What Does the Bible Say About Aliens from Another Planet?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 15, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

And now for something kind of different… what does the Bible say about aliens from another planet? When I first read that topic, my response was that I couldn’t think of a single Bible passage that talks about aliens. But let’s dig into it and see what the Bible tells us on this topic.

A key part of answering this question lies in defining what “aliens” are. Generally speaking, aliens are defined as beings similar to humans - capable of making decisions, having intelligence, and having emotions. Aliens are not algae, bacteria, single-celled organisms, or anything like that.

We know from Genesis 1-2 that God created the entire universe - including earth of course, and all the other planets. God created the earth before He created the sun, moon, or the stars. God created the earth to be inhabited by humans (Isaiah 45:18). Humans are still exploring the vastness of the universe, but of all the planets we have been able to send technology to, none of them are capable of supporting life as the earth is. We know that when God created humans, he put them on earth. There is no evidence in the creation account that God did the same thing anywhere else in the universe.

Genesis 1:31 tells us that, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” At the time of Creation, before mankind sinned, EVERYTHING that God had made was good - including the entire universe and all other planets. Romans 8:19-22 tells us that the whole creation fell when humans sinned and has been suffering ever since, so if there were aliens on another planet, they would be suffering as well. We know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die once and for all (Hebrews 7:27) to save mankind from our sins. He didn’t do this on any other planet, but on earth. So if God had created aliens elsewhere, they would be left to suffer in their sin without even the hope of a savior; would a loving God do that? I’d venture to say no.

The Bible gives us no reason to believe that there are aliens on any other planets in the universe. So what does the Bible say about aliens from other planets? Nothing, because they don’t exist.

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The Faith of Gideon

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 14, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever felt like God was giving you way more than you could handle? I’m not sure there is a human being out there who would say “no." We’ve all been at those points in our lives and many who have at least some knowledge of the Bible immediately think, “Well, either that can’t be true or God is a liar because the Word says he will never give us more than we can handle." If you’re a Christian and a follower of that Word, and you’ve come to a point in your life when you just can’t take anymore suffering, then you’ve probably had to go back to that place in the Word to see what isn’t adding up.

The verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13. Click on that link and read it to see what it REALLY says. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I’ve realized there is a big difference between “handling” something and “bearing” it. As human beings, we want to be in control. We want to have a handle on things. However, when it comes to the battle against temptation, we’re not told to handle it or control it by our own willpower. We’re told to bear it by the power of Jesus Christ. That’s why the last part of that verse says that God will “provide a way out so that you can endure it." The way out is the Lord Jesus Christ, who demonstrated for us how to bear with temptation (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13), then defeated death, sin, and temptation by raising from the dead after his crucifixion. Without Jesus, we are still susceptible to those things. But as we walk in the power of our Lord, we can bear our temptations and walk away from them. We do this time after time because we will not be fully separated from darkness and temptation until Christ returns, but the life of a Christian is to be lived to show that Christ is in our hearts even now and with HIS power we can bear with temptation until that glorious day.

One way that we continue to fight this battle and bear with temptation is to remind ourselves of others who have battled and the things that God did to get them through. As we remember the works of God, we gain more confidence and trust that he will continue his work in us. The series we’ve been doing on our heroes of faith from Hebrews 11 has been a good reminder for me, and I hope for you also. The stories of these men and women who were ordinary sinners like you and me help us grow stronger and more committed in our own faith. It’s good to pause and consider where we are in the series. The writer of Hebrews is now done giving us the details of each person’s faith story. He now will give us a few names, knowing that our curiosity is piqued enough at this point that we will do our own research to learn about their faith. In Hebrews 11:32, the writer basically tells us he doesn’t have time to keep telling us these stories, so hopefully we get the point by now and can study the rest on our own. I wonder why he writes that and frankly, I don’t have a clear answer. We don’t know for sure who the writer is, but many believe it was Paul. If indeed it was Paul, he seemingly had all the time in the world, having written his other letters mainly while traveling or sitting in prison. Again, maybe he just decided it was time for his audience to do their own study and be blessed!

The first name he mentions is “Gideon." Let me tell you, I was blessed by going back and studying this story, which can be found in Judges 6-8. As you can see for yourself if you read those chapters, Gideon enters the scene during a dreadful time for the Israelites, who were God’s chosen people. As a nation, they had done evil in the eyes of the Lord, so he allowed them to be overpowered by an enemy, the Midianites. The oppression from the Midianites was so bad that the people of Israel had to go and live in mountains and caves. Then, when they worked hard to produce crops and livestock for themselves, the Midianites simply came and stole everything. After being stuck in their sin for so long, the Israelites finally cried out to God to rescue them (Judges 6:6).

