! Because we have God’s grace, we desire to live for Him and do what He wants with our lives. We should not desire to sin any longer, but instead we should desire to give God glory with our entire lives. How does that play out in your life?

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Compliments of the Devil

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 19, 2015 2 comments

by Ami Samuels

Author and speaker Becky Freeman helped me come to the realization that if you can resist the devil, with God’s help you can turn his temptation into a blessing. Mrs. Freeman has what she calls “Becky Moments.” These moments are events and mishaps that happen to her in her everyday life. Becky shares these often hilarious stories with her audiences and teaches us how God can use anything for our good, even the attempts the devil uses to derail our efforts.

I myself have had times in my life when calamity seemed to be around every corner. Several years ago God was leading me to do something I wasn’t comfortable with, and the devil made at least one attempt a day for a week to discourage me. I decided to share these events with Mrs. Freeman. She responded, “I am glad that you completed your task despite your Becky moments.”

I pondered this for a while and decided that in Becky’s case, what the devil uses to try and destroy her, God uses to strengthen and bless her with. Her comical stories are part of what make her the warm and inspiring writer and speaker that she is, compliments of the devil. Her strong faith and trust in God help her to persevere through unfortunate circumstances. If she didn’t have the ability to laugh at herself in the face of adversity and to share the trials the devil has thrown her way, she might not be where she is today. As a result, the devil would have succeeded in defeating her. God has used her to touch thousands of lives because she has proven her strength that comes from God and her ability to look the devil in the eye and laugh.

In James 4:7 it says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Recently, I was speaking at a Ladies Night and I was teaching on the Armor of God. The last two times I have delivered this talk, the microphones didn’t work properly. The first time this happened I thought that it was because of the way I presented my props. I decided I wouldn’t let that happen again, so I presented the talk in a totally different way. The same thing happened. I probably changed microphones five different times in the first five minutes of my talk! This time I realized what was happening. I stopped my talk and prayed and told the audience, “If I have to sit on the roof of this church and shout this message at the top of my lungs, this message will be shared!”

At the end of the night several women came up to me and said, “The microphone situation actually was a wonderful way to prove the point of teaching how to persevere when the enemy trips you up.” Compliments of the devil! I didn’t even realize it, but what the enemy was using to discourage me or stop my message, God used to drive my point home.

When I say compliments of the devil, what I mean is that through his lure he provides us with an opportunity to mature in God, IF we can overcome his enticement. Therefore, if we can stay steadfast in the Lord when dilemmas or temptation come our way, we can take the lemons the enemy gives us and make lemonade.

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“Everybody Gets a Trophy” – Right? 

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 18, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

  I have played with many people who play musical instruments over the years, but I have played with very few musicians. I have competed with many people who play sports over the years, but few athletes. I have enjoyed debating theories with many thoughtful people over the years, but few philosophers. I have sunk my teeth into many intellectual puzzles, imagined scientific breakthroughs, “MacGyver”d mechanical problems, and even storyboarded videos, but met few scholars, scientists, engineers, or videographers. There is a difference between a hobbyist and a professional, and there is a difference between someone who expects an award for just showing up, and those who have truly risen to greatness.

  We have an assumption in our culture that everyone can do anything they want.  That if we just believe in ourselves, we can be anyone we want to be and do anything we want to do. What follows that assumption is a sense that we deserve a trophy just because we tried - and in some cases just because we showed up.  But it just isn’t true. Unfortunately, we end up in denial when we fail – declaring our best was good enough and we “deserve” the trophy.  Why am I slamming this so hard?  Do I have some objection to encouraging people to give their all, have faith in themselves and try new things?  Of course not. I am concerned with something far more insidious.

  When we believe we can be anyone or anything (in our own effort, and out of our own imaginations) we have taken the first step in rebellion against our design and against God (read my blog posts on Romans chapter 1-2 for more insight on this).  That step alone is dangerous enough.  And when we follow that step with entitlement (“I deserve it!”) we go blind to the reality of our situation, blind to our need for grace, and blind to why Jesus Christ even matters.

