Romans 10:14­-15

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 31, 2015 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15)

In the previous passage, Paul talked about how the Romans (and us) can be saved by righteousness through faith: “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” (verse 9). We also saw in verses 12-13 that this is open to everyone, both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). We all have equal opportunity to either accept or reject this gift of righteousness through faith.

Here, Paul works logically backwards through a series of rhetorical questions to explain more about the method for a person to become saved:
1. How can they call on the one they have not believed in?
2. How can they believe in one of whom they have not heard?
3. How can they hear without someone preaching to them?
4. How can anyone preach unless they are sent?

Working through these questions in a more chronological order, and changing them into statements, here is what must happen for a person to be saved:
1. Someone must be sent to preach.
2. That person must preach to others.
3. Those listeners must hear the person’s words and believe in the one (Jesus) who is being spoken about.
4. They must not just believe but also call on Jesus, confessing Him with their mouth.

All of these items must happen in some way in order for a person to be saved. If any one of these pieces is missing, it won’t happen. The gospel message of Jesus Christ is powerful, but people still need to hear and believe in that message in order to receive the salvation that it promises.

Notice that the passage says that “someone” must be sent to preach. Does that say it has to be a pastor? Nope. Does that say it has to be someone with a degree in theology? Nope. Does that say it has to be someone who has been formally trained in some way? Nope again. The truth is, we are ALL sent to share the gospel message with others!

In Matthew 28:18-20, right before Jesus went back to heaven, he said this to His disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Other than spending the last few years with Jesus, His disciples didn’t have any formal training, and they definitely weren’t pastors by vocation. Yet Jesus specifically instructed them to share the gospel message with others. This passage applies to us today as well - we are ALL sent by Jesus to teach others about Him.

We can’t leave it up to those who we consider to be “trained” or “professionals” to share God’s Word with others. Every single person on earth needs to hear this message. What are you doing to share it with those around you?

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Private Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, August 29, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I chuckle a bit every time someone tells me their faith is "private." I chuckle because it is impossible for someone's faith to be private. Someone's religion may be hidden or they may not talk about it, but their faith - what they believe - is evident in every conversation, every action, and every life decision.

Today's blog post is simple. Read Romans 10:5-13. Think about what Paul is saying for a moment.

If you read carefully, you will see that Paul is explaining the difference between religion and faith. He is explaining the difference between a living and active relationship with God, and a set of religious activities and statements that are supposed to make us Godly.

He quotes the book of Deuteronomy and shows that from the beginning of God's story with us, it has been about relationship with God and trusting God with our whole heart and our whole life. No one could climb up to heaven and get some magic potion to make us right with God. No one could go across the sea, or to the depths of hell (often thought to be in the ocean by early Jews), and get the secrets to living a perfect life with God. The commandment was always to believe God, trust Him, and follow His teachings. Simple, straightforward faith, which then redefines how we live.

Notice the promises toward the end of this passage:
Vs. 9-10 - Believe with your heart, declare with your mouth, and you will be saved.
Vs. 11 - No one who believes will be put to shame.
Vs. 12 - God richly blesses ALL who call on Him.
Vs. 13 - EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

This is not a magic formula or some mysterious code. Plain and simple, it shows that what we truly believe in our heart spills out into our life and redefines how we live. So, there is no such thing as private faith, since we show what we believe in everything we do. The question is, are we showing that we believe in Jesus, or something or someone else?

Don't dismiss that question too quickly. Be honest with yourself, and look carefully at the way you choose to live. Are you walking with Jesus, trusting Him and allowing your life to show Him more clearly? Are you able to trust those promises Paul lists at the end of this passage? If you asked a non-believing friend, would they say your life reminds them of Jesus? If not, re-read the passage, and ask God to show you in His Word, what you need to do about that, or what beliefs you need to let go of, in order to trust Him more. God bless you as you examine what you really believe, by seeing how you really live.

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Attributes of God: Trinity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 28, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the more challenging attributes of God to understand is that he is a trinity. He is three persons and yet one God. How is this possible? How can you be three unique beings while still being one God? Many scholars have wrestled this one aspect for centuries so suffice it to say, I am not going to be able to give the “definitive answer” on this. But I can explain what is going on somewhat and at least establish this concept. The first time we get a hint that God is more than one being is in Genesis 1:26. And God said, “Let us make man in our image.” But then later in Deuteronomy 6:4, we see “Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is ONE” [emphasis mine]. Is this a contradiction? At first glance it may seem this way. But like with any document, if there is a reasonable explanation for it, it is not a contradiction. So let’s dig into this. The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is three persons in one. God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at each one.

The Father is who is referenced throughout the majority of the Old Testament. He is known as “God” or as “The Lord” or “I AM”. A very interesting side-note here is that when other cultures addressed the Biblical God, they did not address him like their own gods, but as the One True God. The Father has the role of authority and justice. But he also has the heart of the children. You mess with the kids, you also mess with the daddy. The Father not only lays down the law, he also provides protection and care.

The Son is known as Jesus Christ. But he did not come into existence just 2000 years ago. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” This was not a light statement to make. When Jesus said, “I AM,” this is the exact same name the Father gave himself to Moses at the burning bush. Jesus was equating himself with God Almighty. There are only two options here to deal with this statement: he is a fraud, or he was speaking the truth. There is legit reason why the Jews immediately picked up stones to hurl at him, because to call yourself God when you are not is an offense worthy of capital punishment. But they did not understand that he was speaking the truth.

But for Jesus to say, “I AM,” meant more than just “I am God Almighty.” It also meant he existed before his time on earth. How is that possible? How could a person exist before they are conceived, let alone born? That is a whole discussion that I simply don’t have space to answer in this post. But we can check to see if Jesus, the Son, is found in the Old Testament, and we do. We see him as the Angel of the Lord. There are numerous examples of Jesus appearing pre-incarnation including before Abraham in Genesis 18, when he wrestled with Jacob, to Joshua just before the conquest of Jericho, to Gideon, to Samson’s parents, he destroyed the Assyrian army for Hezekiah, and also appeared in the Fiery Furnace. This is not a comprehensive list, but the reactions here are different than just to a mere angel. Angels always refused worship, but the Angel of the Lord did not. Why? Simple: he is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.

The third person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. This is the hardest person of the Trinity to understand, because we simply don’t have as much explicitly written about him. Jesus called the Holy Spirit his “helper,” and the role of the Holy Spirit is to point to Jesus, never to himself. While the Father has the role of authority, and the Son has the role of Creator and Mediator between the Father and Man, the Holy Spirit has the power to get it done. “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord. We see the Holy Spirit taking a role in the Old Testament as well. But the Spirit would come and go. The Spirit would come upon the prophets and that was when they would reveal what God was saying. And it was the Holy Spirit that came down at Pentecost and ignited the church in Acts 2.

There is one place in particular where we see the Trinity in action all at the same time. That was when Jesus was baptized. Jesus is the Son, and when he came up out of the water, the Spirit came down upon him like a dove, and then the Father spoke, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Trinity is not a concept developed to explain away an apparent contradiction, but something that with study of Scripture becomes apparent. So how does all this apply to us today?

I referenced Genesis 1:26 above. Many ask, “What does it mean to be made in the image of God?” First let us understand what an “image” is. An image is not a replica, but a reflection, a picture. When we see the Trinity of God, we see three persons in one perfect union. God is always in fellowship. Likewise, man was created to be in fellowship. There is a well-known phrase that says, “No man is an island.” No one is meant to be alone. Now God does not require man to have fellowship, but he wants it. We see this in Genesis 2-3. God did not create man and then go off to someplace else. He is intimately involved in each and every one of our lives.