God responds first by sending the Israelites a prophet who reminds them of the great things God has done in their history but also reminds them of their sin. It was important for them to see their sin and remember God’s faithfulness anyway before they could be released from the hand of the Midianites. Then, an angel of the Lord comes and appears to Gideon, while he is threshing wheat in a winepress. This was not a normal place to thresh wheat, but it was the only way to try to keep it for himself and his family. Judges 6:12 tells us that the angel says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Gideon may have laughed at this. He may have even turned to look behind him to see if the angel was talking to someone else. He sure didn’t feel very mighty while he was having to thresh wheat in a private place for fear of the enemy stealing it. After that, he asks an obvious question that we’d all ask: how can the Lord be with us when we’re dealing with so much suffering? At that point, we realize it’s no longer an angel of the Lord, but the ACTUAL Lord himself who is talking to Gideon. This would’ve been an Old Testament appearance of the Christ, who came to assure Gideon that he indeed was with him and was sending him to rescue Israel from the Midianites.

At this point in our reading, we see that Gideon and the Lord then have a prolonged discussion in which Gideon questions the choice (he admits he is basically the weakest in all of Israel), then asks for some signs to show that God really is with them and will deliver the Midianites into their hands. We can learn from this that weak faith is better than no faith at all. Weak faith and insecurity are not heresy. Gideon is still listed among those commended for their faith in Hebrews 11, so clearly God can use anyone who puts even a little bit of faith in him even when we have doubts. God was patient with Gideon and saw the warrior in Gideon that Gideon didn’t even see in himself yet. Once Gideon discovers it truly is the Lord talking to him, he is given a command that may have seemed like a test to him, but was frankly more important than dealing with the oppressive enemy. Gideon is told to destroy the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole that his father and many other Israelites had been worshipping. The Israelites, like many of us, focused more on the external threats and circumstances than their own sin. They continued to worship idols even as they suffered at the hands of Midian. God knew that sin is a far greater oppressor than any foreign enemy, and it had to be dealt with FIRST.

Gideon obeys God and takes down the altars. Once the sin was properly dealt with, he was ready to move forward and accomplish God’s will. The enemy would have well over 100,000 troops, yet God planned to use Gideon and only 300 other men to defeat them. God wanted to make sure that stubborn and arrogant Israel did not take credit and boast of their victory, so he had Gideon reduce the army all the way down from 32,000 through two cuts. Once Gideon was down to 300 men, outnumbered over 400 to 1 by the enemy, he was truly ready to let God lead him to victory. Read the story yourself to see how God does it. Basically, Gideon and his band of merry men were collectively God’s tag-team partner. God did all the work, then tagged in Gideon and his army to finish the job and pin the enemy. God caused the enemy to be afraid, which led to them turning on and killing each other.

Gideon had to be tempted throughout the story to walk away from the Lord and give in to fear. But once he understood that the Lord was with him, that gave him power to bear that temptation and endure the struggle. It was power he didn’t know he had, and truthfully, he didn’t have it until he was obedient and got to know the Lord. If you are tempted, if you feel like you can’t take anymore suffering, if you are overwhelmed by the enemy, then put your trust in the Lord and find the power you need from him. Faith in him is the only thing that allows us to endure.

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.


To the Church at Smyrna

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 12, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here.]

The second letter from Jesus to the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 is to Smyrna. Smyrna had it rough with numerous persecutions, poverty, and slander against them. Jesus’ letter to them was a letter of encouragement. This and the letter to the church in Philadelphia were the only two of these seven without a warning against a particular sin. This is a letter warning that the hardships were about to get worse, but it would be worth enduring them.

Jesus first reminds this church that he is the First and the Last, the one who died but now is risen. It is difficult to be in a worse situation than dead as Jesus was, but he rose from it. He knew the works of Smyrna. He knew the tribulations they were going through. He even knew their poverty and yet declared they were rich. And he knew that there were other Christians and Jews claiming to be as such who were not and were blaspheming both them and the very Christ they claimed to follow.