     Read Romans 5:1-21.  Let me unpack three sections here:
- Verses 1-5 – Notice that when we know we need God, and have faith in Him through Jesus Christ, we gain peace and stand as examples of what God’s grace does.  When we are willing to fully engage and even find value in our struggles, we will persevere to get the most from what our struggles can teach us.  Persevering through our struggles builds character, and our developing character gives us hope for what is ahead of us, as we see God’s influence more clearly.
- Verses 6-11 – While we were helpless, Jesus did for all humanity what we could not do for ourselves.  We were lost in our self-centered way of living, trying to be whomever we want, and Jesus provided a way back to the journey we were meant to be on with God.
- Verses 18-21 – God’s standards (e.g. the Law) made us aware of our rebellion, our self-centeredness, and our absolute inability to accomplish anything truly good on our own.  God in His wisdom shows us that all that selfishness only brings death and deserves nothing.  Through Jesus, God showed His love and grace to us, so that we could become fully who He intended us to be.  And more than that, He rescued us from eternal death, to give us eternal life

  If we go blind to the reality that we “deserve” nothing, that we are owed nothing by God, by nature, or by any creature or power in heaven or on earth, we go blind to the greatest blessing God has given us. It is a gift to realize we are self-focused people walking away from our design (a.k.a. sinners) in need of grace.  When we see how weak and powerless we really are, we gain the greatest opportunity anyone can have.  Just like the beginning of wisdom is to say, “I don’t know,” the beginning of life is to say, “I deserve nothing, thank God for all I have.”

  So, take off the delusion that everyone should get a trophy, shine a light on the illusion that anyone can be anything they want to be, and start by recognizing you are not yet who you were designed to be.  Look honestly at the selfishness and rebellion you are living against God’s plans for you.  Look honestly at the shortcomings, desires, habits, and brokenness that you have.  Thank God for helping you see your sin more clearly, and then allow His gracious love to wash over you, fill your heart with the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, and begin to unfold the life He intended for you.  He will make you into the fullest and most fully alive version of you – because He is the one who designed you that way, and He intended for you to uniquely reveal a glimpse of the one who made you – and the grace that saved you.

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From Adam to Christ

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 17, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I talked about what the Gospel is and gave a couple of the common presentations used to present it. Then I warned that what we think the Gospel is and what it actually is are not always the same thing. As a young earth Creation believer, I have often been asked if the Creation account is necessary for salvation. The answer is both yes and no. This week, we at Worldview Warriors are discussing Romans 5:12-21.

When we talk about the Creation account, we have to understand that it is the foundation for everything that follows. And this is something Paul well understood. Verse 12 in particular reveals how critical Creation is to understanding the Gospel. Go back to my previous post and review the two Gospel presentations I gave: the Wordless Book and the Big Story. Look at them and compare them to the various origins models. One thing stands out. Only one of the origins models reflects these Gospel presentations: the young earth Creation model. Does this make is necessary to believe the Gospel? Again, yes and no.

Can one be saved and believe in an old earth? Yes, one can be. But we cannot leave it at that. There is one person I know, who was a mentor to me for a time, who believes in an old earth and I can say with certainty he is born again. However, when he presents the Gospel, he actually presents a young earth model. He doesn’t understand he has a logical breakdown in what he believes, but that is where grace comes in. There are things I get wrong as well and yet I can say I am saved knowing that I get stuff wrong because the Gospel is not an intellectual exercise. But to truly understand what the Gospel is, you need to have your origins model correct.

Look again at the Wordless Book presentation. Two of the five pages deal with the Creation account. Look at the Big Picture. Two of the four steps deal with the Creation account. Is Creation important? Yes it is. That’s 40% and 50% of these two presentations. I have seen dozens of other Gospel presentations and the vast majority of them deal with a perfect world that is marred by sin. Only the young earth model depicts this scenario. I will emphasize again. Can you be a Christian and believe in an old earth? Yes, you can, but just like you can be a Christian and be wrong in other doctrines.

Am I actually arguing the age of the earth here? Actually, no I am not. The age of the earth itself is a secondary issue that is a result of primary issues. One thing common in all the old earth models is that there is the presence of death before mankind ever entered the scene. The old earth proponents suggest that Adam brought spiritual death, not physical death into the earth. But is such a distinction made in Romans 5:12? No, none are. In reality, sin and death (the entity, death) are heavily interlinked. It is called the law of sin and death. If death was part of nature and preceded sin, how can it be the payment for sin? How could someone be punished by something that is going to happen to them anyway? If Adam and Eve were going to die anyway, what reason did they have to obey God? The consequences would not mean anything to them. What is the difference between a death today and death 60-80 years from now? Over the big scale of things… not much. That is why a man’s life is describes as a vapor in the wind, a flower’s bloom in a field. There one minute, gone the next. If death was part of natural life as Adam and Eve would have seen under an old earth model, God’s warning that they would die served no purpose.

