They Want a Divorce But They're Still Married

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 31, 2018 1 comments

by Steve Risner

Editor's Note: We are republishing this blog post since we have been having a lot of interaction with people on this post's hot topic late. Enjoy.

Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone who believes in evolution? In any of those conversations, did the origin of life ever come up? “You don't know what you're talking about! That's not part of the theory of evolution!” This is a very common claim by evolutionists primarily because abiogenesis (life coming from non-life) stops Darwinism before it can even get started. So they stomp their feet and tell you that you don't understand evolution. Is this claim valid?

Every commonly used textbook out there on biology talks about evolution. You wanna guess how they start the conversation? That's right—with life coming from non-life. If this has nothing to do with Darwinism, why is it taught WITH evolution in every biology text? The truth is, the two ideas—abiogenesis and universal common descent—are inseparably married. Mutations and natural selection cannot act on genetics, and populations of life cannot get started from non-living matter; that's why they throw a fit when you bring it up. And, of course, the “go to” for them is to say the person bringing up abiogenesis doesn't understand evolution. This tends to shut down discussion (which makes them happy since the topic is embarrassing for them). Is there some merit to abiogenesis? Let's take a look.

Abiogenesis is defined as the original evolution of life or living organisms from inorganic or inanimate substances. Funny how the definition includes the word “evolution” right in it. Google even claims that a synonym for abiogenesis is spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation was believed by many for a long time to be a real thing. Spontaneous generation is the production of living organisms from nonliving matter. This sounds a lot like abiogenesis, but let's not split hairs. Louis Pasteur, who was a pioneering scientist in the fields of biology, microbiology, and chemistry, looked into this over 150 years ago. He was not friendly to Darwin's theory and, as a result, this was part of his motivation for conducting experiments concerning abiogenesis. His work proved that life does not come from non-living material and even resulted in the Law of Biogenesis. This law states that life arises from pre-existing life, not from nonliving material. This law stands in direct contradiction to the idea that life originally arose from non-living material. This is one of at least a few laws of nature that evolutionists (and atheists in general) need to suspend for their origins myth to seem tenable. They rely strictly on natural/material processes to explain everything in the universe, even though many laws of science must be ignored in order for them to defend their religious beliefs. Some go so far as to say that spontaneous generation is the idea that life can come from non-life “under normal circumstances.” Cute, I know. They modify the meaning just a little so it doesn't make them look witless. “Under normal circumstances” doesn't help them, it simply begs the question, “What circumstances would allow for life to evolve from non-living matter?” There is literally no scientific answer for this question.

So if you bring up spontaneous generation to an evolutionist, they'll tell you that this has nothing to do with abiogenesis (although their definitions are essentially identical). The explanation they'll give is that spontaneous generation was only about fully-formed and complex organisms like mice or maggots and abiogenesis is about the first self-replicating living thing. In other words, they believe exactly in spontaneous generation but want to say they don't so they don't look foolish. Do you see why? With abiogenesis and spontaneous generation, the difference is the complexity of the organism. The difference is very much like the difference in saying that a fairy tale says that a frog can become a prince after a kiss from a princess, but if you allow for hundreds of millions of years in between with innumerable generations, evolutionists believe an amphibian will eventually evolve into a human. The factor of time is really the only difference. So they believe in spontaneous generation, but only of a single-celled organism. Keep in mind that individual cells are mindbogglingly complex. You can read about that here. It was okay for Darwin to believe that a single-celled organism could spontaneously generate because he didn't know any better. He basically believed a cell was a tiny bag of goo with not much happening there. Now we know that cells are fantastically complicated and have a ridiculous number of things going on inside them at all times. To believe anything even approaching a cell could spontaneously pop into being—from non-living to living—is naive at this point. We can give Charles Darwin a pass for thinking something we know now is so absurd. He's credited by some as the greatest biologist of all time (even though he didn't hold a single scientific degree), yet his “theory” at its very foundation was an impossibility—literally. I know, I know, they're not related… but they really are.

There has been no successful attempt to make life in a test tube. They've tried for a long time because they want to support Darwinism. There have been many experiments over the decades, and none have produced anything even close to a living thing. This is because I believe life is not merely a chemical reaction. Life is not what chemistry just does. Genetics (which in and of itself makes a mockery of Darwinism) forces chemistry to do what it normally would not. And, truly, if someone managed to piece together something they claimed was alive in a lab from non-living material, they would need to provide the programming to run the organism they manufactured. They would, in essence, be supporting Intelligent Design—the idea that life demands an intelligent Creator—since they'd have used their intelligence to produce whatever it was they claimed was alive. DNA is a storage device that holds the code to build living things. DNA is the medium by which the blueprints are stored to make people, puppies, and pine trees. Where did this code come from? A code, by necessity, has an intelligent source and is intended to be deciphered by an intelligent recipient. I'm getting off topic, so let me bring it back to the point.

Abiogenesis is very clearly a fundamental part of the atheist origins myth. If we can't get life from non-living matter, then the rest of the story isn't even important. Theistic evolutionists will try to suggest that they get a pass here—they have God. Atheists have to believe in magic because they need abiogenesis to be something real. But theistic evolutionists think they've got it figured out. God made this stuff happen, right? Either this or they truly have no use for God whatsoever—He just stood by helplessly watching while nature (the real god of theistic evolution) did the impossible. Either way, you can't separate the two—life from non-life and universal common descent go hand in hand.

Further, we can take the atheist's need to explain the universe without God even deeper in time. The atheist wants to explain life from non-life to get to universal common descent, but what about the evolution of the solar system? Where did earth come from? The explanation my son told me they gave him in school made me laugh out loud. How did stars evolve? Yeah, they have stories they like to tell about it, but they've got not a shred of evidence for such things. They like to talk about “star nurseries” and other interesting ideas, but we've only seen stars die, not be born. Now, “star nurseries” may be a thing. My worldview doesn't care about that really, although the ideas are intriguing. They like to talk about Pop III stars (which have never been observed by the way) which have apparently all died out but made it possible for all the other stars and the heavier elements to exist. You see how they do that? They just make up stories, pass them off as settled science, and no one bothers to ask questions. Then we go all the way back to the beginning of the universe. It's hilarious they want to suggest they know anything about it. And here we have more laws of science violated in order to allow for the atheist's origins myth. Sadly, some theistic evolutionists are on board with all of this as well. Not all, but many. They battle Bible-believing Christians and they'll join forces with God-hating militant atheists to do it. All this time, they'll suggest they're Christians, too.

Let's keep in mind that universal common descent (often simply termed “evolution” so as to add confusion) is absolutely incompatible with Christianity. And let's keep in mind that universal common descent is completely incompatible with science and reality.

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What Does the Bible Say About Conflict?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 28, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Conflict: it happens to all of us, but none of us like it. Conflict exists because of sin in this world, so we’ll have to deal with it our whole lives in various forms and with various people. So what does the Bible say about conflict?

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:1-2). That passage pretty much sums up why we have conflict; we look to others to fulfill our needs rather than looking to God, and we get frustrated when those needs are not fulfilled.

If we were all able to live perfect, sinless lives, conflict would not exist. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

But, since we all mess up at that, we know we will have trouble and conflict in this world (John 16:33). So what can we do to resolve these conflicts?

