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Introduction

Back in the late 70's and early 80's it was said that Christians were the only group to shoot their wounded and many of you know that this is true and still is true.  Helping someone has not been a top priority and when it happens to a spiritual leader it is harder to get help and then move on from that tragedy.

One reason this website was started was to provide anonymous help to those who are afraid to expose their problem as they know like I do, other Christians do not forget and it is hard to put such hurts in the past. They may not say it to one's face but they sure do say it behind one's back, hindering any hope of recovery. In the end one must move to another city, state or even country to get the required privacy to deal with the problem properly until one is ready to publically talk about what happened.

It is a sad situation when one thinks about it as the church is supposed to be the place one can go and get help from those who understand, yet far too often that is not the case.  For whatever reason too many Christians abdicate their duties and turn people away, sending them to the secular businesses, where God is not looked upon as a viable option, to get help.  This is also not right as the church is missing out on opportunities to give God glory and to see what He can do for His people.

This section is not a church bashing time, it is not a finger pointing time but examples need to be listed so people get the idea of what is being talked about.  If any readers have stories they would like to share to help others, please use the pastor's forum or the woman's forum to do so.  Sometimes reading what others have gone through will help those who are caught up in troubles to find their way to healing. (Please keep identities out of the stories, this is not a place to hurt others).

Some Basic Advice

In times of trouble almost everyone needs some sort of help or advice.  Many people do not like to ask for it so it helps to just come to a web site and read it when one is ready to do so.  In returning to normal, one must want to be healed and be ready for it.  For some that takes longer than others but it can be done.  What follows here is some advice use what applies and ignore what doesn't, very simple as not everyone has the same problems or they have done some steps already. Except for #1 there is no particular order:

1. Forgive:  No matter what has happened, when one is hurt they are usually hurt by other people and one must come to the point where they can forgive the other person or persons.  Forgiveness does not mean you become best friends with them or that you have to hang out with them and swap personal stories but it clears one's soul from anything that would hinder their healing.

Jesus is quite clear about this as He taught much on this topic. {Mat. 6:12,14, 15; 18:21,35; LK. 6:37 to list a few}. Paul also taught on this topic, Col. 3:13 and it is important that you bring yourself to that point to do this or healing will be long in coming , if at all.

2. Causes: After the incident has occurred, exam oneself to see if there is anything within oneself that may have triggered the incident.  If personal fault is found then ask God to help you deal with it and seek forgiveness from the offending party.  Not every injury is the fault of the other person and it would be just as wrong to accuse someone of an act that they did not commit.  Be sure before you charge.

3. Trust: Along with your spouse, find a competent spiritual person who has discretion and knows how to keep confidences.  Holding things inside is not always the best thing one can do and it can cause one many sleepless nights and unnecessary pain.  It is not easy trusting another person after being hurt but there are those people who God has raised up to deal specifically with Christian problems and though their answers may not be what one wants to hear it is a sure bet that if they are spiritually in tune they will be able to provide you with direction and ease your healing.

4. Pray: Everyone will tell you to do this or they will want to have a quick prayer for you, sometimes it is good other times the person just wants to feel like they did something for God.  You have to be discerning to know when it will be helpful and when it is a useless enterprise.  BUT with that said one needs to be reminded that Jesus went through life like we do and He was tempted in all things and such knowledge of that fact gives us confidence to go into private and pour one's heart out to Him.

Just talk and let it all out and when you are done be silent and wait for His leading.  He will guide you into the next step.  The Bible calls Him the counselor thus we need to bring our problems to Him for He is the only one who can heal.  Other specific humans are the tools He uses and sometimes He just directly and gently leads you to where you will get the right information to take the next step. 

Go to Jesus first because that is what we are to do if we want to be healed right.

5. Read: Go to God's word for comfort.  Find a concordance and try to use key words to locate Jesus' or God's teaching on what is the problem or a passage on who Jesus is or what we can do.  1 John 5:14 & 15 tells us that if we ask in accordance to His will He hears us and if we know He hears us then we can have confidence we will get what we ask.  The key here is 'in His will' and healing is within His will so one does not need to be afraid to ask for that, just be sure you are ready and wanting to receive that healing, BUT be open to a different path than the one you thought you would or want to take.

Remember God's ways is not our ways and one has to be prepared for His direction but again another warning. Be careful and make sure it is God doing the leading and not the devil or his minions for they would love to delay your recovery and productivity. 1 John also tells us to 'test the spirits' and you must if you want to be on the right path to recovery.

6. Investigate: Make sure the advice you get comes from God and not the world.  There is a difference and the world's advice is not from God and you must thoroughly investigate the words you hear to make sure you are getting what God wants you to have.  As stated earlier, many Christians will send you to the secular professionals to get help BUT that is NOT what God commanded His followers to do. 

The world's advice comes from evil and they are being led astray with partial truths, one cannot afford to be caught in such a web as it would hinder recovery and that is what the devil wants.  He does not want Christians healed and will do anything, even use other believers to mislead you, to make sure you fail.

Be discerning, be wise, be watchful and make sure the advice you get goes in the same direction as God. If it is contrary to what God teaches then ditch or ignore the advice and look elsewhere till you get the right words to lead you to your goal.  Not every word will lead you to the truth and many will mix in their own opinions, philosophies or interpretations, make sure you get the truth as that alone will 'set you free'.

7. Discretion: Don't tell every interested party your problems, your problems or hurt are none of everyone's business and they will not make healing any easier.  Many people are just looking for a good story or whatever and can provide no insight or help to make your burden any lighter.  They will leave you frustrated as they give a glimmer of hope only to dash it with the words, 'good luck to you...'.

Don't bend everyone's ear as they are all not interested nor are equipped to help.  One has to be patient and it will be in God's timing when you meet the right one who will guide you on your way. Such people need to wait till you are healed before being told your experience as only after you are recovered will your story be of help to them.  Not everyone is a counselor, people are given other gifts and to burden them with your problems may interfere with their work so again be careful and wait for the right time and the right person.

Finally, not every Christian will agree with you and some will even mock, ridicule, abuse you and so on and they will think they are doing God and His people a favor.  Stick to God and His word over others, seek the truth and be prepared to face such antagonism from those you may consider your brother or sister in Christ.  Not everyone agrees with Jesus’s version of Christianity and they will present their perspective in a variety of mean and hateful ways.  Brush such people and comments off, leaving them to God, and continue to follow what He says so you can obtain your goal and reward.

Almost most important, do not give up for if you do, you will never reach your goal and you will never be healed.  It will not be easy and you will face temptation along the way and you will face trials and setbacks but keep your eyes on Jesus and you will succeed.

The Organized Church

Many people are hurt by the organized church and it is for the simple reason that what they expected and what the reality is are two different things.  Unfortunately, over the decades the organized church has allowed itself to evolve in such a way that it is now perceived as being a small business and not an organization of God's people.

As time went on, the organized church has also allowed many ideas, strategies and activities from the secular world to enter into its function and the message of God is lost.  Too often the p, m &chw cannot come to grips with this result and fact and end up struggling with their own faith, their own beliefs and end up outside of the church, hurt, discouraged and with nowhere to go.

No one is making apologies for the organized church, as it has in many cases left its purpose and strayed from what God wants and adopting what the world would like to see take place but when the p, m & chw are hurt, they are usually left to fend for themselves, void of any companionship, friends or support.

Yet this is par for the course, as over time, Christian leaders of the organized church have developed their own ideas of who they want to be in the forefront of church ministry and not everyone meets that ideal.  This causes a problem even for some who have worked in the denomination for years, as they cannot come to grips with what they see take place and must make a decision to continue hiding their true thoughts or leaving their friends behind to find a place where they agree with what is taking place.

Many true Christians have lost their dream and left the ministry because they are not accepted and this is not right.  The church is not a business and nowhere in the Bible or history do we see God setting up the church as such.  In reading the words and instructions from God, the church is to be different from the world, not using the same standards or ideas that the unbelievers think is right.

If God wanted His church to be like the world then He would not have called out the people of Israel to be different, He would not say to the Christians of the New Testament age, 'Be ye in the world but not of it...' and He would not make His way known to those who believe in Him but would direct them to listen to the world instead.

There is a reason why God separated His followers and given them His instructions, because the world's ways do not work and do not take care of the people.  This is why so many p, m & chw's get hurt and are left alone in & by the organized church; because they cannot implement God's ways and are rejected by those who like the ways of the secular world.

I am reminded of a story that took place at least 25 years ago in a South American country.  An organized church was having a revival and one night a prominent business man came forward but there were no 'accepted' counselors of the church available.  The only person who was free was one 'reject' (the original description was not nice) who gladly talked with the man and lead him to Christ. 

The next night the business man returned with friends and the church leaders did everything they could to get those men with the 'accepted' counselors but  the business man held firm and demanded the 'reject'.  The leaders relented and found the man  who in turn led all the friends of the business man to the Lord.

The purpose of this story is that for all those who have been hurt or rejected by the organized church, if your calling is true then God has not rejected you, you are still wanted for His service.  Also, you do not work for the church, you serve God and only God can deny you the opportunity to work for Him not the church leaders, do not punish God for the actions of those humans who think they get to determine who is acceptable or not.

All you have to do is, make sure your calling is true and that you are not being deceived plus that you are carrying the truth with you along with love and compassion. The organized church does have its problems and they will be held accountable to God, but you can't let them deny you the opportunity to serve Him.  Serve Him gladly, serve Him with truth and dedication be wise and vigilant and do not worry about the organized church if they fight you, for they will, if you are truly called of God, He will lead you into a ministry and service, despite their efforts to stop you.

Keep your eyes on Him not on the people and you will be fine.

Some Causes of Pain

All too often there is conflict between the p, m & chw and the organized church and these conflicts lead to someone , usually the p, m or chw, being hurt, angry or insulted.  This is a part of life but when it comes to the church one hopes that this wouldn't be so as the church is to act as Christ acted and we all know they fall short. We all do.

One of the main causes of pain in the professional Christian is the debate over the ministry of the individual and the specific calling the person feels they have.  We see this exampled by the multitudes of para-church organizations that exist today.  We know that many of their leaders were called by God to work in specific areas of life. Yet these men (sometimes women) are met with the most resistance from their Christian brothers and sisters.

Such conflict will lead to a parting of ways and most likely with hurt feelings on both sides as the two disagree as to the scope of the ministry and if the person is 'qualified' to undertake such a work or even if the work will succeed.  Of course the definition of success depends on a person's perspective, planting seeds is just as successful as reaping the harvest and one cannot reap if another does not sow. Neither person is greater than the other and their ministry should not be hampered because it does not meet the expectations of the church.

Another paper will address para-church organizations in more detail, suffice it to say that men are called of God and they should be encouraged to follow that calling not made to leave the support of the local body to organize their own  headquarters.  This separation divides the faithful and causes friction within the body of Christ and leaves wounded people in its wake. (Though not always).  Those that do get hurt can have an affect on the church in  many different ways and people need to be careful because God's call is specific and not everyone is going to be given the message to confirm the call or not.  Those looking to follow God's call need to be wise and not go to just anyone for confirmation but make sure they find spiritual men who will be honest with compassion and help you identify exactly what God wants you to do.

Another cause of hurt and pain within the church does stem from the fact that the organized church has allowed itself to compromise its message, purpose and practice of God's word towards others.  When a p, m & chw meets with resistance it is because there are many different reasons behind the opposition.  First, the p, m & chw must make sure their calling is true before announcing it to everyone.  One does not want to be embarrassed  as it will affect other words spoken or actions done.

Second, some of the reasons behind the opposition can be: 1. evil working against your efforts (spiritual warfare is needed), 2. jealousy or envy on the part of another Christian, 3. disbelief in your call, 4. disbelief in your abilities and so on.  Whatever the reason the p, m & chw must not take it personally but go to God for strength to see the opposition through (one never knows when they are being tested to be shown as worthy). If they don't then they may never be strong  enough to face the very real challenges the unbelieving world will throw at them.

Not every hurt or insult is the fault of the organized church, one must be careful that they have not instigated anything as such behavior will affect their ministry and hurt their impact for Christ.  The p, m & chw must be aware that they commit sin as well and that a call does not make them immune to evil's temptations or a super- Christian. It should humble them and help motivate them to implement all of God's teaching into their lives.

A third cause of hurt among  p,m & chws comes from the doctrinal or interpretational views held by the church or the p, m & chw.  For whatever reason the organized church emphasizes different teachings over another and in doing so cause friction and makes those who think differently feel inferior or less of a Christian. One must be careful not to let this happen as God loves all His people the same, no one is greater than the other especially if they do His will. 'To obey is better than to sacrifice'

One should not let these differences interfere with their Christian life, as a believer is to find the truth and stick with that not the interpretation. Jesus said we are to find the truth, ‘for it will set us free' thus there is a real truth in the Bible and interpretation does not qualify.  But when you find these conflicts arising, do not let the hard feelings fester but examine one's own motivations, check your own view of scripture before accusing or arguing with another member of God's church.  If you cannot settle the issues, you can remain and preach the truth or go to another congregation, but don't go with ill will in your hearts.

Emphasizing one teaching over another is not right and it is a dangerous game to play as souls are at risk here for eternity and the believer must respond properly within God's will or everyone loses out. Stumbling blocks are raised and it is harder to do the work of Christ.

A fourth cause to being hurt comes from other people.  Some Christians are just mean or have not experienced all of Christ's love and forgiveness or they just see things differently and look to hurt you.  It happens, people are not perfect and they will fail you which is why Christ wants His followers to keep their eyes on Him and not on other people.  Not everyone thinks the same and it must be remembered that each person will give an account for their own lives not the lives of others and how they respond to such treatment is their responsibility.  Someone's wrong acts does not excuse the believer from God's commands and instructions and the believer is obligated to follow what Christ taught no matter how they are treated.

A fifth cause of hurt again comes from the organized church.  Over the years, the organized church has allowed itself to adopt methods, strategies, practices that are secular in origin and conflict with what God has said to do.  This cause more than a few p, m & chws pain and trouble.  One has to learn how to separate the two casting aside the worldly thinking and replacing it with God's.  The p, m & chw cannot afford to allow secular thinking into their work or words as God's was is different and if you do the same as the world then you are offering nothing to them. 

When they see this happening or has already happened then the p, m & chw must stand up for what is right and when they do, they will face opposition which leads to being hurt, in pain and so on.  What one must do is stay strong in Christ, looking to Him to keep them in the right path and if need be strong enough to separate from the church which is practicing things that are not of God.  The church is not here to please the world, but to please God and it they do it right they will be in conflict with the world's thinking.  Jesus already said this would take place so one must be prepared or they will find that they can't handle the backlash from those who reject God's ways. (That is both Christian & non-believer who will reject God's ways)

Speaking the truth will bring a negative result and what makes it hurt the most is that that negative reaction will come from Christian family, friends and just Christians.  Most of the time the p, m & chw is not prepared for that source and it causes them more pain than they know.  To help deal with this the p, m & chw must go to Christ and look to Him for their strength to deal with what they are facing and seek His direction on how to deal with this source of rejection.  They must talk about their doubts with Him and find those who can provide spiritual counseling to help them through it and then they will be faced with a choice and what they choose is up to them.

Finally, these are but a few of the causes which bring pain and hurt to the p, m & chw, if one is prepared then they can endure with minimal damage and stay within the will of God without losing years to bitterness, pain and loneliness.  The church is not perfect and it should not be expected to be such.  Even with Christ at its head there are those who seek to make their mark with their thinking while ignoring what God wants.  Much prayer is needed, support from others and most of all one must be prepared to encounter all sorts of abuse because 'The world hates you because they hate Christ' It is a given fact that this will happen and many will do it 'thinking they are doing Christ a favor'.  It happens, one needs to just stick close to Christ as heaven is our home not this world and pleasing Him is what we do.

Perspective

In another article it was mentioned that many Christians do not always follow God's way or word but that they look to the world to give them guidance and direction.  This becomes a problem for the p, m & chw as they are not given the proper spiritual support needed to maintain their equilibrium.  It is not easy to combat the forces of evil and such battles are made more difficult when the p, m & chw must face the same thinking from other believers.

The trend to add secular thought to the Christian message is not new and has been around since the resurrection of Christ as people, not satisfied with His teachings, sought to add their own spin to His words and make Christianity more comfortable.  All of this flies in the face of what God & Jesus taught.

Throughout scripture we see God telling the Israelites to not follow the secular nations but to follow Him and countless times , He raised up judges to bring His wayward people back to His ways.  Then we see Jesus telling His future disciples to 'follow me...' and finally we see Paul say 'follow me as I follow Christ...'  At no time do we see or read that God or Jesus say to follow the world or accept part of its teachings.  Psalms tells us that 'blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly...' and this message is consistent throughout the Bible.

