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?

Gray Fossil Museum

IMG_6304

Visited the Fossil Museum in Gray TN this afternoon. There is a dig on site from which students and paleontologists are pulling out some amazing fossils. I want to preface this article by stating that I am very proud of the community for honoring the scientific find by dedicating resources to the site, as well as moving the direction of the highway in order to accommodate the dig. There are a plethora of fossil samples being pulled from the ground, two of which have been classified as new species. The exhibits are classy looking, and beautiful, and the facility, labs included, appear to be top notch.

This unfortunately is where my admiration for the project ends, as the whole site is absolutely dedicated to forcing evolutionary propaganda down each guest’s throat at every turn, and on every wall. It was egregious how prevalent the indoctrination was. Granted, I was expecting to encounter the millions-of-years mantra several times, but from the beginning 15 ft 4.5 billion year time line on the wall  at step one, to the ode to Charles Darwin hallway at the end, it dripped with the insatiable need to reinforce the religion of humanism, naturalism, and evolution.

It was never presented exactly how the dates were determined for the dig (between 4 million and 7 million years ago), but it could be deduced by both typical evolutionary presupposition and normal modus operandi that pre-determined index fossils dated the rocks, and of course the rocks date the fossils (a.k.a. circular reasoning).

In a 1979 interview with *Dr. Donald Fisher, the state paleontologist for New York, Luther Sunderland, asked him: “How do you date fossils?” His reply: “By the Cambrian rocks in which they were found.” Sunderland then asked him if this were not circular reasoning, and *Fisher replied, “Of course, how else are you going to do it?” (Bible Science Newsletter, December 1986, p. 6.)

“The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning . . because circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales.”—*J.E. O’Rourke, “Pragmatism vs. Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of science, January 1976.

“The charge that the construction of the geologic scale involves circularity has a certain amount of validity.”—*David M. Raup, “Geology and Creationism,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, March 1983, p. 21.

“It is a problem not easily solved by the classic methods of stratigraphical paleontology, as obviously we will land ourselves immediately in an impossible circular argument if we say, firstly that a particular lithology [theory of rock strata] is synchronous on the evidence of its fossils, and secondly that the fossils are synchronous on the evidence of the lithology.”—*Derek V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (1973), p. 62.

 

“The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results. This is supposed to be hard-headed pragmatism.”—*J.E. O’Rourke, “Pragmatism vs. Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of Science, January 1976, p. 48.

Furthermore, if you will notice the picture I took of one of their displays IMG_6303(sorry about the glare), it states another hard-nosed take on how evolutionists practice science. Let me paraphrase the sign for the laypeople that pass by it. “We here at the Gray Fossil Museum already know that these fossils are as old as we were taught in school, therefore we know we don’t have to use a test that may prove it wrong, despite the fact that C-14 has been found in everything from dinosaurs, to coal, to diamonds (see link here on Carbon dating), and may in fact be found here, which would ruin all of our predetermined expensive exhibits. We would not be able to handle reaching conclusions such as a fossil known to be 4.5 million years old with a C-14 result of 12,000 years for example, and if these conclusions were determined, we would of course throw them out based on the obvious reasoning of either contaminated specimens, leaching, our faulty testing, without once considering a change in our presuppositional position that was determined without any observable, demonstrable, repeatable testing whatsoever.”

This type of “science” has unfortunately become more normal, but is intellectually dishonest. I would be willing to bet C-14 was quite prevalent in these fossils, if one of the local scientists had the integrity and courage to test for it. But as you can see from the picture, they have already informed the public that it is wholly unnecessary.

