Attributes of God: Holiness

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 31, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the attributes of God that is known but very infrequently mentioned is that God is holy. There are a number of attributes that we really don’t understand and cannot fully comprehend. Many make the mistake of thinking, “I can’t fully grasp this, so I am going to give up and not even try it.” Others make the mistake of thinking, “I can’t understand this, so I am going to pretend it does not play a factor into things.” The logic on both of these directions is really weak. We are never going to fully grasp everything there is to know about math or science, so should we abandon trying to get even some of it, or pretend it doesn’t exist at all? What about studying history or military techniques, or English, or a sport? No matter what it is, you simply are not going to really master everything about a particular topic. But that does not mean we should not try.

Holiness is a topic that can be confusing. The word “holy” means “to separate” often for a particular purpose or for a particular reason. Holiness is not common. It is not average. God stands out. Just two examples of this are in regard to the Hebrew people: in Exodus 19:6, where God formally separated them out from all other nations to be the means through which God would bring his message of salvation to all peoples, and in Exodus 20:8, talking about the Sabbath Day of rest, a day separate from the rest of the week to rest and to refocus on the Lord. There are many more examples and I will keep emphasizing that entire books can be written about each of these attributes, what they mean, and how they apply.

There is another picture of holiness and that is one of purity. But this is a different kind of purity. Many of us know what it is like to have a clean room, a clean shirt, a clean desk, etc. How long does it take for that room, shirt, desk, etc to get dirty? Not long. It takes no time at all for that which is clean to get dirty and messy and needing cleaning again. We have that same problem with sin. We initially started out pure and clean (referring to Adam and Eve), but then sin corrupted us. It stains us. We all have experienced that shirt or object we like that gets a stain on it that never goes away. Sin has that effect. Scripture tells us our sin is like scarlet. Scarlet is a deep red color and often describe as a dye or a stain. Something that is scarlet is not easily, if at all, washed clean.

But this is where God’s holiness comes into play. Scripture does describe God as holy, but it also describes him as “holy, holy, holy.” That’s not mere emphasis. That is a whole different meaning. Something that is holy can be pure but it can also be tainted. Something (or someone) that is “holy, holy, holy” not only is pure and clean, but anything that touches it is made clean. It’s the reverse effect. There is nothing that can taint or stain something that is “holy, holy, holy.” The thing that does the tainting or the staining is itself cleaned and purified.

There is an amazing fact about this and a terrifying fact about this. The amazing fact is the blood of Christ washes us white as snow. What Jesus did on the cross covers us and cleanses us. In physics, you can do some neat things with light. Check this out on your own. Take a red object and then look at that red object through a red lens. When you do that, that object will appear white. This is an image that agrees with Isaiah as he says “though our sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” This is an amazing fact.

But there is a terrifying fact as well. What about those who are not covered by the blood of Christ? God’s holiness will purge that which is evil. And if we are still identified in our sin, just being in the presence of God will not just take out our sin, but us out with it. God’s holiness is so great, so pure, so perfect that sin cannot dwell in his presence. Yes, we have this idea that God cannot dwell with sin, but that idea indicates that God has a weakness. That is like saying Superman cannot be in the presence of kryptonite. It is really that sin that cannot handle being around God.

This is important to understand. I wrote about God’s love two weeks ago. Yes, God loves us so much that he died for our sin, but think about it. Why could not God simply forgive us? It is because his holiness would annihilate us if he did not deal with it. He had to punish the sin without destroying the sinner. God is just as I described last week. He must punish sin. And unless we are separated from our sin from God’s eyes, we won’t be able to spend eternity with him without being destroyed ourselves. God could not simply “forgive us” and let it slide. It would violate his character to do that.

When we continue to sin, and continue to rebel against God’s methods, he will pull himself away from us. This is actually an act of love, because if he stuck around, his holiness would destroy us then and there. Even though God knows that our sin will lead us to death, he allows us to reap the sin we sow, hoping we will recognize that sin never can satisfy. Our rebellion against God is never going give us what we want. It will give us what we ask for, but not what we want. And this is why man goes to hell. It is not because God sends us there. It is because that is the only place where God’s presence is not found. It was created for Satan and his minions. It was not created for man. People go there, not because God sends us there, but because that is where we ask to go, by rejecting him.

God is a holy and pure God. He is holy, holy, holy. He longs for us to repent because he does not want to have to carry out his justice upon us. He does not want any of us to perish. He longs for us to repent so he can begin the process of restoration. The process of removing the sin from us so that Jesus may have a pure and spotless Bride. I am one who, being far from perfect, am striving towards that goal. Let us all strive for that goal.

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High Regard

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 30, 2015 2 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous one is here, and the next one is here.]

Last week I began a series on responding to the questions brought forth by Mr. Tyler Francke in his blog post “Ten Theological Questions No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer.” I just laid a bit of a foundation to what we were dealing with. This week, my focus will be on Mr. Francke’s introduction. My hope in moving through this all rather slowly is that the point will be made very clear. That point: old earth creationism and, to an exceptionally larger degree theistic evolution, are inconsistent and anti-Biblical. The only reason I or any other Biblical creationist cares about this issue at all is because of the push from consensus science (which is anti-science) and from within the Body’s borders to adapt the ever changing, currently popular belief based on incomplete knowledge that has given us these new and theologically unsound beliefs. Why do I care? Why does any Biblical creationist care? Because if we skew the meaning of Genesis, the foundation for every other word written in the Bible, we can not only skew anything we find in the Bible but we can also find nothing for the New Testament to be built upon. I would like to move onto the introduction to Mr. Francke’s blog.

He states quite early on that, “As far as most young-earther proponents are concerned, this is a dispute between science on one side and the Bible on the other, and the Bible will always trump science. Period.” This is actually very early on proving to be an opportunity to expose strawman arguments rather than an intellectual discussion. That’s unfortunate. My experience over the 20+ years in this debate is that it’s difficult to find an opponent to Biblical creation who actually argues against it. What I mean is most of the time the argument is against some distorted version of Biblical creationist beliefs or a completely fabricated point. In this case, we have a very serious misunderstanding of the debate, which, because it's a foundational issue, causes me to take pause. He’s not even clear on what we’re talking about or what my position is, so how can we trust that any of his arguments are sound? Maybe a good question. You see, the argument from my perspective and that of most Biblical creationists (what he terms young-earther which is a misnomer) is not about “science on one side and the Bible on the other.” It never has been and likely never will be. If he believes this is the truth, then discussing it any further will result in us talking past each other while not listening to each other. This is something that happened in the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate. Neither man actually spoke to the other. They both spoke past each other and accomplished nothing but a marvelous waste of time—a boring one at that. To suggest this debate is the Bible vs. science is absurd to an exquisite degree. Science, much of which has been founded by creationists, is not at odds with the Bible at all. Frankly, such statements cause me to doubt the genuine nature of the curiosity and love for scientific inquiry Mr. Francke has if he’s beginning this writing with such an unfounded statement. To read more on that topic, you can read this, this, this, this, this, or this. There are likely other blog posts written on this topic you can find at If you search the blog section, I’m sure you’ll find lots of stuff to read.

He continues by indicating this false idea (about the debate being between science and the Bible) has a problem because there are people who hold the Bible in high regard who also believe in evolution. This is an interesting statement. The Bible makes no mention of anything remotely like Darwinism. It does, in fact, give a very nice historically written piece on how God created the heavens and the earth. Very few doubted this history of creation, and even science worked based on this idea. But since Lyell and Darwin and several others changed the story, we have those who really want to be Christians and like some of the stuff Jesus taught but really also want to accept consensus science (which is anti-science and void of free thinking) on origins. I've written quite a bit on this. You can read a little of that here, here, here, here, or here if you're so inclined. There are many more, but that will likely keep you busy.

