Lessons on the Beach, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 31, 2015 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Several years ago my family and I vacationed in Tulum, Mexico.  Every morning I would get up early and spend time walking in the waves along the beach, basking in the presence of God.  It was a pure and precious time with him.  He had my full attention, no one needed me, my phone was locked in my room, and I had no distractions.  It was just me walking with God on the beach.

One thing that occurred to me later was that I didn’t have a spiritual agenda.  What I mean by that is, I didn’t start out reading the Bible or in prayer like I normally would in my quiet time with God. I was open to what God would speak to my heart and then when I felt I had learned the lesson he was teaching me, I would go write it down.  Then I would reflect on the subject and spend time in prayer.  Over the next few weeks I am going to write about my journey with God in Tulum and share with you what God taught me in this amazing time with him.  Please join me as I share my “Lessons on the Beach” with you.

As I walked along the beach, a beach where we had only found coral and rocks, for two days we hadn’t seen a shell bigger than a nickel.  I prayed and believed that God would show me a shell - a sign that he is still there and that he still loves me, that the Father of the universe knows me by name, and that he does love and care about me, and I matter to him.

I believe that we all have times in our lives when God is quiet.  I had experienced one of those times in my life. I am not going to lie; it was difficult.

As I diligently looked down at my feet in the sand, I felt him whisper, “Look around, it isn’t going to be where you are looking.”  I had been standing looking at my feet in the waves for about ten minutes when I felt his whisper.  I had not moved or looked away from that spot for fear that I would miss my shell.

When I felt the whisper to look around, I glanced to my left and to my right and then I looked over my left shoulder up toward the shore.  I saw something partially buried in the sand about five feet from where I stood.  I walked over and began to brush and dig at the beach.  At first glance I thought it might be a rock but as I brushed away the sand I noticed scalloped edges.  My excitement grew as I uncovered a large, beautiful Conch shell.  I had huge tears in my eyes because this shell was much bigger than what I was expecting. I was looking for a small shell, one that would fit in my hand. When I saw this shell I knew this was God saying to me that I still matter, he still loves me, and he still holds me in the palm of his hand.

This is my shell.

  I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace.  I spent time praising him and thanking him for all that he is, for his beautiful creation and for the tangible reminder of his unfailing love for me.

Today, I want to reassure you that the Father of the universe loves you!  You matter to him and he knows you by name!  I know that life can be hard and we all go through difficult times.  Cling to Jesus and to the word of God for guidance in your storm.  My favorite Bible verse is, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Psalm 63:1-4:
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”

Look for my next blog post in the “Lessons on the Beach” series and please comment or add your input. I would love to hear from you! You are the reason I share what God is teaching me so please let me know your thoughts.

Tulum Beach in the morning

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Christian In Name Only

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 29, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers’.” Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)

These are difficult words from Jesus that many of us would love to just skip over. What Jesus is saying here is very hard to swallow. That many who will claim to know and to follow Christ will never get in. Wait! To be a Christian, all it takes is believing in your heart and declaring with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, right? Romans 10:9 makes it very simple, doesn’t it?

What I believe Jesus is addressing here is the Christian-in-name-Only, or CINO for short. The person who claims to be a follower of Christ, will boldly declare God’s goodness and his grace, will perform many acts in line with God’s commands, but will be lacking a most critical aspect: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our relationship with Jesus is best described as a marriage, which Katie and Logan discussed in February. However, the CINO is not a traditional marriage of a lifelong covenant between a Groom and his Bride. It is, as David Wilkerson describes, a marriage of convenience. It is a marriage that wants all the benefits that come with the marriage, but there is no commitment to a relationship. It is a claim for someone who wants the name of Christ so that their reproach from sin may be taken away, but they still want to do their own thing and live their own way.

Friends, Jesus will have nothing to do with this type of relationship. Those whom Jesus talked about, those who said “Lord, Lord,” are ones who truly think they are Christians. The use of “Lord, Lord” is an emphasis of holding someone to a position of very high esteem. But Jesus said he never knew them. They will say they believe in Jesus. But so do demons. This is just intellectual acknowledgement but we are required to dig a little deeper.

The CINO does not actually follow Romans 10:9 by believing in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. They may claim it verbally, but they won’t live it. How do I know? Because they only actually want Jesus as Savior and not as Lord. They want him for fire insurance from hell and nothing else. They don’t want him ruling over their lives and telling them how they should act and live.

How can I say that? Because of what Jesus said at the very end of Matthew 7:23. “Away from me. I never knew you, evildoers.” That was NIV. In KJV, it says, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” But the New King James Version nails it. “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

What does all this mean? “You who practice lawlessness” in other words is “you who act as though I gave you no law.” 1 John 5:2 tells us that one of the evidences that we are Christians is that we will follow God’s commands. Yes, Jesus here is telling these people they lived their own way and did not follow his commands. Check out what the Message Version of Matthew 7:23 says.

“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

I don’t know about you, but that is sobering. It is a wake-up call. In the Living Bible, Jesus said “You have never been mine.”

Friends, if any of this has convicted you, this post is not about judging you. There are times where I see this behavior in me and I must repent from it. But I know I am not a CINO. Not because I said a prayer 23 years ago, but because I know God has transformed me and changed me to think his thoughts and given me a desire to seek after him. I know I am born-again because I depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ for my every-day sustenance and because I have a relationship with him. He lives in my heart and I press onward towards the goal of giving Jesus complete and total dominion of every area of my life. I know Jesus and more important, he knows me, intimately.

Friends, whether you are an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian-in-Name-Only, or even an honest follower of Christ and have fallen to the desires of your sinful self, you do not have to stay that way. No matter where you are, Jesus Christ came to save you. Don’t try to make it on your own. It won’t work. Don’t try to set the terms. You are not in a position of negotiation. Come to Christ on his terms. And his terms are very simple: “Give me all of you and I will give you all of me.”

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Identity Crisis

Posted by Worldview Warriors On 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

America right now as a society is in the midst of an identity crisis. Because of political correctness, tolerance, ‘co-existence,’ etc., our society has basically become one where we are tolerating anything and everything EXCEPT being American. The nation that has a history of being representative of the example of Biblical principles, as the U.S. was founded for the purpose of allowing Christianity to be free from the government but also to influence government, now rejects anything that supports Christianity. Ultimately, the U.S. is not allowed to really be the nation we were founded to be. And as a nation that chooses leaders to represent the people, when the leaders refuse to pursue the goal America was founded to carry through, it is a reflection of the people. Because America as a nation has identity issues, it is really because we as a people have identity issues. This is going to be about as much of a political post as I will go, but I have a purpose to all of it and the purpose is to reveal the worldview issue of Identity. So what kind of identity issues am I talking about? Let’s dig into a few of them.

Racism is an identity issue. Do we see people of a different color of skin as ‘less than you’? Do we see them as ‘higher than we are’? It works both ways. Blacks can look down on whites just as much as whites can look down on blacks. Racism was not solved by abolishing slavery, nor with the civil rights movement. You cannot legislate morality. It doesn’t work. The reason racism is still rampant is because of the root of the problem lies with how we identify ourselves and others. How do we view ourselves? How do we view one another? The riots in Baltimore a few weeks ago were just another example of the racism issues. I’m not merely talking about the black kid that was allegedly murdered. I’m talking about the stereotype of the black community as being thugs. I heard a comment a while ago that many of these people have the impression they are supposed to be thugs because that is what is expected out of them. The rioters were complaining about racism and yet the entire time, everything they did only confirmed the picture they were fighting against. If these people do not want to be seen as thugs and criminals, it would really do them a lot of good by NOT acting like thugs and criminals. Ever notice how many of these black young men murdered by white people have a lengthy criminal record? The media does not report that. Nor do they report the murders of white people by blacks.

The police are also not given a fair share for their identity either. Yes, there are bad apples in there. Yes, there are dirty cops. But the majority of them do a selfless job, a good job, and do keep the peace the right way. There is a very poor stereotype being placed that cops are selfish, racist, murderers when that really is not the case. This whole thing is an issue of identity.

