What is Your Hope In?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 31, 2016 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

As I continue my “little gods” blog post series, and before we go any further in this series, I’d like to encourage you to examine your own life and answer the title of this post with an open and honest answer.

“What is your hope in?”

As you do this self examination, here are some things to think about:

When you or a family member gets sick, who or what do you put your hope in?

When you are unable to afford a need in your life, who or what do you put your hope in?

What do you consider needs in your life? Take some time to write these down.

When trouble finds you or perhaps you found trouble, who or what is your hope in, to get you on the right path?

If a family member gets cancer, who or what do you ultimately put your hope in?

If you or someone you love loses their job, who or what do you put your hope in?

If your child gets pregnant out of wedlock, who or what do you put your hope in?

If you feel you were cheated in this life and want justice for the situation, who or what do you put your hope in?

There are so many more questions I could ask to get the juices flowing, but I think you get the drift. I encourage you to continue to do this self examination and please answer honestly, or as honestly as you are able right now because you’ll only cheat yourself in this examination if you answer untruthfully. Ponder your answers. Pray and ask God to reveal the right answers to you. Why am I asking you to do this as we move on in this series? Because in order to grow and build on our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must first know where we are at and our current “as is” situation before any of us can move on and move forward.

Could it be that you are putting your hope in something other than God Almighty?

I’ll continue this series a bit later.

Now go read Psalm 1 again and really ponder what this chapter is challenging each one of us to do. When you are done with that, I encourage you to go and read 1 John 2:4-6.

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Did We Make This Mess? (Part 2)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 30, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Last week, I asked you to consider if we have brought all of the terror from ISIS on ourselves. I asked you to consider if God may be raising up ISIS, like the Chaldeans of ancient times, to let us experience the violence and terror we ourselves have created in our rebellion against God. I encourage you to go back and read last week's post.

Let's look at Habakkuk's response to God. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17. Notice that there is shock, fear, distress, and even pleading with God as the reality of what is coming settles on Habakkuk.

Some of you may have had the same reaction. Some may dismiss me as ignoring God's grace and protection through Jesus. So, let me ask you this: has God ever relinquished His command to care for the weak, the children, the poor, the widow? If we have started to live as if we do not have them among us, then we are not in community, and we are leaving them exposed to whatever may happen to them. Worse yet, we may be benefitting from them staying where they are.

Beyond that, we have begun to demonize everyone in our culture. The rich are blamed for being rich. The poor are blamed for being opportunists. The widow is blamed for not picking herself up and moving on. The children, even the unborn, are blamed for being an inconvenience to our goals and plans. Spouses are blamed for not being who the other spouse wants them to be. The government is blamed for corruption we have allowed. And ultimately anyone is blamed for being everyone else but “me.”

Our narcissism is at an all time high, and our ability to see what is morally right and wrong is rapidly being corrupted by those who want every deviation validated as normal. We are the mess. And whether it is terrorism, or economic ruin, or destruction as a result of moral decay, we are experiencing the mess we have chosen to make.

Our only appeal is to go to God, like Habakkuk, and plead that the consequences not be total destruction. Our only hope is to throw ourselves on His mercy and humbly seek His forgiveness, cleansing, and strength to walk a different way - His way.

Once again, I invite you to draw near to God. Be honest about the moral compromises you have made and believed, surrender them, and seek God's help to live pure.

We will see God’s next answer to Habakkuk next week. If your time with God has a more personal answer that you are ok sharing, feel free to post it in the comments below.

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Christianity and LGBT: New Labels

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 29, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

Here is Round 7 in this series about Matthew Vines’ “Ten Biblical Reasons to support Homosexuality.” Today’s argument is this: The word “homosexuality” did not exist until 1892. The Bible never addressed committed, homosexual relationships. It did condemn lustful relationships, but not this and it is not deserving of condemning all gays and homosexual relationships. That is the argument.

This argument is very similar to Vines’ second argument, that the early church leaders did not understand the loving, committed homosexual relationship. Vines suggests that while recently Bible versions include the word “homosexuals” (in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), this is a concept Paul did not actually face nor understand. In this verse, the word “homosexual” was inserted into more recent versions because it fit the understanding of what it was. But is this so?

I again bring forth Ecclesiastes 1:9. There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing. Well, we have cell phones and computers. That was never here before. This passage is not talking about technology. But even if it does, what are all those things? Just different means of doing the same thing: communication and representing data. It is talking about concepts, ideas, behaviors, history. A very well-known statement is: “Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.” What is this talking about? Simple: history tends to repeat itself when people don’t learn from those who came before them. And Solomon in Ecclesiastes reveals that there is no new idea that had not been brought forth before.

Vines claims that his ideal of a homosexual relationship is unique, that it has not been considered before. But he never actually makes a case that his ideal is separate from the lustful kind he agrees the Bible condemns. He claims it, but never makes a case to defend such a claim. Remember two weeks ago, I explained how the whole sexual orientation foundation is rooted in sexual desires, and such desires are frequently mentioned throughout the Bible. Not only are they mentioned, they are all referenced in context of lust.

But let’s examine the core of his argument: this “term” did not exist until recently therefore any mention of such a term prior to that must not mean this. There is another issue similar to this in regards to evolution and creation. The Bible never mentions dinosaurs. It never uses that word. But why? Simple: the word “dinosaur” did not exist until 1841, invented by Sir Richard Owen. But did dinosaurs suddenly exist because the word existed? No, they were around the whole time. So what were dinosaurs known as prior to 1841? Dragons. Finding “dragons” is very common in ancient literature. The creatures never changed. Just the label they were given.

The same concept is true with homosexuality. Nothing has changed about what homosexuality is, just the label men have given it. Men were practicing homosexuality thousands of years ago. It was clearly recorded in Genesis. Many scholars as recorded in my second post on this series (see this link) suspect it was rampant prior to the Flood and was the final straw to bring in God’s judgment. It’s nothing new at all.

One of God’s attributes is that he is immutable. That means he does not change. That means his character does not change. It means his laws do not change. It means his standards do not change. What God said 2000 years ago at the cross does not change. What God said 3500 years ago at Mt. Sinai does not change. What God does said 6000 years ago does not change. If God said homosexuality is a sin, he means it is a sin. If he said it in Genesis and repeated it in Leviticus and repeated it again in Romans and Corinthians, it is still a sin… today.

But didn’t God change when he went from the Mosaic Law to the cross? Isn’t the New Covenant a “new” covenant? Not quite. The old covenants of the Old Testament were a picture and foundation-laying for the New Covenant. The standards did not change. Instead of being written on tablets of stone, they were written on the tablets of our heart. God did not change. Being under the law of grace does NOT give us luxury to do what we want.

Matthew Vines repeatedly asks the question: “Why can’t homosexuals have that which heterosexual marriages have?” That is covetousness. The Bible gives no basis for why they should do it. It actually gives a very strong basis that it cannot. Pay attention to the tactics used here. Vines never actually provides a defense for his position, or even a logical accounting for his position.

Is anything Vines offers new? No. Jesus warned that at the end of times, it would be like Sodom and Gomorrah. That it would be like prior to the Flood. And embracing of homosexual activity by the culture is traditionally held as one of the final actions before God brought forth destruction. That Matthew Vines is pushing this and claiming to be a question makes think of Jesus’ question: “When I return, will I find any faith?”

