Romans 14:19-23

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 30, 2015 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:19-23)

This week’s passage is almost a “part 2” continuation of last week’s. The same general idea is true here, that we should not do something that causes another believer to stumble in their faith.

Paul again returns to the example of food. While it has already been determined that all food is clean (see Acts 10 for more on that), that doesn’t mean that everything should be eaten if there is a chance that you eating a food may cause harm to the faith of another. I often repeat a saying that goes, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I feel that applies well to this passage and to what Paul is commanding of the believers in Rome (and us).

Even though the issue on food was decided on by God, not everyone fully adopted that. If you’ve gone your whole life not eating a particular food because you believed you shouldn’t, it would be hard to change that, wouldn’t it? For the past year or so I’ve had some specific food allergies, one of which is to chicken. Consuming chicken causes me around 4 days of itchy, painful hives, so I definitely avoid it because I know the consequences. If I found out tomorrow that I could eat chicken again, I would have a hard time going back to not worrying about where chicken may be hiding in the foods I eat, and being ok with eating it again. It’s hard for people to change what they’ve believed for a long time.

But, the real issue here is not necessarily food. The real issue is having a strong faith and denying yourself of something you want for the sake of someone else. When I deny myself eating chicken, it’s purely selfish. But if I deny myself ice cream because someone I’m hanging out with is trying to eat healthy, that’s more significant because I’m denying myself a pleasure for the sake of someone else.

If you are a person of stronger faith, you should be more concerned about the good of the community as a whole, particularly other believers, rather than of your own individual rights and freedoms. The main concern of all believers should be love for God and for one another, more so than fulfilling their own personal desires.

Which do you care more about - building up a fellow believer, or doing what you want to do? That again is Paul’s point here. He explains this idea multiple times to make sure that the church in Rome fully understands it. We are called by Jesus to deny ourselves if we want to be His disciples or followers (Luke 9:23).

The main focus here comes in the conclusion to Paul’s argument, in Romans 14:22-23: “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” It’s not about our particular belief about food or anything else that doesn’t matter as much, but about our faith and how much we show the love of Jesus Christ to those around us.

How is your faith? Is it strong enough that you can focus on the needs of other people over your own? What are you being called to deny in your own life, so that it may uplift a fellow believer?

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When I Hated Solitude

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 29, 2015 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

There was a time when I hated solitude. I despised the quiet, and I filled every waking moment with noise.

From the second I got up in the morning until I went to bed at night, I had constant noise. I would either turn on the radio or the TV first thing in the morning, leaving it on until I went to bed or left the house. When I got in my car, the radio was on. To be honest, silence made me uncomfortable.

God began to show me that this steady stream of racket was crowding him out of my life.

I remember one particular morning when we lived in Kentucky, I was praying for God’s guidance in my life. The answer came in scripture: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

“Be still?” I questioned. “Be still? Lord, you created me and you know that I am a people person and like to be busy. I asked for your guidance on my life, a plan, a course of action.”

The answer came again: “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”

As much as I tried to fight this instruction, I finally gave in and obeyed.

I decided to make intentional choices in my life. Instead of mindlessly watching television, I would only turn on the TV if I had a specific program to watch; I would no longer turn it on for background noise. I also made the intentional choice to spend quiet, uninterrupted time with God every day. This time has allowed me to grow in my faith and my knowledge of the Bible, and it provides peace and quiet in a busy world.

If you find yourself drowning in a sea of constant noise, I encourage you to make intentional choices about what you watch or listen to. Make the decision to turn off the noise around you and choose to be still and know that God is God!

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The Cadre

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 27, 2015 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Cadre”: Military. The key group of officers and enlisted personnel necessary to establish and train a new military unit.

Two weeks ago was a special day for me. On November 13, 2015, I was one of eight people who completed the “Eleventh Cadre” from the Institute for Biblical Worldview Studies, a subgroup under the “Creation Truth Foundation.” While I have been studying the origins debate between Creation and Evolution for well over a decade, nothing has brought so much in together as the last two years have.

The vision for the Cadre at the Creation Truth Foundation is to train church leaders and pastors how to teach about Biblical worldviews and why such issues are so important. It is no coincidence that I was invited to be a writer for Worldview Warriors at the same time that the door opened for me to attend this conference. I knew two years ago at this time that God was in the midst of doing something significant, and so far I have only seen the beginnings of the fruit. That alone has been worth the efforts.

The Cadre was four sessions of four days each over two years starting in January 2014. In that time, we carried out a near verse-by-verse examination of Genesis 1-12 along with getting topics about what worldviews are, how they affect us, and how people think, to go with a lot of the scientific aspects about Creation and Evolution. One of my favorite points among all four sessions was taking a tour of the Evolution exhibit at the Sam Noble Natural History Museum at Oklahoma University where we learned how to go through the points and the evidences that are cited for Evolution and point out the truth. When you know the truth, it is very easy to point out the lies because they stand out.

Because of my previous studies on Creation/Evolution, there was a lot I already knew coming in, but what helped was the reinforcement and the quotes and resources that I knew about, but did not know where it came from. If there was one new thing I learned that stood out the most, it would be exactly how worldviews play a role in everyday life. I wrote about this in one of my first Worldview Warriors blog posts and I have been hitting this topic often since. I have also led a Bible study at my church since April 2015 to study about Biblical worldviews and similar topics. God gave me the opportunity to attend this conference and I have been using what I have been learning to help build the body of Christ.

And interestingly enough, there is a very similar vision with Worldview Warriors: to build and train the next generations to stand for Biblical authority in today’s fallen world. There is a reason I chose the military definition of “cadre” for this post. We are in a battle. It is not a battle between politics and people groups, but a battle of ideologies and ultimately a spiritual battle. We have an enemy that is at war with us and his prime agenda is to fight against God and his Word in every area. Part of that agenda is to get us to NOT believe that God said what he said. Genesis 3:1 starts with the first lie and first deception: “Hath God really said?” And this question has been played out through the 6000 years of history.

If you study the roots of Evolution, there is no science involved in it whatsoever. Charles Darwin was the one who made it popular but the idea had been around for a while. From the writings of those who influenced Darwin, it is very clear they had an agenda to undermine the authority of the Bible. Some of you may be connecting the dots to what I am saying here but let me say it outright: Evolution is Satanic. Both sides know this. Eugenie Scott is known for saying that it is the born again believers (Bible-believing Christians) that are her biggest enemy. Why? Because we will not be assimilated into system where people like her can determine who gets to think and how. This is also why Bill Nye is so afraid of Creation being taught to the younger generation. It is not because we can’t be productive in society; it is because we won’t be controlled by them.

The Cadre was formed to teach church leaders and pastors about what tactics Satan has been using to creep false doctrine into the church. We have learned the dangers of compromise and the tactics on how people get that compromise into the church and into doctrine. We have learned how to identify true and false teachings, how to mark them, and how to prepare those we teach to discern them. Graduates from the Cadre are not called to merely fight the battles for a Bible-based worldview. We would not come to the program if we were not already sent to do that. We are called fight and to train others how to fight in this battle.

Worldview Warriors is similar. Now, just to clarify, Worldview Warriors is NOT a Young-Earth Creationist organization. The bulk of our blog writing staff, if not all, do support the young earth position and it is difficult to address any worldview properly without addressing the philosophical/religious position on origins. For me personally, I have been drifting more away from emphasizing on the science of YEC (while I FIRMLY believe this model), and more emphasizing on why choosing YEC is the only natural position for origins by a Bible-believer. If you have your authorities in the right order, when it comes to origins, the young earth position is the only logical one. And here at Worldview Warriors, we take the position that the Bible is our chief authority on all matters. This is what being a Berean is about. We check out what people say with Scripture. And when you know Scripture, it becomes easy to recognize when someone is outright wrong, or even when someone is twisting references to suit their agenda.