Now I am going to step on some toes here. The whole homosexual agenda is also an identity issue. They have claimed the high ground that their lifestyle is not a choice but their identity. They are claiming they are being discriminated against because of their identity in the same way the black community has often been discriminated against. (Remember that racism works both ways too.) And now that homosexuality is on the verge of societal acceptance, mark my works that pedophilia will be right on its heels, with the claim being identity discrimination. I’ve already heard initial suggestions for how this will come into play both in Germany and California. That hasn’t gotten far, but it’s still in the same early steps that the homosexual agenda started at.

These are some of the major issues we are dealing with in the United States and each one of these deals with the worldview aspect of identity. So how do we address these issues? Or can we? First we have to know how we identify each other. Who gets to define who we are? Do we do it? Do our parents do it? Does society do it? Does God do it? How you define yourself depends on who you let have authority over you. Many turn to psychiatrists or psychologists. Why? Because they are experts on these mental issues. Who made them experts? In reality, they did. They can slap a label on whatever they want, and people will buy those labels simply because these doctors are the ‘experts.’

Labels are being thrown left and right. We have sinful lifestyles being called “just identity” issues. We have those standing for the truth of Scripture being labeled as ‘bigots,’ ‘liars,’ ‘haters,’ ‘homophobes.’ We have scientists who believe the Bible who are labeled as anti-science because they disagree with the consensus of evolution. We have people who call themselves Christians when everything they say and do does not even remotely resemble a form of godliness, all the while denying the power of the Gospel. Many people believe the labels some people put on them, but refuse to recognize the labels others put on them. This is a worldview issue because your worldview is going to tell you what authorities you will listen to or not. We have a lot of young people out there that HATE their attraction to the same sex. They are bombarded with media and counselors that tell them this attraction is just fine. But they are not being told that such actions are not normal because God did not create us to be that way. Homosexuality is just as much of a sin as theft, lying, or gossip, and there are propensities towards that sin just like there are of theft, lying, or gossip. It’s all sin, but because the secular worldview refuses to recognize Biblical authority, they open up Pandora’s Box. And the only solution to such a situation is to recognize sin as sin and then call upon the Savior who can address it the proper way.

How you identity yourself is going to determine what you think you can do, what you think you can’t do, how you view other people, and you are going to act towards them. Next week, I’m going to zoom in a bit more on how the identity issue affects what we do, and then in two weeks, I’ll zoom in even further and address how we deal with sin.

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Junk, Consensus, and Jurassic Park

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 28, 2015 40 comments

by Steve Risner

“The art of junk science is to brush away just enough detail to reach desired conclusions, while preserving enough to maintain an aura of authoritative science,” according to “Criminal Law Forensics: Century of Acceptance May Be Over,” an article in the January 8, 2009 issue of the New York Law Journal.

Evolution is a fact! Seriously, we see things “evolve” all the time. That is, of course, if by “evolve” we mean change. Things change all the time. This is true if we’re talking about the development of the automobile, the fork, writing, and even life. One of the issues with the debate of creation vs evolution is the issue of terms. VERY frequently, an evolutionist will point to “evolution” and say, “Look, this E. coli bacteria evolved over 10,000 generations to be able to survive in a different environment.” Then they’ll claim this is the same thing as molecules to man evolution. Or we’ll be shown the Peppered Moth and they’ll say, “Look! Natural selection has caused the population to change over time. This is evolution.” And this is somehow support that non-living chemicals arranged together spontaneously to birth the first life form (whatever that must have been) and over billions of years changed (evolved) into the 9 million different species of organisms we know of today.

When I say, “Evolution is a fact!” what I am saying is that life has been designed to adapt to changes in its surroundings. This is the grace of God in action. When we see the Italian Wall Lizard develop a cecal valve in just a few decades so it can survive (a cecal valve that other very closely related lizards have) we’re seeing what some call “pre-programmed” changes. This is epigenetics—a very young study of how genes are expressed. It’s pretty exciting stuff, and nearly everything I’ve read on it confirms for me the masterful hand of our Creator. All that to say that terms need to be explained before a proper dialogue can be conducted. Many times we find a conversation is going nowhere simply because we’re not speaking the same language.

Evolution from a single common ancestor is a religious proposition. But evolution happens all the time. You see, when I say “evolution” I mean two different things. Yes, antibiotic resistance is evolution in action. However, it has absolutely nothing at all to do with molecules to man evolution. The two are not actually connected at all. But the evolutionist will tell you one is proof of the other. You’re a science denier if you don’t believe this. This, of course, is far from true. The famous Lenski experiment is another “triumph of evolution in action,” but it’s really not supportive of pond scum to people evolution at all. In these two particular cases, we have degenerative changes that allow for a change in function. What that means is the organisms in question actually lost some sort of function and, as a result, they work differently. Keep in mind that both of these examples are artificially created by man.

Darwinian evolution allows for three different kinds of mutational changes—what we will term upward (increased information), neutral, and downward or degenerative (loss of information). Creationists believe two of the three actually happen—the two that we have seen happen in the real world. That is neutral and degenerative changes. For Darwinism to be correct, the first type of mutation (never before seen) is necessary and the last two are allowed for. Interesting how the creationist, whose ideas are based on reality, are called science deniers when the evolutionist hangs his hat on something we’ve never observed.

I spent the last few weeks discussing what facts and opinions are as well as what historical and observational science are. This week, I’d like to throw out there that the “science” of Darwinian evolution is “junk science” if we are forced to call it science at all. It’s consensus science, which, in my opinion, is anti-science. If you ask an evolutionist about the reasons they believe in Darwinism, they’ll very likely get around to telling you that almost all scientists believe it so it must be true. This, of course, is nonsense. Popularity doesn’t have anything to do with truthfulness. In fact, it’s easy to see that a very small portion of the “99%” of scientists who support or believe in Darwinism actually do something in their work that is related to it.

Let’s take a quick look at what Dr. Michael Crichton said about consensus science:
“…I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had…
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus… In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…
Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough…”

This brief explanation of how anti-science consensus can be is brilliant. I’ve read several articles on this very quote. Dr. Crichton is not specifically speaking on evolution here, but be sure that Darwinism is nothing more than consensus as is Big Bang cosmology or any other origins study. That’s right! Even creation isn’t “science” by a strict definition. We’ve been saying that all along. It’s religion. It’s philosophy.

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The Ultimate Out Clause

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1 comments
by Logan Ames

It’s a common thing in the world of sports. The star athlete or coach signs a contract with an organization that theoretically should keep him in that place until the deal is up. However, many agents negotiate “out clauses” into the contract that would give the individual more options based on one reason or another. We have seen this happen within the past year with a baseball manager that many consider to be the best in the game, and also with the best basketball player in the universe. Joe Maddon was the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays and consistently had his team in the playoffs. When the Chicago Cubs job opened up, he bolted and took over as manager in the Windy City. Many thought the Cubs and Joe Maddon should be punished for some sort of illegal tampering, but it was later discovered that his contract with the Rays gave him an “out” if that team’s general manager ever left. When the general manager left, Maddon was released from the contract. There was no bigger out clause in the state of Ohio than the one that brought Lebron James back to Cleveland. After playing under his contract for the Miami Heat for four years, James took the opportunity afforded him by an out clause and returned to his home to try to bring the city of Cleveland its first professional sports championship in over 50 years. That might just happen in the next few weeks.

Out clauses exist in many areas of life where contracts or other legally-binding agreements govern what each side can do. In the Old Testament, God established his covenant with the people of Israel and then gave them the law through Moses to govern their end of the “deal." The Israelites focused on attaining righteousness through their obedience to the law, but there was no way they would ever be able to measure up to God’s standard of perfection. If you broke even one of the over 600 individual laws, you had caused a “breach of contract” so to speak. But because God is rich in mercy and slow to anger, he made a new deal with the people. The old contract had to be torn up and replaced. Jeremiah 31:31 prophesies that “the days are coming” when the Lord “will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah."

