Zedekiah, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 30, 2023 2 comments

by Katie Erickson

Well, friends, we have made it – Zedekiah is the last king of Judah, the last king of the divided nation of Israel before Judah was carried off into exile in Babylon. You may recall from last week’s post that the previous king, King Jehoiachin, was taken prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar was the one who put King Zedekiah (who happened to be King Jehoiachin’s uncle) in charge of Judah.

The narrative of King Zedekiah’s reign and the fall of Jerusalem is found in 2 Kings 24:17-25:26 and 2 Chronicles 36:10-23. Clearly, Judah’s demise was imminent, and it was just a matter of time. It’s not a good sign when a foreign king chooses the next king of your land! King Zedekiah did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as many of the kings before him had done. In 2 Kings 24:20, the author reiterates the fact that what was about to happen was clearly because of the Lord’s anger at all of Judah’s disobedience.

So what brought about the actual fall of Judah? It’s in the second half of verse 20: “Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.” Babylon was a very strong nation, and they had already taken the previous king of Judah as a prisoner. This was a very foolish move by King Zedekiah!

Naturally, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon responded immediately and forcefully. King Zedekiah’s rebellion happened in the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign, and Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem until the 11th year of Zedekiah’s reign! The city was completely cut off from outside resources for more than a year. The people of the city were in a time of famine with no food available.

Finally, the Babylonians broke through the walls of Jerusalem. The entire army that was in Jerusalem fled, but the Babylonian army pursued them and easily overtook them, capturing King Zedekiah. The Babylonians were exceedingly wicked people, and they killed King Zedekiah’s sons while he watched, and then they took out his eyes. The last thing he would remember seeing was the brutal execution of his children.

About a month later, the commander of the Babylonian army arrived in Jerusalem to oversee its total destruction. They set fire to the temple and all of the homes in Jerusalem. Every building was burned down. The army broke down the walls around the city. Any people who remained were carried into exile, except for some of the very poor people who were left behind to work the fields and vineyards. The poor were unlikely to cause any problems, and they could be useful by tending to the land.

Details are provided about what happened to all the specific furnishings of the temple. Generally speaking, it was all carried off as spoils of war back to Babylon. After that, we read a description of what happened to all of the religious, military, and government officials. In short, they were all taken to Babylon and executed.

“So Judah went into captivity, away from her land” (2 Kings 25:21). After that statement of finality, we read some historical notes about the people’s time in exile. A man named Gedaliah was appointed to be in charge of the few people left behind in Judah, and he encouraged the people to basically just give up and serve the king of Babylon. But, a rebel named Ishmael rose up and assassinated Gedaliah and a bunch of people who were with him. After that, all the people fled to Egypt to hide from the Babylonians.

This era in the history of God’s chosen people of Israel began in disobedience to God, and it was that disobedience that caused it to come to an end. The people wanted a king, so God gave them one, even though He knew that was not in their best interest. After the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon, it was during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam that the kingdom split. The 10 northern tribes kept the name Israel, and the 2 southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah took the name Judah.

Israel had all evil kings for their entire existence as the northern kingdom. They were conquered and carried off into exile under King Hoshea. Judah lasted longer, as the nation did have some good kings who honored God, but they, too, were destined for exile due to their continued disobedience to God.

The overarching sin in both kingdoms was idolatry. The people worshiped many gods other than the one true God, despite God’s clear command to worship Him and Him alone (Exodus 20:1-6). God continually gave them grace and took care of His people, and they constantly repaid Him by going against His commandments and worshiping other gods.

What can we learn today from this era in the history of Israel and Judah? The most important lesson is to do what they did not: worship God and God alone. We may feel like we’re doing a pretty good job at that because we don’t have Asherah, Baal, etc. that we worship, but we have so many other little gods in our lives; we have cell phones, social media, celebrities, etc. Anything that we focus on as a higher priority than God in our lives is an idol. Idolatry is the chief sin among people today as well; in fact, breaking every one of the Ten Commandments is based on idolatry. (Learn more in the blog post series beginning with this post by Charlie Wolcott.)

Today, we are just as guilty of idolatry as Israel and Judah. The form of idols we worship may be different, but the idea is the same: we worship so many things that are not of God. Does God forgive us? Yes – when we are truly repentant of those sins, we are covered by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. But if we continually, habitually, and willfully disobey God and worship these idols, God’s judgment may come for us, too, just as it did for both Israel and Judah.

Learn from the history of the nation of Israel that our focus, both as individuals and as a nation, needs to be on being obedient to God and worshiping Him and Him alone!

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.


Systematic Theology 4: Christology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 27, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Christology is the study of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. When you hear lectures and read articles about Christology, they typically center around what is called the “hypostatic union,” that Jesus is both full God and fully man at the same time. The studies go through Scripture to showcase the deity of Christ but also showcase how He was also just as any other man simply without the sin nature.

The other angle that many take when studying Christology is in the study of Scripture. When Jesus, after He rose, He caught up with two disciples walking to Emmaus trying to process what happened. He spent the trip explaining from Moses through the Prophets how all Scripture pointed to Him. Spurgeon cited an account of a young preacher and his mentor discussing a sermon the young preacher had just given. The mentor said it was a poor sermon despite all the correct exegesis, despite all the good analogies, and despite all the good practical applications. The mentor said it was a poor sermon because there was no Christ. Why? Even though the text did not specify Jesus, it was the pastor’s job to find Christ in any text and to search and even cut a road to get to the Master.

For this blog post, I want to emphasize on Christ as He relates to origins. A severe problem that people have today in their Christology is that many think that Jesus didn’t actually exist until 2000 years ago when He became a man, born of the virgin Mary. Yet, if we look through the Old Testament, we see Jesus all over the place. The “Angel of the Lord” often shows up in the Old Testament, and those are likely the “pre-incarnate” appearances of Jesus. It could be argued that any physical manifestation that God used to meet His people was Jesus. This is why Abraham could eat with God, Jacob could wrestle with God, Moses could speak with God face-to-face, Gideon had his requests met, and Joshua met the Commander of the Armies of Heaven. These are all very likely pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus.