There is no reason from the Bible (regardless of where in the Bible we're reading) to accept Genesis as anything other than historical. It's written like it's history. Numerous prophets, apostles, and even Jesus Himself referenced characters in the account. It's clear the Jews believe in the creation account. Even their dating methods are based on it being true. I'm curious how one can hold “in high regard” the Word of God when he can only read it the way the current, popular, and ever-changing culture says he can. There was no reason to ever distort the passages in Genesis (or Exodus or anywhere else the creation story is referenced) until certain men set out, admittedly, to remove the Bible from science. Odd, really, since most of modern science was founded by creationists who believed very similarly to myself—a Biblical creationist. I have often found, and perhaps Mr. Francke is different, that those who hold the Bible “in high regard” and believe in molecules to man evolution have a very watered down version of Christianity they live. Many I've encountered are universalists (believing everyone will be in heaven) or believe that Jesus was only A way rather than THE Way. They are generally soft on sin and are more of the “if it feels good, do it” crowd. Again, perhaps Tyler is not like this. I truly have no idea at this point.

He also claims here that the Bible does not support the Biblical creationist view which is laughable. Come now. The creationist view I hold is based on the Bible. Biblical creationism starts with the Bible. He has chosen, at some point in his life, to use what he will term “science” to tell him how to interpret very clear communication in the Bible. He's actually attempting to meld two different religious views that are opposing. He will hold hands with atheists to mock brothers and sisters in Christ—which seems like it must be the primary point of his website. This is very forward, I realize. I'm not intentionally being harsh. I'm intentionally stating the facts as I see them. Back on point: the Biblical creationist view (what he terms the young-earther view) is based on the Bible. His view, that of the theistic evolutionist, is based on the current, popular, and ever changing culturally accepted interpretation of, again, what he will likely term “science.” He will read Scripture through the lens of his “science” while I will view the world around me through the lens of the Bible. Quite different, I believe.

Finally, in his introduction, he wants to stresses a point by repeating the word “really” an excessive amount of times. I realize this is to offer up a list of links, but it seems rather silly. The next time I address this blog post, I intend to touch on each of the links in this list. Until then, be encouraged and know for certain that the Bible is true and science isn't opposed to it and never has been. Men with incorrect interpretations of what they've observed can be at odds with the Bible, but that's clearly not the same thing.

This is a difference of opinion, essentially, of whether the communication God uses directly in His Word is harder to understand than the revelation of Himself in nature. Let's be honest here: nature is not easy to read and our understanding of it is always evolving. What we “knew” 100 years ago is laughed at today. But God's Word is steadfast. It doesn't change and His Word has been preserved for us remarkably well. Incorrectly interpreting evidence to fit with a secular worldview is no excuse for improperly reading a message from God Almighty.

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The Christian Identity Crisis

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 29, 2015 2 comments

by Logan Ames

It never fails with certain members of my congregation that if they are in church one Sunday but might not be able to make it the following week, they apologize. I do appreciate their desire to be at church, so I play along. But I certainly know that my calling to be their pastor is unaffected by whether or not they have perfect church attendance. It doesn’t hurt my pride either when the attendance is lower. I also take notice when I personally or we as the congregation choose to help someone that has either never been there or hasn’t been for awhile, and that person suddenly feels they need to explain why they haven’t been attending or how much they’ve been wanting to get back there soon. While church attendance is a good thing, many get wrapped up in it as if it’s a matter of salvation. It’s not the only thing we confuse for salvation either.

What would you say is what makes a person a Christian? Over the course of the next month, the blog writers at Worldview Warriors will be addressing the Apostle Paul’s teachings on salvation going forward in the Book of Romans. But before we get to that point, we need to think about the identity crisis that exists in many churches. It is not up to us to judge whether others are believers or not, because only God knows for sure. The best we can do is look at whether a person’s life bears fruit that is consistent with following Jesus. But I do believe that self-examination is important for each of us. I should know what it is that makes me a Christian, and so should you if you claim it. However you choose to answer that question, your security should not be in your church attendance, ability to do good things in your life, or your parents’ relationship with Jesus.

Evidently, many of the Jews during the time of the New Testament had a bit of an identity crisis when it came to their standing with the Father. In Romans 9:1-15, Paul addresses his sorrow over the spiritual state of the Jewish people. Paul himself was a Jew who was zealous for the law and for persecuting Christians at one time. However, he came to know Jesus and was instantly persecuted by the same Jews with whom he used to work. The Book of Acts details that persecution. Ultimately, while Paul desires for his own people to have the same hope and freedom he has in Christ, he recognizes the true “people of God” has little to do with geography.

First, he presents all the things that the people of geographical Israel missed in their rejection of the Messiah. They are listed in Romans 9:4-5 and culminate with the fact that Jesus came directly from THEIR ancestry. God had chosen to give them all the signs ahead of time and then also had the Messiah come from their ancestry, but they still rejected him. Just in case one might think that God either didn’t do enough to bring his people into reconciliation with him or that his promise that Abraham’s descendants would be God’s people was untrue, Paul gives his clear verdict of the situation: “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (v. 6). To explain what he means further, he gives them a little history lesson.

Paul says they are not even all Abraham’s children, even if they are his descendants (v. 7). It is at this point that God’s foreknowledge of mankind and specifically of the Israelites becomes obvious. Paul quotes from Genesis 21:12, where God tells Abraham that his offspring would be reckoned “through Isaac.” Going back further in the history lesson of Genesis, we see that Isaac was the son promised to Abraham and Sarah long after Sarah was barren (Genesis 17:15-19). He was the son that came by God’s work, not by the futile plans of man. Abraham and his wife had already agreed to have him sleep with her servant to create a child because they lost faith in God’s plan for his promise. That led to all sorts of problems and drama. Abraham loved both Ishmael and Isaac, but God’s favor was clearly on the son that was by faith and according to his promise.

It was through Isaac, and the rest of Jesus’ Jewish ancestry, that our Savior was born. So Paul says, “In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring” (Romans 9:8). Jesus said something similar in John 8:38-47. Take a few minutes to read that passage. After telling the Jews who opposed him that they could be set free from the slavery of sin, they took offense and boasted that they are descendants of Abraham. Jesus knew that they were biologically correct, but that was irrelevant. Because they did not do the things Abraham did and instead tried to kill Jesus, he did not regard them as Abraham’s children. They then claimed God himself is their Father. Jesus said that’s not true either because if it were, they would love him rather than attempt to murder him since he came from the Father. To their disdain, he tells them their father is the devil and that they don’t belong to God.

Those words of Jesus may seem harsh to us. But the Jews who opposed him needed to know that their standing with God was based on how they responded to the Messiah and NOT their biological descent. The same is true for us. Ishmael was a child of the flesh while Isaac was a child of the promise. Abraham’s true offspring, and God’s true children, are those who believe in the promise, not the flesh. God set it up this way from the time even before Isaac was born. That means that we can’t rely on things of the flesh. Our identity as Christians cannot be found in acts of goodwill, attendance at church, being raised by godly parents, or obeying the law. Each of us must decide whether or not we believe in the promise of Jesus as our Savior, and if we are willing by faith to live with him as our Lord. If so, we are set free and become children of God. If not, we continue living to please ourselves and are children of the devil. Since there is no middle ground, I strongly encourage you to examine what gives you your Christian identity. If you are not even sure whether or not you belong to God, please let us know. Anyone at Worldview Warriors would be more than happy to discuss it with you.