The first century church was a church that lived the way Christianity was supposed to live. Yes, they had many flaws and many faults, but the Bride of Christ worked as a whole unit, endured fierce persecution, and was willing to leave everything on the field to go after Christ. They were dealing with Nero’s formal persecution but also much of the informal persecution which Paul often saw. They were not wealthy, yet they had riches no one in the world system could see. False believers were speaking openly against them with slander. There is a lot of similarity to this among the true Christians today.

I am not citing a "no true Scotsman" fallacy because I am not specially defining a “Christian” to rule out those I disagree with. I am defining a “Christian” not as a follower of a religion, but as the Bible describes them: as someone who has been born again, bears the new nature of Christ, and lives their lives as though that is true of them. Jesus described the false believers who claim to be Jews as synagogue of Satan.

We in America do not have the formal persecution going on which was endured in the Roman Empire or the 1500s Inquisition. However, we are experiencing the informal persecution and it’s getting worse. Christians have been bullied out of business because of standing for their beliefs. I’m not just talking about a cake-maker whose case is before the Supreme Court, or even Hobby Lobby who balked at being forced to participate in supplying abortion to its employees (they only balked at 4 of the 20-some stipulations). A Christian family was booted from a farmer’s market because of a Facebook comment against gay marriage. And here, Justin Derby goes over an article how a student was booted from his university class for speaking against gay marriage on Facebook and the court, acknowledging no rights were violated and his right to freedom of speech, supported the school’s decision to remove him. This doesn’t include the heavily documented cases about discrimination in the scientific community against anyone who challenges the evolutionary paradigm. The video “Expelled” provides just a sampling of what is going on.

I have witnessed the slander from false Christians quite a bit too. They usually come in the form of Old Earth Creationists who, on the forums talking with me, will speak the language and try to get along, despite questioning the authority and sufficiency of Scripture the whole time. However, I’ve seen the same people in other groups and if I had not previously heard their claim to be a Christian, I would believe they were some of the most vicious militant atheists I’ve seen. They do a very poor job at convincing me to think otherwise when I engage with them.

It is going to get worse. That is what Jesus warned the church of Smyrna and he warns those of us being persecuted for nothing other than actually standing up and saying what the Bible says (not merely talking about Biblical Creationists here), that it is going to get worse. But he encourages us to hang on and endure. Some will be arrested and put into prison. Those of you reading Worldview Warriors today, do not think this is going to be readily accessible forever. Many of us are outspoken about our beliefs in the public square, preach in pulpits, speak at conferences, and as a result, we will be targeted at some point because of that. They will likely try to shut down our ministry, cut us off the internet, or silence us into small churches, but I can see each of us writers having the potential of spending time in jail for no other reason than speaking truth to a world which hates it. Are we ready to make such a stand?

Jesus told us, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Yes, that means stay true to what you believe, even unto the point of death. Very few of us have ever taken serious thought about what that means. It is easy to say, “I’ll never deny Christ.” We’ll see when the real persecution hits, when it becomes a matter of life or death, when it becomes a matter of the life of a loved one or renouncing Christ. Are we willing to pay that price for our Savior?

Those who endure and will not renounce the name of Christ at the cost of job, popularity, social prestige, finances, family turning on you, or even death, will not be touched by the second death (verse 11). There are many who as a lifestyle live their lives in sin and while Revelation 21-22 are cited as the glorious chapters, Revelation 21:8 gives a list of those who will not make it. Take note of the first one listed: the cowardly. When Peter denied Christ he was a coward. He talked big, but when it came down to it, he found out he was all talk. This same man just 50 days later would speak boldly before thousands, and only a few days after that he told the Sanhedrin who had just imprisoned him he would rather obey God than men. How was this possible? Pentecost, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is no way to endure this persecution without knowing the God of the Bible in his power in your life. Head knowledge won’t do it. Emotional passion won’t do it. Only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in his power can do it. The persecution is coming and God will offer all the grace necessary to get through it. In that day, if it hasn’t already been revealed, the true Christian from the faker will be revealed, because the faker will not endure. Do not let that be said of you. Make sure you are in right standing with God and if you want to be sure about where you stand, talk to me or any of the blog writers here with Worldview Warriors.

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.


Good Mutation, Bad Mutation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 11, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Mutations: they’re tricky things to like. Evolutionists will argue that mutations are the “driving force” of evolution. This means that mutations are supposedly what brings about new genetic information which will lead to, over eons of time I guess, major changes in an organism’s characteristics—even new anatomy and physiology. Is there support for this? Is there evidence that mutations in the genetic code can turn a dinosaur into a chicken or an ancient ape into a human being? Let’s take a look, as this is one of the things thrown at creationists, insisting that creationists don’t understand evolution.