One of the most common methods for dealing with conflict is described in detail in Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

The other key method for conflict resolution is forgiveness. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them” (Luke 17:3-4).

Sometimes, it is best to simply overlook the wrong that someone has done to you. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” But, we have to be careful that that overlooking doesn’t take root and turn into bitterness that we will later have to overcome.

Sometimes we can avoid conflict simply by following these words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-42: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Resolving conflict is so important that Jesus tells His followers to not even bring an offering to Him if we have unresolved conflict. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

How are you doing with conflict in your life? Are you causing it, avoiding it, or resolving it? As you go about your days, I encourage you to remember these words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:12-13: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

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 Faith of Micaiah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 27, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Without a doubt, one of the most iconic movie scenes in history comes from A Few Good Men. Even if you haven’t seen it, you probably know the scene. Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, the attorney played by Tom Cruise, has the brazen, corrupt Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, on the witness stand as he tries to get to the bottom of what took place that led to the death of a young Marine stationed in Cuba under Jessup’s command. As they go back and forth playing their legal “games," the conversation escalates to Lt. Kaffee emphatically demanding the truth. Colonel Jessup screams back, “You can’t handle the truth!” Jessup goes on to express his displeasure with those who enjoy the freedom he provides but constantly question the manner in which he provides it.

There is some truth in Jessup’s words. As we gather this Memorial Day weekend for food, fun, and family fellowship, it’s necessary for us to stop and honor the sacrifices of those who have given everything in order to provide us with the freedom we enjoy year-round. As I personally think about those who have given their lives for me, the list of course starts with Jesus but includes so many whose names I’ll never even know. Those men and women were willing to run toward danger and do jobs that so many others are unwilling to do. They deserve to be called “heroes” because they stood up to fear when so many others could not or would not. Some of them even experienced opposition from their own countrymen as those who opposed military action hurled their insults and frustrations directly at the soldiers who were just trying to serve their nation. They are heroes because they went against the grain.

The heroes of our faith that we’ve been reviewing in this series ought to be seen the same way. What made them stand out in most cases was their willingness to go against the grain, against what was popular, or even against what was comfortable in order to be counted as faithful and obedient to the Lord and his will. This week, we look at a man who was briefly mentioned in the post on Jehoshaphat earlier in the series. Hebrews 11:36 says that some of the anonymously faithful faced “chains and imprisonment." This might not seem like it’s as harrowing as what so many others went through. I’ve been in multiple prisons doing ministry in my life and I’ve yet to see someone being tortured or even greatly mistreated. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but we have to understand that what we know as imprisonment today in our country is far from what it was like for those who were hated during biblical times.

One man who suffered greatly and was imprisoned for following the Lord and going against what was popular was the prophet Micaiah. We don’t know a lot about him since his presence in the Bible is short-lived, but we do know that he was faithful and bold. His story is part of the story of the evil King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah. It is found in multiple places, but I’ll be looking at the account in 2 Chronicles 18. King Ahab wanted to go to war and capture a city called Ramoth Gilead, but he wanted King Jehoshaphat to join forces and help him. Jehoshaphat wouldn’t do it unless Ahab first sought the counsel of the Lord (2 Chronicles 18:4). Ahab then summoned four hundred men who all said that God would give the city into Ahab’s hand. This somehow prompted Jehoshaphat to ask if there were any ACTUAL prophets of the Lord whom they could ask. Something about the way those four hundred men carried themselves made it somewhat obvious that they were merely “yes” men who couldn’t have cared less what God was actually saying. Maybe they were scared of what the king would do if they gave him bad news (we’ll see in a bit why they had reason for this fear). Maybe they had originally been true prophets but had abandoned the Lord in order to do what was popular.

Ahab told Jehoshaphat that the one prophet left through whom they could inquire of the Lord was Micaiah, but Ahab admitted right off the bat that he hated Micaiah because he only prophecies bad things about Ahab. This shows us what Micaiah was known for. Four hundred other “prophets” were known for saying whatever pleased the evil king. But one man went against the grain and was known for speaking the truth about an evil man who disobeyed the Lord. It’s not that he had it out for Ahab. Prophecy is not always a mystery. If a man does bad things, worships idols, marries a foreign woman who makes it her mission to murder prophets of the Lord, and continues to reject God completely, how can any prophet worth his salt suggest that such a man has a bright future and will be blessed by God? Micaiah was simply the only one who was willing to say what was TRUE.

When Ahab sent for him, Micaiah was brought out by officials. This, combined with his RETURN to the officials at the end of the story in verse 25, reveals that Micaiah was most likely already in prison before he was summoned by Ahab. It’s no wonder so many of the other prophets were afraid to deliver bad news to Ahab. If he didn’t like what you said, he just sent you off to prison until he felt like letting you go. As Micaiah is summoned, Ahab’s messenger urges him to prophesy in agreement with the other four hundred, but Micaiah declares that he can only speak as the Lord directs (vv. 12-13). It was preposterous in his eyes to think that a mere man can change or control the words of the immortal God. It wasn’t even about what Micaiah desired. I’m sure he desired to say something that pleased the king so that his own suffering would end, but he didn’t even see that as an option.

Micaiah’s first response to Ahab was, “Attack and be victorious," but Ahab reminded him that he wants the truth (vv. 14-15). This tells us that Micaiah’s initial response was likely very sarcastic. Something about it told Ahab that he wasn’t being serious. It’s ironic that Ahab demanded the truth because he had shown for his entire reign as king that he couldn’t handle it! Micaiah could’ve channeled his inner-Jessup and blasted Ahab for demanding something that he couldn’t accept deep down in places he doesn’t talk about at parties. Instead, Micaiah just went right back to speaking the hard truth he always did and declared that Ahab would be killed when he went into battle. Another prophet, Zedekiah, slapped Micaiah in the face, because when you can’t handle the truth, you resort to violence. Ahab then ordered Micaiah back to prison and ordered that he be given only bread and water until Ahab would return safely (vv. 25-26). The NKJV of this passage calls it “the bread and water of affliction," which basically meant that Micaiah would be stuck in prison and only receiving the bare essentials for the rest of his life.

Ahab’s real problem was with God, yet he couldn’t do anything to get back at God so he took out his frustrations on God’s true servant. Micaiah never wavered in his resolve to be faithful and obedient to God. He responded to Ahab that if he were to ever return safely, that would mean the Lord had not spoken through Micaiah at all (v. 27). Micaiah didn’t worry about the circumstances he faced. He stood his ground on the truth of the Lord’s word and was willing to be judged by whether the prophecy was fulfilled rather than the popular opinion of man. Ahab wanted to inflict as much suffering on Micaiah as he could without killing him, and I know of no evidence that Micaiah ever got out of prison. But the prophecy came true and Ahab was killed in the battle for Ramoth Gilead. Micaiah wasn’t hailed as a hero among his peers, but he certainly was a hero of the faith. As you are reminded of his story, as well as so many others who heroically stood up against evil and went against the grain, be one who is obedient and true to the Lord regardless of personal cost. Be bold. Be courageous. Be a hero.

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Culture Primed for a Movement

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 26, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

It's no secret that young adults have been leaving congregations across the U.S. for some time. While certain mega-churches have attracted young adults with the many programs they offer, the decline is generally across the board. The reason for the decline is explained in 6 key areas that this study from Barna Research reveals.

