Let’s get political….

In America, looming just over the horizon is an election that will determine who the country’s executive will be for the next several years. With the foreign affairs issues, the debt, the social issues of our times, the divisiveness of our society as a whole, how we react in the coming years will determine our role as either a falling power, or an example of how to manage a country and it’s citizenry. Needless to say, though I will anyway, out of 350 million people, we have collectively narrowed it down to two powerful individuals (referring to power accrued through worldly gain and influence), who are morally questionable to say the least, and who struggle with gaining enough of our trust to look beyond their flaws as human beings as  to render them able to manage our affairs in a competent way.

That is putting it mildly, is it not? Truth be told, the race to the White House is ugly. Every day dirt flies, and the past is drudged up and vomited out on the conscious of the country, for us to dismiss or denounce based on our party line. But what if I told you that collectively, we are no better then they? 50% of our internet traffic is sex related. 22 million of us use illegal drugs, and as far as legal drugs… over 49% of us have used them in the last 30 days. Americans consume over 80% of the world’s opiate supply. 58 million babies have been aborted since Roe vs Wade; that’s 18% of today’s current American population. 20% of men have had more than 15 sexual partners, and 24 million children grow up without fathers in this country. Upon examining your own lives, I would dare say there are moments you are glad haven’t had the bright light of media shined on them, and shown to everyone you know, as well as all those you will ever know. Those rants in traffic, those secret conversations about your boss, your crush, your spouse. Is it possible that these two candidates are a proper reflection of who we are as a nation at present, despite our pseudo-righteous indignation towards the unscrupulous acts of the opposite party?

Consider Isaiah 6, and the ending of King Uzziah’s reign. Upon his death, he had ruled over Judah for 52 years. He was revered, and under his reign as king, the Hebrews enjoyed bounty and peace, and they looked to him to save them from troubling neighbors, as well as any threat to their lives. Never since Solomon was there such prosperity and piety. But Uzziah reached beyond his purview, acting as priest, when his role was that of king, and in doing so, brought about his own demise through leprosy. This left a vacuum of anxiety and fear, and Isaiah wasted no time in filling it with the truth:

“Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.”

They no longer had a worldly king to hang their hopes on, this great man, brought low because of pride, for no man can act as priest, prophet, and king, lest he be perfect. Without the hope of Uzziah guiding them in to the future, the prophet shared with them the fate of the people, and their inability to even hear the message, much less react to it. Their hearts were closed.

But look at what is promised in the end. ‘The holy seed shall be their substance’, a direct prophecy of the Son of God, one of many that Jesus Christ fulfills. In the end, it isn’t the imperfect political leader who thinks he is a savior that saves them, or the world for that matter. It is instead the only person who can act as savior, priest, prophet, and king . It is only Jesus Christ. Now you may say, hey that’s great, but that was 2700 years ago. What about now? Well, that’s the best part. Anyone we elect isn’t perfect enough to save anything. If we are lucky, who ever that is will recognize the fact that the very earth we walk on was created by someone much greater. But regardless of who is the political victor in November, Jesus Christ lives, and He is and will always be King. And it is only He that saves.

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The Time Jesus Saved Christianity

Something to reflect on when studying the word of God, is how important a role prophecy has played. In my Christian fiction, The Last Saint, I allude to what could be a tremendous study:

“Fulfilling prophecy is one of the most compelling ways the Bible has demonstrated
that it is the word of God. It has uncannily and accurately predicted future events, often in minute details. Christ fulfilled many Himself; from where He was born to how He died. Specific prophesies are conspicuously absent from the twenty-six other religious books that claim to be scripture, including the Muslim’s Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, and Buddhist writings.”

One of my favorites is the prediction that the Messiah would be born in the inconsequential town of Bethlehem. In Micah 5:2 it says, – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.-

These words were written over 700 years before Christ was born! That fact alone, if dwelt upon with the proper understanding, should move any heart to fear the Lord.