What’s a mutation? According to Wikipedia, it’s “the permanent alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism.” In other words, it’s a mistake made in the genetic code of an organism during some type of copying of the genetic information—DNA—or through some kind of external cause like radiation. That’s the simple explanation and it works fine.

Creationists maintain that the vast majority (not quite but nearly all) of mutations have no benefit whatsoever. There are some instances where, due to a change in environment or circumstance, a mutation may create a benefit that in reality is/can be destructive if the environmental change is reversed. This is often the case in antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Not having a benefit could mean that the mutation’s result is negative or neutral. The great thing is that our Creator, God Almighty, created a genetic code that runs in pairs. We receive a half strand of DNA from our father and a half strand from our mother. If dad’s DNA had a mistake in it when it was used at conception, there’s a good chance that mom’s DNA doesn’t have the same mistake. This generally results in the non-error DNA taking dominance over the mistake or mutation. In essence, it means that the mistake will never be known. However, there are certainly clear cases of negative mutations. There are, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, currently just under 17,000 known genetic disorders in humans. This means there are nearly 17,000 known ways for a person to be ill (often times life-threateningly so) because of a mutation. There are, as with many of these things, various numbers thrown around. It may only be just over 6,000, but the fact remains—it’s a lot.

How many “beneficial” mutations do we know of? That’s a tricky question. It depends on what you mean by beneficial. There are 4 beneficial mutations I could find (and I’m being generous) online in humans (as opposed to nearly 17,000 negative mutations). I’m sure there must be others. Let’s see if these pan out and then we’ll discuss whether or not they actually matter.

The A-I Milano mutation has been found in a small population in Italy. This gene mutation makes these folks less susceptible to heart disease. This, to the evolutionists, is a death blow to creationists. However, to those who think that, it shows their incompetence concerning creationist beliefs and concerning this mutation. First of all, creationism has no issues with beneficial mutations at all. Why would we? But the truth is, most if not all beneficial mutations fail to do the one critical thing evolution needs for support: add new genetic information. An evolutionist who uses this particular examples as a means to show you that evolution is true because, hey, this is a beneficial mutation needs to be educated on what creationists believe about mutations and needs to understand this is not an issue even slightly. Let’s investigate.

This mutation actually is not an addition of new information. It’s not going to create a new type of human being that is more advanced or specialized than the current version. It’s a loss of information in reality—this means the protein in question is actually no longer doing what it’s supposed to. There’s a lot to it, but the basic idea is this mutation causes a protein to malfunction and that malfunction seems to be helpful in reducing the effects of atherosclerosis. It’s actually less adequate at doing what it’s supposed to do. This is not a kill shot for evolution, in fact it’s not even helpful for evolutionists. You can read a little about it here.

Then there is the malaria fighting (and sometimes deadly) mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia. This is a “beneficial” mutation that has inappropriately strengthened the case of Darwinism. The mutation in question is, like the previous one, a degenerative change that happens to help some of those who have it. I say “some” of those who have it because to those who have 2 of these mutations in their genes, the resulting disease is not good. Associated with this disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, are things like anemia, episodes of pain and joint swelling, frequent infections, and vision issues, as well as growth problems for children. These issues can result in stroke, blindness, acute chest syndrome, organ damage, and a variety of other issues, many of which are life threatening. The average life expectancy of someone with sickle-cell is less than age 50. This doesn’t sound like a major advantage to me. If you were born with only one copy of this mutation, you do have an enhanced ability to resist the damaging effects of malaria. That’s great, but it’s not supportive of evolution, even a little bit.

The other 2 examples you can research a little on your own. It’s clear that an increased bone density can be helpful, but at what cost? And is this some sort of increase in new information or simply a deregulation or loss of info? And perhaps seeing 4 colors rather than 3 is some sort of evolutionary advantage. I can’t say, but I don’t see women who can see 4 colors being at some major advantage to the rest of us.

