Authority Matters

When you were in high school, did you choose which parent to go ask for certain events or privileges? Which of your authority figures would provide the greatest freedom?

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Determining your authority in matters of worldviews and ultimate truth are not much different today. People tend to choose the authority that would grant them the greatest perceived amount of freedom. The choices seem to be limited to scientism or revelation from God. Can science be the ultimate arbiter of truth? Can science answer all of the questions of matter, energy, laws of logic, morality, mathematics, origins, biology, chemistry…? Scientism falls short in explanatory power in many of those categories

The other option is God’s revelation. The omnipotent Creator has revealed himself through the prophets (scripture) and most recently through Jesus (Hebrews 1). The One who perceives reality perfectly has revealed history in a trustworthy manner such that we can know his revelation to be true. The writers of the old and new testaments (including the recorded words of Jesus) believed the scriptures to be a true recording of history.

Today, many scientists have assumptions and present models that require interpretations of evidence which are in direct conflict with the history revealed by the Creator. When those conflicts arise, which authority determines truth?

Many Christian apologists take the view that scientism is the ultimate authority and should determine how to interpret God’s special revelation. William Craig is such an apologist. In his most recent blog post, Dr. Jason Lisle reveals the inherent contradictions with Christians upholding scientism as the ultimate authority.

Dr. Craig: But YEC as a hermeneutical hypothesis is quite another matter. I want to approach the text with an open mind, despite the terrifying prospect that YEC might actually be correct as a hermeneutical hypothesis. In that case, we would face some very hard choices. Given YEC’s failure as a scientific hypothesis, we should have to conclude that the Bible teaches scientific error and therefore revise our doctrine of inspiration to accommodate this fact. That is a route one would prefer not to take.

Dr. Lisle’s response is critical for us as faithful Christians to understand and preach with regards to authority and the gospel:

What do you do when the Bible clearly teaches something that is at odds with the opinions of the majority of scientists?  Craig’s answer is clear: you accept that the Bible is wrong!  Such an answer is very revealing.  What is the ultimate standard for Craig’s faith?  It cannot be the Bible…Therefore, when there is a conflict between God’s Word and the popular opinions of man, the presuppositional Christian says, “Let God be found true though every man be found a liar!” (Romans 3:4)…From this, we conclude that Craig is strongly motivated to interpret Scripture in a non-exegetical way in order to accommodate his unjustified presupposition of the big bang.  May I humbly suggest the reverse?  I advise Craig (and everyone else) to let God be true, to take His Word as written, in grammatical historical context, and then use God’s Word to discern which of man’s ideas are virtuous, and which are fallacious.  Why not base our thinking on the infallible, and use this to evaluate the fallible?

His closing remarks highlight the critical issue:

Do we interpret the Bible to align with our view of the world, or do we adjust our view of the world to align with the Bible?  How you answer that question will reveal the true standard of your faith.

William Craig seems determined to give his apologetic in defense of a general theism that has the backing of naturalistic scientific assumptions. From this foundation, He feels free to interpret the Bible on the latest interpretation of evidence and cultural preference. What will happen to his apologetic when the latest assumptions are changed to accommodate new interpretations of evidence?

Dr. Lisle encourages Christians to uphold God’s revelation as the authority, and letting that authority control the assumptions held for interpreting evidence.

Scientific interpretations of evidence change over time:

  • Prior to the 1500s, scientists believed and modeled that the earth was the center of the solar system. – Falsified
  • Prior to the 1600s, scientists believed in alchemy and phlogistonFalsified
  • Prior to the 1700s, scientists believed that bloodletting and leeches removed bad blood from sick patients. – Falsified
  • Prior to the 1800s, scientists believed in spontaneous generationFalsified
  • Prior to the 1900s, scientists taught that the universe eternal (steady state theory) – Falsified
  • Prior to the 2000s, scientists taught impending contradictory catastrophes would destroy humanity in the subsequent decades: ice age and unstoppable heat wave. – Falsified

 

Have people misinterpreted the Bible to justify terrible things? Yes, and each time, it is scripture itself that has revealed the false understanding and correction.

Will you put your trust in the ever-changing assumptions that guide scientific interpretations or can we trust the unchanging nature of God’s revelation to guide our thinking and behavior?

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Foundation

I don’t particularly like to post politically-themed articles on this blog, but I’m going to make an exception for this one, because it goes well with the idea that to build a strong apologetic, we have to have a solid foundation.

As Christians, our foundation is the immortal, life-giving Word (revealed in Jesus and his written Word). If we start with the coherence of God’s Word throughout eternity, then our discussions will be filled with light and life in a dark world.

In last night’s Republican Presidential Debate, the candidates bickered and squawked over trivial slights and only a few legitimate talking points. The Constitution was mentioned in abstract, but ALL candidates missed opportunities to turn everyone’s attention back to a proper foundation of understanding political discussion in light of the Constitution. That should be their foundation instead of personal likes/dislikes.

This blog post says it very clearly.

Missed opportunity #1 – When the discussion about illegal immigration was being discussed, Donald Trump said, “A woman gets pregnant. She’s nine months, she walks across the border, she has the baby in the United States, and we take care of the baby for 85 years. I don’t think so.” Either Ted Cruz or Rand Paul should have cut him off with a sharp rebuke. IT’s NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S JOB TO CARE FOR ANYONE!!!!!

Missed Opportunity #2 – When the conversation turned to abortion, the moderators phrased the question, “Governor Kasich, Senator Cruz is so committed to stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood that it could result in shutting down the federal government in just about two weeks. Do you agree with Senator Cruz’s tactic?”

