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Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Futility Of Thinking There Are Only Atoms


Authentic Christian apologetics is not about defending a generic theism but instead defending Christian theism which is solely grounded in Scripture. It is not interested in debating about god's we don't believe in. We don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We don't believe in the invisible pink unicorn and we'll stand right beside those that hold a naturalistic worldview and live, laugh and critique them as well.  

Christian apologetics uses a Christ-centered method that defends the view that God is the ultimate authority over all aspects of life. This is what is known as a worldview apologetic.

Here are some definitions. Since the opponents of this worldview are naturalists, it will be important to define what is naturalism?

  • It denies that there are any spiritual or supernatural realities. 
  • It says there are no purely mental substances. 
  • It claims there are no supernatural realities transcendent to the world. 
  • It claims the Christian worldview has no sound grounds for believing that there are such realities or perhaps even for believing that there could be such realities.  
  • The naturalist worldview claims that anything that exists is ultimately made up of physical components.  

What does that mean? Nature is all there is. There are no spiritual realms. There is no immaterial entities or realities.

Carl Sagan probably summed it up best when he said, “The cosmos is all there is, all there ever was and all there ever will be.”

It is important to note the argument is not about facts but instead about one's interpretation of the facts. Any interpretation of any facts or experience is informed by one's assumptions. What we call presuppositions.

These are those rock-bottom foundational beliefs that all people have that are not testable in a science lab and are not observed in nature. These presuppositions form the foundation of a person's worldview.  

Our worldview is defined as a network of presuppositions through which every aspect of a persons knowledge and experience is interpreted and interrelated. People's presuppositions determine how they interpret and evaluate every experience and which ideas they will and will not accept as part of their overall view of reality.

The following quote from atheist Richard Lewontin demonstrates the power of presuppositions. “Materialism is an absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”

Now why would an atheist say that? Here is the rest of the quote to get some more context. “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…moreover, that materialism is an absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”

Here's a summary of what that guy said, “Even if God's the answer we're not going to allow it.”

As Christians we demonstrate things like knowledge and proof makes sense in the Christian worldview given our presuppositions. They do not make sense in the naturalist worldview.

Regarding faith. We take the view that biblical faith is not a blind leap into an irrational void nor is it opposed to reason. It doesn't take over where reason leaves off but instead faith in God is the foundation of all reasoning.  

Hebrews 11:1 defines Christian faith, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

This doesn't apply to just Christian reasoning but atheistic reasoning has its own kind of faith also. Since everyone begins with presuppositions that are not testable through the procedures of natural science.  Since God is ultimately the foundation of all knowledge and unbelievers actually do know things it follows that they actually do know God in some sense but are suppressing the truth about Him.

Romans 1:18-21 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Therefore, the problem according to Romans 1 is not that mankind doesn't have enough evidence for the existence of God. The problem is because of sin. People that cling to a naturalistic worldview, they suppresses the knowledge of God that they already have hardwired within them, because God created us in His image therefore God left an imprint of Himself in every human, and they go after idols based upon their own ultimate authority which is themselves.  

GK Chesterton said it well, “When man ceases to worship God he doesn't worship nothing. He worships anything.” The Christians ultimate Authority however is the Word of God. It teaches that all knowledge is ultimately grounded in God.

 Colossians 2:3 “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 

However, the Atheist says that all knowledge is gained through reason and sense perception which supposedly is not dependent on God and renders the idea of God unnecessary by law of parsimony (a principle according to which an explanation of a thing or event is made with the fewest possible assumptions).  They believe they are their own ultimate authority. They are autonomous. A law unto themselves.

This has been clearly stated on the UNCG Atheists Agnostics and Skeptics website. They state man has a right to live by his own law. Now given that statement, we must wonder what rational objection a naturalistic worldview could produce. What if we chose to win this argument by shooting them. After all if people have the right to live by their own law there worldview is relativistic in nature and they really don’t have a valid objective to say my law is less than their law.

However, of course the Atheist does not agree that all knowledge comes from God and will create persuasive arguments to justify their ability to know things apart from God. This is why the bible speaks to the futile of their speculations in Romans 1.

That's why after Paul says “that all knowledge is hidden in Christ” He's goes on to say in Colossians 2:4 “I say this so that no one will delude you through persuasive argument” Then in verse 8 of the same chapter he says “see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty decision of men according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ.”

When the Atheist naturalistic worldview demands the Christian to take a neutral position when looking at evidence and arguments, they will want us in principle to give up Christian theism to defend Christian theism. The problem is no one is neutral when it comes to dealing with issues of ultimate.  

Seen as the quote I read earlier Illustrated the Atheist is not neutral at all and neither is the Christian, therefore, the Christian should not give up their position that God's the authority because if you assume the unbeliever’s standard of authority rather than the authority of Scripture you lose before you start. It's like getting on the unbelievers airplane. It doesn't matter what you talk about you're going to the unbelievers destination.