A final note about the Gray Museum is in regards to the story they present about how these fossils got here. According to their “experts”, water leaked into a cavern under the surface, creating a sinkhole which eventually became deep, and then was filled with trapped wild life from tapirs to snakes to bear, and was then fossilized slowly over time. This conjecture makes me want to take everyone involved and set them on the rim of a sinkhole, toss in hundreds of animal carcasses, and make them camp and watch how quickly nature recycles dead flesh. (Don’t mind the smell, that’s just the rotting away of all your theories). I reiterate what science knows already, which is that fossil formation today is exceedingly rare. Is this sinkhole trap an anomaly that explains the possible thousands of trapped animals? What about the billions of other fossils all over the earth? Perhaps the earth was covered with sink holes? Ridiculous. Fossils are made when organisms are buried quickly by mud and water, and the world is filled with organisms that have been buried quickly by mud and water. Sorry Gray Fossil Museum, but it’s time to take Darwin the racist, incestuous philosopher off your wall, and start to practice real science.

“Evolution is Fact!” But The Debate Persists…

I have had two very spirited debates as of late, and like others, am noticing a trend of debate mistakes that reoccur, understandably so, because of the emotional nature of the topic. Though one must ask, if your default position is atheism, why adopt the aggressive freedom fighter mentality that usually decays in to insults and personal attacks. I stipulate that both sides do this often, but I suppose I can understand religious fervor to save one’s soul more than a fervor to prove Christians ignorant, fact-denying, brainwashed pseudoscience following imbeciles. I suppose it boils down to what’s at stake. If God and the bible are real, then that means a real creator, real sin, real judgement, and a real way to inherit that kingdom that was denied by said atheist. If Christians can be bullied into submission despite facts to the contrary, I suppose payoff for the atheist is obvious, a life that is consequence free.

During the debate, no evidence was put forth to diminish the word of God, and no evidence was put forth to bolster evolution, nor undermine the creation model. Statements were made such as:

“Christians and Americans are reaaaally good at spreading misinformation, because they don’t understand history”

“countless scientific facts that disprove so many statements and ideas in the bible”

“Believing the words of the bible is no different than believing the earth is flat”

“It is one of the most factually incorrect group of texts ever collected, outside of accepted fiction”

“[The bible} is entirely false. Christian scientists are amazed at their own ability to twist facts to fit their beliefs, but that’s about it.”

“most people who grow up in religious families … choose the much easier path of disbelieving overwhelming evidence and fact”

“Simply, you don’t know what you’re talking about”

“Christians would still stick their heads in the sand and keep believing all the incorrect, illogical, contradictory nonsense written in the bible. Keep believing what suits you, to the detriment of future generations”

Notice anything about these statements? Who was being attacked? Any scientist who is Christian or believes in intelligent design; Christians who are unlearned; religious families; anyone who does not fit with the debater’s presuppositions. I remind you that no evidence was given to support these claims; these were just brazen arrows shot across the proverbial debate table. This brings us to our first debate error, the ad hominem personal attack, and more specifically the ‘Guilt by Association’ technique, which states you must be wrong because you are part of a certain group. Both of these are fallacies, and attack the person for being who they are, which is not a valid reason for giving into that person’s position.

Secondly we find the ‘Hero-Busting’ argument, in this case levied towards Christianity as a whole, stating that because of certain faults, crimes, or errors in the past, the group itself must be wrong on all accounts. Essentially, there are no heroes, and since your hero is wrong, then you obviously are too.

Finally we have two other fallacies utilized often against the creation model, and thosee who espouse them. They are related. One is called ‘TINA’ (There Is No Alternative), and the other is ‘Essentializing’. TINA is stating this is the way it is, so get over it, basically squashing any alternate ideas as ludicrous and a waste of time. This is a bullying tactic, that eliminates all other positions without having to defend them. Essentializing, is also called a ‘default bias’, and just means, something is what it is, and there is no point in discussing it further. This position doesn’t allow for growth in knowledge, or in solutions, and minimizes the efforts of the other position as pointless.

All of these were used on me during my last few debates, and weeding through them on the fly is a challenge. As an example to those reading, the statement was made that  Christians don’t practice actual science, they twist facts, practice pseudoscience, and ignore the “actual scientific process”.  My response was as follows:

“To dismiss the education of a people based on faith is to be ignorant of how many doctors and scientists are at present Christian, and or believe in intelligent design. For example CMI (Christian ministries International) employs more doctors than any other ministry the world over, all of which believe in a literal six day creation, and the authenticity of scripture… To simply negate all christians who are scientists as pseudo-scientists, and bad at science is an ad hominem attack that cannot stand up to genuine scrutiny, for many of the the fathers of science were believers.”