I don't intend to unpack the study completely, so please read through it for context. I do want to connect this study to something important for followers of Jesus to consider. If you look across the 6 reasons listed, you may notice two rather glaring threads of consistency. The first thread is that ALL of these reasons for leaving are relational at their core. Yes, we can discount the "me" focused complaint, but we cannot dismiss the fact that these reasons for leaving stem from a relational disconnect. Essentially, these young adults are complaining there is no relational culture of "know and be known," which comes from cultivating attitudes and actions designed for understanding one another. The U.S. Church may have illusions of this with the coffee culture, informality, and small groups, but at the heart of community there are walls around truly being connected to one another on a personal level.

This shouldn't be a surprise when we look at young adults, who as a whole are trending more liberal than conservative. This is not because they are trending that way, but because the church has developed "systems" to grow church programs, without maturing people to be fully developed followers of Jesus. That takes one-on-one relationship, mentoring, and intentional investment in one another's lives – in short, relationships.

It may be easy to make excuses about the "cell phone" generation who cannot have an eyeball to eyeball conversation, but seriously, who allowed that to happen? Who allowed the internet and the media to become the primary sources of life learning and information for an entire generation? Where was the Church, when an entire generation of young people were being entertained into indoctrination of the world? The Church was busy clamoring for attention, building its platform to compete on an entertainment level to try and hold their attention. And the sad reality is, they saw the shallowness of the world's entertainment and the self-interested nature of worldly programming. They learned it, and now they see it clearly in the survival mode of the U.S. Church.

My hunch is that young adults long to see that the love and power of God is REAL. But, the mechanisms of the Western Church and the insecurity of Christians keep validating these 6 perspectives.

OUCH!! Does that strike a nerve? How can I say we are insecure? Well, aren't we? Think about it. Why do we need bigger shows on weekends and more programs to satiate attendee demands? Why are we concerned about declining numbers and closing church buildings? Why are we "raising money" for ministry from the people we should be ministering to? Why are we so uncomfortable disagreeing with someone and yet remaining a friend and loving them? Why are we unable to sit eyeball to eyeball, one-on-one, and invest in the life of someone who is trying to figure out what this whole Jesus thing is all about? Why do we act as if the life and the power of the Church originates in our creativity, consumer appeal, emotional experiences, or business strategies?

What if the Church demonstrated what we see in Acts? What if people being healed, addictions being broken, lives being completely changed, and demonstrations of God's power and presence were the norm in the Church? What if we stopped sensationalizing emotional experiences of "spiritual drunkenness," we stopped trying to win with our intellectual prowess, and we let God's true nature and power be seen? What if we fasted and prayed for our nation and our politics instead of bashing and complaining? What if we held our tongues, held out our hands, and with every ounce of strength we have, centered our attention on God's presence and purposes for each moment? Would we be debating the morality of our politics and obscuring good while pandering for political points? Would we be trying to make the institutional church survive? Would we be quibbling over these 6 reasons young people are leaving? 

Certainly not. This brings me to the second thread that is obvious in the 6 reasons: our culture is primed for a movement. In the midst of all the divisive rhetoric and vitriol, in the midst of the verbal jousting that covers for empathetic impotence, there is a longing for something to believe in. The surest sign from all the impotent chattering in our culture, and from all the disillusionment with the Church, is that people want someone or something to believe in. The harsh criticisms and the rhetoric have power because they expose the shortcomings and valid reasons to not trust your life to the cultural 'saviors' we have in politics and churches. 

So, how are we primed for a movement? The good news is that Jesus hasn't changed, and His power isn't diminished. The good news is we have an entire generation wired for one-on-one relationships and horizontal connections with their peers, like few times in human history. In this culture, if we would do what Paul entrusts Timothy with in 2 Timothy 2:2, we may see a shift we haven't seen for a very long time. We may see a true reviving of people through faith in Jesus Christ.

In that passage, there are four generations of believers represented - Paul to Timothy, Timothy to trustworthy learners, and trustworthy learners who teach others. This isn't just education and information. This is discipleship in the midst of sharing life together - intentionally growing in relationship and understanding with God, as we relate to one another. What Paul taught Timothy could not be done in a Sunday School class, or an hour a week in a classroom with a curriculum. This was in-the-trenches living with God and for God. That is something different than what our U.S. Church culture has been producing.

If you want to help turn the tide and light a match for God's movement in our culture, I highly recommend the tool Small Circle, created by Steve McCoy. Its available as a free app for Android or iOS, or as at-cost workbooks available from XChange.

The large gathering of believers has value, and small groups have value, but they cannot replace the necessity of fulfilling the Great Commission, face-to-face and side-by-side.

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Tests of a Christian, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 25, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Over the past three weeks, I have been talking about the basics of Christianity. But in every congregation, the enemy seeks to plant false converts for the purpose of infecting, infiltrating, and ultimately destroying the church from within. There is a very common phrase out there that says, “Only God can judge the heart.” There is truth to that, but most people who say that are really saying, “Be quiet and let me sin in peace.”

The Apostle John wrote his first epistle as an elder of the church at Ephesus seeking to address many of the false teachings and false converts which had infiltrated their ranks. He gives nine tests of a Christian in this letter for the purpose of showing the true Christians that they are indeed saved. I have heard numerous sermons on this letter, namely by Paul Washer but also by Todd Friel and others. While I do not want to merely parrot their sermons, do take note that what I say here is influenced by them.

The first test is found in 1 John 1:6. If you claim to be a Christian and yet walk in darkness, you are a liar and you are not a Christian. If you claim the faith and yet as a style of life you live and love your sin, you aren’t saved. Remember, the Apostle John is known as the “apostle of love.” He does not mince words about calling people lying who claim to be Christian and yet live a life totally contrary to what Scripture states.

A Christian loves the light, which means he will love being in a position where his sin can be exposed before God. In Psalm 139, David cried out to God to search him and try him and seek for any sin so that it may be exposed and thus dealt with. The faker loves his sin and hates any light that would dare expose it. The faker walks in darkness so his sin will not be seen and exposed. The faker would rather shade the light rather than expand it.

The second test is found in 1 John 1:8. If you think you are just fine and have no sin to deal with, you are deceiving yourself. The Christian is constantly aware of his own sin. As Paul grew in his faith, you can notice a change in his tone. He started out bold and courageous shouting victory over sin, yet as his time grew to a close, he became ever so aware of his current and past sins. He called himself the chief of sinners. He knew what he did prior to Christ and the movie “Paul: Apostle of Christ” suggests that the thorn in his flesh was a constant reminded of the blood on his hands from those days.

One of the ways my pastor addresses this test is this: “Can you sin and get away with it?” Are you able to sin and not experience the guilt and shame of offending the King of Kings? If so, you should examine yourself to find out if you are indeed saved. God always disciplines his children. True children appreciate discipline and do not despise it because they know it is for their betterment. Wicked children despise discipline because they hate having their sin addressed. No one likes discipline as we go through it, but those who are of God would rather go through the pain of discipline than the broken fellowship with God. Psalm 51 so well illustrates this. David hated his sin. It was always before him and at times it beat him down, but he longed to be free of it and always in the presence of his God. A Christian knows his sin is always around but never justifies it nor seeks to keep it around. The faker dismisses his sin as even being significant and always tries to minimize what it really is.