All too often i hear, 'the Bible is not applicable here...' or 'teaching, science and math are secular...' or many other statements which limit the influence of God and His word in areas that are important.  This message is disconcerting as  it comes from people who say they are Christians or Christian leaders.  This abdication of

ones duties of proclaiming the word of God and allowing evil to reign where it is not supposed is wrong and shows the world that the Christian, the Bible or God have nothing to offer to the world.

How is this applicable to the hurting p, m & chw?  Simple.  When one is proclaiming the word of God to others it is like a blow to the stomach, or having one's feet knocked from underneath you to hear other Christians talk like this. It is discouraging and brings the p, m & chw closer to doubt or questioning of their own beliefs in what they are doing.  In cases like this, the p, m, & chw must keep their eyes on God and look to Him to help them overcome such blindsided attacks on their faith.

God's word, God, Jesus and their teaching are applicable for all situations and the p, m & chw must take refuge in that thought.  If the Christian cannot express what God says to do in times of sorrow, in how to teach or research or in debate then what good are they to God?  They can't be, as they have given the message that God is limited and unable to deal with any earthly situation or problem. This, of course, is far from the truth.

Failing to inform the unbelieving world of a better way is not right and the non-Christian is re-affirmed in their thinking because it goes unchallenged by the Christian world.  The Bible is not just for Sunday services and Wednesday night prayer meeting.  Jesus said His followers  'are the light of the world...' and one cannot be the light if they continue to hide God's words and God's ways under a rock or outside the realm of education, research, death and so on. Thus the what God wants His creation to know  must be spoken of at all times providing the world with an alternative to their blind, limited ways.

So the p, m & chw can take hope in this that if they follow God's way all the time then they are right and the believer who opts to add in the world to his/her life is wrong. There is no time when the Bible or God's ways are not applicable when done in love and done right, the world is not right and lead many astray and they lead many Christians down the wrong path making them useless for any spiritual purpose.  One has to stand with God after they choose Him and not put Him on the shelf when they want to follow the world or because the world wants them to, because once you have compromised, you have lost.

Take heart if you seek to have God involved in all areas of life for you are doing the right thing and only God has the correct answers not the secular universities, the secular scientists or even just normal unbelievers.  Those Christians who feel they must look to the world to find their inspiration have taken their eyes off God and that is wrong.  Do not listen to them,  for all they will do is lead you astray as well and ruin your ministry.  You do not obey man, nor do you have to please man (even certain Christians) for you do not serve men but God and you must do what He wants in spite of what others say.

Other Causes

1. Politics:  This is a great source of hurt for some as most people do not see eye to eye when it comes to the political arena. Some Christians side with the republicans, others with the democrats and still more side with an alternative party (this is an American example and other countries have their splits as well).

When hurt happens, the p, m & chw should not allow political differences to interfere with their Christian lives or friendships nor allow them to be hurt where they leave the church in anger, pain or other negative attitudes.  It needs to be remembered that Christ is not for any political party, no matter how close they are to His followers’ beliefs.

He is for the kingdom of God, which has no earthly political party trying to govern its members, and His agenda is certainly different from any terrestrial government.  His followers need to remind themselves that politics plays no part in God's kingdom and that it is God's will that rules.  The Christian also needs to keep in mind that they do not represent any political party on earth but that they represent the Kingdom of God.

As Jesus reminds us, we 'cannot serve 2 masters' thus we must choose to represent  the republicans/ democrats or Jesus.  A compromise is out as Jesus never compromised His teachings or commands nor did God. Thus the Christian is not at liberty to compromise.  As stated earlier, the believer represents the kingdom of God and the believer MUST  be different than the world (as Jesus was) or they have nothing to offer the sinner.  Why would one change if they just receive the same thing they are trying to escape?

So when one gets hurt by a political position held by another believer they need to deal with it quickly remembering that the earthly political party  does not matter, it is what they do for Christ that does.  The believer must preach what God wants them to  and it is not the republican/democratic message.  With an earthly thinking, earthly goals, earthly strategies, what those parties represent  is earthly desires and have nothing to do with the spiritual and eternal goals God wants His creation to embrace.

So as the pain of disagreeance arises, the believer must realize that they must stop the fighting and turn the focus to what God wants which is His followers are to represent His ways not any earthly agenda.  Christians really should not take sides as the political parties of the world have no real interest in what Christians believe and just humor believers so that they can get their vote and obtain power.

To avoid such pain caused by this division of beliefs, Christians need to separate from the earthly powers and stand up for God's kingdom and its better way.

2. Assumptions and Gossip: These are probably the 2 most damaging avenues of hurt that Christians can face and when it comes from other Christians it hurts even more.  To try and right the wrongs sometimes makes matter worse or cause more problems as the other people will get defensive and offended for calling them a liar.

Unfortunately, we cannot control what others say and think and what is said is said and it can never be taken back. The only course of action here is to take it to God and be patient.  Do not change one's life or practices to ease the pain but remain patient while God raises someone up to rectify the issue for you.

To combat such an attack on one's character sometimes makes it worse as the offenders will use the subsequent words to hurt you even more.  It is best to stick to your message live your life as God wants and take knowledge in the fact that He knows you are not doing those rumored things.  One has to please God not other people and one has to obey God not other people thus if one is sure they have it right then they should not change but bring their pain to God and let Him do as He says "vengeance is mine...".

It may not be in the time frame one wants but it will be in God's timing and it will be just.  One thing a hurt person must keep in mind, is that such attacks are meant to be a distraction, to get you off your duties, message and purpose for God and they are meant to disrupt anything you do. 

It is not easy to do but one must be strong or the devil wins.  He also wins if you allow such attacks to make you cease your work or preaching, teaching.  Now with this said, it does not mean that if you are wrong you blindly continue in being wrong, one has to be consistent with God's word and if you are not then you need to make the change not God.

Gossip & assumptions are nothing but false tales and the truth will always win out if you stick with the truth. We are never sure what God has planned for us and must rely on Him to guide us through all rough patches.  Just make sure you do not combat 'fire with fire' but return 'good for evil' because that is God's way and the hurt p, m & chw must stick with God's way no matter what or all is lost and the devil wins again.

Also, remember that 'the battles are not against flesh and blood...' and this is important for it aids you in fighting any evil thoughts and feelings against the offender and to serve God one must not allow such feelings to take root or your message is compromised and undermined.

Identifying

I first heard of this philosophy of ministry about 30 years ago in undergraduate school and it was during a lecture series featuring Dr. Jimmy Diraddo.  In his lecture, entitled 'Reaching Out to a Non-Church world, he said the following:

"back when i was in Youth for Christ we would spend so much time trying to figure out how to identify with the world that we forgot what we wanted to say."

That is the problem.  Believers are trying so hard to relate to the unchurched world that they have forgotten what they have received and often undermine their own work by saying and doing the wrong things.

Some 15 years ago, i ran into this head on when i was standing in the lobby of the church i was born and in the foyer was a poster pinned to the wall advertising a coffee house for the non-churched youth of the city.  Most of it was fine and good but there was one line that stood out and destroyed their work.  That line read:

"WE ARE JUST LIKE YOU, TRYING TO FIGURE THIS WHOLE WORLD THING OUT"

What they really said by this line was- 'What we have with Jesus is not the answer and we are still looking.'  Any non-Christian who read that would not go there and this church lost out on a good harvest and had to make do  with the few really needy souls who decided to be curious or were led by God to show up. 

This is one of the problems with the church today, instead of proclaiming the answer, instead of living the answer, instead of speaking the will of the answer they opt to shoot themselves in the foot and handicap God's work by their decision to follow some strategy that is not of God.

Over the years we have sung a song in church that has as its title, 'Jesus is the Answer' yet whenever live like it nor advertise like He is.  The world is looking for something other than what they have, they do not want to waste their time on something that is 'trying to identify' with them or says they do not have the answer. No they want something they do not have and that something is Jesus.

The church has to put aside the ways of the world and just proclaim Jesus, His forgiveness, love, mercy and how He wants everyone to live.  How will the unchurched world hear if everyone is too busy trying to identify with them or who forget what their message is?  One cannot advertise like that poster or they will miss out.

Preachers, missionaries & Christian workers need to separate the world's ways from their message and look to God to find how He wants His message sent.  God is not shy about Himself as we see by his declarations of how He created the world and we must not be shy to speak his ways to the unchurched world. God wants the glory and He does not want it to go to some 'strategy' or 'fad'. 

We should know how to identify with the unchurched world for we were once like them but am no more and that is the key.  Jesus has done something and He will do it for them if they turn to Him.  That is the message, that is the identifying, we have  been saved and received the answer for our problems and sin.

That is also what we advertise:  'We have the answer! Come and hear what it is'  Let Jesus bring the people in but speak the truth, be honest, do it in love but most of all follow His leading as the disciples did when they were fishing; the disciples were out all night with little to show for it, and Jesus said 'cast your net on the other side of the boat.  Reluctantly the disciples did and to their surprise they had more than they could handle.

Follow God's ways and instructions not some strategy to reap the harvest.

Enemies

When one confirms their call and mission it is not surprising that many will arise and cast doubt on your work, your faith and your message.    This is to be expected from the non-Christian world as they do not believe and the 'the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them.'

What is unexpected is when such attacks come from those you love and trust or from the Christian community.  It is betrayal at its best and it hurts BUT it should be expected as in all the synoptic gospels, Jesus warned such a thing will happen, Math. 10, Mark 13, and Luke 21 as in all three passages He states, Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children  will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me...'

It can be argued that this was meant for the disciples at that time but i do not see that limitation here and men will hate those who bring the truth for the truth is a threat to their sinful ways or their lifestyle.  They will not like it as 'man loves darkness over the light' and will take steps to remove that light from their presence.

One cannot let such acts get to them or make one remove their eyes from Jesus.  He is the only one who can get you through such times as He will provide His strength to endure.  These words are not to throw suspicion on anyone but to warn where one of the sources of opposition will come from and it does come from within the organized church and one must not be naive or think otherwise.

When such attacks happen, one can only bring the pain and sorrow one feels to God and allow Him lead you to where you will get healing and the truth so you do not fall victim to despair and discouragement or doubt. One must keep their eyes on Jesus and remember that He faced the same situation when He was on earth so we can take hope in that fact and can wholly trust Him to see us through.

BUT one word of caution.  Such response does not always vindicate one's call or message.  One has to be sure and have it confirmed that they were given both by God before assuming they are on the right path.  Too often there are those who think they have a call or a message and it is not right but meant to disrupt the church body or cause stumbling blocks to the unsaved.

One has to be wise in these matters or look for wise spiritual counsel, for one wants to be sure of what they think is received of God and that it is for the benefit of Christ and His work along with in accordance with the Bible.  Do not just take anyone's word for it but make sure what you have received is properly confirmed then you can stand firm and withstand the assaults thrown at you.

To be prepared and expect what is coming will help one defend against being hurt, in pain and avoid making their share of mistakes which will hamper their work that God has called them to do.

What is the truth

I would like to focus mainly on one verse of scripture for this article, actually only half a verse.  One sentence which is very clear and powerful even outside of the surrounding context.  It is found in 1 John 5:10b and says:

"Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar."

In today’s world we have many people who deny The Bible, God's Word, and such people are not limited to the non-believer.  We also find them in churches, masquerading as believers, claiming to be Christians.  They can call themselves progressive creationists, theistic evolutionists or they do not accept the flood as written or as we have learned recently, they do not believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

They use logic, reasoning, common sense or science or whatever else they can think of to justify their unbelief.  Yes i said unbelief because that is exactly what it is.  They stake their salvation claim to John 3:16 hoping that that conversion grants them the freedom to think any way they want to even though it is contrary to what God has said.  They do not realize that if they depart from God's word, they are denying the Words and testimony of the One they say converted them.

Over the years they have jumped on the bandwagon of one field-- science-- and have decided that that field is the final authority of God and His word.  They accept the findings of those who do not believe and apply it to what they read in the Bible, not knowing that the evil one is working his deceptive magic on them as he leads them down the garden path away from the truth.

Whether it be the creative act, Noah’s flood , Sodom & Gomorrah or even the existence of David and Solomon, once a believer stops believing God, then they have opened the door and allowed the devil or his minions the opportunity to exploit the doubt and add confusion and more disbelief as they get the Christian to take their eyes of God and 'lean to their own understanding'

I Cor. 13:7 tells us that love "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things..."  The three words in bold are what is important here.  Someone who says they love God believes all His words, not just the ones they want to believe, nor do they alter them to fit what they want to accept, they believe all of His words, even if there is no scientific evidence or ancient manuscript to back them up.

If one loves God, then they do not pursue alternatives to His word but stand fast no matter what the world says took place or 'discovered'. That does not make one a 'literalist', it makes one a 'believer' and a believer is someone who does not alter or change God's word but uses faith even when it seems the world has the upper edge.

The truth is, man does not have the authority to change what God has said has taken place through the Biblical record.  The ancients never wrote one word saying the Biblical events did not happen, they did copy those events and added their own twists to the stories but they never spoke against them nor provided proof that they did not happen.

We have the Gilgamesh epic, the Sodom disc, and other ancient records, yet not one discovery which refuted what the Bible describes.  Even Noah's flood was not refuted by the Sumerians, the Egyptians or the Babylonians, they {along with every other nation in the world} have their own stories based upon the actual true Biblical events {and they had the Pythagurim Theorum 2,000 +/- years before Pythagoras}

So the modern believer should take not think they have the liberty to accept salvation then go off and spin their own theories about what God said.  They need to humble themselves and accept God's word because they love Him and because they believe Him not the world.

The Real Priority

This past week a mother of a student of mine died.  It was not unexpected as she had been ill for some time and efforts to cure her failed.  She was in her late 30's.  I went to day 2 of her funeral ceremony quite by accident and spent a little time discussing culture and differences in funeral arrangements with a co-worker.  On my way home, as i drove through the city, my eye caught a glance at a new church building that had recently been erected and my mind started to compare the two situations.

The deceased was from a poor family, very little income due to the illnesses of both the mother and father and it was doubtful they could pay for the whole funeral.  It is doubtful that they will have much income now as the father is hampered by ailments that restrict his employment and hours working.  Then the church structure came into view.

One wonders at the priorities and thinking of the organized church as they spend millions in construction costs, then millions in interest payments for a building they will leave behind when they die or are raptured.  When my old congregation built their final sanctuary, I was told that the building was needed to draw people in to hear the gospel of Christ.

I disagreed and disagree with that kind of thinking for we are not to rely on our own understanding but to rely on God and the work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to hear the good news. In comparison to Jesus the modern fad of constructing such expensive and luxuries buildings pales for the building ties up needed funds which could be used to help such families as my student's.  In the 60's and 70's (probably a lot earlier as well) the evangelicals and other protestant churches used to make fun of the Roman Catholic Church and their buildings, for they were elegant beyond words and were built upon the backs of those who needed the money the most--the poor.  The R.C.C. leaders and  members must be having a good laugh at the protestants as they have now reversed course and copied exactly what the R.C.C. did back in the middle ages and onward:  they built grand buildings upon the backs of those who needed it most.

Jesus set the example for all to follow and if one looks closely at His behavior one would see that he did not stay in the temple, He did not instruct His disciples to build competing temples to 'draw people in' or any other human strategy for that matter.  He went out to the people, using His teachings and the meeting of the needs of the general public to accomplish His mission-- preach the good news.  We see Him healing and feeding the crowds before, during and after He spoke BUT we never see Him use food, medicine, or other charitable acts as blackmail or extortion while the people sat through an hour long (an example) salvation message before receiving any help.

Too often people look to the reasoning, 'well we are responsible for these supplies...' etc. but that is only true in part for we are responsible for those who for whatever reason cannot look after themselves.  Withholding aid while forcing others to hear the gospel message only hurts the cause of Christ and places stumbling blocks in their path.  The Great Commission is NOT the only commandment or instruction we are to listen to and follow nor is 'targeting' our audience. There is no such command for either in the scriptures.

We are not to leave people for others to meet their needs for we do not know when those others will arrive and the moment will be lost forever.  We do not get brownie points by making people sit through a church service before dealing with the problem one is facing, sometimes solving the problems first makes the helpee 'good ground' and will be more ready to hear the good news while the opposite result will take place by forcing one's practices on another.

In looking at all the multi-million dollar buildings that have sprouted up over the past 30 years one wonders what is the priority of the organized Christian church?  Is it being like and accepted by the secular world?  Is it to look successful? Both objectives would be wrong in God's eyes as we are not to expect to be accepted or be like the secular world nor are we to look successful as the world counts success.

