What Does the Bible Say About Sex After Marriage?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 20, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week I wrote on what the Bible says about sex before marriage, so that begs the question: what about sex after marriage?

Before answering this question, we first need to establish what marriage is. Marriage is between one man and one woman. It can’t be redefined to be anything else, because it was instituted by God. The marriage relationship should be like that of God and the church.

Hebrews 13:4 talks about sex both before and after marriage: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Keeping the marriage bed pure means that sex will only happen between a husband and wife. Once two people have intercourse, they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

The apostle Paul gives advice to married couples in 1 Corinthians 7. Verses 3-4 say, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” Once a couple is married, Paul commands them to stay married, because they are already united as one flesh, in verses 10-11: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

Similarly, the Bible tells us that sex after marriage should not include adultery (sex with someone other than your spouse) or prostitution.

“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.'” (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

Regarding the details of sex between a husband and wife within the context of marriage, the Bible is not very specific. But the general guideline to follow is to determine whether that particular act is good, beneficial and loving. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” While the context of this passage is not specifically related to sex, the concept still applies. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or beneficial. That’s where discernment and discussion between the husband and wife needs to take place.

So what does the Bible say? While sex before (or outside of) marriage is condemned as sin by the Bible, sex after and in the context of marriage is encouraged.

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The Faith of Joseph

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 19, 2017 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Just over a week ago, our nation held its annual observance of Veterans’ Day. It appropriately falls just a few weeks before Thanksgiving and the beginning of our Christmas season, as it reminds us that we have much for which to be thankful in this country and much that we so often take for granted. The service and sacrifice of so many in our military remind us of our Savior, who gave up his very life for not just our nation, but the sins of the whole world.

A word that might most accurately describe our veterans’ service is “legacy." They love their country and want to be remembered as having contributed to maintaining the freedoms it provides. One man who couldn’t bear the thought of his legacy not including some sacrifice or contribution to preserving those freedoms was former NFL player, Pat Tillman. He is known for having given up his comfortable life as a professional athlete to join his brother in the Army Rangers during our national conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan. While anyone who has heard of his story knows that Tillman lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004, many have continued to wonder why he would give up the life that so many would want. The answer can be found in an interview he did the day after 9/11, part of which can be viewed here. Tillman mentioned all of his family members who had proudly served their country, then considered that he, by comparison, hadn’t done a thing. He would eventually come to the conclusion that a legacy of service and self-sacrifice was better than a legacy of athletic success and lavish living.

How we live, and for that matter how we handle the fact that our lives are but a fraction of God’s whole story in the world, says everything about the legacy that remains long after our time. Our hero of the faith for this week is Joseph, and he certainly left a lasting legacy of faith and dependence on God. Hebrews 11:22 tells us, “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones." This verse shows us that Joseph had an opportunity to do what many don’t, and that’s give direct instructions to those who will carry on his legacy just before he dies. Let’s go back to the Old Testament and take a look at his story.

Genesis 37:3 tells us that Joseph was loved by Jacob more than any of his brothers. This caused his brothers to hate him. Frankly, Joseph doesn’t appear to be that bothered by this, because he dreams that his brothers and his parents will all eventually bow down to him and has no problem sharing these dreams with his family. It’s quite possible that Joseph knew how favored he was, and that this led to some level of arrogance. Later in Genesis 37:18-36, we see that his brothers plot to hill him, but instead come up with a better plan to sell him into slavery to a group of foreign merchants, who in turn take him to Egypt and sell him to a man named Potiphar, who was a high-ranking official in Pharaoh’s administration. Joseph then spends at least the next 11 years in the home of Potiphar, and although God has allowed terrible and unfair things to happen to him, he lives a life of obedience. When Potiphar’s wife tries to sleep with him, he refuses because such an action would be a sin against God (Genesis 39:6-10). Unable to deal with his rejection, Potiphar’s wife ultimately tries to force him and when even that doesn’t work, she accuses him of attempted rape. That’s a death sentence in that time and culture, given that she was the wife of a high-ranking government official.

But God continues to work in Joseph’s life as Joseph continues to be obedient and faithful despite his circumstances. He is put in prison, but just so we’re clear, it’s nothing like the prisons we have in America today. Psalm 105:18 tells us that Joseph’s “feet were bruised with shackles and his neck was put in irons." Despite this discomfort, Genesis 39:21-22 tells us that God gave Joseph favor in the eyes of the prison warden, who then put Joseph in charge of the business and the people in the prison. Joseph didn’t know it yet, but God was preparing him for a time in his future when he would use his experience and leadership to save others. After a few more years in prison and some other unfortunate and unfair happenings, Joseph has an opportunity to interpret dreams for Pharaoh himself. When he does it, Pharaoh puts him in charge of all of Egypt (Genesis 41:41). During his service to Pharaoh, Joseph plans ahead and stores up grain during 7 years of abundance because God reveals to him that 7 years of famine are coming after that. When the famine happens, Joseph is able to feed and save people who did not prepare for it.

The group of people saved includes his family. Jacob hears of grain in Egypt and sends Joseph’s brothers there to buy some. Eventually, Joseph recognizes his brothers and after a while chooses to reveal himself to them (Genesis 45). This is his best opportunity to really hammer them for what they did to him years earlier, but Joseph’s faith and obedience to God are shown in his unwillingness to get them back. He thinks only about how he can help them. At the end of Jacob’s life, Joseph’s brothers fear his revenge. But Joseph directly tells them that even though they meant to harm him, “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). That kind of perspective on God’s work in everything reveals that Joseph trusted God with even his suffering, knowing that a God who created the universe out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3) could handle his trials and any necessary vengeance.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Joseph kept that faith in God’s great plan in the midst of suffering even to his last breath and actually, beyond it. He could think of nothing better to pass on to his brothers and future Israelite generations than a trust that God would do as he had always promised. In Genesis 50:24-25, he tells them that God will “surely” take them out of Egypt and back to the land he had promised to the forefathers. He then makes them swear an oath that they will not bury him where he dies, in Egypt, but will instead take his bones with them WHEN (not “if”) they go back to the Promised Land.

Things would get much worse for the Israelites in Exodus 1 when a new king (aka “another Pharaoh”) who couldn’t care less about Joseph takes over. It would be 400 years until Joseph’s prophecy is fulfilled and Moses does as Joseph asked (Exodus 13:19). Yet, all throughout those 400 years, Joseph’s body and bones remained in a coffin above the ground, so that anyone who walked by and wondered about it could be reminded that God is still in control and still working in the midst of their circumstances, no matter how bleak they appear.

As things seem to be spinning further and further out of control in our country and around the world today, what legacy are you leaving for your children and those who come after you? Is it one of fear and a need for security? Or are you leaving a legacy of faith and freedom in the knowledge that God is at work and will SURELY do as he promises? If you haven’t done it yet, let go and trust God!

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Pandora’s Box: Old Earth Creation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 17, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In this series about false teachings, there is one that opened the door for the Prosperity Gospel and the Emergent Church among many others: Old Earth Creation. Back in 2014, I wrote about three flavors of "OEC" here, here, and here, and those three are what I predominantly had in mind in writing on this topic. There are new versions that have popped up and they tend to follow the same patterns. I do consider it a false teaching which has swept many of the churches in the West, and it carries out the same tactics used by both the Prosperity Gospel and the Emergent Church. And I cannot help but notice that more than any other teaching, none have opened the door so wide for so many others than old earth creation models. It is not necessarily as “offensive” as the Prosperity Gospel or Emergent theology, however it was the opening of Pandora’s Box and paved the way for a full out attack on Scripture.

