Reasonable Faith

Everyone has faith in something…usually the thing that they worship.

For Christians, we have faith in and worship God. For naturalists, they have faith that nature emerged from an aggregate of random mistakes…and they tend to worship some aspect of creation (as is predicted in Romans 1).

Revelational Apologetics

One of the most common attacks on Christianity is to ridicule its reliance on faith.  Atheists proudly proclaim their dependence upon reason or logic whereas Christians practice a faith in a magic book trusting their imaginary friend named Jesus.  This tactic has proven very effective damaging the faith of many and keeping others from ever coming to Christ.  In my last post, I stated that it is impossible to escape faith while seeking to discern truth.   Indeed, everyone practices faith.  It is impossible to live and not have faith.

Obviously, we cannot address this issue without defining faith and therein lies the problem.  The definition of faith promulgated by atheists is that of a belief or trust in something without evidence or reason, an irrational belief.  Unfortunately, even many Christians have accepted this definition in their practice of Christianity.  As I have shown, neither the Bible nor Jesus Christ ever…

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Apologetics Sermon Illustration #48: Refuting Presuppositions and Fighting Terrorist Financing

Because evidence is interpreted within one’s worldview, evidence that corroborates scripture will never be accepted by the naturalist. They will always interpret evidence from a naturalistic worldview.

So, to faithfully present the gospel of Jesus, the apologist should critically analyze the skeptic’s worldview (or presuppositions). All worldviews that do not begin with the Creator as the omniscient Revealer, will end up with contradictions or unfounded regressions.

Praise God for his faithfulness and goodness!

The Domain for Truth

GO TO PART 47

Point: Some Christians engage in apologetics in a piecemeal fashion.  They give evidence here and there.  They refute an objection here and there.  They might not realize the importance of Presuppositional apologetics (as taught by Cornelius Van Til) with its emphasis of going beyond the individual sparring of the skeptics’ objection and instead pursue refutations of the opponent’s worldview at the level of presuppositions.  How can you illustrate the importance of refuting an opponent’s worldview?

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No More Eisegesis

In a debate with astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle, Hugh Ross tries to defend his old universe claims in contradiction to God’s written revelation and the words of Jesus. The moderator, Frank Turek asked Hugh Ross If there was anything that refuted the biblical claims of Jason Lisle. Ross talked about his books. To be fair, Turek asked Dr. Lisle what book would refute Hugh Ross. In one of the best debate responses of all time, Lisle held up the Bible as the book that refutes Hugh Ross. If you watch the linked debate above, this golden moment happens about 1:17:24.

HughRossRefuted

God has chosen to reveal Himself through his written Word, through creation, and through Jesus. With this starting point, we can conclude that each of these revelations are cohesive in their message.

  • God’s written revelation begins with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” The rest of Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:11 tell us that God did his creative work in 6 days. Genesis 1 also tells us seven times that God describes his creation as he describes himself: good. God’s written revelation also describes how mankind’s rebellion brought a curse on all of creation, and this is why we all experience suffering and death. We also see in God’s written word that His plan of redemption through Jesus will defeat death (I Cor 15) and bring all things under the authority of Jesus.
  • God’s revelation in creation is sufficient evidence to bring judgment on those who suppress knowledge of the Creator in their wickedness (Romans 1)
  • God’s revelation in Jesus is the fulfillment of all of His plans throughout history.

Satan has tried since the beginning to discredit God’s plan and pervert the revelations. For years, Hugh Ross and his followers have been using his unbiblical assumptions to interpret scripture. They have an unusual belief that some of the secular interpretations of nature are another book of the Bible. They take the billions of years that secular scientists claim as the age of the universe and shoehorn them into the Bible, where none of that time exists. Dr. Ross’s followers even developed a non-biblical timeline to try to bring the Bible into alignment with secular astronomy’s interpretations of evidence.

ReasonsTimeline

God’s word is clear in its message, even though there are places in the Bible that need interpretation. As Christians, we cannot let one’s own assumptions guide the interpretation of scripture. That’s called eisegesis. The proper interpretation method is to use scripture to interpret scripture. This is consistent and faithful.

Contested Bones

The Grand Theory of Evolution has been on life support (mostly from radical elitists, who protect their kingdoms with threats of lawsuits) for years, and much of the contradictory evidence is not well advertised. Books like Lubenow’s and Sanford’s need more publicity, so that the major stumbling block to Christianity, evolution, will go extinct!