The rest of Jeremiah 31:32-37 gives some of the details of that new covenant, but our passage for the week in Romans 7:1-6 explains how we become part of it. The Apostle Paul states the obvious, that we are only bound by the law or by any other legal requirements as long as we are still alive. He compares our being bound to the law to spouses being bound to each other until death, but not a minute longer. Death is the ultimate “out clause” for all contracts and agreements. In verse 4, Paul explains that believers have “died to the law through the body of Christ” so that they could belong to the risen Christ and “might bear fruit for God." In other words, we didn’t have to physically die because Christ paid that debt for us on the cross. By accepting what he did on the cross in our place, we take part in his death and are ourselves dead to sin and to the law. This doesn’t mean we no longer have to try to do things right, it just means that obeying the law is no longer what we depend on to make ourselves right with God.

This is what Jesus was discussing with Nicodemus in John 3:3 when he told him that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." Nicodemus seemed confused because he wondered how someone could be “born again." What I think so many Christians miss is that some sort of “death” has to occur first. You have to start over. You can’t just simply add a second life onto the first one. In order for you to be born again, you have to put to death the old self and its obligations to the law and to sin. Nicodemus had been part of the Jewish ruling council. He was used to boasting of his obedience to the law and self-righteousness. Jesus looked beyond that and taught him that the ONLY way he’d be able to even see or understand the kingdom of God would be to put to death his understanding of being bound by the law and accept the terms of the new covenant through Christ.

The same is true for us today. As Romans 7:6 says, “We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit." That word Spirit is capitalized because it is the Holy Spirit that came to all believers through Jesus. Again, I emphasize that we were not released from the law so that we can go on serving ourselves. If we serve ourselves, we are serving sin and bearing fruit for death. Rather, we are released from the burden of the law so that we can be joined to the risen Christ and bear fruit for God as the Spirit lives in us.

Think of the difference this makes just on Sunday mornings. You are no longer teaching, giving an offering, praying, greeting, or singing in order to in some way earn favor with God. You aren’t attending church because you believe God would be mad if you didn’t. Instead, you come to church because the Spirit gets you excited to come into his presence. You serve in your various roles because you believe you serve a living God whose Spirit is moving and working in and through you. No matter what, your life is characterized by freedom and not burdens. As Paul says in another letter, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Is your life characterized by trying to earn something you never could? Or are you living in the freedom of the Holy Spirit? Christ has already given you the “out clause” from the old contract. He has allowed you to enter into the new one. Yes, you do have to let the old way die. It may be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it when you are joined with him in the new covenant forever.

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Death to the Old, Eternity for the New

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 26, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.” ~Romans 7:2

In order for new things to come, old things must die. In order for a new order to be implemented, the old order must pass.

Within the past five years, I have endured two significant system changes in my places of employment. The second change in systems was not a big deal because I was a new employee and was not familiar with the first system. But the first change was significant. At my previous job we made a switch from paper records to electronic health records.

All politics aside, a switch from the old system to the new had some serious ramifications. We had to change our entire process in the flow of our practice to keep in step with the flow of our records. We had to check people into our office differently and gather more information for the sake of insurance. Most importantly, we had to really improve our computer skills given that the system had lots of bugs that needed worked out.

Romans 7 speaks of how we were bound to the old Law until it passed away. Metaphorically, it is like marriage in that a person is not truly released from their former spouse until he or she passes away. I know that realistically, getting married to a new spouse is not the same as switching over to a new system, but because no two people are alike, one must not expect their new spouse to operate in the same way as their former spouse. And in order for someone to have an unimpeded union with his or her new spouse, the old spouse cannot be in the picture. Spiritually, the old spouse has to be dead for the new marriage to be entirely legitimate. In Romans it speaks of this relationship in terms of our current condition and how we must die to our carnal lives and become alive in Christ. In the future we will see this death to the old covenant in a very real way.

When I speak of the future, I am speaking of eternity. Eternity will be far different from the here and now. Granted, not everybody’s destination is the same. Our focus today will be on heaven. Although there is no death in heaven, several things pass away, or die, before the full manifestation of God’s kingdom that are representative of the new order.

The sun, moon, and stars no longer exist. In the book of Revelation, these things are more or less eradicated. The sun is blacked out, the moon turns to blood, and the stars fall from the sky. In Genesis the sun is given the authority over daylight, the moon is the governor of the night, and the stars are signs so that people can track the seasons. If you pay close attention, you will notice that God governed these aspects of creation before he created these governors of light. In heaven, the old order passes away and he again is the governor of light. One of the biggest differences with his authority is that he eliminates the need for the night.

In Genesis, our physical bodies are forever tainted by the curse of sin. Because mankind was not allowed to eat from the Tree of Life, everyone would be condemned to a physical death. Not only is death eliminated in the new creation, but we are given new sin-free bodies. These bodies are superior to the ones we have on earth and, more importantly, neither they nor our spirits will be tainted by sin. Our old bodies will be done away with so that we may share in the glory of Christ.

Finally, all earthly powers will be eliminated. Throughout the entire Old Testament, perhaps starting at Babel, earthly kings and rulers have governed the affairs of mankind. These powers often operate in selfish irreverence to God. There will only be one King in heaven, Jesus Christ. Everyone else will kneel before him.

Until then, God prepares his bride for this kingdom. We were once married to the law of the old covenant and dependent on its statutes to make us righteous. Now the old law has died and we have become alive to our new groom, the Lord Jesus Christ. In ourselves we can see the changes taking place that prepare us for his eternal dwelling place, but there is still much else that needs to pass away before it is fully here.

As a bride awaits the coming of her groom that she may live in his household, so too do we wait upon the Lord to bring us into his eternal dwelling. The drapes of our former abode are nothing in comparison to what God decorates his kingdom with. But what is most important is what it all symbolizes: we are released from the condemnation of the old law and liberated into the glory of our precious Savior.

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

Romans 7:1-6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 25, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson 

“Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:1-6)

Paul has spent a fair amount of time in this letter to the Romans talking about the law, and here he brings it up again. Why is the law important? Check out the three uses for it, which I wrote about previously in this blog post.

Previously, in Romans 6:15-18, we saw how those who believe in Christ are set free from the power of the law. Instead of beings slaves to the law, we are now slaves to Jesus Christ - and that type of “slavery” is more like freedom than any other, because we are no longer held captive by the sinful power of this world. Here in today’s passage, Paul summarizes some of the main ideas he had talked about in all of chapter 6: we are dead to the law, we are set free in Christ, and we are slaves to Him instead.

So why does all that stuff matter? We’re freed from the bondage of the law and being required to live perfect lives, so that we can serve in the new way of the Spirit instead.

When you were a child growing up in your parents’ home, I would guess that you had rules you had to follow. Maybe it was a certain bedtime, or chores you had to do, or that you had to eat all of your vegetables at every meal. Did you feel like you were being told to be perfect, and that that was an impossible task that you didn’t even want to try to do? Well that’s what it’s like to be under the law. We’re commanded to do all of these things, seemingly just for the sake of doing them. There is no way we can live up to that, and we only begrudgingly do what we’re supposed to, “because I said so.”

But, being in Jesus Christ means that we get to live and serve in the new way - the way of His Holy Spirit! This is quite a contrast. Maybe now that you’ve grown up and are no longer in your parents’ house, you experienced the freedom of setting your own rules and doing what you want to. If you make a bad choice, however, you have to live with the consequences. Living in the Spirit is almost like that, but not quite - we will still have consequences for all of our choices, but we also have forgiveness and grace! While we do need to strive to follow God’s ways, there is always a second chance and we are always forgiven. That’s what it means to live in the Spirit.

Before we have faith in Jesus and desire to live in His Spirit, we were bearing fruit for death. Think of that like a tree producing fruit that’s immediately rotten - it’s really no good and rather worthless. But when we live and serve in the Spirit, we are producing the wonderful fruit that the Spirit gives us to produce when we abide with Him and follow His ways.