Now, there are many, many sincere people who believe in an old earth and some of whom I would stand in court and testify they are believers. Likewise, there are true believers who have been caught up in other false teachings as well. I am not judging people’s salvation on any of these posts. However, a false teaching is still a false teaching and not only must it be addressed, but my purpose in these posts is for you to see what they are so you can avoid them, so you can escape them, or help someone else escape from them.

The Old Earth models have a very short pedigree in the church. They did not exist except for 200 years in the 2000-year history of the church. While many of its supporters will cite early church leaders who suggested an instantaneous creation, none of those church leaders ever supported an old earth. When the ideas of millions of years showed to be “demonstrable” with ideas of uniformitarianism, the church in the mid-1800s panicked and instead of standing upon the authority of Scripture and making a stand, they sought to figure out ways on how to include the deep time idea into Genesis. Right then and there, the church surrendered the sufficiency and authority of Scripture and the assault on Scripture has only increased since. Now, those who stand for the sufficiency and authority of Scripture are considered dogmatic, closed-minded, bigots, or worse.

Old Earth Creation models are frequently described as a compromise by the Young Earth organizations. The claimed compromise is joining the two opposing philosophies of Biblical authority and secularism. But I am going to take it a step further and suggest it is not really a compromise but something much worse. While there are many variations of old earth models, they all have this in common: it is the secular models of deep time, or at least parts of it, covered in Christian language. It is not a joining of two models, but a cosmetic covering of one with the other’s language and terms. Just as the Prosperity Gospel is the pagan “Law of Attraction” fit and tweaked with Christian terms and using misquoted and misapplied Scripture to “back it up,” when you boil these models down to what they actually are, the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with it. I have asked numerous OEC where they get their figures and their history from, and time and time again the Bible is nowhere to be found, no exceptions. The Bible is cited more to question YEC than to support OEC, and the only positive references are used, misquoted, and misinterpreted to back up the godless models, and often completely ignore many other passages while at it.

Like the Emergent Church, OEC roosts above the Bible with a false humility, claiming to take a low, humble position, but able to dictate what God meant because we have figured out so much about science, even when it completely contradicts what Scripture actually says. They put the Bible under their microscope of scrutiny, whereas a Christian is supposed to put himself under the scrutiny of Scripture. Like the Emergent Church, OEC will reference how the people back then did not know what we know now, thus insinuating that right now we are at the peak of man’s knowledge and can figure it out. This approach is not one of humility but of arrogance. Their claim is the Bible and the science they have figured out (referencing to secular understanding of science, where God nor any of his accounts are ever part of the equation) are on equal footing. Their practice, however, is that the secular understanding always trumps what God says. Man’s knowledge in his rebellion against God, is always taken over what Scripture actually says. Many apply this to the entire Old Testament, not just Genesis.

Most Old Earthers I have come across consider Sodom and Gomorrah to be allegorical, and the 10 Plagues and Crossing of the Red Sea can be explained naturally, and the falling of Jericho’s walls to be figurative, and Jonah’s encounter with a large fish to be just a myth. There are a few exceptions, but most I have encountered do not believe these events actually happened as recorded. They struggle to consider miracles into their equations because that makes the accounts not able to be analyzed scientifically. To which I say, “That’s the point, so you can’t explain God’s action without him.” But then they believe in the Resurrection of Christ, so they say. How? The answer is simple: they put themselves in authority over Scripture where they can pick and choose which parts are believable or not. Here is reality: the OEC does not believe God nor the Bible, despite their insistence that they do. They believe themselves because they are the highest authority, able to dictate what the Bible should actually say or mean. That is the height of pride.

When Old Earth Creation took root, man became the authority over Scripture, allowing him not only to determine which parts he wanted to believe, but even to go as far as defining who God is and what heaven would be like, and all with removing the core of the Gospel. I have seen that while a few teachers of the Prosperity Gospel, the Emergent Church, and OEC will mention sin, all three teachings take a very low view of it, and I have watched all three make little to no mention about actually being conformed into the image of Christ. In presentations, sin is seen as mistakes or “imperfections,” but not the outright rebellion against God that it is. Because OEC has enabled those in the churches to consider Original Sin to be of little consequence, now we have Emergent Church leaders suggesting that man has divinity and that our sin does not separate us from God. Not all Prosperity Gospel or Emergent Church teachers are Old Earthers or vice versa, however, Old Earth paved the way for a large number of the Satanic assaults on the integrity of Scripture to continue and it has completely removed the power of the church to address the issues it faces. If you can consider just one part of Scripture to be “unimportant” or “just a side issue,” or make it "your interpretation," you are telling everyone around you that you can choose whatever you want to believe and the next generation will always take it a step further than you are. It paves the road for all the other false teachings to take root, and whether you follow that road or not is not the issue. The issue is that the path is open and enabled.

You can look at any of the articles I have written about Creation, Evolution, and Old Earth by myself, by Steve Risner, or Bill Seng on the search bar on the Worldview Warriors blog page, or ask for more clarification in the comments or on Facebook.

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


The Broken Record

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 16, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

This week we will trot along as we look at attacks waged by evolutionists (theistic as well as atheistic) when they tell creationists they don't understand evolution. This is a very common tactic from proponents of evolution. They assume that someone must not understand it if they reject it. However, they fail to recognize that several creationists who are authors, debaters, and/or educators once taught evolutionary biology at the college level or have degrees specific to or related to evolution. Surely these people understand it. But to be honest, I feel it's pretty safe to say that no one understands it, really, because they get it wrong very frequently. They're always rewriting the story. Darwin mused over the lack of transition fossils in the fossil record. Here we are 150 years after Darwin's work with no real transitions to speak of (we'll get into that more later in this writing), but the theory hasn't had any issues with that at all, although the fossil record should be filled with transitions. I've been told that I don't understand how evolution works because I don't believe transition fossils exist. I've also been told that EVERY fossil is a transition fossil, but that's just blowing smoke to shut down discussion.

Are there transitions in the fossil record? The overwhelming response must be “NO!” Of course there aren’t. If there were, we'd have all heard endlessly about it. We do hear about them on occasion, but we later find no one, sometimes including the person that discovered it, actually still thinks it was a transition from anything to anything. Let's get back to Darwin:

He said in On the Origin of Species: “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” Remarkable, right? Now, just to be clear, Darwin didn't really blame this on his theory at all but on the evidence! He even had a chapter in his book called “The Imperfection of the Geological Record.”

It's no different now than it was then. Stephen Jay Gould, a very well-known evolutionist, said “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips.” He says “extreme rarity,” but I think it's more accurate to say “absence.” Darwin asked why the geologic column was not loaded with transition fossils and even with direct lineages from one organism to the next. If gradualism (slow changes over very long periods of time) is true, the fossil record should be ripe with evidence for it. He claims the evidence for Darwinism isn't there because the fossil record doesn't keep good notes, essentially. The (unverifiable) idea that Gould liked the most was that changes occur over a shorter period of time with long periods of no change. This seems to help the theory out, but 150 years and millions if not billions of fossils later, we still don't have anything we can truly call a transition. How could this be?