From the article:

“According to Dr. Sanford, the evidence for human evolution is scant, jumbled, shallow, fragmented and scattered”

sixdaysblog

What evidence is there for evolution? One common narrative is, “The proof is in the bones.” But, when we examine the evidence, we find that’s just not true.

Dr. John Sanford, a Cornell University professor and inventor of the ‘Gene Gun’, hosted the session, Contested Bones at the 2018 Creation Superconference, and this was one of my favorites. Dr. Sanford is a geneticist, but he was also formerly an atheist and staunch evolutionist.

I read the book Bones of Contention by Marvin Lubenow (I’d highly recommend it), which was published in 2004, and while the book has been revised, there’s much more evidence refuting evolution since then, and Dr. Sanford provides provides the latest updates in his book, Contested Bones.

Evolutionists claim that ape-to-man evolution provides some of the best evidence for evolution because, we’re told, the fossils prove this transition. But there are major problems with these claims.

The…

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Book Review : Fight – A Christian Case for NonViolence

Fight

In today’s culture that includes all view from the pendulum swing of gun-free extremism to open-carry extremism, how relevant is a book like this? My younger brother introduced me to Preston Sprinkle’s Fight – The Christian Case for Non Violence, and I was very skeptical thinking, “It’s probably just liberal politics with some holy water poured on it to make it sound Christian.”

I was both wrong and right. Let me start with my conclusion: This book is worth reading because of how Christians are influenced too much by what the culture is teaching rather than influencing culture by what the Bible teaches.

Forward

Is there a more lazy condemnation of something distasteful than to say, “Well, Hitler did xxxxxx?” Even though, he only mentions Hitler in passing, the context of that paragraph suddenly get swallowed in that black hole because of the strong emotions that come with his mere mention.

Some strong points from the forward:

The cure to bad theology is not “no theology” – but good theology

Definitely, and I found this book contained both good and bad theology

But in the end he reminds us that we are not called to follow Augustine…we are called to follow Christ.

This is so relevant to our culture because there is a strong temptation to latch onto some bumper sticker proverb or clever tweet from a famous pastor as though it were doctrine.

Chapter 1

One of the themes that runs throughout that book is the way that Christians have conflated the Kingdom of God with the Kingdom of the United States of America. It is a heresy that has infiltrated the church, and has diluted the power and truth of the gospel. If the reader gets nothing else from this book, Christians should live as citizens of the Kingdom of God with more passion than as citizens of their mortal land.

One of the first opportunities for recognizing this dichotomy is when he asks, “Should Christians celebrate the death of a terrorist or suicide bomber?” Our patriotism shouts victoriously that it’s good that this terrorist is dead, but as citizens of the eternal Kingdom, we recognize that any terrorist is suffering for eternity because of his sin. Death is the enemy (I Cor 15). What a sad state of affairs that we don’t weep for how sin has perverted Creation and instead cheer for the death of America’s enemies.

One of my favorite paragraphs from the whole book:

All the more need to open God’s Word to see what He thinks about these issues…But in order to address these issues from a Christian perspective, we need to dig into scripture to see what God does say about them. So often in heated debates, the Bible is rarely consulted. Or if it is, it’s done haphazardly or with blatant bias. Oftentimes we start with a view we are convinced is right; then we go to Scripture to find verses that support it.

More than anything I got from reading this book was the conviction that my Americanism influenced my view about guns and violence rather than letting God’s divine Word shape my thinking.

Sprinkle brings to light some horrific heretical teachings by famous Christian teachers:

Hal Lindsey, located the moral demise if America in the “crisis of military weakness.” He believed that “the Bible supports building a powerful military force…the Bible is telling the US to become strong again” and “to use our vast and superior technology to create the world’s strongest military power.” Jerry Falwell…called America back to biblical values, which included patriotism and a strong military to ward off the threat of atheistic communism…Wayne Grudem saw America’s “superior military weaponry” as “a good thing for the world.” After all, “genuine peace in the world comes through the strength of the United States.”

Grudem’s final comment is so disheartening that Christian leaders would so dishonor the Prince of Peace by elevating the USA to His rightful throne and say that the USA provides genuine peace through superior firepower.

PeaceThroughFirepower

As a youth, I loved this phrase, and it is easy to rally behind! But that again is the patriotism deciding my doctrine rather than God’s Word.

Some questions (though not specifically in the book) were brought to mind for me in reading ch 1:

  • Has Americanism invaded the church?
  • Is religious freedom God’s intention?
  • Is militarism the key to religious freedom and a hope for peace?