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Three Hard Truths

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 28, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

In a strange twist in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he starts addressing a dilemma where the rightful heirs of the riches of God’s goodness would be denied their inheritance because they were illegitimate children. Sure, they could talk the talk and they looked good in the eyes of their peers, but God knew who they really were. “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Romans 9:6). In this statement, Paul opens up the discussion for some hard truths.

The first and most important of which is that God is God. It follows that neither you nor I am God. God is free to judge according to his own standards, as we are reminded in verse 15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.” We find all sorts of ways to justify our sins and to comfort ourselves into believing that, “so long as my good deeds outweigh my bad, I will go to heaven.”

A second point is that works-based salvation is a lie. God does not have mercy on you for being a goodie-two-shoes. Verses 11 and 12 sting like a wasp: “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls.” Within its context it is a little trickier to interpret this, but for now let us conclude that God does not judge by human standards. These verses are referring to God’s appointing of Jacob/Israel’s blessing, thus fulfilling God’s promise to his grandfather Abraham, that he would become the father of many nations. Esau, although he was the older brother, which made him the traditional heir of the father’s blessings, did not receive this blessing and it was by God’s decision that this happened. God’s ways are higher than our ways.

Third, mankind does not grant one another salvation. “Is God unjust? Not at all!” (Romans 9:14). We, as humans, have a horrible way of discerning right from wrong. Be wise in considering this example: John the Baptist was the most righteous man, by God’s standards, in human history. King Herod liked to play things loose and easy and the people praised him for his lifestyle. He even decided to marry his brother’s wife. John the Baptist scolded him and condemned the practice of doing such an immoral thing, which landed John in prison, and he was eventually beheaded for upholding God’s righteousness in the face of an immoral regime. But Herod would later be judged by God and die horribly for his wickedness in the sight of those who praised him as a god (Acts 12:21-23). Consider this wisely.

God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, but we are blessed to be told in chapter 11 that God would turn all people over to disobedience so that he might have mercy on everyone. God is free to judge as he pleases and he extends mercy to you if you will grasp it. Do not squander his mercy.

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Romans 9:1-15

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 27, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: 'At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.'
Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'” (Romans 9:1-15)

This is the first huge shift in topic in Paul’s letter to the Romans. He spent the first 8 chapters of the letter explaining Jesus and his saving work for us, why that was needed, and what we should do about it. Here, he switches to a more personal topic.

Paul was a Jew, and a very Jewish one at that (see Philippians 3:5-6). He didn’t just claim to be a Jew in name only, but he truly lived the lifestyle and had the genetics to back it up. Naturally, Paul felt a love for the Jewish people, his own race. The Jews had been God’s chosen people for centuries, and God had stood by them and led them through thick and thin, through their obedience and their countless times of disobedience to Him. They were the people through whom God would bring His Messiah, the person who would save all of humanity from sin.

Many Jews of that day though that they were “in” with God simply because of their heredity, because their ancestry could be traced back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob way back in the book of Genesis. But, the point Paul is making here is that ancestry is not what’s important any more. Jesus came as the Messiah, the true Son of God, and all of that changed. Salvation was now open to anyone who would put their faith in Jesus, as Paul has been explaining previously in this letter.

Ancestry is no longer important; having faith in Jesus is what matters. God never promised salvation to all of Israel, and it is God’s choice to determine who His people will be. Before Jesus came to this earth, the people of Israel were God’s chosen ones. Now, however, in order to be saved, every person needs to put his or her faith in Jesus Christ. Being a Jew doesn’t make them a shoe-in any longer.

In order to help the church in Rome understand this, Paul uses a lot of Old Testament references. The Jews would know those Hebrew Scriptures well, so this is Paul’s way of linking the promise of a Messiah to the person of Jesus, who is the actual Messiah. The Jews would know God’s promises of old, and now they need to update that to reflect Jesus fulfilling all of those promises.

But why does that matter for us today? I would guess that most of the people reading this (including myself) are not Jewish, either by nationality or religion. So why does this passage matter to us?

Have you ever heard someone say (or said yourself) that you’re a Christian simply because your parents are Christians? That’s exactly the mentality that Paul is addressing here. You can’t be “grandfathered” in to the faith. Each and every person must affirm their faith for themselves. Just because your parents followed Christ doesn’t automatically put your faith in Him. Just because you were raised going to a church every Sunday doesn’t mean that you have God’s salvation. I’ve heard the saying “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” Following Jesus has to be an individual choice that you live out in your whole life, not just by being in a particular building one morning a week.

Have you made that choice to follow Jesus Christ for yourself? You can’t count on the circumstances surrounding your life to make the choice for you; that won’t work in God’s eyes. Every heart has to be committed to following Him if you want to experience His salvation and the future glory of spending eternity with Him. If you have not yet made that choice, I would encourage you to do so! You will forever be thankful that you did, when you realize God’s future glory someday.

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Attributes of God: Justice

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 24, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This is the second post of my series of the Attributes of God. I again want to emphasize that this series is to help us understand who God really is and how those attributes should help us understand reality and how to live our lives. But like any study of God, entire libraries could be written on each of these attributes and it still would not cover the subject appropriately, and I am trying to do this within two pages. This week the attribute of God is justice.

I talked about how God is love last week and I left with a question: how can God be loving without also being just? To answer this question, we have to get a good grasp of what it means to be just. When we hear the word “justice” most of us will have this image of “the bad guy got what he deserved” or “a person who administers justice.” In our court system, a judge is someone who hears a case and then determines, in accordance to the laws of the land, who is right and who is wrong. In Christianity, God is both the Law Giver and the Law Enforcer. Now many argue this point is not fair because how can God judge fairly if he both writes the law and then enforces it? This argument is on the basis that God is arbitrary and can change what he meant on a whim. One of the attributes I will discuss later is that he is immutable, which means God does not change. Another attribute I will discuss is that he is faithful and stays true to his word. So when God writes the Law, which is based off his character, he enforces it based off his character. And he is not a man that he should lie. God does not pick favorites nor show partiality in his justice.

Now many may argue that God’s methods of punishments do not fit the crime. I have heard numerous people ask, “How could God punish a person for eternity for a finite crime?” This question has two flaws. It does not take God seriously, and it does not take sin seriously. It also does not recognize that the criminal does not get to choose what he thinks is his appropriate punishment. The word for sin is actually an archery term. It means to “miss the mark.” It’s not just missing the bull’s eye, it’s missing the whole target. And some cases are so bad the arrow wasn’t even shot towards the target. But there is another way to describe sin: betrayal, treachery, treason. Sin is not merely doing something against God’s will. It is not merely a personal injury, a personal disappointment. It is much worse. Much worse. It is the type of thing that puts you on the tier of Benedict Arnold. In most nations, an act of treachery bears the penalty of death. Changing citizenship is one thing, but to claim to be for one nation and then betraying that nation to an enemy is treason. Most who get caught in this are executed. And sin is at THIS level: that of treachery.

Because God is a God of Justice, he must punish that sin. CS Lewis fully understood this treachery and described it in an allegory called The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this book, Edmund betrays his siblings to the White Witch. He did not realize what he was actually doing, but he betrayed them anyway. He also did not realize that in Narnia, the penalty for treachery was execution on the Stone Table, lest Narnia be overturned by fire and water. The treachery had to be dealt with, but Aslan, knowing the Deeper Magic that the White Witch knew not of, paid the penalty himself. Only he could do that because only he knew of the Deeper Magic and only he had not committed the crime for which the death was required.