I expect people like Matthew Vines to come forth and present arguments like he has. I expect to see this type of thing presented in the church. Why? Because the enemy has always sought to bring in confusion and false teachings into the church. That’s his game. I do believe Vines is honest about his position and that he really does believe he is right. I do not believe he is a willing participant in an attempt to undermine the authority of Scripture. While I do believe he is not intending to do that, it is what he is doing, and I know that is Satan’s agenda. But I am not angry that Vines has brought forth such arguments. I am angry that the church is more and more accepting of these messages, that the church as a whole has left truth fallen to the streets to be trampled. If you have not seen this in me by now, let me make it clear: that will not happen on my watch, not without me having a say in the matter. I write to uphold the truth of Scripture. Matthew Vines needs the true Gospel, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that Jesus died to save him from himself, just like any of us. Our biggest enemy is ourselves - our selfish, sinful selves. Let us nail it to cross and take on Christ.

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Two Thumbs Down (Part 2)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 28, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

I questioned the editor of a magazine I had a subscription to as a teenager. The magazine was a Christian music magazine devoted to the type of music I enjoyed then. But as time went on, the magazine began featuring secular artists and articles, and this concerned me. It began a little under the radar, but eventually was very obvious this change was occurring. I wrote the editor and he gave me a very interesting response that, nearly 20 years later, I still remember. He told me a story of a city in the Middle East that had two rivers that went through it. One was fed by a hot spring and so the water was very warm. The other was cold. Both of these streams had importance in the community. Every now and again, these rivers would meet somehow. Where this happened, the water mixed and a wall nearby would fall. He made the connection that if we compromise on some issues, it can bring down walls that are between us. Even as a teenager, I knew that this was a terrible idea and, far worse, an anti-biblical position. I canceled my subscription and never received another issue after several years of being a customer.

The Bible is fairly clear that being able to compromise is not a virtue—this, of course, is in relation to issues of principle and in regards to Biblical truth. Compromising on a curfew or what to have for dinner is really okay, I believe. Why am I bringing up compromise today? Those who want to insert deep time or evolution into our origins rather than taking the Bible as it is written are trying to make the Bible and the Gospel more palatable for the world to accept. They want to conform the Bible's message to meet with current humanistic beliefs on origins so it can somehow be more acceptable to the world. The idea is to remove the areas that may be a stumbling block for the “intellectual” or some such nonsense so they can accept Jesus and all will be well. But this is not the pattern set forth by the Bible at all. All throughout the Old Testament we see examples of God's harsh criticism of compromise. The book of Joshua has some very graphic examples of God's opinion on compromise.

Selling the Word of God as a book you can cut and paste with is not holding up the Gospel or honoring God or His Word. It's making friends with a world that hates Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:24 tells us Jesus believes you cannot serve two masters. He states, “... he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” These two masters would be the Bible/God/the Gospel vs. humanism/naturalism/evolution. The two are diametrically opposed. Once you mix them, you've lost. Take salt water and mix it with fresh water. You no longer have any fresh water but the salt water is still there. James tells us, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” These are pretty harsh words, in my opinion, against compromising with the world. Compromising with the world is exactly what theistic evolution is.

Very frequently we see theistic evolutionists joining forces with atheists and attacking Christians. This is a major red flag!!! This should never ever be. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 tell us, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” Is attacking Bible-believing Christians with atheists some sort of ploy to win the atheist over for Christ? Hardly. This generally intensifies the hatred they have for God and for the Bible and those who believe it. I believe it also further drives a wedge between the theistic evolutionist and the Bible believer. But this is the entire reason for the godofevolution.com website. In their “about” section it says: “God of Evolution was created ... as an accessible, colorful and often humorous ‘middle ground’ between militant anti-theism and militant young-earth creationism.” So he's admittedly compromising and trying to make the Gospel more appealing to atheists?

Tell me how this sounds: God gave us an account of how He created the world and made us unique. He also told us how we messed up the perfect place He created for us and the consequences for this. But nearly 6000 years later, in an attempt to remove God from society and make a mockery of God's Word, some atheists and agnostics stumbled upon the truth about origins. And now God is anxiously waiting for His people to disregard His account of the origins of the universe and the earth and go with this humanistic version of the story. Does this seem likely? Does this make sense to anyone at all? This is what theistic evolutionists seem to think.

So what is the deal here? What am I talking about? This is part 2 of a blog post in response to a blog post by a theistic evolutionist who believes Biblical creation has theological issues. He believes this because Biblical creationists want to make a movie based on the Biblical account of creation. Pretty wild, huh? Tyler Francke, the author of the blog post in question, states that he wishes organizations such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International would join forces with theistic evolutionists to share the Gospel rather than wasting money on the film. He believes making this movie is a terrible use of funds. But it has been brought to my attention that an organization he has written for is making a similar film on the Big Bang (apparently making a theistic case for it). Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, folks. But since the theistic evolutionist is already compromised, I feel this would be a very large mistake. The issues are 1) theistic evolutionists have a history of seething hatred for Biblical creationists, and 2) humanism has no place in the Gospel (other than Jesus freeing us from it) and theistic evolution is nothing more than an attempt to mix humanism and Christianity. We've gone over a few Scripture verses that indicate that God is not overly excited about us compromising His Word.

Tyler declares that the creation account in Genesis is “...a message that has nothing to do with salvation.” This is an epic failure to understand even the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Severing the connection between Genesis and Matthew (or any other of the Gospel books) neuters the message of salvation and wipes away the foundation of every major Christian doctrine we have—and have had for 2000 years. It seems like Tyler's gospel is along the lines of “People are mean so Jesus died and rose again.” Maybe this works for elementary school kids, but as adults, we need a little more explanation. Hence, the apostle Paul writes several letters that outline the deep connection between Jesus and Genesis. Romans and 1 Corinthians are of particular interest. Jesus is even referred to as the “Second Adam.” If the First Adam was a mythological man and the Fall not an actual event, I suppose this doesn't bode well for Jesus and His place in reality. So, you see, the Gospel and Genesis are intimately connected. One gives us the explanation for the other. One gives us redemption from the other. It's really rather rudimentary Christian doctrine.

Tyler moves on to say he feels some sort of calling to denigrate a movie that is designed to help people see the reality of the Genesis account. He claims the movie makes a mockery of Jesus which is a contradictory statement when compared to his “it has nothing to do with salvation” statements. Either they are connected or they are not, and it's pretty clear they are connected. To call this movie, which seems to adhere to a fairly natural reading of Genesis, unbiblical is just a laughable notion. I'm sure he believes that there is no reason to believe man and dinosaurs lived together, which this movie seems to indicate. Pay particular attention to verses 24-27 in that link. I think many dinosaurs were land dwelling creatures. Therefore, it stands to reason that they existed only a few moments before man did. So why is it unbiblical? Because Tyler doesn't like it.

Tyler goes on to quote Ken Ham saying, “What we need to do is to make sure we start right at the very beginning, in Genesis, answer the skeptical questions that are causing people to doubt that that book is true, to help them understand that the history is true — that’s why the gospel based on that history is true.” And Tyler's response: “As a Christian, I think statements like this are incredibly foolish and irresponsible.” That's it? Please expound on this idea that the reality of the creation and Fall of man is not inseparably connected to the Gospel.

He then quotes several passages of Scripture that outline the crux of the Gospel—Christ is risen from the dead and sin and death are destroyed. He insinuates that Biblical creationists do not believe this, which is obviously not true. Again, as I've stated in previous posts, he's talking more about conversion than living the Christian life. I'm wondering if Tyler is a “sloppy grace” sort of Christian who believes, as Paul warned against, that we can sin all the more so grace may abound more. I'm not saying he believes this—I have no idea. But he seems to push half the Gospel quite a lot. Opening your heart to Jesus Christ is the beginning of an amazing and critically important journey. It is, by no means, the end of the journey.