Another aspect that helps us understand the Trinity is that just as God is Father, Son, and Spirit, likewise we are body, soul, and spirit. God is three persons in one, we are three parts in one. Our body is our physical body. Our soul comprises of the roles of mind, will, and emotions. And our spirit comprises of the roles of intuition, consciousness, and communion. Ever wonder how people can know and understand each other without talking? That’s our spirit. It is also how God can reveal certain things to us that we normally would not know otherwise.

I hope this helps you get a clearer picture of the nature of God. In the next few weeks I will be addressing God’s sovereignty, the fact that God does not change, and his faithfulness. And there will still be more after that. May this series give you a much clearer understanding of who the God we worship is.

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All the Flap About Ken Ham is Overexaggerated - Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 27, 2015 0 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 we began to look at a blog post by Tyler Francke called, “How the flap over Gungor shows everything that’s wrong with Ken Ham’s theology.” This will nearly conclude this response. We are, however, hip deep in a much larger series concerning the blog post, “Ten Theological Questions No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer.” You can find the first few entries in this series by going here, here, here, here, and here. Last week we laid the groundwork so you know what we’re talking about. This week, we’ll continue this piece so we can move on, hopefully, to something from a theistic evolutionist that has some meat in it. Let’s get this done… Tyler says some things that are just not what I would expect to hear from a believer in this blog post. “I agree with Gungor; the God of Genesis 6-9 doesn’t really sound like God to me.” I don’t know what to say to that. Who does it sound like if not the God of the Bible? Why are these accounts recorded in God’s Word for us? Why are those mentioned in these accounts included in the genealogies in the Bible—especially in the lineage of Jesus? Why does Paul refer to these people as though they are historical characters? Tyler claims Ken Ham’s blog demonstrates bad theology. I’m not sure what Tyler’s theology is. The gymnastics that it seems a theistic evolutionist has to manage in order to remotely resemble a logical and consistent flow to Scripture is enough to blow my mind. I can’t figure out where the foundation for his faith sits or for the Gospel or even the need for the Gospel without Genesis being true. We’ll cover that in more detail next week. How can he criticize Ham for “bad theology” when Tyler’s seems so random and fabricated? I feel like he wants to be able to decide what he accepts from the Bible and what he does not based on how he feels about it. That’s not really how it works.

Tyler makes the claim that all Christians fail to read the Bible in a “natural” sense, as Ken Ham suggests. I’m not sure what he means here. The “natural” reading of Scripture simply means we read it as it seems intended by the context and writing style. How else would one suggest we read it? Tyler chooses to read the Bible through the lens of the currently popular, ever-changing opinion of the culture at hand. For me, that is exactly backwards. The Word of God is unchanging. It surpasses all time and is as relevant today as it was when it was penned. It’s the set of spectacles we should view our culture through as well as the world around us.

After this, he makes a few statements concerning science and interpreting it, which I disagree with. That’s okay. We can disagree and I don’t have to act like he’s a hateful, blasphemous divider because of it. I’m okay with it. But after this, he states that Genesis should be read like other parts of the Bible that “don’t make sense if we take them literally.” In his list of Biblical texts that don’t make sense, we find nearly all of it—Genesis, the prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, Revelation, and some of the words of Christ. He claims parables fit in this list. Funny, really. Parables actually do make sense when you read them as they’re intended—as stories with a point. We know which portions of Jesus’ teachings are parables and which are not by the context. That’s exactly the point. We don’t reject parables or poetry because of a differing opinion that emerged in today’s world of humanism. I’m not sure what portions of the Bible Tyler actually holds “in high regard” since none of it seems to be literal or true (if it’s written like history but it didn’t happen, it’s actually not true, right, and therefore dishonest). This reduces the Bible to a bunch of stories for teaching, much like any other storybook out there—fables, nursery rhymes, and other religious texts are just that. The Bible is far more to me. Truly, it teaches us much. But it’s beyond a teaching tool.

Tyler says, “They [the creation and Flood accounts] convey deep and important, even foundational, theological truths about God, man and the relationship between the two, and reading them as history or a kind of parable doesn’t change that at all.” Yet, he also states, “…the God of Genesis 6-9 doesn’t really sound like God to me.” What truths are found in these accounts if they don’t mean exactly what they say? This sort of bi-polar theology where we say one thing and immediately say the opposite and conclude they are both true baffles me. Then he says that Ham’s position is like saying you don’t take God at His Word if you don’t take the parable of the prodigal son literally. The struggle for me in remaining respectful and calm is genuine. He should read some of his own comments on this, I think. He’s doing exactly what he claims Ken Ham is doing. This claim about parables isn’t true at all and I feel he knows this. He must because he’s already referenced Ken Ham’s “natural reading” of Scripture which answers his concerns. He’s making yet another strawman so he can knock it down. Frankly, I don’t have time for that sort of thing. If only we could find someone who will actually represent Biblical creationism when they argue against it. All we find are bogus, made up, strawman arguments. This is so important that I would think people, especially those who profess to be believers, would try to understand the position before they reject it.

We find the saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind” to be so true in this debate. They’ve decided prior to viewing any evidence from the Biblical stance that it’s foolish and that their secular version of origins is the truth. That’s the bottom line—reject the Biblical view not because of anything found in the Bible, but because a secular culture has decided to have their own version of the story. This version contradicts the account in the Bible, so we must choose which we will believe. Melding the two is what we call compromise. The Bible doesn’t speak highly of those types of actions. It does say in Psalm 119, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths. You have charged us to keep Your commandments carefully.” You can also see strong warnings in Deuteronomy 4:2 and Psalm 119:128. The Word tells us we should make sure “…that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” That’s Colossians 2:8. Does this not sound exactly like a warning against theistic evolution?

We all have a choice to make. One option is the long-held belief in the Word of God and its accuracy. The other option is man’s recent and currently popular but ever-changing position. Joshua’s words were powerful when he said, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). The choice, for me, was very easy. After hundreds of hours of science classes in high school, college, and graduate school, I could find no reason to compromise with humanism. Once you realize it is just a philosophy, it’s rather easy to reject it. The Bible stands as the authority on origins for me, and it is the filter by which I interpret the world around me. What do you say?

Next week we will finish up this series on this particular blog post by Tyler. I hope you’ve gleaned something from this so far. We’ll focus most of our attention on Tyler’s statements concerning the ministry of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis in general. One of the largest errors we find in his philosophy is he doesn’t feel there is a connection between creation and the Gospel. This, unfortunately, is an enormous error. We’ll develop that more next week.

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Choose Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Just a week and a half ago, I had one of the most blessed experiences I’ve had since I became a licensed pastor. I was one of the volunteers for a city outreach and crusade event that was held in the county where I lead a congregation. I knew that the event would include an opportunity for believers in Jesus to be baptized, but I had not been asked to be a part of it. I took an extra set of clothes anyway on the off chance that I might be asked to help. As it turned out, they wanted a minister and another strong person to actually perform the baptisms, so they selected me and one of the elders at my church. Neither one of us had baptized anyone before, but we agreed to do it and had no idea what the Lord had in store for us. That night, I had the privilege of publicly asking 62 individuals if they believed and confessed that Jesus Christ is their Lord AND Savior, hearing them say “yes,” and then baptizing them! God is so good and gracious to me.