Do you live in the ways of the law, being legalistic and just trying to follow the rules, all the while failing at it? Or have you accepted Jesus Christ and are living in His Spirit, enjoying the freedom and grace that you receive through Him? Take a look at your life and see how you’re living.

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Christian Companion

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 24, 2015 0 comments

by Michael Terrian

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

What a wonderful promise. Do not fear, for God is always with you. He has made that declaration to every Christian. Even in your darkest moments, God will be there with you. Even in the valley of pain and confusion, God will be there. God never promised a perfect and happy life without any problems or trials (John 16:33) but He did promise He would be there to help us through them. This is great news!

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

We are important to God! He calls us by name. God lets us know that He created us, which gives us value. God lets us know that we are important and valuable. Because God finds us so valuable and important, He promises us that He will be with us through the rough waters and protect us when the fires of trouble overcome us. What an awesome promise!

When the difficulties of this world try to beat us down and try to destroy us, God is there and promises us He will help us through them. This is the promise and privilege of being a Christian.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Fear is a dark shadow that traps us and imprisons us. It doesn’t have to be death, but it can be the fear of money and paying bills, or it can be someone at work or school that puts fear into your day. God did not promise us that life would be easy. He did not guarantee us a life without bullies and problems. But He did promise that whatever we go through, He will be there for us. He will help us through. This is a wonderful promise. This proves that we are not alone. We don’t have to travel this world alone. God Himself said He would be with us. That is totally awesome.

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The Bible Supports Slavery? Part II

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 23, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Before jumping into today’s post, go check out last week’s post to give you the context.

Go back to Romans 6:19-23.  When Paul challenges us to no longer give ourselves as slaves to sin, he is using the example of a bondslave or bondservant. He is challenging us to realize that when we choose sin, we do it because of some benefit we think we are going to get from it.  When we give ourselves to sin, we let it mark us, and own us, and decide our future.  And the more we give ourselves to sin, the more difficult it is to realize that we could be free.  Sin is a harsh master that is not worthy of our lives or our loyalty.  It may thrill from time to time, but it has no ability to satisfy, and its only reward is steady decay, destruction, and death.

When we have bonded ourselves to sin, when we choose a rebellious lifestyle, and we continue to walk a path apart from God's moral standards; we cannot live right before God.  The nature of being a bondservant prevents us being owned by two masters.  We may choose, but we cannot be bonded to more than one at a time.  Paul uses this example because we can see the simplicity of its truth in our daily lives.  We cannot live our lives fully in the direction of two conflicting priorities.   It is impossible to be owned fully by two masters.  When we give ourselves to sin, we cannot be bonded to righteousness, and we have no obligation to righteousness, because as slaves to sin, we are bonded to walking the broken path we chose.

But the opposite is also true.  If we bond ourselves to God through Jesus Christ, we are freed from any obligation to sin.  And Jesus is the best master, because His desire is for us to be free and fully alive in Him.  Jesus desires to empower us to live fully in the design and giftedness God has intended us to, and when we bond ourselves to Him, He in turn shows us what true freedom looks like.

Our benefit (wages/earnings) from serving sin is shame and death. Our benefit from serving God is righteousness (right living), being set apart for God's good purposes, and having eternal life through Jesus Christ.  Who we choose to serve is literally a life and death decision.

I have a good friend who was a kid in the South during segregation.  He was in elementary school when integration first started.  He was the only black boy in a white classroom.  He was forced to sit in the back, and was not given any supplies, and was expected to learn without any assistance.  He had a hard life, and he can tell story after story of racist acts done to him, hateful things done just because he was black.  He slept in a bedroom with a hole in the roof so big he could see the stars at night.  He had every excuse to become an angry, hateful person.  His brothers turned to drugs and blamed the world for their troubles.  He took every challenge, every abuse, and every setback as an opportunity.  He never blamed anyone else for his situation.  He chose to trust God and consider how each painful experience could be a lesson or a blessing.  This was more than optimism, and more than indignation.  My friend bonded himself to Jesus Christ, and committed to serve God in the freedom of right living to overcome the oppression and hatred of bigotry.  His brothers chose a broken path, and a couple of them have already died as a direct result of what they chose. One of his brothers has become a bitter, angry, and paranoid man - that's what I call a "living" death.

We could learn a lot from my friend's life and wisdom, but he will humbly point to Jesus.   My friend has demonstrated with his life one aspect of how trusting Jesus as his master, made him a free man, who has accomplished much.

No matter how much of the deck we feel is stacked against us, we have a choice in who and what we serve, and our choices will determine the outcome of our life.

What about you?  I'll ask what I asked last week: are you satisfied with the benefits from the path you are walking now?  Are you willing to recognize that this is not a question about “if” you will become a slave, but rather the realization that you already are a slave?

God has given you the power to choose life or death for yourself.  You can be a slave to chasing desires, trying to be someone you are not, or any other broken path that leads to death.  Or you can bond yourself to God and let Him satisfy you with the life He intended you to live.

What or who will you choose?

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Where Are We Going: Part II

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 22, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I talked about our dreams and the destinations we sought to fulfill. I mostly talked about the ones we would like to fulfill in our lifetime, but today I want to zoom out and look at the big picture. Our lives are short, only 70-90 years or so, often described as a mere vapor in the big scale of things. What is our destination in the grand scale? Does it matter? Are we to strive to plant our names in the annals of history, or will we disappear among the masses?

In the movie Troy, Achilles was faced with a choice: to stay home, have a family, live in peace, but never have his name recognized by history, or to go to the war with Troy, have his name written in history but to never know peace nor live to see his family ever again. He got to choose his ultimate destination, and he chose fame over family. He became known as one of the greatest heroes of Greek legends. He got the fame he sought but did such fame do him any good?

Where we go, what we plan to be, formulates our worldview. For Achilles, his worldview comprised of the ultimate glory by having his name recognized by the annals of history. Some athletes strive for that title so that their name can go on the records. Many people have that goal, the purpose to leave their mark on this world.

But what about beyond this world? Is there anything after death? Paul describes two destinations for man for after this life: death (eternal separation from God), or eternal life (spending eternity with God). Life or death? Joshua asked this question in Joshua 24:15. “Choose you this day, whom will you serve…” God had the Israelites shout blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience before they crossed the Jordan River to conquer Canaan. And they were told to “Choose one or the other. Life or death? Choose life.”

The decisions we make in life take us on the routes we take. Some take us closer to our destination. Some take us further. Sometimes the destination we want to have is not the destination God intends us to take. Actually, that’s far more often the case than not. And Paul is telling us in Romans 6:19-23 that when we go the route of sin, it leads us to more sin, which leads to death. But if we take the route of righteousness, it will lead to holiness, which leads to eternal life. Every one of us has sinned. A common misnomer about the Creation account is that we are all doomed to hell because of Adam’s actions. This is not true. We inherited a sinful nature, a propensity, an inclination towards sin from him. But every one of us is guilty and responsible for our own sin. Adam did not make us sin. We do that on our own. And because of that, each of us is scheduled to get what we are due. That due is death.

Another misnomer about the Creation account is that because Adam and Eve did not die the day they ate from the tree, God indeed lied. While the context is more appropriately “in dying, you shall die,” there is another aspect often missed. An animal did die that day to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. That animal was innocent, but it is a picture of what Jesus would do on the cross. It is nearly universal across the world. There are legends, myths, and histories of the salvation of a nation or people being redeemed by a hero who gave his life. Where would this concept come from? A historical reading of Genesis makes answer very clear.

The gift of God is eternal life. There is nothing we can do to earn it. And I want to make this clear: if you can’t earn it by works, you cannot lose it by works. This gift is a change of identity, a change of nature. It is being born again; it is becoming a new creation. How do we know if we are saved? Look at 2 Corinthians 13:5. We should examine ourselves and see if we are indeed in the faith. Do not depend upon “one time in my life I said a prayer.” Do we have resurrection life in us? The key to the resurrection is that we must die first. So if we are in Christ, we die to sin, die to self as he died. But in that, we rise again, first spiritually, then physically.