Earlier, Tyler states, “Let me be honest for a second.” I think this is hysterical. I wish theistic evolutionists would actually honestly and accurately represent Biblical Christianity (I am not insinuating there is another kind) and the creationist views as well as being honest about the astronomical holes in their own belief system. I say this because Tyler ends this blog post by saying, “Because his [Ham's] statement, rather than placing the standard for the gospel where it belongs (on the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s ability to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment), declares that the truth of the gospel rises and falls based on the scientific evidence...” He also says, “Nothing about dinosaurs in there, people. So K-Ham is wrong.” Come on. Ken Ham has NEVER said the Gospel rises and falls with the scientific evidence and no one has ever claimed there is anything to do with dinosaurs in relation to the Gospel. For the millionth time, this debate has never been over science. In fact, science was birthed by Christians to study the creation and quite soundly supports the Biblical position. Get over it and stop trying to make this about something you apparently don't understand. Classic strawman fallacies here, folks.

I'll end this blog post with something from Martin Luther. I think it's fitting in most of these discussions. “...if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days [creation], then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.” This is a major problem with theistic evolution (or any other unbiblical creation story). They believe they know better than the One Who created it all in the first place. Trust God. Next week we take a look at the last link before the 10 questions I've been dying to get to!

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The Wicked Fishers of Men

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.” –Habakkuk 1:14-15

When I used to sit and read Biblical passages that said that wicked people wait for the innocent to come by so that they may pounce and destroy them, I used to think it sounded crazy. How on earth could a human being created in the image of God desire to intentionally harm, kill, or defame someone else? It did not take me too long into my adult life to figure out that the Bible is dead on about this assertion and that more people have ill intentions for others than what I may have suspected. The wretched part about the world we live in today is that not only do wicked people do such a thing, they then proceed to lie about it and cast the blame on people who fight against injustice.

I am currently reading a book by a famous political figure, of whom everyone is probably familiar. At the beginning of his book he details an experience of his in the Senate, as a Republican, where his party met behind closed doors to discuss an issue that was important at the time. Before this meeting, the Democrats had taken their stance on one side of the issue and the Senate Minority Leader (who at the time was a Republican) had publically announced that his party would oppose and block the Democrats motion on this issue. But, as soon as the doors were shut and the cameras were off, the Senate Minority Leader told his party that they needed to go along with the Democrats, but they could not leave any Republican fingerprints that voters could trace. Democrats needed 60 votes to pass their motion and only had 55 votes. In order to pass the motion, 5 Republicans would have to risk their reputation among voters by voting along with the Democrats. But, instead of throwing fellow Republicans overboard, the Leader proposed that they vote unanimously to grant Senate the ability to change a rule with only 50 votes instead of 60. This way, the motion would pass and Republicans could please their voters by saying they voted against it.

Worldview matters. The example I just described consists of elected officials whom the voters trust to keep their word. Why might elected officials who could just as easily not get re-elected refuse to keep their word? Because they believe their voters do not truly know what’s best for them or their country. This is not merely arrogance or elitism. This is an ideological stance that is rooted in secular humanism. To them, not everyone is evolved enough to understand what is good for them.

Another example would be how we fail to effectively deal with Islamic extremism. I am not going to advocate for one policy over another right now, but we must realize that Muslims who come from the Middle East have a vastly different worldview from someone born in America. We cannot assume that people are going to be nice to us because we are nice to them. Not everyone thinks that being kind to people of different religions is virtuous. Some people view it as weak. We don’t understand that mentality because we live in a multi-cultural country (founded upon Christian principles, by the way) where other people are from countries with state-mandated religions. So that nobody misunderstands, I am not condemning any group of people right now, but we must understand that people do not think the same way that we do. There are people who will employ tactics of misdirection, deceit, and foul play to accomplish their mission. So what do we do about it?

We must realize that we are not fighting a battle against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 reads, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” Unlike our opposition, we do not degrade the value of human life. We should not deem a person less valuable because of ideology, religion, or political affiliation. Every human spirit has been corrupted by sin. Spiritual influences taint everyone’s perception of truth. We cannot judge a person through the external manifestations of those forces (even though we should seek to eliminate injustice whenever the opportunity is presented). We must proactively become the winners of souls.

The best way for us to combat injustice, or the wicked preying on the innocent, is by becoming fishers of men. Notice the interesting parallel between the passage at the top of this post and the words of Jesus. Jesus told his disciples that he would teach them to become fishers of men by teaching them how to convert and disciple many people. The wicked cited in Habakkuk also fish for men, except they do so with the intent of destroying them. In both cases, bait has to be cast. Instead of worrying about the integrity of those that we listen to, we should first seek to have integrity. People are always going to take bait, whether it is of those who want to help them or those who want to harm them. The only way to truly know whose bait is for the good is to be the fisher. And, for our own sake, we need to be especially discerning concerning whose words we allow to influence us. If they do not line up with the Word of God, their word is garbage.

After all, the wicked do lie in wait. We can either be the fishers or we can be the fish. There is always going to be corruption in politics. It’s disappointing to be lied to by elected officials, but our hope is not in them after all. We should not expect people of different religious worldviews to view us as friends with whom they can be kind and accepting. That is a characteristic of Christianity that makes it unique. We need to realize that we do not fight against the people, but the power of the spirits that enslave them. And, we must cast our fishing nets wide and faithfully if we ever desire to reach people before the evil one does. Be fishers of men, not consumers of bait.

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Habakkuk 1:12-2:1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 25, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)

The book of Habakkuk started out with the prophet Habakkuk complaining to God about all the evil and lawlessness that were happening with the people Judah. Then, we saw God’s response to that, which was to tell them that judgment was coming by way of a Babylonian takeover. Now, we’re back to Habakkuk lamenting to God again.

This lament of Habakkuk’s connects with his first one in a few ways. He uses God’s name (verse 2 and verse 12), he urgently addresses questions to God (verse 3 and verse 17), and he implores God that the injustice needs to be resolved (verse 4 and verse 13).

This lament is written in poetic form, so there is a lot of parallelism going on in this passage. There are many forms of literary parallelism, but the most common one here is called synonymous parallelism. That is when the writer says one thing, and then he says the same idea again using different words. A good example of this is in verse 15 where he writes, “The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet.” See how Habakkuk said essentially the same thing three times in a row? That’s synonymous parallelism.

But back to the story at hand. We see that Habakkuk starts out his lament by showing his faith and trust in God. He sees that there is a huge discrepancy between what God seems willing to tolerate and what is actually going on with the people of Judah. God’s character says that He can’t tolerate wrongdoing, but yet His people are full of injustice, violence, and lawlessness. And if what God said previously about judgment coming is true, then that will just bring more injustice and violence into their land. How can God keep allowing this violence to occur?

Habakkuk finishes his complaint by saying that he’ll be watching and waiting for God’s answer. Even though it appears that God has been silent for a while in correcting the people’s wrongdoings, Habakkuk fully expects God to answer and fix the situation.

How are you doing at that in your own life? When you cry out to God, do you expect an answer? And if you do, are you watching and waiting expectantly for that answer? In 1 John 5:14-15, John writes, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” We, too, should approach God with what is wrong in our world, and wait expectantly for His answer. The answer may or may not be what we were hoping for, since God is God and we are not, but we should be confident in knowing that God does hear our prayers and He does always answer them.

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


Daily Discipline

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 24, 2016 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

In his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney writes:

“I’ve seen Christians who are faithful to the church of God, who frequently demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the things of God and who dearly love the Word of God, trivialize their effectiveness for the Kingdom of God through lack of discipline.”

Spiritually, they are a mile wide and an inch deep. There are no deep, time-worn channels of communing discipline between then and God. They have dabbled in everything but disciplined themselves in nothing.

Consider the people who will work hard at learning to play an instrument, knowing that it takes years to acquire the skills; those who will practice hard to lower their golf score or to improve their sports performance, knowing it takes years to become proficient; those who will discipline themselves throughout their careers because they know it takes sacrifice to succeed. These same people will give up quickly when they find the spiritual disciplines don’t come easily, as though becoming like Jesus was not supposed to take much effort.