Let me also point out that origins is NOT the end of it all. Belief in a young earth means absolutely nothing if you do not carry it through to the cross of Jesus. That is why Muslims, who hold the same origins model, are wrong: because they split before arriving to the cross. EVERYTHING in the Bible points to Jesus, and if we miss that, we miss the purpose of what we are doing.

I am called to speak and to teach about Biblical worldviews in a time where such a position is hated more than ever before. But I am not called to tell people what they want to hear. I am not called to agree to the majority because it is not popular. I am called to speak the truth and speak the truth I will. And I will train any who has the ears to hear the truth how to identify it and discern it from all the pretenders out there. The Cadre was a spectacular time of growth and maturity for me, and I look forward to using what God has taught me with Worldview Warriors and any other window of opportunity that God gives me.

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Catch Up Some More

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 26, 2015 0 comments


by Steve Risner

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

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing two blog posts by Tyler Francke from godofevolution.com that he connected together. One is called “Why Ken Ham’s scientific defense of young-earth creationism just doesn’t make any sense,” and the other is “Ken Ham has a problem with the Bible.” This is part three in that series. We have found that the issues brought up by theistic evolutionists are, as is the general rule, either inaccurately stated or nonexistent. So we left off last week just getting into Bill Nye—who plays a scientist on TV.

Tyler talks about how there is no conspiracy against Christianity or creationism and suggests that the fact that Bill Nye agreed to debate Ken Ham supports this. Let’s first be clear that Bill Nye is not a science expert by any stretch of the imagination, any more than Big Bird is a science expert. He’s an entertainer. Nye agreeing to debate Ken Ham has nothing to do with the censorship of creationist material. There are numerous scientists who have done much for their particular fields who were censored or shunned due to their creationist beliefs. It’s exceptionally easy to find examples of this. This article details it quite a bit. Ben Stein produced a movie on the subject. This article on peer review is rather lengthy, but it’s a good one. Some institutions have had the boldness to come right out and say they won’t tolerate creationist material. Bill Nye even supports the idea of the biased nature of the scientific community when he said, “Many of you, by that I mean many of my skeptic and humanist colleagues, expressed deep concern and anger that I would be so foolish as to accept a debate with a creationist, as this would promote him and them more than it would promote me and us.

As I often say and sincerely believe, ‘You may be right.’ But, I held strongly to the view that it was an opportunity to expose the well-intending Ken Ham and the support he receives from his followers as being bad for Kentucky, bad for science education, bad for the U.S., and thereby bad for humankind--I do not feel I'm exaggerating when I express it this strongly.” I won’t beat it to death. The idea that the mainstream scientific culture at large is unbiased is a joke and everyone knows it. The list of scientists who have lost their jobs over belief in creation is appalling. Nye was na├»ve enough to believe he’d “expose” Ken Ham and his philosophy when he clearly did no such thing. Further info can be found here and here.

Continuing with the discussion on Bill Nye, Tyler parrots Nye as he asks for a single piece of evidence that would contradict an old earth. First, let’s just say that the age of the earth is completely unknowable unless we can time travel, so the question is inappropriate. However, we can provide many things from the study of the universe that would call into question this idea. This link has 101 of these things. Some are good; some I question. A few of my favorites are helium retention in zircons, C14 in fossils, coal and diamonds, spiral galaxies, short term comets, DNA and soft tissue in fossils, and the faint sun paradox. Let’s move on.

Tyler here quotes Bill Nye in the debate with Ken Ham. He says, “Everyone, and children especially: Do science. Please. And if the evidence shows us that we’re wrong, so be it.” If only this were the case. The theory of evolution is the most accommodating belief system I’ve encountered. They will claim that ‘such and such’ would create major issues for the theory. But when that ‘such and such’ is discovered, the theory is modified or they claim that their position was the opposite the whole time. Examples of this are junk DNA, dinosaur soft tissue, and DNA. Darwinian evolution cannot under any circumstances fall; if it does, the worldview of so many will be wrecked (including Tyler). Sure, they say that you’ll be famous if you find something that throws the theory out the window. Yes, they claim that they want to know the truth and they’d gladly throw out their theory if you show them something that disproves it. But these are just words. Their actions show they have no interest at all in anything but support for the religion they call Darwinism. If something seems to contradict it, they bury it, disqualify the discoverer, or rewrite the past to say they were claiming this the whole time. It’s actually remarkable.

Tyler also says that Nye’s position isn’t, “Just accept what I say because I’m smart and I have evidence.” This is funny. In my experience, most evolutionists do at least the first half of this statement. They will generally resort to saying something like, “Nearly all scientists believe in evolution,” or something like that. We call this an appeal to authority and an appeal to majority. We’ll give them extra points for two fallacies in one. The number of times this is brought up is simply amazing. And as far as evidence goes, where is it? We often hear of the “mountain of evidence” for Darwinism but I’ve never been shown so much as a small stone from its base. I’ve asked repeatedly as have many other creationists I know. There isn’t “evidence for evolution” and “evidence for creation.” There is simply evidence. How one interprets it is what determines what it says. But the evidence is available to us all and we all use it, albeit from different perspectives. This is so vital to understanding this discussion. For more on this point, please take a peek at this blog post I wrote in March of this year.

To wrap up this installment in this particular series, we’ll examine a quote at the end of Tyler’s blog post called “Ken Ham’s defense of young-earth creationist just doesn’t make any sense.” He says, “…there are objective ways to measure arguments. One of them would be that an argument presented at a debate is not completely contradicted by another argument presented by the same person. Another standard I might propose is that an argument presented at a debate not be refuted by the very fact that the debate is happening.” This is interesting. He believes, I am guessing, that because he says something, it makes it true. He’s giving his argument way too much credit. The weight of his statement is hardly noticeable, yet he’s acting as though it’s a slam dunk for his position. We’ve seen that his statements concerning Ham’s comments are not really accurate. It’s really easy to make someone look foolish if you misrepresent what they’ve said. Thus far, after 17 writings, I don’t believe we’ve encountered this theistic evolutionist accurately representing his opponent’s position. This is very telling. Knowing your position is critical (and we could argue he’s a little sketchy there), but knowing your opponent’s position is equally important. How can you reject something you have very little knowledge of? We’ll be hitting some actual theology next week (I realize Tyler said this was all about theology, but I’ve had a hard time finding theology in any of his writings so far)! Isn’t that exciting! Thanks for sticking with us.

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Love is Your Rule

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 25, 2015 0 comments


by Logan Ames

The phrase “stumbling block” is one of those phrases that you don’t really hear anywhere except the church. If you are not a Christian or don’t go to church often, this may actually be the first time you’ve really heard about it. I mean, seriously, when is the last time you were walking around outside and tripped over a rock, fell on your face, and then immediately got up and thought, “I wonder who put that stumbling block in front of me”? The answer would be never! You’d most likely blame yourself for not seeing the rock and for not stepping over it. If someone did put a block in your path, it would most likely be intentional for the purpose of tripping you. Picture Adam Sandler’s character along with his son in the movie “Big Daddy” as they put a log on the path of the skater to make him trip and fall into the pond!