The rescuing device (suggesting that the transitions just aren't captured in the geologic column because they happen in short intervals) really is nothing more than wishful thinking. Darwin says that intermediates (transition fossils) must exist in huge numbers. We don't find them. He also states that it must be because the fossil record just didn't preserve them for us. The other alternative, obviously, is that his theory is incorrect. But as we've discussed before, since the facts don't help the evolutionist, they accommodate anything and everything (and sometimes claim they've had it right the whole time).

If we're honest and really think on it, the fossil record should be filled with not only the random transition fossil, but entire lineages should be represented. There are estimated to be, now, nearly 9 million different species. Surely we'd catch at least one ancestral line from something primitive to something modern. There are about 5700 family distinctions in taxonomy in the animal kingdom alone. There is nothing in the fossil record that connects them. If you recall the quote from Dr. Gould, he even says that the “tree” Darwinists love to talk about and claim is reality only has representatives at the tips of the branches. There is literally nothing to connect any of them. According to Eugene Koonin, Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine, “The general lack of transitional forms between species in the fossil record is a constant theme in evolutionary biology.” Here's a fact for us all to enjoy: the fossil record undeniably demonstrates stasis (lack of change) and NOT evolution.

When a fossil is found, it's generally quickly identified as a type of this or that. It's always something we know existed because something similar exists now, or if it's extinct we've found numerous other examples. There's never a question of “Oh, perhaps this is transitioning from an amphibian to a reptile,” or, “You know, this has several characteristics of a reptile and a mammal.” We just don't see them. In fact, the idea of transitions in and of itself is illogical. Evolutionists require it for their humanist theory, but it's impossible.

Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” He went on to say he knows of no examples of this (of course, or it would have destroyed his theory). But for a guy in the 1850's to be expected to have any real degree of knowledge on biology and physiology is a little much—at least not to the degree we do today (which is still rather small). There are numerous issues for Darwinism based on irreducible complexity. Evolutionists will claim this is not true, but my opinion is that the issues are fairly obvious. I've written on it before. There is no logical or fact-based defense for the evolutionist against irreducible complexity or specified complexity. But because they have to believe it or their religious beliefs have no hope, they hoist it up as though it's explainable through some magic of atheism.

The number of transition fossils allegedly found between some ape/human ancestor must be in the dozens. Yet, to date, every one can easily be identified as either completely ape or completely human (or completely bogus/fraudulent). The same can be true of nearly any alleged transition fossil found. And, again, if evolution is a reality, not only should we find more transition fossils, but we should find more of them than non-transition fossils. The record should be loaded with them! We've got none. How does that work?

Creationists see the fossil record and see 2 things: all life originated abruptly and with no ancestral lines to trace them back to something less complex, AND the planet's surface was annihilated by a great Flood that killed an unknowable amount of life forms all at one time. Both of these ideas are supportive of the Biblical account and neither is helpful (or acknowledged) by evolutionists. They do enjoy denying the obvious.

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The Unfaithful Reading of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Last week I wrote about Rene Descartes’ foundationalism. He began with an awareness of his own consciousness and rationalized all of his beliefs on that basis. He reckoned that all of his beliefs could be held without the shadow of a doubt, including his belief in God, as long as they were justified along these lines.

The level of indubitability that Descartes was looking for was impractical because the skepticism that arose in response to him proved that one can always be skeptical of anything, no matter how well-founded is the belief. An endless litany of “But what if it wasn’t though?” could always follow whatever belief someone had, even Descartes’ famous line: “I think therefore, I am.” The skeptics became a very popular school of thought.

Many philosophers, like Kant, began to address this skepticism but really only made matters worse. Kant suggested that there were two worlds: the material world (phenomena) which we could perceive with our five senses and could be measured and observed, and that which lies beyond perception (noumena), which cannot be measured or observed. This is the spiritual world, basically.

For Kant, the material world could be known and therefore the data concerning it could be called knowledge. The spiritual world could not be known (in Kant’s opinion) except through subjective experiences and therefore could only ever be “belief” but never “knowledge.” This separation between belief and knowledge remains today.

So according to Kant and those who follow him, one could never say, “We know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead,” because such a statement cannot be substantiated by material or physical evidence. Let me hasten to say that Kantians are in error even here. The resurrection of Jesus is a known historical fact. It has been substantiated by material, physical evidence. The resurrection of Jesus, therefore, constitutes knowledge not merely belief even by Kant’s less-than-ideal standards.

Kant believed that one could not know anything that belonged in the spiritual world with any degree of certainty; one could only ever guess. He also believed that no one could ever speak to us from the spiritual world and so we would never know anything about it. After all, he might have reasoned, when you ask the dead about the spiritual world they say nothing, so it must be nothing.

This thinking became the basis of reading the Bible with a hyper-critical point of view. In the opinion of the intellectuals that followed Kant, the Bible had to be demythologized, that is that all of the spiritual or supernatural accounts had to be reinterpreted with nothing supernatural admitted. Hence, neither Jesus nor anyone else could have performed miracles. He could have risen from the dead and neither will you when you die. Jesus was not born of a virgin, did not feed the five thousand, and did not heal a blind man. And on and on the hellish litany drones.

This way of reading the Bible bears several names even today among them: German higher-criticism, hyper-criticism, demythological reading, JDEP, etc. (You can look them up for fun sometime.) But the common denominator in all of these names is that the supernatural doesn’t exist and so the Bible had to be reinterpreted.

This kind of reading is actually foreign to Scripture. The Bible teaches that we can know what lies in the spiritual world and that we have had many voices speak to us from that side (see Hebrews 1:1) especially now that Jesus has come and spoken to us (Hebrews 1:2 plus the entirety of the New Testament). Nevertheless, this alien hermeneutic was imported into reading the Bible. These Germans (calling themselves the Academy) were actually reading the Bible to justify UNbelief. That is why it is an unfaithful reading of Scripture.

This hyper-criticism has destroyed the European church. It was imported to America in the early 1900’s through the mainline churches, most notably the Presbyterian Church. It has sterilized and destroyed that once-great center of Christianity along with much of the mainline denominations of the 20th century. Now it is at work among Evangelicals in many different ways but among them Progressive Christianity, the Emergent Church, Affirming Churches, etc.

The Bible is a supernatural book that teaches that God is there and that He can be known. He acts in supernatural ways both in the past and still today. A system of belief that denies this fundamental truth is contrary to Scripture and foreign to true Christianity. But these unbelievers want to have a semblance of religion and so they play word games with the Bible, importing this alien interpretation to the Scripture and denying the Lord.

Hyper-criticism is a cult.

If you don’t believe me, read an account of a hyper-critical insider who happened to be born again and then subsequently left the Academy. You can find it here; be prepared, it is powerful.

If you are going to know God, you must begin by taking the Bible at face value. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). You will never have true knowledge of the spiritual world if you predetermine that it does not exist. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile” (Psalm 14:1).

We can talk more about this sometime, but for now, friend, reject any Bible teacher who denies that the Bible is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Reject any Bible teacher that denies the supernatural or miracles. Reject teachers who say that this or that book is “non-historical” or that Paul didn’t write 2 Timothy, or that Moses didn’t write Genesis, etc. They don’t know, can’t know, but are driven by their personal unbelief. They would like you to also not believe the truth of the Bible, even while they pretend to be the Bible’s friend. They lie. They are apostates. They have wandered from the faith.

“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4).