The undisciplined are like playwright George Kaufman, who was enduring a sales pitch from a gold mine promoter. The salesman was praising the productivity of the mine in hopes of persuading Kaufman to buy shares in it.

‘Why, it’s so rich you can pick up the chunks of gold from the ground.’

‘Do you mean,’ asked Kaufman, ‘I’d have to bend over?’

The gold of Godliness isn’t found on the surface of Christianity. It has to be dug from the depths with the tools of disciplines. But for those who persevere, the treasures are more than worth the troubles.”

What if I told you where to find the key to peace, hope, and joy? All you have to do is read and apply the words of the Bible.

Just as we discipline our body through diet and exercise, we should discipline ourselves daily in Bible study and prayer.

Join me in as we flex our spiritual muscles and grow in our daily walk with the Lord.

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Did We Make This Mess? (Part 1)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 23, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Would you take a moment for some honest, open reflection? I am asking you to consider for a moment the role we may have played in where the world is today.

Read Habakkuk 1:5-11. Notice God says he is doing something no one in that day would have imagined. Because of the rebellion within Israel and their unfaithfulness, He says He is going to raise up the Chaldeans. Who are they?

God describes them this way. Their own strength is what they worship, it is their god. And they take, destroy, plunder, and satisfy themselves at the expense of others. They are merciless people. They are the terrorists of the day. They are ISIS. The Chaldeans will still be accountable for their violence and destruction, but they will be given access and permission to rampage through Israel. It was a consequence for Israel, who had turned away from God. They committed the violence and evil Habakkuk was boldly crying out to God about in the previous verses.

Israel had stopped being a community of people who cared for the weak and the poor; they stopped loving each other as they loved God. Israel had begun to tear itself apart. The courts were corrupted, the violent and unjust were in charge, and those who follow God were being controlled so that even good judgement was being corrupted.

Does that sound that much different than today?

Do you realize that Islam comes from the region of the Chaldeans? Islam claims to come from the lineage of Ishmael - the first son of Abraham, born to the servant Hagar, when Sarah believed she could not have children. God called Abraham out of his native land, to go to a land God would show him. (Genesis 12-15) Abraham was the one God chose to work through as He began His work to rescue humanity. And where was Abraham when God called him? He was in the land of Ur of the Chaldeans.

It is easy to see the parallels of how God describes the Chaldeans and ISIS and every Islamic terrorist group. I believe Islam teaches the principles of the god(s) of the Chaldeans, cloaked in the religion Muhammad created around them. Feel free to do your own research on the subject and the history.

An important question, based on this look at Habakkuk, is did we do this? Have our choices as a people, as a nation, brought us to this place where we are experiencing the rise of ISIS? Our courts are corrupt, the poor are patronized, the wealthy are demonized, the righteous are accused of hate, and the violent/corrupt/perverse are celebrated as brave. Could it be that God is once again raising up the “Chaldeans” in order to let us experience the violence we have denied we are committing, and to allow us to taste what it is like to truly be without God's protection?

If so, the rest of Habakkuk may be worth continuing to explore, because Habakkuk had as hard a time believing that God would do that as we do. As a nation, and as the Church, we MUST recognize where we are flippant in our morality, where we have morally denied God, where we have sanctioned murder of the innocent, and where we have contributed to the hurting of the children, widows, poor, weak, and outcast.

At the beginning of this post, I asked you to approach this with an open heart and mind. Please take time to humbly go to God and ask Him to search out any offensive way in you. Ask Him to show you how to surrender the places you have denied Him and to start living His way. Ask God to show you the people He desires you to care for and the injustice you are to fight to correct. Ask Him to restore your moral compass and to clarify your understanding of what is truly good and truly evil. And ask God to withhold ISIS and to have the Church rise up to show the true nature of God in such a way that even ISIS would surrender and be saved.

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Amen Living

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 22, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

God has been working on my heart in some issues, and I believe I need to write about this before I continue on addressing Matthew Vines. Eric Ludy has a spectacular sermon titled “The Amen Life.” I do not want to just parrot Ludy’s message here, but I cannot recommend enough to listen to this message and get the full details of what I will be sharing about it today. First, I need to define what “amen living” is and to do that, I need to define what “amen” really is. Amen is a word we often stick at the end of a prayer indicating “we are done,” but that is actually not what amen actually means. Simply it means, “Let it be done,” but it means much more than that. In the Bible, when we see “faithfully,” “surely,” “it will be done,” and the like that is actually what amen means. When God says he will do something, he is going to do it. We can trust him.

After defining amen and how God is “amen,” Ludy then asks us, “How are we living an amen life?” Are we faithful to our word? Are we trustworthy to where if we say we will do something we will do it? Can people trust us to keep their secrets? Are we loyal to do the jobs we do, even when our bosses are not? Are we trustworthy to not spread ill about those in authority over us, even if they don’t deserve it? Do we respect the authorities over us?

Or are we “fickle,” where the moment something turns against us, we turn against them? Do we abandon our friends in need because we might get hurt in the process? Do we rebel against those God has placed in authority because something is not going the way we want it to go at the moment, even if you have a right to do so because those above you are doing something wrong?

Ludy details the lives of two types of people: “amen” people and “fickle” people. The amen people are the ones you can count on to do what they said they will do. Any promise they make is sure and you can take it to the bank. Fickle people are those that are not trustworthy. They make great promises but rarely fulfill them. They talk big but have little action to back it up. Amen people see their job through to the end, even at the expense of self. Fickle people only stick around as long as they get the benefits, and once that starts to turn, they back off.

Which ones are we? This post is a sermon for me more than anyone else. My primary audience in this post is me, because I need this preached to me. But I write this so you may see my heart in this and so you too may become an amen person. I like to believe I am an amen person. Why? I am loyal. I don’t change loyalties very easily. I am committed. When I set my mind upon a task, I’ll get it done and people can count on me getting it done. And if I cannot get it done, I am quick to let the person who needs to know that I got delayed. I can talk all day and boast how I have managed to be completely committed to serving my church the last 10 years as the Power Point person, how I can do lesson plans as a physics teacher, while doing weekly blog posts for Worldview Warriors, while also teaching a weekly Bible study. People who see that will see me as an amen person. But am I really?

I have legal right to complain about my current job situation. I am not going to give the details about it here, because that would undo the whole point of this post. And I will confess I have been complaining to people I talk to about what is going on. But God is trying to get into me the message that I need to be an amen person even in this situation. How?

Do I hide the faults of my administration, or do I proclaims the problems? Do I speak of the virtues of my administrators and co-workers, or do only speak ill of them? Am I content to do the job God has me in, getting paid to what was previously agreed upon, or am I complaining that I should get paid for doing the job above and beyond what is required of me? I will be frank: I am still working on this and my attitude in my current situation has not been great. I am frustrated about it and I have good reason to be frustrated. But that does not give me the right to be fickle and to turn against those who have given me opportunity when I don’t get what I think I deserve.

In my quiet time, I just finished reading Genesis and as I have been wrestling with this idea of amen living, Joseph’s account stood out. I had not seen it this way before, even though I know practically every detail about the account. Joseph was kidnapped by his brothers, left to die temporarily before being sold to slave traders. After he was sold in Egypt, he worked for Potiphar for several years until Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape, something he never did, and he was put into prison. And after he was put into prison, he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and asked him to get Pharaoh’s help to get him out of prison. He had to wait two more years - thirteen years in all.

Joseph got frustrated too. He did everything to the best of his ability and God blessed him. He was obedient and loyal to the point where his masters never had to question or think about anything under his authority. Joseph lived an amen life. He had every right to be fickle. To scream at God for putting him through all that trouble. To sit in a corner and pout, complaining to all about the hand he was given. But he did not. He lived an Amen life - loyal, committed, never speaking a word of ill intent. It got worse for him as he did that, but he stayed the course. And in the process, God prepared him and raised him to become the #2 person in Egypt, Pharaoh’s right hand man.