Here’s the thing: I have absolutely no influence whatsoever regarding whether or not they are truly “saved." Thankfully, I’m not the judge of them or anyone else because I would get it wrong most of the time. The only thing I can attest to is that they each publicly confessed that they have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Truthfully, they can’t make Jesus their savior. He already made that choice for them a long time ago. The only thing they, or any of us, can really do is make Jesus our LORD. Philippians 2:9-11 declares that there will be a time when EVERY tongue confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and EVERY knee bows to him, including those who didn’t choose to do so during their lives (those “under the earth”). True followers of Jesus in this life choose to live with him as Lord, obeying his commands rather than only accepting his sacrifice on the cross. For those 62 people who were baptized last week, only God knows whether they truly believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and are ready to live in obedience to him.

What actually makes a person “saved” is a topic about which Christian denominations still disagree today. I’ve always found those theological disagreements somewhat humorous since none of us are God and what we “decide” as denominations doesn’t affect a person’s eternal standing with God one iota. But if we believe that all Scripture comes from God, then Romans 10:9 leaves little doubt: “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." That’s pretty cut and dry. There is nothing there about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, speaking in tongues, a clear, physical receiving of the Holy Spirit, or anything else that some believers have “required” for salvation over the years. Those things may come as a result of one coming to faith, but Paul does not list them as requirements. Confess that Jesus is your Lord and truly believe that God raised him from the dead (because if death defeated him and he stayed in the grave then he really didn’t save anybody), and you receive salvation. That’s it! Stop looking for the mystery when there isn’t one.

It seems that some don’t want to accept this truth because they can’t fathom that God would make it so easy for everyone. The Jews during Paul’s time were in that group because they couldn’t accept that Gentiles could be saved as easily as they could. But when you look at the context of this verse in Romans 10:5-13, you see that Paul actually makes it clear to his audience that the way to salvation has been obvious for a long time. Look at verses 6-8 in this section and you will see that Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy 30:12-14. This is a section where Moses is speaking to all of Israel and pronouncing the terms of their covenant with the Lord. He tells them in 30:11 that it’s “not too difficult or beyond (their) reach." The verses that follow are the ones Paul uses, and in both cases the leaders are telling the people that righteousness is not meant to be impossible. It would’ve been impossible for a human being to “ascend into heaven” or “descend into the abyss." But God makes it so that we don’t have to go to those places. “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart” (Deut. 30:14 and Rom. 10:8).

The difference between the Jews of the Old Testament and believers in the New Testament was the covenant. Moses was telling them that the terms of the covenant were in their mouth and heart. We often talk about how it was impossible for any Jew to follow every single law that God gave. That is true. But the law was only one part of the covenant; God also gave them the rite of sacrifice to cover the times that they couldn’t keep the law. Taking both the law and the sacrifice into account, righteousness was possible. Christians in the New Testament had it even easier. Rather than have to continue with their physical sacrifices, they needed only to confess and believe in Jesus, who said the new covenant was in his blood (Luke 22:20).

While the terms of the covenant may have been different between what Moses and Paul taught, the consequence for obeying or disobeying them remain the same. Moses declared that God was setting before them two choices: life/prosperity and death/destruction (Deuteronomy 30:15). If they did as the Lord commanded, they would live, increase as a people, and be blessed in the Promised Land. But if they disobeyed and turned away from him, they would be destroyed and would not last long in that land (30:16-17). In Romans, Paul tells us what is necessary to be saved. Do we as Christians even remember that there is something that we need to be saved from? That word “saved” tells us that this is pretty serious. It’s our lifesaver when we are sinking in the water. It’s our ONLY hope. The implication is that if we reject the terms of the new covenant and do not confess Jesus as Lord or truly believe that he defeated death and sin and everything evil in our lives, we’re toast! God may be gracious and we may not die right away, but death is an eventual certainty.

The people that I had the privilege of baptizing confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What they believe and how they live going forward will be up to them and the other believers that God sends to surround and encourage them. Ultimately, they have the same choice that you and I do. We can choose life or choose death. The world may convince us that those are not our choices. The world may present other options or even other ways to get what we want. But God’s Word is clear in both Deuteronomy and Romans. It’s your choice. Will you trust Jesus today and choose life? If not, you’re simply betting that God will give you more chances before you are destroyed. None of us know how many more we will get, so choose life today.

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The Gospel is Near

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is the word of faith we are proclaiming.” ~Romans 10:8

Paul laments the lack of faith exemplified by the nation of Israel. They were the chosen people who were given the laws of God so that they would follow him whole-heartedly. He proclaimed to the Gentiles how they should have realized the simplicity of faith as God was in their midst. Was it a matter of God’s command that Israel departed from his ways, or did Israel have a change of heart? To answer this question, let us first ask the question, “How is anyone able to willfully follow God?”

It is a matter of whether God determines that someone will believe or if it is a free choice. We have already examined some very challenging passages regarding this topic, but why is it so important that we understand how people become children of God? After all, it doesn’t make us behave any differently, does it? I will let you ponder the latter question, but regarding why it is important, we are discussing the very nature of God. It is God’s nature that defines him and is therefore how we know who God is.

As discussed earlier, I am opposed to the notion that there is a strict predetermination regarding individuals inheriting eternal life. When I say a strict predetermination, I am referring to the choice already being made for you. It is not a matter of the fact that God knows who will and will not decide to follow him; he knows because he said so. The problem with this is not some emotional whim that this is not fair. If God is the Creator of all things, who are we to question whether or not he is fair? No, the bigger issue is concerning whether or not God predetermines everything. Did God predetermine that Adam and Eve would eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? If he did he is the author of sin, and we know that God is not the author of sin. He cannot be tempted, he does not tempt, he does not encourage sin, and he does not sin. These are all Scriptural characteristics of the God of the Bible.

But the other side of the argument is that mankind should be incapable of making the decision to trust God if sin corrupts human nature the way the Bible says it does. Before continuing this thought, let it be known that this is a very complicated subject and I reference you to my previous posts in the past few chapters of Romans to get a better idea of where I stand with this topic because I am going to skip over some of my reasoning and Scriptural references here. Mankind, in its sin-cursed state, is incapable of following God because it has been separated from him in a relational sense and does not know him as a result. What is left with mankind is the fruit of original sin, which is the knowledge of good and evil.

It is so interesting to think that the first sin that mankind would commit was one that would provide the road map to salvation. Had it been a sin to eat from the tree of life, mankind would have eternally lived without God and without any knowledge concerning what God’s goodness looks like or the devil’s wickedness. It would have been horrible.

Instead, God had left a law on the hearts of human beings that we call the knowledge of good and evil. How can a person willfully turn to God? If Genesis is true we all have an inherent knowledge of good and evil. God’s nature is good. When we experience goodness, true we can rebel against it but we cannot deny its reality. Likewise with evil. It takes a lot of effort to convince oneself that that which is good is evil and that which is evil is good. In the eyes of the believer such people are clearly deranged.

Through the life of Jesus Christ, all people can see God’s goodness, whether that was as an eyewitness or as a person who has read or heard the Gospel. Isaiah the prophet prophesied, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). 1 John 3:16 states that we know what love is because “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” He set the standard of love and defined in real time what is good. How can one even just read the life of Jesus Christ and conclude anything but that he was a man of perfectly good character? And it is at the beginning of John’s Gospel that he makes it clear that anyone “who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Indeed, the word is near you just as it was the ancient Israelites. The Holy Spirit beckons to your soul and desires a relationship with you. Are you like one of the ancient Israelites, who instead decides to follow the gods of this world? Or do you battle against the seductive call of this present world that desires to consume and destroy you, because you clearly see the truth that has been made obvious to those who simply choose to acknowledge what God has already done?