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


What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 13, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

If you’re a teenager or young adult who is a follower of Jesus, my guess is that this question has crossed your mind at least once: what does the Bible really say about having sex before marriage? Hopefully this blog post will help answer that question for you.

We at Worldview Warriors wrote on this topic previous, during 2014 when we answered many tough questions. You can check out my post on “What is Fornication?” here. As I wrote in that post, sexual sin is inside one’s own body, rather than an external sin, so in that situation we are not honoring God with our bodies. You can find more on this in 1 Corinthians 6:13-20. When we are followers of Jesus, we are united with Him and the Spirit, so sexual sin is defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul gives some additional advice regarding sex in 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 7:8-9. He encourages unmarried men and women to refrain from having sex. But being a man himself he realizes this may be difficult, so if you’re not able to control yourself, then just get married! That may seem crass to us in the 21st century, but if you’re willing to unite yourself with another human being in that intimate way (Genesis 2:24), then you should be willing to spend the rest of your life with them.

So according to the Bible, having sex with anyone other than your spouse is considered to be sexual immorality. What does the Bible say about sexual immorality? A lot! Check out these passages:

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20)

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.” (1 Corinthians 5:1)

“We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.” (1 Corinthians 10:8)

“I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” (2 Corinthians 12:21)

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Ephesians 5:3)

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)

If those aren’t enough for you I could probably find a few more, but those should make it clear: sexual immorality is sin in God’s eyes. There is no situation in which it is considered right.

From a practical viewpoint, think about the benefits of not having sex outside of marriage: fewer sexually transmitted diseases, significantly less abortions and unwanted pregnancies, and more children growing up in households where both parents are present. Abstinence not only honors God, but it’s practical as well.

Anyone who is a follower of Jesus should desire to honor God with our whole lives - including all our actions and what we do with our bodies. The Bible is pretty clear that this is God’s position, so it should be our position as well when we are following Him.

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The Faith of Jacob

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 12, 2017 1 comments

by Logan Ames

Have you ever taken on something in your life that you knew right away you had absolutely no clue how to manage? For my wife Clara and I, that thought describes just about everything in our lives right now. After leaving friends, jobs, and comfort in Ohio and moving to Pennsylvania, we have since purchased a house for the first time in our lives, and then just recently discovered that we are going to be parents! While the general response we have gotten from all of our friends and family has been congratulatory and celebratory - and rightfully so since all of these things are blessings from the Lord - we’d be lying if we denied that there is at least some angst as we approach each of these undertakings. I’ve never been a full-time pastor until now, she’s never been an executive director of a faith-based agency that relies heavily on donations as she is now, and neither of us has ever owned a home or been a parent. But whether we are ready or not, all of those things will be simultaneous realities in 2018.

Obviously, we have had at least some control and choice in each of these things. Not a single one of them has “happened” to us. They are things we want and things for which we believe God has been preparing us. But the simple fact that we have so many unknowns and the pressure to “not mess it up” causes us to have some fear. Now, there are probably more times that we feel confident and have hope. So, I got to wondering about the difference between the two feelings for us - fear versus hope. What I realized is that the times we start worrying about things and losing sight of the true blessings we are receiving are when we are too focused on US, and the times we feel content, secure, confident, and hopeful are when we accept and even laugh about the fact that we have no clue about most of this stuff and are fully dependent on GOD working his good plans in and through us.

What I have described here for all of us is the universal battle of our flesh versus God’s will. The man we’ll look at today certainly had his struggles between his carnal view and seeing things through God’s eyes. But like most of the other heroes of the faith, his struggles were merely speed bumps on his road to confident faith. Hebrews 11:21 tells us about Jacob’s faith that guided him to the very end: “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff." Jacob is discussed in basically half of the chapters in the Book of Genesis, so it’s interesting that the writer of Hebrews only mentions his faith at the very end as the example to us. So, let’s go back and check a little bit of Jacob’s history.

As we saw in last Sunday’s post, Bible readers first meet Jacob in Genesis 25 when the story of the births of him and his twin Esau are detailed. Because of how he is grabbing Esau’s heel when he is born, he is named “Jacob” by his mother, which means “he grasps the heel” and is a Hebrew idiom for “one who deceives” (verse 26). This tells us right away that Jacob will be one who manipulates and deceives in order to get what he wants or feels he deserves. Jacob eventually cons his brother Esau into giving up his birthright (which Esau would’ve been due since he was technically the older brother), and this causes Esau to want revenge, so he plans to eventually kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41). Jacob knows this and fears his brother’s revenge, so he runs away and ends up basically building a life somewhere else. As he goes on his journey, God appears to him in the story where we read about his dream of a stairway to heaven (Genesis 28:10-22). If you read those verses, you see that Jacob completely understands that he is not God. He trusts God’s promises, sets up a pillar to worship and remember that everything belongs to God, and makes a vow to obey him with a tithe for as long as God continues to bless him and keep his promises.

If you’ve read previous posts about Abraham and Isaac, you know that there is a pattern with these guys. They start out as faithful, then circumstances, fears, or temptations cause them to act based on their flesh, then they return to their faith in the end. This should be a comfort to us no matter what part of that story we are currently experiencing. Like Abraham did at the beginning of his story, Jacob settles somewhere that is not ultimately God’s plan for him. He ends up marrying two different women (the first time that we know of that someone included in the heroes of our faith committed the sin of polygamy) and sleeps with two other women in addition to his wives. All four of the women bear him children, but the issues of jealousy, insecurity, and family dysfunction reveal that this was NOT God’s plan and everyone involved is suffering the consequences of not walking with him. Yet, after all that, God tells him yet again that he will be with Jacob if he obeys and goes back to where God wants him (Genesis 31:3). Jacob begins to see the truth and refers to God as “the Fear of his father Isaac” (Genesis 31:53). He’s starting to see that doing things God’s way and focusing on God’s command rather than his own view works out best!

After Jacob physically struggles between his flesh and God in Genesis 32 (a physical picture of the spiritual struggle we all have), Jacob’s name is changed to “Israel," which means “struggles with God." Of course, God could choose to overpower Jacob’s flesh easily, but that’s not who God is. Our flesh has to be surrendered, not taken by force. Jacob then reconciles with Esau in the next few chapters, then goes through some awful stuff after that, including dealing with the rape of his daughter and two of his sons then killing the rapist and many others with him out of revenge. While his sons view the situation out of their own flesh, Jacob begins to see things God’s way and does not condone the revenge killings. Later, his firstborn son, Reuben, sleeps with Jacob’s concubine (Genesis 35:22), and Jacob hears about it. Then, his favorite son, Joseph, is taken away by his jealous brothers and is sold into slavery (Genesis 37). Jacob is told Joseph is dead and believes it, so he mourns a death that isn’t even true for the next 20 years!

When Jacob learns that Joseph is still alive in Egypt many years later, he travels there to see him and trusts God after God tells him to go and not be afraid. While there, he reveals to Joseph that God had promised to make him into a great nation and makes Joseph swear an oath to him that he will carry Jacob’s body back to the Promised Land and bury him next to his father and grandfather. As Joseph swears the oath, Genesis 47:31 tells us that Jacob leans on the top of his staff. This may seem insignificant, but it’s a great example of faith just like the others in Hebrews 11. I remember hearing once that the staff had the carvings of reminders of the great works God had done so far in Israel’s history. Jacob was old, weak, and physically handicapped from the dislocation of his hip during his physical struggle with God. Thus, his decision to lean on the staff was an admission that, though he was weak and broken, his dependence would be on God’s promises and not his own physical flesh. The same is true in Genesis 48, when Jacob reckons Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own and blesses them along with his other ten sons (minus Reuben and Simeon who lost their blessings because of their sins). Even when Joseph is still acting in the flesh and tries to force Jacob to bless his sons as tradition says rather than as God says, Jacob simply does God’s will and ignores any tradition that would set itself up against God’s plan.

