Hebrews 2:1-4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 21, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” -Hebrews 2:1-4

Even though this passage is at the start of a chapter in our Bibles, remember that this letter was not written with chapter and verse numbers like we have them today. So, the “therefore” at the beginning of this section refers to what was written just before it. Check out this post for more on that.

To summarize the context, just before this, we read a number of quotations from the Old Testament that show us Jesus in those passages. Because of those Scriptural truths of who Jesus is and the fact that everything in the Bible points to Him, we must “pay the most careful attention … so that we do not drift away” (verse 1). The verb translated as “pay attention” can also mean to watch out, be on guard, beware, or devote oneself. An adverb is used before it that gives it the extra emphasis that is translated as “pay the most careful attention.” The author is emphasizing to the reader the importance of remembering Jesus as the center; we must not drift away from that.

The author then continues to discuss this truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. This section begins part 2 of the author’s argument to share why Jesus is superior. The first part was explaining who Jesus is in relation to God and showing evidence from the Scriptures. Now, the author moves to a discussion on the salvation work that Jesus accomplished.

In verse 2, “the message” is the word logos in the Greek. This is significant because Jesus is referred to as the Word (the logos) in John 1. Jesus Himself is the Word, but this message could also refer to a message from God, a revelation, or the gospel message. Here, the author is stressing that if a message given through angels is binding, then how much more important is the message that comes from the Son of God! The law tells us the punishment we will receive for every sin we commit, every time we are disobedient to God. We have been given that message through the law.

Because of that law from God and His standards, we know that we cannot escape the punishment that we deserve on our own power. But, that’s where salvation through Jesus comes in! The writer makes it specific which salvation is being referred to - only salvation through Jesus, not any other offer of salvation that may exist in the world. The author specifies that this salvation was announced by Jesus then confirmed by witnesses (verse 3).

What does that mean that salvation was “announced” by Jesus? We see Jesus announce His upcoming salvation in Luke 19:9-10: “Jesus said to [Zacchaeus], ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’” We know that anything Jesus says is important, and especially when it’s regarding salvation.

The next point regarding salvation is that it was confirmed by witnesses. Anyone who preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ must agree with those eyewitnesses, many of whom were likely still alive at the time this letter was written. This also indicates that the author of Hebrews was likely not one of those original eyewitnesses. The term “confirmed” is a legal term to guarantee the security of something. There is no doubt about the salvation that Jesus Christ offers to us!

The final point about salvation is that “God also testified to it” (verse 4). It’s not only people who tell us about this salvation but God Himself. God has not only spoken of it, but He testifies to it by “signs, wonders, and various miracles.” Spiritual signs and miracles often accompanied the preaching of the early Church leaders. This was not the most important aspect of the teaching, however; the most important part is the actual message of salvation. But these supernatural signs show that the gospel message itself is also supernatural. It could not be accomplished by any natural means, but only by God Himself. We are not to get caught up in the signs, but focus on the message itself.

Unfortunately, many congregations and teachers today have drifted away from this central truth and message of Jesus as the only way to salvation. We need to always be cautious that we, in our Churches and in our lives, do not let this message “drift away.” This can happen even when someone is not directly opposed to the message, but they simply slip away from it as a foundational truth.

Jesus Christ and Him crucified must always be the core of our teaching and our lives. We must pay the most careful attention that this is always the message that we are teaching and living out!

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The Immutability of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 18, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

If you have studied the attributes of God, you will have heard about the immutability of God. The term “immutable” means “does not change.” God never changes. His character never changes. His will never changes. His plan never changes. We also believe that the Bible, the 66 books of “Holy writ,” are God-breathed and inspired by God. These are the only books that carry God’s Spirit within the message they contain. So an outflow of this train of thought is the inerrancy of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture, the superiority of Scripture, the perspicuity of Scripture, and so on. Today, I want to talk about the immutability of Scripture. This means that what God said 2000+ years ago is the same message He is saying today.

I deal with all sorts of attacks on the Bible as I go about my day, primarily on social media. God hasn’t opened the door for a lot of face-to-face interactions at this point (but there have been a few). Many are from unbelievers, and while they can be annoying to me, I often pity them because they truly don’t know any better. But the ones that actually make me angry are those who claim to be Christian, claim to believe the Bible, and yet regularly and intentionally change what the Bible says to fit their intended agenda. While I know this is precisely what the devil does and he is the one puppeteering them, it still doesn’t change the fact that what these people are doing is attacking the Bible and its Author, while claiming to be Christians.

Now these Christians will not declare they are changing Scripture. They instead insist they are just questioning “our interpretation” of it. But what happens when the “interpretation” they are questioning is actually what it says? I find it interesting how the people who make the argument of “that’s your interpretation” never seem to consider the plain language being a valid option, nor do they consider their own opinions to be “possibly wrong” just as they ask of us.

But behind the scenes, there is this central idea: “Man’s modern culture and modern understanding of reality should dictate how we understand Scripture.” I see this in nearly every false teaching movement active today from Old Earth Creation to “Homosexual Christianity” to Prosperity Gospel to Progressive Christianity etc. Instead of merely saying, “I don’t believe what it says,” they instead purpose to seek a “deeper meaning” that is in fact an entirely different meaning. I’ll give just one example. The entire premise of Rob Bell’s infamous book Velvet Elvis is “repainting” Christianity. The whole book is about changing what the Bible says to make it compatible and “understandable” to our modern culture.

This is nothing new. It’s the same lie from the Garden: “Has God indeed said?” And every one of these false teachers are doing what Eve did when challenged on this: They are changing what God said. Eve added “do not touch” to the command. At that moment, Eve lost the battle and Satan had her. The moment you change what God said, you are doomed.

News flash: God does not change. Neither does the Bible change. What God said way back then is the same thing He’s saying now. It doesn’t matter what changes in culture or language or climate. The Bible is our anchor and our solid ground that we stand on if we want a chance at surviving in these dark days. Jesus gave a parable of wise and foolish builders. The wise man built upon the rock. Rocks don’t change, they don’t adapt, they don’t alter. He built on the rock as it is, but as a result, his house survived the storms. The foolish man built on sand. He changed what the rock looks likes. To do that, he had to break down the rock into small moldable pieces that he can move and manipulate as he pleases. He can build any house he wants on that foundation, but when the storm comes, the foundation will wash away, and his house will crash.

I’ve noticed another attack on the immutability of Scripture. It’s particularly done by Old Earth Creationists. They justify their changing of what the Bible says by declaring that “God does not change. He created this universe. Therefore, the natural laws we have observed through science do not change. Therefore, the universe must be billions of years old.” I have had serious problems with this. Hugh Ross is infamous for putting this argument into the statement, “Nature is the 67th book of the Bible.” The whole idea they are trying to say is that the Bible and what we understand about nature must be in agreement. This is a true statement, but not how they mean it nor practice it. They are talking about their “interpretation” of science (which of course to them cannot be questioned, just the interpretation of Scripture can) being on equal terms to the inspired, breathed Word of God. In practice, their “science” is the top priority, and Scripture must always be examined first to be “re-evaluated.” This is taking the principles of uniformitarianism, the false philosophy that what we observe in nature today occurs at the same rates as forever in the past, and putting that on the forefront.