There are many examples, and I have in the past posted an extensive list of Christians who were not only the fathers of science, but who made vast contributions to many fields. This illustrates that the previous emotional statements are not true; that in fact some scientists who are believers do practice real science. This point was unfortunately never conceded to, and on went the denigration of anyone who claimed to practice science but actually believed in intelligent design. This is not an intellectually honest position to have, as one example would crumble the hypothesis.

Since anger was blocking any ability of mine to make headway, I chose to thank him for the spirited debate, and can only hope and pray that God will set learned and strong Christians in his path until his heart is changed. I would count myself blessed to be part of that chain of salvation. I would reiterate to everyone, I know it isn’t facts that change a heart, but God does use the word, sharper than any sword and a conviction to mankind, to change people’s hearts. But sometimes we need to be able to understand that it is possible to rely on the authority of scripture, even though the world does all it can to make it seem foolish. Sometimes just being confident in it can throw others for a loop, and I don’t think that is a bad thing, if it helps others ask questions.

 

Mammals ate Dinosaurs!

774px-Timeline_evolution_of_life.svgAs we know from years of evolutionary indoctrination, the deep-time model has dinosaurs (dragons) living from about 230 million years ago to about 65 million years when through all manner of conjecture ranging from meteors to flatulence (I’m not kidding) the dinosaurs became extinct, making way for the prosperity of mammals. What I am about to tell you was discovered in 2005, but if you google or research the chronology of evolution, you will still find the narrative has remained stubbornly constant. Above is a standard evolutionary timeline, showing data will not affect the paradigm, a philosophy clung to at all costs.

Published with the aid of scientists at New York’s Natural History Museum, there was a discovery announced in 2005 about a fossil. It was found by a farmer in northeastern China, and was dated at 130 million years old. It was a mammal.

This mammal is listed as Repenomamus Robustus, and is akin to a large possum, or shrew, that is simply called Repe. Bear in mind, the creation model has no issue with heavy duty animals larger than today’s due to pre-flood conditions (air pressure, oxygen content, magnetism), so this could very well be a larger than modern day possum, as several over-sized mammals have been found in the fossil record. But there is more damning evidence for the evolutionist’s model to consider.

ig25_Repenomamus_rob_02After examining the fossil, scientists first thought it had been pregnant at the time of burial. Turns out that’s not the case. This specimen was buried so quickly that preserved in it’s stomach was its last meal, the chewed up body of a baby dinosaur, the psittacosaur. The mammal had last eaten a dinosaur before being quickly buried in water, and mud, leaving no time for digestion before fossilization. Admitting the tantalizing find  proved that there was a”major player” within the ecosystem of what science has dubbed the Mesozoic period, previously reserved for dinosaurs and since stubborn discoveries like these, a begrudgingly  admitted spectrum of smaller mammals. There was no discussion of the conundrum it left evolutionists with. 

The scientist, Jin Meng, said “This is the first direct evidence that mammals fed on dinosaurs.” Comments abounded regarding how dinosaurs must be tasty, and mammalian species were getting payback. But no where within the frivolous conversation were obvious conclusions considered, such as, ‘perhaps we need to rethink our time-line, or dating methods, or postulate a model that has more mammals and dinosaurs living at the same time and, within the same ecosystem, and consider how that could be, since it would necessitate the evolution of mammals much earlier. None of these questions were addressed by secularists.

I will keep pointing out that evidence continues to support, and fall within the young earth, deluge model, and evolutionists will of course continue to push back, touting their faith in evolution as fact we must accept. Our friend the Repe is just another one of many finds that not only shows a world that was buried quickly in a catastrophe like Noah’s flood, but that all known animals were around at the same time, including man. Using the bible, we can clearly infer that ancestors of  the Repe and the psittacosaur were made on day 6, and can see that played out within the wonderful observable earth sciences.