Friends, you may be weak, you may be broken, you may even be physically handicapped. You may have spent many years away from God or simply went back and forth from following him to disobeying him. You may still be wrestling with God and trying to depend on your flesh more than him even now. Regardless of what place you are in your journey, you can learn from Jacob’s example that it’s not too late to surrender to the Lord and depend on his will for the things in life that bring you angst, rather than trying to keep control in your own hands. You’ll never be more free and at peace than when you accept that you need God to save you from yourself!

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The Emergent Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 10, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Emergent Church is a movement within Christian groups seeking to bring Christianity back into a popular spotlight. The leaders of this movement have some very legitimate complaints about how the American churches have behaved, and they suggest there is a better way to do things. It is a great idea in principal, however the solution proposed is another lie from the pit of hell.

Like with the Prosperity Gospel, I do not question the sincerity of the preachers of these teachings. They really do mean well, but even the best laid intentions can lead straight to death. Some of the complaints they have made against the church are real. One described how in one church service, a pastor gave a quick alter call and asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to receive Christ. Everyone was to have their heads bowed and eyes closed, and he described several people who wanted to receive Christ. This one preacher, sitting in the congregation, looked around and not one person raised a hand. The pastor of this service was lying and putting on a show. It hurt this preacher. There have been many in this movement who have shared similar stories.

Christianity has been without any real power in much of Western society for a while. There are still pockets and many individuals who walk with the real power of the Holy Spirit, but across society Christianity is mostly dead. The US and Europe as a whole have little to no respect for it. The Emergent Church has recognized this and wants to see Christianity restored to respect, however their solution is to take away anything that gives Christianity its sting, to redefine what Christianity is supposed to be like, and have everyone get along in one big Kum-Bah-Yah.

The Emergent Church has little to no respect for many of the doctrines of Christianity, particularly those which draw the line between the real and the fake, the clean and the unclean. One preacher describes the doctrines which make a clear distinction between fact and fiction as bricks on a wall that keeps people out. The term he uses is “Brickianity.” Another preacher describes the Christian denominations as shadows of the real image, however instead of tracing the images back to the real, he takes the pieces of the images he likes and combines them together.

I have seen two of the Emergent teachers (and there may be others) who claim to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but then they proceed to make arguments that it really is not important. They ask if believing in the virgin birth is necessary to be a Christian. Isaiah makes it absolutely clear that the virgin birth is a sign so that you know he is the Christ. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, he is not the Messiah. If you do not believe in the virgin birth, which Messiah are you actually following?

The great danger of this movement is that it puts man, his intellect, and his culture above the Bible, and looks down upon it as though it needs our help. Numerous leaders of this group consider the Bible “confusing” and “more of a question book than an answer book,” but then they present this idea that we have come far enough that we not only get to interpret the Bible in accordance to our current culture, but we get to have authority over it by saying what God really meant instead of submitting to what he actually says.

The real tricky part of this is their apparent humble approach. The entire time they are questioning the integrity of Scripture, they are very quick to say something like, “I’m just trying to present an idea here for discussion. Just be open minded to other ideas.” Except all these “other ideas” are completely contradictory to what the Bible actually says. They have no Biblical humility, but just an appearance of it. Biblical humility says, “God, you are right and I am not.” It is a proclamation of godliness, but denies the power of it.

One thing you will never be able to pin an Emergent Church leader on is what they actually believe. Their books are full of questions but none of their answers have any clarity. They want everyone to get alone in one big happy circle and be unified, but unified over what? It’s not Christ, because Christ draws a line and says, “Pick a side.” What is the Emergent Church’s idea of Christianity? No one has any idea because it is a free for all. There’s nothing concrete to describe it, no definitions of “this is what we believe and why.” They will typically have a standard “statement of faith” that matches most other churches, but rarely will actually follow said statement.

Paul said he would become all things to all men. Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, C.T. Studd, Bruce Olson, and other missionaries took up the dress of China, India, Africa, and the Motilones, but they did not become Buddhist, Hindi, or whatever tribal religion of the jungles. They did forsake their European/American ways, but they did not succumb to the cultures they were reaching. David Wilkerson did not have a join a gang to reach the gangs of New York City, but he did have to have some clashes with the police and the judicial system, while doing nothing wrong himself, to reach them. Yet, the Emergent Church leaders paint a picture where you can embrace religious practices of the pagan. Their thinking shows that God will take them just as they are, but they leave out the sanctification part. God will take us as we are, but he will not leave us as we are. The Emergent Church wants nothing to do with talking about sin or repentance. And I am not joking nor exaggerating when they say it is more important to save turtles in a swamp than it is to speak about sin and hell and getting your life in order with God.

There is much more to say about this, but I do not want this to be a mere rant. I want to expose these teachings for what they are and provide a true solution. In the books I have read and the whole reasoning for this movement, I can not only address the problems they want to address but also provide the solution with four quick verses: Romans 3:1-4. Had these church leaders spent more time in their Bible and seeking the Lord, rather than finding a solution that does not offend the sinful flesh and is politically correct, they would see that those legitimate issues in the church were not representative of God. We are to let God be the truth and every man a liar. Where any person fails to accurately represent Jesus, don’t let that failure dictate what you think about God. The Emergent Church has, and a big part of it is that they see Christianity as just another religion and God as one of the many ideas of a deity out there. They do not recognize God for who he actually is and they worship of a god of their own choosing (again, that is not my assessment, but something the founder of this movement actually says).

As with last week’s post, upon request I can give specific quotes and references to the teachings I have presented as well as solid resources on those who have raised up the same concerns I have. The Emergent Church movement no longer goes by that name and are now under the moniker “Progressive Christianity.” I expect that may change before long too. These teachings have held massive sway over the Christian community, particularly the seminaries. And these teachings have well infiltrated many of the conservative Christian circles in part or in full. We must be watchful of what is out there.

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The Theory of Change that Just Won't Change

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 9, 2017 2 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week we began the process of investigating common claims by evolutionists as to why non-evolutionists don't believe in universal common descent (that simple, early life forms slowly mutated into all the different organisms we see today including humans). We touched on the fact that nearly 50% of Americans reject evolution—that the largest portion of those of us in the US believe God created man in his current form. For some silly reason, militant evolutionists will suggest this means Americans are not smart or are hindering progress. This, of course, is foolishness. Progress would be hindered by devoting massive amounts of resources towards researching the humanist/atheist origins myth. Intelligent minds and large sums of money have been wasted on such things. Brilliant men and women of times past have built this thing we call science, and nearly all of them were creationists. You can read more about that in my blog post “Creation Scientist is Not an Oxymoron.” There's no denying (rationally) that science owes a great debt of gratitude to these men and women who, according to most evolutionists today, aren't smart enough to understand evolution.