We are to be successful God's way and that does not mean we spend huge amounts of money on objects that will be destroyed in the end.  We are to concentrate on the people for they will NOT be destroyed in the end and whether they go to heaven or hell, they will live forever. It is time to spend the money on the right things and that is meeting people's needs and letting the Holy Spirit work and move among those who are unsaved.

It is too late for that student's mother but she is a lesson in getting the priorities of the church straight, we do not need extravagant buildings, nor do we need elaborate programs in those  buildings.  We need to get focused on what really matters and that is people and their needs.  Their souls  depend on it.

Now it would be idealistic to think that all people will convert or that all healed will be grateful, the example of the 10 lepers tells us that there will be those who will use kindness for their own purposes and reasons but Jesus did not stop healing nor helping because there were those who took advantage of His kindness.  Neither can the church for what the church does reflects on God and the only example of God and Jesus the unsaved experiences, comes from the church and its members.

We have Jesus and His saving power, we do not need buildings nor throw our money away like the world does, we need to put it to proper use and start looking after people not the things of the world

The Original Languages

Back when i was in undergrad college, it became fashionable to see 'what the original languages' had to say about a passage of scripture.  Then as time went on more and more people started to learn Hebrew, Greek and possibly Aramaic to gain some insight or get some edge when discussing theological issues.

Then over the years through many discussions, i have seen participants appeal to the original languages to make their point or cast doubt on what a particular word or passage was saying.  Many of these people did take the time needed to learn the languages and felt that they could freely translate the Bible. 

Whether it was arrogance or pride or a distrust of other translators, doesn't matter, these people felt that their translation of God's word was accurate or correct.  They rarely felt that they may have been wrong. To those who do not know Hebrew or Greek this may sound impressive but such thinking is misleading and dangerous.

It must be remembered that God inspired the ORIGINAL authors of His book and that He did not inspire anyone else to make changes as time went on.  He led some people to find and make corrections imported into His word by unbelievers or to make His words more understandable but that is about as far as it goes. Anyone claiming to be inspired and changes God's word is wrong and needs to be corrected.

So the believer must be careful when encountering those who have learned the languages originally used to write the Bible for such people may not be correct or even close to what God has said (we know of many cultic translations where this is so).  Here are some things to look for when talking to someone who claims to re-translate what God lead men have already done:

1. Are the believers?  Considering the source is very important here as i have yet to meet an unbeliever who is interested in proving the Bible correct.  Then one needs to remember that if they are not, then God is not working with them on their translation thus their words are suspect and need to be taken cautiously.

2. Are they true Christians? Not everyone who says they are a Christian truly are and even if they were, there are many who translate the Bible to fit their own theories and perspective.  One cannot blindly accept a person's words merely because they say they are Christian. To do so is opening oneself up to being led astray and away from the truth of God.

3.  Do they walk with God?  If they do, then you can have confidence in their words BUT as #2 suggest, not all who say they do, do.  If they walk with God then you have good reason to accept their work as God led {not inspired}, as the person is being led into the truth and they are merely passing on what they have been shown.  If they don't then one needs to be cautious and take what they say with a grain of salt until verified or discredited.

4. Is their translation in line with God's message?  This is an important clue to help one determine if the person got it right or not.  If it starts to detour from God's path then you know that an error has occurred or the person is not of God.

5. What is their agenda?  Purpose plays a large part in translation and the bias does influence what one sees in the original words.  Too often people find what they are looking for because that is what they are looking for and ignore all indications and references to something else. Honesty plays a large part in translation so one needs to check that as well when listening to those who say they have retranslated God's word.

Those are just a few points to help one determine if the other person is correct in their work, but does this mean that we are not to learn the original ancient languages?  Of course not! We cannot leave this area solely up to the unbeliever for then the truth will be hid and people will be taught the wrong doctrines, the wrong history, the wrong sayings and comments.  We need believers to learn Hebrew and Greek to check up on what others are saying these languages say, or if someone is willfully changing a meaning of a word or phrase because they do not like what was written.  Then we must be able to provide confirmation for those who got it right and so the people who did not learn can have confidence in that speaker's words.

Finally, there are many false teachers out there and we need honest men who have learned the languages to check their words and confirm that they are heretics so that all may dismiss their teachings and stay with the truth of the Bible, 

One cannot assume that those who know Hebrew and Greek are going to tell the truth or not manipulate a passage to fit their theories and goals.  We need to be on our guards even in this area of the Christian life, for the devil will use the ignorance of the populace to lead them astray.  We must be vigilant.

In Looking Good

Over the years many ideas became popular fads among the people. These ideas became so popular we soon witnessed the jumping on the bandwagon by political leaders who then promote these ideas as if they were truth or correct.

Politicians do this well as they want to look good to the people who elected them.  They do not do it because such ideas are right or keep one from heading off into destruction but because they want to be re-elected, or they have a special bill to pass or an amendment to add to a bill.  These ulterior motives are just dishonest and the only purpose they serve is to have the politician looking good to the public.  (In other words 'fool the public')

This is not good for in these cases real leadership has been abdicated and replaced for a direction provided by popular amusement, desire or technically- mob rule.  What is unfortunate is to see Christian pastors and church leaders jump on these bandwagons and abandon the will of God because they want to look good to the unsaved world, in hopes of getting them into the church building on Sundays.

These spiritual leaders set aside Jesus' teaching or alter it to be seen as modern, popular, open-minded, in touch and so on.  This is not good for the message sent to both believers and non-Christians is the wrong one and has ramifications that go beyond a moment's popularity.

Instead of standing up for and proclaiming what God says, these people adopt sinful ideas which work their way into a church and allows it to do their evil work. Such abandonment of God and His ways is wrong for it opens the door to the wrong path and allows the people to be led astray from what God says and wants.

The church cannot allow for this to take place. How will the people know what is right or wrong if God's words are not taught or compromised to allow integration of these worldly ways? The pastor has been given a duty from God, to look after His people and that cannot be done if the pastor is compromised with worldly thinking and beliefs.  He is not to be guided by the popular will of the people BUT he is to guide the people to the truth, so that they will not turn their backs on God and be destroyed.

It does not matter if 99% of the people favor the idea, with God the majority does not rule.  They are the servants, not the owner thus they must submit to God's words and ways if they want to make any impact for him and not lose fellowship with Him. The pastor has to declare what is of God, stand with those words and refuse to be swayed by all pleadings to the contrary.

If God's people do not stand up for God's words and ways, then who will?  How can the world know what is right or wrong if no one teaches it? There can be no light to the world if the church follows the sinners into their ways and ideas.

Intelligent Design

targets evolution, no bible thumping, no concept of God as a designer, philosophical, separate principle

I was listening to a lecture given by Heinz Lycklama, from a year or two ago, when he mentions these four principles he says makes up the Intelligent Design concept and which have convinced me that I.D is not of God

but a human attempt to promote God’s work without Him.

Let’s go through these points one at a time in comparison with the creation account and see how weak I.D. is really. 

#1. Targets evolution:  Creation does not need to target evolution, it is a statement of fact left up to the human observer to accept or reject.  There is no need for the creation act to target anything and it is up to those who reject it and accept an alternative to prove the Bible false. 

We know evolution is false because there is no evidence to prove the existence of the process nor is there any evidence that shows the process of evolution was responsible.  It is all conjecture thus targeting evolution is a waste of time.

#2.  No Bible Thumping: Why?  As believers we are to give credit and glory to the one who created all things thus we must bring the Bible into the discussion because that is where we find the declarations of who created everything.  Science cannot point to a clue or artifact and say ‘see there is God right there doing this’ which makes it very limited in addressing who is responsible. 

Neither can it point to an artifact and state, ‘see, there is evolution at work right now’.  It is impossible because such matters are beyond the scope of science and one has to resort to what God has instituted from the beginning—faith.  Either way you go, you must exercise this one bit of ‘irrational thinking.’

Then, you have to understand that science ‘seeks natural answers’ thus to put a supernatural act within the confines of a humanly defined field of study is wrong. Creation does not fit the secular scientific molds, it is a supernatural act which disqualifies science from even hoping to derive the correct answer.  That field IS NOT LOOKING for the correct answers but ones that fit what they want to believe and accept.

#3. No Concept of God as Designer: This point undermines any claim that I.D. had of being spiritually credible.  God is recorded throughout the Bible as being the creator, to say differently or to omit Him is wrong.  God does not share the glory nor does He hide from His work, He declares openly that He did it. 

For humans to do otherwise shows their lack belief in God and their lack of honesty.  If they believe God did create everything then SAY IT, do not do an end run for that is undermining any claims they make about what they believe and lose the respect and ears of those who have rejected God’s word.

One may offend people by siding with God, one may be persecuted for saying God did it, but that doesn’t matter for in the end, you have to face God and give an account for what you have done here on earth.  Other humans have no say in the matter, so one needs to clear up what they believe and where the stand now, there is a bigger picture here and souls are on the line. 

The creation act does not fit the secular scientific mold and no believer should even conceive of trying to force it to fit. It won’t work.  Creationism is science, that is without doubt, it is just not secular science and believers need to differentiate between the two and start seeing what they need to do to proclaim the truth.

#4. Philosophical, Separate Principle: Yes it is as it is a compromise which makes God a candidate for creator not His being The Creator and demotes Him from being all powerful to some conniving being who is not man enough to state that He did it all.

This is the problem that sinks I.D. in both the spiritual and secular worlds.  It reduces a glorious act to nothing more than something that can be discerned via secular science and that is just not true.

It leaves people without hope, stability and answers while replacing those with a guessing or con game which provides nothing but opinion and more conjecture.  God does not leave people guessing, He tells everyone up front what took place and what is happening and will happen.  There is nothing that is left to ignorance as all one has to do is read the Bible and gets God’s position on all things.

I.D. is a disgrace which makes it harder to do God’s work as it denies that which it wishes to prove—That God designed and created the heavens and all that is in it.  One cannot fit a supernatural act into a natural mold, it just won’t work and to discover the truth, one must use the rules of the supernatural not those of the secular or they will be wandering through the universe seeking an answer they cannot find, even though it is right in front of them.

'Q'

This is the title of the supposed source for the synoptic gospels.  People like, Drs. James Robinson, Paul Hoffman and John Kloppenborg, support this idea and have written extensively on the topic.  They feel that they can find in, identify and extract from the gospels all the sayings that were copied from this 'source'. Two books,  'The Sayings of Jesus' & 'The Sayings Gospel of Q in Greek and English' put forth their thoughts on this matter.

The problem is that 'Q' is like the J,E,P & D source documents of the Old Testament--it doesn't exist nor ever existed.  This one thing that preachers, missionaries and Christian workers have to be on the lookout for, deception.   One cannot assume that because these men are experts, educated in their fields and do extensive research are correct or even presenting the truth in their works.

There has never been any evidence for any of these documents and this line of thinking is based solely upon the difference in styles used throughout the Bible.  Here are some quotes, with commentary, from these books to give you an idea how little they have to work with:

1. "The Sayings Gospel Q is even older than the gospels in the New Testament.  In fact, it is the oldest gospel known! Yet it is not in the New Testament itself-rather, it was known to and used by the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in the 80's and 90's of the first century. But then it was lost from sight and only rediscovered in 1838 embedded in Matthew and Luke." (Foreword, pg. vii The sayings of Jesus)

*Problems- if it is lost how do they know they found the write words and sayings?; How can they date its words without mss. to compare?; How do they know Matthew and Luke used it? Do they read minds long dead?; If it was embedded in those gospels, then it was never lost.; why was it only 'rediscovered' in 1838?  The author offers no evidence his words are true and provides no support whatsoever which makes this idea nothing but conjecture and untrue.

2. "One can identify Q sayings in Matthew and Luke by a rule of thumb: Sayings...that occur in Mat. and Lk. but not Mark or in Mt. and Lk. in a very different form from that in Mk....probably come from Q." (IBID pg. viii)

*so sources can be determined by the different words used by different personalities of different ages instead of comparing actual mss.  saves people a lot of time but is not practical nor right.  These people throw out all the rules of proper research to make their theories work.  Differences do not prove a different source, just different ways of writing the same story. If the gospels were exactly alike, these same people would complain that plagiarism was involved and still would not be satisfied with the Biblical record. You cannot please everyone and when it comes to the Bible you certainly can't please secular archaeologists or scholars.

3. "The loss of much of what may have been written in the earliest churches should not surprise us, since no N.T. mss. of the 1st century survive...The disappearance of Q may have been facilitated by scribes not making new copies during the second century." (IBID pg. x)

*so the author is saying that scribes had discretionary authority to decide what to copy and what to not?  These are the words of God, of course if Q was of God, it would have been copied and we would have mss. with which to compare with the gospels. God promised that His word would always be in existence thus Q would have survived if it existed at all and if it was of God.

4. "Between the two world wars, the form critics Rudolf Bultmann & Martin Dibelius both assumed the existence of Q..." (Forward, pg. 37, The Sayings Gospel Q in Greek & English)

*their foundation is based upon assumption, not fact, proof or physical evidence and which tells us that Q did not exist but this whole idea is an adventure of futility and deception.

5. "It has been pointed out that Kloppenborg's thesis is one of several alternate and independent expressions of a rather widespread recognition that the clusters he identified are indeed early clusters, composed before the final redaction." (IBID pg. 59)

*problem is what is he identifying?  he has nothing with which to compare or double check his work.  Simply these authors are just  arbitrarily taking different verses, sayings and stories and claiming they belong to another gospel. It is a take my word for it gambit secular scholars like to use as they have nothing upon which to build their thinking and need to justify their unacceptance of the authorship of the Biblical books.

The question they do not ask or answer is, "Why would Matthew need a different source to compose his gospel?  he was an apostle, he had firsthand experience, knowledge and interaction with Jesus and the other apostles.  There was no reason for him to rely on someone else's writings.

If one questions the late date of authorship go to F.F. Bruce's book 'The N.T. Documents Are They Reliable' & Lee Strobel's book 'A Case for Christ' to get a better grasp on their actual writing. AS for Luke, he traveled with Paul, which meant he had access to the apostles and those who had firsthand knowledge of what went on and was said. There is no reason for him to use a source book to write His works.

One must always consider the source and what that source believes before accepting their words.  'Q' & 'JEPD' are fabricated illusions of an active imagination as there is not one historical or archaeological discovery which supports their existence or use as sources.  Mostly, those who rely on such thinking do not accept the Bible and totally omit God from the equation as they seek a human authorship and not a divine one.

Such people can be dismissed without fear because their words are not true and are based in unbelief in God not a belief in Him and they dismiss the work of the Holy Spirit in the Biblical authors lives in this pursuit of finding source material.  The Holy Spirit did the guiding, the inspiring and documents like 'Q' & 'JEPD' were unnecessary but to those who do not believe then the opposite s credible to them.

One can dismiss 'Q' and those who advocate its use as those people did not know Matthew, Luke or Mark and they have no clue as to how these men wrote their gospels, especially when they reject God's declaration of how it was done. Modern man cannot read long dead minds so they are guessing at best, if they leave God out of the equation, which means they do not know and we believers do know---they wrote with the help of The Holy Spirit.

Which Gospel?

In recent years there has been a trend to accept people of different faiths and beliefs into the Christian fold.  This poses a problem for the church as it is opening the door to false teachers and those who do not believe the gospel as told by the apostles in the Bible

Paul warned the church of this and in Galatians 1:6-* spells out the exact criteria believers should accept and gives a penalty to those who preach alternatives. Here is the passage:

"6. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the Grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-

7. which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert  the gospel of Christ.

8. but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned

Strong words but the issue is of the uttermost importance because, souls and eternity are on the line and to allow those who do not preach the same gospel as the apostles did is a mistake that hurts the church and all its members.

It does not matter if a prominent Christian makes comments that it is okay to accept those of alternative beliefs into the church, they are not God and do not have the liberty to change God's words.

Another important message one gleans from this passage besides the warning, is the clue as to tell who is speaking the truth and who is not.  If they are not preaching the same gospel that the apostles preached, then no matter how good it sounds, no matter how close it is these people are not speaking the truth and need to be shunned by the believing church.

The believer can take comfort now knowing what to use in making the determination of what is a true teacher from God and who is the false one. With this one criteria the believer can, with confidence, make the right choice and avoid those who want to lead them astray.

That means when a person claims to be a Christian, one can simply check their beliefs and make a comparison, but be careful, false teachers can also hide their deception quite well and it will take some digging to spot their errors.