Scripture specifically refutes this in 2 Peter 3, describing this argument and then emphasizing on how they intentionally and willingly deny the Flood. But catch this. What they have done is stolen attributes that are NOT communicable (that is, these are attributes of God that are exclusive to Him and that He does not share with His creation in any way, shape, or form), and given them not to themselves but to nature. That looks to me like “nature worship.” There is a term for this: pantheism, the idea that nature is God. There are a number of Old Earth Creationists (not all) where it is hard to distinguish “God” from “nature” from their arguments. This is not something OEC’s would claim, but they would have to drastically change their models to prevent this connection from being made.

God is not a man that He should lie. God calls out Israel for thinking, “You thought I was like you.” He doesn’t change, and neither does His word. Culture will change all the time. Our modern understanding of science will change. A legitimate question to ask Old Earth Creationists is, “What will you do when enough science shows up and completely changes the current Deep Time models? How will your theology change?” I never have to worry about that question, because science is always subservient to Scripture. Scripture never changes, so its teachings never change. Six days is still six days. The Flood was still global. Moral laws are still around. God’s Word doesn’t change, and it doesn’t go away either. I stand upon that fact and as a result, I cannot and will not be moved, despite all the attempts from non-believers and believers to get me off it, because what I tell them convicts them.

The Bible doesn’t change, and that’s the best news we could ever hear. If the Bible could change what it says about Genesis, it could change what it says about our salvation. But the Bible doesn’t change, so that means the promises about salvation and our hope do not change. Don’t try to change the Bible for your own ideas. It’s not a good idea.

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Do Species Suddenly Change? Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 17, 2021 0 comments


by Steve Risner

We’ve begun to look at strawman arguments an unbeliever claims creationists use frequently. As we discussed recently, strawman arguments are not productive in any conversation from any side and should be avoided. The first strawman we looked at was the “evolution is only a theory“ strawman. We discovered that the general theory of evolution, while being called a scientific theory, is really nothing more than a philosophical idea and cannot possibly be confirmed as it deals with one-time past events no one can verify. So, in reality, this is almost a reverse strawman. Creationists will use it, but in so doing they’re actually elevating universal common descent to a status it doesn’t deserve. This post will focus on the next strawman that this unbeliever is tired of hearing. I appreciate the fact that he explains why these are strawman arguments because while he’s correct that these arguments shouldn’t be used in the phrasing he uses, his reasons are very easy to poke holes in. Let’s take a look. He says:

A SPECIES CANNOT SUDDENLY CHANGE INTO ANOTHER SPECIES. True, but evolution never says that this happens; evolution progresses in tiny step changes over eons of time.

I love this. It’s one of those catch 22’s that evolution is wrought with. We don’t see this in the fossil record at all, really, but if this isn’t what happens, what does? There are explanations that have come and gone and come back again, but none hold much water in my estimation. Let’s open this up a little and see how unsupported this idea is.

What does the theory of evolution say is the primary way change occurs in a population of organisms? According to a writer for The Scientist, a publication for life science professionals, Chris Baraniuk says:

Darwin's theory of evolution says that each new organism is subtly different from its parents, and these differences can sometimes help the offspring or impede it. As organisms compete for food and mates, those with the advantageous traits produce more offspring, while those with unhelpful traits may not produce any. So within a given population, advantageous traits become common and unhelpful ones disappear.

Given enough time, these changes mount up and lead to the appearance of new species and new types of organism, one small change at a time. Step by step, worms became fish, fish came onto land and developed four legs, those four-legged animals grew hair and – eventually – some of them started walking around on two legs, called themselves “humans” and discovered evolution.

Mr. Baraniuk’s first paragraph quoted above is great. It’s actually science; we observe this and can test it. The second is not. It’s a giant leap from something we see and can test to something purely speculative—a giant extrapolation. This is the most common fallacy I see with evolutionists—the bait and switch (specifically the motte and baily fallacy). You can read more about those at the link provided.

Darwin himself actually said, in 1837, that “one species does change into another,” and while this goes completely against this unbeliever’s claim of a strawman, I’ll give it a pass. Darwin did believe that species changed into other species, but he believed it happened over long periods of time due to very small, often imperceptible changes. He described it as descent with modification through variation and natural selection. To be honest, I can’t argue with that description since it fits perfectly within a variety of creation models. No mention of mutations creating new information that codes for new anatomy and physiology. It also doesn’t mention universal common descent. Evolutionists will ignore that and go straight to “Therefore, evolution is true” because we see variety.

You see, creationists don’t mind the idea of descent with modification. We know this happens. It’s a scientific proposition. However, this is not the same thing as suggesting some simple, single-celled organism, through innumerable coding errors in reproduction, created all the variety in all of biology that we see from that first, simple, single-celled organism. Variety implies the genes were already there—sometimes hidden or “turned off.” This is exactly what creationists have hypothesized for years. The field of epigenetics has been fascinating to look at. This is the idea that genes are not just passed on from generation to generation but can be turned on or turned off by stressors. We’ve even seen that if a gene is turned on in an organism that this can often be turned on in their offspring. It’s very exciting stuff. I, personally, believe that epigenetics answers Darwinism and makes it, frankly, look even more naïve. But this post isn’t about that. Let’s not get distracted.

According to the “Evolution Library for Teachers and Students“ at PBS:

Charles Darwin understood that evolution was a slow and gradual process. By gradual, Darwin did not mean “perfectly smooth,” but rather, “stepwise,” with a species evolving and accumulating small variations over long periods of time until a new species was born. He did not assume that the pace of change was constant, however, and recognized that many species retained the same form for long periods.

Still, if evolution is gradual, there should be a fossilized record of small, incremental changes on the way to a new species. But in many cases, scientists have been unable to find most of these intermediate forms. Darwin himself was shaken by their absence. His conclusion was that the fossil record was lacked these transitional stages, because it was so incomplete.

According to a paper written by Richard Gawne, who is a Fulbright Fellow in the Center for Social Evolution at the University of Copenhagen:

One of the most serious impediments to the acceptance of the evolutionary theory Darwin developed in the Origin of Species was the failure of the geological record to testify to the existence of the many transitional forms predicted by his account. Darwin was well aware of this difficulty and attempted to preempt his critics by issuing a series of pessimistic arguments that were intended to demonstrate that the fossil record is necessarily incomplete. He famously claimed, for example, that the geological record is “a history of the world imperfectly kept” of which we “possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries.”

Darwin knew when he wrote the Origin of Species that the fossil record offered up no evidence for his ideas. Again, we’re talking about universal common descent here—small, incremental changes over time leading from the simplest, single-celled organism to all the biodiversity we see both extinct and extant. There just was nothing to point to at the time. To be truthful about it, there really isn’t much to go on today, either. I understand that there are many things people will point to and suggest common ancestry, but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

I need to elaborate further, but I just have no more space for today’s writing. I’ve been setting the stage for my response to “evolution progresses in tiny step changes over eons of time” and I’ve exhausted my time in doing so. My apologies. We’ll pick this up next time. I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am and getting something from it.

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Sanctification in the Digital Age

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

Writing about being a Godly person can be tough, especially when you find yourself getting heavily distracted by the facts of life. These days between working from home, having a family, and trying to tend to the various duties we place on ourselves, one more distraction may not seem like a lot, but it could very well be the tipping point. This is what I experienced for most of 2020 and even all of 2021, until June.