I have been greatly frustrated in my situation. I feel like Joseph when he was in prison and saw an opportunity to move up, but it never materialized. But God is teaching me to stay true to the course he has me on, to be an Amen person, and to stop complaining about my current situation and start only speaking about the good that has come with it. I have learned more about my job in the last 4 months than the previous 4 years combined. I still have a lot more to learn, but God is faithful. He set me on this course and he will see it through. God is amen. I have been amen in several areas, but not as much here as I would like. I would like to be amen in this one.

I share this with you to encourage you. Be amen, even when you see nothing good coming out of the situation. Do not be fickle and serve only when it benefits you. Be amen. Be someone that can be counted on to be trusted with getting the job done and even one that could be trusted with intimate secrets without fear of it getting out. God is the Amen. And he would like to look at our lives and say “Amen.” May I live a life where he can say that, and may you do the same.

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


Two Thumbs Down

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 21, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

The thing is, I don't really like 3D movies. Seriously. They exhaust me and make my eyes hurt. And for what? A couple of pieces of shrapnel or a flying vehicle of some sort appearing to be coming right at me? And for extra money I can enjoy this? I'm good with 2D. Why do I bring this up? As you know, I've been answering the theological issues a theistic evolutionist has written about that he claims Biblical creationists can't answer. I originally set out to simply answer his “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer” blog post. However, it has snowballed into much more. In the introduction to the “10 questions” blog post, Tyler Francke has included a series of links to what he says are examples of the terrible theological issues Biblical creationism has (what he terms young-earth creationism). This week we'll take a look at the second to last link (I am very excited to move from these!) which is found by clicking on “incredibly” in the links paragraph. This blog post is called “Creation Today and Answers in Genesis get the gospel wrong (in three dimensions)” and is a criticism of Creation Today (the Hovinds’ ministry) and Answers in Genesis for their efforts to make a film that supports the Genesis account of creation—Genesis 3D. It's really remarkable how anti-biblical Tyler is and how much he dislikes Ken Ham. If you are concerned that perhaps Tyler is not “anti-biblical” you can read his blog posts at your leisure, but he has stated (as I've quoted him previously) that he rejects parts of the Bible simply because “that doesn't sound like God to me.” So we find that the Bible is up for cherry picking whatever we like and discarding whatever we find undesirable.

We see here to begin with that Tyler is angry that someone would spend money making a movie that is in line with the Bible. He doesn't say it like that, but the movie, from the trailers, does not seem to depict anything that cannot be surmised from Genesis (hence the name of the movie). He claims it is unbiblical, which he offers no support for and is obviously preposterous. He moves on to insulting Ray Comfort, who is only interested in helping people find Jesus Christ.

Ray Comfort may not have everything right, but his mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ. I try not to get into too many of the links found in these blog posts because it would mean everything I write would be 10 parts or more, but I look at them. His link for Ray concerning Ray's movie “Evolution vs God” is noteworthy. As a side note: Tyler insinuates repeatedly that Biblical creationist organizations like AiG and CMI just want your money. If you follow the link to “Evolution vs God” you'll see the movie is free to anyone who wants to watch it. That doesn't seem like a money making scheme to me.

Following the link for Ray Comfort, we see Tyler trying to sell very bad science and very poor logic. His claim about Ray is that Ray is essentially stupid and dishonest. Tyler points out that P.Z. Myers informs Mr. Comfort that the Lenski experiment or that sticklebacks somehow support universal common descent. I provided 2 links (a pro and con) for you there for each. Tyler says, “...a real scientist analyzes the results of an experiment or a finding in the field to see what conclusions may be drawn from it.” This is unfortunate. He's totally sold on the idea that if a scientist interprets the data a particular way (the way he has already decided is true—it must conform to Darwinian evolution) that the case is closed. However, other scientists with equal credentials may interpret the data differently. How is this possible? How can you interpret things differently? This is such basic stuff that I really can't believe very few if anyone in the evolutionist crowd gets it. Your presuppositions will dictate your interpretation. That's a fact. There is no way around this. It's exactly the same way two different fans have different interpretations of how the Steelers/Bengals game went in the first playoff round. Were the calls good or bad? Were the weather conditions good or bad? Were there illegal shenanigans that caused someone to be injured or not? Should players be fined and/or punished or not? Was it a good game or a bad game? All these answers depend on the same information. But the answer you give will be different than someone else who has a different presupposition. I recently saw the term “brute fact” in relation to this topic. There is no such thing as a fact that speaks for itself—a brute fact. We all have the same facts—every single one. We all have the same evidence to look at. We have varying ways of interpreting those evidences based on our presuppositions or our worldviews. Can you argue against this?

What Tyler is not getting here is that a mutational or epigenetic change in a gene sequence is NOT what we are debating. It never has been. It's about universal common descent (the belief that all living things can trace their ancestry back to a single, original living thing). They say “evolution” and mean a miniscule change for whatever reason and then say, “Therefore, evolution from a single common ancestor is true.” Do you see how the two are not necessarily linked at all? Bacteria to human beings evolution is nothing at all like a bird with a thicker beak or a fish without a particular fin or whatever other example of evolution they will throw at you. Don't be fooled or more likely deceived.

He goes further in attacking Ray Comfort's efforts by suggesting Ray and his type are anti-science. This is such a tired argument. I have written extensively on the Christian heritage modern science has. This is one link but I have talked about this, unfortunately, many times in response to erroneous claims that science and Christianity are somehow opposed to each other. In short, science exists because Christianity birthed it.

Tyler then moves on to attack another group who has been working to advance the Kingdom for many years. The Hovinds have worked (and possibly even suffered ferociously) for being about the work of making disciples. Kent Hovind was imprisoned for a variety of charges that aren't worth getting into. He's a good guy who messed up in regards to paying taxes. You can investigate his views on that yourself. But Tyler feels taking a shot at a man like this is cool. It really isn't. I wonder how much time Tyler has spent praying for the Hovinds or for Ken Ham. Kent has been released after an extremely severe sentence. While away, his son Eric took over Kent's ministry. The Hovinds have done a great deal of work for very little pay over the decades that they've been around. My first (and really only) experience with the Hovinds’ Dr. Dino video was the video series I watched about 15-20 years ago. He made the claim in the video that you were free to buy them, record them, and send them back for a refund. You could make all the copies you wanted and distribute them as much as you liked. I thought that meant he was certainly not in this for the financial gain. This is contrary to Tyler's earlier suggestions that these ministries were only in if for the money.

Continuing with his attack on AiG and the Hovinds, he says it's odd that AiG is supporting Kent Hovind's son, and he provides a Wikipedia link. He goes so far as to mock them saying, “I certainly hope this collaboration isn’t a sign that AiG is ‘compromising’ on its beliefs.” If he had read the information in the link, he'd find that AiG USA had no issues with Kent Hovind ever AND we're not talking about Kent Hovind; we're talking about Eric Hovind. The article he links to also explains that as early as 2009, CMI (AiG Australia) removed their content critical of Kent Hovind because Creation Science Evangelism had removed the content CMI disagreed with. I only bring this up to expose another example of the lack of logic and thinking things through we find with theistic evolutionists.

Here we are at the end of this blog post and I've only gotten about half way through explaining why this is another example of why theistic evolutionists' criticism is not coherent, logical, or truthful. Next week we will, once again, make the creation-salvation connection and finish up this blog post by godofevolution.com. This also means we will be one link away from getting to the “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer.” I'm excited.