The same idea is true for us. God must punish sin because of his character. If he did not, that would make him a liar, but also his holiness would still wipe out that sin anyway (more on that next week). God is full of mercy and grace (two more attributes) and he can delay the punishment in times of repentance. He did it for Judah when King Josiah repented. He did it for Israel even for wicked King Ahab. He did it for Nineveh when Jonah preached to them. He even offered it to Sodom and Gomorrah if only ten righteous people could be found. But none of these nations kept that repentant spirit, and all received the justice they were due.

God used numerous people to be the ones to carry out his justice. For the exile he used Babylon, but then to administer justice to Babylon, he used Cyrus, King of Persia. In Canaan, he used Joshua. His conquest was not merely supposed to be “go wipe them out” so you can have it. Scripture tells us that their sin had not yet reached its fill. One analogy I have heard describes that as we sin, God’s wrath is poured into a cup. Until that cup is full, we can repent and God will relent. But once that cup is filled, then the time of justice is at hand and there will be no remedy.

God knows precisely what his wrath can do and he curbs it for as long as he can because he knows we cannot handle it. But he provides a way out. Eric Ludy showed me something very interesting I had not thought of before. In 2 Kings 9:14-29, God anointed Jehu to be King of Israel and to kill the family of Ahab (which, by marriage, included Joram, King of Judah). Jehu was charging in to Samaria to carry out God’s orders. Jezebel and Joram sent messengers to Jehu to find out his intentions. Jehu asked each messenger which side he was on and the messengers joined Jehu.

The same question is asked of us as we approach the End of Days and the King of Kings’ arrival to administer the final justice on this earth. Whose side are we on? Are we going to side with God as the messengers sided with Jehu and thus escaped the doom? Or are we going to continue in our rebellion, our treasonous rebellion, against God, despite the oncoming judgment that will overtake us, whether we believe in it or not?

God is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice. In his love, he sought to get us out of the way of his justice and there is only one way he could do that: by sending his Son to the cross. We will all face the judgment seat of Heaven and give an account of what we did through our lives. Will we be able to defend ourselves by pleading the Blood of Jesus? Or are we going to try to handle it alone? What will you say to God Almighty, the Judge of All Things, in response to what you did with your life? It’s not an issue of how often you’ve sinned. Just one act is enough to make you guilty. And that will lead us to next week’s attribute: God’s holiness.

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Harumph Harumph Harumph

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 23, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is the first of a series. The next post is here.]

It’s difficult in these days to have an intellectual conversation if Christianity has some sort of direct or indirect relationship to the topic. Generally, I find that people very quickly reduce the conversation to insults, highly spun information, hand waiving, and a bunch of “Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!” This is true in the origins debate in general. I am not only pointing a finger at those who may disagree with me on origins. Everyone views evidence with bias. Everyone gets very emotionally involved in the discussion, so tempers seem to flare up and boil over quite frequently. I’m guilty of it and I am very concerned with that, personally. I have been praying about and working on keeping my cool when an evolutionist is in the middle of telling me how stupid I am, how anti-science I am, or while they’re arguing against some strawman creationist point they’re preparing to knock down. I’m a work in progress.

This is a strange intro, I realize. I’m trying to set the tone for a series of blog posts I am, at this point, planning to write in response to another blog post. This blog post, titled “Ten Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer” can be found here. It is very difficult to read something where, from just reading the title, you know the author has not thought well on the subject. This introduction to this series will only deal with a little background information. The author, Tyler Francke, writes for God of Evolution and seemingly attempts to insinuate that being a Bible-believing Christian means you’re dishonest, uneducated, and unthinking. It’s unfortunate. As I stated in my opening paragraph, it’s very difficult to have a conversation with such people. In responding to his post on these allegedly impossible questions for Bible believers—what he terms “fundamentalists”—I have no doubt he is completely uninterested in my words. However, I will inform him that I am indeed going to answer his unanswerable questions. It’s very possible my answers will be mocked and ridiculed as it seems he is fond of doing. I say this hesitantly as I truly despise going there in this introduction but glancing over the God of Evolution site tells me he’s long since abandoned intellectual discussions and reasoning with people who disagree. It seems as if he’s moved to writing for rubbernecks who can pat him on the back.

Reading the testimonial section of the site, in my opinion, is sad. At the top of the testimony page, we see a call for submissions from those who feel alienated by their churches or by religion. This is odd, especially when you read the testimonies, since I am constantly bombarded with bogus stats that claim almost everyone, Christian or not, believes in Darwinian evolution. I’m very frequently told by theistic evolutionists that those who believe in the Biblical creation story are “fundamentalists” and a dying minority. So what’s the deal? In the call for testimonies, he says, “If you’ve ever felt alienated by your church or the larger Christian community because of its rejection of evolution and/or its hostility toward other mainstream scientific ideas, this community — and the world — need to hear from you.” I’m curious what are the “other mainstream scientific ideas…” that Christianity is hostile toward. But, as I’ve mentioned many times in other blogs and even alluded to earlier, Darwinism is a consensus science and you can find support for that claim on the God of Evolution website. Very frequently, you will find when pressed for evidence, there will usually come a point where the evolutionist will spout off something about “99% of all scientists” (or some such nonsense) believe in evolution. I wrote a small piece on that which you can read here. Suffice it to say, consensus science is opposed to free thinking and true scientific inquiry. It’s also noteworthy to mention that many of the greatest minds science has ever known were creationists. I hate to keep linking to other writings, but I addressed the nonsensical nature of the “creation science oxymoron” in a blog post you can find here. I believe it’s just a poor demonstration of one’s willingness to interact with, discuss, and work through the differences with people who disagree with you when this is the sort of thing we see.

Sadly, a reading of the testimonies gives us information as to who he’s targeting with his writings. One testimony writer says he “…came to the conclusion that evolution was true and Genesis 1-3 was not.” Rejecting God’s Word as a result of secularism is not something I would celebrate as a follower of Jesus Christ. It is Mr. Francke’s opinion, I believe, that Biblical creation is something that is harming Christianity the world over. This is, of course, not true at all. It’s true that churches, parents, and Christians in general don’t educate themselves enough on these subjects and, therefore, don’t educate their students on these matters. As a result, because of a lack of understanding of the topic, many “fundamentalist” Christian young adults will have their faith shaken when they get to high school or college. I was educated on the subject mildly and had no issues with the evolutionary and atheistic bias I encountered in college level biology or philosophy courses. If you’re a parent, I would highly encourage you to look into this and begin to prepare yourself and then prepare your children to enter into a world that hates Jesus. Something interesting to note is that Christianity isn’t suffering as many theistic evolutionists will proclaim. (A theistic evolutionist is one who believes God uses Darwinian evolution to create life on earth rather than how the Bible says He created life.) In fact, especially outside the Western world, the Church is growing by enormous numbers. In places not buried under the oppression of the religious zealots of Darwinism, the Body of Christ is expanding in large numbers. You can read a little about the growth of Christianity here.