We definitely need to find ways to take a step back, breathe, and remember that the only things we are granted are moments, not days, weeks, or years. Even as I write this, if it’s in God’s will that I no longer live after typing the next character, then my life bows down to His will. So then what is more important to me, serving God or worldly matters?

Biblical Christians will say “serving God,” and they are definitely not wrong. But how often do we find ourselves actually doing this? Throughout this month, even though at the time of writing this it’s only been a week or so, I’ve been trying to not only wake up more productive but more spiritually filled. The only way to be spiritually filled is to spend time with God, in His word and through prayer. However, this morning I woke up and scrolled through my phone for a half hour, then went and did dishes, then hopped on my computer to see why various news sites were down. This is the routine I often find myself falling into, whether I’m looking at Facebook, my email, some news feeds, etc.; it replaces time with God.

But, the Spirit will also convict you with a slap to the face if He has to. It’s not as though I have done this to spite God yet still call myself a Christian; I just have a really bad routine. While I was on my computer, the Spirit just suddenly hit me with the truth of, “So, this is how you’re going to spend time with God? By ignoring Him?”

The Spirit wasn’t wrong. I was ignoring God even though I got on the computer thinking, “I’m just going to see what’s up with this and then read the Bible.” But if I’m being honest, that wouldn’t have been how it played out. Instead, I would have sat there, watched YouTube, and then got into my work for the day. If this was before June, then throw in Facebook too, containing countless, and what can be considered fruitless, debates on there.

Essentially, we need to come to terms with what is valuable in our lives and what is noise. For me, after a hard retrospection of when I am and am not productive, I realized being on tools like Facebook are not fruitful ventures for me. While it does have some merit, my personal conviction is that relationships need to be personable not textual. People are much more bold and brash online than they are in person, more often than not. They are also far less likely to have an earnest conversation about faith and God. The monologue that happens is not productive in my opinion, and it only fosters anger and frustration. Knowing that the person on the other end needs Christ in their lives, but waiting for them to decide to respond back to you in the middle of the night, I highly doubt is what Christ had in mind when He said go out into the world and proclaim the gospel.

For me, this meant to step away from Facebook. This also removed me from keeping in contact with various people, but when I thought about it, I couldn’t remember the last time I had a truly honest conversation with almost all of them, even those I call brothers in Christ, old pastors, family, etc. Now, I’m not sitting here inferring any negativity towards them as we all have our own lives to live. But, the purpose of things like Facebook was to keep in contact with people, and all it was doing was fostering stress, anxiety, and discontent for me. It was taking me away from spending time with the One who truly loves me and wants to see me to my fullest potential, and instead focusing just as intently on people who have my number but won’t call or text.

In removing yourself from one thing, you will miss out on things going on, for sure. My own ministry’s Facebook page has a few followers and I don’t really want to see that go away. But, at the same time, we can only serve 1 master, and I’d rather my master be God not man. People are quick to tell you that you’re wrong, but yet they won’t guide you to show you the truth. It’s no different then than casting your pearls to the swine (Matthew 7:6).

I’ll leave this entry with one last thought on why stepping away from things may benefit you more than not. While I still struggle at times with being with God instead of doing “me” things, I do find it easier. I didn’t tell the Spirit, “One minute...” but instead thought about the fact I just had that experience for a second, then went straight to my Bible and finished reading Nehemiah. I’ve also started learning biblical Greek, which had been an interest of mine since I started believing in God. It’s also been helping me with my Korean studies as well, as I believe God is calling me to serve there in some capacity. But most importantly, I’ve begun to also really reflect on whether things I do, say, and think are truly of a character of God or not. I’m learning to say no to things far more, and I’m accepting that even though I really want to do things like crochet, right now it’s either I do that or spend time with God.

Are there any areas in your life where you feel you could dedicate more energy towards spending time with the Father? If you instead scoff or say no to this, then consider whether it be waking up 5 minutes earlier, or perhaps bringing someone into worship with you. You don’t have to go as far as to remove yourself from the Internet; tools like Facebook and Twitter are vastly important to also serve Jesus’s calling of sharing the gospel to the ends of the earth. We can have leisure; God blessed us with the sabbath after all. I’m also not saying you have to go learn a new language to devote yourself to Christ. However, as we are to do all things for the Lord, in what ways are what you do, say, and think fulfilling the love of Christ instead of man?

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.

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Hebrews 1:5-14

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 14, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Last week, we began with the theologically-rich first few introductory verses to the book of Hebrews. This next passage continues that theme, with multiple Old Testament quotations to investigate in relation to Jesus.

Hebrews 1:4, directly before today’s passage, states: “So [the Son] became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Today’s passage of Hebrews 1:5-14 describes that majesty of the Son Jesus a bit more using the Old Testament.

First, a couple of questions are asked: “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’?” (Hebrews 1:5). The first part directly quotes Psalm 2:7. This verse from Psalm 2 was often used for crowning a new king, showing the role that the new king would have. Here, it’s used to refer to Jesus as our ultimate King, who is clearly greater than any of the angels. The second part directly quotes 2 Samuel 7:14 and 1 Chronicles 7:13. These verses emphasize the relationship between the Father God and the Son Jesus.

Verse 6 refers to Jesus’ birth as a human and that all God’s angels will worship Him - which is exactly the scene we see in Luke 2. This was prophesied in some manuscripts of Deuteronomy 32:43. It is significant here that Jesus is referred to as the “firstborn.” This term is used elsewhere in Scripture, but this is the only time it is directly linked to Jesus. This again emphasizes Jesus’ prominent position as the first and only Son of God.

In verse 7, the author moves to speaking about angels by quoting Psalm 104:4. Jesus is the Son, but the angels are only spirits (or winds) and flames of fire. They are nothing more than elemental forces in comparison to Jesus. This may also imply that the angels are more temporary, while the Son is eternal.

Verses 8-9 go back to discussing the Son by quoting Psalm 45:6-7. This links the Son to being God and reigning on the throne. The royal majesty of Jesus is brought out with the images of the throne, scepter, and kingdom. Jesus has been anointed above all others and is the reigning King.

A longer quote from Psalm 102:25-27 is included in verses 10-12. This addresses how Jesus is eternal, His participation in the creation of the world, and how He rules over all of it. We know that Jesus was involved in the creation of the world, as referenced in John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Colossians 1:16. The quotation then moves into metaphors about clothing. This refers to the fact that the creation will wear out (though slowly), and the Son will deal with that by changing the world. He began everything in this world, and He will be the one to finish it. Everything in our world will eventually be replaced by the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22). But in spite of everything in this world that changes, Jesus will always remain the same. He has existed since before time, and He will always continue to exist.

The distinction between Jesus and the angels is again brought up in verse 13, quoting Psalm 110:1. As a whole, Psalm 110 is a Messianic psalm that clearly applies to Jesus. The teachers of the law even related it to the Messiah (Mark 12:35-37), though of course they didn’t believe that Jesus was that messiah. Sitting at the right hand of God was the place of superior authority and majesty, and that is exactly where Jesus sits. Making enemies a footstool is an image of utter subjection, that Jesus clearly rules over them all.

Verse 14 wraps up this discussion by saying, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Jesus is ruling in majesty, while the angels are portrayed as servants. Not only that, but they are servants of people (“those who will inherit salvation”), not even servants who directly serve God, though God does direct their roles.