The third test is in 1 John 2:9-11. Do you love the brethren? Do you love being with other believers, or does Christian fellowship bore you? Does being in the presence of others talking about God fill you? Many people see church as one of two wrong reasons. One is that it is simply their Sunday social club. For many years, going to church was simply what you did on Sundays without a second thought about what it was for the rest of the week. The other wrong reasons is that it is a place of pain. The church is frequently one of the places of some of the greatest pain is experienced. Church-hurt is no laughing matter, and as a result many despise the church setting. Yet, Paul states in Romans 3:1-4 that if someone claiming to represent God fails to do so properly, do not let that color your image of God.

Finding believers in a hostile environment is a great joy. Many have to hide because of intense persecution or being bullied into silence. When I come across another believer in my public school setting, it gives me great joy. I don’t always get to spend time with them sharing about my faith and such but when I see another believer, it excites me. One of my greatest joys is watching a youth “get it” about Christianity and walk in faith. I love being around other believers. I love listening to a good sermon and someone speaking the truth of God. Do we love other believers? Or is the only reason we care about them because of what we get out of it?

The fourth test is in 1 John 2:19. Here John specifies false teachers in how they were among the brethren and eventually left. But the concept is also true about the congregants. John is not talking about leaving individual church congregations. I left my home church in Colorado and then left another church I attended for five years before going to the one I am in now. I did not leave the body; I was just relocated by God. John is addressing those who talk the talk and supposedly walked the walk and then left, abandoning the faith entirely and living in sin.

I hear the testimony of many “ex-Christians” and I can tell immediately they never were a Christian. Not only do they demonstrate no knowledge of even the basics of Christianity, but John is suggesting that if they left the faith, they never really were of the faith. Hebrews 6:4-6 is often a hotly debated passage on whether one can lose salvation or not, however it is impossible for one to be saved, get unsaved, then resaved again because that crucifies Christ multiple times and he died once for all. It is possible for one to get disillusioned, but if one walks away from God and he belongs to him, God will bring him back. He will not let his children stay away for long. In reality, however, if one walks away from Christianity, chances are extremely high he never was born again, it was just a religion, and he never knew Christ.

Next week, we’ll address tests 5-9 in 1 John.

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.


Did We Evolve by Viral Infections?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 24, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

We’ve been exploring the “mountain of evidence” evolutionists very often cite when they are having a hard time dealing with creationists and the logical arguments often presented against evolutionism. We looked at common traits and how that is not only NOT evidence for common ancestry but that it is good evidence for creation. Genetics and embryology as well as other fields support this. Today, I’d like to look briefly at endogenous retroviruses. Don’t be scared! With a little explanation, it’ll be easy to follow.

We all have heard of a virus. It’s a little critter that uses our cell’s machinery to reproduce itself. They frequently make us sick. It’s arguable that it’s a living thing—it meets much but not necessarily all of the criteria man has established for such a classification. Being a “retro” virus doesn’t mean they used to be cool in the 70’s. It means they work in reverse of the norm when it comes to genetics. DNA converts to RNA to make proteins. However, using a specific enzyme, retroviruses actually turn RNA into DNA. This DNA can then be inserted into a host’s DNA, altering it. These viruses can probably aid in species variation. The claim by Darwinists is that this is very strong evidence for common ancestry. But as with most such evidence, the more we learn about it, the less likely the evolutionist’s tale seems to be supported by it.

The biggest issue with this line of reasoning is the biggest problem with most of their lines of thinking: they believe in evolution and/or deep time and then interpret the evidence to support it. It’s fairly easy to do. But, again, the more we learn about a given subject, the less it confirms Darwinism and, in many cases, the more it contradicts Darwinism. But have no fear! Rescuing devices for the Darwinian origins myth abound.

There are multiple reasons why these types of viruses do not support universal common descent. In fact, the line of reasoning as discussed above is circular, as no outside information can support the idea of them supporting evolution. As Dr. Andrew Fabich stated, “When you assume the outcomes of your experiments before conducting them and fit the data to your own interpretation, you leave the realm of science and enter the realm of self-fulfilling prophecy.” One problem is that of “junk” DNA. Now, a few years ago, evolutionists had to walk back one of the long standing (and naive) claims that our genetic code was littered with useless bits of DNA—which they claimed was evidence for their theory. Over the course of billions of years, DNA acquired numerous mutations that often times were silent—they were not brought out in how the organism developed. These accumulated over the eons and eventually could account for massive diversity and specialization in the biosphere (the wide array of organisms in our world). They called this “junk” DNA because they didn't think it served a purpose—like junk, it was useless and of no value.

However, this exemplifies the arrogance of man. We didn't understand or know what its functions were, so we “knew” it had none. This has been shown to be far from the truth. There is no such thing as “junk” DNA, which some evolutionists insist was their argument all along. The idea is that all these little viruses that inserted their genetic material into our genetic code would have left useless “junk” segments of DNA that had no purpose. If they left lots of baggage in our DNA, evolution would basically be free to use that as a means to produce new structures and functions. But this isn't the case at all. Again, the more we learn, the less we know. There is no evidence of this at all.

The genes associated with retroviruses are very often extremely important. Viral DNA sequences from some ancient “bug” should yield useless junk, not important information-carrying material. In some cases, they are absolutely detrimental to the development of an organism. Doesn't that seem like stronger evidence for their original inclusion in the genetic code, since they can often be essential for life? But if there are bits of “junk” DNA in the genome, this would stand in the face of the Darwinist's myth anyway. Why? Evolution essentially exists on a use it or lose it principle. If something has no function, it will, over the course of millions of years, be eliminated, right? Surely the process that can create sonar and the human brain by accident would very efficiently remove a useless organ, tissue, structure or genetic segment. Basically, the evolutionist's idea here is that, “Evolution will remove what it removes and keep what it will keep and that's what we predict.” In essence, evolution predicts whatever we see in the world around us and nothing we don't see. That's called science by some.

There are some segments of DNA that seem to be similar across different types of living things. This is used as evidence that they were inserted long ago when all of these organisms hadn't branched off their ancestral lineage. However, there are also many alleged segments that are not that similar. These are still used as evidence. Then there are a large number that are not alike at all. How are these explained by the advocate for universal common descent? Again, being “similar” to the extent of being identical is not as common as we're led to believe.

In the Journal of Virology, Dr. Edward Holmes indicated that the genetic “clocks” of these viral segments appear to indicate they cannot be older than about 50,000 years. If that's even remotely true, then these cannot be ancestral to anything.

It's also interesting that I could not find anyone who could actually document how a virus inserted its DNA into the germ cell (the cells by which eggs and sperm come from) so it was passed on to the next generation. Again, this falls back to the idea that this is simply an interpretation of the data, and an elaborate story is told which includes bits and pieces of known facts. If this is what some call scientific fact, then Star Trek is also scientific fact. It's a cool story written with small amounts of scientific truth (that is expanded upon much like evolution). In fact, very few of these sorts of viruses insert and maintain their genetic material inside a host cell. Those that do generally result in some sort of cancer or other disease and none are known to infect germ cells (the cells the lead to reproduction) so they can never be passed on after being incorporated into the genome. Sorry, evolutionist. Your story telling has no merit.