Let me take a moment to ask you to pray for the theistic evolutionists you know personally. Pray for Tyler Francke. These people may be well-intentioned, but they are teaching destructive beliefs that are clearly not in line with the Biblical accounts. They need your prayers to find the truth and to reject humanism.

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


The Babylonians are Coming!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.” ~Habakkuk 1:6

When a nation goes astray, how does God call them back to repentance? One way is to raise up another nation to defeat and enslave the nation so they might realize their need for God and genuinely call out for his help. It is frightening to think that God might be doing the same thing with America today.

Islam is a religion that has been growing at an astounding rate. It is the dominant religion in the Middle East, it is overtaking Europe, and it is establishing firm roots in America. Could it be that the Islamic people will be the source of judgment against America? The best I can do is give you a solid maybe.

If they are to be a judgment, we really can't hold against them that they want to overtake us. We are a wicked nation. Granted, by our standards Islamic extremists do some horrendous things, but then again, look at the average Muslim's lifestyle: they pray 5 times a day, fast regularly, and take the words of the Quran seriously. We do many of the things the Bible tells us are wrong, and they find those things to be horrendous! Now, I don't want to say that all Muslims are a judgment against America; many are here seeking a better life.

I have Muslim friends that I absolutely love. They are kind, respectful, and generous. If I were to take a strict attitude that they are here to kill me, I probably would not be an effective witness toward them. Some might say I am naive to trust them. I disagree, because they seem very sincere, but even if they were not, Jesus said he was sending us out as sheep among wolves. Why should I fear anyone when all I would be forfeiting is this earthly life?

In other words, whether judgment is upon us or not, we have an opportunity to witness to people who may not have had an opportunity to experience the Gospel message in their native lands. This is not only true with Muslims, but Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and any other ideology or religion that originates from a foreign land. We are a blessed country and a blessed people as the children of God.

And yet, we have wars and rumors of wars lurking in the shadows. Iran may acquire a nuclear weapon in the near future, and there is no doubt they would love to exercise their nuclear power once it is attained. What can we do if it appears that there will be a war between the western world and Islamic extremism?

1) Pray for Israel. Whether or not you believe Israel is God's chosen nation or not, it is our ideological ally in the Middle East.

2) Be ready to witness. God wants to win the souls of all people. In fact, we have even been instructed by Jesus to love and pray for our enemies.

3) Be ready to lay down your life. In a conversation I had with a former co-worker, I was asked how to combat terrorism. I don't know that many people would like my answer, but Christianity is a counterbalance. As much as they are willing to kill us we need to be willing to die. Faith up till death speaks loudly to the executioners. Look at the Apostle Paul and how he condoned the death of Stephen in the book of Acts.

Whether God will bring judgment on America through another nation or not, I cannot say. I know that we deserve judgment. But even Nineveh was given an opportunity to repent. Our current situation might just be an excellent opportunity to share Jesus.

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


Habakkuk 1:5-11

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 18, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” (Habakkuk 1:5-11)

Last week, we started writing on the book of Habakkuk. I’d encourage you to go read last week’s post to get a feel for the background of this prophetic book.

In Habakkuk 1:2-4, the prophet Habakkuk was calling out to God. In this week’s passage of Habakkuk 1:5-11, we see God’s response to Habakkuk’s pleas. In short, God’s basic answer is the judgment is coming. God addresses some of the concepts from Habakkuk’s lament, such as violence and the lawlessness of the people at that time.

God will carry out this judgment on Judah through the Babylonian people. In verse 6, we see the three ways judgment will be carried out: through their character, their conduct, and their motivation. Their character was “ruthless and impetuous.” As a whole, they were not nice people. Their conduct was “to sweep across the whole earth,” and their motivation was “to seize dwellings not their own.” Their goal was clearly to take over as much territory as they could.

The Babylonian people did not worship God, at least not the one true God that the Israelites worshipped. They considered themselves to be gods. In verse 7 it says, “they are a law to themselves.” That indicates that they decide what it right and wrong, rather than listening to the rules that God has set for right and wrong. Similarly in verse 11, we see that their “own strength is their god.” The Babylonians had no accountability to others but instead worshipped themselves. They had absolutely no remorse about terrorizing others.

But you may be thinking, why would God send this kind of judgment on to His people? This situation with Habakkuk occurred before Jesus came to earth as God in human form, so the people were still fully under the Law and hadn’t experienced God’s grace yet. The law stated that violence should be repaid with violence. God was simply upholding the law that He had put in place for the people. They were demonstrating so much violence that that was clearly what they wanted, so that’s what they needed to receive.

But didn’t God love His people and want to spare them from violence? The love of God, which is totally and completely good, doesn’t always mean that life is all happy and cheery. Sometimes God shows love to His people through things that aren’t comfortable for them. If you have ever disciplined a child (or been disciplined as a child), that discipline is only done because you love that child. The child doesn’t enjoy being disciplined, but he or she needs it so they learn how to live a right life. That is what God was doing with the people of Judah.

The world we live in now is difference, because we’re on the other side of the cross. Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection has allowed us to receive grace more often than the true punishment we deserve, although God still loves us enough to discipline us when it’s needed.

When we disobey God, we deserve punishment too, just like the people of Habakkuk’s day. God’s law states that we should reap what we sow. If we disobey, we deserve the punishment. We should always be praising God that we often do not get what we deserve, and we should respect God’s decision when we do suffer the consequences of our actions.

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


Little Gods

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 17, 2016 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

Is it possible that we all have little gods?

The following text is directly from the 10 commandments that God Almighty Himself spoke and also wrote with His very own finger.

“Thou shall have no other gods before me.” - Exodus 20:3

Do you have other gods in your life that you worship? Is it possible that you are following other gods or serving other gods and don’t even realize it? Have you made idols in your life and are worshipping them?

Take a look at Exodus 20:4-6: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

When I was younger I thought this was a bit silly and thought it didn’t really matter in my world. I thought things like, “Well of course I haven’t made any images or worship any other gods. How stupid.” In reality, I probably just worshiped myself back then and made myself a god. I did fake worshipping the God of the Bible though quite well.

As I get older and now that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I actually recognize these things a little more than before I followed Christ.

Let me explain. In 1995, I accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of my life. Back then I really enjoyed the game of football; it practically consumed my life. Even though I didn’t play the game anymore, I have been a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan who has been waiting that elusive Super Bowl win. With the recent field goal miss by Blair Walsh in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, it brought back to my memory of another Minnesota Vikings game from the playoffs for the 1998 season.

The Minnesota Vikings that season had such a high powered offense, led by the unretired quarterback Randall Cunningham, and wide receivers Cris Carter, Jake Reed, and the talented Randy Moss. Their offensive line just clicked that season to open up holes for their running backs, Robert Smith and Leroy Hoard, that were so large that many times that it seemed they wouldn’t even be touched 3-5 yards after passing the line of scrimmage. This team had the highest powered offense to ever play the game, up to that point, in the NFL. They were the team to beat that year.

I followed the team that season like it was a religion. I had posters, books, and even a lot of clothing of the team.

Their kicker that year was Gary Anderson. No one would argue that he was easily the best place kicker of that season. He made every field goal and extra point he tried. He never missed once that season.

The Vikings that year made it to the conference final against the Atlanta Falcons. Suffice it to say everyone was pumped, including me! In that game, the Vikings had an opportunity to break a tie and win that game in regulation with a field goal. Gary Anderson missed his first field goal of that year. Then the Vikings had an opportunity to win in overtime, and Gary Anderson missed his second field goal that year. The Vikings ended up losing that game in overtime.

I, along with many other Vikings fans, were devastated. This was the year the Vikings would finally win the Super Bowl, or so we thought. The following week, I was pretty much worthless doing anything. This loss affected me that much. I was a youth pastor back then, and the night after the game we had youth group. I pretty much just let the youth do what they wanted and I just sat on a couch in the youth house that the church had. I was literally that emotionally and spiritually spent. After a week of sulking, I realized I needed to get over this and become productive again.