Let look at an example. Let's say you appeal to the ultimate authority of the atheist, their senses and reasoning.  You then use historical evidence to demonstrate with a high degree of probability that Jesus rose from the dead. The Atheist could easily say, “Wow strange things happen in the world and someday we'll have a naturalistic explanation as to why dead body came back to life.” Meanwhile they turn it into the National Enquirer magazine.

Even though you showed that Jesus rose from the dead, there was no reason for the atheist to give up his ultimate authority which are his senses and reasoning ability. It's worse than that. Though let's say the person says, “Okay, you've met my standard of proof and I want to become a Christian.” However, here is the problem. Their ultimate authority did not change. They are still the judge over whether or not God exists. Therefore, it is based on their standard of reasoning rather than submitting their reasoning to Jesus Christ as the Lord of his reasoning.

Because say next week they read a book by Richard Dawkins and now the balance of evidence seems to sway the other way. Do they then cease becoming a Christian?

1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. “

In other words if they left the faith they were never really in it to begin thus proving that Christ was never really the Lord of your reasoning. They were still lord of their reasoning. That's why the true believers reasoning is founded on the Word of God.

We even believe things that we can never personally experience and that have never personally experienced, namely that a man rose from the dead. But when there are things that we don't understand we're to trust God and submit our reasoning to Him. Because He's the foundation of our reasoning.

 Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The role of Christian apologetics is to be able to press the antithesis between the two respective worldviews.

Even the objections of a naturalistic worldview make to Christianity these objections are going to be proving that God exists. The objective of the Christian worldview is not to give evidence to those who want to put God on trial but to expose the fact that everyone already knows that God exists.

The Christian worldviews position is you can't make sense of knowledge, truth, logic, science and morality apart from the God of Christianity. Everyone makes assumptions in those areas but none of them can be justified apart from God.

Let’s start with knowledge. If someone opposes the Christian worldview, they have to be intellectually honest. They will be forced to admit that an all-knowing all-powerful God could reveal things to us such that we can know them for certain. Knowledge makes sense in the Christian worldview but it does not make sense in any naturalistic worldview. Since the naturalist does not appeal to revelation from God for knowledge, what do they appeal to? They appeal to their senses and reasoning but what's the problem?                                                                                                                                                                       If they appeal to their senses, how do they know that their senses are valid?

If they appeal to their reasoning, how do they know that their reasoning is valid?

Do you see the vicious circularity of stating “I sense and reason that my senses and reasoning are valid” This is precisely the place those who hold to a naturalistic world view are reduced. Let’s say they see the circularity of their position and end up saying okay if I can't know anything but either can you.

Then the question is asked, “If you can't know anything how you can know what I can know?”

Those who hold to a naturalistic worldview will make knowledge claims. When they do so, they borrow the concept of knowledge from Christianity and actually prove that God exists.

What about truth? What is truth? For an evolutionist the best that they can hope for is believing all we are is evolved pond scum, or chemical reactions? How do you get to this as TRUTH?

Doug Wilson argued if we're just advanced chemical reactions and your brain is chemical “fizz” then debating over which brain is speaking the TRUTH would be just like with shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper on a table. Then opening them up and deciding which chemical reaction is producing TRUTH. Which chemical reaction is producing false myths? Which chemical reactions do not produce TRUTH?

You cannot find TRUTH in chemical reaction. If that is all human beings are, which is what the naturalistic worldview reduces us all down to, you can’t find TRUTH. Because one person can be “fizzing” God exists and another person can be “fizzing” God doesn’t exist. Since we’re just brain “fizzing” meat machines there is no TRUE or FALSE in “fizz”. If you want TRUTH you need God.

Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

When people that hold to a naturistic worldview and make TRUTH claims they are borrowing the concept of TRUTH from Christ Jesus and actually proving that God exists.

What about logic? People with a naturistic worldview will make logical objection to the truth of Christianity. They might say look at all the logical contradiction in the Bible. However, what are they assuming when they make that objection? They're assuming that there are universal immaterial unchanging laws of logic that forbid contradictions.  However, there aren't any contradiction the Bible and the Christian I'll seek to resolve anything that looks contradictory but that’s not the question. How does the person that hold to a naturistic worldview account for the universal immaterial unchanging law of non-contradiction in a random chance world made only of matter?

Christians believe in the God who is universal. Who is not made of matter. Who does not change logical laws. These make sense in the Christian worldview. When opponent of this worldview make logical objects to Christianity, they're boring the foundation of logic from Christianity and are actually proving that God exists.

What about science? All of science is based on the assumption that nature is uniform. That the future will be like the past. When anyone get into a rocket ship, if the scientists who built it didn't have a reasonable expectation of what would happen when they push the launch button but on what basis do they expect the future to be like the past? Now the Christian believes in a sovereign God who created nature to operate uniformly and keeps nature uniform such that we can do science.

The thing is in order to even speak one must trust that the words we are about to speak mean the same things they did five seconds ago. If a person with a naturalistic worldview opens their mouths to speak they are assuming that the future is like the past. Then the question can be asked on what basis do they assume that the future we like the past? How does this worldview know anything about the future? When this worldview make scientific objections or when they even speak, they're borrowing the foundation of the uniformity of nature from the Christian worldview and again are actually proving that God exists.