This passage is one that clearly shows how the author of the book of Hebrews knew the Old Testament Scriptures very well. The author is able to relate all of these passages to the person of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. It’s easy for us Christians today to simply look at the New Testament to see who Jesus is, but Jesus is very present in the Old Testament as well. The whole of the Old Testament points to Jesus in some way, and the author of Hebrews is pointing out just a few of those passages for us. The whole Bible is God’s story of creation and redemption, and it all points to Jesus.

I challenge you this week to seek out some additional passages that show Jesus in the Old Testament. Focus on the importance of the life and salvation work of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, and you’ll see how important that focus is for your daily life as a Christ follower as well.

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.

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The Precision of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 11, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Perspicuity of Scripture, that is, the clarity of Scripture. As comments and feedback came back from that post, I wanted to take this idea to another level. The Bible isn’t merely clear; it is precise. It is very specific and for the most part, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for leeway or “other interpretations.” I get a LOT of kickback when I say this, and it’s always from those who want Scripture to be open to their ideas. I’ve even had people try to cite 2 Peter 3:16 to show that “Scripture is hard to understand,” and they don’t cite actually hard to understand passages but easy ones like Creation. But when Scripture says it is hard for some to understand, who is it addressing? Unbelievers who seek to distort the Bible from what it actually teaches. When I pointed this out to one such person, he got very quiet about it and didn’t go back to that point. Paul makes the argument that the reason why Scripture is unclear to someone is because it is spiritually discerned, and you will never understand it in the natural mind.

But that said, many unbelievers do understand what the Bible says all too well. Samuel Clemens is noted for saying, “Many people are disturbed by the parts of the Bible they don’t understand. I find I am disturbed by the parts I do understand.” Even Richard Dawkins understands the Gospel. He knows that the Bible teaches a 6-day creation, and that Adam is believed to be responsible for the sin of the world. He knows that Jesus died believing that, too. He is an adamant denier of the Bible, but he knows what it says. I say that knowing that he actively and intentionally misrepresents God in his arguments, but when he speaks against the compromisers, he gets it right. The Bible is precise.

This is a vital doctrine to engage with in this Christian life. We are in a war, whether we want to realize it or not. If we reject the precision of Scripture, its authority, its accuracy, its clarity, its sufficiency, its inerrancy, etc., then we are sitting ducks for the enemy to pick off at will. A few weeks ago I was listening to John MacArthur’s series on the Armor of God and specifically on the Sword of the Spirit. I have my own teaching on that, using the sport of fencing as a visual aid, and MacArthur brought a point that really caught my attention. It’s something I’ve used before but not quite articulated as clearly. To combat the false teachings, the lies, and the temptations we face, we must use Scripture precisely.

Let me use fencing to illustrate this point. In fencing, the body is divided into four areas we call lines. To defend that line, we have specific parries (moves) that protect that area of the body, and then each parry has a riposte (an attack immediately following a defensive parry). We stop an attack and then respond with an offensive attack. Now, if our parries are too big, then we lose the chance to riposte and we also make it too easy for our opponent to disengage and get around our defense. But if the parries are too small, they won’t stop the attack.

The same is true with Scripture when facing false teachings and the spiritual forces of darkness. We must know how our “sword” is used and know precisely where and when to use it. How can we use our best weapon if we don’t believe it works? And how can it work if it’s not precise? How can Scripture be used as the standard for truth of it’s not precise? Scripture is precise when it says, “Man does not live by bread alone.” It is precise when it says, “March around the city once for six days.” It is precise on the instructions for building the Tabernacle and the Temple. Moses spends nearly half the book of Exodus describing the Tabernacle. The genealogies are extremely precise, so precise that I’ve heard of account of tribes in Africa immediately accepting the Gospel because of the accuracy of its genealogies. It is precise on what it means to be a Christian. It is precise on origins. It is precise on every topic it speaks on.

Yet, if we reject the precision of Scripture, then any use we make of it will miss the mark. The devil knows Scripture, and he knows when you are using it correctly or when you aren’t. Trust me, I know this from first-hand experience. I know what Scripture says, but it’s not enough to just know what it says. You have to know it in its power. Jesus knew Scripture in its power. That’s why He succeeded in refuting the temptations thrown at Him from the devil and the attempted tricks of the Pharisees. Jesus relied on the precision of Scripture to handle them.

I hear so many people proclaim they believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, yet when I listen to them argue, they do not accept the clarity of Scripture or the precision of Scripture. The “inerrancy” they believe tends to be not in Scripture but their ideas of it, all the while trying to pin that charge on those who actually believe Scripture. My friend Allen Dunckley, in response to my post on perspicuity, stated that false teachers depend upon the lack of precision and perspicuity of Scripture. That’s how they get their lies in. Whether it be Deep Time ideas, moral issues, indulgences, Prosperity Gospel, or enneagrams, “Christian Yoga,” “Progressive Christianity,” or whatever. There is always a question on the precision of Scripture.

That was Satan’s first lie: “Has God indeed said?” You better know what God said if you are going to be able to answer this, because if you don’t, you are doomed. Satan has had such great success in this field over the last two hundred years just by getting the majority of Christendom to question what the word “day” means in the creation narrative. The Bible is precise, and God did not leave that basic fact up for debate. Yet the deception is so strong that it’s even overtaken some of our good men. Why? Because it has been deemed a “secondary issue” and as a result, they turned the whole Bible into a free for all, either by they themselves or by the next generation.

If you are going to survive the persecution to come, you had better know Scripture and beyond that, know the God of the Scripture. You had better be well trained in the spiritual weapons we have. The bulk of the opposition won’t be coming from oppressive governments but from within our ranks. Be ready.

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Only a Theory

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 10, 2021 2 comments


by Steve Risner

Last time, I discussed the strawman fallacy and why no one should ever use it, but we all tend to on occasion. You can read about that here if you’re not familiar with it. What I’ve been doing is going over a post in a group I’m a member of where another member (an unbeliever) tried to explain to creationists some things they should avoid doing when debating about origins. We had preaching, circular arguments, and the ad hominem argument, followed lastly by the strawman. I gave a few examples of strawman arguments that unbelievers use against creationism and explained very briefly why they are, in fact, strawman arguments. But in the post I’m drawing content from, this person also gives 5 examples of strawman arguments he says creationists use too often. As I said last week, creationists do, in fact, use strawman arguments sometimes. That is because everyone uses them on occasion.

Today I wanted to begin looking at his examples and explain them a bit. Some will likely be more fun and informative than others. Here goes:

1. EVOLUTION IS ‘ONLY’ A THEORY. True, but the ‘only’ implies a theory to be something inept or suspect. However, a theory in the scientific context does not mean a simple supposition. A scientific theory is one that has been rigorously tested and, so far, has passed all tests and, importantly, all these tests are in the public domain for anyone to scrutinize and challenge with equally testable alternatives.

I like this one because it’s complex. This is because while the idea that “evolution is only a theory” is an argument often used by creationists, it’s not true in the real sense of what a theory is. Using his own definition/explanation for what a theory is, we can see evolution does not even meet that standard. Let me explain.