Over all there have been 432 mammals found within the rock layers of dinosaurs, but as we keep pointing out, these specimens are not publicized or taught. That may not seem like a lot of samples, but consider this; there have only been 1200 full dinosaur skeletons found. Out of the millions of fossils found, only 0.0125% of them are vertebrates.

Again, for fun you can google “how old are mammals” and get information on the discovery of 165 million year old mammals, while at the same time googling a time line for evolution that still teaches small mammals arising at 60 million years regardless of how it flies in the face of known discoveries (such as a large mammal eating dinosaurs 130 million years ago). 

[From livescience.com -meet your mama-

These new findings also suggest this forerunner of most mammals appeared shortly after the catastrophe that ended the age of dinosaurs, scientists added.

“Species like rodents and primates did not share the Earth with nonavian dinosaurs, but arose from a common ancestor — a small, insect-eating, scampering animal — shortly after the dinosaurs’ demise,” said researcher Maureen O’Leary at Stony Brook University in New York.]

I reiterate, this is not science but a philosophy, clung to with all of the fervor of any other religion, and indifferent to that which is observable. They have their doctrines, and will not be dissuaded. My fervent prayer is that the house of cards that is evolutionary theory will soon collapse under the weight of its own failure. But until that day, consider the words of our Lord Jesus from John 3:12: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”

If you cannot understand what you see here on earth, how can you understand what God has in store?

Let’s Be Clear… It’s a Young Earth

I have debated many agnostics and atheists over the years, over a myriad of issues, and against both hostile and kind opponents. I appreciate each one, because more often than not it highlights areas of apologetics that I need to brush up on, or better teaches me how to present biblical truth with love, rather than some misguided sense of superiority. Let us never forget as apologists that our sole purpose is to guide others lovingly to the cross. Not to berate or belittle those who lack a relationship with Christ.

But often a discussion will beat around the bush in regards to specifics of the creation model, or not address it at all if it isn’t within the scope of a contested topic, leaving sometimes months of ambiguity about certain positions. This may leave the opponent, or those following along, with unanswered queries that usually are dismissed, no doubt forsaken for a more comfortable choice. When smacked in the face with a glaring challenge to a long understood paradigm, the reaction towards me can be intense. Perhaps I seem dense, ignorant, or even stupid to the debater, and the inevitable response is to pretend it wasn’t said, or to forever think slightly less of me. I have had people throw my bible across a room, I have been told to shut up, and that I know nothing about science, and am met with dumbfounded questions like, “Have you ever even been to a natural history museum?”

So to boldly state it, so there is no room for dismissal or confusion, we will address the elephant in the room. I am a biblicist, young earth creationist who believes the earth, and for that matter the universe, is only about 6 or 7 thousand years old. I have seen science agree with the bible time and time again, and consider deep time science to be filled with assumption, circular reasoning, and un-testable hypothesis. This means dinosaurs and man have always lived together, which concurs with the book of Job. This means languages were confused at Babel, which fits with the science of linguistics, and current understanding of population growth charts. It means archaeology attests consistently to old testament historicity, regarding geography, ancient kings, unearthed cities, and numerous artifacts such as cuniform and bulae. It means we observe limiting factors in cosmology such as volcanic moons on Jupiter which should have long since cooled off, the moon pulling away from the earth in its orbit limiting its age, the impossibility of comets being older than 10,000 years due to the loss of material as it moves, the drifting out of Saturn’s rings and much more. It means we look to a literal world wide deluge about 4500 years ago to explain not only the fossil record, but also the unique and extraordinary geological features we find world wide. This includes explanation of biomass becoming fossil fuels, the Grand Canyon, the ice age, millions of tons of sediment burying pre-flood animals all over the world, like sharks teeth in a South Dakota farmer’s field, petrified clams on Mount Everest, and fossil graveyards that collected thousands of carcasses from varied species in post-flood eddies. It explains how we find man-made objects in coal seems, signs of civilization near the edges of the continental shelf, and evidence of malnourished, nomadic man with primitive tools during a post-flood world. It means we can account for the over 300 flood legends from almost every ancient civilization. It corroborates taxonomy and genetics, and allows for the splendor of natural variety within animal kinds without assuming un-demonstrable macro-evolution. It embraces the natural laws of physics, and does not assume a constant, yet un-observable, violation of these laws in order to add complexity to a closed system.