But there was another prophecy, from Christ’s own mouth. A warning, given in Luke 21. He said, 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

The event that took place 40 years after the death and resurrection of Christ was called the Flight to Pella. 40, the number used by God to denote longsuffering, sacrifice, tumult, waiting, spiritual growth, patience, was also the exact amount of years given to Israel before it’s destruction, and the decimating of its temple. Strife between the Romans and the Jews was escalating, leading from revolts up to full blown rebellion. To squash the rebellion, Titus entered the city in 70AD, and during the assault, killed over 1,000,000 Jews. The Sanhedrin was disbanded, the temple was no more, and the Jewish way of life would never be the same.

But the Christians of Jerusalem? They were gone. Some had left before as uprisings grew in intensity. But many fled just before, based on the warning of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. They fled over the river Jordan to Pella, and there, remained safe from the invasion of Rome.

This event not only tipped the balance of power and momentum towards gentiles, and the Christian church, but  prevented the Jews from being able to produce a verifiable messiah from that day forth. The records were burned, and destroyed, and the lines of David were lost. One of the line of David had already fulfilled God’s purpose, and now there was officially no way for the Jewish leaders to prove anyone who came after was in fact of the correct lineage. Ironic that the very destruction of that lineage was foretold by the one who already fulfilled that particular prophecy.

And so, with the heeded advice of their savior, the new Christians of Jerusalem would jettison the city before Roman invasion, saving the truth of the word from being snuffed out before it ever got underway. And with Christ’s words from Luke, we can ascertain that this was most definitely prophetic, and by design, so that the world might come to know the Lord, Jesus Christ. Without that warning, the Christian movement may have been destroyed with the city of David, and the power of the Kingdom of God may have been compromised. But He holds the pillars of the earth firm, and all works towards His good will.

It is interesting to contemplate the “what ifs”. To be awestruck at the perfect wonder of fulfilled words of our Lord. But one thing we cannot do, once knowledge of the word has reached our ears, is deny that a marvelous work was done, and done for our sake, so that the good news of Christ could be spread to the ends of the earth despite barriers, even such barriers as a Roman army. To deny this, is intellectually dishonest, and is turning your back on true history. The truth, the real truth, is scary; but hiding from it is worse.

 

 

Total Opposite

The creation model, and therefore the model supported by biblical scripture, is opposite the deep-time model. People don’t often realize this. They assume that young earth creationists are fuzzy on some facts, but we all kind of agree on the basics. We just won’t let “real science” disturb our unqualified beliefs enough to move the time dial.

I am here to tell you that the disparity between the two models is huge, and stark, and contrasted. So as not to cover the same ground, feel free to read my article “Let’s be clear… It’s a Young Earth” at this link.

Is it a surprise that the world’s view would look so much different than the Biblical model for creation? To even be exactly opposite of what man has ordained as truth in our education system, and our universities? It does not surprise me, and in fact, it is the expected norm. The next paragraph contains some bible verses to consider, by no means complete, but a sampling of passages that illustrate this enmity.

The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Of course this diametric opposition pertains to many considerations, but today we focus in on that first moment of creation. I have gone over the laughable theory of the Big Bang, and protest to the highest degree that it is still taught when all of creation screams of design. But here are the opposites for you in plain view, and the reasons why these models will never be compatible, and are clearly believed based on a person’s starting point, a point Christians are willing to concede, but one evolutionists refuse to see.