The destination for a born again Christian is having a resurrected body that does not decay or die and to live in paradise with God. But it’s also more than that. The Bible also says we will reign in Heaven, proportional to how we live here, how we use what God has given us to do. How is that going to look is really anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure, our destination is not mere playing harps and singing songs 24/7 for eternity. It is going to be far above and beyond what we can imagine.

However, the destination for those who reject God’s gift is death. Let us face reality. We ALL are going to die. It is appointed once for man to die, then the judgment. Only two men have been recorded not to die: Enoch and Elijah and for this reason, many suspect they will be the two witnesses of Revelation. But those who are not born again in Christ will die without being associated to the resurrection power of Christ. I am not going to get into whether the final judgment is annihilation or eternity in the Lake of Fire, but what I will stand firm on is that this judgment is eternal separation from God. Eternal separation from all that is God, including warmth, life, love, hope, peace, kindness, comfort, companionship, etc. And such separation leaves us with nothing but that which is apart from God: hate, loneliness, no peace, pain, agony, depression, weeping, hopelessness, etc.

Where are we going? Do we know? Many of us do not know. If you ask someone where they will go after they die, most cannot give you a definitive answer. They honestly don’t know or have not thought of it. Do you know? You can find out. The faith of the Christian is not blind, but a radical assurance and confidence that we know that we know that we know. I have absolutely no question that I am saved and I will go to heaven. And it is not because of anything I have done. It is because I am constantly looking onto Jesus for my sustenance. Perfect? Absolutely not. I won’t see that until I cross over to eternity. But I am being made perfect because of the work of Jesus in me. It’s a hope that keeps me going no matter what the circumstances state. Where are you going? Are you being brought closer to God or are you on the path doomed to destruction. The answer is between you and God.

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Strawmen, Bible-Wallopers, and CSI

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 21, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Hopefully, this will wrap up my blog post series on facts and opinions and how they relate to historical vs observational science. If this is the first post you’re reading on this by me, please take a moment to read this blog post and this blog post to get caught up with us. It’ll hopefully avoid confusion while reading this one. Today we’ll explore some interesting things that atheists/secularists and other evolutionists may say about this whole debate. It’s odd that we have such a hard time finding one of them that will accurately and/or honestly describe what creationists say or believe. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Here’s a short recap on some primary points: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. “Historical science" is a term used to describe sciences in which data is provided primarily from past events and for which there is usually no direct experimental data, such as cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, geology, paleontology, and archaeology. Notice how the first definition excludes the second from actually being a viable scientific study. A theory demands observation, experimentation, and repeatability. “Historical science” by definition has no direct experimental data. Oops.

Last week, I wrote briefly on forensics as it is quite frequently brought up as some sort of gold standard for “historical science.” This is ironic since the argument from evolutionists is often that there is no distinction between the two types of science—historical and observational. In the same discussion, after claiming there is no distinction, they’ll cite a form of historical science and try to defend it. I’m sure you can see how futile it often is discussing this stuff with them with the talking in circles, strawman arguments, name-calling, and rants about deception and stupidity. In the case of forensics, we have several points to make which I touched on last week—that we have a pretty good understanding of the basic conditions surrounding a very recent event, we often times have an eye witness that, at the least, can help shape the story we allow the evidence to tell, and it’s far from being solid science as is made clear by the atrocious statistics we have from the FBI concerning error rates. Overstating claims is also an issue that crosses over to the origins debate in a grand way. We’ve seen the story over and over where a “new find” is heralded as some great triumph for evolution only to have it very quietly retracted weeks or months later. This, of course, doesn’t stop evolutionists from using it as support for their “theory.” Haeckel’s embryos is a classic example of a bad find—in fact it was fraudulent—and could be found in textbooks nearly 100 years after he published his work. Yet the creationist is claimed to be anti-science and dishonest. Let’s take a quick look at something PZ Meyers writes about this debate—historical vs observational:

“It’s got that delightful combination of arrogant pretense in which the Bible-walloper gets to pretend he understands science better than scientists, and simultaneously allows them to deny every scientific observation, ever. This is the argument where they declare what kinds of science there are, and evolutionary biologists are using the weak kind, historical science, while creationists are only using the strong kind, observational science. They use the distinction wrongly and without any understanding of how science works, and they inappropriately claim that they’re doing any kind of science at all.”

This small paragraph is full of misinformation. But, as many of us have discovered, misinformation is the general method by which the evolutionist will get his or her point across. That may seem like a bold and even a harsh statement, but after being involved with this study for over 20 years and actively involved in these discussions for quite some time, this is really how I’ve come to conclude they operate.

He starts by referring to the creationist as a Bible-walloper. Name-calling is generally not showing us that you have a strong argument. Again, look at the comment section of my recent blog posts. He goes on to say that creationists “pretend” to understand science better than scientists. This is a curious statement. It’s true that many creationists are not scientists. But many are scientists and do some pretty great things for humanity in this capacity. It’s equally true that there are many who believe in evolution and are not scientists. He’s really just trying to make a distinction between creationists and evolutionists claiming that one is a religious fool while the other is an intellectual and a scientist. Such a hollow claim is easily shown to be fallacious. He moves on to claiming creationists are allowed, then, to “deny every scientific observation, ever.” This statement is so nonsensical and unsupportable I feel it’s a waste of time to elaborate. He continues by indicating creationists believe there may be different types or kinds of science (which there clearly are). This is the only thing he’s stated that’s remotely close to reality. But he makes such an untruthful statement to follow up that distinction I find it hard to take him seriously. He alleges that creationists claim evolutionists are using the “weak kind” of science while creationists are using the “strong kind.” Creationists make no distinction in origins science. We both use the same information—all the data is available to us all. It has been the argument by myself and by many creationists for a very long time that the origins debate is not a scientific debate but a philosophical debate. We both have scientific information we can draw from, but our starting points—our presuppositions—are what cause us to arrive at different destinations. It’s really quite simple. He wraps up with “they inappropriately claim that they’re doing any kind of science at all.” The tired and demonstrably false argument that creationists aren’t scientists is so worn and pitiful. Take a look at this blog post from last year exposing how crazy such thinking is. Science stands on the shoulders of great men of God who studied the world around us seeking to “think God’s thoughts after Him” as Kepler said. I believe I may have given credit for this to Isaac Newton in the past. I correct that here.

In case there is a skeptic reading who would suggest I’m making up an argument here—that atheists will not commonly use forensics as an example of historical science (after saying there is no such thing), I offer up a quote from Donald Prothero, who claims to have aided Bill Nye in preparing for his debate with Ken Ham. He states, in prepping Bill, that they focused quite a bit on this argument and how to refute it. This is funny because Bill did no such thing. Mr. Prothero says, “When we prepared Bill for the debate, we knew this [the distinction between historical and observational science] was coming, and gave Bill several examples to refute it. The best one is the example of CSI, or forensic science.” He then asks the question, “If a crime is committed and no one saw the criminal, does the CSI just shrug their shoulders and say, ‘We can’t solve it’?” This is a strawman argument—a made up argument against a position that doesn’t exist. No one says we can’t piece together clues about the past. But he, as others have done, has bought into the Hollywood version of forensics rather than reality. To claim this makes a creationist anti-science is disingenuous. I pray you’ve found this series helpful. Keep in mind that most of the arguments you hear or read against creationism is not based on creationism at all but a skewed version of it. This is similar for Christianity in general.

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The Road to Salvation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

Have you ever found yourself wondering how in the world you could ever understand the Bible? There is so much information, so many translations, and so many different writers that it’s easy to get confused regarding its true meaning. Because it seems too confusing at times, the tendency is just to give up rather than dig deeper or ask the Holy Spirit to help “guide you into all truth,” as Jesus declares is one of his purposes in John 16:13. Giving up is the temptation and the trap in which the devil wants to ensnare you. But sometimes, it’s not necessary to dig deeper and try to find out the things that are difficult. Sometimes, it is better just to stick to the basics and let your understanding of everything else flow out from there.