One of the largest, if not the largest, issues with theistic evolution is that science is used to understand the Bible rather than the other way around. In other words, man’s incomplete, ever changing, and very limited knowledge of nature is used to determine what God actually meant in His Word. This is exactly backwards. Please keep that in mind and understand that “origins science” is nothing more than story telling—whether from a creationist or atheist, religious person or secularist, whoever. We grab some science and arrange it to tell the story we like. There is no such thing as facts for evolutionism and facts for creationism. There are simply facts. We interpret those facts based on our worldview. With Mr. Francke’s blog post, you’ll find it seems logical or common sense. But this is because it’s incomplete. When you evaluate the subjects he touches on, you’ll see very large amounts of information that seems to have been skipped or shoved to the side. So he jumps from a small statement to a huge conclusion. In all honestly, we’ve all done that and I know I do that even now. Because we already know what the evidence will tell us (because of our presuppositions, worldview, whatever) we find a small piece that supports it. Instead of following that fact to the next and so on, we jump immediately to the conclusion we wanted in the first place. This is why some of his points seem to make sense. And I do believe that he at least brings up some things to consider. But most of his “unanswerable questions” are nothing of the sort. It’s also telling that he claims “no young-earth creationist” can answer these questions. That’s odd. This would mean he’s asked all of us and we’ve all been incapable of responding. I actually know a lot of Biblical (what he terms young-earth—a misnomer) creationists who have not been asked any of these questions. I have never heard a single one and I’ve been engaged in this debate since 1993 to one degree or another.

I look forward to sharing with you and sincerely hope Mr. Francke will drop us a note in response. Stay tuned!

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Don't Mess With Pops

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 22, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If your childhood was at all like mine, you had your fair share of verbal, and maybe even physical, spats with other children. This especially happened to me once I was old enough to be out on my own with friends. I spent a lot of time with my friends doing “manly” things, such as playing sports, exploring the woods nearby, racing bikes, and building ramps to do bike jumps and tricks. Not surprisingly, these activities brought out the macho side in all of us. No one wanted to be considered “chicken” when the time came to take a risk to impress our friends. No one wanted to lose at sports either, for along with losing came being on the wrong end of trash-talking and boasting. As immature boys, this is where some of the battles began. Like anyone, I’d win some and lose some. No matter what, we’d all come back together the next time for competition and rivalry. And even if our battles occasionally went too far, we would remain friends.

One of the things that gave me boldness as a child and even into my adolescent years was that I had a “card” I could play in just about any of those situations. I lacked confidence and maturity at times as a teenager and that got me into some situations that I should’ve avoided. But when a friend, or even an enemy, was bigger or more confident than me and would try to use their size or their language to intimidate me, I could always say something like, “My dad can take you." I could tell them that if they were going to mess with me, they’d have to mess with my dad as well. My friends knew that my dad was a police officer (which of course they mainly associated with guns) and also that he was built like a ton of bricks. Our dad taught us to never start a fight, but that it was okay to defend ourselves. As I got to know Jesus, I learned about “turning the other cheek." But my peers didn’t need to know I had learned that!

If I had any trouble whatsoever, I knew my dad would have my back. But that was when I was a child and he was partially responsible for whatever might happen to me. He won’t be around forever. As an adult, I am on my own. That is, until I became a child of God. If you look at my previous posts from Romans 8, you can see how the Apostle Paul is reminding the believers in Rome of all the blessings they receive as children of God. These include not having to fear condemnation, knowing a hope beyond the suffering, being co-heirs with Christ of God’s glory, and being guided by a Spirit who intercedes on our behalf. This week, we are looking at Romans 8:31-39. The blessing of this section can be summed up in verse 37, where we see that we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us." There is great truth in this declaration. Before we look at the “more” part of it, let’s look at the fact that we truly ARE conquerors, because I’m not sure that most Christians live it.

In verse 31, Paul states that the only appropriate response to the understanding that we are God’s adopted children and the blessings that come with it is to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The reality of the fallen world is that many were against Jesus, so many will also be against us because we follow him. However, we have the Creator of the entire universe on OUR side! That means that even when people choose to be against us, they have no power over us. They can’t even really do anything to affect us without God giving them the freedom to do so. Paul himself experienced this many times as detailed in the book of Acts. On several occasions, he was nearly killed by those who opposed him, but he wasn’t actually put to death until God decided he had finished his race. Even when it feels like our enemies are winning or have defeated us, we have assurance that our Father is still in control and will take care of business. The Jews and Romans both thought they had rid the world of the problem that was Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah. The problem for them was that they messed with his “daddy." God’s power raised Jesus from the dead, showing the world that even a torturous death and the grave have no power over those whom God is FOR.

Your next thought might be to wonder who God is actually for. As I said earlier, Paul is writing this letter to the BELIEVERS in Rome. Having already declared that we are adopted as God’s children, we know that God is on our side the way any parent is with their children. As he told Joshua, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Even when we hurt or dishonor him and we experience those consequences, he is still our “daddy” and still has our back. The only way that changes is if we completely forsake him and don’t ever return. Short of that, we remain his children and Christ, who conquered death itself, intercedes for us at the right hand of our Father (Romans 8:34). If God’s power enabled him to conquer death and he intercedes on OUR behalf, there is nothing in this world that we can’t conquer. Things and people might be against us, but they cannot STAND against us. They should be warned that it isn’t wise to mess with our Pops!

That leads us to the powerful verses that Paul uses to wrap up this section. He says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). This, to me, is the essence of being MORE than conquerors. Our adoption as children of God doesn’t just give us the ability to trust him to defend us, it also gives us security that his love is unconditional. There is nothing that can separate us from it. It reminds me of the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:11-32. No matter what the wasteful son did, his father still desperately loved him and desired his return. When he made the choice to return, he found the same love he had left. He was temporarily separated from his father, but NEVER separated from his father’s love.

As children of God, we have the same security in his love. But we need to be cautioned that even though God loves us, we CAN be separated from him. This only happens when we turn and walk away from him and never come back. The prodigal son was given a second chance, but it isn’t guaranteed for anyone. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart." If you have walked away from God and decided not to serve him, please know that he will welcome you back and celebrate your return, because you were a conqueror and a child of God and were never separated from his love. But it’s your choice whether or not to return, and someday your time will run out. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have him as my “pops,” my defender, and loving Father than to miss out on all he has for me over an attitude of stubbornness. Return to God, and nothing will stand against you!

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Who Is the Accuser?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

"Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." ~Romans 8:33-34

It is no secret that things in America have changed in the past few weeks. It has been proven that not only has the office of the chief executive and our legislative branches been corrupted, but so has our court system. Today we are governed in a manner not much different from the way it was back in the day of the judges: as each person felt was right. Aside from that, the definition of marriage has been ransacked and destroyed. You could marry a potato now and I would be a bigot in pointing out the absurdity in it. But none if this is my point in this post. What I would like to talk about are these absurd claims concerning how the church is actively persecuting the homosexual community.

Yes, this is an absurdity. For one, the church is responsible for electing officials who have made it possible for such legislation to pass that would legalize so-called same sex marriage. I, for one, am exhausted of having to waste my breath apologizing every time I address the topic of same sex marriage. The term itself is an oxymoron, but every time we speak about it anymore we have to preface that it is not the worst of all sins. I agree, but in conceding that point we must also agree that there is a hierarchy of sins otherwise, or else we cannot make the statement that there are worse sins. If there were not, then how can we say it is not the worst? Second, sexual sin is acknowledged as being a unique sin because it is a sin against your body and it unites you with another person. The Bible also says not to partake with those who call themselves believers but are engaged in sexual sin. I can go on about all of the ways that the Bible condemns sexual sin, but once again I am side tracked from my main point: Who within Christianity is persecuting the homosexual community?