The first death mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 3:21. God created clothes for Adam and Eve with the skins of an animal. Adam and Eve should have died that death, but God provided a way for them by killing an animal in their place. This is one thing most people miss, even myself often. The next death described was a sacrifice by Abel followed by his murder. Sin and death are linked at the hip like a two-headed dragon.

The fact that it was through one man that sin and death was brought into the world is actually good news. While it was one man who brought them into the world, that means it only takes one man to break that curse; one man who could perfectly fulfill God’s standard of perfection to bring salvation to any who are under his law. Jesus is the “Last Adam” or “Second Adam.” Everything Adam failed to do, Jesus did. Adam brought in the law of sin and death. Jesus defeated the law of sin and death and established the law of grace.

The old earth model suggests there were multiple “Adams and Eves” because the model never allows for mankind to start with a mere two people. Some suggest there were 30-50 thousand humans around their suggested time of Adam and Eve at 30,000 years ago (assuming they believe they even existed). What does that mean? According to Paul here in Romans, that would require 30-50 thousand Christs, one for each person that committed the “original sin.” Now many old earth supporters would disagree, saying that Jesus died once for all. Well, Jesus did die once for all, but this statement only makes sense if you start with a model that only the young earth position preaches. It does not make sense if you have more than one Adam.

If you are going to claim to be saved, what are you saved from? Most people can only answer this question with some form of “from hell.” Really? Why were you destined to go there? “Because of sin.” How did you get into that mess? Not many people can answer that. Because Adam gave us a sinful nature, an inclination towards sin, when we are born again, we are born with a nature that is not inclined towards sin but a nature that is inclined towards Christ. The young earth model is the only one that gets this critical first half of the story God is writing right. It is the only origins model that reflects the Gospel being preached by many believers, including those who believe in an old earth.

I will never forget watching a video of a seminary professor telling his class that Paul had no business bringing Adam into his arguments in Romans 5 (I have been looking for this link but cannot find it). Why would he suggest this? Does he understand Scripture better than the author of over half the New Testament? Here is why he did this. He holds a theistic evolution position (one of the old earth models) and because evolution requires millions of years of death before man was in the picture, Paul’s statement is a very clear slap in the face to his position. So instead of changing his position to meet what Scripture plainly says, he tells his students that Paul was wrong. He is saying that the Bible is wrong. A seminary professor is saying the Bible is wrong and that God was wrong. This is the clear marking of a false teacher, training a generation of pastors with false teachings. This professor best have his millstone ready.

Do you believe the Bible? Have you built your understanding from Scripture, or are you using Scripture to “support” your position? How you understand Genesis affects how you read the rest of Scripture because it keeps showing up. All of Genesis 1-11, except chapter 8, is referenced in the New Testament. How you view Adam is going to affect how you view Christ. You cannot separate the two without having some big consequences in your thinking. The entirety of Scripture points to Christ and when you put one section of Scripture into question, you question an aspect of who Christ is and what he did.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  Any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will be deleted.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature, will be reported to the authorities.

The Birth of the Way

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 16, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

No one denies that Christianity exploded out of first century Israel. Within a single generation of the Resurrection of Christ, “the Way” had spread to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and not by force. It spread through the message of redemption and love. Where did the Christian faith come from and what best explains its origin? We recently celebrated the event that marks the birth of Christianity—Resurrection Day, or Easter. I believe there is no explanation for many of the events that led to the birth of Christianity other than they are authentic. Let’s take a look at one of the most difficult challenges for the skeptic: the origin of the faith we have called Christianity.

The most obvious answer to the question of “Where did Christianity come from?” is that the Disciples truly saw the risen Messiah and it radically changed their lives. Only an amazing event such as seeing the resurrected Messiah could have turned cowardly, scattered, confused, uneducated men with no prior knowledge of a risen Savior in their religious beliefs into bold, outspoken teachers willing to die for their faith.