In the modern age we have the Mormon religion which claims they are Christian yet they do not preach the same gospel as the apostles, they preach the beliefs of joseph smith. The Jehovah Witnesses are the same, they do not preach the same gospel of the apostles because they teach that Jesus is 'a god'. They translate their Bible to reflect that belief.

Also, one has to be cautious of the Roman Catholic Church because they do not preach the same gospel of the apostles.  Some of t is the same but the majority of it is not and one has to be careful when talking to Catholics because they are some of the nicest people in the world but if they hold to the doctrines of the R.C.C., then they are not holding  to the gospel taught by Paul and the apostles.

The list can go on but these examples will suffice and warn believers of the church that they need to tighten up their standards of acceptance for those preaching a theistic evolution or a 'day age' theory are not preaching the gospel that the apostles preached.  The church needs to inform their members of what to look for and how to deal with the people when they cross paths for they will and if the members are not warned then they are vulnerable to being led astray and that is not good.

Be careful for the devil is ‘like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour' and he will do it in a fashion that is very misleading but very similar to the gospel preached by the apostles. Don't think he won't because the unsuspecting are the easiest prey.

Where to Start?

In today's world the believer is hounded and pounded by the advocates of all the different sciences.  it is not uncommon to hear words like; 'scientifically proven...', or 'science based...', or 'this is scientific...'; and so  on.  The secular world has found its alternative to God and their new authority has become science.  Doesn't matter which field, they all have been elevated to a higher position than God intended and placed by the world (and a lot of Christians) as higher than God's word.

What is a pastor to do?  Well for one, they need to remember that they serve the Most High God and that their starting place is with God's word not science. The Bible tells us that we believers are in a spiritual war and we can see the battle coming to a head at this very juncture.  Will it be science or the Bible?  For the secular world, it is always science but sadly for the Christian world the choice is becoming less and less the Bible and more and more science.

For preachers this change cannot take place for they are the called servants of God to lead His flock and they cannot make the mistake of leading people to the wrong choice.  If they lead people to science and allow it to declare the Bible false then they have lead their charges right into the enemy's hands and that is wrong. What they have done is betray God and called Him a liar, which He cannot be, and that is a dangerous thing to do especially when one has been personally called by God to care for His people.

By allowing God to called a liar, one has effectively ruined their own work and allowed the devil free reign in the fold, giving no opposition for his destructive methods, while letting the cause of Christ suffer another setback.  it is basically impossible to stand up in front of people, though it is done all the time, and say one is a preacher/servant of God, then turn around and declare that God a liar and His words wrong.

In effect when that happens all the preacher is doing is saying that all hope is lost for if Genesis 1 is wrong then so is John 3:16 and the promise of salvation.  One cannot pick and choose what they will believe, the Bible is not a cafeteria where one goes, 'I will take that promise, and that one but forget those instructions...' It doesn't work that way, one has to accept the whole thing or their faith is in vain.

Even in light of 'scientific discovery' one must remain true because said discovery has many loopholes and upon close examination too little information to be worth anything at all. What does one need to do when they are confronted with those who advocate science over the Bible:

1. consider the source-- if they do not believe the Bible then chances are they will not proclaim anything that would prove the Bible but instead go off in some weird theoretical direction;

2.check the amount of information-- as has been the case so many times in the past, the secular world uses only partial evidence (that is all they have) and then builds a complete theory out of basically nothing.

3.check the conclusions against the Bible--if science, archaeology, geology or history disagrees with the Bible then there is something wrong with the science, archaeology, geology or history NOT the Bible.  Too often the secular world likes to place the Bible and its authors under the control of sin and corruption while placing themselves as infallible and perfect as God.  They are wrong and have it backwards, the sciences are subject to all the corruptions of the world that came in at the fall while the Bible is not and the Bible can be trusted while the secular sciences cannot.

So where does a preacher start when faced with the criticisms from those who support science blindly?  They start with the Bible and stick with it for it is not wrong, has no agenda other than to help God's creation find salvation.  The Bible is  NOT wrong and if God says it took 6 days to create the details of the world then it took 6 days. If God said there was a global flood, then there was a global flood, not a local one. 

Science in all of its fields is very limited and most often is not dealing with all of the information that is needed, so these holes have to be filled with theory or conjecture. As an example, archaeology deals with less than 7% (approx.) of the past in any given site being dug or has been dug.  93% (approx.)is either still in the ground, moved, or destroyed (earthquakes, floods, battles, invasion, etc.) and it is impossible to construct the past with such little evidence.  We get an idea but we do not get a very good picture.

Science is merely a tool and is not an authority, it can't be for it is wielded by those who are under the influence of sin, for the most part, it is not being wielded by infallible people and these people are subject to their own desires, or blackmail, extortion or whatever sinful method is applied.  Knowing that one must turn to the Bible which is NOT under any such pressure and merely tells us about God and His work throughout history.

Science can be useful but it must be kept in a proper perspective and it cannot be elevated above what God intended.  The world wants alternatives,, the Christian doesn't need them nor can afford to follow after them. Start with the Bible and interpret 'scientific discoveries' through its eyes not vice versa.

The Truth Never Changes

Over the years I have participated in many debates and discussions on evolution and creation and one of the main arguments the supporters, of the evolutionary theory, make and stand their ground upon, is the declaration that the theory is always changing.

They laud the fact that the theory is not the same as Darwin proposed it back in the 19th century.  These supporters brag  at how secular science and scientists have made discovery after discovery expanding the knowledge of the process of evolution and how life developed over the years.

They boast of all the ‘evidence’ that has been uncovered and placed on display at museums around the world, ‘proving’ the theory is really a fact and not something from Darwin’s or some other person’s imagination. In their minds, evolution is now true yet they ignore the many problems that arise from their premature conclusions.

One of the first problems is that not one ancient culture talks about evolution in any ancient manuscript, they did not leave behind any drawings of animals that differ from the modern versions and according to enthusiasts, the cave drawings in southern France date back 30,000 years { http://space.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn977 } ; and they did not leave one record pertaining to an evolutionary process.  Of course, evolutionists will argue that the ancients could not possibly know about evolution because they weren’t smart enough, did not have the equipment and whatever luxury modern scientists enjoy.

Unfortunately for them, the ancients were a lot smarter than they are given credit.  They had to be as they developed accurate calendars, built cities, had sewer systems, hot & cold running water, built pyramids and the ancient Greeks had a computer {http://www.icr.org/article/3990/ } .  They were smart enough and would have figured it out if evolution were true and wrote about it.  In fact, the earliest opposition to creation in the form of an evolutionary thought came in the 6th century B.C. {After the Flood by Bill Cooper}, long after the ancients had formed their histories.

Every nation of the world has a creation myth and a flood myth (save for the Israelites and Christians, theirs are not myths but fact) BUT NOT ONE has an evolutionary tale.  If they had, we would have known about it by now.  Historically, evolution is without support.

A second problem that arises is the pointing to the ‘evidence’ that has been discovered over the past 150 years.  Yet evolutionary supporters ignore the fact that the ‘evidence ‘ is just evidence and everyone has access to the same items and any details that are provided are generally drawn from conjecture and not fact.

If one looks closely enough, they will see that the secularist is drawing conclusions and scenarios from very partial evidence. This is evidenced generally by the many discoveries they have made and specifically by the ‘missing link’ walking fish fossil {http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060405_tiktaalikfrm.htm}.  As the reader can see, there is only ½ of a fish there and not enough ‘evidence’ to prove their theory. The artist conception resembles an alligator not a fish.

But this is how far they will go to support their theory and ‘prove’ it true.  Basically they are playing  with reality and distorting the truth.  They are also reading into what they have found and have corrupted their findings by omitting any other possibility for that fossil and proclaimed it came to be through evolution only.  This prejudicial attitude permeates the evolutionary world and undermines all their credibility.

A third problem is why would God use a person, who did not believe in Him, {http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/Charles_Darwin_quotes.html} to establish a theory that is contrary to His own declarations 1800 years (approx.) after the scriptures were finished being written.  This makes no sense and would have God call Himself a liar, and undermine His claim to be sinless and God.

Why would God state in Gen. 1:31 that His creation was complete only to reveal more creative acts later in the 19th century? He wouldn’t because if He did, He rendered the Bible useless and make it untrustworthy.  Darwin was not walking with God, so how could he get God’s message to venture in this direction?  These few questions show the ridiculousness of this position.

The final problem we will look at which arises from this attitude that evolution is true because it is changing all the time, is that this idea is unfair and unjust.  What happens to all the people who believed in the previous forms of evolution?  They died believing a lie or a misconception.  How is that fair to them that they did not get to hear the truth?  How just is it that they were robbed of the fats?

It isn’t and that is the way it is with the secular world and those who accept the evolutionary theory.  They do not care if it is fair or not.  They do not care if it is just or not because they now have ‘the truth’ or so it seems.  50-100 years from now, they may be the ones who died believing a lie as ‘new discoveries’ change the theory once again. There is nothing in the theory of evolution that is helpful to people, they do not even include some hope of a salvation or a life after one dies. It is not a theory one should want to follow.

As it stands evolution has proven itself out of contention for being the truth because the truth doesn’t change.  It can’t or it is not the truth.  How can it be if it is proven to be wrong and new information has altered its message or replaced it all together? That is not truth but a desperate attempt to find an alternative to the Biblical message.

What we find in the Bible is that it has never changed, though people accuse others of trying to change it (Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman).  The message is still the same 2,000 years later; which is one of the complaints made by opponents to the Bible.  The New Testament did not alter the message of the Old nor replaced it, so one cannot charge the Biblical writers of altering the truth.  It carried on God’s message in a new way, one that relieved people of following Mosaic law in a literal sense.

Because the Bible does not change it can be seen as fair and just as the same message has been heard from before Noah’s time.  Everyone has had a chance at salvation, the same salvation and the story doesn’t change because of ‘new’ discoveries.  In fact any discoveries made, prove the message and content of the Bible not alter or replace it.

This gives a person confidence that when reading the words of the biblical writers one knows they have the truth and can stop searching for it.  No the truth never changes and evolution is not the truth but really is a product of Darwin’s creative imagination.

Lies

People are on different levels when it comes to lies and if a person is allowed to tell them or not.  many people feel that it is necessary to tell white lies as it involves protecting someone or avoiding dealing with a difficult or awkward situation.  For example, so their child feels good at Christmas, parents tell the lie about Santa Claus. 

Someone in history created a fictional character (not just one country) who basically resembles who they wish Christ was,  some jolly old man giving gifts to everyone despite what they did throughout the year. 

For Christians lies are not to be told, even little white lies as Col. 3:9 tells us 'not to lie to each other...' This verse does not exclude children and too many parents underestimate their child's ability to handle the truth, preferring to lie to them in hopes they can deal with the problem when the child is older.  Unfortunately, lying to a child does not breed trust and love but the exact opposite.

The same goes for a pastor and his congregation.  How can he expect his charges to trust or listen to him if he tells them lies or withholds the truth?  Pretty soon , and it doesn't take long, one's credibility is lost and so is the effectiveness of the pastor.  Pastors who lead the flock, must be the example of what to do, not what not to do, which means they need to seek God's help in all areas of life so their congregations see how it should be done and can draw strength from the pastor's example.

They cannot do this if they find out that the pastor has lied, even a little, for then the seed of distrust has been sown and the door open to the devil to drive a wedge between God and His people, leading some away from salvation. Even white lies carry a large impact and can ruin a person if they do not catch the destructive work eroding their faith in time.

Proverbs 12 verse 22 tells us that 'God detests lying lips' and that should be motivation enough for the pastor and believer to ask God to help them structure their words so that they do not lie at any time.  Also no one likes a liar and soon the person telling them will find themselves without friends, save those who lie themselves.  David in Ps. 120:2 asks God to 'save him from lying lips...'

Then if that is not enough motivation then think of the secular world where lying is not a problem and how will one's testimony and impact for God be affected once they find out Christians are lying like they do?  Their conclusion will be something like 'i guess the Christian heaven is a lie and that there is no salvation for Jesus lied as well...' How can the unchurched believe what a Christian or pastor says when the latter are exposed for the lies they tell?  They can't.

Rev. 21:8 warns us that liars go to the lake of fire, in fact it says 'all liars' and does not make exceptions for those who tell white lies.  Yes believers have grace to fall back on, but why take the chance of endangering one's salvation or open the door to ruining God's work? God is not a God of lies and His people should never lie no matter what the situation.

If a believer is caught in a difficult position, then all they have to do is ask God for the right words to say or that they will not lie but be given an alternative option in the conversation.  God does not want His people to sin and lying is sin, no matter the size of the lie.

It is better to tell the child that Santa Claus does not exist and explain that our family gives gifts because God gave His Son as a gift for them.  They will be better for it and look to God with greater admiration than if they are told that a fictional character is real.  How can they have confidence in God if their parents lie to them.

The ramifications are immense and the strength of a believer starts with the home, the parents and the pastor.  The pastor needs to set the example for the parents, showing them the right way to do things so they, in turn, can show their families.

What is the Church?

This is not a tough question but it has many answers depending on how many people you ask.  Everyone has their own ideas about what makes the church.  Some say it is a building, or a place for people of the same beliefs to gather.  Others think it is a body of people who get together and so on.  Most of these ideas come from those within the church itself but what is the church to those who do not believe or belong and are found outside of its walls?

For one it is a beacon of hope, the last bastion of survival against what throws at them and it is a place to go get help, when all else fails and this is illustrated by the many poor people who come to its doors seeking money, food, shelter among other things.

How the church handles these people tells the other observers what the church is like and sometimes the message is not that great.  Some years ago, a pastor friend of mine told me about some men who came to his church looking for food, for whatever reason the church did not help them out and the men went away cursing the church, angry that their needs were not met. My friend told me later that because of the cursing, the church felt they had done the right thing.

I disagree as I am reminded of the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers in Luke 17 :11-19.  He met them on the road to Jerusalem and they cried out to be healed so Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. While they were on their way, they were healed, and you know the end of the story, only the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus.

The key is, Jesus knew what was going to happen but He still did not withhold any of His healing power from all ten. He healed them all in spite of the fact that 9 of them were just using Him to get what they want.  But why did Jesus heal all ten?  To provide the church the example of what to do  when people are just using them-- do not withhold doing good. other scriptures support this point as we find in James 4:17 these words " Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

It doesn't matter the motivation or purpose of the receiver as they are under no such instructions on how to act but the church is a different story.  They have God behind them, and he has unlimited resources at His disposal thus the church should be confident to act even in the above situation and even if the purpose of the requester is not pure.

Obviously, one needs to temper their giving with the example of the bridesmaids and their oil and make sure there is enough for their own family but one cannot just say no to a person in need just because they do not like the way the people look, or if they are single men, or whatever. Even the simple act of giving someone food is planting a seed, and what seed a church plants depends upon their response to the request.

In the above situation, it is obvious that the church did not plant anything good in those men and the church suffers for that act.  It does not matter if the recipients say thank you or not, or are thinking the congregation are fools, the duty of the church and believer in God is to do His will and that means to follow Christ's example in how he healed even though people did not follow Him.

Now before anyone goes blindly off and gives away too much remember to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and bring wisdom in dealing with such situations, as Dr. Jimmy Diraddo said in a lecture years ago, 'there are times i refuse to help someone because it promotes their laziness...' (slight paraphrase).  he has it right, the church needs to make sure that they are not hindering someone from taking responsibility for themselves and are mooching off the system.

This is a scenario where the Christian must not rely on their own understanding but look to God to see them through.  One word of caution though, the church should not create or implement their own rules to use to guide their actions, they need to restrict their procedures to what God has said in His word.

The Church is NOT the enemy of the people nor should it become  the enemy because they withhold doing good.  it is better to help all people than to make a mistake and miss helping the one person whose life will be changed by an act of kindness.  What if Jesus withheld His healing power from the one who thanked Him?  He would have been lost?  What if Jesus only healed the 1 leper?  Then animosity and jealous would rise in the others and Jesus would be responsible for sin and that would be wrong.

Jesus set the example and it is time for the church to be responsible in following that example instead of being too responsible in saving food. Follow the example of Jesus plant seeds without being responsible for leading others to sin, the church is not an agent of evil but of good and one never knows when that planted seed will take root and turn a life around.

Justice For All

Today we are going to look at 2 scripture verses which Talks about how one should act towards those who offend society and God by disobedience or criminal acts. The first is taken from Is. 1:15-17--

"...Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."

And the second is from Micah 6:8--

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Justice today takes on many forms and it may be difficult for the believer to know exactly what to do in certain situations because the crimes or disobedience has been so offensive that one's emotions distort what one thinks is just and fair.