A theory begins as an idea—a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation made based on limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. Darwin published a book in 1859 that hypothesized life and its diversity erupted from a common, less complex ancestor long ago. He wrote in a letter that he believed life may have begun in some warm little pond. In essence, he believed that pond scum changed over time into people and everything else we see alive around us. This was a hypothesis because at that time, it had very little evidence and required more investigation. However, how difficult is it to investigate past events? In this case, we’re talking about past events that allegedly happened millions or billions of years ago under conditions we have very little understanding of.

Over time, a hypothesis can gain support after a great deal of experimentation and testing. How do you test if fish evolved into amphibians? How do you test if reptiles are descendants of amphibians (older, simpler reptiles, of course and not today’s modern reptiles)? How do we test if a common ancestor existed that connects humans and other “higher” apes several million years ago? There is literally no way to test these assertions. They happened in the past under conditions and for reasons we cannot possibly know.

After a hypothesis gains a great deal of support, it may begin to be referred to as a theory. This is because the idea accommodates most (if not all) of the available information, it has been rigorously tested, and there is no other viable explanation for whatever the hypothesis claims. In other words, the idea seems to explain a lot, was tested a lot and passed all the tests, and there’s no other way to explain the phenomenon. Is this true of universal common descent (what some simply call evolution)? Not by a long shot.

Sir Francis Bacon, the father of modern science and the scientific method, would be a good person to look into. He developed the scientific method as we know it today. His description of how science works looks like this: Observation leads to induction which leads to creating a hypothesis. Once we have a hypothesis, we test that hypothesis by experiment. This will either lead to proof the hypothesis was correct or disproof. Once we reach this point, we often can make knowledge claims. Where does universal common descent fall in here?

Many evolutionists will, at this time, employ the classic “bait and switch” fallacy. The specific type of bait and switch is usually the motte and bailey fallacy which I covered here. In short, you say one thing (like evolution meaning small observable changes in a population over time) and then switch your meaning to something else (like evolution meaning the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form). This happens in nearly all (not all but pretty close) conversations I’ve had with evolutionists. This is a logical fallacy and it is deceptive, although often times I believe the evolutionist doing this is unaware they’ve done it. They’re usually parroting what they’ve read or heard others say. If creationists would make sure to point out this fallacy whenever it is used, it might go a long way. However, evolutionists may counter with the idea that small changes in a population over time is what leads to extremely large changes over deep time. This is not true and, again, is just extrapolation or speculation. Small incremental steps cannot account for huge leaps.

But the size of the change isn’t even the most important part of the objections to universal common descent. Untold amounts of information must be added to the genetic code for the “simplest” life forms like single celled organisms to evolve into “higher” life forms like hawks, horses, dogs, or eventually humans. There is no natural process of any kind that can add specific, complex information into the genetic code, creating new functions or anatomy. Any example given is generally a loss of information or a regulation change of some sort.

Universal common descent is not a scientific theory. Adaptation and genetic drift would qualify as science since we see extremely small changes in some populations of organisms over time. These changes are generally due to epigenetics, degenerative mutations, and population isolation among other things. These things are known to occur. What we don’t know and cannot know is if that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source, which itself came from an inorganic form. This is the definition of the General Theory of Evolution as stated by Dr. Gerald Kerkut.

Creationists have frequently pointed out that the topic of origins, while important and interesting, is not a scientific field. It cannot be. It’s philosophical or religious in its scope and can be supported with science, but it itself is not a scientific inquiry no matter how badly evolutionists want it to be. Evolutionists will occasionally hint at this sort of thing but it’s sometimes by accident. The program on PBS called Evolution said this: “The evidence for Evolution is all around us, if we choose to look for it.” This was marvelous! They’re stating that the evidence doesn’t speak for itself, but one needs to choose to accept what evolutionists say it says. We’ve been saying this for years. Creationists and evolutionists have always had the same evidence. We choose to interpret it based on our preconceived ideas and worldview. This is impossible to overstress.

For those who want to believe that science and evidence are unbiased, we need to review something that Dr. Richard Lewontin, an outspoken evolutionist himself, said in 1997: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

That quote is what an honest evolutionist looks like. Unfortunately, it was likely only for a moment, but it’s refreshing to hear an unbeliever who understands the debate for what it is—a debate over worldviews. I believe an accurate paraphrase of his statement would be this: “Even if it seems ridiculous to do so because it has failed so miserably so often and the conclusions we draw are so absurd, we must draw them from a materialist position. Even if it’s extremely obvious that another explanation is as good or even much better, we cannot allow anything of the supernatural into our thinking. Science doesn’t demand this but we, the scientists, do.”

Is universal common descent only a theory? No. It’s not really a scientific theory at all. The genetics associated with biological entities and their minute changes over time generally are. But beyond that, it’s pure speculation. Creationists have warned other creationists for many years not to use the argument that “Evolution is only a theory.” But this is because it elevates the General Theory of Evolution to something far more than it is. I’ve run out of space here, so we’ll say goodbye until next time when we’ll be looking at how a species changes in our next addition. Thank you sincerely for reading.

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Hebrews 1:1-4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 7, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” -Hebrews 1:1-4

As I wrote about last week, we do not know who wrote the book of Hebrews. But whoever the author is, he starts right in with some great theology! While Hebrews is generally considered to be a letter, it doesn’t start out with the usual letter format of initial greetings, including who is writing and who is the intended audience. Instead, the author starts right into Jesus and His saving work.

The author begins by telling his readers that God is active; He has spoken, and He still speaks. This is a common theme throughout the Bible, starting all the way back in Genesis 1:3 when God spoke light into existence, and He continued speaking the rest of our world into existence throughout the Creation account. God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice, God spoke to Isaiah in the temple, etc. God can convey His message to His people in a variety of ways, and speaking is just one of the ways we see God communicating with us.

This initial phrase in verse 1 of explaining how God spoke to “our ancestors” is one of the ways that the audience of this book may be identified. All of these people to whom God had spoken (at least as far as we have record of) would have been of the nation of Israel, so the author and readers of this book were likely Jewish, hence the name of the book as Hebrews.

The author builds on the past speaking of God and shows that still continues today. The phrase “in these last days” in verse 2 may sound to our ears like the author thinks the end of the world may be upon them. But that phrase is more literally translated as “on the last of these days.” This phrase is found in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) where it refers to the time of the Messiah. Here in this context, it means that we are now living in the new age where the Messiah, Jesus, has come. This connects the times of old where God spoke through the prophets and the current time of the letter where God spoke through His Son Jesus.

Next, the author goes on to explain who this Son of God is. He gives 8 different truths about this Son:
1. He was appointed as heir of all things (verse 2)
2. God made the universe through Him (verse 2)
3. He is the radiance of God’s glory (verse 3)
4. He is the exact representation of God’s being (verse 3)
5. He sustains all things through His word (verse 3)
6. He provided purification for sins (verse 3)
7. He sat down at the right hand of God in heaven (verse 3)
8. He became superior to the angels (verse 4)

What do all these mean?

Jesus has been appointed as heir to all things. This shows us that Jesus holds a supreme place in the ruling of the universe. It may seem unusual that He was “appointed” to this role; we would think that the Son would automatically be the heir. But this active verb shows us that God is actively acknowledging Jesus as the heir.

God is the creator, but we know that Jesus was present at Creation and involved in the process. We see this in John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Colossians 1:16. The word used in Greek here for “the universe” also refers to time rather than just the physical world we see around us. Jesus has been involved in Creation and all of time.