Creation:

  • Life comes from life
  • Animals were created as distinct kinds
  • Changes within a kind of animal is due to design allowing changes, microevolution. Always due to a loss or rearranging of existing genetic material
  • Fossils were formed quickly due to a catastrophic flood all over the whole earth
  • Death Came after sin, and after the first Man
  • Light came before the sun
  • Creation took six days
  • Birds came before dinosaurs.
  • Water came before land
  • Mankind was highly intelligent from the beginning

 

Evolution:

  • Life spontaneously came from non-life (violates law of causality)
  • All animals descended from common ancestor from 3.5 billion years ago
  • Animals change in to completely different animals, modifications are virtually unlimited, and additional information is always being added (never observed)
  • Fossils were laid down over time, slowly over millions of years
  • Death came before sin, before man, along with disease, thorns, etc.
  • The sun came before light
  • Creation took billions of years
  • Dinosaurs came before birds (now proven false)
  • Land came before water
  • Man was just a slowly evolving animal who developed intelligence

 

As you can see, the viewpoint is tremendously different. There isn’t a lot of room for Christians to compromise without undermining the word. Now, for all of you science nerds out there, don’t panic. The word, and the creation model is perfectly compatible with science, and I dare say more so then the evolutionary model. What we observe, and can prove fits beautifully with the history the bible provides, and is demonstrable through almost every branch of science. That is why the number of believers in intelligent design is growing throughout academia. And it is why evolution, the big bang, and molecules-to-man theories are on their heels.

http://www.jrcooper.org

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Jesus, the Creationist

While in church this Sunday, we were studying Mark chapter 10, which contains one of the many instances where a person in scripture refers to the history of Genesis. In this case, it was Jesus Christ, God Himself, who stated in Mark 10:6

 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.”

This is Jesus talking, the savior. Often times during debates, or listening to testimonies, I hear that people have come across pastors, elders and the like who have dismissed the Genesis account as ‘just a story’. I’m sure everyone reading this has had experience with that; how they just teach us lessons; how it isn’t the main focus; how it doesn’t matter, as long as you believe Christ.

So, you are telling someone who is searching for reasonable, legitimate hope in this crazy world, no don’t believe this over here, but you have to believe this over here. And then that journeymen comes across Mark chapter 10 and what happens? Christ says, in the beginning God made them male and female.

In evolution theory, the beginning of life begins with one celled organisms around 4 billion years ago, the unfathomable magic of time to influence students that given enough of it, the physically impossible can take place. But sexual reproduction does not evolve until 1.1 billion years. That isn’t people, mind you. It is simply the first sexual reproductive event. Man and woman, well they arrive on the scene much later, between 1 and 5 million years ago, depending on who you ask.

But Christ said they were male and female at the beginning. This is a rather large disparagement, wouldn’t you say? A difference of about 3,995,000,000 years between when Man and Woman appear and the “beginning”. So clearly Christ was lying, yes? Clearly He also was just telling stories? No, I’m afraid not. Christ was pointing to the historicity of the Genesis account, and based on that actual history, was applying it to our lives today. It is clear from Christ here, along with many other verses, that the New testament writers fully respected the historical accuracy of the venerated Torah, Moses’ account of the beginning.

Keep in mind that Christianity has many theories on how to conform with man’s proposed timeline, ways to compromise the biblical account in order to acquiesce to evolutionary theory. There is theistic evolution, gap theory, day-age creation, and several others. But as we have learned in Timothy All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And taken as a whole, every one of these bible-compromising theories falls short. Does your salvation depend on it? No. But you’d better be able to explain the inconsistencies when you approach a non-believer who is searching. Because if they don’t believe the beginning, there is really no reason for them to believe the rest.

And in the case of Mark chapter 10, you either have an All Powerful Creator God who disagrees with materialism’s theory of molecules to man, or you have a very confused deity, who likes to speak in fables, and folktales, to issue his opinion on how best to live; who is flummoxed by real science, real history, and has chosen to deceive His followers in order to make a point. He didn’t know man would eventually find out the truth, and that he would be 4 billion years off in His assessments about time. He chose to take old testament patriarchs at their word,  and either didn’t know or didn’t care that His views would eventually be outdated religious ramblings.

Christ never allowed for the compromising of the Word. Ever. He fulfilled it. It is a sword. The watered down, take-parts-you-like version of the word of God is not intellectually honest, and atheists know it. We must stand with conviction and courage on the word of God. If they disagree with part of it, make them disagree with all of it. But if Christ didn’t allow for the compromising of scripture, then we shouldn’t either. If you allow for the beginning to be false, you inadvertently throw all of its doctrines into question, and that is thorny ground.