What about morality? The naturalistic worldview says there's too much evil in this world for an all good God to exist. However, the question is this if there is no God by what absolute standard can you call anything evil? You see the evil in this world is not a logical objection to Christianity. Christianity has an absolute standard of morality but there is no logical objection for the naturalistic worldview who does not.

The Christian says that morality is derived from the nature of God. The someone with a naturistic worldview raise moral objection to Christianity, they're borrowing the absolute standard morality from our worldview and actually proving that God exists.

Someone with a naturalistic worldview might say that they don't need God for their moral standard. But here’s the problem if “man has the right to live by his own law” but then how can they say you must live by our standard. Do people who hold to a naturalistic worldview even live by their own standard?

Well let's see if man has a right to live by his own law. Here’s an example of how they don’t.

This happen in a town in the US. Here’s a question. Does a democratically elected mayor of this city have the right to live by his own law (remember this was the principle a the naturalistic world view) and Institute prayer at council meetings?  Well apparently not.  A couple of people that hold to a naturalistic worldview regularly protest the mayor's right to live by his own law. They violate their own standard.  The question becomes, what obligates advanced bags of primordial slime to tell anyone to live by any law? The fact is there could be no moral obligations of any kind without God. When they argue that there are, they're proving that God exists.

That is what we need to process. It's listen carefully to the opponents of Christianity and how they consistently borrow from the Christian worldview. When they make their objections, look at what they're standing on. They will make knowledge claims, truth claims, logical and scientific claims, and moral claims. In doing so they will be proving that God exists.  

Friday, January 1, 2021

E Pluribus Unum and Jesus: Really?

 "E Pluribus Unum" was the motto proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. A latin phrase meaning "One from many,"

Even though this was a phrase created to help the USA find and establish a sense of unity. The truth behind it speaks to what Jesus wanted for the body of Christ, the church universal. 

“so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” - Romans 12:5

We see a glorious picture of this reality in the Book of Revelation:

“And they sang a new song:

‘You are worthy to take the scroll 

and to open its seals, 

because you were slain, 

and with your blood you purchased men for God 


You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, 

and they will reign on the earth.’” - Revelation 5:9-10

The Bible teaches us that our Creator created us in His image therefore all of humanity are image bearers of God. With this truth claim it is revealed to us that when God sees us He doesn’t see us as the world see us. He doesn’t divide us as the world wants to divide us. The world tries and create animosity towards one another by pointing out and emphasizing differences like the color of our skin, our social classes or economic status. 

The sad part of this divisiveness is that it has crept into the body of Christ where it doesn’t belong. It’s a form of yeast that infects the whole batch of dough. You can recognize it with phrases like: black American Christian or white evangelicals and so on. These terms and phrase usually spring forth from worldly political ideologies that have nothing to do with the mind of God. They seek to divide believers against one another.

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” - Titus 3:10 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:26-28

“and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” - Colossians 3:10-11

The enemy of Jesus and His body has made inroads into the minds of sincere believers through political movements, through those that are wolves in sheep’s clothing. You can be sincere about something but sincerity is not a measure of the truthfulness of a thing. You can be sincerely wrong. 

The Bible warns those in positions of leadership within the body of Christ to be careful not to cause unnecessary unbiblical divisions amongst those that are His chosen people.

 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.” - Jeremiah 23:1 

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” - Romans 16:17 

The doctrine that tells us to put on the mind of Christ. Where Jesus doesn’t see people, whether saved or not, according the the color of their skin, whether they are male or female, their socio economic position, their nationality. Instead He searches the heart of the individual, He looks at the unseen, as to whether they believe or reject Him. 

As believers, to take a view that is any different, to use words and phrases that segregated fellow believers into unbiblical categories is to go against God’s will and play right into the hands of Satan’s will. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

What Does Being Mature Look Like? 5 Steps


For most of us that have been around awhile we come to realize it takes a long time to grow up—not only biologically, but mentally, to mature

Here's the good news: unlike other species, we are not restrained by our instincts alone. We are able to learn from our parents, our experiences, our culture and the bible.

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” - 1 Corinthians 10:11

Here's the bad news: Nobody matures without effort. It doesn't happen naturally. It takes a lot of hard work. You have to read the bible.

But what does it mean to be "mature?"

There are five characteristics of maturity. If you work to possess them all, you will have a happier, deeper, and more productive life in Christ.

One: Self Control

You had no choice when you were born, or where you were born, or who your parents would be. But with each year of childhood you grow. With this growth you develop more of capacity to chart your own course. Society and destiny play a role, however, you can cultivating your ability and willingness to make your own decisions, expands your ability to influence how your life unfolds.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

The only way to achieve maturity is to take charge of your life. Nothing strengthens you as much as exercising that control. Refusing to act, waiting to be rescued and seeing yourself as a victim are sure signs of immaturity and a lack of growth.

Two: Taking Responsibility.

This comes at us in two ways.