I was taught evolution in junior high and high school biology classes as well as at the college level. It wasn't a major part of my K-12 education, but every biology text has a section in it that starts with abiogenesis (non-living chemistry magically coming together to make some unknown simple life form) and moves with very little explanation (because there isn't much of one, really) to the biological diversity we have today. But in college it was taught a great deal more. “Evolution is a fact!” is exactly what my biology professor, Dr. Murray, said in the lecture hall. “And there is no doubt that there is life on other planets.” Wild, I know. For a scientist with a doctoral degree of any kind to say such rubbish and especially as a teacher to young, impressionable minds is inexcusable.

Here are some things I'd like to consider. A common argument held by evolutionists is that science is not something that needs to be observable or repeatable. It merely needs to be testable and falsifiable (which means you can prove that it's false). Is this true? Does this meet the standards of science? It's been said that evolution is as much a fact as 2+2=4. Is this possible? Of course not. You can observationally verify that 2+2=4 a million different ways. Two fingers and two fingers=4 fingers. Two pizzas and two more pizzas is 4 pizzas. Two crayons plus two crayons is 4 crayons. Over and over we can verify that this equation is true. Can you think of a single experiment or test for evolution? Is there anything dealing with it as solid, repeatable, and verifiable as our equation 2+2=4? Of course not. This is because if evolution is happening, it's allegedly happening so slowly we can't see it (although the fossil record unequivocally says this is not true) and if evolution ever happened at some point in the past, we can't go back there and see it happen because we've not yet managed to reproduce Doc Brown's flux capacitor. Evolution is an idea about something that may have happened historically but it cannot be anything more than that—an idea.

There is obviously some merit to putting some facts together and extrapolating into the past using information we do know is true, but we can't confuse such speculation with solid, verifiable facts like 2+2=4. Dr. John Morris said “... ‘science’ has always relied on human observation. Obviously, observations occur in the present, even if they relate to things in the past. For instance, paleontologists, who exist in the present, make observations in the present of fossils, which exist in the present even though the fossils are the remains of organisms, which lived in the past. Science is done in the present.”

Evolution (meaning pond scum to people lineages) may be a nice way for atheists to account for the diversity we see in living things today, but creationists find it much more appealing to look at the facts. From a scientific stance, creationists have a fairly strong case if we're concerned with facts and observation. This is likely why the claim we're addressing today—that science is not about observation—is so popular among evolutionists. Now, it's obvious that creationism is contrary to the atheists' origins myth and, as a result, will no doubt be shunned as a mockery of science and all that sort of talking down they like to do. But what is really being said when the claim is made that creationists don't understand science and that creationism is not scientific is that it disagrees with atheism, so it's stupid. The fact they will never admit is that neither creationism nor evolutionism is purely scientific. They are both belief systems. One has a much stronger case based on the observable facts while the other is found, as some who adhere to it have said, in the imagination.

So we are clear here: we have observed in the fossil record organisms showing up abruptly with no evidence of ancestors that were “simpler.” We find that organisms remain relatively the same over time with only minor changes able to be found and these changes are clearly limited. We find no evidence whatsoever of transition fossils linking one major kind of organism to another. This all fits with creation and contradicts evolution.

It is repeatedly brought up by evolutionists that evolution (from a single common ancestor) is as scientific and well-founded as gravity. However, under even the most slack of standards, this statement and others like it are found to be extremely misleading. In fact, I would suggest that anyone claiming such things is either ignorant or deceptive. They either have no idea how science works or, possibly, they are just repeating something they heard someone else they respect say without any idea of the meaning OR they are willfully trying to deceive someone who may not have a good grasp on the subject matter. Neither is good, but one is obviously worse since its intent is to mislead. If there's another option, I'd be willing to hear it.

The most basic foundational principle of modern science is the scientific method. This is taught to children all the way to graduate school. The scientific method was standardized first by Francis Bacon, a creationist, and has stood the test of time as a reliable way to draw conclusions about the world around us. The above link to the scientific method was included to give an overview of the process. You'll note that within the page, evolution is used as an example of a field of study that incorporates the scientific method, which is comical but sad at the same time. I'm sure it can easily be seen why the process called the scientific method cannot possibly be applied to past events that no one witnessed. If you have questions about that, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Another staple of scientific ideas is that of falsifiability. Unfortunately, Darwinism has stood the test of time not because it has managed to pass all tests of falsifiability but because it is modified to accommodate any and all evidence, or evidence is simply rejected and ignored. For example, if an organism is found to have slight modifications over what is alleged to be millions of years, that's heralded as evidence for evolution. If an organism is found to be exactly the same over alleged eons of time, this, too, is spoken of as evidence for evolution. In other words, if something changes it's because of the process of evolution and if something doesn't change it's because of the process of evolution. A “theory” that accommodates any and all facts is not a scientific one. Universal common descent is not falsifiable. Frank Sherwin states, “It would seem that evolution is so plastic that there's nothing this philosophy cannot do.” This is especially true since it's a process too slow to see, not found in the fossil record, and can't be tested empirically to any degree. Evidence that is contrary to evolution can cost you your job if you're a scientist and will, at the least, get you ridiculed. That evidence will then either be explained away (generally fairly hollowly) or will be ignored. For some reason, it turns out occasionally that the evidence is not only ignored but the discoverer of the evidence is attacked personally. This is what passes as “science” these days.

Then they'll tell you that the fact that we can't see evolution happening today is proof that it takes too long to see it! I've read such absurd statements from evolutionists. It's amazing! This is akin to saying, “We can't see evolution happening and that's proof that it is happening.” You can't make this stuff up. If it's happening slowly, we would expect the fossil record to be LOADED with evidence of these changes. Yet we find not only is the fossil record not filled with transition fossils, they are completely absent. Sure, they have a few things that they speculate may be a transition, but they're hardly represented enough to suggest they're a transition from anything to anything. Very frequently, we find that these “transition fossils” that are proof positive for evolution from a single common ancestor consist of a single tooth or 3 spinal bones and a pebble that's supposed to be a skull fragment. In other words, they've got 1-2% of an organism's skeletal remains fossilized and can write volumes on it from what it ate, how it lived, what it looked like (color and all), what it sounded like, how it walked, who its ancestors were and who its offspring became. This, again, is called “science” by some. Lucy is another great example of a few pieces of bone chosen from a pile and ranted about being some sort of advanced ape like ancestor to humans. You see, evidence for evolutionism is manufactured or imagined. It's not discovered. It's really just a scam, but since it's the only thing they have to stand up against creation as told by the Bible, it's been sticking around.

I hope this was a thought provoking read. I'll be continuing to work on common claims by evolutionists as to why people don't believe it/understand it over the next few weeks.

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How to Read the Bible

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 8, 2017 1 comments

by David Odegard

There are three approaches to understanding the Bible: the unthoughtful approach, the thoughtful approach, and the hyper-critical or unfaithful approach.

Mark contrasts the attitude of little children with that of the rich young man in the tenth chapter of his gospel (10:13-31). On the one hand, Jesus praises the simple faith of the children saying, “To such belong the kingdom of God.” But on the other hand, Jesus shakes his head in sadness as the young man walks away because he could not put his faith in action thus exposing it as not real faith after all. The young man could not take the step of faith; he had to remain the captain of his own ship so to speak. He walked away from the greatest opportunity ever presented to him (vss. 21-22) because he couldn’t let go of control.

A child does not captain his or her own ship. It is an act of faith to get into a boat of which you are not the captain. You are on someone else’s time table, you are not in charge, and you can’t leave. A child is constantly waiting for someone else. Life revolves completely around another person’s goals and values. Childhood is one aspect of my life that I am glad is over.