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Answering Ark Encounter Critic

Creationism is a subject close to my heart, because of many reasons. The vast rich history of mankind, the over 350 flood legends of ancient cultures that corroborate the Genesis account, the geological features that attest to the great volume of water that had to have been covering the world, to even the words of Jesus himself, it is a powerful historical truth that points us towards the ultimate authority of scripture. It is an important lesson in ministry, because only if the beginning is true is the end necessary, perhaps a point for another time.

One of the great attempts of our time to teach this authority of the Genesis account is of course the  Ark Encounter at Ken Ham’s new park in Kentucky. I have been following closely as an apologist, and am continually impressed with Ken’s patience and grace towards his detractors. I was specifically impressed with his handling of Bill Nye, who popped up with a camera crew to fill his own documentary about why he feels Christianity takes away from science. This premise holds no water, but the exposure he gets from making an arch nemesis out of Mr. Ham gets him the publicity he desires, and his impudence towards him face to face, and on the cable access shows following their encounters is childish, petty, and full of ad hominem attacks that have no bearing on the subject in question. Furthermore, his attitude and refusal to show the same respect that Ken shows him is beautifully contrasted, in my opinion, by Ken’s love for people, his desire to do God’s good work, and to spread the gospel. I continue to see Ken’s love for others, as well as his class in the face of those who hate the God of the bible. In fact he welcomes opposition, in hopes that the Holy Spirit will change their hearts.

When I mentioned my respect for how he was handling the aggression of atheists, this comment was shared by another detractor:

$10 million spent on a ridiculous monument to ignorant superstition that could have been spent housing, feeding and clothing the needy. Do Christians ever actually read the bible and study the words of their messiah? I can’t recall a single passage that would indicate Yahushua [sic} would have approved of such a farcical waste of resources that could have undoubtedly been put to better use. Regardless of what you may say to the media, Ken Ham, this monstrosity is nothing more than a gigantic monument to your own vanity.

I would first say, absolutely you have the freedom to not only feel this way, but speak it, as this country grants those God given rights. I encourage questions and opinions on every subject, which is how we grow. It can be inferred by the comment that she clearly does not believe in the authority of scripture, and further that the flood was a made up story with no veracity whatsoever.

With what follows I will elaborate on my initial response:

It was actually $100 million, not $10 million to build the Ark. I would point out that freedom to spend money as they see fit is the right of Americans, and there is nothing stating that though charitable donations have been  given to projects concerning the great commission, which Jesus (Yeshua) did condone since He was the one giving it, that other donations cannot continue to be given towards hunger, shelter, and disaster relief, which is certainly the case. The religious demographic in America is, in study after study, found to be the most philanthropic, and specifically Christians are most likely to donate to the causes mentioned then almost any other group. It is precisely because of the Bible that this charitable heart and a value for others’ lives arises, and is distinctly void or lessened in other world views. E.g. Allah wills it, and it is karma, and survival of the fittest.

Ken, his well educated staff, and many visitors do in fact read their bibles and study the words of the Messiah. In their bibles can be found verses such as:  “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female (Jesus);that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation,  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple (Jesus);  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (Jesus)”. We can conclude that Jesus believed in the truth of Moses’ historical creation narrative, and that He did not think the flood, or creation, or any of Moses’ writings were as the comment accused, ‘farcical’, or ‘ignorant superstition’. Instead it is clear that Ken and his ministry continues to teach the authority of scripture, and to spread the gospel to the world, which is exactly what Christ asked us to do in Matthew 28, known as the Great Commission. I personally couldn’t think of a more worthwhile cause then to help those with the means spread the gospel message. 