The first way is simply to acknowledge that you’re responsible for what you do. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Don't make excuses and don't blame others. This is an easy thing to say, but we all know it's very hard to do however, a mature person does it. A mature person takes responsibility.

Second, is the willingness to take on commitments and fulfill them. For example, I got married and took on commitments to my wife and children. I have ethical obligations to my friends and my work, even on days that I might not feel like it. A mature person doesn't see commitments as burdens but as something we willingly accept and see through to fulfillment.

Three: Managing Emotions.

We should never ignore your emotions, but you have to learn to manage them. One of the responsibilities of parenting is to help our children manage their emotions. They don’t know how because they are immature that’s why we are their maturity for a season. Like children immature people lash out at their boss or their coworker or others if something doesn't go their way, or argue with their spouse when they come home, or turn to alcohol or drugs or kick their dog because of a rough day.

Maturity can be measured by how much anxiety we can tolerate without acting out inappropriately against ourselves or others. Mature people express their emotions in the right place, at the right time, in the right way. Profanity is a sign of acting inappropriate.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” - Ephesians 4:29

We are emotional beings, but we should never let go of the steering wheel; that is, we need to learn how and when to manage our emotions.

Four: Having Perspective.

An immature teenager will regard a pimple as a catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius or will regard rejection by a girlfriend or boyfriend as the end of the world. Maturity comes from putting disappointments into perspective.

The reason we forgive children and teenager's overreaction is because we understand it's probably the first time it's happened. But life's disappointments don't stop when you turn 21. Far from it. Disappointments of every variety, great and small, happen throughout life. The mature person learns from them and gets stronger each time they recover. This kind of mature thinking is best expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Perspective also means that when we are upset with someone dear to us, we have to put that negative experience in the context of the entire relationship. Immature people demonize a friend or a relative they are upset with, and forget or ignore all the love and good experiences they once had. Mature people see the whole picture—not only the good, and not only the bad.

Five: Deeper Understanding.

This takes the concept of empathy to a higher level. Beyond tuning in to another's feelings, this is about comprehending the ways in which another's ideas and behaviors make sense to them. You don't have to agree with that person, but you need to be able to get inside their thinking. You need to understand why they believe what they believe.

A good way to do this is to repeat what a person has said back to them. "Is this what you meant?" If they say "yes it is," then you know, and they know, that you've reached a deeper understanding. This kind of understanding, by the way, is indispensable to achieving true intimacy. It explains why the mature person is able to have more intimate relationships than the immature person ever will.

Taking control. Taking responsibility. Managing your emotions. Having perspective. Achieving deep understanding—these are five characteristics of maturity.

Together they can lead you to a deeper and happier life in Christ and with others.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..." - Galatians 5:22-23


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Overseers Need to be Sentinels


"....They keep watch over you as men who must give an account..." - Hebrews 13:17

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” - James 3:1

Being an overseer in the body of Christ is not for the weak. It’s a hard position to maintain. It is imperative that it is done in the strength of the Lord.

How does He supply that strength? First through His word. Second through the Holy Spirit. Third through other brothers and sisters in Christ who are Christ first followers.

All of these must be accessed on a daily basis. The word is foundational and a sure measurement of all that is God’s will. The Holy Spirit illuminates and confirms what the Scriptures teach. Brothers and sisters in Christ, who are also committed to following these first two principles will come alongside and encourage in our moment of doubt and weakness. If not, things will drift south and you won’t see it coming and once you’re there a certain comfort level will begin to solidify. You will begin to listen to compromised brothers and sisters’ voices.  It will no longer be about Jesus first and His will be done but it will be our will be done in Jesus name.  

What will it look like? People will begin to compromise God’s will as it is revealed in scripture. They will justify these compromises by viewing scripture through different lenses that distort its original intent.  

In today’s societies these lenses are things like standpoint epistemology. This perspective argues that knowing what God’s will stems from someone’s social position. We also see the lenses of Social Justice being used to interpret scripture. This usually manifest itself through a particular political ideology such as Marxism. Another lenses that gets use from leaders that have drifted south is Critical Race Theory. This lens interprets scripture through people groups and the pigment of their skin. You can recognize it by terms like “white evangelicals” or “black theology”. This one is closing associated with standpoint epistemology lens.  All of these lenses are nothing but the wisdoms and philosophies of this world to justify twisting God’s will for the body of Christ and humanity. They undermine the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture so that sin may prevail. All of this results in people playing fast and loose with the body of Christ.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY HANDLE the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Paul did not mess around when it came to the body of Christ. He knew that the body of Christ and the individuals in each body were carrying the reputation of Jesus Christ. The protection of this reputation, therefore Jesus, was his main priority in his epistles. People in overseer positions today are people pleasers first, God followers second. They turn a blind eye to the condition of people’s souls they are supposed to care for and look past FALSE DOCTRINES and UNRENTENT SINS being proclaimed and even glorified, such as, teaching God is a She or sexual immorality (that is any sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage) is ok, supporting the murder of the unborn is acceptable as long as my political candidate wins. Listen to Paul as he speaks to the body of Christ and to Timothy.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is SEXUALLY IMMORAL or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man DO NOT EVEN EAT. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “EXPEL THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOU.”- 1 Corinthians 5:11-12