Peter declared in Acts 2 beginning with verse 32, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses… Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” The origin of the Christian faith is best explained by the disciples’ sincere belief that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Anyone who denies the resurrection of Christ as the origin of the Christian faith has some explaining to do. Some will say the Christian faith was just taken from the Jewish faith or from some pagan religion. Neither of these is plausible. The resurrection of a single man who was both God and man is not something any Jewish person of the day would have recognized. We see the confusion in the historical account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, agreed with Jesus that Lazarus would rise again—on the last day when all the saints are resurrected, not in a few moments as Jesus commanded him. This is the ONLY resurrection the Jewish people thought would happen. Nowhere in Jewish thought do we find the idea of a single individual resurrecting within history never to die again. A pagan source is equally unlikely since, as Jews, pagan practices were considered detestable. And since no known pagan story sounds like the story of Jesus, it would be an unsupportable position to say this is the case. Sure, there are several stories skeptics will point to, but none of them hold water. They either originate from a much later time, or their similarities are highly exaggerated or completely fabricated.

What are the primary explanations given by skeptics aside from the above two? Good question. Let’s take a look.

One explanation is that Jesus didn’t die. He was just unconscious when they laid Him in the tomb. After reviving in the cool, damp tomb, He made His way back to the disciples in an extremely weakened state and in need of emergency medical attention. This weak, feeble, and half-dead man is what birthed the stories of a resurrected Lord. The issues here are obvious and numerous. The Romans were very efficient at destroying life. To think they messed this up by accident and it just happened to be a man that claimed He’d rise from the dead is pretty unlikely. This idea also fails to appreciate the horrific scourging before the cross and the brutality of the cross itself. The Journal of the American Medical Association concludes, “Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.” (March 21, 1986, 1463). This theory also fails to recognize everything Jesus claimed to be and His impeccable ethical standard. Deception isn’t in His nature. This idea also wants us to think the disciples believed in a “resurrected Messiah” who was physically brutalized to the point of not being recognizable. If He were dead and resurrected as the Bible claims, He would not have had the appearance of just being whipped and beaten and having His flesh recently torn from His body. The disciples would have allowed themselves to be martyred for a half-dead, half-resurrected Messiah who likely required a great deal of care and nursing in order to survive. This weak, fragile man would not be considered the conqueror of death and the grave. There are other issues as well, but let’s move on for the sake of time.

The next explanation is that the disciples experienced hallucinations. This one is pretty laughable as this explanation is congested with issues. First of all, ALL the accounts of the resurrection make the claim that they were physical. There is no account written that we know of that indicates the appearances were not physical. Also, hallucinations are individual, much like dreams. To think that over 500 people had the exact same hallucination at the same time is a belief in the impossible. Even if everyone hallucinated at the same time, each person would have their own. Therefore, hallucinations cannot explain the group appearances attested to in 1 Corinthians 15, the Gospel narratives, and the book of Acts. Hallucinations of Jesus would most likely have been based on previous knowledge. Jews would most likely have envisioned Jesus at Abraham’s side, confirming He was, in fact, dead. This would not have led to the birth of the Christian faith at all. This theory also can’t explain the empty tomb or conversions of skeptics like Saul on the road to Damascus. The only reason to believe in the hallucination theory over the authentic resurrection of Christ is out of desire, not facts.

Finally, the earliest explanation outside of an authentic resurrection, is that the disciples stole the body. It is recorded in the Bible that the Pharisees paid the soldiers who guarded the tomb to say that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body. As a result, these uneducated fishermen became the perpetuators of the greatest hoax in the history of the world. There are several problems here. The disciples wouldn’t likely write that women were the first witnesses to this event because women were not permitted to give testimony in this culture. It’s also odd that they would include in their written accounts of the resurrection that the Pharisees claimed they’d stolen the body if they had, in fact, stolen the body. It also is in contrast to the disciples’ nature. As J. N. D. Anderson states, “This would run totally contrary to all we know of them: their ethical teaching, the quality of their lives, their steadfastness in suffering and persecution. Nor would it begin to explain their dramatic transformation from dejected and dispirited escapists into witnesses whom no opposition could muzzle.”

But the biggest issue with ALL of these ideas is that the disciples—all of them—allowed themselves to be tortured, brutally mistreated, and eventually murdered for something they knew was false. Liars make poor martyrs. Wouldn’t you think just one—ONE—would have recanted on their story? Just one? They were convinced Christ had risen from the dead and conquered death and hell. There really is no question. Be encouraged!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  Any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will be deleted.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature, will be reported to the authorities.