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. The word used for “radiance” can also mean a shining forth of brightness or a reflection. Jesus shines forth with God’s glory, and He is a reflection of that glory as well. We see the glory of God through the person of Jesus.

The Greek word translated as “exact representation” is actually spelled like “charakter,” and this is the only time it is used in the New Testament. This word originally referred to an instrument used for engraving, then it referred to a mark stamped on that instrument, like the impression of a die. We see the being or essence of God in the person of Jesus as we would see the impression made from a die.

The idea of Jesus sustaining all things is not like simply holding up the universe, but it has the idea of carrying it along and helping it toward a goal. God did not just create the world through Jesus and then let it go and do its own thing; rather, Jesus is actively working in this world. His Word is active and powerful in this world.

The concept of Jesus providing purification for sins is central to this book. This is why Jesus came to earth - to deal with the problem of mankind’s sin. We will see this concept much more as we continue our journey through Hebrews. The word “purification” can be used in the sense of a ritual cleansing, but it can also refer to the removing of sin from our lives.

After Jesus’ purifying work was done, He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” The sitting posture shows that that person is resting after their work is done, and the right hand is the place of honor. This phrase tells us that Jesus’ work was done, and because of that, He now has the place of highest honor in heaven.

Finally, even though Jesus has always been superior to the angels, the writer tells us He “became” superior because of the work that Jesus did. He was always God, then He became man to defeat sin once and for all, and then He came back to heaven as much superior to the angels because of what He did on earth. His name is even more important now that He has accomplished His atoning work.

So what does all this mean for us today? This magnificent Jesus that the writer of Hebrews tells us all about is the same Jesus who provided salvation for us. We have the amazing opportunity to be in relationship with God because of Jesus’ work. Give God the glory for that by living your life for Him today!

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Seeking What you Want Heard

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 4, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“What does your heart tell you?”

This is one of the most common ideas in our modern society and perhaps the deadliest, too. You can’t escape a Disney movie without hearing this and yes, this even got into “The Chosen” when Jesus is helping Nicodemus process His dialogue with him. So while I do like “The Chosen,” it does miss some things. Whenever you hear or ask the question, “What does your heart tell you?” another way you can rephrase this is, “What do you want heard?” It is very dangerous to seek your own heart on any matter because it is deceitful and wicked. Some translations say “desperately wicked.” The prophet Jeremiah even goes as far as saying that you can’t even know your own heart.

Jeremiah had to deal with this issue later in his ministry. After Babylon came and finally conquered Jerusalem, a series of events took place. A man named Johanan warned the appointed governor of an assassination plot, and the governor, Geldidiah, didn’t listen. Johanan went after the assassin but couldn’t catch him. As a result, the fear of a Babylonian retribution, smothered the place. So Johanan went to Jeremiah to seek the Lord about whether they should flee to Egypt or not. Jeremiah spent ten days seeking God out and came back with a message saying, “Stay in Jerusalem and you will be well taken care of” (my paraphrase). Johanan rejected this message and accused Jeremiah of not getting this from God and instead from Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe and servant. He then organized the people and fled to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah to come with them.

Did they just fear Babylon so much that they didn’t trust God? Keep in mind, the whole time Babylon was invading, all the prophets except Jeremiah were proclaiming peace and victory and that Babylon would be repelled. They were proclaiming that God had their back, and then Jerusalem fell. People would have been disillusioned. They could have blamed God for it, or they would have done what many “Word of Faith” people do: accuse the people of lacking the faith for deliverance. But when they get to Jerusalem, we see the real motivation behind rejecting God’s word. This is found in Jeremiah 44.

Jeremiah rebuked them for fleeing to Egypt because Babylon was going to come and conquer Egypt too; this time, there would be no escape. There was no other nation to flee to. The people said (again paraphrasing): “Back in Jerusalem, we worshiped the idols and we had everything we ever needed. When we stopped worshiping them (such as in Josiah’s revival and cleansing), we have had nothing but trouble. So we are going to go back to worshiping our idols, namely to the ‘queen of heaven.’ We will fulfill our vows to our idols.” Let me translate the meaning behind this: “Things were going just fine when we worshiped our idols just as when we worshiped your God. When we left the idols to worship your God, all this trouble came. We won’t listen to you or your God. We made promises to our gods and we will hold to them.”

Jeremiah’s response was in essence, “God’s promise was for those who went willingly into captivity to Babylon and to those who survived and stayed in Jerusalem. But you who disobey God still will perish from the very thing you fear (Babylon) here in Egypt and you will not go back home.” The people wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. They rejected what God actually said and went with what they wanted to do from the get-go. They got what they asked for, to go to Egypt and escape Babylon at Jerusalem, but they also got what came with it: doom, destruction, and no escaping Babylon anyway.

This encounter in Scripture reminds me of Paul’s warning to Timothy that many people were going to reject him and reject Christ because the people would no longer listen to sound teaching and instead pile up for themselves teachers who would tell them what they want heard. Johanan did not actually want to hear what God had to say. He wanted what he wanted to come out of Jeremiah’s mouth. This was Ahab’s problem too. When he was deciding if he was going to war with Syria, he sought to get Jehoshaphat to come with him. All his prophets said to go and he would win. Jehoshaphat knew better and asked for Micaiah to give a real word from God. Micaiah was told what Ahab wanted to hear and the prophet refused to say what was wanted to be heard. He said he would say what God said to say.

We live in times where people do not want to hear truth. They want to hear their ideas coming out of your mouth to “validate” their ideas. And they especially want to hear it coming out of the mouths of Christians. This is one of the reasons why so many false teachers and false converts seek to be in a church where sin is not addressed. They know they are in sin (God does not let someone hide from that fact), and they want someone who is supposed to represent God to tell them they are okay just as they are. This is one of the reasons why I think so many “militant atheists” come to harass Christian and Creation groups, or why those who practice homosexuality constantly berate believers. It’s not because they actually have anything to show us that we are wrong. They really want us to admit we are wrong or to give anything that showcases that we don’t follow what we claim to teach. They are looking for reasons not to have to listen to us and to God. They don’t want “discussion,” so don’t try to give it to them. This is why the numerous false teachings I have addressed throughout the years are so popular - they will allow you be religious without actually having to submit to the truth. And the real challenging part is that some will proclaim to teach the “core doctrines” when what they actually teach is nothing of the sort.

There are two things we can learn from this event in Jeremiah. 1) Not all who come to you for advice are actually looking for your advice or knowledge. They are looking for you to tell them what they want to hear. Tell them the truth whether they will accept it or not. 2) When seeking advice, don’t fall for the trap of trying to get someone to tell you want you want to hear. Be willing to listen to rebuke. If you really don’t want to hear someone’s advice, don’t ask for it. Don’t waste their time or yours. Instead, let us take God’s advice. It will often seem counter-intuitive, but it’s always the right thing to do. If the people of Judah had followed God from the start and not ever turned to their idols, they would have remained in their homes. But because they loved their idols more than God, they lost both. Again, take note of that. Those who kept hold of their idols lost both the True God and their idols, as will be the case of all people in churches who follow false doctrines. They will miss the True God, and they will miss out on what they sought to get. So don’t follow them. Follow God and God alone.