I’ve heard it said that the first 3 chapters of the Bible in Genesis are the story of God’s perfect creation and man’s choice to mess it up, and that the rest of the entire Bible is about God’s plan for redemption. If you don’t accept that we as human beings have messed up God’s plan for us and that he made a way for us to be reconciled back to him, there is not much else you can understand about the Bible. However, the good news is that you don’t even have to read the entire Bible to learn about the basics of that message. There is a path you can take within one book written to one group of people, and that path is known commonly as the Romans Road.

The verse for this week is a critical part of the Romans Road. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For this post, I’d like to take you through the whole journey of the Romans Road. You can use it to better your own understanding of your salvation through Christ, as well as to share this amazing gospel message with others. All of the Scripture verses are found within the book of Romans, so as you follow along in your own Bible, you won’t have to go very far to get to each step.

The first reference is found in Romans 3:23, which says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Who is included in the word “all”? Is the Pope exempt? What about those who follow all the laws of the land and try to be good people? How about those of you who were “born into the church,” meaning your parents were Christians so you were automatically raised in a believing home? Do you need this verse? If you’re laughing at my questions, please remember that there are probably millions of people out there heading down a path of destruction and an eternity without Jesus simply because they don’t recognize they need him. They are just assuming for one reason or another that God will take care of them. This verse doesn’t have any exceptions. If there were any, I’m sure Paul would have named them. The only human who doesn’t fit the category of those who sinned and fell short of God’s glory is the One who WAS God in the flesh (John 1:1). Everyone else has sinned, and that means we all need something to restore us to God’s glory. This is the first step of the journey because you can’t move forward until you’ve recognized your need for salvation.

The second reference is the one for this week, Romans 6:23. We must recognize that sin carries a penalty with it. Just as we are generally aware of what happens when we commit certain crimes in the land where we live, we must recognize that sin is not harmless. Even when it seems to be safe, it leads to death. When we choose to sin, death is what we deserve. That death may not be instantaneous, but God created us and gave us LIFE. Death wasn’t part of that equation, so anything that is against our Creator results in the loss of what he gave us. However, because God is gracious, he gave us a gift. It’s not something we could earn on our own and not something we could buy. Eternal life is what we gave up when we sinned, but God’s work through Jesus is what gave it back to us as a gift. I said earlier that this verse is critical to the Romans Road to salvation. The reason is because it takes us from the “before” to the “after,” in one verse. Before, the wages for our sin was death. After, we are given the gift of eternal life. This is the turning point, the defining moment.

Some of you out there may believe that it’s not really a free gift because God requires us to obey him. That’s where the third Scripture reference comes in. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, obedience wasn’t required when God offered you and me this gift. He doesn’t wait until you have your act together. He sent Jesus to the cross knowing full well that many would reject his love and grace. For those of us who choose to accept it, the obedience comes IN RESPONSE to God’s gift, not to try to earn it. That leads us right to the final verse.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You see, it’s not just about what you believe in your heart, and it’s not just about what you speak with your words. Both are necessary. Our actions demonstrate what we truly believe in our hearts, but at the same time it is possible to do good things and not really believe that Jesus is LORD and the source of all that is good. That’s why we are told to confess it. Jesus himself said in Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26 that anyone who is not willing to confess his truth will not be declared as believers when he comes back to judge the world. This last part of the Romans Road tells you exactly what your part in the process is. You have no part in the work of salvation, but it is yours to accept or reject. Don’t miss the opportunity.

So, that’s it. Those four Scripture references found within this book can explain the gospel message to anyone who has not heard it, those who have heard but not understood, and even those who have understood but forgotten. The link I included above shows that you can end with Romans 5:1, and I’ve heard of others who wrap it up with Romans 10:13, where Paul quotes the Old Testament. You may even want to pick from a number of other verses, or just end it as I did. No matter what, don’t miss the gospel message and don’t miss an opportunity to share it with others. Use the Romans Road as a teaching tool and let it guide you into other conversations about Jesus when appropriate. Once you have the basic foundation, the rest of the Bible begins to make a little more sense. May the Lord bless you as you read, understand, and share!

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.

Death: Back to Creation We Go

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 19, 2015 1 comments

by Bill Seng
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 6:23

We were designed to live forever. I have experienced much frustration in the past few years, especially the past few months, with well-known theologians that do not understand the inherent evil of death. Death is a consequence that is suffered by the unrighteous. When mankind was created, it was not intended to die. This takes us into one of my favorite topics for discussion, creationism.

Whether you are a young earth creationist, like myself, or a creationist who does not take a strict stance concerning the age of the earth (I am aware that there are other types of creationists), we agree that the creation of the world happened as the Bible describes. It happened in six literal days, with a seventh day Sabbath and that death was not a part of God’s design. I have heard people that I highly respect go on to say things like Adam was not a literal person, death occurred in the animal world but not the human world, and the first sin was not that mankind ate from a tree but that it simply chose to live life on its own terms. The first two points are simply not true and the last point is a half truth, which also makes it a half lie. I could honestly care less about the age of the earth. What I care about is Scriptural authority and that these statements undermine Scriptural authority.

What is especially troublesome, though, is that Christians actually believe that death entered the world before sin. If God created a world full of death, is God really good? If God is good, even though he created a world inherent with death and suffering, how do we define his goodness? According to our understanding of goodness, would it be more good if God had created a world without suffering and death? I believe that God did not create such a world. I do not think Genesis could get any more explicit in explaining how the world was void of death. It even tells us that humans and animals only ate plants. God did not want living creatures to suffer or die. I think that a God who does not want suffering and death is more good than a God who creates a world inherent with suffering and death.

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. In Genesis 2:17, we are told that the consequences for eating from a particular tree would be death. Clearly man’s disobedience in this matter was a sin against God and it was the only offense that mankind could commit against him at that time. If eating from a tree was not the first sin, what was (for those who may doubt this account)? Indeed, Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God was a declaration that he was no longer Lord of their lives. As stated earlier, death is a consequence suffered by the unrighteous.

I believe that it was C. S. Lewis who said (paraphrasing) that wicked people need to repent. The problem is that wicked people cannot repent, because they are wicked. It is only the righteous person that can repent, but a righteous person does not need to repent. What a conundrum! So here we are, all of us wicked people who desperately need to repent but with no power to do so. And what good would a righteous man’s repentance do for the rest of our sins?

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! Jesus, not only a man, but God incarnate. It is, after all, only God who could forgive people of their sins. Because death is the consequence of the unrighteous, not an inherent part of God’s creation, Jesus took upon himself the punishment for unrighteousness. Through his death all sins were forgiven and he made it possible for humans to repent by placing their trust in him. This trust would accomplish more than repentance ever could. It would accomplish reconciliation.

Only a good God would sacrifice himself by suffering for the sins of the unrighteous and take upon their punishment. This is only possible if death was a byproduct of sin. It would not be possible if God created death as a part of his good creation. I would contest that a God who created death into his world is not really a good God after all, and that people would be right in opposing such a being. But God is not evil. God is good. And not only did he not create death, he has made it possible for you to enjoy eternal life.

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Romans 6:23

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 18, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

After many weeks of covering lengthy passages in the book of Romans, it seems surprising to only have one verse this week! But, as you’ll soon find out, this verse is exceedingly important, and there is a bunch of theology packed in here.

This verse has 3 basic contrasts in it, to summarize and emphasize the points that Paul has been making up to this point in his letter. Paul uses a lot of stark contrasts throughout his letter to the Romans, but they are especially evident in this verse.

Contrast #1: Who is your master - sin or God?

As I wrote about last week and the week before, every person has a choice to make as to what or who they’re slaved to. We are all slaves to something, whether to sin or righteousness and the ways of God. We all have a master in our lives, even if we don’t feel like we’re in slavery.