The creation does not claim to answer every mystery, but it does begin with a basic pre-supposition that the bible, in all of its uniqueness, is an eye-witness account of the history of our world, and so far is the only text proven to consistently get it right.

Without even discussing the over 1800 prophecies fulfilled without error as a mode of proof, let us consider that the bible discussed the cities of Nineveh, Ur, Jericho, and the City of David before they were unearthed in modern times; that it clued us into pathways/currents in the ocean as well as fountains from under the sea floor before man knew they were there; that it told us the earth hung in space on nothing back when men still fought over whether it rested on the shoulders of a god or on the shell of a large turtle.

In the simple telling of truthful history over a  4000 year period of writing from over 40 authors, the bible as a simple matter-of-fact revealed concise details that only later could be verified, and its accuracy continues to astound, causing skeptics to blare from a position of argumentum ad ignorantiam, or “absence of evidence”. At every turn, and within every field of scientific study, a logical position can be taken and defended that stands on the authority of scripture. I encourage questions and curiosities as always, but let us not be scared to proclaim the truth without compromise. And let us not remain ignorant of the fact that evolution is purely faith based. The only difference is the bible offers us veracity as well as hope, where as evolution offers only conjecture and insignificance.

Be Still…

Many Christians look around at the social and political landscape with a deep anxiety towards what the future holds. Different issues cling to our psyche like pursuers we can’t gain distance from. Morality, liberty, church, money, the way in which we view these things is changing. What’s worse is we are often guilty of feeding that worry, of staying exposed to it, trapped in an echo chamber of our own making  until we believe the sky is falling. It does us good to step back and remember who is in charge.

You have to wonder how terrifying the world seemed to young Daniel when Babylon marched the Israelites across Shinar into Babylonian slavery.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.” – Dan 1: 1-2

Israel, after prophetic warnings, had finally passed into judgement for not obeying God. Jeremiah chapter 34 explains how Israel did not practice their Sabbath days or years, and were to spend between 606BC and  536 BC as slaves to the Babylonian and Persian empire. It was exactly 70 years before Daniel and his countrymen were allowed to start rebuilding Jerusalem, the bulk of his life in fact. Permission was given by the Persians to rebuild the temple, but never again, until May of 1948, were the Jewish people not ruled over by others. They had lost their independence.

But what came from this slavery, this providential lowering of protection for Israel. First consider the precision of judgement. God’s people had abandoned the Sabbath year for precisely 490 years before enslavement. Every seventh year being a Sabbath year, meant the Israelites were being judged for disobedience in regards to exactly 70 of those years (490 / 7 = 70). The exact amount of years they were under captivity! Much too perfect to be coincidence, true historical data such as this continues to make the word of God unique, and remarkable.  Precisely 70 years were paid back to God; and during those 70 years it was prophesied not only the empires to follow and continue to rule over the Israeli people, but also the 490 year prophecy pertaining to God’s plan for them. A precise starting point was given, and an exact time of the messiah was shared with Daniel, and in turn, with the world.

The bible was edified beyond comprehension through this tumult, proving to be prophetically accurate, highlighting God’s precise righteous judgement, and promising a time of grace and salvation, all within, and around, and in the midst of human debauchery. You see, it is within the framework of human behavior that this historical narrative plays out, and does so according to the sovereign will of God. What seems like abandonment, unfairness, tragedy, when examined from a historical perspective, falls in line perfectly with what God is doing. Make no mistake, grace and judgement are, and have always been, linked. We like to celebrate God’s love, but tend to deny deserving God’s judgement, and the sacrifice necessary to bestow undeserved grace. In Eden, sin was covered, and the animals shed blood to cover it; during the flood, Noah and his family were spared, the continuously evil world judged; at the exodus, Jews were shown grace, while Egypt was judged righteously; at the cross, the world was loved, while blood was shed. It has always been.