Jesus existed before all of history began, and He is the reason and purpose for why we exist, for why the earth exists. ALL things were made for Him, by Him, and to Him. Jesus is the point and purpose for why anything exists and why anything happens. The Creation is about Christ. The Fall was about Christ. The Flood was about Christ. The slavery in Egypt was about Christ. The Exodus was about Christ. The list goes on; it is all about Christ. The entire Old Testament was not just to give 300+ prophecies about Jesus here on earth but also to give many examples of how Jesus would behave or what Jesus would overcome. The Exodos crushes Egypt and the conquest crushes Canaan. The Flood crushes all life outside the Flood. “What about all those innocent people?” One, who said they were innocent? Two, Jesus said it plainly: “Unless you repent, you too will perish.” Three, God has a plan for all that takes place, and everything is about fulfilling that plan. And that plan has Jesus at the center, not us. While we are part of that plan, it’s not about us. If our Christology is correct, we will know this. But each of these cases of the Egypt, Canaan, and the Flood showcase God’s wrath against sin and to help us see that we desperately need a Savior.

Jesus is an active agent in this entire plan. The Father made the plan, and the plan is for His Son, but the Son was active in the plan and still is active. God designed the entirety of Creation and He spoke it into existence, but Jesus is that Word that was spoken. Jesus was the creating agent in Creation. So, when we talk about Creation and when we talk about origins, we can zoom in on the specific details of what “day” means or what “whole earth” means; however, we must zoom out and look at the big picture. The big picture is to reveal Christ.

One image I have used when discussing the big picture is that the entirety of Scripture and all of our doctrine is creating a mosaic – a lot of little snapshots of individual pictures that when combined will produce the proper image of Jesus. If we get one of the doctrines wrong, it is going to impact and affect our view of Jesus. One of the reasons I emphasize origins so much is because origins isn’t just tied with the doctrines regarding Christ but to every other doctrine as well. If one believes that this universe came about over natural processes over billions of years old and is consistent with what that requires and what that entails, such a person will one day deny Christ as being Lord and Savior.

Jesus needs to be the center of the study of origins, as He should be with any study. There are two sermons that excellently address this issue: Eric Ludy’s “Christophany” and Voddie Baucham’s “The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Post-Modern Age.” Christ and the gospel need to be center, especially when debating with other believers. While I am an adamant believer that the Bible teaches a “young earth” and I do not waiver on this issue, there is ultimately no point or purpose to believing that, unless it had effect upon the point and person as to why Jesus had to come in the first place. Take note that the Old Earth crowd makes separation of the gospel, and their origins models a centerpiece argument. Their entire game plan is to say, “I can be a Christian and believe this,” as though it was a completely extraneous and irrelevant belief. To which I say, “Why believe that then?” And the answer ultimately boils down to trying not to look stupid before their non-Christian peers, or worse, their already compromised professing Christian peers. But Jesus is never center stage in such approaches. The Old Earthers may profess belief in Christ and some of them may be genuinely born-again, but when discussing the age of the earth, Jesus is never center stage. It’s always a side topic, and He is usually only invoked as a shield to protect their views from scrutiny.

Is Jesus center of our life? Is He center of our academics? There is not ONE of us where that is truly the case – even me. Too many times I battle over origins without making Christ the center. Too many times, I’ll battle over Scripture but not get to what Scripture points to: Christ. Christ must be center; however, one of the biggest problems we have is that so many of us have a false view of Christ and instead have a figment of our imagination. That is why Bibliology must be our foundation; only the Jesus Christ as described in the Bible is the One who saves. If we believe in a false Jesus, we aren’t getting in.

Is Jesus center? If so, that means we are not. It means our intellect is not. It means our emotions are not. It means our dreams are not. It means our pleasures, comforts, or family are not. It may even mean our preferred doctrines are not. It means Christ is. The Christian life is not about making things easy for us; it is about conforming us into the image of Christ and preparing us to be His bride. That requires a process that will cleanse and remove us from sin and false teachings and idols called sanctification. But if Christ is not center, and we put ourselves in the center, then Jesus becomes a means for our end. If Jesus is not center and master and lord over everything, He will not be your savior either. Jesus IS Lord regardless, but if we are not submitted to Him, then we can be sure we have not been born again. Let Christ be center, regardless of how painful it will be, and regardless of how isolated it will make us. Next week, we’ll look at the Holy Spirit.

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.


John 17:6-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 24, 2023 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” - John 17:6-12

Verses 6 through 12 of John 17 are part of a section headlined as “Jesus Prays for His Disciples.” This whole section (vv. 6-19) ultimately applies not only to the disciples but to all believers, which will be covered in a future post. But for now I wanted to focus on vv. 6-12 specifically as it’s the bulk of Jesus’s prayer to us as believers.

The first 3 verses here essentially speak of how Jesus conducted His ministry while on Earth. He simply spoke the Truth as He needed to, when He needed to. It’s littered throughout the gospels how He conducted Himself in different situations and addressed certain people differently.

For example, when He healed the sick, He mostly just thanked the Father for being able to heal the person. When He met with someone struggling in life (the woman at the well, the paraplegic, etc.), then He was often in the middle of or started sharing some introspectives. He spoke to those individuals on a personal level, and the more “alone time” He had with the person, the more personal the discussion could be so they could understand the Truth. Then there were the religious leaders of the time, of course, with whom He was pretty direct and vulgar (for that time period). How Jesus spoke to them would be like in today’s culture if cancel culture was used for good instead of self.

In these verses, though, the important keywords are “you gave me,” “they have obeyed [your word],” and “they accepted them.” The Father puts people into our lives to minister to in some way, and that doesn’t look the same in all circumstances. He uses us to speak the Truth to others just as He used Jesus to do the same 2,000+ years ago. This is one of the reasons why we are and should be joyous of servitude, because even Jesus (part of the Godhead) was a servant in His first coming. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s not our duty to convert people but to share the Truth. The Holy Spirit works along with the Father to soften their heart so that they, too, may believe. We can hear it all we want, but if we don’t truly accept it and obey it, then it’s dead faith. Obeying is following God even when it’s inconvenient or painful, as we should aim to please God above ourselves, family, friends, career, etc.

Verse 9 strikes hard for me, as it is often taught as we should be praying for the enemies against Christ along with fellow believers. Yet Jesus says He is only praying for the ones the Father has sent Him – the ones brought to the Truth. The context of the passage makes it clear exactly why, but it also goes to show that while we should pray for those who are against God that their hearts will soften, we can’t forget to continuously pray for those already in the body of Christ as well. An analogy to this would be our health. If we focus on the external factors that can impact our health, we can’t neglect our actual health as well.

While I’m not a fan of prayers containing “hedge of [something]” like “hedge of protection,” through verses 10 and 11 Jesus asks the Father for protection over the disciples and other believers. As readers of the events that transpired afterwards, we can understand why this was said, but it’s pretty clear that Jesus was asking for parent-like protection over the children who would be doing nothing but fighting an uphill battle for as long as they remained faithful.