Contrast #2: What is the outcome of that slavery - death or eternal life?

If you choose to be a slave to sin, you will receive death. If you choose to be a slave to God, you will receive life. That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Why would anybody choose death over life?

If sin weren’t appealing, we would never do it. It would be pointless for Satan to tempt us with things that we don’t like. He knows us well enough to know what we desire and what will turn us away from following God. For example, I’m not a sports fan - I don’t root for any team or follow the happenings of any sport. Satan knows that I won’t get distracted by big important sporting events, so he’d never try and use that to get me to spend my time focused on things other than God. Satan will instead tempt me with things he knows I’ll enjoy or things I would desire, such as (lately) the latest and greatest cell phone, or getting me to contemplate buying an electric car that’s out of my price range. (Yep, I’m a geek.)

Whether we choose to either follow in the world’s sinful ways or in God’s righteous ways, we need to know the outcome. Will we choose death, or will we choose life?

Contrast #3: How do you reach that outcome - did you earn it, or receive it as a gift?

We earn the outcome of death by committing sins in our lives. It’s as simple as that. It’s like the concept of sowing and reaping - when you sow sinful actions, you reap death as a result. All of us have earned the penalty of death by our actions, many times over.

None of us can earn life as a result of our actions. We all sin (see Romans 3:23). The only way we can get eternal life is to receive it as a gift from God, as a result of His grace.

When you go to work every day, you earn your wage by putting in the time and doing the tasks that are asked of you. In contrast to that, when you have a birthday, you receive gifts that you didn’t have to earn. We don’t “earn” birthday gifts by doing anything but simply getting a year older, but the people around us want to give us a gift to celebrate our life. It’s the same way with God. He gives us the wonderful gift of salvation and eternal life, simply because He loves us! All we need to do to receive that free gift is to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God, but He chose to come to this earth as a human, to die an extremely painful death, and then to be raised again - all so that He could pay the penalty and be able to give us a free gift!

To recap, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We earn the wage of death by committing sins and separating ourselves from God. We are given the free gift of eternal life from God through Jesus Christ, if we choose to accept it and make ourselves slaves to righteousness, rather than slaves to the sinfulness of this world.

Have you accepted God’s free gift yet in your life? If not, please contact us at Worldview Warriors; we would love to chat with you!

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Who Are You, Christian?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 17, 2015 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Recently in a social setting I met someone new, and I realized that that I only knew a few things about this person and they only knew a few things about me. One of the things they knew about me was that I am a Christian. I thought about how I would respond if they asked me “Who are you, Christian?”

What does it mean to be a Christian? I first thought about how knowing Jesus has changed my whole world. When I understood that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that he loves me unconditionally, that he has a purpose and a plan for my life, that he gives me hope and a future, it changed me from the inside out. I have confidence in who I am in Christ, and I am passionate about sharing Jesus and his love with others.

When people look at me and wonder, “Who are you, Christian?” I hope that they see Jesus’ character reflected in my everyday life, that they would see a kind, grace-filled, compassionate, caring, generous, patient, loving person. Not just my church Ami (on my best behavior) but the Ami who gets cut off in traffic, who has to wait in a long line, whose child is treated unfairly, who is attacked or wrongly accused. Who am I then?

I have to admit, I make mistakes! I don’t always handle these situations well. However, I am getting better when these situations arise and I will take time to pray, look up Scripture, and seek wise counsel (when I can) before I respond. This has been a huge help in keeping myself in check.

When I know that I have handled a situation poorly, I will ask God for forgiveness and I will go to others and apologize and ask for their forgiveness as well. Everyone makes mistakes and I try and learn from those mistakes and grow in my faith. Paul writes in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” My desire as a Christian is to be more and more like Jesus every day.

This week I encourage you to think about how you would answer the question, “Who are you, Christian, and who does your life say you are?”

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The Bible Supports Slavery? - Part I

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 16, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

It may come as a shock to many people to realize that the Bible promotes slavery.  Not just any kind of slavery, mind you, but slavery nonetheless.

Really?  Yes.  Why?  Because slavery can be a good thing.

Last week I asked, “Who owns you?”  I challenged all of us to carefully examine how we are living, because ultimately our lives either support good or evil, God's purposes or the devil's. We do have a choice in the matter, and slavery is actually a really good choice.  Huh?  What?  Hang in there, and read Romans 6:19-22.

In early Middle Eastern culture and much of Roman culture, slavery was not what we know it to be today.  We think of slavery as oppression, forced relocation, murder, and removal of personhood, among other things.  And we relate it to what we know of in American and European history and the slave trade of African people.  This is NOT the kind of slavery Paul writes about in Romans 6. When Paul refers to slavery it is more accurately translated as bondslavery or bondservant.

There were many ways you could become a slave in early Middle Eastern and Roman culture.  Most of the time it was due to owing a debt.  You would work for the person you owed a debt to until your debt was paid, and then you were free again.  You could be sold as a slave, but only for the value you owed or would bring through paying off your debt, and then you would be freed.  Owning people was not the goal; providing a system for debts to be paid was.

Many “owners” of slaves took tremendous care of their slaves, knowing that if the tables were reversed someday, they would want to be treated kindly as well.  And slaves didn't have to leave at the end of paying their debt.  If a slave loved their master and wanted to stay and work under the care and provision of the master, they could ask to stay.  They would offer to “bind” themselves to the master as a servant / slave.  They would willingly surrender their freedom, and be marked as “property” of the master, in order to have the life the master could give them (and their family).  This process at one time involved the ear of the bondservant being pierced and decorated with some symbol of the master's name or ownership.

Take a moment and reflect on the picture of being “bonded” to someone or something.  What activities, desires, or behaviors have you allowed to “mark” you and your life? Are you satisfied with the benefits you are getting from that thing, or habit, or person you have let “master” you?

Read on next week to see why this “bonding” is a life and death decision.

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.

Where Are We Going? Part I

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 15, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

As Worldview Warriors is going through Romans, a major theme throughout the whole book is the contrast between how we used to live as sinners in rebellion against God compared to how we are supposed to live as born again believers. And one thing Paul emphasizes on is the destination of these two lifestyles. Destination is one of the four key questions that our worldview addresses. Refresh yourself on that before moving on.

Where are we going? First, to know where we are going, we first need to know where we came from. Our understanding of our origins can reveal where we think we are going. I’m not just talking about Creation or Evolution, but also your life story so far. Where you grew up, how you grew up, your lifestyle back then, the choices you made, etc. I cannot answer those questions for anyone except myself. But take a look at where you came from. Take a look at where you are now. Where are you heading?

In our passage of focus this week and next week, Romans 6:19-23, Paul makes clear there are two ultimate destinations: death or eternal life. I am going to emphasize on that more next week, but today I want to zoom in and discuss our short-term destinations and goals. Where are we going? Where are we headed? Nowhere is a possible answer. Do we have a goal we are trying to reach? What are you trying to accomplish with the task or job you are doing right now?

In reality, not many people think about these things. We are asked these questions all the time in school. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I bounced around several possible job descriptions as I grew up. In second grade I wanted to be a teacher. In fourth grade I wanted to be an astronomer. Later in high school I took a serious look at seismology, but that fell through. In college, I went from civil engineering to computer science, but this whole time I really did not know what I wanted to do with that education. A year and a half before I graduated, after attending to the 2009 Urbana Convention, God started me onto the path towards teaching, which is where I am now. At the 2006 Urbana Convention, God revealed to me that part of my destination in life was to be in full-time ministry with youth. And teaching right now very well could be at least part of the fulfillment of that vision.

Most of us have or had this dream of what we want to do, where we want to go. Some of us are making active steps towards accomplishing that dream. Some of us have seen that dream die. Some of us are actively pursuing our dreams or have even accomplished them. Some of us are wandering aimlessly, not even knowing where we are supposed to be going. Some of us are lost, not knowing where to go, or going in circles. Some of our dreams are small; some are big. Some want to be a CEO of a company. Some want to be a professional sports player or a band artist. Some just want to be a Regular Joe, be one of the crowd, and not be noticed.