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are CONTRARY TO THE TEACHING you have learned. KEEP AWAY FROM THEM" - Romans 16:17

“By rejecting this (Paul’s instructions), some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have HANDED OVER TO SATAN that they may learn not to blaspheme.....But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and THEIR TALK WILL SPREAD LIKE GARGRENE. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened (FALSE DOCTRINE). They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord DEPART FROM INIQUITY” - 1 Timothy 1:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:16-19

The truth, as it is revealed to us in the Bible, is sometimes hard to confront and accept especially if it means confronting people you know. That’s why good leaders in the body of Christ put Him first and His will before their personal comfort. They understand that they will have to give an account of themselves before God one day.

You Want Heaven but Not Jesus?


Most people want heaven but they want it their way. True love does not force itself on you. True love must come from a free will. Either we have free will or we do not. If we don’t, we're just moist robots. If we do have free will than love can occur.

This is one of the reasons evil exists. Free will exist so we can love however we can also use our free will to choose evil.

Then the question is asked, "If Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but by me, then isn't that forced love?" Since there is no other choice am I not force to choose Jesus? For example, if I'm a train going to hell, not choosing to be a sinner but I just am by default. I didn’t chose this train.

All true, however God would not be loving if He didn’t provided a way to get off that train. That way off is Jesus. However, if you don't want that way off, you're free to reject it. It's your prerogative. No one will force you off that train.

God wants you off it. He loves you but remember love will not force you to love back. That is why we have free will to either chose His loving offer or not chose His loving offer. So, here's the real question. "How many different ways do you need to get to heaven?"

The reason Jesus is the only way is because he's the only one that can solve humanities problem. What is the problem? Not only is God loving, which is what everyone likes to hear about, however He is also just. Not only is he just but perfectly just. Which means He cannot let law breakers go unpunished. The bible uses a word for breaking the law - sin.

"Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness." - 1 John 3:4

It also tells us that everyone has sinned, you, me, everyone.

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," - Romans 3:23

That’s the problem, we all stand-alone before God guilty of sin, breaking His law, like: lying, stealing, cheating, lusting, coveting, idolatry, sexual immorality, greed, hate. You get the point. The list can go on and on. No one is without sin. No one has done God’s will perfectly. And because we are all guilty before our Creator, we must be punished for the law breakers we are. And that punishment is eternal separation from Him in spiritual prison after we die, and we are all going to die, in a place the bible calls Hell. Not a pleasant place. Imagine prison but a 1000 times worse.

Now this is why Jesus came voluntarily. God became flesh and was able to live a perfect life. A life we could have never lived. A life without sin in thought, word, or deed. He came to stand in our place, for all of humanity, before the judgment seat of God's perfect justice. He freely chose to be punished on behalf of humanity sins so that we could chose to get off of that train going to Hell.

"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his patience he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." - Romans 3:25-26

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -  Romans 5:8

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God..." - 1 Peter 3:18

Some might say, "But I don't want to choose Jesus and he's going to punish me for that choice?"

You are not punished because you reject Jesus. You are judged and punished because you are a law breaker, because you sinned. Here is an example. Do you die because you do not go to the doctor? No, you die because of the disease you have. Now maybe by going to the doctor you might prevent dying. Just like going to Jesus the great Physician you can escape eternal death. However, the reason for your final destination is eternal death is because of sin and you refused to cure.

That's your choice.

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live," - Deuteronomy 30:19

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Book of Ecclesiastes: Is Life Really Meaningless?


Book of Ecclesiastes

This book has two voices. First there's the teacher. He’s the critic. He's the main voice in the book but he is introduced to us by another figure the author and he's the one who's collected the critics words and then at the end of the book summarizes everything and gets the final word.

The Teacher is more like the sharp middle-aged critic and he says, “You think using wisdom will bring you success. You'd better think again because life here under the sun is meaningless.”

That's a phrase used a lot in this book but to understand this book we have to realize first that we're hearing two voices. So why does the author wants to hear from the critic? He wants to turn your view of the world upside down and he's going to let the critic explore three really disturbing things about the world and these are intense.

The first is the march of time. The critic says, “Generations come and generations go but the earth, it's been here long before us and we'll be long after. No one remembers people from long ago and all the people yet to come. They too will be forgotten by those who come after them.”

On a cosmic scale, you and I, we are just blips. Stars are born and then they die.  Planets that orbit new stars, well, those planets they change over time and eventually burnt up. The Teacher admits this cosmic backdrop, “My entire existence is like a blink in time.”

This leads to the critic's second disturbing observation that we are all going to die.

Humans face the same fate as the animals. Death, all people, the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, those who offer sacrifices to God and those who do not, they all share the same destiny. All this activity and madness, then we all join the dead.

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” - Hebrews 9:27

This book is depressing. The final disturbing thing for the critic and that is, life is random in nature.