The word “protect” in verse 11 is an active imperative (a command), so Jesus isn’t just saying “Father, if it’s convenient for you to do so,” but He is saying, “Father, I know this is going to be a very difficult, very possibly deadly experience for all, so I need you to watch over them.” There is so much emphasis on these words that it’s almost a demand, but Jesus knows it’s all in the Father’s will. However, He can still express the importance and how much He loves the disciples (and us) by the emphasis. So, let’s rejoice as well in knowing that Jesus loved us so much that He came to the Father for us to protect us, to guard and watch over each of his sons, bought by the blood of Jesus into adopted sonship with the Father.

I’d like to close this out in a consideration of speaking the truth to those around us, and even ourselves. We should always lead with prayer, seeking to put God first in what we say rather than what we believe we should say. This removes us from the equation and lets God drive the conversation where it needs to be for His will. Then we need to remember that no matter the outcome, we have our protector in the Word and in our faith. With those, we have God’s blessing that His will be done not only through us but to us. There may be times we suffer for the truth, but there may also be times we plant that seed God waters to soften the heart and bring sight to the dead.

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.


Jehoiachin, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 23, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

We are nearing the end of the kings of the divided kingdom of Israel. Today we will look at Jehoiachin and what happened during his reign, then next week we’ll look at the last king, Zedekiah, and the fall of Judah into captivity.

Jehoiachin’s narrative can be found in 2 Kings 24:8-17 and 27-30 and in 2 Chronicles 36:8-10. The account in 2 Chronicles is very brief, basically just stating the details of King Jehoiachin’s reign and that King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and took him to Babylon. Fortunately, the account in 2 Kings 24 provides us with greater details of what happened.

There was already a lot of unrest in Judah even before Jehoiachin became the king. In last week’s post, I wrote about how King Jehoahaz had been captured by the king of Egypt, and then King Jehoiakim became a slave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. While Egypt was held at bay, Babylon had already taken territory in the land of Judah. So, Jehoiachin was not stepping into a good place as king!

King Jehoiachin was only 18 years old when he became the king, and he had a very short reign – only 3 months! Just like a few kings before him, Jehoiachin did evil in God’s eyes. He continued in the ways of idolatry just like his father and grandfather before him.

During King Jehoiachin’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked the land of Judah. King Nebuchadnezzar himself was present in that battle and went to Jerusalem personally while his armies were attacking the city. He took hostage King Jehoiachin, his mother, the royal officials, and all who attended to the king. King Jehoiachin of Judah was now a prisoner to the king of Babylon.

The author of 2 Kings reminds the reader that this all happened exactly as God had prophesied that it would. We see that prophecy from Isaiah to King Hezekiah just a few chapters earlier in 2 Kings 20:16-18: “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in 2 Kings 24:13-14: “As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the LORD. He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.” The account then reiterates that King Nebuchadnezzar took everything from Judah – King Jehoiachin, his mother, his wives, all his officials, and everyone prominent in the land. He also took an army of 7000 men with him plus 1000 skilled workers and artisans.

Rather than completely destroy the nation, King Nebuchadnezzar just took everything and everyone that was in power in any way. He just left the poor people and the unskilled workers behind, likely thinking that the nation would then destroy itself with no one with money or skills left to take care of it. But, the land still needed a king since he was taking King Jehoiachin with him. Nebuchadnezzar appointed King Jehoiachin’s uncle (Kings Jehoahaz’s and Jehoiakim’s younger brother) Mattaniah the king and changed his name to Zedekiah, which is how he is referred to in the Scriptures.

Even though King Jehoiachin was no longer reining in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar chose not to kill him but rather to keep him as a hostage. Even though King Zedekiah reigned after him, King Jehoiachin is generally considered the last legitimate king of Judah, so it was important for the nation to record his fate. The last few verses of the book of 2 Kings do just that.

The nation of Judah had been exiled to Babylon for 37 years when King Jehoiachin was released from prison. This happened after King Nebuchadnezzar had died and his son Evil-Merodach had taken over. The new king of Babylon treated King Jehoiachin well, even giving him a seat of honor and providing for his needs with a regular allowance. King Jehoiachin was honored higher than other kings that Babylon had taken hostage.

While this time was one of great despair for the nation of Judah, King Jehoiachin’s life serves as a prophecy for what would happen to the nation. While the nation needed to serve time in exile just as King Jehoiachin was imprisoned, there would be a time when they would be released and able to live a good life once again. While God needed to punish their continued sin of idolatry, His grace would still prevail for His people.

The same is true for us. We often need to experience negative consequences for the times we disobey God, especially if it is habitual and willful disobedience like Judah’s, but God’s grace will always prevail! He will always love us, and when we have faith in Him, He will eventually turn things around so we experience God’s goodness once again in our lives. God is a God of redemption, both in the life of the nation of Judah and in our lives today.

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.


Systematic Theology 3: Theology Proper

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 20, 2023 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Theology Proper focuses on the study of God the Father. One of the things that theologians must be careful about is that when we study God, we are not studying a concept or an idea but a person. God is not a research specimen that fits under our microscope to manage and control. There are two ways we can study God. We can know things about Him, such as knowing about a sports superstar. We can learn all his stats, the games he’s played, how he won championships, etc. We can do the same with God. We can learn and study His attributes and His characteristics. However, unless you know that superstar personally, you only know about him rather than knowing him. Likewise, many people know a lot about God, but few actually know Him.

I have written many blog posts about the attributes of God and the names of God, and I even have a book on the attributes, actions, and character of God in the Psalms available from Worldview Warriors Publishing called The God of the Psalms. I have also written about God as Trinity. The bulk of the teachings on “theology proper” is regarding the attributes of God, so I am not going to spend a lot of time on that here. Instead, I will showcase how our beliefs and our observations that we attribute to God are actually in agreement to these attributes, while also addressing the origins debate.

There are two major competing origins views. One comes from the Bible, that God created everything in six days and roughly only 6000 years have passed since its completion. The other has many different flavors but all involve gradual processes over the span of millions of years, whether some “god” is part of the process or not. The young earth creationists and old earth creationists all proclaim that God created, but we differ in our beliefs of how He created. The question we have to ask is this: Does the model we believe and teach fit with the character of God the Father as revealed in Scripture?

This is a question few people are asking. Some are asking it because some do bring it up. If God created a world in which millions of years of animal death was the norm prior to sin (and that is without mentioning all the human remains and fossils that they say predate any image of Adam), does that reflect God’s character of never making anything with error or flaw? Likewise, if God truly is immutable and He never changes, then therefore His scientific laws should never change, therefore the earth is millions of years old, correct? Those are the two arguments regarding origins and the character of God.