First off, the Christian should not follow the secular world's idea of what justice is because such is based upon their own inadequacies, and have roots in what is corrupt, fallible and sinful.  Plus the world's idea of justice is subjective and one cannot get the same answer on how to deal with a problem after asking many advisors what one should do.

Each secular person has their own idea of what justice is and such definition of the word depends on many factors.  Upbringing, political leanings, emotions, morality and so on.  They do not have one set higher ideal to guide them and they freely invent their own to fit their idea how an offender should be punished.

Too often people's ideas of what is just is distorted by the experience, if one has been raped or is the spouse of a rape victim, their idea of justice is far more severe than those who have not suffered through such an act.  Other people do not need to have experienced a horrific crime to set their standard to severe because they feel a great sin has been committed and the criminal deserves no mercy whatsoever.  One classic example of this is the hatred towards pedophiles.

So for the believer it is NOT easy to make the stand for the right kind of justice because popular opinion drowns out their efforts and distorts their motivations yet no matter what, the Christian needs to find out how God looks at the crime, how His definition of justice applies and then advocate that option.

One of the biggest omissions in those verses quoted above is the 'exception clause'.  There are none thus the believer has to apply justice fairly, evenly without prejudice to ALL offenders no matter how offensive or violent the crime.  To do so one must follow what Christ has said which can be summarized in 3 verses:

1.  'remove the beam from your own eye so you can see clearly to remove the matchstick from your neighbor's eye.../ (paraphrased)

2. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...'

3. 'Forgive... 70 times 7...' (paraphrased)

The first verse tells us to remove the hatred for the person, including the pedophile, before getting involved and to do that one must forgive them for their acts.  Then the second verse tells us to temper our actions by keeping in mind how we would like to be treated if we were in the same position. Notice than none of those New Testament verses cancel out or supersede the Old Test. ones but works with them to help guide believers in how treat people, even criminals, correctly.

Even if the crime is vile and heinous the believer is under the rules of God and must act in accordance to His rules, NOT secular man's, as those offenders are not excepted.  it would be hypocritical and sin for the believer to only act according to God's justice only towards those who are favored or accepted and not in the case of the opposite.  God does not sin, nor does He give permission for His followers to sin or ignore His ways, no matter what the situation and His followers must learn to overcome their own human reaction and feelings and implement what God wants.

Not what one THINKS God wants, but what God really wants to see done here as you never know how your obedience will affect the many observers, most who will remain quiet and only comment quietly to their family and friends.  You may never hear of their reaction to your unjust response, but God will and most times, that response raises a stumbling block or turns a person off from Christ.

One has to keep in mind that God is not a crowd pleaser and does not do things to gain the secular world's approval.  He does things to show that His way is not theirs, that it is above the human way and it is the right way.  Without that example, we may as well give in to anarchy and forget about justice for it would never be done if the world was left to its own devices.

The Christian cannot afford to hide God's way of mercy and justice for if they do then there world has no example of an alternative for them to turn to when the secular human way fails them.  They need to be brave and stand up for what is right, for what is merciful, for what is just  NO MATTER how the secular world responds because under that negative response to God's ways, is a secret desire for themselves to be treated in that manner.

Hiding the light of God, even in the area of law, is not right and robs many.

Feed My Sheep

In recent years, there has been a trend in some churches to change the morning worship service into an evangelistic service because it was thought more non-Christians came to that service instead of the evening one.  This idea stems from the over-emphasis placed upon the fulfilling of the Great Commission at the expense of other ministries and commands Jesus and God gave to their followers.

Sometimes it looks and feels like the only words that are important to the church are those found in that command and that churches are trying to fall over themselves in constructing strategies to get that done, in hopes they are pleasing God.

The problem is that too many other avenues God uses to bring people to Him are ignored and fall to the side of the road, and opportunities are lost.  What is also sacrificed is the spiritual health of the believer as they are thrown to the wolves with minimal training on how to present the gospel and given nothing else to fall back on when the initial attack doesn't work.

The unprepared believer is often left in situations where they cannot answer the many questions posed to them or they appear ignorant when the unbeliever knows more about the Bible or church history than they do.  Which in turns turns off the unbeliever because the believer looks foolish or doesn't know what they really believe.

Jesus was very clear to Peter when He told him to 'feed my sheep' and we  know Jesus was  NOT talking about physical food. He was telling Peter to make sure His followers got the information they needed to grow in Christ so that they could face all situations and obey the scripture 'be prepared to answer why you believe...' (slight paraphrase).  Vine's has this to say:

"Note: In John 21:15, 16, 17, the Lord, addressing Peter, first uses No. 1, bosko (v. 15) then No. 2, poimaino (v. 16), and then returns to bosko (v. 17). These are not simply interchangeable (nor are other variations in His remarks); a study of the above notes will show this. Nor, again, is there a progression of ideas. The lesson to be learnt, as Trench points out (Syn. Sec.xxv), is that, in the spiritual care of God’s children, the “feeding” of the flock from the Word of God is the constant and regular necessity; it is to have the foremost place. The tending (which includes this) consists of other acts, of discipline, authority, restoration, material assistance of individuals, but they are incidental in comparison with the “feeding.”

{Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. 1996. Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:231-232). T. Nelson: Nashville}

 What the passage tells us is that one aspect of the church is not to be sacrificed for the emphasis on another. do so would be short-changing the believer and leaving them weak and vulnerable, which has taken place even in modern times.  Too many Christians think they know something of their faith yet in reality have no grasp of the meaning of scriptures, how to apply it, when to use it properly, nor how to act on it in their lives. (the list could go on)

 Believers are left to fend for themselves as church leaders look to run up the numbers in hopes of looking spiritual or good yet all they all producing are sick followers of Christ, if they are followers at all.  Christians participating in debates, discussions, do not look good as they fumble their way through a point or mis-apply a verse or two , thinking they are doing right when in reality they are doing nothing but bad.

It is a sad state of affairs as Christians sit through church service after church service getting surface sermons or evangelistic messages week after week and are given nothing to latch onto. Whether the pastor is too afraid to let the people grow and stretch their wings or is afraid to lose members, is known only to God. Whatever the reason, the church is failing its people by not taking this seriously enough.  Too often many pastors pull out sermon reruns in the summer as some members will be away on vacation, yet many still remain in the pew and they are being robbed of food because of this mentality.

 Barnes point of view is as follows:

"The word here rendered “feed” means the care afforded by furnishing nutriment for the flock. In the next verse there is a change in the Greek, and the word rendered feed denotes rather the care, guidance, and protection which a shepherd extends to his flock. By the use of both these words, it is supposed that our Saviour intended that a shepherd was both to offer the proper food for his flock and to govern it; or, as we express it, to exercise the office of a pastor. The expression is taken from the office of a shepherd, with which the office of a minister of the gospel is frequently compared. It means, as a good shepherd provides for the wants of his flock, so the pastor in the church is to furnish food for the soul, or so to exhibit truth that the faith of believers may be strengthened and their hope confirmed."

The pastor is not doing just any job, the church is not just any organization and thus it cannot afford to play the games the secular world does.  There is too much at stake. One example how one area of the church is lacking because of this over-emphasis on evangelism- The Bible tells believers how to dress modestly, not like the world does, yet one of the things we see in the church are men and women dressed to the point of distraction and causing others to lust and sin.  Yet the church rarely speaks on this issue, in fact some churches seem to be afraid of losing congregants if they dare. 

But it must be done if the people of God are to do what is right.  It does not matter if people get angry, the church has the duty to teach all aspects of the christian life and everything that God wants. The pastor has to become brave and with love & compassion, firmly address all issues.  Sure, there are week night meetings which are supposed to deal in greater depth many topics, yet is it really done? Especially in youth meetings?  It is best if the pastor deals with it in the main service so people can know what to do from God's authority and also learn how to deal with the arguments that will arise within the family plus the temptations that will come from advertising and friends.

 A pastor cannot be with his people 24 hours a day 7 days a week and they must be prepared to face the world on their own. Jesus did it with His disciples, so must the pastor do it with his charges. The church needs those laymen who are strong spiritually and have gained knowledge, wisdom and understanding so that they can apply what they have learned properly and be able to make an impact for God. Teach all things so that God can use people in all areas of life to fulfill the great commission, one does not have to have a strategy, one just needs to be prepared and willing to be used of God.

I Will Pray for You

On a English teacher’s website there was an interesting thread entitled, What People Really Mean When They say ‘I’ll Pray for You’, and in it contained the real life perspective of the non-believer of when Christians say these things.  If you want to read their comments, you can find them here: http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?t=142202

One can say that this perspective is pretty close to being accurate even from a Christian point of view and experience.  Too often believers just do not want to get involved with other people’s problems and find this statement as an easy out while still trying to remain spiritual (or looking Christian).

What the real result is, the listener feels abandoned, rejected, embarrassed, inferior and many other negative emotions.  They also feel that they were intruding and that they made a mistake in confiding in a person who they thought could help or offer a few minutes of wise advice.

To be given the brush off like this, and yes this is a brush off, the person in need feels insignificant and not worthwhile because their problems do not matter to the other person.  When the other people are supposed to be friends these feelings are magnified and the hurt is worse as one is left feeling all alone.

To be fair, the person saying ‘I will pray for you’ may actually make a prayer or two but their hearts are not in it or they do it out of a sense of obligation, with no meaning behind it or real caring. Then they wonder why the person hasn’t received help or victory in the matter.

How could they, they were left alone at a time when they needed help the most, pushed away because their problems were deemed out of the jurisdiction of the person (or church0 or judged too difficult to handle.  Whatever the reason, the person in need is left vulnerable and suffering.

Christians forget that God uses them and brings other people and their problems to them for a specific reason; to get help or pointed in the right direction with the right guidance or to be lead to someone who can provide the right help.  It is a shame that believers just do not want to get involved and it is no wonder non-believers have that point of view as described in that thread.

Because that is exactly what it is- a brush off or an excuse to not get involved.  The believer feels that all they have to do is pray or say they will pray and they have fulfilled their spiritual duty and that is just not so. It is inexcusable and the Bible mentions this when it says “they that knoweth to do good and doeth it not—sins.”

Christians are not to brush others of, they need to be ready to help when God places a problem in their path.  Why?  Because the believer is rewarded for helping and they grow in God as they see Him work through them. Their spiritual confidence is strengthened and they can be sure of the God they say they believe.

Also, one other thing that is important, they show the unchurched world that God cares for them and that God looks after His people.  Letting fellow believers fall to the wayside is NOT Biblical nor is it Christian and helping them does not tarnish ones spirituality or reputation or image.

Now when a non-Christian approaches a believer about problems or needs, the last thing they want to hear is ‘I will pray for you’ then watch as the believer walks away, leaving them standing there, getting angry at the believer, the church and God.  A non-Christian doesn’t want ‘your prayers’ and it is a waste of time to tell them you will pray for them, but that doesn’t mean you do not pray, you just do not tell them.

What they want is the same thing hurting Christians want, HELP, advice, guidance an opinion and so on.  The standard pat answers do not work and leave the impression that God, the church and the believer do not care.  This is a terrible tragedy and a great mistake on the part of the believer.

There will be many times when a believer will NOT get a second chance to help another person and God will be robbed of the glory and possibly another soul and that is not a legacy anyone should want to leave behind.

It is time for the believers to stop brushing others off and get involved on a personal level.

Interpretation

We have all heard the phrase, ‘that is your interpretation’ and we have all heard the statement, ‘he interpreted…’, and they are used quite frequently within the realms of theology and archaeology.

The former is used a lot when someone does not like what another person is saying about a passage of scripture.   The latter is used as an explanation for a conclusion made by a scholar or expert.  Both imply that ‘truth’ is non-existent and that the evidence and the Bible  are subject to an individual’s opinion, bias and personal beliefs.

They also reflect the ideas of existentialism and the Rudolf Bultmann school of thought where a passage of scripture will mean one thing to one person but another to the next. Neither will be the same. (Stott, lecture on the Bible & the Christian Life)

What people are saying when they use such words, is that the Bible does NOT have the complete truth and does not set the standard for all men.  Yet this is impossible for that would mean that God changes with the personality of the person looking at scriptures or evidence of the past

If the Bible did change with each person’s reading then it would not be truth and no one would have any hope in salvation or God for no one would know what God would really do in any given situation.  His actions would change according to the person or persons involved. And salvation would end up in the ‘depends’ category, subject to how God feels at that moment, removing any hope in God’s promises and such diminishes His character to that of a sinner  while destroying our confidence in Him.

Such comments (in the 1st par.) deny what Scriptures teaches when it says ‘Ye shall know the truth, and it shall set you free…’ and they deny the working of the Holy Spirit as John 15:26 tells us about the ‘spirit of truth’, which implies that God’s word is truth. John 16: 13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will ‘guide us into all truth’, which tells us that God’s word is NOT subject to a variety of human interpretation but has but one meaning for all men.

This tells us that this one truth cannot be shrouded in the clouds of ‘interpretation’ because the Holy Spirit will lead us to that truth. One cannot demote the Bible to mere words ruled by the opinions and feelings of man, if it is then it is no longer God’s word and man has promoted themselves to being above the Bible  and has authority and permission to change the message of God, which is just not so.

Following the idea of ‘interpretation’ is very dangerous ground to walk as many unsuspecting believers then get the idea that they have the right to determine what God is saying and place their own sensibilities into the passage instead of being honest and seeing what God is really saying. They also ignore other passages which would shed light on controversial issues as they just cannot accept the instructions of God for these situations.

When this happens then believers are leading others to sin, that is just wrong and not of God. Too many people hide behind the argument of interpretation because they do not want the truth, for the truth does NOT tell them what they want to hear or it is leaving them in situations they feel they have the right to exit.

This exit is justified through a set of spiritual gymnastics which twist the Bible or the original languages into saying what they want to hear so they feel good about their actions. They want relief but cannot be patient and endure so they manufacture something to make sure they can feel ‘Christian’ while disobeying God.

The idea of ‘interpretation’ is a very dangerous road to follow as it will lead one away from the truth and from Jesus who declared Himself ‘the Truth’.  It opens the door to allowing one to be deceived and to plant seeds of doubt and confusion amongst the church. All of which are NOT of God.

The Bible is not a book with a variety of meanings, it has only one and one must remember that neither God nor Jesus instructed their followers to use ‘interpretation’ as a tool to understand their words.  They said the Holy Spirit will LEAD one into the truth. To fully understand what God is saying in the Bible one then must rely on the Holy Spirit not their own tools or understanding and make sure they are following Him not some demon in disguise.

Growing Up

Too often believers today seem to avoid wanting to grow up spiritually.  They have fallen in love with the words ‘child of God’ and feel that they get to act and remain like little children throughout their adult life.

They take the words of Mark 9:34, (Lk. 9:47-50 as well) too literally and feel that they get to enjoy a second childhood where they have little responsibility and where they get to play  all the time, passing off dealing with problems and issues by saying God will solve it. 

Many Christians do not want the seriousness of the Christian life nor the fact that they have to be involved with situations that are not to their liking. They want the good things of the christian life not the difficult and disappointing. Too often hurting people get ignored and have their needs unmet as some Christians find any excuse possible to not become involved.

But becoming like children does not mean one becomes child-like and living like a child avoiding what God wants them to do—grow up as a Christian.  It means having certain qualities a child has.  Such as: 1. Unfettered love for their parent (God); 2. Unhindered faith in their parent, (God); 3. Believing their parent, (God), without doubt; 4. Standing with their parent, (God), even when everyone else is against Him. And so on…

It does not mean avoiding learning from the mistakes one makes, learning how to deal with problems, and it means not passing the buck back to God when He has chosen to use His followers to meet certain situations.  It means one grows up as a Christian, becoming mature, wise, gaining knowledge, faith and being ready when God puts situations in front of them to deal with.  God could easily keep the blessings that come His way for helping His followers but He has chon to share that with Christians, if they would actually grow up and put off childish things.

Children cannot teach children and God wants His people to grow up and be strong Christians so that they can teach new believers properly, helping them to learn what to do.  He does NOT want believers to think like little children, (1 Cor. 14:20). He wants them to grow up and be mature Christian adults, for warfare, even spiritual warfare, is NOT conducted by children nor an army of children.

As we learned by the children’s crusade of the middle ages, children are easily led astray, captured and destroyed and God does not want that to happen to His followers. He wants them armed, equipped and ready to do battle when the time comes.