In the book of Proverbs, life isn't random. There's a clear cause-and-effect relationship between doing the right thing and being rewarded. However, the fact is that life doesn't always work that way. The critic has observed a glitch in the system. He calls it, Chance, or in his words, “The race doesn't always go to the Swift nor the battle to the strong nor does food always come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the educated.”

Time and chance happen to them all. His point is that you can't really control anything in life. It's just way too unpredictable. If I want to master life then you're setting yourself up for a fall.

Now throughout the book, the Critic uses a metaphor to tie together all of these disturbing ideas.

Nearly 40 times he says that everything in life is "Hebel". The primary root of this Hebrew word means smoke or vapor.  Like smoke, life can be beautiful and mysterious. It takes one shape and before you know it takes a new shape. Smoke looks solid but if you try and grab it, it will slip right through your fingers. When you're stuck in the thick of it, like fog, it's impossible to see clearly.

Now our modern translations usually translate "Hebel" as meaningless but if you read closely the critic isn't just saying that life has no meaning but rather that its meaning is never clear which leads to a sense of meaningless. Like smoke, life is confusing. Because of Sin, humanity see’s life in a fog. That’s why Jesus came. To bring people out of the fog so that we can see life clearly. To see Him clearly.

Because of Sin life is disorienting and uncontrollable. What are we supposed to do with all of this? Surprisingly, the critic first of all acknowledges the perspective of the book of Proverbs. He says it's a really good idea to learn wisdom and to live in the fear of the Lord.

Didn’t he just said that doesn't guarantee success? However, he knows God has given us an inner witness that we all have that God exist. Ecclesiastes 3:11 “…. he has put eternity into man’s heart,” Because of this, it's the right thing to do but secondly and more often he says that since you can't control your life, you should stop trying.

We need to learn to hold things with an open hand because you really only have control over one thing and that's your attitude towards the present moment. Stop worrying and choose to enjoy your Creator, a good conversation with a friends and family or the Sun on your face or a good meal with people that you care about. The simple things in life.

Yes, both the good things and the bad because both are rich gifts from God and that's the surprising wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Listening to the critic is painful and can lead you into some dark places. That's why the author speaks up at the end of the book.

He doesn't want you to lose hope. He wants to make you humble. He wants you to be someone who trusts that life has meaning in God even when you can't make sense of it. He wants you to see that one day God will clear the “Hebel” and bring his peace and carry out justice on all that we've done and so he tells us that the proper response to all of this is to fear the Lord and keep his Commandments.

Because of all the things that we experience in this life there is truly only one clear constant and that is our Creator and His word. For us today this has been revealed to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

That's the book of Ecclesiastes.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Do You Really Believe That Good and Evil Exist?

 Do you believe that good and evil exist?

Some people would think what a silly question to ask of course  good and evil exist. However, how do you know?

The answer to this question separates Christian values from secular values.

For example: murder.

Is murder wrong? Is it evil? Nearly everyone would answer yes. But now: How do you know?

I am sure that you think that murder is wrong. But how do you know?

If I asked you how you know that that the earth is round, you would show me photographs from outer space, or offer me measurable data. But what photographs could you show, what measurements could you provide, that prove that murder or rape or theft is wrong?

The fact can’t. There are scientific facts, but without God there are no moral facts. I would even argue that we can’t even have scientific facts without God. But that’s a discussion for another time.

In a secular world, there can only be opinions about morality. They may be personal opinions or society’s opinion. But only opinions. Every atheist philosopher I have read on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.

Christian values are predicated on the existence of a God of morality. In other words, only if there is a God who says murder is wrong, is murder wrong. Otherwise, all morality is opinion.

The entire Western world – what we call Western Civilization – is based on this understanding.

Now, let’s make two things clear.

First, this doesn't mean that if you don't believe in God, you can’t have morals. There are plenty of kind and moral individuals who don’t believe in God and Christian values. But the existence of these good people has nothing – nothing – to do with the question of whether good and evil really exist if there is no God. Because the Bible teaches us humans are created in the image of God and part of that image is a conscience. So whether you acknowledge Gods existence or not you have a sense of right and wrong because of this conscience God gave us.

Second, there have been plenty of people who believed in God who were not good people; indeed, more than a few have been evil – and have even committed evil in God’s name. The existence of God doesn't ensure people will do good. I wish it did. The existence of God only ensures that good and evil objectively exist and are not merely opinions.

Without God, we therefore end up with what is known as moral relativism – meaning that morality is not absolute, but only relative to the individual or to the society. Without God, the words “good” and “evil” are just another way of saying “I like” and “I don’t like.” If there is no God, the statement “Murder is evil” is the same as the statement “I don't like murder.”

Now, many will argue that you don't need moral absolutes; people won’t murder because they don't want to be murdered. But that argument is just wishful thinking. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao didn’t want to be murdered, but that hardly stopped them from murdering about a hundred million people.

It is not a coincidence that the rejection of Judeo-Christian values in the Western world – by National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazism) and Communism (Marxism)– led to the murder of all these innocent people.