If someone were intentionally tripping you, I think we could all agree that would not be an act of love. The act would either be out of hate, revenge, or simply that person’s entertainment. The phrase “stumbling block” in the Bible is used to describe such a situation where one believer puts his/her desires ahead of love for another. It might not really be your intention to harm the other person, but your inability to even think about how your actions are affecting them shows that you are not living by a rule of love.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 14:13-18 that we must live by this rule of love when considering our Christian liberty, which he has been talking about so far in this chapter. We are not to be legalistic toward one another and we are not to judge for another person what is right or wrong regarding the “disputable matters." We will all stand before God and he alone will be our Judge regarding how we approached the “gray areas” of our faith. That being said, God is NOT the only one to whom we are responsible. As Paul says, rather than passing judgment on each other, we are to “make up (our) mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (verse 13). That means we have a duty to consider how our choices affect our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot plead ignorance. It’s something we have to resolve to do out of love for one another.

You may be wondering what it means to put a stumbling block in someone’s way, and you can’t avoid it if you don’t even know what it means. Let me give you some examples from my own life. When I was in college, I dated a girl who lived several hours away and she came to visit me. She and I both knew that we had no intention of any type of sexual immorality when she visited and felt that she could stay in my dorm room without it being a problem. This saved money because we didn’t need a hotel room for her and allowed us to maximize all of our time together when she visited. Once my Christian mentors and leaders from Campus Crusade for Christ, of which I was a part, found out what we were doing, they strongly urged me to consider the greater effect of this choice. They were first concerned about the temptations we were allowing into our lives, but they challenged me to think even bigger. They knew I was a resident assistant (RA), which meant I was a leader on my floor, and they also knew I had been bold about my faith to many of the younger residents. The leaders helped me see that even if my girlfriend and I did everything right behind closed doors, many of those residents would automatically assume we had slept together if they saw her walking out of my room the next morning. This could cause them to believe such behavior between unmarried persons is accepted by God, which could cause them to stumble away from what God wanted for them.

The other example in my life has been regarding alcohol. I was raised to believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with drinking alcohol. However, I have known plenty of friends and believers who struggle to be responsible with their drinking. I’ve also known some who walked away from it completely and have chosen to believe that all alcohol is wrong. I may disagree with that view, but I have a responsibility out of love for those brothers and sisters to not drink or even talk about drinking in their presence.

Paul points out that he is fully convinced that nothing is inherently unclean (verse 14). However, he also understands that the kingdom of God is not really about our choices regarding the disputable matters, but about “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (verse 17). If our choices are not contributing to those things in the lives of other believers, then we must make different choices. Jesus used even stronger words than Paul. He said, “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:1-2). The Greek word for “things that cause people to stumble” in this verse, as well as “obstacle” in Romans 14:13, is “skandalon." In case you don’t see the connection, it’s where we get the English word “scandal." The language from Jesus and Paul is strong because we need to take this very seriously.

Don’t take your Christian liberty regarding “disputable matters” for granted, because that liberty is never a license to cause a scandal for someone else. Jesus basically tells us that sinful people in a fallen world are bound to take the bait at some point, but we better not be the ones to provide the hook. If you question what decisions you should make in the gray areas of your faith from now on, I urge you to live by the rule of love. Does the thing your faith allows you to accept cause someone else to stumble? If so, give it up for at least the times you know it could affect that person. Remember that Christ was willing to give up his heavenly position and his earthly life for you. In light of his sacrifice, giving up certain foods, alcohol, music, or even having your girlfriend stay somewhere else all seem like small potatoes. They are certainly not worth being thrown into the sea with a millstone around your neck.

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The Story of Thanksgiving and Why it Matters, Part 4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 0 comments


by Bill Seng

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” ~1 Corinthians 11:24-25

The past couple of weeks I have been discussing Thanksgiving as it relates to American history. You can read those posts here, here, and here. We went from the Pilgrims fleeing Britain, celebrating their first Thanksgivings, and then to the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday and its roots after the establishment of the United States. All of this information is fascinating, but without understanding the true meaning of Thanksgiving, it is all meaningless.

When I say “the true meaning of Thanksgiving,” I am referring to what it is that we are thankful for. In every instance that a national day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed in past centuries, it was always accompanied with prayer. That is because the people in those days were grateful to God for his faithfulness in providing for them in their times of need. If you are a Christian, or are at least curious about the Christian faith, you need to understand that this tradition of Thanksgiving dates back much further than the holiday we have all grown to cherish.

Let me first take you back thousands of years to a time long forgotten. It was a time of great tribulation as the entire world had become violent and entrenched in warfare. One man and his family stayed separate from the evils. His name was Noah. You remember the story of Noah’s ark, but let me refresh you. God commanded Noah to build an ark, in this case an enormous sea vessel that was designed to carry a large amount of precious cargo, and to take a sampling of all of the world’s land animals onto it to preserve them from mass extinction. The world was completely covered with water for an entire year until Noah, his family, and all of the animals stepped onto dry land. Immediately, Noah gave thanks to God for preserving their lives by building an altar and sacrificing some of the animals that had been set aside by God for that very purpose. Noah and his family were grateful that God remembered them amid this worldwide catastrophe that very easily could have claimed the lives of everyone and everything aboard the ark.

Previously, God had not condoned the act of eating the meat of animals. After Noah’s sacrifice, God announced that humans could eat animals as well as the plants. In turn he placed the fear of man on the hearts of the entire animal kingdom. This signified a drastic change in the creation order, but it also foreshadowed a wonderful act of grace. Later in the days of Moses and the commandments, sacrifices would be presented unto God as ceremonial offerings for the forgiveness of people’s wrongdoings. This was a tradition that endured for centuries, but the meaning of it all became clear at the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It finally became clear that the sacrifice of unblemished flesh of “innocent” animals was a precursor to the future reality of Jesus’ death by the hands of men and for the sake of mankind. So, every time you eat meat along with any meal it is an opportune moment to thank God for allowing the blood of his Son to be shed for the sake of mankind. This again signified a change in the order of the creation.

I know that sometimes we take this for granted, but Jesus gave us a Thanksgiving feast that we are supposed to celebrate regularly among our church brethren. Among its more popular titles are the Lord’s Supper and Holy Communion.

As the Bible tells us, Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread and broke it. He told his disciples that the bread was his body that would be broken. He then told them to eat the bread. He took a cup of wine and told them that it was his blood and that it signified the new promise that he was making with them. He asked that they drink the wine in remembrance of him. It was through Jesus’ broken body and shed blood that the wicked deeds of the entire world would be forgiven. We can remember and give thanks, not only when we take communion in church, but also when we sit down for a routine meal. We can remember that the meat that we eat was first permitted for our consumption as a precursor to the One whose “body” would be “consumed” to save the entire world.

It is for God’s faithfulness in saving his people from their sins that we can all be thankful. Even when it appeared that the whole world had gone astray, God in his mercy preserved a remnant so that he might redeem the entire world through the shedding of his own blood. We are to remember his sacrifice until the day that Jesus returns through celebrating communion in our churches. May we always eat and drink in remembrance of him. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Romans 14:13-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 23, 2015 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” (Romans 14:13-18)

In last week’s passage, we discussed the fact that we should not judge each other, because God is the ultimate judge, and He desires that we be unified as His church. This week, Paul continues that thought and expands on that idea to give the church in Rome (and us) more instruction.

We have a choice to do one of two things in our interactions with other believers: we can tear one another down, or we can build one another up. Here, Paul is encouraging us to do the latter.

In verse 13 he writes, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Don’t tear one another down by judging and criticizing them, and don’t do anything that will cause them to have difficulty in their faith or even fall away from it.

Paul gives the example of eating and drinking again. A similar example for our modern day world would be drinking alcohol. Maybe you’ve never struggled with drinking too much, but if you have a friend who has a history of alcoholism, you shouldn’t consume alcoholic drinks around that person. Yes it may not affect you negatively, but if it can cause your friend to stumble then you should refrain from it.