My answer is that it is not happening. Christians are not persecuting the homosexual community. Yes, perhaps some crazy fringe Christians that even duke it out with fellow believers are, but as a whole it is not happening. I truly do not know of one church where I live in Findlay, Ohio, that would not welcome a homosexual if his or her true intent would be to seek God. I am even including the fundamentalist churches. But even if they did not, they most certainly would not harass such people; they would send them on their way and pray for them. I have heard claims that people have been excluded from church for the sake for such reasons in different cities but many of those are misrepresented and false, and the others I find highly suspect. It is incredible what people will falsely accuse you of these days.

Another accusation is that Christians are unloving toward homosexuals. Really? In every debate with homosexuals on this topic and the Bible, I hear and observe Christians asserting over and over that we do not hate homosexuals. We love them as Christ loved us before we submitted our will to him. But the counter argument is that we cannot love them unless we approve of their lifestyle. Well, if we believe it is sin, Romans says some strong things about people who approve of sin. But we know that Jesus came to save sinners.

We have been charged of hatred and to this I say “nonsense.” To yearn for your salvation and to desire to see you healed of the pain that has driven you into this lifestyle is the furthest thing from hatred and the closest thing to love. We have bent over backwards to express the love of Christ to this community only to have our businesses shut down, our churches closed, and our God ordained traditions dismantled and rubbed in our faces.

But who is our accuser? Romans 8 is implying that none can accuse us now because all of the accusations directed at us land on the cross. It is not we who are persecuted but Christ himself, for all of Satan's accusations concerning our sins were accepted by Jesus and no longer are we representatives of ourselves, but of Jesus. So long as we walk in his ways and teach what he taught us, no one has any cause against us.

It appears that more of the church is being persecuted by the homosexual community than the homosexual community is being persecuted by the church. We are accused of wickedness. Although none of us are perfect, our yearning to see homosexuals come to Christ in a vulnerable and humble way is our expression of love for them. But what is love? It can only be found when you have met Jesus Christ.

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Romans 8:31-39

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 20, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

This section of Romans is a big one - it concludes the overall argument that Paul has been making since chapter 5! This argument is that we have complete and total security in Jesus Christ. We can be completely confident in this, because of the work of God for us in Christ, and because of the love of God for us in Christ.

We’ve seen that people will still be against us, and we will still suffer in this life (Romans 5:3-4, 8:17-18). But, none of that ultimately matters! We know that God is for us, so it doesn’t matter at all who’s against us. God graciously gives us “all things” - and that includes the death and resurrection of His only Son (5:5-8). God also gives us the final glory we will have someday, which we can fully put our hope in.

With Jesus Christ on our side, no mere man can truly condemn us. Yes, people can make us feel miserable while we’re here on this earth, but we need to set our sights on the bigger picture. We see the work that God has done for us in Jesus Christ, and if we focus on that rather than our present sufferings, we will experience the hope and peace that only God can give.

Paul uses some parallelism here. The “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?” in verse 31 parallels the “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” in verse 35. Christ is not only protecting us from the consequences of our sin, but He loves us! This is like having the best defense attorney ever, but they’re not just your attorney but they are your dearest and closest friend.

In verse 36, Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 from the Old Testament. He is emphasizing again that life as a follower of Jesus Christ will not be easy. We may even face death for following Jesus. But, don’t worry; we can triumph over that! Remember, no one can be against us when God is on our side!

Paul says that we are “more than conquerors” because of God’s love for us. The word used there in the original Greek means to more than triumph over something. Not only that, it is a rare intensive verb form, to show even more emphasis. The English language just doesn’t do it justice for how much we triumph over our troubles through God’s love and power in our lives.

To emphasize this point even more, Paul gives us a list to show all the things that can’t separate us from God’s love. He lists all the big things, and just in case he missed something he says “nor anything else in all creation” can separate us from God’s love. Did you catch that? NOTHING can separate us from God’s love!

We can celebrate the security and hope we have in Christ because of what God has done for us, and because of the complete certainty of His love for us. What are you doing in your life to celebrate that and live it out every day?

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Attributes of God: Love

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 17, 2015 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

I was listening to a sermon a while back and one of the comments made was this: “When was the last time you heard a sermon on the attributes of God?” And I started thinking: When was the last time I heard someone speak about the attributes of God? I had often heard references to them, but I really don’t remember when that was the emphasis of the message. And if I asked for a show of hands of those reading this if they heard a message about the attributes of God recently, I think it would be safe to say few, if any, have. I hope to remedy that by doing a blog post series on some of the attributes of God. Through this series, I will describe the attribute, but also show how knowing this attribute affects us and how that knowledge should impact how we live our lives.

To open, the first attribute of God I will explore is the most popular one: Love. 1 John 4:8 is a frequently cited Scripture because that is where we learn that “God is love.” But many people have a very misconstrued picture of what love actually is. First there are four types of love: Eros, Philia, Storga, and Agape. Let me delve into each one briefly.

Eros is romantic love, and it is very often confused with sexual attraction. Eros most certainly is related to your hormones, but your hormones do not determine if it is love or not. Hormones can trigger a different emotion: lust. I am not going to dig further than this, but note that when someone is talking about “love” this is often what they are referencing and that is NOT what John is referencing in 1 John 4:8. This is a God-given love, but it is so easily abused.

Philia is “brotherly love” which is also where the name “Philadelphia” comes from (the “adelphia” means brother). This is the bond between close friends. These are not merely your acquaintances but the close ones. This type of love is what makes you stick by your friend, even when they are in trouble. Think of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel or Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings.

Storga is “empathetic” love. It is the bond between family and those you consider with your “home,” which could mean your house, your neighborhood, city, or nation. Think of your family ties or the place you call home. The bond you have with these people and places is Storga.

The last one is Agape and this actually the one John is referencing. This is the greatest of the four types of loves and is the one that should guide and direct the others. This is God’s love. It the unconditional, “I am going to do that which is best for” type of love. Agape supersedes Eros, Phiia, and Storga, but can also show itself in the three others. This is the type of love parents have for children (or should have), where it does not matter what they do, they still love their kids, even through adulthood, and they seek out the best for them.

John describes God as Agape love. In perhaps the most well-known and most-quoted verse in all of Scripture, John 3:16, we learn that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever would believe in him, he shall not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves us so much that the sent his Son to pay for the penalty for our sin. He loves us so much that despite our sin, despite our outright rebellion and snobbery of who he is, he still died for us. But there is more to it than that.

Love does not merely let anyone get off the hook for what they do. Yes, God died for our sin, but that does not mean merely getting off the hook. There are still consequences despite the forgiveness of sin. Galatians 6:7 tells us to not be deceived. God is not mocked. A man will reap what he sows. God allows us to suffer the consequences for sin so we will learn to listen to him and obey him.

He also disciplines us. In today’s age, discipline is treated almost like a needs-to-be-bleeped swear word. No one wants to talk about it. But if there is no discipline, there is no love. Read Hebrews 12:4-13. Particularly, Hebrews 12:8. Pay very close attention to that verse. It says if we are not being disciplined, then we are illegitimate children. If we are not being disciplined by God, that means we are not his children, and we are not saved. No man should ever discipline a child that is not his. This goes for more than just family. A coach can discipline his players, but not the other team’s players. If he tries, that never ends too well. Yes, discipline can be abused, but when it is abused, it is because there is something out of balance, such as righteous anger, justice, or something like that.