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 10:5-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 24, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: 'The person who does these things will live by them.' But the righteousness that is by faith says: 'Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:5-13)

Do you remember when you were in elementary or middle school and you learned how to write paragraphs? The teacher likely told you that each proper paragraph needs to have a topic sentence, and then the rest of the paragraph explains more about that topic sentence. That’s what my grammar teachers taught me, although I can’t say I always use that method in my writing.

Paul is doing that sort of thing here, although his topic sentence is in the verse right before our passage, verse 4: “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Paul is making two points in this verse, which are elaborated on in this week’s passage. First, Paul points out that righteousness now comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Second, Paul tells us that righteousness is available to everyone who believes.

Paul elaborates on his first point in verses 5-10. As we’ve been writing about, the Jews had previously been saved by the law, by doing the right things and not doing the wrong things, according to the law that God had given them through Moses. That’s what Paul refers to as the “righteousness that is by the law” (verse 5). But by contrast, he then talks about the “righteousness that is by faith” (verse 6). He then quotes passages from Leviticus and Deuteronomy to prove his point. Righteousness by the law requires obedient actions, always doing exactly what you’re supposed to. Righteousness by faith doesn’t require that.

In verse 8, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30:14 which says, “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” Notice that verse refers to both the mouth and the heart. Paul then brings both of those into the new righteousness by faith, instead of by the law, in verse 9: “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.” With the mouth we confess our faith, and with the heart we believe it. It’s as simple as that! That is righteousness by faith.

In verses 11-13, Paul elaborates on his second point, that righteousness is available to everyone who believes. He quotes a couple Old Testament passages from the prophets Isaiah and Joel to prove his point. Again, Paul is using the Scriptures that his Jewish readers would know, so that he can try and get through to them.

The Jews were used to dealing with literally hundreds of laws that they had to obey, and in this passage Paul is showing them that all of those obligations aren’t necessary anymore; the law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. We can’t achieve righteousness by the law, but Paul is showing the Romans (and us) how easily they can be saved by righteousness through faith. All they needed to do was to confess Jesus Christ as Lord with their mouths, and believe in Him in their heart.

So what about you? Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? Do you truly believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead? If not, I would encourage you to make that confession and believe that today; we at Worldview Warriors would love to help you with that!

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Do You Know…?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, August 22, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

My grandfather died when I was one. I never knew him personally. I heard stories about who he was as a military man, as a passionate fisherman, as a husband and father, and of course the plans he had for me, his grandson. He never got to live those dreams with me. He died doing what he loved most, fishing.

Growing up, I often wished I had known him. I had accepted the stories about him and constructed my own idea of who he was, and what it would have been like to hang out with him. Because of what was shared with me and who shared it, I believed that he was real. I accepted that he was a part of my life. And when I had challenges with my life or parents, I would imagine what he might have said to me. Rarely was it profound. Usually it was just, "Stop whining and Buck up," because that was the kind of gritty and resilient person I imagined him to be.

After my grandmother died when I was in my early 30s, we were cleaning out her attic and found my grandfather’s old military uniform. He was close to my size, so I squeezed into it. We went outside to get a picture of me in it, and when the sun and my body heat combined in the wool, a unique smell drifted up over me. It wasn't my body odor, but it definitely smelled like a person. Then it dawned on me, it was HIS smell from the last time he wore the uniform!

In that moment, I knew something tangible about my grandfather that I had never known before. All my belief that he existed was ratified by that moment, but something else occurred as well. I also realized that most of what I "knew" about him was in my imagination. Here was a smell I had never considered. What else about him didn't I know?

In Romans 10:1-4, Paul continues in writing about how he desires for the Jews to know the truth about Jesus as Messiah/Savior, and that they would believe. Take a moment and read those couple of verses.

Notice how Paul says the Israelites are zealous for God? He doesn't doubt their belief in God, or that they believed God's promises. He points out that they had a problem. They wanted to live right with God, but they didn't know how. So, they did their best to create a way to do so. They passed lots of laws and added all kinds of rules to add to God's teachings. The problem was, all their effort to do good ultimately did not make them right with God, nor did it always end up doing good.

When Jesus came on the scene to fulfill God's promise of rescue and right relationship with God, they didn't accept Him as their Messiah. They missed it. And in doing so, they continued in their flawed efforts to be right. They remained passionate about serving God, but they ignored a key piece of promise. So, they continued on a road without salvation, without right relationship with God.

When I smelled my grandfather in his old uniform, it changed my perspective and helped me see assumptions I held about him that were not accurate or even verifiable. Now, I could have been dismissive and assumed it was the smell of the attic, or something I had eaten, or some other anomaly. That would have only reinforced my imagination of what was true instead of discovering how much I didn’t know.

In the same way, the Jews in rejecting Jesus reinforced their assumptions about God, instead of getting to know God better through Jesus. When Paul says in verse 2 that they have a zeal for God that isn't based on knowledge, he uses a Greek word 'epigynosko.' That form of the word for knowledge means 'to come to know, to arrive at understanding.' In other words, to learn as a result of a willingness to consider something outside of what you already know.

So much of our journey with God, and life in general, can be stunted by our unwillingness to learn or consider new information. Sometimes we reject information because of fear, security, or a lack of imagination. Sometimes it's just too much to process. The challenge is that if it's important to us, we will take the time to consider it carefully. We will also let it re-inform what we already know when necessary. It takes courage to be aware of and examine our assumptions. It takes courage to admit we missed something. It also takes careful study to be sure what we are considering and what we have known are accurate.

The example with my grandfather was simple; I could easily admit what was imagination and what was real. I had never met him and I had no letters or videos from him, so it was almost all imagination.

When it comes to living right with God, our faith and our lives depend on what we understand and believe in regard to Jesus. We can be zealous in our religion and our belief in God, and yet we could miss everything about who God is and the life He intended for us to live. Jesus is the example, the proof, and the test when it comes to what we believe. We must be sure that we know Him, and continue to learn from and understand Him more. If we don't, then we may find ourselves in the same place as the Israelites did - passionately believing in God, but living outside of His promise and apart from relationship with Him.

What do know about Jesus? What would it take for you to know Him personally, instead of just knowing ABOUT Him?

  I want to encourage you to know Jesus through the Bible first, since He is the living embodiment of the Word of God. And if you have become a follower of Jesus, you can also trust the Holy Spirit to deepen your understanding of the Bible. The Holy Spirit can help you live daily in the ways of Jesus, and may even lead you to experience a very tangible sense of God's presence and power. The first step is to decide whether you will believe in Jesus. The next is whether that belief will be in myth or in the reality of who He is.

May God bless you as you consider your next steps.

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Attributes of God: The Intercessor

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 21, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
~Romans 10:1

As I have been going through my series on the attributes of God, I hope you have been learning about who God really is and what he is like. And I am not even halfway finished. Today’s attribute is this: God is the intercessor.

What does it mean to be an intercessor? For the longest time, when I heard of intercession, I would think of nothing more than simply praying on the behalf of someone else. While this is true, that intercessory prayer is praying on the behalf of someone else, it is actually so much more. To intercede means to step into a situation on behalf of someone else and take action to protect that person from harm. It is a term we hear in schools. Schools often have “intercession” for struggling students so they can get the extra help they need to pass their classes. When a person stands between a bully and a victim, that person is an intercessor. The greatest form of intercession is when one person takes the hit for another, even at the cost of his or her life.