According to Brian Thomas, “Copies of a computer virus on a hard drive do not improve software or performance, but rather harm it. Useful software comes only by planning and effort. Science has shown that transposons [alleged retrovirus DNA segments] are useful biological software. But this means that they did not come from viruses, despite contradictory popular press. Instead, they appear to have come from a pre-designed system of integrated genetic elements that mobilize under strict regulation, and which in turn regulate other systems.” This makes sense to everyone but evolutionists. Randomly throwing letters on paper doesn't make a novel. Creating errors in computer code doesn't make a better program. Throwing paint on a canvas won't magically create the Mona Lisa.

The fact is that no one has any idea if retroviruses actually insert their DNA into a host so that it is maintained and passed on to subsequent generations. Another fact is they have no idea where viruses came from. Some evidence seems to indicate that viruses originated from host DNA, not the other way around. That's remarkable! But the bottom line is we simply don't know enough to suggest anything either way. And, like so much else, they say this is STRONG support for evolution from a common ancestor. Ugh. The strongest evidence is, again, not evidence at all (unless we're going to say that Star Trek is evidence for intergalactic space travel, aliens, and warp speed).

It could very well be that there are similar genetic sequences in similar looking organisms because those organisms require similar things. I've covered this sort of thing in my post from last week and the post before that. Similarities could suggest a common ancestral lineage, but they can also indicate common design and would do so for a variety of reasons. This also makes much more sense when we look at the data in detail.

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What Does the Bible Say About the Poor?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 21, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As long as there is money in this world, there will be some people who have a lot of it and some who don’t have much of it. Today, we’re taking a look at what the Bible says about the poor.

Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” While that was obviously written directly to the people of Israel, the principles apply to us today as well. 1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

In what’s known as the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus shares that whenever we give to the poor, it’s just like giving to Him. Similarly, Proverbs 14:31 says, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Matthew 5:42 says, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

How should we give to those in need? Matthew 6:1-4 says, ““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

In Luke 6:38 Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Toward the end of His earthly ministry, when Jesus’ feet were anointed using a jar of expensive perfume and the disciples questioned the wastefulness, Jesus told them, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26:11).

The book of Proverbs has much wisdom on how we are to treat the poor. Proverbs 22:22-23 says, “Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.” Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

Jesus told His disciples, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:20, 24). You don’t have to be rich to inherit the Kingdom of God: “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?“ (James 2:5). But we can still show our faith by helping those in need: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

The key thing to remember when dealing with the poor is this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). First and foremost, we as followers of Jesus are called to be His disciples, which means showing God’s love to others. Sometimes this may mean fulfilling their material needs, and other times this may mean helping them learn new skills to help themselves in life. The key is to be in relationship with Jesus so we know how to live out the love that He desires to show all people, whether rich or poor.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

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The Faith of Jeremiah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 20, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever stopped and reflected on your life and wondered how in the world you ended up where you are? This can happen in either a very positive or a very negative light. Personally, I’ve had those moments when I’ve found myself leading a church in Marion, Ohio or ministering to the homeless in Findlay, Ohio after spending the first twenty-seven years of my life in Pennsylvania. Currently, I’m living back in Pennsylvania, residing and ministering in a town forty minutes from where I grew up yet still very familiar to me because of the four years that God allowed me to earn an income as a driver for FedEx Ground here. I’m experiencing all of this with my wife who “just happened” to wind up in Ohio at the same time I was and “just happened” to get a job at the homeless shelter where I was working, even though she spent most of her life growing up in Virginia. When I look back on my life, I realize not much of it could’ve been predicted and most of it is an example of God’s grace, his providence, and his GOOD plan.

Most of you could probably say the same thing about your own lives and the directions they have taken. We don’t always realize that God is working when he is, but it’s fairly easy to see when we take a moment to reflect on our lives. However, the question I shared above can also be asked when we find ourselves in the midst of negative circumstances. I can think of very specific times in my life when I looked around at the destruction and misery that surrounded me as a result of my own choices and wondered how I could have ever gotten that far down the wrong path. Again, I’m sure many of you reading this could say you’ve had those moments as well. The results in our lives can often be traced back to either God’s goodness or our own sins.

What we should know as believers in the Lord is that when we follow him, it’s a dangerous thing to evaluate our decisions and lives solely on our circumstances. While “reaping what you sow” is generally a true concept and is even Biblical (Galatians 6:7), the reaping doesn’t always make sense to our finite minds and worldly ways of examining our circumstances. One thing we’ve seen through this series on the heroes of our faith is that God sometimes blesses them even when they are caught in sin and allows them to suffer when they appear to be following him wholeheartedly. God uses everything according to his will and sometimes we don’t reap the rewards of our faith until we spend eternity with him.

One faithful hero who likely often wondered how he could end up where he did was the prophet Jeremiah. Despite his faithfulness to God, he was known as “the weeping prophet” and rarely reaped any positive consequences from his obedient sowing. More than just mental anguish over the state of his people, he also experienced great physical and emotional torment. Hebrews 11:36 tells us that some of the anonymously faithful “faced jeers and flogging," which could probably be characterized today as severe verbal and physical abuse. Jeremiah was one of several people from the Old Testament who would likely fit this description. In Jeremiah 20, we see that a priest named Pashhur, who at the time was the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, has Jeremiah “beaten and put in stocks” because he was upset about the things Jeremiah was preaching regarding the Lord’s anger toward the sins of the nation (vv. 1-2). A commentary I was reading from Enduring Word suggests that the expression translated as “beaten” most likely referred to the “forty lashes minus one” concept applied during a severe flogging. If you read last week’s post, you may remember that the Apostle Paul experienced this most painful of beatings five times. In addition, the “stocks” refers to a structure in which a prisoner was locked into a twisted and confined position to cause increasing pain and discomfort. By the way, this was likely AFTER he had already been flogged. So, it’s not like his wounds were healed before his body was forcefully contorted. Verse 3 tells us that Jeremiah was released the next day, which means he was kept in that position for the rest of the day!

This didn’t stop Jeremiah from continuing to speak whatever the Lord commanded him to speak. He was a prophet of the Lord and was not willing to water down the message in order to make people happy and save himself from harm. Jeremiah would face many other obstacles and extreme punishments during his time as a prophet, including being thrown in prison in Jeremiah 37 and then lowered into a cistern with no water and only mud in Jeremiah 38. That last punishment was intended to kill him; he was done. Jeremiah 38:6 says that he “sank down into the mud." If those are the cruelest of circumstances for someone who has done nothing but obey God, I don’t know what is. He was literally sinking into the mud in a cistern deep in the ground with no way to save himself or meet any of his other needs. He would die by either suffocation in the mud or starvation, whichever happened first.

God moved in the heart of one of the officials to rescue him before it was too late, but Jeremiah was certainly aware of how much pain had come to his life because he was obedient. There is a section in the book that specifically lays out Jeremiah’s complaint to God. It’s found in Jeremiah 20:7-18 and I encourage you to read it yourself. At first glance, it may come across like he is deranged and literally going back and forth between worship and whining. But such is the life of one who obeys the Lord in the face of intense opposition and endures all of the pain that comes with it. He says he is “ridiculed all day long” and mocked by everyone (v. 7). He adds, “The word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long” (v. 8). And we already know about his being beaten/flogged. He reflects on his life and has the thoughts most of us would: “Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame”? (v. 18) Yet, even in the midst of all the pain and suffering he faced, Jeremiah reminds himself that he was born to be the very prophet of the Lord that he was: “But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name’, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (v. 9).