No parent who loves his/her child will withhold discipline. Discipline invokes a perfect standard of right and wrong, and a pull to re-direct someone straying from that perfect standard to get back onto it. God loves us so much he will strive to tell us what his standards are so that which will destroy us will not get to us. No parent who loved his/her child would allow the child to just play in the middle of a busy street. They would not force their will upon them, but with great love, they would coax and encourage and teach them to do that which is right. The same is true about God’s love. He allows us to do what we want to do, but because he loves us, he will give us the consequences so we will learn the right way to live. Whole books can be written about this and I’m trying to do it within two pages, so I’ll stop here. God wants the best for us, and when sin is running rampant, he can’t give us what he would like because he needs to get rid of the sin first. He loves us so much that he will work to remove the sin from our lives. Get this: he loves us so much that when we choose to continue to live in sin, he will lovingly remove himself from us because if he stuck around, he would destroy us. I’ll get deeper into that when I describe God’s holiness. I will wrap up with this thought: How can God be loving without also being just? The next attribute I will introduce next week is the justice of God.

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A Global Flood - Who Cares?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 16, 2015 9 comments

by Steve Risner

The Flood. It’s a pretty amazing event. It’s beyond our comprehension, I feel, to even imagine what it was like during the Flood and shortly after. The world’s landscape was completely annihilated. Nothing from the pre-Flood world remained unchanged. I believe the Flood can easily give us many of the geological features we see today. It can also tell us why the earth is filled with dead organisms that all seemed to have died in water, were buried in sediment very quickly, and did so in extremely large amounts. But some Christians, who will hold hands with atheists and secularists, suggest the Flood written about in Genesis is either a myth or it was a local flood—meaning it was only a flood of the Middle East or a portion of the Middle East.

What reasons are there for believing such a thing? Those who believe this who are Christians are generally either old earth creationists or theistic evolutionists. Why do they not take the Word of God as it’s written? Their ideas are clearly not from a Biblical stance. There is nothing—literally—in Scripture to indicate the Flood was anything but what it’s been described as by Bible believers—a global catastrophe that destroyed the entire population of man save 8 and all land-dwelling, air-breathing animals.

There are about 30 references to the global nature of the Flood in Genesis 6-9. I have never encountered a rational argument from a believer who claims they believe the Flood was local. In fact, there is no way to read the story in Genesis and all other references to it in Scripture and logically conclude anything but a global catastrophe that destroyed the surface of the earth, all of mankind, and almost anything that was alive. Again, to make an argument against the global nature of the Flood is not based on any Scripture whatsoever but is based on humanistic interpretations of the world around us. These people essentially want it both ways, which dilutes much of the Bible’s teaching. It's a slippery slope.

Why does this matter? It’s simple, really. Although many old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists (those who claim to be followers of Christ but do not accept the creation and Flood accounts as written in God’s Word) claim they hold Scripture to a very high level of respect, they feel it’s possible and acceptable to toss out passages of Scripture (they will claim they don't do this) that are not congruent with their preconceived ideas about the universe. In other words, they accept currently popular beliefs and philosophies of science and culture based nearly exclusively on humanism or atheism, and they need to find a way to meld their naturalistic religious beliefs with their desire to be Christians.

This is exactly backwards. One can easily review the evidence and see how it fits with the Christian worldview. The choice, then, is to change God’s Word to meet with the currently popular belief of men who do not have anywhere near all the information they need OR interpret the scientific evidence so it’s in line with the clear teaching of the Bible. I have chosen God’s Word over man’s. What about you? I’ve heard it time and again that they hold Scripture very highly and respect His Word. But that doesn’t line up at all with what they teach. The integrity of Scripture is in the balance here. If we can decide arbitrarily that certain sections of Scripture are allegory or myth simply because they don’t line up with what we believe, the entire Bible is worthless to us. There is no indication from Scripture that these parts are myth or allegory or anything else. There is no reason from the Bible to believe these passages of Scripture are to be taken as anything but historical.

So what’s the basis for believing the Flood of Noah’s day was global? Let’s review God’s Word: Genesis 7:19-20 indicates that all the mountains were covered by nearly 20 feet of water. They also remained there for nearly half a year. How could this be if it was a local flood? I’m forced to conclude by this statement alone that the Flood was global. Verse 21 goes on to say, “Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.” It doesn’t say every living thing in the area or all mankind in the area died. It says ALL. I don’t believe all of mankind lived in the Middle East, so I’m forced to conclude, by this statement alone, that the Flood was global. Genesis 9:1 and 16 both indicate all life on earth was involved. Genesis 6:13, as God speaks with Noah, tells us God would destroy all mankind and the earth. Simply by reading these passages alone, I am forced to conclude the Flood was global. Isaiah confirms the Flood was global saying that God remembered His promise to never destroy the entire earth again with water. Peter recalls for us the global catastrophe as well in 2 Peter 3:5-7. If the Flood was a local event, could the Bible have been more misleading? It clearly states repeatedly the Flood was a catastrophe that involved the entire world. There is no rational way to say otherwise.

So what are some of the issues with a local flood aside from the glaring issues presented in the Word? A local flood would not have required an ark at all, let alone an ark filled with representatives of every “kind” of air-breathing, land-dwelling animal. It took over 100 years from the command to build the ark until its completion. Why not just tell Noah to leave in that time if it was a local flood? Why were the animals to be saved if all the animals from the rest of the world were going to be fine? Why were Noah and his family on the ark for nearly a year? It seems like they’d hit dry ground before that, doesn't it? It also seems like a local flood would rise and fall much faster than that. Why was the rainbow a promise to all living things that God would never again destroy the earth in this manner? Most of the planet would have no idea there was a flood if it was local. And if the flood was local, He’s broken that promise repeatedly. Why was the ark so large if it didn’t need to hold 8 humans and representatives of every “kind” of animal on the earth? Why are the Hebrew and Greek words used to describe this Flood not the same words used to describe a regular flood? Why are they reserved for this cataclysmic event? Finally, if Peter tells us that the earth is waiting for God’s judgment—to be destroyed by fire—is he meaning that only the Middle East will be destroyed with fire? He talks of the creation of the world, the destruction of the earth by water and the coming destruction by fire. How can you make sense of this if the flood was a local event?

I have investigated many sources and interacted with several people who assure me the flood was local. They have no Biblical basis for this at all. They have the currently popular belief of science and they are trying to force the unchanging Word of God to fit this ever-shifting foundation. It cannot be stressed enough that the Bible is not their source for Truth in this matter (or likely many others). The Bible is our filter to view the world. Humanistic philosophies are far from the right source for Truth, especially when we’re looking for spiritual truth. Stay focused!

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You Gotta Start Somewhere

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 15, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

One of the things I’ve experienced as a pastor that I guess I didn’t realize would happen is the fact that I am always the one expected to pray at gatherings. This actually started happening more to me when I was still in seminary and I’m sure it’s something that most other pastors experience as well. It’s like I’m considered the “expert prayer giver” amongst the people at my church, my friends, my home, and other places where people know me as the pastor and former seminary student. It even happens at softball games where a member of the home team has to say the opening prayer. The team usually turns to me, and one time when I asked another guy to do it, he jokingly said, “Well, I don’t have a seminary education or anything."

Have we really taken such a view toward prayer? I know that many times people say the things they do in jest, but I wonder if some truly believe that the ability to pray is something one learns through education or some sort of special gift. Jesus’ words fly directly in the face of that concept. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8). He would go on to teach them how to pray what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer” in the next few verses. Take a look at the words in that prayer that our very Savior, who was God in the flesh, prayed. It’s very simple. There is no fancy language. “Hallowed” is probably the only word in there that we don’t use on a more regular basis. If Jesus himself prayed this prayer, why do we feel the need to make things more complicated or eloquent?