Another example for today could be watching R-rated movies. You may think the violence or sexual content won’t affect you, but it puts you in a position to stumble in that way. Perhaps the friend you’re watching the movie with has struggled with an addiction to pornography, that you may or may not be aware of, and you choosing that particular movie may cause them to lapse back into that addiction.

You may consider yourself strong in the faith, but if you’re overconfident in that, your confidence could lead to the downfall of another believer. This may happen through peer pressure, through offending them, or through drawing them into an activity they’re trying to stay away from. Either way, this is not acting out of love. Remember from Romans 12:10 that we are commanded to “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

So what do we do about all this? Fix your priorities on God’s Kingdom and not on your own desires. If you’re fully focused on God and live your life full of the Holy Spirit, you won’t have to worry about causing other believers to stumble. You’ll automatically be lifting them up rather than tearing them down, because of the Spirit’s active presence in your life. If you serve Christ with your life, you’ll be full of righteousness, peace, and joy.

What are you doing in your life - are you tearing one another down and causing others to stumble, or are you lifting them up and encouraging them in their walk with Christ? Examine your priorities today, so that you don’t negatively affect your faith, or the faith of those around you.

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The Gift of Self-Governance

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 22, 2015 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

The United States: A Unique Endeavor

As I continue on in this series I want to encourage you to dig deeper on your own and understand the great responsibility that God has given to We The People in the USA. We have the responsibility to govern (self-govern) and to make sure we are electing people of good character and integrity to offices that are meant to serve we the people. Even more importantly, I would encourage all believers in Jesus Christ to highly consider, through seeking the Lord’s will in prayer, voting for men and women who are followers of Almighty God and understand the importance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of which I will write on a bit later.

In Romans 13, Paul tells us that subjects in a society are to submit to the governing authorities, and that the governing authorities are put in place by God Himself. If you’ve read my previous posts on this text (here and here) and looked at it in light of our form of government in the United States of America, you know that the definition of terms is very important.

We The People = Governing Authorities
Elected officials and those who work for them = Subjects

With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the earliest written documents helping our country to establish God as the one in charge as scripture states in Romans 13. I will not go into the history of those who put the Mayflower Compact together but suffice it to say, it is very important history to study on our own.

Here is a link to the words of the Mayflower Compact, written in 1620. Please notice in this document that their journey was, “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” These people understood that God Almighty was in charge of it all. As Logan Ames, another blogger for Worldview Warriors, put it, “God’s the Boss.

You and I have been given an incredible responsibility with the gift of self-governance. This is just one very important reason we need to hear God’s voice and obey His leading, first on an individual level and then on a larger scale and people. Check out this link regarding self-government.

Please understand that I am not trying to force anyone to do anything. All I am attempting to do with this series is hopefully get people to ponder and think on these writings and then hopefully act.

Are you willing to actually act?

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Sometimes You Gotta Eat a Plain Bagel Plain

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, November 21, 2015 0 comments


by Nathan Buck

When I first started following Jesus, I learned a profound lesson about the difference between things everyone should do to honor God, and things we may personally choose (or need) to do to keep our lives pure.

My best friend Chad would occasionally come out with a witty phrase whenever people would ask him why he was doing something. On one occasion when we had gone out to get something to eat, he ordered a plain bagel. The server asked if he wanted butter or cream cheese. He said, "Neither. Just plain is fine."

I looked at him with what I am sure was a VERY puzzled look, because I had never observed someone actually choosing to try and hork down a dry, saliva sucking bagel plain. I said, "Are you gonna at least put jelly on it?" And he replied, "Brotha, sometimes you just gotta eat a plain bagel plain." And he did.

I realized later the significance of Chad's choice. I didn't know him in high school. I didn't see the transformation he went through physically, and the discipline he had put himself under in order to get healthy. But I knew the story. And I knew that his choice to eat this bagel plain had something to do with a season of personal discipline he was following in order to honor Jesus.

Read Romans 14:1-9. Take particular notice of how Paul tries to help us separate core matters of obedience to God, and those things we may do as a matter of conscience or personal discipline. He also tries to help us make room for how others honor God, without judging one another based on what we feel free to do. These are not moral absolutes, but rather habits and behaviors we may do that help us obey God - matters of conscience.

And it is as simple as Chad's example. If we both ate bagels at the same time, and I chose to put cream cheese and jelly on mine, I was not sinning. Neither was Chad, in eating his plain. If I saw the value of his personal choice and chose to join him in his personal discipline, again I would not be sinning.

But if I accused him of being silly and judged him by what I knew I was free to do, then I would be sinning. Why? Because I would not just be judging his choice for restraint, I would be condemning his choice to offer that self-discipline as an act of worship to God. Likewise, if Chad judged my choice for cream cheese and jelly, he would be judging my freedom and the thanks I gave to God for being able to eat the bagel for enjoyment.

In the early church and still today, there are many ways in which people choose to worship, to pray, and to help them focus their lives on obeying God. These things should never be spiritualized to the point where we judge one another for doing them a certain way. Because even though our position may be correct and our perspective clear, so may it be for the people we are confronting. And by accusing them of doing wrong or not having enough faith, we judge their intentions and ridicule their obedience to God.

The experience I had with Chad over bagels was one that impacted me. In certain seasons where I need more personal discipline, I recognize the value of adding a physical restraint of action or pleasure, in order to expose my motives and focus my desires on God instead of self.

I invite you to consider your walk with God and whether you need some personal disciplines. I also invite you to consider whether you are living under religious rules and need God to show you freedom. But most of all, I ask you to consider your attitude and perspectives toward other believers.

Are you judging others based on your sense of freedom? Are there other believers you are frustrated over that seem to get in the way of what you think needs to happen? Have you (and have they) elevated these 'preferences' to a level where you are assuming the motives and accusing others of disobedience?

You should be clear on what is sin. Know the things God commanded us never to do and never to participate in. And also know where there is freedom, even for choosing personal restraint.

Whether it is to clear our conscience or to keep ourselves from being tempted to indulge in things that will cloud our mind or health, sometimes we do need to eat a plain bagel plain. And other times we can celebrate our freedom to enjoy a bagel the way we like it. Wisdom comes in knowing when we should do each. Freedom comes when everything we do is with a passion to obey and draw near to God.

Our relationships will display the unity of God's Spirit among us when we keep matters of conscience in perspective for ourselves and for those around us. How are doing with this in your local community? Are you arguing over preferences and spiritualizing your position?

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Make Your Calling and Election Sure

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 20, 2015 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;”
~2 Peter 1:10

As I wrapped up another straight through reading of Scripture, I came across the above verse and it immediately brought to attention Paul Washer’s quote of this verse in a sermon where he addresses the problems with the “sinner’s prayer” as it is being used in many churches today. Peter tells us to make our calling and election sure. What is this and what does it mean? First, let us examine the opening to Peter’s letter.

After his introduction, Peter tells us this: To your faith, add virtue, to virtue, add knowledge, to knowledge, self-control, to self-control, perseverance, to perseverance, brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness, love. This list sounds very similar to Galatians 5:22-23: the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now, what does this have to do with the title here of making your calling and election sure? Is this talking about earning our salvation? No, it is not. It is about living a life that tests and proves your faith. James spends a good amount in his second chapter about how faith without works is dead. Two weeks ago I wrote about faith. Faith requires not just belief but action, because until you act upon that which you believe to be true, it is not faith.

Peter tells us that if we do the things he listed in 1:5-7, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, etc, we will not stumble. This is how we prove our faith. This is how we make our calling and election sure. We show the fruit of the Spirit. We live our lives worthy of the calling. God calls us to live our lives so that we show that it is he living in and through us.