I find the latter to be a categorical error because it compares the creation of God to be akin to the character of God. Yet we know from the Bible that the “laws of nature” are not unchangeable and absolute fact. How do we know that? Because the Bible has miracles, and when the end times comes, God is going to end everything. So, I find that attributing the laws of nature to being immutable is actually an unintentional form of deifying nature. And God is a jealous God; He will not tolerate competition for His glory.

That said, if animals were dying and life was corrupt and broken prior to sin, then that is saying that God is not only inept at creating things, making them flawed, but it also lessens God’s justice upon sin. Why? Because if death was already happening prior to sin, then God threatening death as judgment upon sin has no real weight. If Adam and Eve and the animals were going to die anyway, all that eating the fruit of the Tree did was speed it up. It didn’t change anything.

Lastly on this point, the art is a reflection of the artist. If the creation is corrupt, the creator is corrupt. And the teachings of life over the span of millions of years is not original to the last 200 years. The Gnostics taught it 2000 years ago, citing a corrupt creator, the Demiurge, who created the universe out of the corrupted essence of the “True God” as we see it today. I truly believe that if the teachings of millions of years were carried to their logical conclusion, the resulting models would be all but identical to the Gnostics. What we believe about origins reflects what believe about the Creator. Likewise, how we view the Creator will determine how we view the creation. We need to at least be consistent with our position. When we try to mix and match things because a lot of mainstream people believe something other than what the Bible says, it shows we really only believe what the audience in front of us believes. We as Christians are commanded to not let the fear of man dictate what we do or think.

God the Father is not just some concept out there either. He knows every thought we have about Him and how we treat Him, whether we want to recognize it or not. Every one of us do not, cannot, and will not ever be able to treat God with the honor and respect He deserves. Yet He chooses to love us in our finite, broken, and rebellious state. But He doesn’t ask for much from us: just to believe Him and obey Him. That takes trust – trust He is more than willing to build with us if we let Him. Throughout the Bible, God showcases His character in Israel’s history so that we all know that He is good and trustworthy. Yet we also learn in His dealings that He does not mess around regarding sin. This is why we can’t mess around with the Flood account.

This past November, I taught a session on the theology of the Flood during a Creation Conference I helped host. All I did was showcase the Biblical account of the pre-Flood world, the Flood account, and the post-Flood world according to Scripture and the theological lessons we learn from it. My audience said it was very helpful for them to see the issues involved and that it’s not small matter. The only point from that talk I’ll point out here is that the Flood had to be global in its extent just on the point of the message of the Gospel alone. In the non-global flood models, there would always be an escape for mankind outside the Ark. And that is a severe problem because the Ark has always been understood as a type of Christ, the one means of salvation. Every New Testament author who speaks of this event said only Noah and his family escaped via the Ark. No one else. It is a strike against God the Father to teach a non-global flood because it teaches that God’s judgment is not universal, comprehensive, and complete. Yet if we teach what the Bible does say about the Flood correctly, we’ll get God’s character of righteous judgment and mercy and grace correct as well.

Next week, we’ll examine Christology: the study of Jesus Christ.

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.


There's Something About Mary Schweitzer, Part 6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 19, 2023 3 comments

by Steve Risner

After a short break, we’re looking back at interviews done by Dr. Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina University, a paleontologist who discovered soft tissue in dinosaur bones. Her findings are consistent with what Biblical creationists believe and have believed all along: that creation of the earth and therefore life forms like dinosaurs happened about 6000 years ago and that dinosaur fossils were likely from the Flood of Noah’s day which was about 4400 years ago or so. Creationists have been attacked for saying such things, but it’s obviously true. We will look at some of the things Dr. Schweitzer, a Christian and former YEC (young-earth creationist), says about her discovery today.

Let’s start with something we’ve often said about how scientists, in their bias, may work in some of these scenarios. Dr. Schweitzer says:

And the danger of thinking you know everything is that it squashes curiosity and discourages further investigation. When I started down this path that I'm on, everybody “knew” organics don't persist in dinosaur bone. The bones are just too old. Organics degrade. You can't get DNA. You can't get cells. You certainly are not going to get cells in tissues. Well, so nobody looks. And if nobody looks...

Everybody “knew” organics don’t persist in dinosaur bones for two reasons: 1) because they believe dinosaur bones are tens of millions of years old and 2) research shows us that soft tissue can only persist for, under the most ideal conditions, for maybe 100,000 years if we’re lucky. Dr. Schweitzer acknowledged this, saying, “So, that leaves us with two alternatives for interpretation: either the dinosaurs aren’t as old as we think they are, or maybe we don’t know exactly how these things get preserved.” In other words, what we believe may be incorrect or what we have studied in the lab and determined fairly conclusively is incorrect. Hmm. It seems a lot of times that scientists don’t want to follow the science, especially if it means they need to abandon preconceived ideas and beliefs that are unverifiable.

Other things Dr. Schweitzer said on this topic of not believing what her evidence was trying to tell her were things like: “…of course everyone knew there cannot be organics in bone this old…” And, after being questioned by someone about what looked like blood cells in the sample, she said, “’What do you think they are?’ And I said, ‘Well, I know they can't be blood cells, but they're in the right place, the right location, the right size, and they're nucleated.’” After another colleague saw the red blood cells, she recalls, “My colleague brought it back and showed me, and I just got goose bumps, because everyone knows these things don't last for 65 million years.” She went so far as to walk on eggshells for a while, even using vague terms to not draw too much attention. “I never called them blood vessels or red blood cells. I said, ‘vessel-like structures,’ ‘cell-like structures.’”

Creationists are often badgered for taking Dr. Schweitzer’s work for what it seems to indicate: that the belief in dinosaur bones being at least 65 million years old is wrong. Many scientists have decided to hold on to this belief and have instead rejected the scientific research telling us soft tissue cannot persist for tens of millions of years. Do you see the problem here? They’ve decided to uphold a belief rather than trust the science. Yet, creationists are ridiculed for such things routinely. In fact, Professor Jack Horner, Dr. Schweitzer’s mentor, even recategorized the facts of the research to be called “assumptions.” In Discover Magazine, Professor Horner says that if soft tissue can last 65 million years, “there may be a lot of things out there that we’ve missed because of our assumption of how preservation works.” You see, it’s not factual anymore that research tells us soft tissue cannot last 1/650th of the time frame they require. It’s an assumption. Perhaps it would do the good professor a little better to realize that claiming the dinosaur fossils are 65 million years old is an assumption—an unprovable one at that. While I can agree our assumptions can cause us to miss things, he’s declared the wrong bit of information an assumption.