A true study of Daniel is mind-blowing, but the greatest lesson from its pages is the comfort of knowing who is in control, even when hardships fall. That trek across the Shinar valley, each step adding distance between each prisoner’s home and holy places, while the Babylonians defiled everything sacred, how could one be asked to trust in God. It must have seemed hopeless. But even then, we can look back at a perfect mosaic woven by God’s hand, and see a plan unfold that was implemented beyond our understanding, and outside of our time.

What does this mean for you? It means that God’s plan far exceeds your understanding,  even your life, and furthermore, He does not owe you explanation before accomplishing His will. What He demands instead is trust. The kind of trust Daniel personified, despite circumstance, despite slavery, despite even death if need be. But this trust does not go unrewarded. In return for your trust, you receive that precious grace you don’t deserve, and it is stamped with the same assurances as the prophecies given to Daniel, which unfolded with supernatural accuracy.

So when we view the landscape of our times, do so with the wisdom that comes with hanging hope on the promises of God. He has asked for your trust, and has bought you with His own blood. For consideration:

When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. – Psalms 75:3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalms 46:10

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

(Jesus) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. – John 14:27

 

 

 

What is Apologetics?

Are we apologizing for being Christian? Heaven forbid. Apology in early English times did not convey the idea of excuse, or making amends for some injury done.An apologist should proudly proclaim the word of God as inerrant, divinely inspired, and expertly preserved through the ages, better than any other in history. For example, apologist John Warwick Montgomery says this: “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity”. The reason? Because the bible manuscripts have been retained and preserved hundreds, even thousands of times better than many of the books we rely on from antiquity. Click on CARM.org link here to examine the difference between our bible and the writings of Plato, or Aristotle, or Homer. There is no comparison, as no other book in history demanded such reverence and respect when it came to authenticity.

How I defended the scriptures there, using facts, resources, respected researchers and authors, that is apologetics. Defense, from the Greek “apologia” means a defense of conduct and procedure. A verbal defense, a speech in defense of what one has done, or of truth which one believes. This describes, like a lawyer might, the examining of facts and reason that would allow someone to believe, or make a case for belief.

“Apologia” is used 8 times in the new testament including the verse 1 peter 3:15 ‘But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer (defense, apologia) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.’

Here are some other relevant verses
Acts 22:1 – hear my defense before you now
1 corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this…
Philippians 1:7 … in the defense and confirmation of the gospel
Philippians 1:17 knowing I am appointed for the defense of the gospel…
The manner in which the word “apologia” is used in 1 peter 3:15, denotes the kind of defense one would make to a legal inquiry, asking, “Why are you a Christian?”

Everyone who is a Christian is responsible to give an adequate answer to this question. Christianity is either EVERYTHING to mankind, or it is NOTHING. It is either the highest certainty, or the greatest delusion. But we lovingly guide others to Christ knowing this; Christianity appeals to facts of history that are clearly recognizable and accessible by everyone. It is a factual faith. Here is a basic apologetic thesis:
“There is an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God who has revealed Himself by means natural and supernatural in creation, in the nature of man, in the history of Israel and the Church, in the pages of Holy Scripture, in the incarnation of God in Christ, and in the heart of the believer by the gospel.” – (Bernard Ramm, apologist.)
There are many ways to practice apologetics, and I would encourage you to follow your studies in a direction that the Spirit leads you, and based on how adeptly you pick up on the different types. Often you will have to decide at the onset of a discussion what pre-suppositions each party is starting with. These will have to be explored and defined, otherwise it will be very difficult to make points. As you already know, the world of religion is very complex, and debates can spin off onto several tangents very fast. One party may want to challenge the veracity of a God while the other is only prepared to start with the pre-supposition that the bible is true, accurate, inerrant etc. There is room in apologetics for every presupposition, as long as it is defined. In fact, you may find that the bulk of a discussion is spent defining the problem. There is nothing wrong with this. As it is often said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”

One way to practice apologetics is Classical, which highlights rational argument for the existence of God. You have to show that God exists before you can show miracles, or necessitate Christ’s works. Without the presupposition that God exists, it is hard to show why we need redemption at all. Refining this argument further, you can approach from a couple positions. One states there must be a cause for matter to exist; some cause that was not caused itself, for there cannot be an infinite regression of causes. Another approach is the watchmaker argument. Basically, evidence of design proves there must be a designer.

Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Evidential is another method of approaching apologetics. This appeals to history, the sciences, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, resurrection of Christ, etc. as evidence for the veracity of scripture and Christianity.

We must always be aware of our audience, just as the apostles were in Acts, and know from which point the audience is starting from. When Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2, he spoke to citizens of Jerusalem with a clear knowledge of the beginning, with a respect for the Old Testament already:

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words… this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel… Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…For David speaketh concerning him…”

Do you see how Peter approached by appealing to their patriarchs and already accepted history? Now compare that to an Acts 17 culture:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

Paul was speaking to Athenians here, steeped in an idolatrous polytheistic culture. It would have done Paul no good to start referring to Moses, and David, and the Ten Commandments. They had no frame of reference without first being introduced to who God was.

This is often the case in America today. In the 50’s and before, our western culture was one of Christian roots, and less apologetics had to be applied, because a biblical framework already existed. That isn’t so, today. By the admittance of even our own leaders, we are not a Christian nation, and the west certainly practices varied types of idolatry and religious inclusion that parallels the Acts 17 Athenians. Therefore, we must be prepared, as Paul was, to give a defense of our beliefs, and to lovingly guide others to the cross.

To join the conversation, please join and share at www.facebook.com/cooper.author 

For Excellent tutelage on apologetics, visit CARM.org/apologetics (Matt Slick)

“There is Only One Race” is Racist

“At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes. Nothing, however, is perhaps more remarkable in this respect, than that some of the wildest tribes in southern Asia and eastern Africa have no trace whatever of the first foundations of all human civilization, of family life, and marriage. They live together in herds, like apes.”

Does reading that make you mad? It should, and righteously so. That is a quote from Ernst Haeckel, a German evolutionists I have covered briefly before. In doing so, I not only pointed out his affinity for horrible and fraudulent science, but also his influence on Hitler in promoting the idea of evolution and superior “races”.

Racism is an unfortunately prevalent issue as of late, as all types of crossfire ensue across many of America’s battlefields. These arguments play out on many stages, and take many forms, but like most of our problems, the reality is that it is a heart issue, a sin issue, and an issue that can be remedied with faith in God and His scriptures.

Many very personal testimonies exist that have dealt with this issue, and can make this subject touchy. Some experience personal turmoil. Others belong to an occupation, or people group that has been effected by racism. This article is not meant to belittle those experiences, but simply to say that with a proper understanding of Biblical Christianity, healing can take place in the heart of the believer in regards to this sin. But in order to do that, we must understand what the bible says about it.

Revelations 7:9-10:   After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

What a tremendous victory that is waiting for followers of Christ, and illustrated clearly here, those victors do not share in the trite aesthetic qualifications that we who are in sin deem pertinent. Where in this victory are men separated from women? Or where do you see Haeckel’s offensive and absurd stance on certain people groups having evolved over others? Is skin tone mentioned? Does the amount of melanin  in skin determine where you stand when we arrive at the throne of grace? Does language? Does geography? No. Clearly what scripture teaches here is that none of these genetic variations that God designed in order that we may experience beautiful variety determines our brotherhood and sisterhood, or our importance when crying out to the Lamb who was slain for us.

If you feel that your rank in front of a holy God will be higher than that of a fellow believer based on your ancestry, or language, or people group, then you do not understand yet the extent of your sin, or how desperately you need grace. If you understood how judgement descended upon every nation at the flood; How every language origin was created at the Tower of Babel during the judgement of all; How every nation will endure the righteous judgement of God at the end, then you will conclude that you are not special, and have not been set apart based on anything so trivial as variety within a genome.