This again brings up what salvation really is and how it is applied. I again grieve that so many churches teach that salvation is nothing but “belief in Jesus” and all will be good. No. That is not it. We are not called to just say a prayer, agree to a few doctrinal statements, and then go live how we want to live Sunday afternoon through Saturday evening. Too many “Christians” are like that. They live Godly lives on Sunday morning at church and the rest of the week you cannot tell them from apart from a heathen. This is not making your calling and election sure. This is proclaiming faith in Jesus and completely disregarding his commands. As Paul Washer said above (his emphasis): “YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!” He quoted Jesus speaking to Nicodemus in John 3. We cannot live as we want to be and declare ourselves to Christians.

When people say, “Jesus died for our sins,” what they are really meaning is “He died so that we can get off the hook for our sin.” Gospel preaching in many places today is nothing more than what Paul Washer calls a “flu shot.” What is missing is repentance. Repentance requires a turning around. We are going one direction, the way we want to go, and we turn and go God’s direction. Salvation is not about getting out of hell (though that is part of the picture). It is about being freed from SIN - not merely the penalty of sin, but the very presence of sin. That is the direction we are to be going. Do we take sin as seriously as God does? I know I don’t, but I would like to. Where every time we violate God’s commands, it grieves us. When we continue to do the very thing that Jesus died for, it grieves us and makes us not want to do that again. That is the sign of repentance.

Make your calling and election sure. What is your calling? As a believer, what is it that God has called you to do? Do you know? I do not know the full details of my calling but I know I am supposed to be teaching and I know I am to work with youth. Right now, God has me in a classroom. It is a struggle and I am still learning how to do the job, but I am pointing the direction in which God has called me to go. And in that pursuit, I have made my calling sure, because I know that where I am heading is precisely where God wants me to be.

What is election? It usually deals with salvation, and often by those who believe in predestination. I do not agree with pure predestination (that doctrine alone), but it is clearly in Scripture. Are we born again? As Christians, are we not the adopted children of God? Are we not his ambassadors, sent to represent God and to bring his message to the lost? Are we living what this job title expects of us? We aren’t perfect nor will we be until God completes the work he started. But are we heading that direction? Are we living lives that make our election sure? That someone can look at us, look at how we live our lives, and say for certain, “This person is a Christian, someone who walks with God”? Do our lives tell that story? If we were to be on trial for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?

Live your life worthy of the calling. Live your life so that you can show the assurance that what you believe is true and active in your life. Stand boldly with confidence that your faith in Jesus is real and demonstrate that you really do believe it in how you live your life. Live your life so that the world around you cannot see you, but rather they see Christ. Less of you and more of Him. Less of me, more of Him. When we surrender the control to Jesus, that is how we can make our calling and election sure. Let us all press toward that goal.

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Catch Up a Bit, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 19, 2015 19 comments


by Steve Risner

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

Last week we finished up by touching on radiometric decay and dating as well as the non-issue of distant starlight. The author of the blog posts I’m referencing, Tyler Francke, is remarkably behind in his information because he thinks decay rates are the only problem with radiometric dating, and he thinks distant starlight causes a problem for the Biblical view. He also seems to be unaware that the old earth/deep time proponents have similar issues with the universe. We’ll remark a little further on these issues before we move on as we dismantle his blog posts titled “Ken Ham has a problem with the Bible” and “Why Ken Ham’s scientific defense of young-earth creationism just doesn’t make any sense.

Tyler continues to misstate Ken Ham’s position in order to make it easier to refute. This is an extremely common tactic by evolutionists and it’s called a “strawman” argument. He claims Ham denies that the laws of nature are fixed, which is not true. In fact, Ham’s position is that the only way to know the laws of nature are fixed and to account for the laws of nature existing at all is through belief in the Biblical God. Tyler also claims that “historical science” for distant events in the past no one was around for is exactly the same as practicing observational science here and now. In last week’s blog post I linked to a few other blog posts I’ve written on this topic. For the sake of convenience, I’ll leave them here, here, here, and here as well. The lack of understanding by evolutionists almost seems like it must be intentional concerning what a fact is, what science is and can do, and what the scientific method is. To say that studying the effect of gravity on an object as you drop it is the same as making up something about the past that 1) no one was around for, 2) no one understands, and 3) no one knows the conditions under which it may/could have happened is just more evidence that evolutionists have no interest in truth or in discussing this stuff honestly or logically.

He also seems to want to mock or ridicule the Christian/Biblical worldview, which seems a little strange since he claims to love the Bible and be a Christian. Again, be cautious of accepting the arguments and statements from someone who uses atheism to bash Christianity while claiming to be a Christian. “They will know you are My followers by how you join with those who hate me to attack those who love me” is not something I think Jesus was recorded as saying. Tyler has criticized Ham for sticking to the Bible and for even using the Bible in the discussion. He’s held up arguments atheists use for why they are atheists to say why the Bible can’t be true. He’s attacking Christians and Christianity in general, as well as the Bible repeatedly. I’m not sure what sort of fruit this theistic evolutionist bears that is consistent with that described in the Bible as “good fruit.” I don’t particularly enjoy being that harsh or critical, but the pattern has been fairly well set in Tyler’s writings.

Tyler then goes on to paraphrase Ken Ham’s statements in such a way that seems to incorrectly state Ham’s position. He states Ham’s position this way: “…the only way we can do science is because God created a law-governed, rational universe, and then turns around and says we can’t trust the evidence of the past, because God could have ignored the laws that govern the universe when he was designing and creating the universe, and besides, the laws of nature may have been operating completely at random before we started paying attention to them.” This isn’t correct. We do exist in a law-governed universe and we trust those laws. However, the “evidence of the past” that Tyler and others like him reference is not “evidence of the past” but is their interpretation of the evidence. How can two equally qualified scientists look at the same information and come up with two completely different and even opposing interpretations? This happens in science frequently, and rarely is one side of the debate considered moronic or anti-scientific or whatever name calling evolutionists like to do. Your worldview determines how you interpret the evidence. We all tell a story based on the evidence. I guess the point here is that there is no “evidence of the past” when it comes to deep time. There is just evidence. We have the exact same evidence and it fits in nicely with our version of origins. They have their version as well. They clutch at “science” while they’re touting their beliefs because if they lose that label for their beliefs, they will quickly lose the discussion. The claim (and that is all it is) of “science” for their worldview and their origins beliefs is a sham.

But also notice that Tyler doesn’t seem to think the creation was a supernatural event. He seems to mock Ham for believing that God did, in fact, “suspend” natural laws that govern the universe when He created it. In fact, those laws didn’t exist prior to the creation of the universe. In my opinion, the inability to see the juvenility and illogical nature of his points is staggering. How could God do anything if not supernaturally? Any miracle recorded in the Bible is a supernatural event. Any miracle that happens today is a supernatural event. Does Tyler believe God is real and is above His creation? I’m not so sure he does.

In light of the terribly inaccurate description of Ken Ham’s statements, Tyler says, “Make sense? Of course it doesn’t. It’s a convoluted mess, but it’s what Ken Ham thinks we should all teach our children.” Look at that! He’s using the same sort of arguments that Bill Nye, an atheist and militant one at that, uses to support his atheism. Tyler claims to be a Christian, but he says, “Make sense? Of course it doesn’t.” Of course it doesn’t when you distort nearly everything involved. Over and over Biblical creationists are defending themselves against attacks from atheists or others who are not arguing against our position. It’s easy to feel like you’re wasting your time when no one will argue about your points. They will restate them in childish, ignorant ways and then act like they’ve got you. This, to me, shows the strength of the evolutionist’s claims. They can’t argue against our position so they make up something foolish to argue against.