With her discovery, her fist instinct, because she “knew” that soft tissue couldn’t be there, was to deny it and then, after she came to grips with it, to hide it. She says in this interview, “And so I sat there and I thought, ‘I'm not telling anybody.’” Obviously, she didn’t stick with that strategy. But, again, creationists are criticized for giving Dr. Schweitzer grief over this find, but the truth is she believed her own colleagues would bad mouth her. And they did. In her words, “The results were not well accepted. I mean, they were very controversial.”

This is one place of several where science can break down in terms of its objectivity. Either fear of ridicule and loss of funding squelch new discoveries or the desire for more funding and notoriety force sensational finds that really might not be so sensational. I believe the discovery of “Lucy” was like this. I wrote a little about that in this blog post called “Lucy’s Split Personality.” Following that link, you can see another famous scientist pointing to the exact same problems with some scientists. Johanson says, “It is hard for me now to admit how tangled in that thicket I was. But the insidious thing about bias is that it does make one deaf to the cries of other evidence.” The “other evidence” in this case would be research I’ve linked to previously that tells us soft tissue cannot remain remotely intact for 65 million (or in some cases a half billion) years.

But this is truly an example of, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.” Dr. Schweitzer even recognizes the truth in the research, saying, "Everyone knows how soft tissues degrade. If you take a blood sample and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week. So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?" Jeffrey Bada, an organic geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, cannot imagine soft tissue surviving millions of years, says an article on the topic in Discover Magazine.

As I’ve stated often and even in this series, the “unbiased science” that we all want to trust so much comes down to money and publicity. Dr. Schweitzer complains about this, rightly so I would think, saying, “That's the saddest part about doing science in America: You are totally driven by what gets you funding.”

For creationists, truth doesn’t rest on funding. It is based on the Word of God. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” The ultimate source of truth is not found in science or scientists but in the God we serve. There are truths that the world can give us—the weight of a gallon of milk, the speed of the moon rotating about the earth, the conductivity of a certain metal. But there are truths far more important than this that truly give us meaning and purpose. Truth that answers questions like: Where did I come from? What is my purpose? Where am I going? Who am I? These questions are found answered in the Word of God. I hope you’ll join me as I join David as he says in Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

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Oh, For the Love of God!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 18, 2023 0 comments

by Jaya DeZurik

The most basic teaching of Christianity is that God is love. From the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis to the promise of Christ’s return in Revelation, God’s love is revealed throughout all Scripture. There are three facets of God’s love demonstrated in the Bible that I will point out.

1. God’s love in consistent. His love doesn’t waver or change from day to day. God’s love stays the same regardless of man’s inconsistency. God’s love for us does not fluctuate; it remains constant and consistent with His character. Even in the days of Noah, God’s love for mankind did not diminish. In fact, God grieved that He had made people because their actions became so deplorable. Their violence grieved Him because of His love for them. In His great love for mankind, He saved the one righteous man, Noah, and his family, thereby saving future generations that include us. Psalm 36:5-7 says, “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love!”

2. God’s love is persistent. God’s love continues forever despite our opposition and outright defiance toward Him. God will not quit loving anyone. We see God’s patient endurance with people throughout Scripture. As the Israelites repeat the pattern of reaping the consequences of their sin, repenting, and turning to God, He was always faithful to forgive them out of His great love for them. God knows the mind and patterns of men, yet His love continues for us forever. Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

3. God’s love is insistent. God is resolute in His love for us. He WILL love us because He IS love. God’s love for us will not back off or back down no matter what. In His infinite wisdom, God knows how fickle our feelings are and how erratic we are in our behavior. He will love us in spite of our changing attitudes toward Him. God loves us when all we see is the goodness of God and when all we see is the ugliness of life. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When we go through difficult times in life, it seems or feels as though God has rejected, abandoned, or forgotten us. It is important to remember that God always loves us and is always motivated by love toward us because God IS love. Even when it appears that our circumstances are determined by anything but love, God is still true to His character of love. Our perception of love comes through lives tainted by sin and wounds and influenced by our physical perceptions. I encourage you to remember and believe that God loves you, even if your feelings and life situations tell you otherwise.

God’s love for you is consistent; it is steady and unwavering.
God’s love for you is persistent; it perseveres and never quits.
God’s love for you is insistent; it is unrelenting.

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Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, Kings of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 16, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After the remarkable reign of King Josiah of Judah, the next king was his son Jehoahaz. The short 3-month reign of King Jehoahaz of Judah (not to be confused with the previous King Jehoahaz of Israel) is recorded in 2 Kings 23:31-35 and 2 Chronicles 36:1-4.

Even though his father King Josiah was one of the best kings of Judah, genuinely getting rid of all idol worship and cleansing the nation of that sin, King Jehoahaz reverted everything back to disobeying God. King Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king, and 2 Kings 23:32 reports that “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his predecessors had done.” Of course, those predecessors do not include King Josiah or the good King Hezekiah, but rather many of the other kings of Judah who did not follow God’s ways.

It is interesting that Jehoahaz was the one to become the king. According to 1 Chronicles 3:15, King Josiah’s oldest son was Johanan, then Jehoiakim, then Zedekiah, then Shallum. Shallum is also known as Jehoahaz, so according to that verse, he was actually 4th in line to become king! Because we don’t hear anything else about Johanan, it is suspected that he died young. It is not known why Jehoiakim was passed over for king, but the suspicion among scholars is that they had different mothers, and Jehoahaz’s mother was more favored than Jehoiakim’s.

But what about Zedekiah, the 3rd son according to 1 Chronicles 3:15? According to 2 Kings 24:18, Zedekiah was actually much younger than Jehoahaz. Zedekiah was 21 when he became king (after Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin), so he would have been maybe 10 years old when Jehoahaz became king. The names of Zedekiah and Jehoahaz were likely written together because they had the same mother, and Zedekiah’s name would be listed first due to his longer reign. It’s all somewhat confusing, really, but when records are from the 500s BC, they don’t always perfectly agree.

Just 3 months into Jehoahaz’s reign, he was captured by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt and imprisoned in Egypt. The Pharaoh made Josiah’s oldest son Eliakim (also known as Jehoiakim) the king of Judah instead. King Jehoiakim’s reign is recorded in 2 Kings 23:36-24:6 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-8.