Thank the Lord that I was open to His leading back then, because I realized I had made the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL a god in my life - a god that was even more important than Almighty God. I allowed this little god to consume me and direct my life. I praise God that He never gave up on me, even though I was breaking His very first Commandment in the 10 Commandments. After that season, I still followed the team a bit but I needed to take a break from following many sports teams. I needed to put God back where He belonged. I needed to focus on Him.

Now, I am able to watch and cheer on teams in many different sports, but I do not take ownership of what’s going on. It’s not like I’m playing or working hard during the week to make the team better. I’m just someone, win or lose, who enjoys cheering on some teams for the time, but then I move on with the life that God has given to me.

As followers of Christ, we need to serve Him in all we do. Can we get together with family and friends and cheer on “our teams” that we support? Sure, why not? But keep in mind to keep God on the throne where He belongs. Without Him, you wouldn’t even be breathing or enjoying the game you are watching.

I encourage you to examine your own life and see what “little gods” that you might have created, possibly without even knowing it. In the coming weeks, I plan to write on a few more of these little gods that we seem to have created in our culture. We need to stop worshiping these gods in our lives and put Almighty God back on the throne. He deserves all of our praise and worship.

For further study, examine Psalm 1.

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


Is Your Head in the Sand?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 16, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

The other day I received a prayer request about a young girl who was shot because of a confrontation between her father and another man. I was shocked at the situation, and my mind raced to understand what must have transpired to have had this happen. Then my mind turned to the injustice of it and how someone should be held accountable, then finally to sadness and compassion for the family who had lost a daughter, and the community that must grieve losing her.

After praying for everyone involved, I had a couple choices of what to do with the knowledge of this experience. I could blame guns and seek better controls on firearms. I could pursue caring for parents who grieve the loss of a child. I could seek to educate people on gun safety. I could do a number of things, or I could also do nothing. I could stick my head in the sand and be glad it didn't happen to me. I could also do the easiest thing, complain. I could complain to God and others about how the world is going to hell and that someone should do something - but still never personally get involved myself - as if the state of the world was someone else's problem.

What do we do when the world seems to be unraveling? When justice seems hard to find, and God seems to be on vacation? Take a moment and read the book of Habakkuk 1:1-4.

Habakkuk lived in a time of violence and corruption. And as you can see from this brief passage, he was dismayed. He couldn't ignore it; he took it straight to the one he believed could do something about it - God. With so much tension and fear in the world today, with corruption in our own government and courts, it's easy to feel like justice is paralyzed and God is giving us a “the number you are trying to reach has been changed or disconnected, please check the number and dial again” message. Look at how boldly Habakkuk approaches God. Look at how passionate Habakkuk was about all that was going wrong.

I want to invite you to read through this upcoming series of blog posts as we explore Habakkuk's time, his complaints to God, and God's responses to him. I know you will find hope and encouragement for what we face in our world today. You may even find some things you can do that will help make a difference.

For now, be bold and take your concerns to God. Invite and welcome Him to speak into the situations we face as a people, as a nation, and as the human race.

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Christianity and LGBT: Love… or Lust?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 15, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The previous one is here, and the next one is here.]

This is round 6 in my analysis of Matthew Vines’ 10 Biblical Reasons to Support Homosexual relationships. I know this is a hard topic to go through because just mentioning it today tends to automatically bring up defenses, regardless of which side you take. But we live in dark times where darkness is praised and light is shunned. My desire in this series is to show light where it may have been snuffed out, so those lost in the darkness may see the way out.

Today’s “reason” is addressing Paul’s references to homosexual relationships as being unnatural, where he condemns the lust of such efforts, not the long-term, committed homosexual relationships. Vines also states that men having long hair is unnatural too, therefore this is just a cultural context and has nothing to do with us. Okay, let’s break this down and see if Vines is on to something.

First, very briefly on the “long hair” thing. Obviously many Jews had long hair and were not condemned by it. What Paul is addressing is actually cross dressing - having long hair like a woman, which the Law had also previously forbid. Long hair is not the issue; men looking like women is the issue. Now to the main points.

Many in Christian circles are known for equating homosexual “love” with homosexual “lust.” Vines argues that the two are not the same thing. He suggests that a homosexual relationship is not about sex (and therefore lust), but about a committed, loving, long-term relationship. So first, we need to define lust and love in our Greek Concordances.

First lust: When Jesus said “If you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart,” this is the type of “lust” Paul references. Lust is defined as “covet,” “desire,” “fain after.” This is the same type of attraction David had when he saw Bathsheba bathe. Vines makes the argument that the homosexual love he is talking about is not about this type of lust, but about love. So let’s talk about love.

There are four words in the Greek used to describe “love.” “Eros”: which is romantic love; “Storge,” which is emphatic (like for family, home, city, sports team); “Phileo,” which is brotherly love, or best-friend love; and “Agape,” which is unconditional love, or God’s type of love. Something that gives Vines a little weight is that the word “eros,” which is the type of love Vines is referencing, is not found anywhere in the New Testament. So according to Vines’ line of thinking, therefore Paul must not be talking about “eros” love, the long-term, committed, loving homosexual relationships.

But is this really so? Vines repeatedly makes the argument that under the traditional interpretation, homosexuals cannot have the “loving relationships” that heterosexuals enjoy. When I go back to what lust is, Vines’ complaint here precisely fits the definition of lust. It is coveting, desiring. He wants in a homosexual relationship that which a heterosexual relationship, under Biblical guidelines, provides. Vines never makes the argument how a homosexual partner can be that “suitable helper.” He just states that one can be.

But let’s get into the real meat of this. The entire LGBT argument is rooted in “sexual attraction” or “sexual orientation.” In a word this is defined as “desire.” Desire is who or what you are attracted to. It is not just talking about sexual relationships. When we desire something, we will tend to lust over it. We want it and we want it now. Eve experienced this lust for the first time in Genesis 3:6. She saw the fruit was desirous for gaining knowledge that she did not have: the knowledge of good and evil. That desire has been there ever since.

Now look at what James 1:14-15 has to say about desires: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” This is not just talking about sexual desires, but any desires - new cars, new houses, more money, new gadgets, that promotion, that job, that family, that woman, that man, the list goes on and on. And let me make this clear: NO ONE is exempt. I am just as guilty of seeking after my own desires as Matthew Vines is guilty of seeking after his own. My desires may take a different form than Vines’, but it’s still the same thing. It is selfishness. It is me, me, me. When we dwell on our desires, we lose sight of what God wants for us, and when we act on our desires, that leads to sin, which then leads to death.

Let’s look back at Romans 1. Paul did not just say homosexuality was unnatural as an aside. It was a step in a progression. The first step was not being thankful and not recognizing God for who he is or what he has done. Their thoughts became futile and their hearts darkened. God is the source of all light. When he is not in the picture, that light in you is snuffed out and darkness take over. They claim to be wise, but they showed themselves to be fools in their thinking and started worshiping the creation rather than the creator. The objects of their affections are in and of the world, and not on God. And this comes in many forms: money, houses, toys, gadgets, a position, a celebrity, a sexual relationship (of any form). This becomes the “god” which directs and guides a person’s thoughts and actions.

When they go after the creation more than the creator, God may protect them for a time, but that does not last forever. He will hand them over to that which they want. He will let such thinking dominate them and control them. They will exchange the truth for the lie. Not a truth for a lie, but THE truth for THE lie. This is a complete change in worldviews that is backwards to what God intended. God will hand them over to defile their bodies with their lusts and this is where homosexuality enters the picture. It is judgment for rejecting God earlier.