And further in here we see the infamous appeal to consensus. Consensus science is junk science and there is no way around that. Consensus science means, “Everyone thinks this might be right, so it must be right.” Science is based on knowledge, not best guesses. Sure, there is guesswork involved sometimes. But when the entire story is a slippery slope of extrapolation, storytelling, and making up all sorts of things there is no evidence for, I’d venture to say that’s not science. It’s a belief system. There’s nothing wrong with belief systems, really. But if you’re holding yours up as “science” and a fact and all this sort of thing (which is way too common with evolutionists), you’re not honestly involved in this debate.

Boy, we’re running out of space today already. Next week we’ll get Bill Nye (the guy that plays the part of a scientist on TV for children) involved and look at how open the “scientific community” actually is to ideas that threaten their worldview. Thanks for sticking with me. My goal here is to expose the inconsistent nature of theistic evolution and the atrocious theology and lack of Biblical study they must have. Let me know what you think.

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The Lie of Legalism

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 18, 2015 3 comments


by Logan Ames

Whether you are a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ or label yourself an atheist or follower of any other religion, I want you to think about the impact that legalism has had on your life. In my life growing up, the word “should” was very common. I was surrounded by people who clearly enjoyed being in the position of the one making the rules and loved to “should” on others. As I grew into adolescence and then adulthood, I repeated what I had learned, becoming somebody who not only “shoulded” on others, but I got extremely angry when someone dared question my “wisdom." Even today, legalism is something I have to intentionally avoid. What about you? Have you been shunned from a particular church or other body of believers because of a difference in beliefs, musical preference, or physical appearance? Have you judged ALL believers because of the actions of a few? Maybe you’ve been on the other side, recognizing now the damage you have done to others as you tried to force them to fit into your box of expectations. Whichever side you fall on, allow Romans 14 to be the Biblical truth that guides you going forward.

In his book “Approved Unto God: The Spiritual Life of the Christian Worker,” Oswald Chambers states, “Conceit makes the way God deals with me personally the binding standard for others." What a powerful quote! And it perfectly reflects the Apostle Paul’s teaching through Romans 14:1-12. Take a few minutes to read it on your own. Paul is urging believers to accept their brothers and sisters who are “weak” without continuing to argue matters that don’t have a clear right answer. In verse 2, Paul actually asserts that a “weak faith” is the one that is more strict. According to Paul, faith that allows a person to eat any food is stronger than the faith that requires a person to eat only vegetables. I find that very interesting because in my experiences, it’s been the believers who adhere to stricter standards that have seen themselves as strong. It makes sense, however, when I think about the fact that faith in God Almighty and faith in one’s own will are practically polar opposites. My will puffs ME up and lets everyone know how righteous I am, but my faith in God shows how great HE is no matter what people think of me. Thus, the stronger faith is the faith that relies even more on God’s grace.

This does not mean that we have the God-given right to make rebellious choices against God’s Word. We cannot simply sin in all the ways that our flesh desires and then say, “It’s okay because my faith is strong and God’s grace will cover me." Paul explains that we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (v. 10) and will be responsible to give an account of ourselves to God as individuals (v. 12). He stated that we have no right to judge each other regarding those “disputable matters,”\ but God certainly does have a right to judge us all because he is the Master and we are the servants.

In verse 4, he asks, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand." This is a critical part of Paul’s instructions for the Roman believers and it’s just as critical for us today. We love to get in the business of determining whether or not someone is a Christian based on a belief or practice that goes against our own. Apparently, the early church did that as well. Paul says that’s not our decision in the first place, and if a believer is one we would consider as “weak,” the Lord has enough strength to make them stand. This means that rather than trying to force our opinions on “disputable matters” down someone’s throat, we must leave room for God to deal with them in the way he knows is best for that person. God may reveal something to me personally but I cannot make that a binding standard for all other Christians.

Paul uses the examples of dietary restrictions and considering certain days more sacred than others because they were significant issues in that culture. For us, it could be any disputable matter that is not made clear in Scripture. Some believers are against tattoos, while others believe it is not sinful. I have some friends who believe only drunkenness is a sin, while others think God bans all alcohol for believers. There could be disputes over music, clothing, and even which translation of the Bible should be used. It might be the position you take on women in ministry or what will happen at the end times. If you demand that other followers of Christ believe and observe what you do regarding these disputable matters, you’ve bought into the lie of legalism. You believe you have the position of strength, but you are actually weak. On the other hand, Paul urges that those whose faith has allowed them to relax their standards must still accept those who adhere to stricter standards. That means that yes, those of you who like contemporary worship music must still accept those who prefer hymns!

Legalism goes beyond personal preferences and beliefs. I’m going to tell you something that isn’t typically mentioned in our blog posts. Our goal is to have our posts written at least a full week before they are posted on the website, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. For me, sometimes God is just not giving me clarity on what to write. That happened this week, and as I sit here now finishing this post I have been paying attention to the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris all evening. I want to share with you what God has shown me tonight. In a word, it’s PRAY! But more than that, God revealed to me how quickly so many immediately turn to figuring what went wrong and what WE can do to get ourselves out of tragedies or make sure they don’t happen again. The blame game is played pretty quickly.

I even have to admit that I was guilty of it myself tonight. When I first heard about the attacks, I told my roommate I wasn’t surprised and we both immediately talked about the political view that differs from ours, the fact that we are frustrated more is not being done about terrorism, and who is to blame. But then I walked back to my room and turned on the TV and saw that police in Paris were getting ready to raid the concert venue where terrorists were holding people hostage and executing them. I immediately turned it off and wept as I prayed for those officers, for their protection, for their families, and for their courage. I wept more as I prayed more for all those affected by these events, including the perpetrators. I was convicted of how quickly I judged others and tried to feel a position of control and strength rather than a position of total dependence on God. That conviction is what made me weep more than anything because my need to be strong has affected so many areas of my life. And I know it’s time to pray and trust the Lord.

The lie of legalism is what makes us want to be “right,” and to tell others what they should and shouldn’t do. Geraldo Rivera said within two hours of the attacks that it was a “massive failure of counterintelligence” that allowed the attacks to be planned and carried out. Whether or not he is correct is not the issue. It’s that our need to find an answer, control, or strength within ourselves lessens our faith in the Lord. Sadly, so many will continue to believe that tragedies are within our control, and will refuse to put it totally in the hands of the only One who is sovereign over all things, including evil. It reminds me of when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana back in 2005 and the state’s governor at that time encouraged all people to pray for their state. An ESPN radio host whom I respected at the time said that, as a leader, she had to have a better plan than that! I agree that prayer is not often a substitute for action, but I have to wonder which response requires a stronger faith. I believe God has revealed to me that letting go and trusting him IS the stronger response. Our strength has limits, but God’s does not.

I recognize that I’m talking about minor “disputable matters” in the church and then international tragedies that result in major loss of life. They are seemingly unconnected. But I submit to you that the need to puff ourselves up, tell others what they SHOULD do, and be the ones making the rules are ever-present in both cases. Whether you face tragedy or are just plain annoyed by other believers, turn it over to the Lord. Trust God that he will make those who will stand able to do so and will take care of the rest as he sees fit. If you do this, your faith will be strong and God will take your relationship with him to closeness you’ve never before experienced.

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.

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The Story of Thanksgiving and Why it Matters, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 17, 2015 0 comments


by Bill Seng

“Cry out, ‘Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.’” ~1 Chronicles 16:35

Thus far (in Part 1 and Part 2) we have learned that the Pilgrims are recorded as having celebrated the first two Thanksgivings observed on American soil. But that is not the end of the Thanksgiving story. At the end of this month, as you are aware, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving as a country. The Pilgrims gave thanks to God Almighty for the abundance that he provided for them and for preserving their community through difficult times. At that time there were no United States and thus no nationally established holiday of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was established as a national holiday to be celebrated annually under Abraham Lincoln after the landmark victory at Gettysburg during the Civil War. It would then follow that the fourth Thursday of November would remain the nationally recognized Thanksgiving to this very day. The establishment of this holiday took place on November 26, 1863. For more on this, check out this blog post. The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Why did it take so long for America to establish an annually recognized day of Thanksgiving?