 

Chapters 2-5

Sprinkle spends most of these chapters building his case for non-violence. Sadly, I found most of these chapters as scriptures taken out of context, a huge stretching of the text to make a point, or repetitive frustration with militarism.

Sprinkle introduces a strange resolution to the Israelite’s destruction of the Canaanites (and other OT sins).

God both accommodates to and improves upon the ethical systems of the surrounding nations. p49

Accommodating sounds very much like God compromises his holiness since the Hebrews are unable to obey perfectly. It’s like saying, “Well, at least the Hebrews weren’t as bad as the surrounding nations. They did some things better, so God must have changed his standards to accommodate their behavior.” This is NOT God’s plan, so to say this (more than once in these chapters), Sprinkle seems not understand God’s purpose to redeem Creation from the curse of sin…completely.

But in light of other ancient war accounts, the Old Testament looks much less gruesome. p65

Compared to other nations, Israel did not glorify violence. p68

Here it is again – this idea of “At least it’s better than others.” God is not into hierarchical sins and above a certain threshold is unacceptable.

The section heading on page 68 is “Should America follow Israel’s war policy?” I mentioned earlier that patriotism should not be intertwined with Christianity. In this section Sprinkle explicitly states a powerful truth that Christians today need to embrace:

But America is not God’s nation. Let me be clear: I do not think that America should use the Bible to construct or defend its military program, because America is not the new Israel, nor is it a Christian nation…God’s people should never celebrate military power, and we certainly shouldn’t find our hope and security in it.

There are lots of Christians in the USA, and a valid case can be made that some Christian principles were employed by many Christian founding fathers to create this nation, but it is not (as a nation) God’s chosen people.

In my opinion Ch 4 can be skipped completely, because he builds a strong case that American Christians today should not wipe out Canaanites as the Israelites did (either hyperbolically or otherwise.) We agree.

In chapter 5 he makes the strange case that Israel was not to possess “advanced weaponry.” So, for the time, horses were seen as advanced weaponry, and Israel (under Solomon) sinned by adding advanced weaponry (horses) to his army. What? And even though he specifically said earlier that the USA is not God’s nation, Sprinkle condemns the USA’s acquisition of advanced weaponry today as against God’s commands. So, why would that matter if the USA is not God’s nation? This contradiction is peppered throughout the book.

I can very much appreciate the sentiment in chapter 6 that Christians are called to be citizens of the eternal Kingdom rather than subject to the thoughts and desires of the world. Jesus confessed before Pilate “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” Christians should evaluate their involvement into the affairs of the world’s kingdoms the way Jesus did.

[SPOILER: Skip to the next paragraph if you want to appreciate the surprise] On p.130, Sprinkle shares a powerful “gotcha” moment in which he describes a young man named, Martin, who served his country with honor during WW2. Martin said, “When this great nation was formed, God gave Christianity as its soul, and it is from these Christian roots that it has grown and developed.” Martin Niemoller served in the German army out of his allegiance to his earthly nation. It is a good reminder that when we ally ourselves with the world, we will inevitably not be serving the Kingdom of God.

I found myself in agreement with most of his writing in chapters 7 and 8. Love your enemies and Good Citizens. In Chapters 9 and 10, Sprinkle again builds a tired case that just because there is violence in the Bible (Revelation in this case), that Christians should not seek out violent means. Perhaps, it is because I do not travel in specific circles, but I’ve not heard Christian leaders make the case that because there is bloodshed prophesied in Revelation that Christians can kill and maim unbelievers, so I’m in agreement with Sprinkle…the chapters just seemed to drag on as unneeded to make his case.

Chapter 11 discusses what is perhaps the most asked question with regards to Christian violence. “What should Christians do when an attacker comes into your home?” Sprinkle does not answer conclusively, but the questions and concepts covered are very valuable in answering this question for yourself. When the Christian culture says, “Blast anyone who comes into your home” can we as Christians not recognize that when the people that Jesus loved most were faced with persecution/death, He chose not to act in violence?

success isn’t the highest goal. Faithfulness is. So what would be the most faithful Christlike response to the attacker at the door?

Pray for him. I’m living in a world ruled by Jesus.

We love our enemies because we were once God’s enemies. We were the attacker at the door who crucified His Son, and He didn’t shoot us. And even if we killed our enemy as the lesser of two evils, it’s still a horrific incident. We don’t cherish the death of our enemies.

It’s true that we were once enemies of God, but we do not love our enemies because we were once enemies. We love our enemies because Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” No other reason is needed.

There are other questions and objections answered in Sprinkle’s book, but my blog post is about 10X longer than I like to write, so I’ll end it here with an endorsement.