Eric Ludy showed me an image of intercession that I had never thought of but it made perfect. Listen to this 8-minute video talking about how Jesus himself is the ultimate Intercessor. The image I want to point you to is the image of a walled city. Think of a castle or fort. When a piece of that wall is broken down, we call that a breach. It is easy access into the fort with no need to address the front door. What an intercessor will do is stand in that gap when the enemy is charging and hold his ground. I never truly understood intercessory prayer until I got this image. When we pray in intercession, we advance to stand between the person, organization, or nation we are praying for and stand ready to fight the battle the person, organization, or nation we are praying for is fighting. Intercessory prayer is when we move to take on the demons those we are praying for are fighting. And that can come with a cost.

Do we have intercessors? Isaiah wondered that. Isaiah saw that truth had fallen, as though it was in the streets, trampled and mocked. He wondered if there would be an intercessor, someone who would make a stand and defend the truth. And no one would do it. Isaiah himself was doing it by speaking the words of God, but ultimately no one was really doing it. So God himself became the intercessor. God himself came down from heaven to intercede for his people. And he took the form of a man: Jesus Christ.

Jesus did what no man since Adam could have done: He lived the perfect life. Adam had the opportunity to stand up and defend his wife from the wiles of the serpent. Read that account in Genesis 3. He did not do it. He relinquished his role and fell into sin. But Jesus did it. He stood in that gap. He stood between us and our accuser and single-handedly took on not just Satan, but sin and death itself. And he won the battle with his resurrection. To this day, Jesus stands at the throne interceding on our behalf.

But what Jesus did was to be an example of how we are supposed to live. Jesus was an intercessor. He stood between the crowd and the woman caught in the very act of adultery. Why not us? Why don’t we stand for the weak, the lost, and the destitute? Some of us actually do. Some of us think we do. In reality, most of us don’t. Why? Two reasons often come to mind. One is that it does not affect us. By doing nothing about it, what happens to them has no impact on us. There are many who only act to aid those in need because of selfish reasons, because it makes them look good or feel good. Or they do it because if they don’t do anything, the inaction will come back to haunt them. The motive for doing it is self, so for the most part, few actually do help those in need.

The other major reason people use is because they know there is a cost to selfishly stand for the needs of others. It could be reputation, that being associated with those people won’t look good. Jesus felt that pressure. He was mocked for associating with tax collectors and sinners, the outcasts of society. He stood for up for them, at the cost of popularity, at the cost of respect by the big names out there.

What about us? Are we willing to go up and bat for those that society rejects? Are we willing to fight the powers that be so that they get their justice? And are we willing to that even if we never receive a single benefit for it? I’m speaking to myself here just as much to everyone else. Where is the intercessor? Where is the one that will rise up to the task and take on those who would keep the destitute in their poor state? This is what Paul is doing in Romans 10:1. He is fighting and striving that his own people, the Jews, would be saved. We’ve been talking the last few weeks how it is not about being raised in the church or having a Christian heritage that makes you saved, but it is only by leaning upon and depending upon Jesus as your LORD and Savior. Do we have that drive? That mentality? Do we have the yearning to save the lost as men like Hudson Taylor or CT Studd or Amy Carmichael had? They were missionaries who despite knowing the dangers to body and health, some of whom were already battling severe health, STILL longed to go to foreign missions to save the lost.

I will wrap up this post with a quote frequently attributed to English preacher, Edmund Burke: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

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All the Flap About Ken Ham is Overexaggerated - Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 20, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

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

This week we will be taking a look at the second “really” in the long list of links in Tyler Francke’s blog titled “10 Theological Questions No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer.” The point in going through his blog post is to expose what I feel are glaring inconsistencies in his theology, as well as his logic in general.

Although I feel this blog post can stand on its own, you can get caught up in our journey by going here, then here, here and here. The link found with this particular “really” takes us to an opinion piece on something that came about almost exactly a year ago when Christian musician Michael Gungor made some comments about his rethinking how he perceived the book of Genesis—more precisely how he viewed the creation account and the Flood. Personally, although I find his conclusions regrettable, I didn’t really pay that much attention, until the band further came out and made some fairly uncalled for remarks concerning adherence to Scripture as inspired and true. It’s difficult to find what Gungor said exactly, because he has removed the piece that includes his further comments. We can put pieces of it together to see what he said, but I was not able to find the full article. My intent with today’s post was going to be to counter Mr. Francke point by point. However, I found that dull and a bit of an argument rather than simply exposing his inconsistencies, which is what this series is designed to do. He rails on Ken Ham for having an opinion and while “exposing” the hatefulness that is Ken Ham, one can practically hear him seething as he blows this thing out of proportion. The short response would be that it appears Tyler Francke hates Ken Ham and everything Ham says. He especially hates it when Ham uses the Bible to defend his position, particularly when that position is counter to Tyler’s. I will just touch on a few things so we can move on. However, due to the length of Tyler’s blog post, this will, again, be a 2-part blog post.

I’ll begin by saying that Michael Gungor is very talented and has created some excellent music. He’s been blessed by his Maker with some extraordinary skills and he’s using them for the glory of God. That is commendable. I do believe, however, that he should have stuck with music. As Ken Ham points out, Gungor is neither a scientist nor a Bible scholar—both of which Ham can at least say he’s dabbled in with the 5 degrees he holds.

I found it unfortunate that when pressed, Gungor felt the need to belittle his Christian brothers and sisters—those who are Biblical creationists and trust God and take Him at His Word. He said things like, “No reasonable person takes the entire Bible literally.” That is true, actually, but not the way he meant it. No one takes the Bible ALL literally. We allow the context to tell us how to read it. Doesn’t that make sense? Tyler actually holds to this position—that Biblical creationists demand ALL of Scripture be taken literally. No one does this. It’s a strawman. Genesis is written as an historical account. Hence, we should take it as such. He further said that the reason he doesn’t adhere to a Genesis account for creation and the Flood is “science and rational thought.” Again, a very poor choice of words, especially when it seems he doesn’t really know the topic.

He also presents for us a few complaints about believing the Bible to be true. He provides some strawman arguments for us to consider. These include things like there wasn’t enough room in the ark, and the animals couldn’t get from the ark to the rest of the world after the Flood. He mocks Biblical creationists and says that Noah must have built a thousand little boats for the animals to reach the far away islands and places you can only get to by water, or that God transported them there similar to the way Captain Kirk was beamed aboard on Star Trek. Again, this is unnecessary and a little distasteful even though I love Star Trek. But that’s my opinion. You can read a terrific amount of work that has been done concerning the plausibility of the ark. Check this and this out and this and this concerning Gungor’s issues. You will likely quickly see that not only have his concerns been answered, they were answered a long time ago. Keep in mind, however, that where I do believe many plausible answers to these questions have been submitted, we don’t know. No one does. All we can do is put together our best guess. If evidence suggests otherwise, my opinion on these theories may change. But I’ll always stand on the authority of God’s Word.

Further into the blog post, Tyler quotes Ham in an effort to support his claim that Ham is angry, aggressive, and hateful. I didn’t find anything like that in Ham’s blog, which you’re welcome to look at here. I found most of the complaints about Ham’s concerns a little exaggerated. But that’s okay. We all get a little worked up at times. Tyler actually calls Gungor’s position a “contradiction,” which I found amusing since Tyler himself holds the same view. I believe Ham makes some very valid points as to why reading Genesis as a “myth” (Gungor’s words) means the Gospel, too, is a myth. And to suggest that Christianity is nothing more than living right is a dreadful concern to me. Christianity is about surrendering your life to Christ, freeing you to live your life for the glory of an awesome and powerful God who demands holiness and righteousness but is full of love and mercy if we receive it. It’s about the Creator of all providing a way of salvation so man, in his fallen state, can have a relationship with his Maker. It’s not a relationship based on works and performance, but on trusting in the grace and mercy of a God of love and patience.