And yet, won’t I always be a child in at least one way? Won’t my maturity always be infinitely less than God’s own maturity? Won’t there always be an infinite gap between all that I know and can know and what God knows?

Faith is the first thing. Rene Descartes did not begin there, however. His philosophy of foundationalism began with “I think, therefore, I am” (emphasis added). Descartes began with a recognition of his own consciousness and used that to justify all of his beliefs. (I don’t want to demonize Descartes entirely because I myself ascribe to a modest form of foundationalism. Look here and here for more information.) But the Bible does not begin where Descartes did; the Bible begins with faith—an assertion that God is there. “In the beginning God…

Children express faith easily. I love watching all the town kids come to the church on Wednesday night and ask Jesus to come into their hearts. When children hear the Word of God, they accept it without thinking. In fact, this is the first way we learn to read the Bible, but it is the unthoughtful approach.

The unthoughtful approach to Scripture fails to recognize the difference that context makes when reading a passage. It doesn’t understand or recognize the difference between the Old and New Testaments. It doesn’t see any nuance at all. It lacks historical context and perspective. The words of Peter might as well come from David or Moses; it makes no difference to the unthoughtful reader of Scripture. The poetry, the nuance, the beauty of Scripture might as well read like a list of legal prohibitions because the unthoughtful reading cannot grasp the difference.

Some might call this a Sunday School knowledge of the Bible. It is an immature view of the Bible, but it is at least faithful to God in that it carries and implicit trust in God and His Word. Alas, however, what we Christians have been slow to recognize is that this unthinking approach to Scripture has left our children unable to withstand the gale force societal onslaught against the Christian worldview.

Therefore, each person who has a childlike faith is going to have to adopt one of the other two approaches.

The second approach is a thoughtful and faithful approach to Scripture. This is reading the Bible while fully aware of the metaphor, poetry, and ultimate message of overall Scripture—with an intent to obey it! Faithful mature Christianity deeply studies the Bible so as to understand how we ought to live out a life of obedience to God through His Word and how to rightly love our neighbor.

The third approach is also thoughtful, but in hyper-criticism of the Bible. This approach imports and alien distrust of the Word to the text. It has neither faith nor obedience in sight. Rather, the individual intellect is held in higher authority than the Bible. Each person decides for himself whether what he or she is reading in the Bible is worthy of acceptance. This is completely foreign to how God expects us to read the Bible.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

“So we should be finished with the beginning lessons about Christ. We should not have to keep going back to where we started. We began our new life by turning away from the evil we did in the past and by believing in God. That’s when we were taught about baptisms, laying hands on people, the resurrection of those who have died, and the final judgment. Now we need to go forward to more mature teaching” (Hebrews 6:1-2).

I recommend to you a faithful, thoughtful, mature reading of Scripture.

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Popular Sovereignty and the Bible, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 7, 2017 0 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

Modern accounts of the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution often attribute the concept of popular sovereignty to men such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau with Locke being the one most often praised as the source of the American ideal of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. To make this attribution, however, modern scholarship has had to ignore, or perhaps forget, the previously held view that the notion of popular sovereignty can be traced to the government of ancient Israel as recorded in the pages of the Bible.

To develop a proper understanding of the theory of popular sovereignty advocated in the Bible, it is necessary to begin with the initial formation of the nation of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. The first account of this formation begins in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Exodus. It is in this chapter that we find God telling the Israelites:

“‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” (Exodus 19:4-6).

This passage is the preamble to what is known as the Mosaic Covenant. The full covenant is recorded in Exodus chapters 19-24, and it contains the famous Ten Commandments as well as several other foundational laws of the nation of Israel. These five chapters of the book of Exodus can be viewed as being equivalent in nature to the Constitution of America. They form the foundation upon which all the other laws of the nation were established.

The concept of popular sovereignty is present throughout the entirety of the Mosaic Covenant, and it is obvious even in the preamble itself. God did not simply tell the Israelites that they would be a holy nation unto Him. Instead, He presented them with an “if … then” proposition and left it up to the people themselves to decide whether or not to become the kind of nation that He wanted them to be. The response of the people to this proposition is found in verse 8 where we read that they gave unanimous consent to do everything that the Lord commanded them to do. From this, it is plainly obvious that government of the nation of Israel was established on the concept of popular sovereignty. The people were granted the sovereignty to either accept or reject God’s offer, and they willingly chose to accept it.

But the preamble is not the only recognition of popular sovereignty to be found in this covenant. When the covenant is examined in its entirety, it becomes evident that it is in the form of a suzerainty treaty. This has often been recognized by biblical scholars, and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia records that, “Form-critical and other studies have shown the striking parallels in structure between second-millennium-B.C. suzerainty treaties and the records of the covenant in Exodus and Deuteronomy.”

Suzerainty treaties were common in the region of Palestine during the time of the exodus, and they consisted of agreements between a greater king and a lesser king in which the lesser king would agree to serve the greater in all areas expressly stated in the treaty. This means that the Mosaic Covenant is a recognizable treaty of submission between two sovereigns. The identity of the greater sovereign in this treaty is immediately recognized as God, and the lesser sovereign can only be the audience of the people who “responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do’” (Exodus 24:3).

This kind of treaty relationship was recognized by philosophers like Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel to be one in which “the inferior Power remains a Sovereign State” and in which “the weaker Power may exercise the rights of sovereignty so long as by so doing no detriment is caused to the interests or influence of the Suzeraine Power.” Grotius, for example, described a suzerainty treaty when he spoke of a league between sovereigns “where by the express Articles of the League some lasting Preference is given from one to the other; that is, where one is obliged to maintain the Dominion and Honour of another.” He explained that people bound by this type of treaty are still free and then concluded that, “If then a Nation bound by such a Covenant, remains yet free, and not subjected to the Power of another, it follows, that it yet retains its Sovereignty.”

Thus, the fact that the Mosaic Covenant is in the form of a suzerainty treaty establishes two facts about the popular sovereignty of the Israelites. First, this form of treaty was a recognition by God of the sovereignty of the people at the time that the covenant was offered. Second, this treaty between a sovereign people and the sovereign Lord did not remove sovereignty from either. By accepting the terms of this treaty, the people of Israel agreed to submit to the terms of the covenant while still retaining their own sovereignty.

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What Does the Bible Say About War?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 6, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) But yet, there are numerous times that God commands the Israelites to go to war, which results in the killing of often thousands of people. How do we reconcile these? What does the Bible really say about war?

Part of the distinction lies in the definition. The Hebrew word used for “murder” in the Ten Commandments has the idea of a premeditated killing of that specific person with malice. We see in Exodus 21:12-17 (the very next chapter after the Ten Commandments) that there are some crimes that God commanded the death penalty for under Old Testament law, including kidnapping, attacking one’s parents, or even cursing one’s parents! So we see that God is not necessarily against the taking of all life, but it depends on the circumstances.

There are many wars and battles recorded in the Old Testament, primarily between Israel and the pagan peoples who surrounded them, and many of these were ordered by God. We even see a civil war between the Israelite tribe of Benjamin and the rest Israel in Judges 20, that was sanctioned by God! God does not change, so if God was ok with war in the Old Testament, then He still is today. In fact, we know from Revelation 14:14-20 and Revelation 19:11-21 that battles at the end of the world will be gory and violent.