Now, in knowing this, and in studying genetics, it’s determined  that there is only one race, the human race. Biblically, we all came from the same 8 people on the ark that were spared 4500 years ago. This works perfectly with population growth charts, and also with present day archaeology. It was, unfortunately, science rather than the church who led the charge in stating this was a genetic certainty, despite the continued argument over origins. It is now considered fact that the term “race” is altogether worthless in describing any people group. But we give power to words that maybe they shouldn’t have. For instance, in the University of California, it is racist to state this fact:

[“There is only one race, the human race,” is offensive because it denies “the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.”]

Among other banned phrases, such as, “America is the land of opportunity,” (implying that “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder”), and to say nothing of our freedom of speech, or growing tendency to be offended by everything, they have quite literally banned true statements, as proven by genetic science, or observation. This is not even a religious conclusion (though it is corroborated by the bible), and yet is banned as being deemed racist.

I would submit to the reader that Haeckel’s, and Darwin’s, and Hitler’s view on different people groups is extremely sinful, bigoted, and evil. I would further submit that you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with every tribe and beautiful variety of the world when you face death, either in judgement, or in victory. The question isn’t whether or not you will look like them on the outside. It is whether Jesus Christ the Lord of all is on the inside.

For more on race, please visit Answers in Genesis article.

Apocalypto, Fear, and 2 Timothy

Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?

Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.

Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

I was watching Apocalypto, Mel Gibson’s Mayan adaptation from 2006, and noticed a bit of dialogue that struck a spiritual chord. Flint Sky stood unafraid, and proud, as fearful families of a ravaged village passed by on a hunt. But he picked up on how badly his son was affected by the chance meeting. Like an evil omen, it hung about Jaguar Paw like a wet blanket. And of course, why wouldn’t it? Jaguar Paw, we come to find, has much to worry about. He has a son, a wife, another child on the way, and with danger close, all that matters to him could be in jeopardy. But did his father not incur the same risk? Or even more so, seeing as how his standing in the village, and breadth of his family and influence was even greater? Had he not enjoyed a lasting peace for longer, and come to depend for more years on what had always been?

The viewer is forced to wonder why the father’s experience, or personality, has provided him a stoic surety, that the son yet lacked. Now of course, the Mayans had their own thoughts regarding gods, and afterlife, and I would not wish to compare the belief with Christianity at this time, but it was clear from the context of the film that for whatever reason, there was something  Flint Sky believed in regards to himself that allowed him to face the day with power, despite what may come. There was something that couldn’t be taken away, or even threatened, whether by hunger, or loss, or death itself. He had decided long ago that worry would not steal his joy, or determine his actions. It is in this way that God has called Christians to live for Him.

Consider this verse:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Many are familiar with it, but Flint Sky, the face of a father as he taught his son to not be afraid really brought it home. It became less of a bumper sticker, and more of a decision. This man was choosing to live, as we should, strong and courageous before the dangers of the world. No where in the word does it promise wealth, or merriment, or lack of tumult. On the contrary, what is promised is refinement, tribulations, persecutions. We look around with our spiritual eyes open and see moral corruption, materialism, leaders who have forsaken righteousness for angles towards money, and power. We see the slaughter of innocents for the sake of convenience, or misplaced self-importance. And amidst it all we are called to walk unafraid. If we become poor, or threatened, or jailed, we do so with power. And we teach our families to that end.

Bravely face what is to come; stare back at fear with the armor of God, and do not let it into your home, into your village. Do not let it taint your peace, for your savior has conquered death.

But you must ask, what comes next… to go, therefore, and do what…?

Verse 8-10 says:

 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

So, despite the fearful  citizens that walk past your hunting party, despite the marauders creeping towards the perimeter of the village, despite the world leering at you with agitated eyes, out to convert your thinking or destroy you and your influence; and even when your throat is threatened by your enemy’s obsidian dagger, you can stand tall without fear, honest in your gaze as you tell your family, do not be afraid. Do not bring it into your home. As for you and your house, you serve the Lord, the creator of all things, who conquered death, and who asks you to call Him father. What could possibly scare you?

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