Jeremiah knew what he was born to do (God told him in Jeremiah 1:5 that he knew him BEFORE he was even born and that he had appointed him as a prophet to the nations) and the thought of not doing it was worse than enduring the pain and suffering that came because he was obedient to the Lord. This is a faithful hero if I ever read about one. He may have faced jeers and flogging, but his obedience forced the people who should’ve been honoring God all along to have to face their own wickedness. And while they ultimately did not listen to Jeremiah and were overtaken by the Babylonians as a result, Jeremiah could rest knowing that he did everything he could to stop it. Are you willing to speak the truth of God’s word to others no matter what it causes to take place in your life? People may not listen to you, but that’s between them and God. What you share and how you represent God’s word to them is between YOU and God. You may not reap good circumstances for yourself in this lifetime, but trust in God as your full reward and reap the benefits for all of eternity.

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It's No Longer OK to Be Broken?? Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 19, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

If you didn't read last week's blog post, please click here to do so before continuing.

When I went to the doctor a few years ago and complained of abdominal pain and spasms, the doctor checked my bowels, my muscles, and my lower digestive organs to see if there might be issues with any of them. Because I am male, these were the standard things to check. If I had been female, my doctor would have considered my symptoms differently and checked my reproductive organs as well as asked me about any abnormalities in my cycle. The same complaint from a male or female prompts different responses regarding diagnosis and treatment, because each is different and distinct. In fact, over 6000 genes in our bodies express themselves directly related to our sex. Biologically, sex is not fluid. Classically, sex has been equated with gender as one in the same. This is why psychology has maintained for a very long time that those who believe they are male when their sex is clearly female, or vice versa, had gender dysphoria. Simply stated, it’s a psychological confusion about their gender.

Modern psychological trends are attempting to re-write the definitions and standards around this topic to separate the idea of gender from sex - making "gender" a perceptual norm and "sex" a physical norm. By doing so, there can be support to set aside the classic diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Why? Because it presents this disconnect as abnormal (broken) and indicates that treatment to helps realign perception with biological reality should follow. In the new methodology, gender dysphoric separation in psychological perception is validated as normal (not broken). Counsel given under this method supports changing physical reality to match perception through gender reassignment.

I explain all of this not to engage in debate about the topic specifically, but to point out the shift in assumptions regarding what is broken or not broken, and what is helpful or not helpful. With the rise of relativist morality, the self-centered determination of reality has been promoted as normal and good. In other words, if it feels good, do it; if it's right for you, do it. The problem is there is no objective standard to settle conflict in this way of thinking. Even "social contracts" fail, whenever it is more beneficial to an individual to no longer honor the contract than to keep it. Everything becomes based on our perception of what is real, rather than any evidence, fact, commitment, etc.

Here's another way of seeing this. The expression cogito ergo sum ("I think therefore I am"), was originally meant to express consciousness. It was an expression of what we can be certain of, even in the midst of doubt. Descartes coined the phrase while trying to explain that in the face of uncertainty, our ability to doubt and think about our doubt is an expression of the certainty that we really exist. Ok, I know that is deep stuff. But look at this subtle shift I can make to that quote.

What if I said, "I think therefore I am," was a statement to support that I control my own reality? What if I said, "my thinking determined that I am," or "my thinking creates my reality"? I would be taking Descartes’ proof of existence and twisting it into a justification for bending my physical reality to how I think, which would be a very different focus and result for his statement. I would be borrowing the credibility of Descartes’ legitimate proof and turning it into a statement of my assumption. My assumption has glaring holes that Descartes would never agree with, the first and most obvious being that I have no real control over my reality - thinking a thing to be true or factual doesn't make it so. This is what is happening constantly in our culture right now. Elements of fact or truth are loaded into political statements, pop science, media stories, etc., and are then layered with perceptions and beliefs that people desperately want to be real. Many of these statements attempt to validate exceptions as normal and make what is accepted as normal to be evil or oppressive by nature just because it's the most prevalent. The ultimate goal behind all of this is power and control, and it stems from the thinking that we can force reality to become what we think it should be. This is the heart of vanity and the foundation of all human conflict.

Here is the counter story. Humanity was created to live fully in the design God gave us, in His image and with gifts and abilities that display His character and nature. We decided to take our lives into our own hands and go our own way. The consequence of our decision was separation from God and an inability to live up to the design and image we had been given, as well as an inability to control the consequences for our shortcomings (Genesis 1-3). Our design had been made to function in relationship with the one whose image we reflected. Apart from that relationship, from our own desires, our existence and example became counterfeit. Humanity, apart from God, is broken and sick. Our sickness is our desires to satisfy ourselves, and it continues our brokenness, just like a virus that keeps evading our immune system. If we do not acknowledge that brokenness and seek correction, healing, redemption, and/or rescue, we will become more sick. Or worse, we will recover from this sickness and be vulnerable to an even greater sickness that follows.

I encourage you to read what James had to say in the very first chapter of his letter to the early believers in Jesus. Reflect on each verse and write down your first thoughts as you read through the verses. Then go back and consider how you respond to verses 22-25. Do you adjust your thinking to the reality and the standards God has given, or do you try to adjust God to your thinking? Have you accepted the world's perceptions of what is or is not broken, or are you willing to see your own brokenness honestly and seek God's help?

His promises to Israel are still true: I will rescue you, I will free you, I will redeem you, and I will take you in and protect you as my family. What started with God's promise to Israel and a hope from Israel for the world, Jesus Christ made true and available for anyone who will trust Him with their life.

Will you?

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Basic Christianity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 18, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In the last two weeks, I have written about the big picture and how to build according to the instructions we have been given. Today, I want to hit what that big picture is. It doesn’t matter how mature you are in your faith, it never hurts to return back to basics.

A key thing about Christianity that has been missed is the fact that it does not matter how many times you go over the basic truths, you never will reach the depths of those truths. Karl Barth was known to be one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century. He was asked, “What is the most profound thing you know?” The answer was “Oh, that’s easy: Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Several years ago I would have laughed at that response. I would have been like “Really? That’s it? That’s a kid’s song.” That was then. Now, I see more and more how deep and rich that simple statement truly is. A Christian can go over the same basic truth over and over and over again and never exhaust the depth of it. The problem is so few are digging to get deeper into those simple basic truths. So, what are they? What are these basic truths?

First, I need to explain what Christianity is NOT because too many people live these false ‘truths.’ Christianity is NOT a religion as most people understand religions. While there are aspects to Christianity which are religious in nature, there is much more to Christianity than a mere religion. It is not merely something people believe to give them comfort or feel good, nor it is a set of doctrines to adhere to. Christianity is NOT something we agree to for what we get out of it. Too many people only embrace Christianity for the idea of going to heaven and getting out of hell. That’s not what it is, nor what it is about. Christianity is NOT something we give intellectual ascent to and then practically live however we want otherwise. If I had a weakness in my faith, this would be it – knowing the theory and the facts but not making it real in my life. Any time we take one of these routes, we cut ourselves short for what it really is. Many are disillusioned because they hear the grand thoughts but see lives that never demonstrate the real deal. As Leonard Ravenhill is famous for saying, “The world isn’t waiting for a new definition of Christianity. It’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.”