The believer cannot afford to remain like children and they need to put away the fear that if they grow up they won’t be children anymore.  One is a Child of God no matter how grown up spiritually they become, unfortunately those who do not grow up, do not get involved and do not make the impact for God that He wants

It is disobedience to try to remain childish when there is work to be done.  Thus just as a child grows up physically to become an adult, so must a new believer grow up spiritually and become a Christian adult. As the I.S.B.E. puts it:

“But Paul and John also contemplate a growth in sonship, “till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (pg.866)

It is fun being a child, one gets to tell their parents about a problem and their parents take care of the matter but at some point the parent says to the child—‘it is time you grew up so you must handle the matter’  God brings certain situations and problems into our lives and if we pass the buck back to Him then we gain nothing but if we do it with Him, then we learn how to meet the next situation.

Children run away from problems, adults can’t and the Christian adult cannot run either but must be prepared to face what God brings them.

The Failure of a Scientific Study of Religion

I was participating on a science forum when the topic, 'a scientific study of religion' was placed on the board.  it wasn't really a scientific study but a posting of another person's opinion on the topic.  In questioning the original poster concerning the thread itself, as there were gaping holes in the parameters guiding the discussion, the following guideline was given;

"Tentatively, posts and threads in this forum should be written that do not assume an a priori existence of the supernatural or paranormal"

But if we cannot 'assume' the existence of the religion's or Christianity’s founder then how can one study the religion or faith?  One must assume Buddha lived or there is no reason for the existence of Buddhism.  One must assume the existence of Allah or there is no purpose for Islam.

Thus you must assume that God exists or there is no reason for Christianity or any false religion to be in existence.  People do not organize and perpetuate a religion if the focus of their worship does not exist (at the very least 'in their minds'). At Sinai, while Moses was talking to God on the top of the mountain, Aaron made a golden calf and the people turned to worship it.  Did a golden calf exist, of course not but in the people's minds behind that form was the idea that a supernatural being existed which could save them from their troubles.

No religion can exist today without God's existence.  It is just impossible. The fact that false religions and Christianity exist is proof that God exists.  From the beginning, worship of God was established in the lives of Adam, Eve and their children. We read about Cain and Abel's bringing their offering to God yet if God did not exist, why bring sacrifices or offerings to Him or any other god?  It would do no good for no one would answer and people would get tired of sacrificing what they need for nothing and decide to stop the exercise of futility.

Now the guideline mentions the word 'a priori' which means, according to oxford, "a priori  • adjective & adverb based on theoretical reasoning rather than actual observation" but as we see, one does not have a religion or faith if one relies upon theory alone.  Theory doesn't inspire confidence, hope nor loyalty. Plus by wording the guideline in this manner the person is ignoring all the evidence of history that shows that belief in the existence of God is NOT theoretical.

The question arises, what do they mean by 'actual observation'? If we cannot assume the existence of God how can we ascribe observed acts to Him? We have no one to give credit for those events.  At what point will these 'observe observations' finally determine that God exists?  The people who want to study religion scientifically do not place a realistic marker to say this is the point where we will agree that God exists.  They leave the door open for them to have an escape clause and dismiss any observed acts simply because they really do not want to believe in God.

A scientific study of religion and Christianity (i write both to make a distinction between the two) fails because science is 1. far too limited to take up the challenge; 2. designed to omit the supernatural.  this is a purposeful act (The Battle of Beginnings by Dr. Del Ratzsch) for the secular world does not want God being a part of their field.; 3. ignoring all information and constructs rules so that eliminates data from being considered; 4. removes factors from the proper equation.

With this tilted playing field it is no wonder that the Christian's argument is never heard.  They do not have a honest chance to present their findings because the secular scientist has made the rules in such a manner that the results are already known or pre-determined.  case in point:

The evolutionist and secular science say the reason they omit God is because you can't put God in a test tube. Ignoring the sheer arrogance of that argument, we need only to look at their acceptance of the origination of the process of evolution to see that they do not apply the same standard to their own pet beliefs. One person said that evolution "...arose from and as a consequence of the expression of the four fundamental forces acting on the fundamental particles. So we do indeed know where it came from. "  (http://www.phpbb88.com/archiesforum/viewtopic.php?t=234&mforum=archiesforum)

But they can't put those '4 fundamental forces or particles in a test tube and study them either.  One reason is they do not know what those four forces are, what degree of combinations of each was needed to make the process and they do not even know what the original particles were. 

So why are they accepting that type of explanation for their own beliefs but do not allow that acceptance for God?  Simply because they want their own alternative to God, one which allows them to be the masters and not the servants. The hypocrisy alone undermines any 'scientific' study on religion or Christianity and leads the secular person far from the reality and truth.

Secular scientists always talk about being 'objective' yet when one tries to omit the founder of a belief from existence until it is proven scientifically that they exist or existed, then that is NOT being 'objective' but scientifically subjective.  For it is the unbelief of the scientist that is determining the direction of the study and unbelief is NOT 'objective, it is taking a side. Science is NOT THE tool to be used when studying religions or Christianity, it will not provide the correct answer nor will it lead to a credible solution.

When studying religion or Christianity one must do it God's way, if one wants answers and a real solution. it is not objective but it will be correct and the person doing the studying will be left with a choice, what they choose will be up to them but they need to do so with all the facts and intelligently.

The Real Evidence

In many discussions with non-believers the most common demand they make is 'show us the evidence'.  Now their idea of evidence is a lot different from God's as the secular world turns more and more to science for their proof, their support, their legitimacy.

Unfortunately for them, science is designed to keep its head in the sand and ignore data that it does NOT want to consider.  In the past, those who have been in the scientific leadership, or the most influential have decided to limit scientific study to only natural answers or evidence.  This self-limiting requirement only shoots secular science in the foot and hinders any attempt to find the truth.

Continually, secularists and unbelievers cry for 'scientific evidence' for the Bible, for God and Jesus and this seems to put Christians in a bind, 'we walk by faith not by sight' and 'scientific evidence' is hard to come by when you are dealing with the supernatural and any physical, 'scientific' proof is often rejected without proper investigation or consideration.

Though very weak 'evidence' for evolution or the secular side is often blindly accepted without argument or discussion.  This double standard hurts the cause of Christ and Christians participation in discussions but that is what happens when you play by the secular world's rules.  There is no law stopping the believer in doing science God's way and include the supernatural.  The secular world does not own the field of science and has no right to determine the guidelines or criteria on how to participate in the field.

The demand for physical evidence is just an excuse by most secularists enabling them to continue down the wrong path and avoid the truth and to them they seem to think that they have found the weakness for the Christian side of the issue.  What they did not figure on is that God does not operate according to science when doing His miracles, His will and that there is irrefutable evidence which proves He exists, that the Bible is true and that the believer is NOT following a lie.

That evidence is found in all the changed lives that Jesus has rescued when they have come to Him for salvation and have repented  from their sins.  Science is NOT the final authority and what science dictates has nothing to do with what God and Jesus have done and continue to do.  A believer who is having difficulty when faced with 'scientific evidence' just needs to remind themselves of their own personal experience with Jesus, the experiences of other humans for the past 2,000 years and the lack of limits when it comes to international boundaries.

Recently we read of one man, a Khmer Rouge general during the years of the Cambodian slaughter, who became a Christian.  He no longer practices what he used to believe or follow the hatred and is the only Khmer Rouge officer to take responsibility for his actions as he stands trial for his crimes.  Christ changed him and that is the evidence we use when facing the secular onslaught against the Bible and God.

We do not need scientific evidence to 'prove' the Bible true, we see it in action every day, through history ,internationally and that is the key.  We do not have to wait for millions of years to see the result of believing the Bible.  God changes lives and science cannot come to grips with such actions as it is beyond its boundaries to dissect and slowly study.

Now many dissenters of Christianity cry 'we can't put God in a test tube'.  Such is another excuse and is moot as they CANNOT put the process of evolution in a test tube either nor can they place 'natural selection' in a test tube and analyze how it works. All they can do is study what already exists and if they do not like the truth, then they put their interpretative spin on the matter.

The secular world does not want the truth, they want their own version of life so they feel good but the Christian CANNOT follow the world into this unrealistic endeavor.  They must not compromise themselves or God's word.  we have all the evidence we need to prove God's existence, the Bible's truthfulness and we do not need to use the secular world's rules to discover it.

Christians are to be leading people to Jesus, not led by the world to doubt their faith. Nor is the Christian to adopt the secular world's rules, they do not play fair and seek to eliminate Jesus from the playing field. The believer must keep God and Jesus as part of their argument or they will have taken their eyes of Jesus, like Peter, and will sink into the mire and be destroyed.

If the secular world rejects the evidence of changed lives then they are the ones in error not the believer for the past is subject to the interpretations, the beliefs, the conjecture of those who study it and the secular world can put any spin on ancient discoveries that they like. It is done every day YET what they cannot do, what they cannot control is the evidence that God brings through the changed lives of humans.  There is no 'scientific explanation' that can refute a true transformation and the secular world has to deal with the reality--God is real and judgement is coming.

Do not despair, do not lose hope when atheists and other non-believers turn to their 'scientific evidence' and you have little to use. Turn their eyes to God, let them see the reality and their 'evidence' will melt away because it is not based in truth, in Jesus and is used to try to change the reality of life--we will die and face God. 

The work of Billy Graham (and others throughout history) is not wasted as it shows that God is here and involved with humans and it refutes the secular 'evidence.  Science is NOT above God, nor is it the final authority, in the wrong hands it is a manipulative tool designed to lead people away from God and into hell.

Believing God

In many discussions there are those who claim to be christian but feel that they do not have to believe the Bible or God to maintain their salvation.  The most common words used are, 'I do not think that my failure to believe in Genesis will keep me from salvation'.  This seems to be the norm these days as many leaders of the christian church have compromised themselves and have allowed their beliefs to be altered because of science, culture, selfish desires and many other influences.

These christian leaders, (pastors, missionaries, even laymen) have stopped believing God and started to listen to and believe the secular world.  They have allowed ideas from sinful man to infiltrate their thinking and have let their eyes be taken off Christ, diverted to some theory or fear simply because an 'expert' makes claims backed by his fallible study.

This is not good for if those who claim to follow Jesus do not believe God, as God wants them to, then how can they expect unbelievers to change their lives and renounce their sinful ways and believe Him? Supposedly, Christians claim to love God, pastors, missionaries and other christian leaders are heard to claim this all the time, yet in further discussions it is discovered how they will fall back on science over God's word, or say that culture dictates the message of God found in the Bible  or that most of the important doctrinal passages are merely metaphors and that the old testament writers used myths to make their point.

BUT I Cor. 13 tells us that love 'believeth all things' so if people who claim to be Christians do not believe all of God's word how can they claim to love God? How can they claim to be christian, {which means Christ-like}, when they dis-believe the same passages Jesus believed.  Repeatedly, Jesus re-affirmed passage after passage of the Old Testament most people dismiss today. The best definition of love spells it out clearly that a person claiming to be of Christ needs to believe everything God says be truthful in their claims.

This means that even without proof, a believer takes God's word over man's.  It means that when there seems to be a contradiction or confusion that they investigate properly to see how God's word trumps the secular accusations.  it is not hard to find out that the only copy of the Gilgamesh epic was carved long after Moses wrote the book of Genesis and that the secular world is using the idea of oldest discovered as first written. 

Doesn't work that way as the timeline found in the Bible shows that the ancient world knew of the flood as written by Moses simply because of Noah and his family telling them of their salvation from destruction.  The truth was heard long before the myth was written.  We know this because we know that the devil will pervert the truth and those who stray from God are following the devil thus the Gilgamesh epic was the copy not the Genesis account.

But one has to believe God not the world to find these things out, one has to open their minds to the truth and stop hiding behind 'interpretation' as shield which protects their life's work or their desire to believe that which is wrong.  Too often, people use the words 'that is your interpretation' forgetting that the Holy Spirit leads people to the truth not the interpretation and that there is 1 truth- Jesus.

If Jesus was a mere interpretation then there is no truth and no one would be saved from hell, there is no escape from destruction.  Hiding from the truth because one does not want to believe God, or to look foolish in believing God is wrong. Using interpretation to avoid the truth is wrong as well yet people do so because they want to hold onto their comfort zones, be friends with the secular world or for many other reasons.

If one wants to be a leader of God's people, they must believe God, believe His word and lead people down the same path (making sure they have the truth of God's word).  God does not ask much of us in this regard, simply trust Him and believe what He said. How hard is it to accept Genesis 1-10 when the most powerful, supreme Being says it is true?  Why would anyone take a fallible, limited human beings word over that of God?

Humans do not have the answers, they did not construct the way of salvation, they did not sacrifice their lives to pay for the world's sin, so why reject what God says is true in favor of those who did nothing but are in need of a Savior?

One must consider the source when contemplating God's word. If it comes from sinful man one must be careful for if it disagrees with the Bible, it is wrong.  If a person claiming to be a Christian says something that contradicts the Bible, then they are wrong.  The Bible is right, we just need to study and look to the Holy Spirit to make sure we get the truth and then choose to stick with the truth.

The world needs christian leaders who believe God, they need Christians who make a stand with God not compromise their faith, in hopes of making the gospel more attractive.  The gospel does not need to be made more attractive, it is perfect the way it is and meets the needs of those who are lost in sin. God does not need help in beautifying His message to His creation, He needs His followers to believe Him and live like they do.

God has said how He created the world, He has said how the world was first destroyed, He has explained how all the languages came to be, He has said how people came to live in remote areas, He has said how He sent His son to save the lost, yet if you do not believe these things how can you believe that you will go to heaven when you die? How can you trust the promise when you do not trust anything else God has said?

'Love Believeth all things.'  very simple, very clear, leaves no room for doubt or questioning, You either believe all of God's word and believe God or you don't.  There are no grey areas with God, there is no middle ground with Him and it is time for the God's people to make their stand with Him regardless of the evidence for alternatives, regardless for the lack of evidence for what God has said is true.

If the people who are called by God's name do not, then how will the lost find the truth? How will they get answers and be able to make a choice to be saved? The church has little time left, it is best if they start by returning to their belief in God and His words and make a stand with Him.  Jesus said 'pick up your cross and follow me', He did not say follow the world so the believer must now make a choice--believe God or not, stand with God or not, the world needs them to make the right choice and needs them to stop playing their games, to stop pursuing the things of the world.

Pastors, missionaries and church leaders are the most important people that need to make this decision as they influence the rest of God's people. They need to make sure they believe God, then make sure they humbly have the truth and proclaim that to their charges. All of God's people need to return to believing God.

Understanding Christian Ethics

Introduction:

The requirement for this paper is to write on how Christian ethics is represented in this book and I will do that through addressing several key examples found throughout its pages. This book is a compilation of several different authors’ viewpoints, each one writing on a different aspect of ethical behavior for the Christian and for different situations the believer faces in life.

As I went through the book I had 2 impressions, first I felt that the authors were writing about Christian situational ethics, with a different set of rules for the believer to follow for each different situation they encounter and second, I felt that they were trying to fit infallible, spiritual truths into a secular box.

The world has its own standard for ethical behavior and they are the ones who have created a set of ideals which they believe others are to follow regardless of their faith, beliefs and upbringing. We often hear about corruption scandals and trials that take place throughout the world as the secular world attempt to look good by going after those they have perceived, or charged, with violating those ideals.

They rarely take into account the spiritual side of the issue and Christians are often caught up in such charades because their ways do not meet the world’s standards.  Throughout this paper I will quote different statements or passages and then interact with them and then in the conclusion I sum up my views in light of what I have read.

1. “Christians are called to be world citizens…The point is that one must begin to perceive the world from a global perspective…In many ways Christian ethics has become a solidly American discipline…Yet, Christian ethics is much more than a North American discipline…” (Tillman pgs. 24-5)

Parts of these quotes are misleading as it calls for Christians to be something or do something they are not to do.  At no time has the believer been ‘called’ to have a global view or be world citizens, they are called to follow Jesus and His teachings and to be separate from the world and their ideas. Being a ‘global citizen’ is a secular idea first expounded by the Clintons in their ‘global village’ idea.

Believers are to look at the world from God’s perspective and purpose. To do as Dr Tillman says in the first part of that quote would be to ignore God’s commands because the Christian is part of the kingdom of God and they must view the world from that angle.

The second part of that quote misleads believers into doing something that God has not said to do. It is leading the followers of God into following secular ideas and manipulating scripture to fit that box and that would be wrong.  I do agree with him on the idea that Christian ethics is or has become an American influenced and run field with western ideas, ideals, and thinking at the forefront regardless of the fact that the west makes up only a small part of the world’s nations.

Far too often the western world thinks that everything starts and ends with them and their views of right and wrong, but they forget that Christianity started from God and His view plus He did not start it in the west but the Middle East where cultural differences often lead to misinterpreting the Bible. God’s ethical behavior starts and ends with Him and the western believer is the one who needs to adapt their position to fit His not vice-versa.