However, some of our dreams are good, and some are not so good. I’m sure a number of us have sought out a dream we wanted to fulfill and when we got there it was nothing like we expected it to be. Sometimes it is the dream destination that is not fulfilling. Sometimes it is the expectation of that dream that was faulty. A great example would be in sports. Any athlete has their dream of winning that medal, or that trophy, or that cup. Every year, the goal is to be the one on top. Only one athlete or one team makes it. And for a moment it is the ultimate mountain top. But does it last? Can anyone tell you who won the Super Bowl ten years ago? Only the sport fanatics or those who have really good memories can. Was that dream worth it for these athletes?

Steve Lillis, a friend of mine who is a professional billiards trick shot artist, dealt with this dream. He was at the top of the world, one of the best in the game. He pursued this dream. But he did so at the expense of his childhood faith and his integrity. He would hustle, party, and strive for that pinnacle of fame and glory. But in his powerful testimony, he describes how he was in Vegas, and met a famous baseball player playing Blackjack to hide from the media. And that was the catalyst that helped him realize the dream, the destination, he was chasing was full of emptiness. Not long afterwards, he put the game, his idol, his dream at the foot of the cross and let it die. But twelve years later, God resurrected it and he is now closing in on 20 years of using pool as a tool to preach the Gospel, using his trick shots as a visual tool to teach practical life lessons.

Throughout Romans, we see this key concept of being slaves to sin and slaves to Christ. Before Christ, we are slaves to sin. That means our worldview is entrapped by the power of sin and its focus is only on serving self. This includes our dreams and our destination. Paul tells us that sin leads to more sin and more sin leads to death. Many of our dreams do not satisfy and some of them come at a painful cost. The man who works 70-80 hours a week, makes good money, but is never there for his family. He may have his dream job, but what does it really bring him?

Jesus said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” This brings up another critical part of Christianity that makes it all work: the Resurrection. When we choose to lay down our dreams to follow Christ, yes, they will die. But when we do that, God will resurrect them. It may not be in the same form or picture we had envisioned, but it will be purer and so much better than anything we could have imagined, because God’s plans are higher and better than our plans. We may not like the route God takes us to get to our destinations, but he knows exactly what we need in order to fulfill that destination.

We all know how to make our plans and how to take steps to reach the goals we desire. But we need to know what those goals are and we need to find out if they align with God’s master plan. Next week, we will take a step back and see the big picture. Do our plans and goals have long term consequences we will regret? Or are we seeking to follow God’s plan as best as we can?

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.

Everyone Is Doing Forensics

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 14, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

“Everyone is doing forensics.” —Patricia Cornwell
“To understand why something is happening, we have to engage in both forensics and guess work.” —Sendhil Mullainathan

Last week I began to write about what facts are, those silly things people tend to throw around willy-nilly without understanding them. More often than not, people want to shove an opinion (theirs or that of another) of the facts at you as though that opinion is the actual fact. Take a moment, if you haven’t already, and read last week’s post “Just the Facts Ma’am” to catch up, so this week’s will make more sense to you.

Many times it’s been said that origins, unlike many other studies, is not observational science but historical science. Evolutionists and atheists hate this distinction even though it’s fairly matter of fact. If we ask Rationalwiki what historical science is, we get this: “a term used to describe sciences in which data is provided primarily from past events and for which there is usually no direct experimental data, such as cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, geology, paleontology, and archeology.”

Admittedly, Darwinian evolution is not on the list of disciplines referred to as “historical science” but one can easily see there is no way to exclude it. In the case of historical science, we must extrapolate, guess, and infer. We must take small bits of information and paint a picture of what may have happened in the past. Did you catch that? “...may have happened...”

There have been many conversations I have had (perhaps you have had them, too) where an atheist will claim, “Scientists use this process all the time to solve crimes. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called forensics.” This is supposed to be sort of “gotcha” statement indicating you’re a science denier and would have crimes go unsolved because you are willing to admit science is not perfect, especially when it comes to one time past events that no one was around for. In the case of forensics, there are a few things to note.

First, we should note that in forensics, we’re generally dealing with things that happened a very short time ago under conditions that we can base our analysis on. That means we know several key components that aid in tracing back what happened in an event. It's also important to note that eyewitness testimony is of the highest level of evidence and helps shape what the forensics specialist believes happened. However, the second thing to note is that forensics experts do not always agree. This is an important point to make clear. If two experts look at the same data and have two different opinions on what took place, I feel it would be foolish to say one expert is a scientist and the other is a religious zealot who is stupid and blinded by bias. It simply means that there is more than one way to validly explain the data available. That sounds an awful lot like the debate in question—creation vs. evolution. We have the data. We tell different stories based on the data. That’s it.

The third thing is that forensics is nothing like what we see on CSI, NCIS, or 24. These programs have actually harmed the legal process in our courts because people expect there to be a black and white answer to who did it. They’re expecting solid scientific data that conclusively points the finger at one person. But the real world is rarely anything like that. The world of forensics is a terrible example for the evolutionist to point to as an example of historical science if he or she is trying to show the strength in historical science.

Jennifer L. Mnookin wrote in the LA Times that “laboratories are woefully underfunded, and much of what passes for forensic ‘science’ does not meet even minimal scientific standards. Yet when forensic scientists testify in court, they often are embarrassingly overconfident about their findings.” This sounds so much like the “science” for biological evolution, abiogenesis, and the Big Bang. They are always over playing their findings—which are almost always an explanation and huge extrapolation of the facts. Their confidence in “could have” “might be” “may be connected” is interesting. She goes on, “Put simply, although many kinds of forensic testimony — involving handwriting identification, fingerprint evidence and ballistics, for example— are enormously persuasive to a typical jury, they do not meet the basic requirements of good science.” In fact, earlier this year, the FBI reported that 96% of the time, hair analysis alone was fundamentally flawed in its conclusions. Not such a great record for this “science,” huh? Because they have a few facts and fill in all the blanks—just like the origins debate.

It almost sounds like she’s saying forensics is tough to make a case for being science. What are the issues with it? Why is this the case? Bias, error-rates, and over-claiming are the biggest explanations given for this. “Forensic techniques are subject to human bias” reads a Washington Post headline. This is because the evidence is only a small piece of the puzzle. The conclusions drawn are based on the presuppositions of the investigator who, in terms of origins study, almost always has the basis of Darwinian evolution and billions of years as his starting point. In general, a forensics specialist will have a good idea of what they want to find prior to looking. This isn't science at all. This is often how labs that date rocks are. They are told the expected age of a sample and all points not found close to that age are thrown out.

It’s hard to believe this isn’t the case for other historical sciences as well—like cosmology, geology, and evolution. It is now abundantly clear that an expert’s opinion is not a reliable basis for drawing connections between evidence samples and an outcome. More than an opinion should be involved when drawing conclusions. But, as creationists have been saying for years, the study of origins isn’t really science. It’s religion or at the least philosophy.

Science deals with probabilities, not certainty. But in the case of origins, we’re talking about consensus. I believe “consensus science” is anti-science. Ask any evolutionist about why they believe in evolution rather than creation and it will very likely come up that “99% of scientists believe in Darwinian evolution” or some such thing. So the case for evolution is based on its popularity. From “The Green Ember”-- You can choose what to believe, but you can't change what is true. If 99% of scientists believe evolution is true (that is evolution from a single common ancestor), that hardly makes it true. In fact, of that 99% of scientists, a very small portion of them actually do something related to origins in their field of study. To quote A. E. Wilder-Smith, “The natural sciences know nothing of evolution.”

Due to the constraints of space, I will have to conclude this thought next week. Take heart! The battle is not over science but over philosophy and faith. It's never been a scientific debate, although Darwinian evolution fails the science test. Stay tuned.

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.