Days of Thanksgiving and Prayer have always been a part of this nation’s heritage. In 1777, the British General surrendered at Saratoga, New York.  The Colonial Legislature then declared December 18th of that year to be a national day of Thanksgiving and Prayer. It was widely acknowledged by the founders that the establishment of this great country was only made possible through God’s grace. For all of the George Washington fans reading this post, you’ll be pleased to note, as I am sure you already know, that he is responsible for announcing a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated Thursday, November 26, 1789. Once again, it was in celebration of God’s hand in guiding the establishment of the United States. Anyone familiar with American history will recall the great struggles the founders went through in framing the Constitution of the United States of America and drawing out the roles of federal, state, and local government in the lives of U. S. citizens. If you have never studied this subject I highly encourage you do so, as it is one of the most miraculous achievements in this country’s history. Nonetheless, these examples were never intended to be lasting.

However, there have been people who have opposed a nationally recognized day of Thanksgiving. In fairness, their opposition has been rooted in the religious neutrality of our nation. Namely, if the federal government were to announce a national Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, could they not also oppress those who did not worship in a manner acceptable to the government? The first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” One might argue that this amendment makes it very difficult for the federal government to justify any sort of national religious holiday.

One such president would be Thomas Jefferson, who thought that it was not appropriate for a country founded under the principle that the state should not meddle in the dealings of people’s personal religious convictions to be establishing religious holidays. Other presidents before the Civil War did declare national observances of Thanksgiving and Prayer, but it was not until President Lincoln that it became an annual event.

Two more significant events affected Thanksgiving following the Civil War, and then I will conclude.  Franklin Roosevelt attempted to move Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of the month. This would allow Christmas shoppers and merchants a few extra days to stimulate the economy between the two holidays. It seems that he forgot that this holiday was never established to stimulate the economy but to recognize God’s hand in guiding our nation and giving thanks back to him. Fortunately, Congress convinced him to move it back to the fourth Thursday.

On a more sober note, on September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack rocked the United States in a manner that could only be equaled by the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. President George W. Bush declared September 14 a national day of prayer. This was certainly different from the national Days of Thanksgiving and Prayer declared in previous centuries, but it was a reminder that if our country wants to thrive and be blessed, it must first honor God.

Our country’s religious heritage is rich and inspirational. Noble men of past generations have reminded us that everything we have has been given to us by God. The only appropriate response to God’s graciousness is to put everything aside and take some time to thank him for his goodness. As the Psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His Love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

References:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment
http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010913-7.html
http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/thanksgiving/
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-proclaims-official-thanksgiving-holiday

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Romans 14:1-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 16, 2015 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” (Romans 14:1-12)

This is one of those passages where the context is especially important. We need to remember that Paul is writing this letter to a specific church (in Rome) at a specific time (the middle of the first century A.D.). While much of this letter can easily be applied to us in our context today, here Paul is directing his writing to an issue in that particular church.

The community of the church in Rome was divided between the strong and the weak in faith. This is likely referring to the Gentiles as the strong ones and the Jews as the weak ones. The Jewish Christians grew up and had lived their entire lives with the rules, regulations, and rituals of their faith, so naturally they were having a hard time giving them up. Think about something you’ve done or believed for your whole life, and then imagine you suddenly need to change that; could you do it? How difficult would that be?

The Gentile Christians, unlike the Jews, were more dominant in the Roman church because they didn’t have those previous beliefs that they needed to let go of first, before they could truly follow Christ. This issue caused a lot of unrest and a lack of unity in the Roman church. The community became divided between the strong and the weak. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Jews had a lack of faith, but the term “weak” refers to what their faith would allow them to do. The Gentiles had no restrictions, because that’s how their life was before Christ. The Jews, however, restricted themselves because of their prior religious beliefs, so they were less able to live the Christian life until they got past those things.

The groups may have differences on particular practices, such as eating meat or not, but they are all called to be one body. They are all one family in Christ.

Anytime there is a significant difference between two groups like this, the groups will always be judging and condemning one another. We all think our way is the best way, right? People were no different back then.

Paul is commanding them here to stop judging one another! In verse 10 he says, “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” We may think that judging one another is fairly harmless, but really it isn’t, because God will judge us for that, and God’s judgment is far from harmless!

God is sovereign, and He is the ultimate judge. We need to respect and honor Him as such by being unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we do have minor differences.

Take a look at your life this week. How are you doing at being unified with one another? Or are you stuck in the differences between you and other Christians? Pray for God’s guidance toward unity, so that you will not deserve His judgment.

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Hands Off

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 15, 2015 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

I have experienced moments when I felt God saying, “Take your hands off of this situation, I’ve got this. Your help isn’t required.” In those times I would respond, “But God, this is my loved one! Shouldn’t I say or do something?”

Trusting God requires us to take our hands off of the situation. It requires us to trust Him and not try to manipulate the situation the way we think it should go. Trust requires us to pray about the situation and any involvement on our part. This means that we don’t say or do ANYTHING until we feel God has shown us what to say or do.

You say, “God hasn’t shown me what to say or do!” Then do nothing. Hands off!

This scripture passage also instructs us to lean not on your own understanding. I often have to stop myself and remember that I may have an opinion on a situation but I AM NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT! Just because I think I know what is right, or I think I know what I should say or do, doesn’t mean that I am right. Unless I know for sure that God has shown me the answer or action I am to take, then hands off!

I have said things like this before: “But God, If I just said _____, or If I just did _____, or If I shared more Scripture, showed them the error of their ways, I could fix this situation.”

Most of the time when God’s not calling me to jump in and try to “fix” a problem, I end up making the situation worse. When I interject my opinions, plans, and ideas, I exasperate the issues.

How do we know when to get involved and when to keep our hands off of situations?
Pray before we speak or take action.
Seek out scripture for guidance.
Seek wise counsel from a pastor or a spiritually mature friend.
Search your own motive and heart.
And wait on God’s leading. I f he isn’t leading and giving you direction to proceed, then “HANDS OFF”

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Wake Up!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, November 14, 2015 0 comments


by Nathan Buck

This past week, my family and I got to go to one of our favorite hiking spots. At the top of the mountain there is a beautiful overlook onto the tree filled valley below. In fall, it is a tapestry of colors, and it's always a restful retreat.

As we made our way up the mountain, a father and his young daughter were wandering the path and seemed uncertain of where to go. Even though the trail has changed significantly in the last 30 years, I still know the paths like the back of my hands. We offered for them to join us. Our kids hit it off right away, as she was right between the ages of our younger two, and they chattered and talked all the way up the mountain.

The dad and I connected well too. When we all reached the top, he and I had a chance to chat better, because we were no longer coaching and lifting our kids up the steep rock faces. We talked about work and a promotion he is training for. Then he shared why they had come to explore this new trail, over an hour from their home. He didn't share much detail, but I could tell it was a painful story for him. The sun was setting so we all started down the mountain.

As we reached the beginning of the trail again, our conversation returned to the family situation, and he shared a bit more because his daughter was running with my kids up toward the parking area. I clearly felt the Lord prompting me to pray for him and his family. We all did our obligatory "tick check" (now by the headlights of our vehicles), and then we both realized it was time to end the conversation we both seemed to feel was still just starting. He didn't know that I am a pastor, and we never mentioned anything about God or faith the whole time up and down the mountain. I just flat out asked him, "Hey, with all the stuff going on for you right now, would you be okay if we prayed for you?"