EACH and every candidate who spoke on this issue missed the opportunity to say, “Mr. moderator, you misunderstand the situation. It’s the job of the Senate to propose a budget. If Congress deems it unnecessary to fund murderers and felons (selling fetal tissue for profit is a felony), and the President decides that he would rather shut down the government than sign a budget that doesn’t fund his supporters, then the President is shutting down the government.

Where Do Rights Come From?

Where do our rights come from? Are our rights (religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, bear arms…) granted to us by the government? If it is the government that grants our rights, then the government can take them away as well.

When we read the Constitution, it is clear that the Constitution is there to RESTRICT the government from withholding/obstructing the rights of citizens of the United States.

So, if they do not come from the government, from where do they come?

This week, CNN anchor, Chris Cuomo said that rights come from man. Again, if rights come from man, then they can be taken away by man. Well, this flies in the face of the primary historical document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence.

All men are created equal

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

The Creator has endowed rights to mankind. The Constitution is written to protect these inalienable rights and to limit the power of the government to within very specific boundaries.

Vox Day takes the premise of Mr. Cuomo to its logical conclusion when he shows quite clearly that mankind tends to treat poorly those who are different or with whom they disagree.

This is why the Left is so willing to abrogate and alienate what the Declaration of Independence declared to be self-evident and unalienable rights, among them being Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. They simply don’t accept that God-given rights are not laws, or that laws that do not respect those rights are illegitimate.

Worst of all, the Left fails to grasp the obvious consequences of their ill-considered actions. If the law can legitimately permit a homosexual man to force a Christian man to bake him a cake, then it can legitimately permit a white man to force a black man to pick his cotton. If the law can legitimately deem a man to be a woman, or two men to be married, it can just as legitimately deem a Jew to be subhuman or an African to be a monkey.

Thankfully, there is a God, and all of mankind has been created in his image. We all have value and unalienable rights from the Creator. Don’t let the Left control the argument lest they follow their presuppositions to their wicked conclusions.

 

UPDATE: My daughter  is traveling with her class to Washington DC. She sent me this picture from the Jefferson Memorial.

God, who gave us liberty

God, who gave us liberty

If you read closely, you’ll see that it was the founding fathers of this country who understood the importance of recognizing the source of our freedoms.

Can Christians Disregard the Bible?

Recently, Michael Gungor, the lead singer of a group that calls themselves a Christian band, made this startling claim:

Do I believe that God literally drowned every living creature 5,000 years ago in a global flood except the ones who were living in a big boat? No, I don’t.

Why don’t I?

Because of science and rational thought.

It sounds like he would rather trust the naturalistic presuppositions of atheists as the ultimate authority over the truth revealed in God’s word.

Despite the obvious scientific evidence of a worldwide flood, he disregards the historicity of the Biblical account because of what he calls science and rational thought. The science is strongly on the side of confirming a worldwide flood. As far as his claim that he can disregard the Biblical account because of rational thought, it is quite irrational to throw away the foundation of logic, reason, and morality in the name of “rational thought.” It is only reasonable to stand strong on the rock of an unchanging foundation: God’s Revealed Word. Astrophysicist, Jason Lisle explains this in detail here:

What is the difference between a rational person and an irrational one?  A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs.  An irrational person does not.  But what we have seen above is that only the Christian worldview can allow us to have good reasons for our most basic beliefs – our presuppositions.  Apart from the Christian worldview, any reason that we offer for any belief cannot be ultimately justified.  It would appear that there are only two options for a person to hold.  One can either be a consistent Christian, or one can be irrational.

If Gungor wants to call themselves a Christian band, it makes sense that they would embrace the Bible as God’s revealed word, but if they are going to instead elevate the atheistic presuppositions above scripture, then they should cease calling themselves a Christian band.

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Yikes!

A new friend relayed a story to me, and I’m very troubled by his response. See, my new friend is a youth minister with the daunting task of living as somewhat of an authority figure on the Bible and the things therein.

The story:

One of the kids from my youth group went off to college to major in some science. He called me one day saying that his geology professor convinced him that the Bible was wrong. His geology professor told him that there was no evidence for a worldwide flood, so that Bible could not be correct. The young college kid was really distressed. So, I told him not to worry. The writer of this passage was probably a shepherd in a pre-literate civilization and he just got that story wrong.

I listened to his story with utter disbelief. What is this young college student now to think about the authority of scripture? When someone next challenges the youth about the prophecies of Daniel, what can he learn from this exchange? Well, Daniel was a slave in a pagan culture, so he surely would have embraced mysticism. His mystical writings about dreams can be ignored. What about the resurrection of Jesus? Since the accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus was written by a crooked sellout accountant, a quitter evangelist, a historian, and a man who saw visions of dragons, can they be trusted? Should we expect them to understand the scientific impossibilities associated with someone coming back to life after being beaten, scourged, crucified, and impaled? That is…if they can be believed in their account at all.

It’s a slippery slope to doubt the source of the Bible. Is the Bible the inspired and inerrant Word of God or it is a collection of pre-literate shepherd’s ramblings? The answer has profound implications for your faith. Our understanding of the veracity of scripture will be a foundation upon which to build our faith. Will that foundation be built with mythological sand or trustworthy granite?

Since God is pre-supposed as the ultimate authority, then the absolute truth of his written revelation to us in the form of the Bible is a necessary precondition for intelligibility.