But it’s more than that. Paul is not merely talking about homosexuality here. He then goes on to list a wide variety of different sins: wickedness, malice, coveting, greed, disobedience to parents, lying, thieving, etc. But Paul makes a very serious statement at the end. The practice of ANY of these deserves death, and not just the practice, but those who approve of such. Remember, not ONE person is guilt-free on this list. We’ve all crossed the line somewhere.

Does Paul not consider loving, committed, homosexual relationships? The question Matthew Vines really has to answer is this: can loving, committed homosexual relationships as he defines it, that fit Biblical guidelines, exist? Vines never actually shows how his picture of a homosexual relationship fits within Biblical guidelines. Sexual orientation is talking about sexual desires and that is of the flesh, one of the three enemies every Christian faces.

Vines, early in his talk, tells us that part of being a Christian is dying to self. That is true. But he has no idea what this means to his position. It means we need to lay down our desires on the cross and let them die. Our sexual desires, whether homo- or hetero-. Our desires for that new toy, new car, new home, new gadget, new deal, promotion, job, etc. Those desires need to be laid at the foot of the cross, surrendered to Christ. Those desires are not from God, but from our sinful, selfish flesh. Let us not follow our own desires, our enemy, which leads us to death, but follow Christ and him alone. Let HIM be the one who decides who our “suitable partner” is supposed to be.

Next week, I’ll address the claim that the term “homosexual” did not exist until 1892, so any church tradition cannot be addressing loving homosexual relationships.

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


The Book of Genesis

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 14, 2016 3 comments

by Steve Risner

“The book of Genesis, although a story that gives us meaning and some basic theology, is a myth not to be taken as an historical account. While the events never actually happened, they do convey deep spiritual truths about God, man, and the world around us.”—generic statement on the way Genesis was meant to be read by those who believe in deep time, primarily of the theistic evolution variety.

Today we will be discussing the book of Genesis and its literary style. We’ll look at poetry and whether or not Genesis meets any of the parameters of Hebrew poetry (and if this would even alter the historical account if it were). We will also discuss what a myth is as well as if that term is applicable to Genesis or any other portion of Scripture. I feel this is a very important discussion because it seems the tendency for many is to treat the topic as a side issue of little importance. They then will simply shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, it’s probably just a story with a point that gives us some spiritual truth but isn’t meant to be taken literally,” or something like that, when in reality the foundation of nearly every major Christian doctrine is found in the opening chapters of Genesis. This leads to very fragile faith that is easily toppled, I believe.

There are several options for the literary genre of Genesis: authentic history, parables, prophecy, letters, poetry, biography, and autobiography. Parables are generally introduced as such or give some sort of indicator that that’s what we’re dealing with. There are certainly prophecies within the chapters in question, but it’s not the primary intent of the writing. It’s clearly not a letter. I submit that we can put the book of Genesis, including the first 11 chapters, in the category of history including several biographies/autobiographies. Poetry, as I’ll explain in a moment, is not an option at all. However, if you would like to believe Genesis is written poetically, that’s fine with me. It does not change the factual nature of the accounts at all. This is sort of like if I wrote a song about my wedding day that included the facts of the day. It wouldn’t make the facts any less true if I wrote it in the form of a song. But the writing style of Genesis 1-11 is no different than that of the rest of the book. Chapters 12-50 are not considered poetry as far as I know by anyone.

And there seems to be a fairly strong unifying factor for the book as a whole. It reads with continuity from chapter 1 to 50. Hebrew poetry is dissimilar to English poetry in that it doesn’t focus so much on rhyming as it does on parallelism. This means the use of successive verbal constructions in poetry or prose that correspond in grammatical structure, sound, meter, meaning, etc. This is easily demonstrable in the Psalms and in the book of Proverbs as well as other books of the Old Testament. Read Psalm 24:1-4 and you’ll see the same ideas brought out multiple ways. This is Hebrew poetry. More common in the book of Proverbs is emblematic parallelism. This is essentially an ancient object lesson or extended simile. Read Proverbs 25:12 for an idea of how this works. There are other forms of parallelism but you get the idea. We can’t find any parallelism in the book of Genesis. There is none. There are a few phrases that are stated several times, but these are statements of fact and are appropriate for helping us understand the account. They are not for artistic appeal.

So why do I say the book should be read as an historical account rather than a myth? I have several reasons. First, let’s just make it clear that none of the Bible should be considered a myth. Myth, in the general sense, means an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true, OR a traditional story of historical events that likely did not happen but helps explain the events, OR a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence. Does this sound like the foundation for our Christian faith? Perhaps to the scoffer it does, but that’s an unsupportable position. To reduce any part of the Bible to a myth reduces the entire Word of God to nothing more than an interesting story.

Secondly, the Bible makes it fairly clear that its writers believed the events were actual and trustworthy as history. Since the Jewish people believe that Genesis chapters 12-50 are the documented history of their people, it follows that because the first 11 chapters are not written any differently, they too are historical. Notable scholars of Hebrew have no doubts that, at the very least, the authors of the books we call the Bible were certain the entire book of Genesis was an historical account. In a letter to Russell Grigg, a writer for CMI, Hebrew scholar Professor James Barr of Oxford wrote: “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

For this professor at Oxford to suggest anyone claiming the Biblical authors believed they were writing anything other than exactly what Biblical creationists believe “are not taken seriously” makes me wonder what ground there is for a Christian to stand on that suggests otherwise.

As touched on before, the unifying themes of Genesis cause the entire book to fall apart if even one aspect of it is classified as anything but historical. We also can find Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and Noah all mentioned throughout the Word of God as though they were real people participating in real historical events. They are found in 15 other books of the Bible. Jesus Himself mentions Adam and Eve as though they were real people as well as their son, Abel, and Noah.

If the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not trustworthy historical accounts, the rest of the Bible is incomplete and makes no sense. The Bible’s theme is one of redemption and many have outlined it this way: Revelation of God’s purpose in redemption found in Genesis 1-11, progression of the story of redemption found in Genesis 12-Jude 25, and the consummation of God’s redemption as found in Revelation 1-22. Take away a portion and the whole is inadequate.

Much of what Paul wrote hangs on an historical reading of Genesis. Romans 5:19 reads, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” And 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 and 45 states, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive … And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.’” The first Adam was Adam and he brought sin and death to the world through his disobedience. Through the second Adam, Jesus, and His obedience we have life and redemption. This is essential to understanding the Gospel. If one of these men is a myth, so is the other, or at least the need for the other.

To quote Russel Grigg: “If we apply the normal principles of biblical exegesis (ignoring pressure to make the text conform to the evolutionary prejudices of our age), it is overwhelmingly obvious that Genesis was meant to be taken in a straightforward, obvious sense as an authentic, literal, historical record of what actually happened.” (emphasis added) What I have bolded in his comment is at the very heart of this entire issue—forcing Genesis to not mean what it clearly states is an attempt to distort the Word of God to fit into a secular/atheist worldview. There is no way around that, period. Why would some suggest Genesis 1-11 are poetic or myth or allegory and not the rest of Genesis? Because after Noah and the Tower of Babel, the secular worldview the theistic evolutionist is trying to force into the Bible doesn’t really have any issues in terms of origins. If the suggestion is simply that Genesis 1 and 2 are mythical, then they allow the Flood, which removes all need for deep time in the geologic column. It also suggests that all mankind came from these 8 people in the ark which causes issues for their story and timeline. The only reason would be that the atheist view of origins is incompatible with Genesis 1-11 but has no problems from there with the accounts as they’re written.

If we start from the point that God is sovereign and trustworthy, we have no doubts as to the message of the Bible from the first verse to the last. If we first accept something other than God’s Word to start with, we erode the message of the Bible and damage the redemptive work of our Lord and Savior.

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