Christians should read this book – not because we have to agree with everything written in it. This book challenged my thinking…to break out of the cultural comfort of patriotic compromising of God’s Word. Today’s Christians have inherited/developed a strong sense of self defense and justice in violent retribution. More than anything else, we should strive to honor the King and obey him with faithfulness. If faithful obedience means sacrificing our Constitutionally-protected right to self-defense, obedience is the most important.

 

YoctoNumeroPhobia

It’s not a real word, but I’m going to construct it and use it as:

The abnormal fear of the smallest defined number.

Stephen Meyers lays out a case that makes it impossible to believe in evolution. The whole video is worth watching, but the link starts at minute 24, when his talk begins to destroy the foundation of evolution.

If you know and understand math, you’ll agree. I’ll leave alone (for now) that without a Christian worldview, one cannot even account for the invariant, absolute, and universal laws like mathematics. At about minute 30 he gets into the math itself:

 For every 12 letters (in the English language) that are functional/meaningful there are 100,000,000,000,000 other ways to arrange those same characters…that are non-functional/meaningful. The very same things are true in the DNA protein case. The ratio to non-functional sequences to functional sequences is even more prohibitively small than in the case of the English language.

For a small protein, the chances of getting a functional sequence without guidance is 1 over 10 ^ -77. This is a number so small that it does not even warrant a definition with latin prefixes. The real problem is much worse for evolutionists who insist that natural selection acting on random mutations has generated all functional code. Since the chances of getting a non-functional protein are so much greater than all of the possible chances (all of the creatures 10 ^ 40) over the perceived available amount of time (3.5 X 10 ^ 9), logic dictates that we declare the evolutionary theory as failed.

Dr. Meyer built his case to answer theistic evolutionists, but the case is even more powerful when used against naturalists, who demand that there is no Creator. So fearful are evolutionists of these arguments that they choose not to even engage with Meyer’s arguments. They resort instead to strawman, ad hominem, and genetic fallacy arguments. When exposed to the near infinitely small chances that their worldview kingdoms have any substance, they become prey to YoctoNumeroPhobia. It is an irrational fear and is solvable by trusting the Creator in what He has revealed. It makes sense rationally (to trust One with infinite knowledge and love), logically (science supports the conclusion) and morally (God provides forgiveness for sin.)

I do want to cover a few comments that Meyer only minimally addresses in his talk. Meyers is not a biblical creationist, but I’m pretty sure that can be solved if he were to read my posts on this blog.

Many think they must adopt an evolutionary understanding of biological origins despite its substantial cost to the coherence of basic Christian doctrine.

I could not agree more!!!! The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear!

  • The Creator made a universe that was very good
  • God declared that life was to reproduce according to its kind.
  • Adam and Eve rebelled and brought death, bloodshed, pain, and the curse of sin into creation. Genesis 3. Romans 5. Romans 8. I Cor 15
  • To bring glory to Himself, God’s plan to offer a substitute to take on God’s wrath in the place of sinful humans was made manifest in Jesus. Jesus took the curse of sin upon himself, which allowed God’s children to be in relationship to him.
  • Jesus rose from the dead.

Is evolutionary theory so well established that it makes it compulsory to read scripture in a completely different way.

It is so important that people not take naturalistic interpretations to scripture. So many heresies arise from trying to dilute the teachings of God’s revelation with cultural proclivities.

So, don’t let YoctoNumeroPhobia crush your soul.

God’s Word can be trusted in what He has revealed about history, so we can trust Him with our future! He is trustworthy!!!

Mid-June 2018 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links

Evidence is great confirmation of God’s revelation. The problem with evidence by itself is that everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview.

Take the evidence of fossils; Christians see this evidence as confirmation of the Biblically revealed worldwide flood as the perfect explanation for fossils.

Non-Christians see fossils as confirmation of millions of years of death that has produced complex creatures through evolution.

So, how does a Christian help convince the non-Christian of the truth of the gospel? With the help of presuppositional apologetics. Since the Christian worldview has the explanatory power of both the material (stars, dirt, biological creatures…) and the immaterial (truth, beauty, math, right/wrong, logic…) because of the nature of God, we can point out the internal contradictions of the naturalistic worldview (and non-Christian religions) with presuppositional apologetics.

Read God’s Word (his divine revelation) and trust it.

The links below are very helpful in learning how to think Biblically and talk to others with gentleness and respect while honoring the Creator with His message. God Bless!

The Domain for Truth

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