2. “The Ethical teachings of John’s gospel differ from those of the synoptic gospels in at least two ways” (Lea pg.67)

Here we have the idea presented that the Bible actually teaches a different set of rules with different books which would make the Bible contradictory of itself and would lead the believer into confusion.  There cannot be a different set of teachings in the gospels for then the believer would not know which one is right and when to apply the one over the other.

God states that He is not the author of confusion yet this author seems to teach that that is just not so as he clearly goes against the Bible with his point. This idea of Lea’s that different books teach different ethics is reinforced further down page 67 when he says ‘ The book of Revelation is a prophecy which aims at changing the behavior of its readers…it does not contain a significant amount of ethical material.’

Yet does it need to?  If God has already presented how He wants His followers to behave why would He need to be redundant in the book of Revelation and present the same material all over again? That would be pointless, useless and take up space He needs to use to communicate about the future. Lea would be wrong in this approach because each book does not need the same amount of ethical material to be considered teaching ethics; it just needs enough to support early writings and to be consistent with the message of God.

The teachings of Revelation go hand in hand with the rest of the Bible, it is not teaching anything new or unique thus it does teach the same ethical behavior that the other books do, it just doesn’t have to go into as much detail because such has already been said.  John does not present different ethical standards, it does not present different ethical principles but it does teach the same ones in a different manner. 

Method is often confused with systems or principles and that should not be so. Method, since all people do not learning the same manner, is just teaching the same ideas in different ways so that all people can receive the message clearly. Too many ‘intelligent’ people skip such obvious objectives as they look to be intellectual and to sound smart, instead of trying to find the truth.

The same Christian behavior is being taught by God in all the books of the Bible, He does not change nor should we expect His book to change as different humans wrote His words, nor should we think His message changes because the methods employed are different.

Lea’s chapter on ethics underscores my point as he has subsections titled: The ethics of Paul, The ethics of Peter, the ethics of Jesus and all imply that each person has a different view on how Christians should behave. This flies in the face of what Paul wrote in rebuking those who claimed they were following different church leaders. The Biblical teaching of the Bible is the same no matter who is writing the books of the Bible.

3. “A person who takes his Christian citizenship seriously is one who applies the gospel to his world through responsible involvement in the political process.” (Elder III, pg.123)

The first problem we run into here is in the ending of the quote. Whose definition will be used to determine what is a ‘responsible involvement’ and which side of the political process is the ‘correct’ one?  Is every believer to follow William Elder’s definition? What makes his definition and side better than another person’s definition and side?

As an example, what makes the American Republican party  more ‘Christian’ than their Democratic one? Neither follow God, nor have His objective as their goal so which party should the believer join and ‘apply the gospel’ to? Some believers say they join the republican party simply because it espouses ideas ‘closest to their own beliefs’ yet God never said to do that so why are they joining a party that does not proclaim God’s ways?

Plus why should ‘only the gospels’ be applied to the political movements? Why not the rest of the scriptures? Elder later says, ‘A Christian citizen is not only a good citizen in that he understands the process and actively participates in it but also in that he participates in it from a particular perspective, a Christina perspective.’ (pg. 123).

So Eder then considers a Christian a bad citizen if they elect not to participate in the political process even though they have a different calling or do not want to be involved in forcing their views on the unchurched world. Which is the impression I get from his words and which has been the objective of the Christian world the past 2 ½ decades.

Christ told us that His followers are to be the light to the world, but he did not say to revoke people’s freedom of choice and implement His ways forcefully upon others. Elder seems to think that spreading the gospel means to enact laws that force those who have not chosen to follow Jesus to follow His ways and that is quite contrary to what the Bible teaches.

In his approach to ethics and politics he seems to ignore the command of God to not be ‘equally yoked with unbelievers’ and other passages which state that believers are to follow God not the world nor join with the world.  His ethical approach seems to over-rule what God has said because his bias is for political action not God’s actions.

On page 131 Elder goes on to state ‘Christian citizenship fosters fundamental values…’ but he forgets that Christians do not need laws or political action to foster such behavior, they just need the Holy Spirit.  His desire to win the world for Christ via political action is very misguided and he applies Christian ethical teachings wrongly to convince people to follow his personal agenda not God’s.

This does not mean that Christians cannot be involved in politics, but they must do so in accordance to God’s word and commands.  Thus the Christian should not align themselves with any secular party but either be independent or form their own so the unsaved world will see God in action and that the Christian stands by what they say they believe and do not compromise Christianity or God.

4. “The problem for modern Christians, though, is what to do about peace now.” (Sisk pg. 203)

This chapter focuses on war, peace and the Christian perspective and one of the most misunderstood terms is the word ‘peace’.  We hear  daily about seeking world peace, or pray for world peace yet God never promised that there would be such a thing.  It seems that too many people confuse the term define it to mean that there will be no more wars.  That happens later not now for now sin abounds and the desire for power and control of others is still evident in sinful man (and a lot of Christians).

When the angels sang to the shepherds ‘Peace on earth…’ they were NOT saying that there would be no more wars but that the people need to stop worrying, salvation has come.  Jesus himself said, that ‘that He came to bring a sword not peace’ which means that conflict between people will continue because they will hold to different beliefs.

So the believer cannot expect all wars to cease or that world peace will be a reality, they need to focus on the inner peace, the lack of worrying, the lack of stress and so on, that ‘passeth all understanding’. God’s peace is to the human in spite of the violence and the fighting that is taking place at this time.

Sisk, goes on to discuss Holy Wars and pacifism and for the former we see that the crusades put an end to the fantasy that there can be such a thing as a holy war. The problem with Sisk’s discussion is that he offers no direction nor instruction on how the believer should act ethically as he ignores Jesus’ words, ‘if my people were called to fight…’ Jesus and the Bible do not teach that believers are to conduct physical wars against unbelievers or those of other beliefs.

Why Sisk does not include this in His discussion we do not know and later says ‘Jesus suggested a strategy…’ So according to Sisk, Jesus teachings are suggestions not commands or instructions for the believer to follow. Sisk goes on to talk about the ‘just war’ philosophy but again falls short when he does not refute it properly for there can be no such thing as a just war for in any conflict innocent people are slaughtered and that is just not just nor God’s way.

He seems to leave out or not know about the scriptures where God and Jesus teach that they will protect their people, and blessed is the town or nation that has God as its walls. Believers do not need to worry about war or peace because they have God on their side.

Sisk discusses several different issues, and one is the ‘call of the Christian’ which he discusses how some people think being pacifists in this violent world is unrealistic, yet such people forget that Jesus never fought anyone, never defended himself using armies and healed a man’s ear when one of His disciples cut it off, rebuking the disciple. Christians are to be Christ-like which means they can be pacifists if they want.

Does this mean that believers cannot be soldiers? No. For the military needs the light shone upon them as well and Christ never rebuked a soldier nor taught that believers could not be part of the military. Yet if the Christian does enter the armed forces they must stand up and use God’s ways not secular ones.

In the military it is taught that the only person a soldier has to rely on is his buddy but for the Christian we know this is not true, we are to rely on God for buddies will fail, they will run, they will be killed thus the soldier following the secular way is often left alone and not taught to rely on the one who does not fail, run or be killed.

What I found in Sisk’s chapter is no ethical teaching just a paper on the conflicting viewpoints involved in this issue.  Involvement in the armed forces is not a choice left up to personal interpretation (that is subjective and not the truth) but one that needs to be left up to the call of God. The ethics involved are all found in the teachings in both the Old and New Testament where the Christian soldier obeys God first, and sets the example for the others.

The light needs to shine in all areas of life not the favored or accepted select few.

5. “These are serious questions of ethics and Christian faith…other ethical questions are related to Christian life style…Some choices for Christians have corporate or social implications…In this chapter we will consider how ethicists have approached decision making.” (Saul, pg. 79)

Here we have a chapter that is designed to address the believer’s ability to make decisions concerning different issues. I left out the questions from the quote that the author asked in his opening statement merely because they were too many and we all know what dilemmas Christians face.

In this chapter the author presents that Christians have leeway or grey areas in which to apply their own ideas when making decisions, for he says on pg. 81, ‘For many, the Bible is the source…’ is he saying that the Bible is not the source for all ethical situations or that some ignore what the Bible says about what to do in all situations?

Either way, the author is out on the proverbial limb for if the Bible does not address all situations then it cannot be the Bible nor the world of God and if the latter is so then he is allowing for believers to go their own way, a direct violation of God’s word. What is disturbing is what the author writes further down the page:

“ All that is to say that even the clearest commands of God have to be interpreted and applied.” It is disturbing because he is allowing for subjectivism, opinion and existentialism a footing in dealing with the word of God making it a book of commands subservient to human decision making and thought and that is just not right.

If we need to ‘interpret’ the clearest commands, why follow the Bible at all? It provides no answers and its words are subject to the fallible and corrupt thinking of humans who have their own bias and preferred ways of doing things. We see this each day in reaction to even the slightest of court decisions which goes against what the people want to see take place.

Dr. Saul is not advocating any ethical standard or behavior here with these words but more of an anarchic approach to the Bible and its commands. ‘What its teachings say to you doesn’t say that to me so I am free to act as I please’, is the mentality that comes from this way of thinking, which means people are free to choose their own set of ethics regardless of the ramifications it has for others and God’s word.

On page 82, Dr. Saul talks about the ‘principles of decision making’ and all he is talking about are just doing what is right but has it wrapped in an intellectual wrapper to make it sound good. He calls it ‘different methodologies for Christian decision making’ but all he is doing is just rewriting different parts of the Bible to fit his ideology, which, as we see on pg. 96, is quite limited.

He says that ‘to follow Christ is to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and visit those in prison.’ Yet that is not all to the Christian life or in following Christ. Why does he limit it so? He does not explain.  It seems this author’s perspective on ethics is far from Biblical grounds as he leaves out the working of the Holy spirit in the lives of believers. On pages 90-1 we read: ‘The moral self is shaped ethically within the Christian context…One cannot, however, isolate an individual from the community or society of which he or she is apart…because character is shaped by a community, the church must seek to be a community of faith and integrity…’

But we must be able to separate the lone Christian from the group for if we don’t then we are saying that those who do wrong within the church are tainting those who do right and that would be guilt by association, not because they did wrong. Such assumptions would be wrong and would be condemning innocent people merely for the fact that the Bible is true when it says the church is full of wheat and tares.

Dr. Saul also ignores the Holy Spirit in his last line when he says ‘character is shaped by the community’ how would the regular churchgoer know what is right or wrong behavior if most of the or all of the church is doing things wrong and saying it is right?  They would not be able to without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So Dr. Saul has glaring errors in his position on decision making, character, and ethics.

For the believer, they need to remember that there is no grey area with God. There are no situational ethics with Him either, the Bible provides no escape clauses to allow the believer to interpret His commands in the way they want them to be, the believer needs to be honest when looking at God’s word.

6. “Sometimes multiethnic churches ignore or overlook the principle of cultural appreciation.  This cultural chauvinism carried to its logical extreme can result in cultural genocide of minorities. Churches that ‘treat everybody alike’ more than likely reflect cultural insensitivity rather than fairness when they fail to demonstrate multiethnic cultural appreciation.” (Smith pg. 153-4)

This idea of ethnic ethics seems to have its foundation in culturalism, where the culture of a given people influences what scripture says and how it should be applied to different people. But again, we need to find out whose definition will be used to determine what is or isn’t culturally sensitive.

Also we need to see that not all cultural practices are scriptural and learn that culture does not dictate to scripture but that scripture dictates to culture.  If we believe that the Bible is the word of God and it reveals to us how we are to live then we cannot turn around and say such words do not apply because the culture of that time is different than the culture of this time or that the culture of an African nation is different than that of a western nation.

It is NOT culturally insensitive to preach the word of God as it is for the Bible is the ideal standard, the words of the Supreme for all to listen to, follow and find salvation thru. One cannot do that if they demean the Bible and make it subject to the different cultures of the world or eras. In reading this chapter, it seems that the author ignores God’s leadership in order to be more politically correct and appeasing to the world’s thinking.

The above quote is leaning in that direction and support for this can be found on page 152, ‘Inclusions of minorities in leadership is a characteristic of healthy multi-ethnicity. Leadership exclusion is racist and pathologic.”  Strong words of hatred for those who do not include minorities in their leadership because they are obeying God’s direction.

The author ignores many issues in this chapter as we read further down the page, ‘if a church cannot, under any circumstances, conceivably call a pastor who is not of the same ethnic identity as the majority of its members, it is a victim of institutional racism through perversion of theology, anthropology and ecclesiology.’ The author forgets that God is involved in the calling of the church leader and to hold to such a view would be to call God a racist and a sinner.

Also, such people who hold to such strict political correct generalizations forget that the church is allowed preference for whom they would like to lead them. Plus ethnic backgrounds cannot be the only criteria used to call a minister of God to a church.  There are other qualifications in play here which help determine who gets the position and the church should not be held captive, blackmailed nor extorted to hire someone simply because they have a different color of skin or a different cultural heritage That would be reverse racism.

Which brings me to an early comment made by the author on page 150. It reads, ‘For centuries, American culture baptized the church in racism.’ He knows this how? Did he visit each and every church throughout the centuries to see if this was true? Such generalizations undermine any ethical point he is trying to make for the author forgets that people have free choice and the culturally different person may have turned down a call to a church that is culturally different than himself.

To place the blame upon the church alone is wrong and shows that the author doesn’t follow his own thinking when it comes to ethical behavior or a healthy ministry.  His mistake is to accept the secular world’s idea that there are four different races on earth. There isn’t, there is only one.  Race was a teaching from Darwin as he sought to explain the differences between humans and the author accepts this without even consulting the Bible which states that ‘all men descended from Adam’

If Dr. Smith wants to declare racism is a factor in the church, then he needs to remove himself from teaching Christian ethics for racism is not a charge that can be used in the church, for we are all of one race.  He says on page 151 that ‘overcoming racism requires several steps’ and he goes on to explain those steps but the problem is, there is no such thing as different races and racism thus what needs to be overcome is the acceptance of worldly teaching and have it replaced with the truth.

The church has to be the leader in the truth not following the world’s ideas, they are to be the light of the world with God’s ways not promoting secular teachings which divide and confuse people. So the church is facing nationalism or cultural practices and yes, as the book Peace Child showed us, we need to adapt certain ideas to the culture we are trying to reach so that they grasp what the message of the Bible is BUT we do NOT change the message to fit the culture.

In other words, we do not follow the thinking, ‘the culture of that time’ because then we have demoted the Bible to being subject to the different cultures over the ages and millennia and have its message changing simply because cultures changed.  That would be wrong and it says that God and His word is not superior nor the standard and that any human can determine what it says based upon fallible, sinful practices.

Such thinking is not ethical not just, let alone fair, for which culture had it right? If no culture had or has it right then how do we determine what God is saying to us? What are we to follow for the message changes with every secular change of culture? What I see in Dr. Smith’s chapter is that the church and pastors must meet man’s requirements to be ethical and that would be wrong. The church and leadership are to meet God’s standards to be ethical, fair and just or there is no sense in having the Bible used in church. The Bible does not follow the secular cultural changes in the world (and throughout history) or there is nothing to be saved from, we would not need a savior for there is no new way to change to because it will change depending upon the whims of those humans who do not want to follow its message.

So Dr. Smith’s politically Correct/race based ethics just does not fit and is steeped in secular idealism or thinking and not God’s.

Conclusion:

These are but a few examples to illustrate the point I made in the introduction.  The ethics discussed throughout this book is not a Christian ethical system but one that is derived from accepting secular teachings and ideas. The authors of the chapters are trying to fit the Bible into a secular model, mold or concept and that is not only backwards, it is wrong.

I do not believe in a ‘Christian ethic’ for I feel that it takes away from Biblical teaching and simple obedience to God and His commands, instructions and teachings, done through His Old Testament Biblical authors and Jesus and His disciples.  We are not called to create an ‘ethic’ but to obey, though many of the authors quote scripture and invoke some form of obedience, they also misapply them to fit their bias, their beliefs and theories. Instead of getting solid Christian teachings, we get human ideas with quasi-support from scriptures, based upon human interpretation.

I can say this because too often God and the Holy Spirit were not even mentioned as being part of the process of ‘Christian Ethic’, everything was manmade ignoring what The Bible taught and replaced it with secular ideas.

A Christian ethic should be humble obedience not a model or theory and it needs to be applied at all times to all people no matter how vile their crime or how offensive their character.  It is not something that is pulled off the shelf or manipulated to fit the horrendous acts we encounter and there are no grey areas, for God did not institute any grey areas.