Christianity is also not the common plan of salvation. When most people think of the Gospel, they think of the four spiritual laws or the Big Story. In a nutshell, the four truths are: “God created a perfect world, man sinned and created havoc as a result, God sent Christ to the cross to break the power of sin and death, and Jesus has been in the process of restoring man and soon the whole creation back to God.” This is a very quick summary of the big story that is Genesis through Revelation. However, most people think getting people through this and agreeing to it is all there is to it. That’s just the story. Christianity is not about a story. It is something real, something no other religion nor holy book nor ideal can grasp.

First, Christianity is about God, not man. God is the star and lead character, not man. If you ask the average church goer about who God is, most will reveal a very distorted view. Part of that is because so few are teaching about who God is. They will cite the love of God and the mercy of God, but not his holiness nor his righteousness. Many churchgoers will describe a god who likes what they like, hates what they hate, and seems to look a lot like them or how they would operate if they were God. Most people’s image of God is themselves. Christianity embraces God as he reveals himself to be and as the one who determines all things and as the standard of all standards. I wrote about the attributes of God a couple years ago and I am working on a devotional about them as well.

Christianity understands the nature of depravity of sin. It is something too many of us take too lightly. I struggled through reading the Life and Diary of David Brainard, however what stuck out to me was his constant awareness of his own sin. Sin is not merely something God doesn’t like. It is intentional defiance of God’s commands. When the angels and seraphim, planets and stars, winds and waves, and all creation obeys God at his word, man hears him and snuffs his nose at him. It is utter evil. Sin is an enemy, it only destroys, and it always results in death and destruction. Christ came to undo the work of sin and death. Why should we have anything to do with it?

Christianity recognizes the power and work of the cross. The cross did not just save man from hell, but it broke man from the grip of sin. Too many claim Christian lives and still live in captivity to sin. Why? I understand the struggle. I’m not talking about the daily battle with sin. I’m talking about embracing that sin as “part of who I am.” May it never be. Christianity is not about being freed from the consequences of sin, though that is part of it. It is about being free from the problem of sin and with the expectancy and hope of one day being freed from the very presence of sin.

Many people treat Christianity as a crutch, mere emotional support for coping through the day. Many skeptics think that is what God is for, just being a crutch to hobble through life while they have the strength to do it without God. The true Christian will recognize that Jesus is not a crutch; he is life-support. A Christian understands he isn’t merely sick in need of an aid but is under a life-threatening and life-sucking disease. The Christian knows and acknowledges that he truly cannot live apart from Christ. Christianity is a life-exchange: our lives for his life. We give Christ our lives and all our problems and he gives us his life and all his perfection and rights and power. The problem is, we just want to hang on to the “good” stuff when the whole time, when God’s stuff is so much better.

This post really does not give Christianity the justice it deserves. I hardly scratched the surface here. How can one tell if he is truly a Christian or just a faker? The letter of 1 John gives nine tests which exposes the true born-again believer from the faker just living it by name without any actual power or identity. That is next week.

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More of the Mountain of Evidence

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 17, 2018 2 comments

by Steve Risner

Last time, I began to talk about my research into the “mountain of evidence” for evolution. We're often told there is this huge mass of evidence for Darwinian evolution and to not accept it is a denial of documented reality. That is all, of course, nonsense. The “mountain of evidence” for universal common descent is a fraud. Upon looking for this mountain, I found that common traits was a big deal to Darwinian missionaries. This is something someone who doesn't understand evolution would say, in my opinion, because if you actually understand the processes and genetics involved, there's no way to make it work with the currently popular humanist origins myth. I touched on some of these issues last time. I'd like to explain a bit further if that's okay.

The more we learn about microbiology, genetics, and embryology, the less it seems Darwinism is a reality. Of course, the evolutionist will make some wild claims that these things further confirm their beliefs, but that's not the truth at all. Very often, they'll focus on a tiny detail that seems to support their mythology and ignore the large portion of the facts that contradicts their beliefs or at the least casts a shadow of doubt.

The idea is that life evolved from a common ancestor and this is evidenced by the fact that some organisms share similar traits. It stands to reason that if these traits were because we shared a common ancestor, we would develop these traits embryologically the same, and the same genes would account for the coding of these traits. This is largely not the case at all. How can one suggest this is the strongest evidence for Darwinian evolution when it doesn't support evolution at all? This is more of the same. Darwin thought the single cell was not much more than a bag of goo. It’s easy to think that just made itself out of stuff you see in a mud puddle, I guess. Little did he know the indescribable amount of activity going on inside each of these little cells. I briefly wrote on the immensely complex cell in this blog post and in this one. It seems the more we learn, the less we know. And the more details we discover, the less feasible it seems evolution, believed to be driven by mindless copying mistakes, can account for the genetic code and its unknowable intricacies, variation, and specialization. It seems Mother Nature accidentally made the same body plans repeatedly and with very different processes involved—all without trying. Approaching the rule rather than the exception, many traits that appear to be similar between organisms can have very different genes that code for them, very different times during development that they appear, or very different tissue sources that result in their formation. Yet we get the same or similar structures. This stands in the face of common thought in evolution today and in the face of logic if Darwinism is a reality.

I broached this topic last time, but let's look at it again because it really makes a mockery out of evolutionism. This, of course, doesn't mean anything because people who have bought evolutionism hook, line, and sinker will simply brush it aside or ignore it. Or, worse yet, they'll cover it up and be dishonest about it. Being ignorant is one thing; being dishonest is a very different story.

Limbs. We like them. We hold stuff up with them. We walk with them. We like our limbs. Having four limbs is a common feature among many animals. But is this because we have a common ancestor? Not at all. Our limbs develop quite frequently from different body segments in a pattern that evolution cannot explain. Dr. Michael Denton writes in his book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, about kidney development in fish and amphibians as compared to reptiles and mammals. One would think that kidneys, if they developed in some earlier ancestor that we all shared, would have a common development embryologically. They do not. Completely different processes exist for the development of the kidney if we compare fish and amphibians with reptiles and mammals. How does this fit with common ancestry? It doesn't, in my opinion.

Biology has also shown us that very often “homologous structures” (structures that seem similar) have different genes that produce them. This seems to not fit the story of Darwinism. The opposite is also true: seemingly similar genes will regulate vastly different processes or structure formation as well. It seems, according to evolutionists, that homology is allegedly what binds us all together. Homology is what evolutionists have built the nested hierarchies on and drawn their nice pictures of lineages from. But the more we investigate these alleged similarities, the more we find that homology actually discredits Dawinism fairly soundly. Yet this is held up as one of the BEST bits of evidence for universal common descent!

What seems interesting, as well, is that some structures are called “vestigial.” These are supposed to be structures that were once something important or useful but, due to evolution over time, have lost their usefulness. To be sure, there are no such structures. There are only naive and somewhat arrogant assertions. And this would actually be evolution in reverse, would it not? A structure is actually becoming less useful or less specialized. When is the evolutionist going to show us new organs that do something completely different that are slowly developing over time? We see none of that. We don't see that in the fossil record or in the present. The fossil record is full of all sorts of interesting organisms who all seem to have all their parts and all of them are fully formed and appear functional. The theory of evolution cannot be found anywhere in the geologic column. There are no ancestors with a lesser developed version of something. Again, this flies in the face of common evolutionist storytelling.