He also uses vulgar terminology, which is more of a side note than anything else. Perhaps he feels vulgar words are edifying. I disagree and, personally, would never use them in a blog post... or really at all.

That will have to conclude this week’s entry. Next week we will wrap up this particular idea. I’m looking forward to it, as I don’t like this type of thing. But in an effort to be consistent and follow through, we’re working through Tyler’s blog post bit by bit. Thanks for staying with us.

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Pray for the Self-Righteous

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, August 19, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever wished so badly for somebody to “see the light” that it just wrecks your heart when they can’t get it no matter how obvious things should be to them? I’m sure most of you would answer “yes” to that question. You may be thinking about your child, your parent, your spouse, or someone else close to you. You want so badly for them to see and know the truth, not because you want to be seen as “right,” but because you know the freedom, peace, and joy that they don’t know because they are not willing to accept the truth. So, you have to sit back and watch them suffer the consequences, knowing the answer is right in front of them if they’d only reach out and take it. You’d prefer just to force them to get it, but you know it doesn’t work that way. They have to throw away whatever is hindering them from the truth and surrender to the ways of the Lord.

That ought to give you a very small glimpse of the pain that God feels when we can’t get out of our own way or accept that the way we see things is wrong and destructive. He knows what we need and sees us destroy ourselves time and time again. He loves us even more than we love ourselves, but out of that love he gives us the freedom to reject him even when he knows it will only hurt us more. Jesus encompassed that love when he was tortured and hung on the cross, yet still said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr in the Bible, similarly prayed, “Lord do not hold this sin against them” as he was being stoned by his opponents (Acts 7:60). They didn’t hate their opponents because they harmed them, but instead were grieved at the potential consequences for their choices and cried out to God to spare them.

The Apostle Paul witnessed the murder of Stephen by the Jewish mob when he was still known as Saul, a persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1). Whether that incident had a direct influence on Paul coming to faith in Jesus is not completely known, but years later Paul would certainly reflect a similar heart for the very Jews who were persecuting him. We see his love for them in Romans 10:1-4. First, he says that his “heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (v. 1). Paul cares deeply for his people, echoing what he already said in Romans 9:3 about wishing he could be cut off from Christ for their sake. But he doesn’t just stop at saying he cares for them. He also PRAYS to God for them. Go back to the person you were thinking about at the beginning of this post. Your care for them may be obvious, but have you sought God on their behalf? Paul’s prayer to God for his people is current. If you prayed for your person at one time, have you given up? Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44). So why do we stop praying and assume it’s up to us? Paul was willing to do this even for the very people who had persecuted him so much!

The apostle then gets into the problem that his native people are having. He applauds their zeal and can testify about it to his audience (mostly Gentile believers), but he explains that their zeal is based on self-righteousness and not on the knowledge of Christ. He has already explained in this letter that no one can be saved by their own works of righteousness (Romans 3:20), but that didn’t stop the Israelites from trying. Paul continues that their desire for their own righteousness that they could earn through obedience to the law is actually what held them back (10:3). In other words, they were so zealous to prove that they could “do right” that they were defeating themselves by rejecting true righteousness found only through Christ.

The Jews may have had a knowledge problem, but it wasn’t their biggest issue. Paul tells us that they “did not SUBMIT to God’s righteousness” (v. 3, caps mine). Knowledge is important, and the Jews definitely needed to know God’s righteousness rather than their own. But even once the righteousness of God through Jesus was made known to them by Paul and others, they were unwilling to surrender their own ideas. We may wonder why they would reject righteousness that came so freely and easily. I believe the hint is in the last verse of this week’s section: “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (v. 4). That word “everyone” is what the Jews would’ve hated the most. Sadly, their arrogance led them to believe that they were better than the Gentiles. They had no problem with the idea of Gentiles being saved, but the thought that they would be saved by the same standard as the Jews is what led them to stumble over the truth.

Is this the way you view anyone in your life? Think about it, because we may not even realize some of the demeaning views we hold towards others until we have failed to submit to the righteousness of God. We may have a sort of “Christian arrogance” that makes us feel superior to others, even though sin has made us equal to even those that appear to be “worse.” As you deal with someone in your life who is not submitting to the truth, remember that you had to come to that point yourself. Resist the temptation to label them as lost causes just because of their refusal to surrender. Continue to speak the truth in love and continue to pray for them. They probably desire righteousness just as you do, but they have to come to the point of accepting that they can’t achieve it on their own. God is patient with them, just as he was with you. Believers must never lose sight of this. Obey the Lord by speaking the truth in love, and trust him in prayer that he will draw those who are lost to himself.

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Submitting to Truth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 18, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” ~Romans 10:2-3

I once heard the question posed, “Would you rather have a surgeon performing open heart surgery that was full of knowledge but emotionally cold, or one that is super enthusiastic but has no knowledge about what he is doing?” Imagine yourself in that scenario. You are going through pre-surgery prep and your doctor is quiet, snappy, and maybe even rude, but you have heard awesome reviews of his work from friends and family, and he is definitely knowledgeable about what he is doing. Would you trust him? Would you instead trust your doctor if he ran into the room, was friendly, energetic, and cared about you deeply, but when you asked him how many times he's done this before his answer was, “Never. I'm not even a doctor. But I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.” The answer is obvious.

The Jews, back in the days of Jesus and the apostles, were very excited over God. They studied, prayed, and even lived lives where they avoided some of the most serious of sins. When the Christians started to emerge, the Jews were disgusted that anyone would come along that contradicted what they were taught growing up. Who was this carpenter that they worshiped? Were they not aware that he had been crucified for being a blasphemer? These were very smart people that were well-versed, but when it came to Jesus, they knew nothing.

The ancient Jews, as well as the Muslims that would later follow, could not grasp the idea that God would come to the world to be persecuted and murdered and then forgive those who brought him harm. Jews were expecting a conquering hero, a man who would come in power and judgment and set up a political nation where the Jews would be the most important people. For the Muslims, the thought of Jesus dying as even a great prophet of God warranted Peter's famous Biblical response to Jesus' prediction: “Let this never happen to you, Lord!” The pride of humanity is projected onto an all-powerful God in this way. We would never have written the story where one of us dies in a humiliating fashion for the sake of the world, so they think it sounds nonsensical to believe that God, who is much greater and glorious than us, would lower himself to that level.

Even though many people inside of Christianity do not necessarily deny the death and resurrection of Jesus, they become excited about something they do not know. Some people become so obsessed with miracles, speaking in tongues, good works, righting the wrongs of your past, and so forth, that the knowledge of God escapes them. While all of these things are great, Jesus says that you can do all of these things and never know him, and that worship of him must be accomplished in Spirit and in truth. There are Christians who are fooling themselves because although they might be doing wonderful things, they are not truly submitting to the truth of God.