Maybe, the answer is that we either forget about or don’t even really believe and trust the One to whom we are praying. People talk about not being sure if they can pray “good” prayers. They say they are not comfortable doing it in front of others. We generally repeat prayers we may have heard from our parents or others in ministry. I’ll even admit that I fell into the cultural trap earlier on the very day that I am writing this. I was leading my very first funeral and graveside services as pastor. When I got done, I shared with my girlfriend that I didn’t feel the graveside service went all that smoothly. She asked why and I said something like, “Well the prayers weren’t very smooth because I didn’t write them out ahead of time." What in the world was I thinking? I NEVER write my prayers ahead of time and don’t feel it’s necessary, yet because of the circumstances and grieving people, I got caught up in the need for their approval rather than simply leading them in community prayer. That’s the problem with forgetting that prayer is conversation with the Creator of the universe and thinking that even prayer is something to be used to please others who hear the words. That kind of pressure is not from the Lord, but from the enemy who distorts everything about God in our lives, right down to simple conversation with him.

In Romans 8:26-30, the Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful perspective on prayer. In the midst of talking about the relationship we have with God, the freedom from slavery that it brings, and the hope that we have knowing we are adopted as children of God, Paul shares that the Holy Spirit helps us in the midst of our weakness, specifically as it relates to how we seek his will in prayer. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26). The NASB version says it even better, calling them “groanings too deep for words." Do you understand what this means for us? There is no pressure at all in prayer! Your words don’t matter that much and your heart is much more important. Jesus said that God already knows what we need and even when we don’t have a clue, the Spirit does the praying for us. He has our back!

I can remember a very specific time in my life where a mentor of mine encouraged me NOT to say much as I pray. It was easily the darkest time of my life. I had experienced great loss and found very little motivation to do anything I needed to do, which included turning to the Lord. With no other options, I eventually took steps to invite the Lord to pick up the broken pieces and heal me. One day, I was speaking with my mentor at the time and I explained that I don’t really even know where to start or what to say when I go before the Lord. I knew I needed his grace and mercy, but also knew I was deeply hurting and didn’t want to experience anymore pain, even if God knew I needed to go through it. I felt stuck and didn’t have any idea how to speak to the Lord at that time. My friend encouraged me to go to God and say exactly that. I remember his exact words were, “Just go to him and say, ‘Lord, I don’t really think I should be the one doing the talking here, so you go ahead.’" This advice reminded me of a line that was repeated by inmates at a jailhouse Bible study I once helped lead: “It’s not about ME, it’s about THEE!”

The rest of the passage for this week shows why we can trust God even when we have no words to pray. He searches and knows our hearts, he intercedes in accordance with God’s will, and God’s will is always GOOD for those who love him and are “called according to his purpose” (vv. 27-28). For these reasons, we must stop viewing prayer the way the world does. Prayer is conversation with the Creator who knows more about ourselves than we do. He knows what we need better than we do. Like any conversation with anyone else, sometimes you do more talking, and sometimes you do more listening. Sometimes there is even a lull in the conversation where not much is said but you just enjoy one another’s presence. All of these things are true in your relationship with God as well.

If you’ve been struggling with your prayer life, or if you’ve been feeling defeated by the enemy your whole life and felt like you can’t ever lead others in prayer or sound as eloquent as a pastor, I encourage you to start by going before him and asking him to speak while you listen. Maybe even give journaling a try as things come to your mind in those moments. You need to start somewhere, because I don’t want you to miss out on the amazing and free opportunity we have to communicate with the One who made us, knows us, and loves us beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

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Progressively Predestined

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 14, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” ~Romans 8:28-30

Have you ever struggled with the idea of predestination? Predestination is the idea that events have been pre-planned by God, often believed to include who is saved and who is not. Having had a personal experience with this matter I have had to think it through quite thoroughly to discover what the Bible really says about predestination. For the next few chapters of Romans, predestination will be a heavy theme and I do not doubt that the other blog writers, as well as myself, will engage in some intense wrestling with these texts to accurately expose what the Bible teaches about predestination in the midst of Romans 8-11.

It must first be acknowledged that predestination is a Biblical reality. There are many passages in the Bible that make reference to predestination including the one listed above. Where controversy lies is in whether God unconditionally elects those who will be saved or if there is a choice of some sort that each individual gets to freely make. I think this passage in Romans 8 actually is a good starting point for understanding Biblical predestination.

One common theme throughout the Bible that scholars should always take notice of is that of progression. One of our professors from seminary pointed out a progression in the book of Isaiah: “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will SOAR on wings like eagles; they will RUN and not grow weary, they will WALK and not be faint.” Since my professor was an elderly gentleman, he noticed the progression better than we young bucks. He took comfort in the fact that although we would slow down, the Lord would never let us fall. Well, in Romans 8, starting in verse 29, we see the beginning of the predestination progression and it all starts with “those God foreknew.”

Those God foreknew, to me, clearly means those who God knew would believe the Gospel. Another interpretation would say that foreknew actually means those whom God loved in advance. In my opinion, this creates a lot of problems throughout Scripture that would result in many passages having to be reinterpreted in a rather cruel way. For instance, when Jesus is talking about helping the less fortunate, to the unfaithful one he says, “I never knew you.” If you interpret this the same way as these people interpret this Romans passage you could reinterpret Jesus’ words as I never loved you. Ouch. I guess that guy never stood a chance to begin with, huh? The interpretation of this Scripture is much easier to understand when you read the word as it stands, which means God knew of them in advance, not that he loved them in advance.

Then it says that he predestined those whom he foreknew. And it does not even throw us into the mess of the predestination controversy here, it tells us that he predestined us to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. This is a beautiful passage that is meant to instill us with hope as we are continually being sanctified or made holy, more like Christ. But he only predestines those whom he first foreknew. Then it says that those he predestines he also calls.

Being called is a hard one, but I think that Scripture is pretty clear that many who are called do not respond appropriately. When the resurrected Jesus confronts Saul/Paul he says something to him that is very interesting. Mind you, I do not see this wording in the NIV, but in the KJV Jesus says to Paul, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). These ‘pricks’ are proddings. What Jesus is exposing is that the Holy Spirit was trying to get through to Paul and that Paul himself had been resisting the proddings of the Spirit. I would attribute these proddings to the hearing of the Gospel message and understanding the continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Nonetheless, I think that called can be used in different ways. In a general sense, God calls all people to repentance and belief. But only those who believe are called out of the darkness and into his light.

Those he called he also justified. Once again, I think it is important to clarify that those he called are those who are called into the light and that although he justified the world through his sacrifice, it is only those who believe who are truly justified through faith. I do not believe it is saying that Jesus only died for certain people.

Finally, it says that those he justified he also glorified. I think this would be the prophetic, perfect version of this word, meaning that it is not something that has happened yet. All of the other actions are tasks that have already been accomplished. Glorification does not happen until we have crossed over into the next life. This is seen most clearly in the examples of Moses and Elijah, who dwell in heaven with our Lord, who visited Jesus when he was transfigured on a mountaintop (Luke 9:28-36). Moses and Elijah appeared in a glorified state.

The progression of this salvation process from foreknowledge to glorification should be recognized by anyone reading this text by now. The process starts as a “thought,” in a manner of speaking, and ends in providence. I hope that this post helps those who are struggling with the predestination controversy.

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.