The fact of the matter is that while humans are sinful, God’s natural law is in place on this earth. Sometimes, war is necessary for punishments to be carried out according to that natural law. There are times that God uses war to stop a greater evil. For example, what would have happened in Nazi Germany in the 1940s if World War II had not happened? That war defeated Hitler and stopped the Holocaust; while millions of Jews did lose their lives, millions more may have had things been left unchecked. War is a bad thing, but human sinfulness can be even worse.

What the Bible tells us about war needs to be interpreted in the context of God’s character. While He is a loving God, He is also a just God. We know from Romans 3:9-20 that all human beings are sinful, and we deserve punishment. We know that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death - which could mean war, depending on the circumstances and what God decides is just.

Based on what we see in the Bible, we can’t say that war is right in every circumstance, and we can’t say that it is wrong in every circumstance. What we can say is that the God who is sovereign will allow war when necessary and prevent it when not. Trust the God who created the universe to take care of His people on earth as He sees fit.

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The Faith of Isaac

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 5, 2017 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Before you do anything else today, grab the closest box to you. Does it look like a box that could contain the living God? That might seem like a silly question, but human beings often try to put their Creator in a figurative “box," as if he ought to bless our plans and will rather than us serving him. To further illustrate how foolish this is, take a look at the “pale blue dot” in the picture here. The photo was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990 from a record distance of 3.7 billion miles from earth. Oh, and by the way, that pale blue dot that you can barely see IS planet earth. The Bible tells us that God created all of that and some other stuff in one day. Then on a separate day, God created the sun, moon, and stars. Now, I was reminded of God’s greatness a short time ago when I was awoken in the middle of the night by my wife’s cat and decided to go outside and try to see the meteor shower that was advertised. While I did see 3 meteors that night, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the things that are in the sky EVERY night - the stars. I looked up and saw more stars than I could count, yet I remember that the Bible says, “He also made the stars," like they were an afterthought for God in the midst of everything else he was creating (Genesis 1:16).

God is so much bigger than our finite minds can even possibly comprehend, yet we try to fit him into OUR plans. Maybe you are still begging him to bless the dysfunctional relationship you’re in rather than patiently waiting for him to bring you the right person. Maybe you want God to take away your desires for drugs, alcohol, or pornography but you still want to be able to “dabble” in them from time to time. Maybe you are asking God to bless you financially, but you aren’t willing to work hard for it or to give God what he commands from your income. If any of these circumstances describe your life currently, you can learn from Isaac’s example.

In Hebrews 11:20, all we see about Isaac is that his faith caused him to “bless Jacob and Esau in regard to their future." That may seem insignificant until you learn that the Greek word for “blessed” there is “eulogeo,” which simply means “to praise." It’s also where we get the English word “eulogy." This is especially meaningful right now to me because, on the day I’m writing this post, I did a funeral service this morning and then met with someone else in the afternoon regarding another funeral I’m doing later this week. One of the most important parts of a funeral is the eulogy, a time when the deceased person is praised and remembered for their characteristics, achievements, or faith. As a society, we generally only eulogize someone after they have passed. Yet, Isaac had faith in a God who was bigger than his plans and his view of the future and chose to eulogize them regarding what God determined would happen. Going back to our foundational verse of Hebrews 11:3, Isaac knew that if God could create everything in the universe out of what is not seen, then he can certainly be trusted with the future.

Just like his mother and father, Sarah and Abraham, Isaac did not have perfect faith that was without struggle. However, he started out on the right track. In the story we talked about last week from Genesis 22, where Isaac was about to be sacrificed according to God’s command to Abraham, Isaac was completely submissive and trusting toward his father. Let’s not forget that Abraham was well over 100 years old and Isaac was a young man, easily the stronger of the two. Had he wanted to overpower his elderly father, he could have. But Isaac was a foreshadowing of Jesus, who humbled himself as a man and became obedient to a horrible death (Philippians 2:5-8). That is the only way God can be put into a box - when he chooses to put himself in it temporarily! Isaac trusted his father, and we see the same thing happen again in Genesis 24 when Isaac does not try to find a partner on his own, but waits on the Lord to provide his future wife through the efforts of his father and a servant. Isaac could’ve doubted God, as he knew he was the heir of the promise yet did not yet have a wife who might bear him a son. But his faith was still intact, and God blessed him with Rebekah.

When you are walking with God and putting your faith and trust in him, Satan just leaves you alone, right? NOT! Genesis 25 brings us the death of Abraham, followed by some of the same struggles for Isaac and Rebekah that Abraham and Sarah faced. Isaac and Rebekah deal with infertility and pray to the Lord about it. When we have questions about his promises, we are always invited to go straight to him. He’s not afraid to be questioned. Rebekah is then told she will have twin sons, one who will be stronger than the other. Just like with Isaac and Ishmael as sons of Abraham, one child represents life with God and the other life without God. Isaac’s two sons are Jacob and Esau, and even though God had revealed that the promise would continue through Jacob, verse 28 tells us that Isaac favors Esau over Jacob because Esau is a skilled hunter and Isaac loves the wild game. Because Rebekah favors Jacob more, this was the start of the family dysfunction and slow fade away from faith that would mark a large part of the rest of their story.

In Genesis 26, we see that even after God reminds Isaac of the promise and is very clear about what he should do, Isaac lies about his wife Rebekah to a foreign king, much in the same way that Abraham had lied about Sarah. In both cases, the men of God chose to live by sight rather than faith. They allowed their own plans and fears to overcome their faith momentarily, and God’s plan and promise are threatened by the very clear plans of the devil. Read the chapter and see for yourself how God thwarts the devil’s schemes despite Isaac not living by faith. While God’s plan cannot be destroyed by sin, we certainly experience the consequences of it. At the very end in verses 34-35, we see that Isaac’s favorite son, Esau, marries two pagan women that become a source of grief for his parents. This comes as no surprise because Esau had disregarded his spiritual blessing, referred to back then as his “birthright," a long time before this.

You can read Genesis 27 to see how the family dysfunction really takes on a whole new level. It’s the stuff you’d see on a daytime talk show. I’m talking about lies, distrust, gossip, eavesdropping, and deception. God has made it clear which son gets the blessing and which son has chosen to go his own way and marry pagan women and disregard the blessing that would’ve originally been his, yet Isaac still favors Esau based solely on “manly” characteristics. He tries to bless Esau, but Rebekah and Jacob deceive him into blessing Jacob. It isn’t until after all this happens that Isaac basically says, “You win, God." In verse 33, he states that Jacob will “indeed be blessed." Despite all of Isaac’s efforts otherwise, Jacob received the blessing, and it was as if Isaac finally accepted this was God’s will. His final blessing to Jacob in Genesis 28:1-4 shows that Isaac is finally on board with God’s will and choosing to live by faith.

While the Hebrew birthright takes on a cultural significance that we might not fully grasp in our society, it was connected to the original promise to Abraham and all future Israelites because of this family. Isaac initially tried to box God’s will into his own plans, but later came to accept what God wanted by faith. That faith allowed him to see the future through God’s eyes rather than his own, which led to complete trust and a proper “eulogy” for his sons. If you have an area of your life where you have not been trusting the Lord and you’ve been in the same vicious and dysfunctional cycle of begging him to bless the plans you have already made, it’s time to realize that you can only find true happiness and fulfillment in letting HIM set your course and walking accordingly.

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.