So, are there really beneficial mutations? I can’t say. I suppose some of these degenerative mutations which most often represent a loss of information are helpful in some cases. But they hardly represent the sort of change necessary for anyone to use them to suggest universal common descent is a thing. Evolutionists will use these examples as proof positive for Darwinism. Creationists don’t see it that way. Evolutionists will suggest this is because creationists don’t understand evolution, but upon careful examination of the claims and the actual science, it turns out an evolutionist who uses these examples as support for evolution doesn’t understand. Don’t be fooled and don’t be sucked in to baseless “proofs” that can easily be knocked down with a little investigation.

The truth is, mutations that serve to benefit the individual but do not add novel information to the genetic code are not at odds with creationism at all and do not support evolutionism (universal common descent) at all. God said He created the heavens and the earth. His claim is to be the Creator of man on the 6th day of creation. Any mutation that has happened since then that persists is exceptionally more likely to create a problem than a benefit. Most mutations are not of any use to its carrier and a very large number create negative conditions like cancer, Marfan syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and thousands of others. Do mutations (beneficial or otherwise) create problems for the Bible-believing Christian? Of course not! Not even a tiny amount. In fact, the evidence supports creation quite 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.


The Parable Explained

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 10, 2018 0 comments

by David Odegard

Haddon Robinson once said about his students, “The bright ones get it.” After all of his years teaching people how to preach, he understood that the listener has to bring something to the table if they are going to understand any given message. Some (but only some) of what passes for poor preaching is in reality poor listening.

Jesus was a master storyteller. He wove intricate concepts and interpretation of Scripture into simple stories. Once heard, these stories remain in the mind. Jesus created a myriad of unforgettable characters like the Good Samaritan, the Persistent Widow, the Unjust Steward, the Good Shepherd and so on. These characters are true to life and they live in our hearts and minds. They illuminate our perception of the world.

These stories were not accidentally created. Jesus knit them together, not out of spun yarns, but out of keen observation of the human condition—the condition He came to heal. Large crowds gathered to hear Him preach or watch Him perform a miracle. They came for a show, but Jesus disarmed His opponents as He gave them the words of life in story form.

A good parable is like a depth charge. It slips past the defense mechanisms and sinks deeper and deeper into the psyche without any alarm whatsoever. Then suddenly a flash of light, a deep rumble, and the parable is understood. The listener is forever changed and the parable remains.

Jesus did not explain His parables to the large crowds; He reserved that for His disciples. Imagine Jesus showing up to your college campus and because He is constantly in the news, a big crowd students and faculty forms to see what He is all about. The crowd quiets because it senses that He is about to lay some heavy truth on them. Jesus says, “A farmer put certified seed in the hopper of his seeder and pulled it through his field. Some of the seed was planted in alkali soil, some in thin, dry soil, some among weeds, and some in really good soil.” That’s it. Jesus walks away leaving the crowd to figure it out.

Some of the people are frustrated because they don’t understand the parable at all and it seems unfinished. Some of them would say, “That’s it? Who is he? Some sort of gibberish-spouting mystic?” Others would not give Him a second glance as they hurry to class. Still others might discern the kernel of truth thinking, “I sort of get it. He is saying something about us, something about how we conduct our lives.” But then the person gets a text and snaps back into her world, dropping the thread of Jesus’ idea altogether.

But a few listeners, the bright ones, get it. They realize that Jesus is saying that only a few will listen in order to understand. Those few who do listen, understand. To understand Jesus is to understand the core truths about humanity. In other words, it is to gain wisdom—practical skill at living life which satisfies us and gives us overflowing joy. It conveys skill in acquiring the Good Life.

In my humble attempt last week at a parable, the rain stands for the Life. As the Apostle John wrote in his first letter to the church, “The Life appeared, we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:2). Jesus is the Life. He is the source of all life and the sustainer of all things. Humanity wallows in death. They forgot the good life; Jesus came to resuscitate them, to remind them of true life (see more here).

Old hickory limbs, loincloth Merlin, he stands for the pastor, the man of God who is responsible for a community. That community is comprised of believers, but they are not separate from the world in a commune. The community of believers is in the world and Ole’ Hickory has a responsibility to the lost people who live in the shadow of his tribe.

The garden represents the fruit of our walk with God. We receive the Life and it is our provision. We always want more—demand for the good life always exceeds supply as far as we can tell. We want God to do all the work for us. We want Him to hook us up to an IV and let us sit in front of the television. But that is not how life with God works. The Apostle John reports Jesus’ words this way, “You must remain in me and I in you…” (see John 15). We have to work to develop our life in congruity with the life of God. If we are lazy, we will not experience the good life.