The other day one of my co-workers told me the story of a pastor that he heard of. This pastor resolved that he would live without God for a year to understand those who do not believe. After the year, this pastor completely walked away from the faith concluding that there was no reason to believe. I would contest he never really knew Jesus. If he knew and understood the Gospel he would know that one cannot live a year without God because God is always there. Paul condemns the act of doing what is wicked, which is what this pastor is essentially saying that he did, for the sake of accomplishing what is good or even great. His biggest complaint was that God did not fulfill his prayers on his own time frame. This is sad, and I truly wonder if this pastor had ever read the Bible to see that God is not bound by human whims and he does not bow to the will of man. His worship had to be accomplished void of true knowledge of God.

It is good to worship God from the depths of our hearts. But I have spoken with people who love a totally different Jesus from the one that I love. We must turn to the source of our knowledge of God for the answers that tell the truth. We do not confirm truth with evangelists, politicians, gurus, parents, friends, angels, or even personal experience. We confirm all truth of God through the words of the Bible. If someone promotes a truth about God that contradicts the Bible, we need to reject it and submit to the Bible.

There are many misconceptions about God that need not be. When we let go of pride and preconceived expectations, we can know God and worship him for who he really is. God loves enthusiastic worshipers, but he wants them worshiping that which is true, not that which is merely satisfying on a superficial level.

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Romans 10:1­-4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 17, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4)

What is your heart’s desire? Is it that your fellow people may be saved? That’s what the apostle Paul shares from his heart in the passage we’re looking at today.

He is continuing the theme of righteousness here. Each verse of this passage builds on the previous one, in sort of a stair step order. In verse 1, Paul longs for Israel’s salvation. In verse 2, he emphasizes that they have zeal but not knowledge of God’s salvation. In verse 3, he explains that this is shown by them seeking their own righteousness instead of God’s. Finally in verse 4, he explains why this is wrong, because they don’t have faith in Jesus Christ.

In verse 2, Paul talks about the Israelites having zeal. But what is zeal? That’s not a word I tend to use in my daily vocabulary. Google’s dictionary defines zeal as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” In Paul’s context, the Jews have great enthusiasm for God, but they lack the knowledge of the change in salvation history that happened through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

As I wrote about last week, the Jews are still trying to use their own deeds to earn salvation, rather than having a relationship with Jesus Christ and receiving salvation as a gift from God through their faith. We see this in another contrast here: God’s righteousness versus their own righteousness in verse 3. Their own righteousness means here that they wanted to keep God for themselves, and not share Him with the Gentiles. After all, they are God’s chosen people, right? In their minds, God didn’t choose any other nations. But, He did! When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, that salvation became available to anyone who believes, regardless of nationality or any other factor. God has already done the hard work through Jesus; all we have to do is have faith in Him!

The Jews were guilty of two things: missing the change in salvation history through Jesus, and relying on their own works instead of what God had done for them.

What about you? Are you missing out on salvation through Jesus? Are you trying to rely on your own works, rather than what God has done for you? Don’t miss the boat like the Jews were; contact us today and we’d love to share with you about God’s righteousness and how you can have a relationship with Him.

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Are You Stumbling?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, August 15, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

“This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.’” -Isaiah 8:11-12

As a parent, I have had moments where I get in my kids’ faces with love and compassion and a very firm voice. I hold them tightly in my hands and look them in the eyes. I do this at crucial moments to ensure I have their undivided attention, and so that they will hear the importance of what I am about to say to them. I do it to make sure they will remember, to share my wisdom and experience, and to hopefully spare them from something that could leave permanent damage in their lives. I do it hoping they will trust me, take my words to heart, and walk through situations in the best way possible. The passage quoted above, I believe, is the same kind of moment between God and the prophet Isaiah.

God wants Isaiah and all of Israel to avoid being caught up in the conspiracy thinking and self-centered ways of living that the culture around them had adopted. Why? Because God knows that once we get focused on paranoid and selfish ways of thinking, we stop trusting that He has a plan, and we go into survival mode. And the saddest part of survival mode is that it can covertly be operating even in the most religious and supposedly God focused believers.

Read Romans 9:30-33. As Paul finishes his point in this section, he quotes from the same chapter in Isaiah, the verse just after the ones I quoted above. Paul reminds the believers in Rome that it is not a person's race, or color, or predisposition that enables us to have relationship with God. The Jews thought they had special privileges as God's chosen people. Many Christians act that way today too. Yet he makes it clear that it is not their upbringing, religion, or bloodline that gives them access to God. There is only one way to be in relationship with God and that is by faith.

When we watch the news, observe the political debates of presidential candidates, and read our news feed on our social media, we can become wrapped up in the way the world is going. We do this so much that we start thinking about what we can do to make something happen, or what we need to do to survive - instead of trusting God. Paul says there in Romans 8 that the Jews had done the same thing - trying to get God’s blessing through religious activities. The gentiles (non-Jews), however, got to experience God's promised blessings because they believed God's message and trusted Jesus as the Savior and Messiah. The access wasn't biological bloodlines or religious duty; it was faith that caused them to walk God's way and not the way they had been going.

Many of us get tripped up when we get caught up in the way the world is churning. We kick into survival mode and stop trusting God. When we do this, we will eventually trip over the truth that we are not in control, and we need to trust the one who is.

Jesus is the way, the standard, the example, and the blueprint. And verse 33 reminds us that if we trust Jesus, we will never be put to shame (meaning we will not stumble and fall).

How are you doing with trusting God day by day? Are you able to get beyond the “noise” of the news, and the economy, and conspiracies, and politics?

What is one simple way you can let go of a concern or fear about your life or our country, and trust God for His best in that situation? What would it look like for you to have faith that God bring good out of that situation?

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.


Attributes of God: Grace

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 14, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I talked about how God is a God of mercy. There is another attribute that is very closely associated to mercy and that is grace. Many people confuse these two attributes, but they are distinct and unique. Mercy is simply described as “not getting what you do deserve.” Grace on the other hand is “getting what you do not deserve.” God is very merciful and you can read about it in my post from last week. Now let’s look at grace.

Many confuse grace with mercy. When a defendant in court pleads for mercy, it is because he knows he is guilty, and without mercy he cannot escape his punishment. But there are times where a judge would not merely give mercy, but actually give grace. A merciful judge will simply either reduce or forgive the defendant. A graceful judge will not merely give the defendant mercy, he will go above and beyond and provide the means for the defendant to get his life back in order.

In the big picture, we see mercy and grace reveal itself in the Gospel. Mercy is when Jesus paid the penalty for sin and dealt with the problem of sin. Grace is when he took it so much further. He doesn’t just forgive us; he adopts us as his children. He trains us, prepares us, and sends us out as ambassadors for his Kingdom. This also means he gives us the authority to represent him. That also means we have diplomatic immunity for we live and represent a higher standard and a higher authority. He also trains us for battle so that the forces of darkness will not endure.

God’s grace is beyond what we can imagine. It is by grace that we even have life. It is by grace that we have a planet and a universe that is suited for us to live in. It is by grace that we had people to take care of us as we grew up. What about those who did not have that? The orphans, the destitute, etc. Much can be said about that, but let me just say that sin plays a role and God lets the consequences of sin take their toll. While God gives all we need, there is also a need to manage the resources he’s given us. When children starve to death, it is not because God did not provide. It is because someone stole what was meant for them.

It is by grace that we have food to eat. It is by grace that we have shelter. It is by grace that we have clothing (that is a whole sermon in itself; check out my first Worldview Warriors blog post for that). This is part of why Jesus told us in Matthew 6 to not worry about what we will wear, what we will eat, or about tomorrow. Because God’s grace is sufficient.