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The Strawman

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 3, 2021 2 comments


by Steve Risner

After a short hiatus, we’re back at it here. We were looking at the advice given in a post in a group on Facebook, which is dedicated to the creation/evolution debate. This particular unbeliever wanted to help creationists debate better, so he gave us a short list of things he thinks we should avoid doing. So far we have discussed preaching, circular reasoning, and the ad hominem attack. Today’s topic is the strawman. We’ve briefly discussed strawman arguments before. Let’s go over what that is and why it’s not a good thing. We’ll follow up with some examples and how to deal with them.

The strawman argument is defined as a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted but instead replaced with a false one. In other words, a person misrepresents another person’s argument, so it is easier to refute. I guess it is fair to say that not all strawman arguments are intentional. You would like to think that none of them are intentional since it means the person doing so is being dishonest. But a lot of the time I think a person may honestly think how they are representing someone’s argument is valid. However, a great deal of the time this happens, it is because the person was lazy or didn’t really care enough about the other person’s argument to investigate it fully. Either way, a strawman is a bad thing.

We find people making caricatures of other people’s arguments all the time and then refuting this childish version of the person’s argument. Now, this person who has advised creationists to not do this is correct—we shouldn’t do this. I think creationists do this often. Some of us are ill-informed about the Big Bang or universal common descent. This is quite often true because most of us are laypeople. Some of us are not academically trained in these topics, so we may think things about them that technically aren’t true but are sometimes true in the grand scheme of things. But, a good debater will point out your error. If he or she is gracious or truly wants you to understand, he or she will lovingly correct your error by pointing out what the truth is and showing you why what you said is incorrect. Most of the time, in my experience, it’s rare for an unbeliever to want you to understand their position. They just want to make you look and feel stupid.

A common strawman argument that creationists put out there to topple goes something like this: “If humans evolved from chimpanzees, why are there still chimpanzees?” This is not what adherents to universal common descent believe. They believe that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor that split about 5-7 million years ago (depending on who you read). Universal common descent is generally not linear (this evolved into this, which evolved into this, etc.) but very branching, generally going from simpler to more complex over time. Eventually, a population would have acquired traits that would allow them to survive in a particular niche wherever it is they are found.

There are many others that I commonly see when reading online. It’s disheartening to see some of them often, as some are very good at pointing out how little the person actually knows about the topic. However, unbelievers do this very often as well. It is very difficult to find a person who does not believe in creationism as described by the Bible who represents it accurately. In fact, I cannot think of anyone offhand who does. Sometimes a person may get a little piece of it correctly, but even that’s rare.

A short list of examples of the strawmen that unbelievers present to creationists is as follows:

“Creationists don’t believe a species can change. Since we can scientifically observe that a species can change, creationists reject science.”
A short response: Creationists understand that organisms can have variety. We understand that, due to population isolation, degenerative mutations, epigenetics, and other things, a population can demonstrate small changes in its phenotypical expression (how its genes interact with the environment, making the organism appear as it does). Creationists obviously believe in science since creationists invented the modern version of it.

“Creationists don’t believe a mutation can be beneficial. Since we know some mutations can be beneficial, creationists are willfully ignorant.”
A short response: Creationists do think a mutation can be beneficial or not beneficial. If it wasn’t, it likely wouldn’t stick around too long. We do not believe a mutation can add new information, creating a new anatomical or physiological structure. The Lenski experiment showed after many thousands of generations, colonies of E. coli are still E. coli, and that supports this idea. Some of the E. coli demonstrated a mutation that stopped a regulatory process, causing that process to be uninhibited. This made it easier for the E. coli to survive in the artificial environment they were placed in. However, under normal circumstances in their environment, this would actually cause them to be less able to compete and they would soon no longer express this mutation.

“The Bible teaches the earth has literal pillars and corners and other ancient ideas about the earth and cosmology.”
A short response: The language of the Bible is often literal but does contain figures of speech. We use similar figures of speech today. We say the sun rises when, in fact, it does not move; the earth is moving. We say “the four corners of the earth” when we know the earth is a sphere. There are many other examples. This doesn’t mean we’re unaware of reality. It means we use figures of speech or say things in a way that would be understood.

“Creationists think the Flood was real and that water covered Mt. Everest. There’s not enough water to do that. Where did all the water go?”
A short response: Creationists do not believe Mt. Everest existed before the Flood, so we obviously would not believe it was covered by water. There is more than enough water on and in the earth to cover the surface to a great depth.

“Creationists think Noah took 2 of every species onto the Ark. There are almost 9 million different species and even more that are extinct. There is no way a ship the dimensions of the Ark could hold 18,000,000+ animals and no one could feed them for that long.”
A short response: We do not believe “species” were taken onto the Ark. We believe “kinds” were taken on to the Ark. Several species may have differentiated from one created kind. Worst case estimates, based on the best research thus far, shows us there may have been as many as 7,000 animals on the Ark. That’s a lot, but not too much for 8 people to care for, especially since most of the animals were very small, and some wouldn’t require a great deal of work like many reptiles.

There are so many more examples. These were just off the top of my head. I hope that, to any reader who knows anything about what Biblical creationists believe, we can all see how these arguments are strawman arguments. I also hope we might be able to identify such arguments in the future and respond appropriately.

The strawman argument is to be avoided by everyone all the time in any argument. As with the other bits of advice from this unbeliever, it’s no more applicable to creationists than anyone else. I find that a very large portion of strawman attacks are directed towards creationism. Creationists commit this logical fallacy as well. I think we would all do ourselves some favors and really save a great deal of time if we’d take the time to understand our opponent’s position before mounting a rebuttal towards it. In the case of an intentional strawman attack, I have no idea why anyone would lie to attack a position. It means you know you’re incorrect, so it becomes a matter of willfully believing something you know is false. It’s very weird.

Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach.” This gives us some insight into how to approach the strawman argument. The first idea is to always be ready to give an answer. We are instructed in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready. But here Paul explains that pointing out an error is a responsibility. How you do this makes all the difference in the world. It’s easy to get caught up and want to attack someone for setting up a strawman. But we are to respond in love. This is the challenge. Responding in love can be hard especially if you know the person you’re having a conversation with is intentionally making your position look foolish and mispresenting it. Paul goes on to say we are to be patient—again, this is tough sometimes but very important. In many cases, regardless of how you approach the error, the person will behave in immature and unproductive ways, but it’s our responsibility to do what we do in love. I am actively working on this with myself.

You can also play with the idea a little. You can accept the strawman and explain why you agree it’s wrong, and then go further to explain why what your position actually states is correct. This might be a little tougher to do, but you can make it go a long way towards showing the person you’re talking with that you know your stuff and they don’t.

What’s exciting for me is that next time I’ll go over some of the strawman arguments this person believes creationists use. He gives a list of 5 and they’re pretty good. Until next time, praise Him and be blessed.

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Don't Hear What I Am Not Saying

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 2, 2021 0 comments


by Jason DeZurik

Our society is slowly opening up after a year of much isolation by a good number of people. Even though I was told by many that this wouldn't happen, I think we can all agree that times have certainly changed. As connected as we are through the internet, it seems that society is as divided as we have ever been, at least in my lifetime. One way I personally see this on display, more than ever, is how so many people these days “fill in the gaps” with things they hear from others or how many now “read between the lines” and make assumptions of what they think they are hearing someone else say. It has been a huge issue in our society for years, but it's now becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world. Many of us just didn't know it how much of an issue this is, and I am included in that assessment.