It's Reigning Grace

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

About a month ago, I was driving a friend back to his house after we hung out, and I was not paying attention to my speedometer as we traveled and engaged in discussion. It was about midnight and there were very few other cars around, but suddenly I saw the mixture of red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I was surprised as I certainly wasn’t speeding intentionally and had absolutely no clue how fast I was going. As it turned out, the officer clocked me at 43 mph in a 35 zone. Depending on what state you live in, your reaction to that sentence is quite different. When I was driving in Texas a few years ago, I was doing 10 mph over the speed limit and everyone was zipping by me. In Pennsylvania, we generally knew that you had to be at least 10 over the limit before the troopers would pull you over. But in this town in Ohio, 8 over the limit on a 4-lane road with almost no traffic was considered “speeding” by that particular officer. While he likely just used my speeding as a reason to pull me over to see if we were doing any other illegal activities that late at night, he gave me a mere verbal warning and I remember commenting to my friend that the decision to pull me over was a bit ridiculous.

Did you notice my justifications in that first paragraph? Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. But either way, I would’ve had no argument had the officer chosen to fine me. I can compare my actions to the standard of Pennsylvania, the standard of Texas, or even my own standard of logic regarding the lack of traffic and the open space on that particular road at that particular time of night. However, the only standard that ultimately would matter is the standard of the law in that town on that road. The officer had a measure of discretion in executing the duties of his position, but nothing he would or would not do could change the fact that I did technically break the law.

In Romans 5:12-21, the Apostle Paul talks about how sin came into the world through Adam and brought death to all, but that Christ’s act of obedience on the cross resulted in life and justification for all people. However, it seems important to Paul that his readers understand a little bit more about the relationship between the law and sin so that they can further understand God’s grace through Jesus. He explains that because of sin and its consequences, death reigned even before the law was given through Moses (v. 14), even though “sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law” (v. 13).

After talking about the gift given to all mankind through the obedience of Jesus Christ, Paul concludes this important section by using the law to show the magnitude of his grace. He writes, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (vv. 20-21). Other translations say that the law was brought in “so that sin may abound." What could this possibly mean? Is Paul saying the unthinkable, that God actually gave Moses the law because he wanted us to sin more? This may be what some of you think, but I assure you that isn’t the case.

Paul is saying that sin entered the world through Adam and was in the world for all of those years between Adam and the time of the law. But, like me in the story I told above, they weren’t using the appropriate standard to judge their actions. The sin of Adam and Eve was eating a piece of fruit for crying out loud! There was no rule, law, or decree that said, “Thou shalt not eat fruit." So obviously, it was something more. God had directly told Adam what fruit he was allowed to eat and what fruit he wasn’t, but he and his wife chose to directly disobey a command from God (Genesis 2-3). Other than that, they would’ve had no reason to think that what they were doing was sinful. This is why the law was necessary. Once God’s standard of perfect holiness was completely spelled out through Moses to the Israelite people and the foreigners with them, all of a sudden their failures were more evident. It’s not that they were sinning more, they just had more of a realization. Think of it the way you would a rare gem, whose imperfections can be more easily seen when compared to one that is perfect. The law was introduced to man so that they would be aware of their desperate need for a savior to reconcile them to God, because we can’t accept a savior that we don’t believe we need!

There is one other way that the law “increases” sin. Those of you who have young children, or even older children, know that all you have to do is give them a line that they cannot cross and they automatically want to cross it. The law gives us boundaries and our flesh automatically wants to see how far we can push them without crossing them. The problem with that way of thinking is that our flesh gains control; the more we push the boundary, the less we care if we cross it. We even convince ourselves that things that are clearly forbidden in Scripture are actually acceptable to God in order to make ourselves feel better in our sins. We come up with justifications and compare ourselves to other people rather than the right standard.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ put an end to the “increasing” of sin. Since God is holy, it would make sense that judgment and condemnation would increase as sin increases. But that’s not who God is. Out of his love for us, he came in the person of Jesus and took on our penalty so that grace would actually be what increases. The more we recognize our sinfulness, the more we can surrender at the foot of the cross and find his grace and mercy. No matter how bad you think you are or were, you can’t out-sin God’s grace. And when grace reigns in your life, you have more of a desire for righteousness. You also have more of a reason to “increase” the grace you show toward others when they sin.

Are you aware of the areas of your life where you may be crossing the boundaries that God has set? Do you know that you need a savior and that Jesus is the One who came and died for you? If not, I urge you to reflect on this wonderful passage written by Paul. Don’t let sin and death reign in your life any longer. You are giving it power that it doesn’t have. If you surrender to the Lord, grace and righteousness will reign. No one can choose for you. You must decide what will reign in your life.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  Any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will be deleted.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature, will be reported to the authorities.