Ole Hickory realizes that we must help take care of one another in this walk of faith. By diligent seeking of God and the Life that is in Him, the preacher can help others to be connected through faith. The effect is an abundant life (see Psalm 1) for all. Those people in turn help others and suddenly there is an atmosphere of discipleship created.

In the parable, some people are slower to take the focus of themselves (they just keep showing up with an empty pumpkin wanting it to be filled). These people represent the many people in church who are focused on themselves, what they want to get out of a service, “their” ministry opportunities, how they demand to “be fed.” Selfishness always, always, always cools genuine love. Love is self-sacrificial by its very nature. Selfishness is an opposite.

In my parable, the hundred-fold tribe is a local church. As the congregation catches the vision and participates in the ministry of Christ to the world, they experience the Good Life for themselves and as a natural extension they are able to share with the world around them. The people are only too happy to share God’s Life (see Matthew 28:18-20).

The starving people represent those who are separated from God, from the true Life. They beg, “What must we do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30-33). But having been saved themselves by tapping into God’s Life, the church can answer with the confidence of Isaiah 55:1. There is plenty to go around!

The end of my parable shows a healthy church, a steady stream of newly saved people, and a satisfied pastor who knows that they dug in to the resources God supplied and they fulfilled the Great Commission. He and the congregation are poised to hear the “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). My parable has a happy ending, which was created by a few strokes of a pen. But dealing with human resistance to God’s will is much harder in real life. So, we must pray and preach and love and wait for people to open their hearts to the Good Life that God gives.

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.


What Does the Bible Say About Bitterness?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 8, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week, I wrote on what the Bible says about anger. This week’s topic is closely related to that: what the Bible says about bitterness.

What’s the difference between anger and bitterness? Generally speaking, anger is the reaction to a hurt that is presently going on, whereas bitterness is how we feel about past hurts that we can’t (or won’t) let go of. Anger can often go away quickly, while bitterness is a lingering emotion. We can control our anger and how we react to it, but when we let bitterness take hold of us, it controls us. We often act on our anger, but bitterness generally festers more quietly.

So what does the Bible say about bitterness? Primarily, it tells us to get rid of it. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Note how bitterness is linked to the need for forgiveness; bitterness happens when someone angers us and we don’t forgive them. Jesus tells us how many times we should forgive someone in Matthew 18:21-22: essentially, as many times as they wrong us.

We see that if we hold on to bitterness and don’t forgive those who have wronged us, God will not forgive us. Jesus tells us about this in Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, and Luke 17:3-4.

Note that in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6, we see that love keeps no record of wrongs. Keeping track of how someone has wronged you generally leads to bitterness, because you’re holding onto the times they have made you angry.

To keep bitterness out of your life, follow the words given to us in Hebrews 12:14-15: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Be on guard against the danger that bitterness can have on your life; if left untreated and unforgiven, it will lead you and others astray from God’s Word.

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


The Faith of Rahab

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 7, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Now that we have officially entered a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on how we are doing with recognizing our need for the Lord and trusting in him to get us through anything. You may look back on challenges that you faced in 2017 or you may be anxious as you think about the difficulties that might be coming your way in 2018, but faith encourages us to persevere and to learn what trusting fully in God means through each of those things. There’s a great old hymn that was redone a few years ago by Matt Maher called “Lord, I Need You” which reminds us that we don’t just need God’s presence in our lives on Sunday mornings at church or when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances; we actually need him EVERY HOUR!

I remember a little over a year ago, at the end 2016, when three notable celebrities all lost their lives over a span of 4 days. After the deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds, some people that I know publicly mourned their deaths on social media. But what may have begun as typical tributes and remembrances for what those people contributed to the world quickly turned to anger over the deaths. Some people, including several Christians I know, posted things like, “Okay 2016, time for you to go away!” or “2016, you suck!” People would talk about it as if the year itself had something to do with these deaths. Some people couldn’t hide their frustrations over these deaths being added to the deaths of people like Prince, Arnold Palmer, and others that took place earlier in the year. I understand that nobody likes death and we all deal with it in different ways, but I was so confused as to how people could throw their anger at a YEAR of all things.