I would also point out that when people donate $100 million to discover alien life forms under the tutelage of atheist Dawkins, or SETI, or any other endeavor to show that evolution is true through the existence of other evolved beings somewhere else in space (which is their freedom to do), the same outcry isn’t heard from the majority of religious entities, when those resources, according to a Christian or Creationist world view are most assuredly being wasted. But it is the exact belief that this ministry is not a waste, and that the flood is not a myth, as proclaimed by the vast evidence that has been collected by scientists and organizations such as http://www.answersingenesis.org, that lead Christians to exercise their freedoms to teach upon the authority of scripture, the same authority that Jesus lent to it, not to put too fine a point on it.

I want to be respectful of dissenters (although I am admittedly less skilled at it then Ken), however, if with a passing shot over the bow, someone dismiss the bible’s authority as a farce and merely ignorant superstition, and in the same breath attempts to educate creationists on Jesus’ teachings about humanity (from that same bible), I have to wonder which comment I am expected to listen to?  And moreover, what reasoning I would have to do so based on logic? Furthermore, when you add the personal attacks against Ken’s character because his focus at present is different then yours, I can conclude these statements are not based in reason, but in a personal biased against the subject matter.

http://www.jrcooper.org

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The Last Saint

My first novel, The Last Saint will be coming out this month. I am currently setting up payment methods for any who want to have the book shipped to them. Or it will be available on Amazon.com once released.

The Last Saint by J.R.Cooper.

I am very proud to bring you this work of Christian Fiction. In it, Olivia Fischer seems to have it all together. Smarts, beauty, and a strong husband who is passionate about serving his country. But the arrival of her husband’s diary from overseas, coupled with his mysterious murder, throws Olivia’s comfortable life into a chaotic and dangerous search for answers. World events have been set in motion, events which will impact every citizen on a global scale. One book holds all the answers.

In The Last Saint I explore eschatology from a biblical world view, shining light on tough questions as we weave through a story that unites cultures on the front lines of the battle for humanity.

Look for more updates as we approach a release date. Brought to you by Touch Publishing Services from Arlington Texas. Please follow along here and on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cooper.author

If this looks like something you are interested in, please help me promote, and tell your friends and family. Should be a great adventure in apologetics.

 

 

You Aren’t Free

There is this violation to our psyche, this offense that rears and bucks at the thought of losing liberty – or worse yet, realizing you don’t have it. This battle is tumultuous within the political realm, to be sure. But what about within your soul? If we focus for a minute, not on the rulers and lawmakers of a particular land, but instead on the method in which you run your own life, make decisions for yourself, chose your path.What controls that direction? Is it random? Certainly not. Your choices are made based on what you love.

That is not to say that we don’t have free will, but rather that our choices are inexorably tied to that which we love and worship. Becky Manley Pippert, in Out of the Salt Shaker, says, “Whatever controls us is our Lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by acceptance. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives.”

This means that though we act upon our own desires, make 10,000 decisions a day, all while maintaining that we are masters of our own destiny, not one of us is free. There is no soul that is not pressed upon by some ruling factor. There is no one truly at liberty to be free from all needs, or to just be. This is an illusion, and furthermore, as with atheism for example, to deny God, or a lord within your life, is to deny that a deeper desire exists within you, one that rules over your direction. Fear? Food? Vanity? Sexual immorality? Money? Anger? Do these not lord over us? Do we not make decisions in order to feed these desires? That isn’t freedom. That is control of another kind. I am reminded of verses such as, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.””

If there is a lord of your life no matter what, if this is a truth that is understood by an individual, then it would behoove us to take notice of what the bible makes very clear. You are either of Him, or of your father the devil. There is no alternative option. To be utterly free is to be God. This means, as people who aren’t gods, we must choose the type of slavery we want to operate under. The slavery of sin, of unforgiveness, of distance from our creator God? Or do we  chose to worship God, make Him our king, our Lord, and in that relationship, find redemption, forgiveness, grace, hope. Either way, you belong to someone not of yourself. If you need proof, then consider this… the lord of your life will determine the nature of your death. If you are in fact the lord of your life, then by what means will you conquer it?