I was first really exposed to this concept and the phrase of, “Don't hear what I am not saying” was with author and speaker Reggie McNeal in a two-year training through the Churches of God called the Missional Leadership Initiative. It was really quite eye opening for me the first time I heard this phrase. During a session, Reggie said this to someone after he had made a statement and someone in the training started coming at him with all these questions that really weren't related to what he had said or even implied. It was obvious that this person was taking offense or was taking what he had brought up very personally. They were taking what he said and were trying to put it into a specific situation they were thinking about. They were speaking out pretty defensively and being quite aggressive.

It was really masterful how Reggie dealt with this. He just said, “Don't hear what I am not saying.” You could sense all of us in the room pretty much breathe a sigh of relief as he took what could have been quite a toxic back-and-forth and just loved this person with such an easy phrase. “Don't hear what I am not saying.” He was giving this person a chance to really listen to him. He didn't say your concern is not real, but he was lovingly giving this person the opportunity to really hear what he was saying. In essence, he was lovingly telling this person that this isn't about them and their specific situation. At first, this person kept coming at him with some more points they wanted to discuss, but he just keep saying, “Don't hear what I am not saying.”

Personally, I think this is one thing each of us could really take into consideration when dealing with someone who is adversarial or offended by what we might have said. Do I think speakers are responsible for their own words? Well, of course they are, but the listener is also responsible for how they respond to what someone has said. Unfortunately, this can be a very difficult lesson for many to learn these days because of our fallen sinful nature. But I think it is a loving communication tactic that all Christians need to consider implementing if we are going to move forward together in society. And we need to mean it. I know I would like society as a whole to move forward with each person being responsible for themselves. Perhaps you don't agree with this, but I know I like being with and around people when we are willing to put biblical love in action toward one another.

Jesus reminded us in Matthew 7:2 that in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. I encourage all of us to speak the truth in love and don't take offense. Don't hear what someone is not saying. Truly listen, and if another does not want to listen, well, now you have a choice to make.

With that in mind, please consider the following. As many of you know, I cannot wear a face mask due to a medical condition I have after my life-threatening stroke and life-saving brain surgery in 2017. Yet I personally have been told by employees to leave a nationally known restaurant chain and even a large nationally known company I once supported a lot. (For those of you wondering: Yes, I showed them my medical note about my condition from my primary MD, or as I call them “my papers,” and they still told me to leave.)

I bring this up to say that when I encourage healthy people in 2021 to take off their masks and live their lives, don't hear what I am not saying. I am not telling a person who is wearing a mask how horrible they are or are judging them. I have no idea what their situation may or may not be. Just as I would hope all people would not have judged me for being unable to wear a mask, I would hope all people would not judge others who choose to wear a mask. Why? Because neither you nor I know their situation.

Could they be fearful? Possibly. Could they be sick? Possibly. Could they have a compromised immune system? Possibly. Could they be perfectly healthy? Possibly. If they're not you, it's really none of your business. This goes both ways as well, though. If you see someone without a mask on… Could they be a jerk? Possibly. Do they just want to live their life in liberty? Possibly. Could they have some reason medically that they cannot wear a mask? Possibly. Could they be vaccinated? Possibly. Could they not be vaccinated? Possibly. If they're not you, it's really none of your business.

Don't let The God Complex get the best of you. Now, go live your life that God has given to you, and if anything I've shared here offends you… don't hear what I am not saying.

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Great Worship Today? Right?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 1, 2021 3 comments


by Chad Koons

I hear this quite often, which I guess is a good thing: “Worship was great today” or something to that effect. And I greatly value any feedback! Yet every single time I hear someone’s approval of our worship service, I just can’t help but wonder what factors made the person feel that way.

I’m glad that they felt something, really I am. And I know what they mean when they say it. But infinitely more important than our assessment is what did the Lord think about it?

Full disclosure: I am a worship leader. So, over the next few minutes you’ll be reading about worship from a worship leader’s perspective.

Let’s begin with an affirmative statement. I thoroughly believe that worship services can be “great.” When we gather together in unity as a body of believers, singing as one, in all sincerity to the Lord, it will be very powerful. The atmosphere will be sweet, the Lord will be glorified, and His presence will be among us. Worship like this is engaging and transformative. The Lord will move prophetically during such worship, touching lives right then and there as we seek only to honor and reverence Him.

Having said that, let’s go a bit deeper into it. And if I may, I’ll challenge us on the matter.

Are we qualified to accurately judge how worship went? Seriously. If I’m completely transparent, I wonder if we have ever stopped long enough to give real thought to our worship. Do we lack the language, tools, and intimacy necessary to be the true worshippers that the Lord requires us to be?

Why do I pose this question? Well, ask most Christians what makes for great worship, and you’ll probably hear something like this:

The MUSIC! Yeah, that’s it. This is just my style. I like the singer. I love the guitar player’s parts. The drums are killing it on this one. Those keys are heavenly. This song moves me and I feel something!

The LYRICS! Now there’s some truth! This song speaks to my current situation, and I’ll repeat that bridge 10x no problem. Here’s some fighting words, I will sing with attitude. This hymn is ancient, and these old words make me feel super grounded. Finally, a song with theology that I 100% agree with!

The PARTICIPATION! The energy is high in this place today! The whole crowd is singing along so I feel part of something bigger. Most of us are super excited right now and that makes me feel excited, too. The people are lifting their hands and responding to the music so surely the Spirit is here!

So if… and follow me here… IF our worship service manages to hit all three of these things, I’ll call them the three “worship drivers” of music, lyrics, and participation, then will we feel that we have achieved “great worship”? This, my friends, is the sad truth of how we judge the quality of our worship.

Let’s have a good look at the problem. Those three things are mostly feelings-oriented, subjective, external, and they may be applied to any sort of live music setting, even a secular concert. And worst of all, these three worship drivers are exclusive of the Spirit. Being moved to good feelings is wonderful, yet that is not the goal nor the proof of a good worship service. God have mercy, worship is not even about us. We do not worship our feelings, we worship the Lord.

Quite frankly I don’t care if someone thinks the worship was great or not. Oh, I care if we did our job as a worship team; it matters that we put in the proper preparation, expression, sincerity, motivation, prayer, and the right content. All of these things will make for a good ministry, so to speak.

Yet let me be abundantly clear: we did not and will not worship the people, nor do we plan to be worshipping someone’s current idea of what they think worship should look like. We worship Him; therefore, we are responsible to create a space and provide songs for the body to worship through. The rest is up to you. What you do with that either creates or negates the worship. I can’t do it for you.

What I do care about is the condition, attitude, and willingness of your heart towards God DURING worship. Your praise and worship are a gift, response, and sacrifice to the Lord. If you continue to just stand there waiting to be moved by the three worship drivers I outlined above, then you are sadly and gravely mistaken. It’s not up to the external motivators, it’s what YOU bring that matters!

Do you know what makes for great worship, Child of God?
This one and only thing right here…
The expressive heart of the worshipper towards a Holy God.

Burn the stage, shut off the power, trash the fancy décor, smash the expensive instruments, remove all of our wildly talented singers and musicians, and tell me if we still have “great worship.”

Give me a room full of genuine worshippers and we will always have great worship.

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.

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