It is also not a coincidence that the first societies in the world to abolish slavery – an institution that existed in every known society in human history – were Western societies rooted in Christian values. And so were the first societies to affirm universal human rights; to emancipate women; and to proclaim the value of liberty.

Today, the rejection of Christian values and moral absolutes has led to a world of moral confusion. Where you have people calling good evil and evil good. Even among so-called leaders in the Christian community. 

In the New York Times, in March 2015, a professor of philosophy confirmed this.

He wrote: “What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun? Would you be surprised? I was.”

The professor then added: “The overwhelming majority of college freshmen view moral claims as mere opinions.”

So, then, whatever you believe about God or religion, here is a fact:

Without a God who is the source of morality, morality is just a matter of opinion. So, if you want a good world, the death of Christian values should frighten you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Is The Church Asleep?

In the book of Acts 2:17 Peter an apostle told the crowd a verse out of the book of Joel, a prophet of Israel.

Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

This act of God was not done in some kind of haphazard way but done intentionally and only to those who believed in Jesus as Lord. This act of God were He sends and gives and fills people with the Holy Spirit is still happening today. It seems though it’s mostly in the lives of individuals but not on groups of people as a whole. 

I believe God wants to pour out His Spirit on all people, but the CHURCH IS ASLEEP. Why? Probably the must visible reason is people no longer want to practice excellent biblical hermeneutics but filter the reading of scripture through the wisdoms and philosophies of this world, such as political ideologies, or standpoint epistemologies or cultural zeitgeists. You can notice this when you here phrases like this, “This is what Jesus means to me….” In other words, this is how I create Jesus in my image. This is of the world.

Hear what James says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity (hatred) against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God… “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:4,6-7)

Today the church is not on fire for God, but it is lukewarm at best. Listen to John an apostle what he has to say to the church, “I (Jesus speaking) know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Rev 3:15-18)

Many in the church are deceived and blinded by the schemes of the devil. Jesus warned that Satan will use people to deceive us, especially people that slap on the moniker of Christian or Minister. He said, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. (Matt 24:24)

Church leaders have hardened their hearts which in turn effects the people they are supposed to shepherd have harden hearts. They tolerate false doctrines within the body. They tolerate willful sinful behavior within the body. These leaders are more concerned about being liked than the conditions of the souls of the people they are supposed to shepherd in Christ. They are sin coddlers and false doctrine tolerators. They no longer follow the scriptures lead. It’s no longer about Jesus’ standard for the church but self interest in Jesus name.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

 “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” - 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

 As a result of this compromise, wickedness has gotten a foothold. Jesus said, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (Matt 24:12)

I ask you to seek God with all your heart. Grow close to God. Wake up from your slumber.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” (Joel 2:12)

God wants to pour out His Spirit but we all need to wholeheartedly turn to God and pray and seek His face.

Even though these verses were for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, the principle of it can still apply the body of Christ as a whole. “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. (2Chron 7:14)

Our prayers are the bowls of incense in heaven.

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Rev 5:8)

What is the condition of your heart toward God? Not the God of your making but the God of scripture.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

"The Lord is a God of Social Justice." Is This a Biblically True Statement?


The Lord is a God of social justice. That’s the message in many churches and synagogues in America and the West today. However, here’s the problem: 

The Bible doesn’t actually say that. It says (in Isaiah 30:18), “The Lord is a God of justice.” You’ll find a lot of references to justice in the Bible. But you’ll never find it preceded by the word “social.” 

You might be thinking, “What’s the difference? Isn’t God the God of justice and social justice?” Well, not if He’s consistent. You see, God cannot be the God of justice and social justice because "social justice" as defined by a particular political movement in our culture today, is not just. 

Justice is getting what you deserve without favor. Social justice is getting what you don’t deserve because you are favored.

Justice is blind. Social justice is not. 

Let's say a man robs a store. Justice demands but one thing: that he be tried in a court of justice, and, if he is found guilty, punished.

That is not how social justice works. Social justice doesn’t only ask if the person is guilty. It asks: 

What about his economic condition: Is he poor or wealthy? 

What about his upbringing: What kind of childhood did he have? 

What about his race or ethnicity: Is he a member of a group that has been historically oppressed? 

Justice demands that everyone be equal under the law. Social justice demands that everyone be equal. Period. Economically, socially, and in every other possible way. 

Justice asks, “Who did it?” 

Social justice asks, “Why did he do it?” 

Lost in all these social justice considerations is the individual’s own responsibility for what he did. That’s why social justice advocates have abandoned the term “justice.” They deem justice alone as unfair. And sometimes it is. 

A man who was beaten by his father and abandoned by his mother is more likely to commit a violent crime than a man raised in a loving home. However, those facts cannot and should not determine his innocence or guilt. Why? Because justice is, first and foremost, about truth: Is the person guilty or innocent of the crime? 

None of us is omniscient. We don’t know why people do what they do. After all, the vast majority of people raised in abusive homes do not commit violent crimes. Nor do the vast majority of people who are members of an historically oppressed group. 