Paul dealt with a personal issue. It could have been a health issue or something else. He called it a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ God responded to Paul’s request to remove it by saying: “My grace is sufficient for you.” God is our provider, Jehovah Jireh. He gives us precisely what we need and when we need it. He is never late, but he is rarely early. When we go through trials and tribulations, God’s grace grows. He will give us that grace with abundance beyond what we could imagine.

It is by grace that Peter had the courage to be crucified upside down. It is by grace that John survived being boiled in oil so he could write the last few books of the New Testament. It is by grace that Paul withstood five beatings, two stonings, numerous threats to his life, a shipwreck, and a snake bite, all to bring the Gospel to Asia Minor, Jerusalem, and Rome. It is by grace that the saints of God in the last 2000 years have been able to do what we have done. It is by grace that missionaries like Hudson Taylor and CT Stud could travel through Africa and Asia to preach the Gospel despite several health issues. It is by grace that the United States has been as prosperous as it has been so that we could send out more missionaries in its history than the rest of the world combined. It is by grace that Worldview Warriors has been able to run as the ministry that we are today. And it is also by grace that when God’s judgment comes, it does its work.

It is by grace that we have the strength and the courage to stand against anything the world throws at us. It is by grace that food multiplies. It is by grace that the sick are healed, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see, and the dead rise. And it is by grace that God allows us to join him to expand his Kingdom and turn this world around. Check out this short video by Eric Ludy about the kind of grace God deals out. Are we willing to go out and do God’s bidding? A great phrase I have heard that addresses this is: “God’s will… God’s bill.” If God wants us to do something, he will do as Oswald Chambers said: “He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist you with all his almighty power.” God has given us grace beyond our wildest dreams. Let us not waste it.

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.


Really Really Really Really Bad - Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 13, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

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

This is part 4 in a series of blog posts responding to Tyler Francke’s blog called “Ten Theological Questions No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer.” Near the end of the introduction to that post, Tyler has a series of links found in the phrase “really really really really bad.” Today’s post is part 2 in response to the first “really” where we can find a blog called, “3 seriously bad theological implications of young-earth creationism.” Take a look if you need to at the first portion of “Really Really Really Really Bad - Part 1” where I worked through his introduction and his first “seriously bad implication” for Biblical creationists. We found it didn’t actually have much to do with theology at all but was simply an anti-biblical interpretation of some scientific facts. He found it a theologically bad implication that God seemed to have lied with nature but didn’t find it a theologically bad implication for him that his stance is that God was not accurate in His Word on history (or science). Not being accurate when you’re all knowing and all powerful means you’re lying, does it not? Do you see the double standard? The primary problem, as I see it, with many theistic evolutionists is they prefer to use the currently popular, ever changing opinion of “scientists” as a guide for Biblical interpretation rather than using God’s Word to be the lens by which we view the world. So let’s continue.

Tyler’s second “theologically bad implication” for me is that Biblical creation makes faith useless. He actually seems to advocate for blind faith. He says, “Creationism teaches that there is no reason to have faith, and here’s why: If the scientific evidence, objectively observed, really does point to the entire universe arising in a single creative event no more than 10,000 years ago, as YECs claim, then that means those who wrote the Bible undeniably had knowledge that they couldn’t have had without the touch of God. Thus, the case is closed. God is real, the Bible is inspired and perfect — no further discussion necessary.” Honestly, I’m having trouble connecting his point with that statement. I believe the scientific evidence can easily support my beliefs as based on the creation account in the Bible. I do believe the men who wrote the Bible were inspired by God, who had a lot more knowledge on the subjects written on than the authors themselves. That seems pretty obvious. Doesn’t every believer think that God gave special information to the writers of the Bible? How could they have written much of the Word at all without this special revelation? Tyler seems to be advocating for blind faith. That’s simply not a good position at all to take. Christianity is not mere blind faith. As emphasized by theologian D. James Kennedy, the claim that belief in Christianity produces an irrational, uneducated, unintelligent, or unintellectual view of life is completely false. Blind faith is faith without evidence, which would be superstition. The Bible does not call us to blind faith. The Bible calls us to faith in evidence. We submit that various truth claims, including Christianity, should be evaluated on the evidence. Yes, there will always be a step of faith for the Christian. But that step doesn't require a person to leave his brains at the church door. I may be misreading Tyler’s statements, but it seems he’s pushing for a faith not described in the Bible. In fact, Tyler’s faith in the “science” he uses to interpret the Bible is no different than the faith we have in the Bible to interpret science. Thus far we have God being a liar because He made the earth look old when it’s not. Then we have God being a liar because He had the Bible written in such a way that was inaccurate (although this time it was okay to lie). Then we have the idea that we are supposed to have blind faith in God even if it does seem like He lied to us. He advocates for faith in facts when it comes to science but also for blind faith in what he seems to call nonsensical when it comes to the Bible. I can’t make it sound any better than that.

So he concludes his “theologically bad implications” for Bible believers with an obviously incorrect statement: we are to avoid unbelievers. What nonsense! Where does this come from? How is this some form of Christianity? We can cite numerous references to the contrary here.

He states, “When I engage with other Christians who disagree with me on evolution, I have never sensed in them much of a longing for nonbelievers to experience the joy and salvation of knowing Jesus.” This is so far from the truth I don’t know what to say. Nearly all, if not all, of the Biblical creationist organizations I know of, including Worldview Warriors, ONLY care about the issue of origins because we want people to find Jesus Christ. That’s the whole point! AiG’s mission statement includes “…to deliver the message of the gospel, individually and collectively.” has as their vision, “To see the Lord Jesus Christ honoured as Creator and Saviour of the world.” It’s hard to even find a statement of faith on the God of Evolution website, but “young-earth creationists” don’t care about unbelievers. I fight for the souls of our kids all the time—it’s the reason I’m in this discussion at all. It almost seems like Tyler feels he should be treated like a lost soul when talking with a Biblical creationist. I agree with him that it’s difficult to find a theistic evolutionist that is an authentic believer. It’s possible, but difficult. Perhaps he feels other believers should preach the Gospel to him. I assume he has already heard it, but that could be my mistake. He says, “I more often tend to encounter a deep animosity and mistrust, especially toward scientists.” This isn’t true, either. I’m finding it difficult to take anything from this site seriously. Biblical creationists mistrust men and women who put on the guise of a scientist so they can acquire converts to their religion—a false religion heaped in humanism. Many great scientists are or were believers and creationists at that. The entire point of the debate is helping people find the truth—the truth that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). The number of theistic evolutionists that do not believe that is alarming.

He goes on to say, “Creationism proponents say that is because of the deleterious effects of something called ‘evolutionary philosophy’.” It’s pretty clear that the philosophy or worldview that upholds evolution from a single common ancestor is destructive to belief in the God of the Bible for many if not most who accept it. It hasn’t “shaken” his faith in God, he claims. But the number of theistic evolutionists who seem to accept any religious belief as legitimate (except Biblical creation) and have a very watery version of Christianity that they adhere to is enough to make me concerned that belief in Darwinism causes decay and eroded the foundation for the entire love story we call the Gospel. He goes on to imply that compromising our faith to win the atheist scientists is a good idea. I’m not sure what example in Scripture he’s using for that model of missionary work.

Every one of these 3 “theologically bad implications” of young earth creation is a sham. None holds water and the last problem he outlines for us is the exact opposite of what my experience is. And he calls for compromise to reach the lost. He says Paul supports this but misreads Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. I believe he doesn’t seem to understand what science is and he has a very strange and inconsistent view of what the Bible teaches us.

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.