These celebrities were not personally known by the vast majority of the people I’m talking about. Yet, death is something we all have to deal with on a personal level as well. When someone we love is taken from us, how do we respond? Do we throw our anger at God or something else? I believe it’s one of the things God uses to get our attention, to remind us of how fragile our lives are and to encourage us to depend on him. I remember hearing a sermon by John Piper one time when he was teaching on Luke 13:1-5 and pointed out that when we see great death and destruction, we shouldn’t be asking why so many died. He said the more appropriate thing to question is why we have been spared so far! If we truly understand our sin and God’s righteousness, we should wonder why we are allowed to live, not why others die.

Faith in who God is gives us a proper perspective. In the Old Testament, a woman named Rahab came to understand who God was even when everyone around her didn’t, and it literally saved her life. Hebrews 11:31 tells us about her faith, which led to her being spared while those who were unbelieving around her were killed. In order to understand the magnitude of her faith in the midst of a disobedient society, we have to go back and read the original story.

In Joshua 2, we see that Joshua and the people of Israel are preparing to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land (the land of Canaan that would later become what we know today as “Israel”). It’s only wise to count the cost and see what they might have to deal with when they cross, so Joshua secretly sends spies to scope out the land, “especially Jericho” because that would be the first city they would have to conquer. God was giving them this land, but that didn’t mean the pagans who lived there were going to give it up quietly. As we saw in last week’s post, God worked a miracle and caused the walls of Jericho to fall as soon as the people followed his complete instructions. So, this type of reconnaissance didn’t really end up being necessary. Nevertheless, Joshua was acting in wisdom and God was going to use it for a different reason.

The reason was to bring Rahab to salvation. She is listed in Hebrews 11:31 and Joshua 2:1 as a “prostitute." First and foremost, we must see the truth here that faith is not something that only happens for the “religious” or “self-righteous." It doesn’t happen by going to church, and it’s not about our parents. No matter where we come from or what we’ve done, faith is an individual choice and is shown through action. Rahab did a lot of things wrong and lived in a pagan city enslaved by the filth of the world, but she chose to have faith when she came to realize she needed God the most. Her home was a logical place for the spies to go and stay because no one would have suspected anything out of the ordinary. That was their human plan, yet it was foiled and Joshua 2:2-3 tells us that the men are found out and the king of Jericho asks Rahab to bring them out. They had to be thinking they were toast. They would be killed unless God worked a miracle.

Joshua 2:4-13 then tells us that, at the moment of truth, Rahab lied and told the king that she sent the men away even though they were actually hiding on the roof. The men, who I’m sure were shocked at her choice, then get to hear her reasoning. She shares that she knows the Lord has given them and their people the land, and goes on to say, “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below” (v. 11). This was an amazing statement! A woman with no godly upbringing whatsoever learned what it meant to fear God. And when she realized what God was up to, she knew it was time to get on his side. Notice how she said “the Lord YOUR God” (caps mine). Rahab was not yet a follower of God, but she was willing to learn more about what that meant. And it started with one step of faith that ultimately saved her and her family. An old pastor of mine used to pray, “Lord, I’m not willing, but I’m willing to be made willing." Sometimes that’s all it takes. Yet, we get caught up with religion and judgments. Rahab had no idea what it meant to follow God, but she made her choice and there was no turning back.

Rahab told a lie, and that is never right in God’s eyes. But Rahab is not remembered for her sins, but for her faith. And in that regard, she’s no different than anyone else in Hebrews 11 or any of us. We all make mistakes and do things wrong, but faith is still a choice each and every moment of our lives. And besides that, we cannot judge people who are not believers to follow a believer’s standard. Jesus invites them in. Jesus actually enters the houses of SINNERS. Maybe we should stop judging the actions of unbelievers and start spending more time getting to know them. We never know when that person might make a life-changing decision of faith.

The spies make a deal with Rahab to show them a sign when they come into the city that will tell them she has not changed her mind and is still on their side. Then, Joshua 6:22-25 tells us that, during the overtaking of Jericho, Rahab and her household are indeed spared because she kept her end of the deal and proved to be faithful. We see at the end of that passage that she “lives among the Israelites to this day." Rahab became a believer AFTER she made the choice to be faithful. She grew in her faith and learned more and more about this God she became aware of. She learned about how much she needed him in her life every hour. And because of her faith, she becomes so much a part of God’s story that Matthew 1 lists her as one of only 4 women in the genealogy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So again I urge you, stop wasting time judging yourself or others for past mistakes and start trusting God for everything. Accept that you need him every hour of 2018 and beyond, and let your life be the example that brings sinners to a saving relationship with him!

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