Just as with King Jehoahaz, King Jehoiakim did evil in God’s eyes. While Jehoiakim was king, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded the land of Judah. Jehoiakim became Nebuchadnezzar’s slave for 3 years, but then he rebelled, evidently having waited for an opportune time. But his rebellion was not enough to turn the tides in favor of Judah.

We read in 2 Kings 24:2-3: “The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets. Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.”

As a reminder, the succession of kings of Judah went: Manassah, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, then Jehoiakim. King Manasseh was considered one of the worst kings of Judah, and Amon, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim followed in that path, even though the nation of Judah had a period of following God under King Josiah. Under King Manasseh’s reign, Judah sinned so severely that they should expect a very severe judgment from God, and that was definitely beginning during King Jehoiakim’s reign with the invasion of Babylon.

Remember that King Jehoahaz had been captured by Egypt, and now Babylon was coming after Judah as well. Things were definitely not looking good for this nation! We learn in 2 Kings 24:7 that Babylon was the stronger of these two powers; they had taken over Egypt’s territory. This is foreshadowing how God would use Babylon to send Judah into exile as punishment for their continued disobedience. At this point, there are still two more kings before the nation of Judah is completely taken over by Babylon.

What can we learn from these two kings, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim? For one thing, it’s not about who your parents are. Both of them were sons of King Josiah, who did the most for turning the nation of Judah back to a life of obedience to God. They did not follow in their father’s footsteps at all but rather did the exact opposite. Because of their disobedience to God, both of these kings personally suffered – King Jehoahaz at the hand of Pharaoh Necho of Egypt and King Jehoiakim at the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The nation of Judah also suffered, as both of their reigns pushed the people closer to a time of being exiled from their land.

While God is a loving and forgiving God, there is a point where His anger at disobedience becomes too great and punishment must happen. What are you doing in your own life to foster obedience to God rather than disobedience, both for yourself and for those around you?

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Systematic Theology 2: Bibliology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 13, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The first and perhaps most important theology “system” we can have regarding the Christian faith is Bibliology – the study of the Bible. Check out my numerous posts about the Bible (including my recent series on how to read the Bible) and my book Ten Reasons to Believe the Bible for more on this, but I’ll provide a quick recap here. The Bible is the source for all Christian doctrine, and it simply amazes me how many professing Christians seem to constantly resist the Bible, even while proclaiming they believe it and that it is inspired.

For the Christian, the Bible is supposed the ultimate authority on all matters. It is supposed to be our go-to for any decision, big or small, and every interaction we make in life. And frankly, as I explained in my last series on how to read the Bible, it has the authority over ALL authorities, includes pagan and secular. It is not an ordinary book. Until just the past one hundred years or so, even secular intellectuals who did not agree with the Bible believed that they could not consider themselves educated unless they had some working knowledge of what the Bible said. And I believe I have a fair argument that the reason secular society lost any respect for the Bible, even though they hate it, is because the church in the West lost respect for it.

I will blame the acceptance of “millions of years” into the Church as the catalyst for this. The moment the big names in Christianity in the 1800-1900s caved on Genesis 1, the world saw that as “open season” to fire upon the Church, and the Church has been totally powerless to stop it. The Scopes Trial pitted Day-Age Creationist William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow, and it was clear that Darrow knew his Bible better than Bryan did. Darrow publicly embarrassed Bryan in his attack on Genesis, and Bryan had no answer for it. This did even more damage that Samuel Wilberforce’s loss to Huxley in the “Great Debate” of 1860. Though Darrow lost on a “narrow” decision because he did teach Evolution, which was illegal at the time, it was shown to be a great victory for the anti-Christians. In 1962, just 40 years after Scopes, God was removed from the public square over the Creation/Evolution debate, and the Church sat back and did nothing, with the exception of a small group of men spearheaded by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb whose book The Genesis Flood, published one year prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, finally gave the church a weapon to fight back with. How did they do that?

They believed the Bible on what it actually said and used it to combat Evolution and the compromised preachers to get people back to actually believing the Bible. They knew the Bible taught a 6-day creation and a global flood, and guess what? Many of the compromised preachers did too. They just didn’t know how to account for the “science” part of it. But they made a fatal mistake: they let science override the clear meaning of Scripture. In regards to origins, they thought it was a secondary issue, partly because origins was not part of the formal list of theological systems, despite being formally codified as part central doctrines in the Creeds and namely the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith that specifically states 6-day creation (Q9). These compromised preachers did not defend the Bible against the attacks of the “enlightened” deists who were known to vocally oppose the Bible.

What has happened since? It is getting harder and harder to find a preacher who actually preaches from the Bible anymore. As I’ve mentioned, look at the creeds and the confessions of the faith throughout the ages. If not explicitly stated, it is clear they all held Scripture at the top and chief authority by which they get all their facts and ways of thinking. Today, even many top defenders of the faith by the Christian community can hardly be seen with a Bible in their hands. It’s as though they pride themselves on being able to defend the faith without the Bible directly. As a result, they may be able to win some intellectual arguments against bad logic users, but there is no real power in their messages. Despite being able to refute atheism and liberalism left and right, these guys really are not seen as threats by the world system and by compromised churches/pastors. Despite claiming to believe the Bible, they seem to never actually USE it. Do we believe this book or not?

Some will accuse me of “biblidolatry,” the worship of the Bible, but you will find that those who make that accusation are always looking to something else besides the Bible to “supplement,” or rather override, what the Bible actually teaches. But the fact remains that the Bible is our only physically tangible connection to God. It is the only thing that we can physically handle to tell us about God, what He is like, and how we should respond to that knowledge. It is also the authority God gave us to check and confirm any teaching we hear. There is a reason the early Church fathers all cited it to the point that we can easily confirm the transmission of Scripture from their writings alone. There is a reason why Paul and the other apostles wrote “according to Scripture” so many times. There is a reason the creeds and confessions all have the Bible as the source for every statement they make. And there is a reason why those who pioneered the fields of science were predominately Christian and held theology as the “Queen of the Sciences.” Instead, what we see now is more and more that the Bible is not actually treated as the inspired Word of God but a mere feel-good inspirational book – only the parts people like.

All our doctrine come from the Bible. It is the Bible that gives us the authority and the standards of how we should act, speak, and think. And despite what some may say, the Bible has the authority and the final say on every topic. Even if the topic is not explicitly covered, such as quantum physics, if the study of quantum physics leads to any idea that does not fit in or agree with the framework the Bible offers, then that study has false premises and therefore false conclusions. God gave us everything we need to have a fully informed framework for reality by which we can test and examine everything. And the biggest key to all that is that man’s own understanding and way of thinking is never going to cut it. We have to rely upon God revealing to us what reality is because only He sees things clearly.