So the bottom line is genetics doesn't support evolution from a common ancestor. Homology or similar traits doesn't support it either. Embryology, the study of embryos and how they develop, doesn't support it. What does support it? “A mountain of evidence” that is also known as the imaginings and/or storytelling of those who accept it.

The Bible tells us in Genesis (and throughout Scripture really) that God created the heavens and the earth and that He made all living things about 6000 years ago. The Word of God is built on the foundation of Genesis and a natural reading of it. The evidence for its accuracy is well documented, from creation to the Flood and beyond. We'll look at some more of the “mountain of evidence” in the future. Thanks for reading.

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What Does the Bible Say About Grace?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 14, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This is one of those posts where I simply want to write: “What does the Bible say about grace? See: entire Bible.” The entire Bible is full of the overarching story of God’s grace toward humanity, told through the stories of individuals or nations and through the life of Jesus Himself. But in this blog post, I’ll try and highlight a few passages that speak specifically to God’s grace and what it is.

One of my first few blog posts for Worldview Warriors back in 2011 was titled “Grace,” and we as a ministry have written numerous other posts on that same topic. We touch on God’s grace in many of our writings, since it’s such a primary focus of our Christian faith.

So what is grace? Simply put, it’s undeserved favor. We have sinned and don’t deserve to even be in relationship with God, much less be saved by Him, so it’s only through His grace that we can receive that salvation. This is closely related with God’s mercy, which I wrote about last week.

Ephesians 2:8-9 is one of the primary passages that explains salvation through God’s grace: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (I’d encourage you to read the whole chapter of Ephesians 2 to get an even better picture of God’s grace.) Similarly, Romans 11:6 says, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Grace means we do nothing to earn it; it’s not based at all on our works.

Titus 2:11-14 speaks of the effects of God’s grace in our lives: “ For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

Receiving God’s grace should not cause us to sin more because we know we’ll receive it. Romans 6:1-2 says, “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?” For more on that, check out this post.

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10).

I encourage you this week to live out God’s grace in our life, the favor He gives you that you don’t deserve at all. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV).

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The Faith of the Apostle Paul

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 13, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I recently had a conversation with a man from my church about how every day there are examples of the reality that life is all about choices. He’s going to be sharing a sermon at some point that is based on Deuteronomy 30:15, which says, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction." The Lord has been basically telling the Israelites through Moses that this isn’t rocket science. The choices are clear and each person must make their decision regarding what they really want.

The man from my church was telling me that he had a recent opportunity to begin to teach his 5-year old son about this. They went to a baseball game for the local independent league professional team and were sitting in the grass just beyond the fence. As they were watching, a home run was hit and landed very close to them. The little boy got excited and told his dad he wanted to get a home run ball. As they continued to pay attention waiting for the next one, the little boy looked over and saw a playground nearby. He wanted to go play with other children, so he asked his dad if he could. His dad reminded him that he wanted a home run ball and said that if he goes to the playground, he won’t be there to catch a ball if it’s hit there. The boy asked when the home run ball is going to come and his dad said he doesn’t know and it might not happen either way, but that the boy would have to choose which fun thing matters more to him.

In Hebrews 11:35, we see that some of the anonymously faithful also faced a choice, and some “were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection." The idea of it being a better resurrection pertains to the beginning of the verse, which was discussed in last week’s post, about “women who received back their dead, raised to life again." The writer is reminding believers that while those women had faith and received the joy of their loved ones being raised back to life, those individuals merely returned to a hurting, broken, and imperfect world. The writer explains that those who endured torture all the way to death will receive a resurrection that is “better” because it takes us to glory. It is a permanent and perfect resurrection.

Now, I have to say that this particular description of faithful heroes presents a problem because there is no specific story from the Old Testament that seems to directly correlate to what the writer of Hebrews is describing. We have to remember that there were other writings besides the books of the Bible that were not considered to be part of the canon, but were likely known to many of the educated Jews. Two such books would be 1 and 2 Maccabees, and it appears that 2 Maccabees is where we would find the story of a scribe named Eleazar and the torture he endured. Scholars seem to agree that Eleazar’s story is what the writer of Hebrews was referencing in this description. There’s no doubt in my mind that the writer of Hebrews, whether it was Paul, Peter, or some other educated Jew, knew of the story of Eleazar. That being said, I have no idea whether scholars are right or wrong, so I’m going to veer off the beaten path a bit on this one and talk about someone from the New Testament that fits this week’s description.

When considering who might be the author of Hebrews, many traditionally believed it was Paul, but more recently people have agreed that only God can truly know. Of all the possibilities that scholars have thrown out there, it seems clear that if it wasn’t Paul, it was someone who knew him very well. My personal Bible happens to be the Men’s Devotional Bible from Zondervan and it specifically lists the approximate dates that each book was written. This is certainly not an exact science, but it’s worth noting that 2 Corinthians is said to have been written around 55 AD, while the book of Hebrews is said to have been written 10-15 years after that. If it was written by either Paul or someone who knew him, it stands to reason that they could’ve had Paul’s torture in mind even if they weren’t directly describing his faith in the way they described Eleazar’s.

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul explains some of the tortures he experienced because of his faith in Christ. He states that he was imprisoned, severely flogged, beaten with rods, pelted with stones, and constantly in danger because of those who were dead set on killing him. He specifically says, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one." This is a reference to some of the most cruel torture ever invented. The Jews believed that 40 lashes would kill any person, so the way to exact the most pain on a person without killing them (though at times someone would die well before the 40th lash) was to whip them 1 time less than what would kill him. Paul lived his life for the cause of Christ and to share the good news of Jesus with everyone he could. He didn’t worry about death or pain. In fact, some of his letters lead you to believe that he frankly couldn’t wait for death!

Paul was assured of the glory and resurrection that awaited him after his very temporary suffering and torture in this world came to an end. He wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He also spoke to his friends and elders in Ephesus, knowing it would be the last time he would see them, before he went to Jerusalem: “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:23-24). Earlier, in Acts 16, Paul and his ministry partner Silas had been unfairly thrown into prison after being “severely flogged," then refused to leave the prison even after it appeared that God had supernaturally opened the doors for them to do so. Because they stuck around, the jailer who was seconds away from killing himself came to know Jesus along with his entire family and they were all saved and baptized (vv. 26-34).

Paul had many opportunities to choose what was easier at the time. He could choose to follow Jesus fully, knowing it would lead to great suffering temporarily in this world but believing in the “better resurrection," or he could choose to walk away from that task Jesus had given him and take an easier worldly road. You and I face the same choice regularly. Knowing Jesus means you have to do away with sins of comfort and follow him even when it isn’t easy. It means you may face suffering from resisting temptation and eventually may receive it in the way of persecution. But the knowledge that this is all temporary and that someday we’ll be in paradise with Jesus just like the thief who suffered tremendous pain right next to him on the cross motivates us to endure anything we face on this earth. Make the right choice today, then make it again tomorrow. Pretty soon, it’ll be a habit and, like Paul, you’ll live in true freedom!

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.