Being a victim, however that is defined, is no excuse for hurting other people. And what about those who are hurt—the victims of those crimes? Shouldn’t they, and other law-abiding citizens, be society’s first consideration? Social justice advocates say no. 

They say we need social justice to even things out. And that means favoring the have-nots over the haves—the poor over the rich, the female over the male, and the brown or black over the white. The Bible does not see the world this way. In fact, it speaks against it in very explicit terms.

Here’s a law in the Book of Exodus 23:2-3: “Do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.”

Here’s one in Leviticus 19:15: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great but judge your neighbor justly.”

Moses, the greatest lawgiver in history, declares in Deuteronomy 16:20: “Follow justice and justice alone.” And the New Testament declares in the Book of Romans 2:11: “God shows no partiality.” 

None of this means that there is no place for compassion in a system of justice. Of course, there is. The Bible is preoccupied with the protection of the widow, the orphan, and unfortunate. But compassion follows justice. It doesn’t precede it. Also, justice, in and of itself, is compassionate.

First, to the victims of crime and to their loved ones. And second, to the criminal: How can you become a better human being if you don’t first recognize that you’ve done something wrong? That’s why any time we put an adjective before the word “justice,” we no longer have justice. Economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice—any form of “social” justice which seeks to “correct” actual justice—undermines justice. 

So, then, if social justice is not a biblical concept, why do so many churches and synagogues promote it? Because many Christians and Jews no longer regard biblical principles as binding. Because it’s a lot easier to dispense compassion than hold people to a biblical standard. And because certain political ideologies have superseded the Bible in many houses of worship—and these certain political ideologies, as a guiding principle, holds that the weak are good and the powerful are bad.

That’s why the great battle of our time is between Judeo-Christian values and anti-Christ values done in Jesus name. The former is rooted in justice; the latter is not.

Monday, October 5, 2020

We All Have Unclean Hands

Jesus said to them,  “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him...Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? ( Thus he declared all foods clean.).....What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” - Mark 7:14-23 (ESV)

Jesus was exposing how the religious leaders of the time were putting man made rules as more important than God’s will as revealed in the Scriptures. Jesus and his disciples were handling many sick people at this time because people from all of the region were bring Jesus people that needed healed. They would have been touching many “unclean” people.

Jesus was teaching people unwashed hands cannot defile you or make you unexceptable to God. Nothing from the outside makes us unclean before God

It is the heart of humans that producers all manner of evil and wickedness an unclean ness. 

Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things  and desperately sick

Where do we start in order to understanding what is broken in our world. How do we diagnose what is wrecked in ourselves and our culture? 

We always start inside the scripture and we work our way out. In the Scriptures we have the doctrine of sin and Jesus is just unpacked it for us. 

It’s not about what’s out there. It’s about what’s inside our heart. 

Every nation, tribe, people group, political party, institution, organization and man made system is populated by broken people who have sinful hearts were every form of sin comes from as defined by God in His Word.  

Even the best laid man made plans and philosophies are tainted by the sinful hearts of humans. This is the major difference between how fallen humans view the world and how the gospel explains the world. 

The new buzz words in our culture today are systematic or structural. These words are used to craft a certain political cultural narrative. We don’t wanna start out from sociology books. We start from within the scripture and work out. 

Sin is systematic in every individual human heart therefore because we are all sinners we carry sin into every social space. The closest social space we have is marriage. The husband and wife each bring their own sin into it and they have to deal with it. Every social space from a home to a nation is filled with sinful people that sin. These sins infect and pervade these social spaces. Some people want to emphasize one sin over another. Some people want to redefine sin in order to justify sin. The gospel tells us that the human condition is not just about one sin but the virus of Sin that produces every other individual sin. This is the doctrine of Sin. 

The wisdoms of the world try to tell us humanity is basically good. If so why do we have so many laws? The gospel of the kingdom of God tell us that humanity is not basically good. The law exposes this truth.

It’s not about political social structures were humanity is defined as basically good and these social structures that people live in are the bad things. 

No, the Bible tells us that these social structures are a wreck because people occupy these social structures and people bring sin into them and sin corrupts. Worldly political ideologies systems blame other worldly political ideologies for the brokenness and suffering of humanity and each system doesn’t want to take responsibility for the brokenness but the Bible says no way. The gospel says each individual is responsible for the brokenness. We are the sinners. Our hearts need to be fixed. Laws can’t fix the sinful human heart. 

Its not about deconstructing one human made social structure and replacing it with another human made social structure. It’s not one worldly political ideology social structure overthrowing another worldly political ideologies social structure that brings about effecting lasting change. 

The way the culture is changed is about the hearts of individuals being changed from the inside out. That’s the gospel. Evil is bond up in the heart. It’s not about the oppressor verses the oppressed. Why because the oppressed are just a wicked as the oppressors. They both suffer from the same condition, Sin.

That’s why the gospel is the only cure. It’s not a man made natural cure. It’s our Creator supernatural cure in the person and work of Jesus Christ. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, - Ephesians 1:7 .

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