Over the next couple months, I am going to look at the nine other major categories of systematic theology. There is a category for each person of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are categories regarding mankind, sin, salvation, the church, angles, and the end times. In each case, I’m going to address how origins affects each category as well as the key things we need to know about it. What we believe about these categories actually says more about our worldview than most doctrine tests that are given today. So, let’s see what the Bible shows us about each of these.

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Josiah, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 9, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After King Amon of Judah was assassinated, his son Josiah became the new king. Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king! His story is recorded in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. In contrast to the two kings before him, King Amon and King Manasseh, King Josiah was one of the good ones, following God completely and doing what was right in God’s eyes.

Given his young age when he took the throne, his early reign was likely strongly guided by his mother, named in the account as Jedidiah, and other adults in his life who clearly had a strong faith in God. The author of the book of Kings compares him to his ancestor King David, who is widely considered to be the best king that the nation ever had.

In 2 Chronicles 34:3, we see King Josiah not just living off the faith of his mom or those around him but seeking God for himself: “In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols.” He may have only been 16 when he sought the God of King David, but he had already been the king for 8 years at that point! Four years later, he put that faith into action by destroying everything to do with the worship of false gods.

That account goes on to tell of how he destroyed all of the altars to the pagan god Baal, the incense altars, the Asherah poles, and the idols. He even killed the priests who led the idol worship and burned their bones on their former altars. This was prophesied to happen way back in the time of Jeroboam I, shortly after the kingdom split into Israel and Judah. “By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. By the word of the LORD he cried out against the altar: ‘Altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you’’” (1 Kings 13:1-2).

One of the most important events of King Josiah’s reign was the discovery of the Book of the Law, which happened in the 18th year of his reign – 6 years after he destroyed all of the pagan idols and altars. Josiah’s next mission was to restore the temple to its former glory. It had become very neglected after years of Judah not using it to worship the one true God as it was intended. While working in the temple, the priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law (2 Chronicles 34:14).

What exactly was the Book of the Law? Later in the account, it is also called the Book of the Covenant. Scholars believe it was likely at least what we know as the book of Deuteronomy, and it may have also contained Exodus 19-24 and maybe some of Leviticus. It’s possible that it was the entire Pentateuch, the first 5 books of our Bible. There is not sufficient evidence within the account to determine what was exactly part of the Book of the Law, but it is clear that it made a great impact on King Josiah and the people of Judah.

“When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes” (2 Chronicles 34:19). King Josiah was personally convicted by what was in the Book of the Law. It is likely that this reaction was caused by all the threats of punishment for disobeying God, which he knew the nation of Judah had been doing for a long time. He needed to find out more about this, so he sent Hilkiah the priest and others to inquire of the Lord about this. He knew that God was angry with the people of Judah for all the idolatry they had committed for so long.

They went to the prophetess Huldah, who gave them a message from God in 2 Chronicles 34:23-28. Her words confirmed that God was going to bring judgment on the nation of Judah according to all the curses they read in the Book of the Law due to their past idol worship. But because of King Josiah’s humble and repentant heart, he would not see these disasters during his lifetime.

The greatest moment of King Josiah’s reign is described in 2 Chronicles 32:29-33:

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the LORD with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD. The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD—to follow the LORD and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book.
Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors.

The next big event of King Josiah’s reign was the celebrating of the Passover, described in 2 Chronicles 35:1-19. This observance publicly affirmed King Josiah’s and the people’s commitment to following God and obeying His commandments once again. The passover had not been observed in that way since the days when Samuel was a prophet, which was almost 400 years earlier, in the days of King Saul and King David, before the nation divided.

No more is recorded about King Josiah’s reign in detail until the end of his life, roughly 13 years after they found the Book of the Law and celebrated the Passover. The king of Egypt was trying to capture a key city on the Euphrates River. He was not attacking Judah but instead going after the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The Egyptian king even warned King Josiah to not engage him in battle as he was following God’s orders, and God would destroy Judah. But, King Josiah did personally engage in the battle, and he was shot by an archer, which ended up being a fatal wound.

The most important lesson we can learn from King Josiah’s reign is that it’s never too late to turn back to God! God’s decision to destroy Judah may have already been made and they were on their way to destruction, but King Josiah’s reign was a glimmer of hope that the people’s hearts could possibly change and they could be devoted to God once again – even if only for a short time.

No matter how much you have sinned in your life, God will always welcome you back to Him! Perhaps God has given you a great revelation like He gave to Judah with the discovery of the Book of the Law, or perhaps someone else’s dramatic turning back to God will inspire you. But however it happens that God draws you back to Him, know that He will always lovingly welcome you back!

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.


Systematic Theology 1: Introduction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 6, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

These days if someone hears of systematic theology and knows what it is, R.C. Sproul will likely come to mind. For the longest time, I would hear the term “systematic theology” and not knowing what it was, I would be thinking “boring seminary junk.” However, let me be clear: you cannot do the Christian life without doing theology. Some may say, “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship.” Guess what? That relationship requires theology – studying and knowing God. For more on why to study theology, check out this blog post that introduced Katie Erickson’s series on systematic theology.

My first exposure to systematic theology was Todd Friel and Steven Lawson’s series called “Drive by Theology.” It is basically 36 twenty-minute sessions about the major categories of systematic theology. Then I heard R.C. Sproul’s 60-session teachings on systematic theology. And it’s not this giant monster that people tend to think it is. Systematic theology is simply the major “systems” or “themes” that are seen throughout the Bible. Depending on who organizes them, there are perhaps ten major units to systematic theology.

Bibliology: The study of the origins, authority, and transmission of Scripture
Theology Proper: The study of God the Father
Christology: The study of God the Son, Jesus Christ
Pneumatology: The study of God the Holy Spirit
Anthropology: The study of mankind and the identity of man
Hamartiology: The study of sin – its effects, nature, and causes
Soteriology: The study of salvation
Ecclesiology: The study of the church
Angelology: The study of angels and demons
Eschatology: The study of the end times

One that that greatly surprised me about this list: Creation, or Cosmology, is not on the list. Eric Ludy included it on his list of seven in his sermon “Christophany,” but he was listing seven debate points that have a tendency of missing the central focus: Jesus Christ. He also included some terms he made up such as “Sabbathology” (the study of the Sabbath day of rest), “Ettiquitology” (the study of etiquette – moral appearance and clothing) and “Powerology” (gifts of the Spirit including speaking in tongues).