I don't know what he may have thought at that moment, but he seemed to give a very grateful, "Yes!" My wife and oldest daughter joined us in prayer with him and his daughter, then we exchanged some firm handshakes, and we all were on our way.

  Why do I share that story? Last week I shared with you what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 13 about only owing love to everyone around you, and intentionally investing in that "debt" instead of false debts we create. I was not expecting to be "tested" in that, and I have probably missed the opportunity to love others more times than I can count. (And if it helps you realize the flawed human that I am, I will gladly share about the arguing and frustration on the drive to the trail, and how I was abrupt and loud with my kids over their bickering in the back seat. As I always say, 'context' is important.)

But what made this moment different? Take a moment and read Romans 13:11-14.

Do you see how Paul (the writer of Romans) captures the urgency of being aware, alert, and awake to how we should be living? More specifically, that we should be actively aware of moments to love. In verses 11-13, he challenges us to wake up and live this opportunity to love and bless others daily. I think I need a strong reminder, like every 5 seconds, throughout the day - honestly, I need hit over the head with it.

Whatever my success rate last weekend and whatever funk my kids were in, because of God's Spirit being in us, we were aware of this moment with this father and daughter in a way that was beyond our natural behaviors. Long before we got to the deep stuff about his family, my middle child asked if I was going to ask them if they believed in Jesus. It caught me off guard when she asked, because she seemed so serious about it, as if it was what we ought to do. Again, not a normal approach for her, or for me. But I believe she was aware of the need and God's desire for us to simply bless and encourage this family beyond her understanding (and mine for that matter).

In verse 14 Paul says, "Put on the Lord Jesus… and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." I am so grateful for God's grace in helping us be aware of Him in that moment. We easily could have missed it. This verse challenges me to be intentionally setting aside my agendas and my desires and my expectations in every situation so that I can see the true need and the possible God moments that are there. It challenges me to be seeking what the most loving thing to do is, instead of the most efficient or gratifying. It challenges me to be more concerned about God's best direction in a situation, rather than my best guess or my success. God designed me for efficiency, strategy, etc. so that won't go away, but it must be pure in motive and free of my selfish desires. Otherwise, it could do more harm than good.

  I invite you to wrestle with Paul's challenge. Are you awake and aware of God's presence? Are you intentionally avoiding habits and behaviors that deaden your sensitivity to God and what is good? Are you trying to tune in and be like Jesus, and tuning out your selfish desires?

Someone you meet this week, or a decision you make this week, may be a moment God prepared for you to love or bless someone else. Will you be available?

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The Promise of Prosperity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 13, 2015 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

I recently had a rather intense conversation on Facebook regarding the so-called “Prosperity Gospel,” but I will say that this conversation was different than most who support such doctrines. There are numerous examples of promises throughout Scripture of prosperity and in a number of cases, increase in wealth. These are the standard examples cited by those who preach this message. But there is something hidden in such a message that needs to be addressed.

First, we need to understand something. What does it mean to prosper? In American culture, it often means successful business and increase of wealth and provision. It means bigger homes and bigger toys. But does this really reflect what the Bible describes? Not every Biblical hero was wealthy, and a number lost wealth for following God’s directions. Does prosperity mean financial wealth? Yes and no. It can reference wealth but wealth is not necessarily involved. Joseph was a slave and then imprisoned and yet God prospered him despite that. His status actually got worse for being obedient because he would not lie with Potiphar’s wife. But later, Joseph became the #2 person in all of Egypt. So did he become wealthy because he was obedient? The answer is something that might surprise people: it is no. Because he was obedient, God was able to place him where needed to be. Did wealth come as a result? In this case, yes, but that was a secondary point, not the primary.

We have several other cases where Biblical heroes started not so well off and God gave them earthly riches (among other things). David and Solomon are examples. Abraham was already rich (agriculturally speaking). But there is a huge difference between these heroes and what the Prosperity Gospel preaches. And here it is: the heroes of the Bible who acquired riches did not seek them out. They came with the package, but that was not why they pursued God.

This is what lies at the center of the Prosperity Gospel and their preachers. It is not actually about God or his kingdom. It is about self. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. What can I get out of following God? What are my rewards for suffering for Christ? Did you know Paul talks about knowing the rewards encouraged him to press forward? So is this all Biblical? Was Paul wrong to put that into Scripture? I will emphasize that the key is the motive, not the result.

Is God the end of the means or he is a means to an end? Paris Reidhead in his powerful sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” talks about the influence of Humanism into Christianity. In part because of this sermon and in others things I’ve been studying and learned, I have quasi-coined a term that I call Religious Humanism. I wrote about this a little while ago and this is precisely what the Prosperity Gospel carries out.

Religious Humanism is the use of religion and God for selfish and man-centered desires. It is using God for your benefit or seeking God for what you can get out of it. This position claims many different Scripture verses but often will misapply them. Religious Humanism has many different faces, but I am just going to focus on the Prosperity Gospel and how it is a false teacher.

The two people I engaged with on Facebook about this talked fervently about all the benefits and riches we get as believers. These promises are true. God is going to bless us with a lot of stuff for those who endure to the end. Paul often talked often talked about how the sufferings of this world now pale in comparison to the riches to come. But there is a big difference between Paul’s approach and the Prosperity Gospel’s approach. Paul was reminding himself and his readers that there is much more to the story than the current sufferings (which brings up a whole separate topic in itself). But he was never focused on getting those rewards. That was not his drive, his purpose. His drive was the Gospel and Christ and him alone. The rewards and benefits were secondary issues, not the primary issue. The Prosperity Gospel focuses on the benefits. And these two people did that. They often claimed they were in favor of the Gospel and God’s Kingdom, but the whole time they were going after the benefits that come with the package, not the giver of the package.

Now, to be very clear, there is NOTHING wrong with being wealthy in itself. Nowhere in the Bible does it say it is wrong to be wealthy. But with great resources comes great responsibility. The great dangers of wealth include getting comfortable. If you get comfortable, your trust tends to dwell on your wealth not the one who allowed you to get wealthy to begin with. The rich young ruler thought he had it all sorted out by keeping the law but Jesus knew his heart: he loved his money. And this is the root of the problem with the Prosperity Gospel. It is the love of the riches, the love of the benefits.

If you listen to those who preach this Prosperity Gospel, they may not say it outright, but they say that if you are not rich and becoming wealthy, then it is because you do not have enough faith, because you have not given enough money to THEM, or because you are in sin. They will say, “sow so you can reap.” This is a Biblical principle: give and it will be given back to you. But Scripture also teaches us to give and not expect a return. They will reference how the widow gave Elijah the last cake she had and then how her oil and flour never ran out. But they miss the context. Not everyone who gave to the prophet received that miracle. Let me warn you: anyone can quote Scripture citing promise after promise. Satan did that with Jesus. But Jesus knew better than to try to put God to the test.

Let us remember that God is God and we are not. God is not our servant. We are not his master. He will give us what we need and sometimes that includes REMOVING our pleasures. I heard a story of one rich woman who had it all and went completely bankrupt. She lost EVERYTHING and she later said, “If God did not make me lose everything, I never would have found him.” That was necessary for her, but not for everyone.

Too many of these false preachers are after the miracles and the blessings and only using God as a means to an end. The reward should not be our focus. I challenge us to serve and obey God for no other reason other than he is worthy to be served and obeyed. Would we serve God even if in the end he will send us to hell anyway? The Prosperity Gospel will never take that mindset. Keep your focus on God and who he is and what he did and do not focus on what you can get out of it. It never is and never was about you. Let us take the mindset of, “We are but unworthy servants. We have only done what we ought.

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