In my personal studies, I have seen creation being completely foundational to every other doctrine, where every single statement about the faith has some root or foreshadow laid down in Genesis. I have heard many preachers make such comments, but to this day, I have not heard or or read any study that actually goes through each of the major doctrines or tenets of the faith to showcase the critical role that Genesis plays. So, I’m working on writing a book that goes through the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed statements and showcases where those have their foundation in Genesis. Worldview Warriors Publishing is aiming to release that book in summer 2023.

In March 2022, The Master’s University launched The Math3ma Institute Journal, which is a full peer-reviewed journal that intends to showcase both science and theology together. The opening article is from Dr. Abner Chao titled “The Queen of the Sciences: Reclaiming the Rightful Place of Theology and Creation.” In this article, Chao showcases the rightful place of theology, creation, Scripture’s revelation, what general revelation actually is, and what man’s knowledge is. It’s a spectacular way of saying the things I’ve been trying to say all along, however he really nailed it when he went through all ten of these systematic theology categories and in one paragraph each, addressing what happened when one gets creation wrong and how it will lead to getting the rest of it wrong.

So, over the next ten weeks, I am going to look at each of these ten major systems, or categories, of central theological topics that are covering throughout the Bible and are central to Christian thought. Why Creation is left out might be because Creation had never been attacked prior to the development of these “systems” (Sproul did not come up with them; he’s just the most well-known teacher of them) and/or because the doctrines of Creation are so intertwined with each of these systems that all ten still cover creation when properly and deeply enough explored.

Another thing I will emphasize is how often all these topics overlap. That’s one thing I love about the Bible. It releases bits and pieces of each doctrine to the point where you cannot ignore or remove even a single verse without affecting something else or in best case scenario, at least having that teaching echoed elsewhere. Never is a single doctrine taught in only one place.

The systems of systematic theology are basically major themes through which we can examine the faith and doctrines and teachings. They give us a structure in how to do our studies and to help keep us on track. Through this series, I simply want to help us with the core structures of the Bible and Christianity because when we understand these systems properly, as much as our finite minds can handle, we will be able to discern true and false doctrines as they come in and out from both friendly and unfriendly sources.

We’ll start by examining Bibliology because one thing Todd Friel pointed out is that in nearly every creed or confession of church history, they always started with the Bible and drew every statement and tenet from Scripture. If we do not give the Bible the place it deserves, we will drift off to who knows where, but it won’t be the truth. And do not be deceived; many profess to believe the Bible when they most certainly do not. That is why Jesus was far more interested in obedience to the Word, not just hearing it. Tune in next week.

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Amon, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 2, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After the very evil reign of King Manasseh of Judah, his son Amon took over the throne. While King Manasseh had followed the good King Hezekiah (who followed the evil King Ahaz), sadly Amon did not continue the trend of alternating between good and evil reigns.

King Amon’s brief reign is documented in 2 Kings 21:18-26 and 2 Chronicles 33:21-25. He only reigned as king for 2 years, even though he was just 22 years old when he became king.

In the short summary of his reign, he is directly compared to his father King Manasseh: “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done. He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them. He forsook the LORD, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to him” (2 Kings 21:20-22).

The apple did not fall far from the tree with King Amon. Even though prophets warned the nation under King Manasseh’s reign that God would completely wipe them out if they did not change their ways, King Amon continued all of the idol worship and sacrifices to idols that his father promoted. He did not obey God, and neither did the people under his leadership.

The parallel account in 2 Chronicles says that “But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the LORD; Amon increased his guilt” (2 Chronicles 33:23). King Amon just kept making things worse for himself and for the people of Judah.

But, just 2 years into his reign, King Amon suffered some immediate consequences for that. His officials assassinated him, right there in his palace! The Scriptures do not state the reason for this assassination, whether the officials disagreed with King Amon and his idolatry or if they simply wanted to make a power grab. There was “behind the scenes” drama going on between Judah and the Assyrians, so the officials may have been involved in that.

But right after King Amon’s officials assassinated him, they experienced immediate consequences for that action – the people of Judah rose up and killed them! So if it was a power grab, they didn’t get to experience that power. This all turned out very good for the people, though, since they made King Amon’s son Josiah the next king (even though he was only 8 years old), and he was one of the very good ones who brought the people back to following God.

Scripture does not record the feelings and motivations of the officials or the people of Judah in this situation. But, perhaps the people were smarter than their king, and they knew that idolatry was not the path they should be following. Perhaps they knew that the king had to be taken down, and then for good measure, they took down the people who assassinated the king too! This was clearly God working in the hearts and lives of the people of Judah, as they needed to get away from the idol worship that was rampant under King Manasseh and then King Amon.

How does this apply to us today? Take a look at national politics here in the U.S. today – and even in the last 10-15 years for that matter. Are our leaders more like King Hezekiah or King Manasseh and King Amon? Is our leadership following the one true God and encouraging the people to do the same? Or is our leadership encouraging following idols and false gods and encouraging the people to do the same?

From my perspective, it is definitely the latter and not the former; our government officials seem to be following the path of the evil kings of Judah much more than the good kings. Not only am I not seeing any encouragement to follow God from our elected leaders, but there is an active discouragement of following God. People are encouraged to worship idols, especially the most prevalent idol in our society today – the idol of self.

The transgender movement is one of the “popular” manifestations of the idol of self today. It says that you should pay no attention to how God created you to be, whether male or female; only pay attention to what you feel like. It encourages people to do whatever will draw the most attention to them and their own personal “courage” and “bravery” in the face of the “adversity” of people “misgendering” them. Transgenderism is one way that people are bowing down to the idol of self and encouraging others to do the same.

The idol of self is also seen in the social media culture of today. Social media is primarily about focusing on self and developing an audience of people who want to follow (and perhaps worship) you. Yes, social media can definitely be used to point people toward God and His Biblical teachings, so it is not all bad. But far too often, social media is about promoting and giving glory to oneself rather than promoting and giving all glory to God where it is rightfully due.

Some of the corruption of our government leaders and organizations has been revealed in recent days that they have been censoring the speech of those who disagree with them – those who believe in God’s created order of things and that God should receive the glory rather than His creation. This is simply active idolatry; people wanting the power that only God should have. They want to control others and “play God” rather than encouraging the liberty to which God has called us, where every person is equally valuable in God’s eyes and we all deserve to be able to speak out to honor and glorify Him.

Learn from the short reign of King Amon and pray about what God would have you do to bring Him the glory that He – and only He – deserves. Do not fall into the idolatrous trap of our society today, but continue to rely on the only real source of truth, the Word of God.

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.