We know this by His acting in the Old Testament by His handling of those who sinned and disobeyed and we see this in the New Testament, not only buy the book of Revelation but by the teachings of the disciples and Jesus Himself. We do not need a ‘multi-ethnical’ ethic to tell us how to treat people from another nation. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us and we need to put the Bible’s teachings into our lives as instructed by such passages as Galatians 5:22ff and Phil. 4:8 (and others).

When we are faced with difficult situations, like the ones expressed via questions on page 79 we do not need to fret for we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to guide us to do what is right in God’s eyes. We do not need a ‘Christian ethic’ to do that for us, for it has all been laid out for us in the Bible.

They may not be word specific but they are applicable to all situations when one is in doubt.  Verses like, ‘Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you’ or ‘Do not return evil for evil’ or Do good to those who do evil’ cover many, many situations that do find a word specific in other passages and with God’s help the believer will know what they are to do.

When it comes to sexual relations, we know that the Bible forbids pre-marital sex thus when faced with the situation, we do not need a ‘Christian ethic’ to fall back on but courage to simply obey God’s word and reject the opportunity to sin.

Or when it comes to economics, we have the passages of scripture which instruct us to be ‘good stewards’ thus we must weigh the situation and with God’s help determine if it is a wise move to make or if such an adventure or purchase will send the wrong message to the unchurched world.

We do not need to define what a Christian ethic is for then we are faced with the problem of whose definition should we accept as the standard and the moment we accept a human definition over God’s word, we have sinned and made that ethic unusable in the church for it will trump what God has said in the Bible, especially about following and obeying Him.

Then the believer is no longer following God but their own ideas or the ideas of some other fallible human and that is not what God said to do. To be ethical, the believer has to follow God first and His instructions are found in the Bible not in some model, theory or ethical list.

Yes there are difficult decisions to make, especially in the areas of those who are dying as it is hard to see a loved one suffer but one must be consistent and remain with God and let Him retain control over people’s lives. The command, ‘thou shalt not kill’ is a good starting point to learn how God wants one to act and one should not be caught up in semantics over the meaning of the word ‘kill’, we cannot use scripture to justify disobedience to God.

The same for the issue of life, birth and abortion as ‘thou shalt not kill’ applies there as well along with the compromised position of ‘it is okay for abortion in the case of rape or incest…’ The Old Testament tells us that children should not be punished for the sins of their parents, and to allow abortion in the cases of rape or incest is punishing the child for something they did not do nor had any control over.

Ethically, Christians have to stand with God and find scriptural alternatives to the ‘accepted’ ethical standard so that God can be obeyed and glorified and so the believer does not sin. In closing I cannot agree with the Christian ethical position discussed in the book, in full and it would be a stretch even to do so in part. For if it eliminates or omits God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit then it is not of God and one would be following the wrong path.

It is best to simply read the Bible, learn correctly what God means and then have the Holy Spirit implement what God wants in one’s character and practice for we are part of God’s kingdom not the world’s and it is God we please not the world. So our ‘Christian ethic’ must be constructed by God, and that has been done already for we find it in the books of the Bible.

Textual Criticism: Defense of My Position

Introduction

In my undergraduate days I was exposed to textual criticism on a very superficial level.  We may have been given one or two lessons on the topic and it has been through the years since then that I have had more dealings with the topic.  Suffice it to say that more through experience, the reading of the Bible and the reading of other works has helped me develop my position on how to deal with the ancient Biblical manuscripts (mss.).

This paper, or essay, is a presentation of what I have come to believe but I will present and defend it through questioning and examining what has been said in the book, A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible by Paul D. Wegner. This format makes it easier to talk about different aspects of this topic and my position as it provides the information I need to start presenting my views.

There will be no pre-set order which I will follow in presenting my defense as the issues involved in this subject are not chronological but permeate the whole field of study at the same time. Since this is an essay of my position, and not a research paper on the topic itself, quotes and references will be minimal. 

In order to set the tone of this paper, I will make the statement that I believe in finding the truth and my position is what I have come to believe is the truth.  I rely on God’s word which tells us He wrote the Bible through human authors thus there is a ‘source’ the biblical authors used it just wasn’t human.

Also I believe that God keeps His word and when he says he will preserve it to the end then we can have confidence we have the correct words. In regards to adding and subtracting words from the Bible, it is done by those who do not believe and want their own way, while those who do want to believe, God has used over the centuries to preserve His word so that all people

I. Original Manuscripts

It is often stated that we do not have the original autographs or if you prefer, books or letters, of the Bible. Bart Ehrman made this one of the reasons why he lost his faith {Ehrman 2005:14ff} and Dr. Wegner’s book makes the same claim on pg. 29 when he says, “Since no autographs are available today of either the Old or New Testaments…”

I contest this idea simply because if God used and trusted humans enough to write the originals, He would be able to use and trust copyists to maintain His word.  After all, it is His promise on the line, why would He take the time to have His words written, only to allow them to be altered as time went on?

What this position tells me is that people do not trust God to keep His word, nor do they trust they Holy Spirit lead them to the truth.  It tells me that something was impossible for God to do or that He is incapable of protecting His own words, which in turn tells me that one cannot rely on God for there is something stronger than Him—a copyist.

God does not play games, He is fair and just which means that He would have His exact words available for all people of all generations, even though some people would not hear the gospel, but that is another story for another time.

We must have the original words available to us right now and throughout history, if not, then how could we have hope that what we read is telling us the truth?  This emphasis on the original autographs is taking people’s eyes of God and His word and as we see by Dr. Ehrman’s example, when that happens Satan wins.

By thinking that we do not have the original words, we are allowing doubt to enter into the believer’s lives and we open the door for evil to work its destructive manipulations and draw believers away from God.

We have seen from example to example, the silver amulets, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and many other mss. that God’s Word has not changed from the very beginning and if we see that these words, or their message, have not changed then we must conclude that we have at least one original autograph per book in our possession.

How can we trust the Bible if we think otherwise?

II. The Purpose of Textual criticism

The textbook for this course tells us on pg. 24 that ‘textual criticism attempts to establish the most reliable reading of the text.’ There are two problems with this idea, if one believes we do not have the original autographs. 

1. How will the scholars know if they got it right if they do not have the original words to compare with their work?

This is actually a huge problem for it means that what we are reading in the Bible are not God’s words but some human scholar’s best guess.  This attitude undermines the credibility of the message then, for how would the common person realize that they may be reading someone’s ideas and not God’s word? They would be following some human’s ideas not God’s revelation.

This already happens today and has happened in the past with cultic re-translations and other alterations yet life gets darker if the one true Bible has its lights put out because no one can trust it is carrying the truth.

2. Subjectivism and culturalism.  By not standing up and saying that we have the original words of God, and they are found here, we have opened the door for a scholar or ancient language expert to translate the Bible any way they see fit.  The can put their own ‘spin’ on the controversial passages, changing the message to accommodate those who do not want to comply with God’s standard.

We see this taking place not only in the paraphrase called ‘The Message’ and the Greek woman scholar’s version {the name of both escape me and cannot be found on a search} but also in the recent update of the NIV.  The last one is changing all male references to multi-gender references while the former two are basically re-writing passages o fit the translator’s sensibilities and beliefs.

Because of this idea that we need to ‘get the most reliable’ reading how can we say the imposter’s are wrong? Are they not trying to get the most ‘reliable reading’ as well? What makes their work and knowledge inferior to the rest? They are changing the Word of God but how would we know, we ‘claim’ we do not have the original words and we cannot pull them out to show everyone where these other works go wrong.

Then with the surge of culturalism in the world today coupled with the mentality of ‘that was the culture of that time..’ how can we be sure we have God’s word because culture is dictating that we change the words of God to meet its standard. It is taking place today, so unless we acknowledge that we have the actual word of God, and abide by them, our receiving God’s revelation and instructions grows dimmer with each new translation or altered version.

I do not believe that we can stop at ‘the reliable reading’ stage for the dangers are too many in number which seek to undermine the purpose of the Bible and destroy its impact.

III. The Science

Also on page 24, Dr. Wegner describes what textual criticism is. He calls it a science and an art. He claims it is a science because the field follows specific rules but acknowledges that that system is too limited in scope for he adds later, ‘…but it is also an art because these rules cannot rigidly be applied in every situation.’

There are many questions that go unanswered if this field is as Dr. Wegner says, a science.  Who set the rules? Why are they the ones who get to set the rules?  What makes them better than someone else? How does fallible man think they can govern what is infallible and dictate what it says? How do they distinguish between heretical works and true Christian ones?

We know that many who claim to be Christian, yet are cultic, make their own translations of the Bible which distort and change what God has said, How do these scholars determine which ones are heretical and which ones are not? Then will they discard the heretical to keep the true Words of God?

The answer to that last question is ‘apparently not’ as Dr. Wegner says on page 249:

“The fact that Marcion was considered a heretic does not come into play since his heresies related to concepts not associated directly with this passage.”

So, despite the fact that a heretic’s beliefs will spoil and influence all that they write, it doesn’t matter because they don’t address all passages of scripture. That is just wrong. One does not include the writings of heretics in textual studies for their works are not of God and do not influence what God has written, they have changed God’s word to fit their own ideas, as Kenneth Scott Latourette wrote:

“Marcion, as we have noted, seems to have been the first to assemble some of the Christian writings into a well-defined collection. This, as we have seen, included The Gospel according to Luke, and some of the letters of Paul, edited to make them conform to Marcion’s convictions.” {Latourette 2003:133 (bold mine)}

So it is impossible to use such works to determine what God did nor did not say for one would not know if they were looking at God’s word altered or unaltered. Science is not equipped to deal with such problems for they do not have the criteria structure that allows them to determine right from wrong passages to use. They would use them all simply because the data included, in their minds, provides clues on how to the ancient wrote their languages.

As for being ‘art’, the idea that ‘intuition’, ‘informed judgment’ can be used to determine God’s words is sketchy at best, as such faculties are too easily manipulated by one’s beliefs or lack of them. They are also influenced by the cultural norms that are accepted by the translators. We would do better if we placed options for a meaning of a word or phrase on a dart board and picked the ‘correct’ one by tossing darts via ‘intuition’ or ‘informed judgment’ (the dart thrower was an expert thrower).

In other words, too much is left to guess work and chance in spite of the abundance of evidence that ‘is more than any previous generation had.’ I doubt that the author really knows how much evidence each generation had or if we have the most. It is a little impossible to prove for the late 1st and 2nd centuries most surely had the original works for the New Testament and having the originals trumps all copies no matter their number.

Such claims are rather presumptuous and ignore God’s promise of preserving His word. If modern day textual critics are using both true and heretical works scientifically are they not undermining themselves by resorting to the best guess when science fails? How can one rely on a translation that claims to use the best scientific methods until the problem becomes too difficult for science to solve?

The credibility of the science and its method falls as one questions the validity of the other passages and wonders if science actually got them right. The strength of textual criticism being a ‘science;’ is outweighed and over-ruled by its weaknesses and limitations.

IV. Fluidity and Modifications

Dr. Wegner makes two statements about the changing of the Bible which make little sense and shows the minutia that occupies the time of textual critics while adding little to their argument that the Bible does not contain the original Words of God.. The first is found on page 34:

“It appears that the Old Testament was somewhat fluid (or subject to change) until about the first century A.D., as seen in the increasing number of matre lectionis added by scribes…”

This implies that the Old Testament message and accounts were altered to fit a certain ideology or religious agenda but what really took place was the addition of letters to make the text easier to understand. This is not fluidity, this is just doing what the modern translators have doing when they adapt the English bible from the King James English to the more modern version.

All that is being done by scribes is the adding of vowels (marte lectionis) to the Hebrew language for clarity sake and so the common man could comprehend God’s law better.  It is highly unlikely that Dr. Wegner would say there was ‘fluidity’ in the English translation because succeeding generations sought to make the Bible more readable for all by updating the language.

He complains, on the same page, that ‘any amount of fluidity makes the text critic’s task more difficult since there are more options to choose from (i.e. it is hard to determine the earliest form of a text if it continued to change)’.

Yet the text did not change, the presentation changed but the words and the message did not. Even if it did, he and other textual critics would not know what the earlier form was for, again, they do not have the ‘originals’ to compare the different texts throughout  history to see where ancient textual critics went wrong.

Tome this is an exercise in futility as the modern textual critic is inventing problems to justify their time spent on examining the ancient works. This is exampled by his words on page 35, ‘ But the problem of a unified text is that earlier and possibly even more accurate variations may have been removed by those who determined which text to retain.’

He is also asserting that the scribes and copyists were free to exercise their own judgment on what God was saying, as if they had the authority to do so. This is assuming a lot and as indicated by the words ‘may have been removed’ a charge that is impossible to prove. We cannot go on assumptions and false charges for then we would be forever spinning our wheels and never find out what God ‘really said’.

I also used the word ‘modification’ in the title of this subsection as Dr. Wegner makes a point of asserting another charge he cannot substantiate on page 37;

“A biblical book may have gone through some modification on its way to its final for, authoritative form, and there may be times when we can identify these changes.’

What he is saying here is that 1. God could not get it right the first time and that re-writes were needed; 2. That the original form that God gave was not the final nor was it authoritative thus the people of Israel were robbed of God’s word from the beginning; 3. He is saying that we may not have God’s word after all because God made mistakes nor could He control His authors.

He uses the example of the town name of ‘Dan’ to make his point. But that is not a modification, but an updating.  People would not remember that ‘Dan’ was originally ‘Lacish’ for as time goes on, the original name slips off into obscurity and all would know the town mentioned.

As an example, my undergrad alma mater was located in the city of Regina, Sk. But very few people knew its original name, Pile of Bones, and to continual to refer to its original moniker in modern day documents would be ridiculous as confusion would set in as to the identity of the city being mentioned. The same for ‘Dan’, God allowed the change to avoid confusion and He is not the author of confusion.

So this name change is not a modification nor is the original form non-authoritative, it is just an update for comprehension. One reason I like my form of textual criticism for with the Holy Spirit one gets the truth 100% of the time whereas Dr. Wegner undermines his science and shows its failures by stating the following:

“The final form of the text that later became canonical may not be obtainable in every case, nevertheless it is a plausible goal in the vast majority of the cases…”(pg.37)

If the ‘final form’ is not obtainable then why use the field? We cannot present a Bible to the people and say, well 90% of it is God’s word and 10% is not. Who wants only 90% of God’s word, the Bible has to be 1005 of God’s words or it is not the Bible. The Jehovah Witnesses have approx. 80-90 % of God’s word yet we reject that as cultic, so why would we accept a Christian version that claims to be non-cultic yet contains the same amount of fallible, subjective human input?

It does not make sense to do so nor does it make sense to produce such an inferior product. We would never know who changed what words and we could never have confidence in what the Bible was saying for the Bible would be placed under a cloud of suspicion and could not be trusted.

V. Elitism

Many charges are leveled at the Bible and Dr. Wegner mentions some of them. I will refer to three in my defense of my stated position. The first is found on page 38:

‘Bart Ehrman takes a somewhat different direction and suggests that when an early scribe changed a text to provide a more orthodox theological viewpoint, he may have then created a new original text.

This charge is like all the rest in that it is not provable but it says more as it assumes that the scribe or copyist had the authority to make any changes and that they did not care about the warnings God made when He stated a person would be in trouble if they added or subtracted from the words of the Bible.

It also suggests that the church people were naïve and unaware that someone was changing scripture and did nothing about it.  Statements like the one quoted, shows how little the modern scholar thinks of his ancient or medieval counterparts. If they lay these kinds of charges against their forerunners, then why can’t we lay the same charges against them and discredit all their work?

What gives them the right or qualifies them to stand in judgment of those who dealt with the Bible before them? This is one of the major problems in the field of modern textual criticism, their elitism.  They do not have all the facts about the past, so they make something and make claims about how only they in the modern world is capable of determining what the words of God really are.

The Roman Catholic Church, did something similar when they made it clear that only priests and higher officials could understand the Bible and the common folk had to listen to their words for they were not qualified to determine what God was saying. He only spoke through the priests, bishops and so on.

The second charge that will be looked at moves along the same lines and is found on page 44:

“In a similar way, the text of the Bible has undergone centuries of hand copying by scribes who were prone to human error.”

And the modern scholar is not? This elitist attitude now assumes that the ancient and medieval worlds were completely inept and could not figure out how to put oversight protocols in place to catch any ‘mistakes’ made.  The infer that the person doing the copying simply decided one day to copy the Bible for the fun of it and picked up feather or other writing utensils and started copying. The insult to the people of the past is very clear and demonstrates that the modern scholar thinks they can read long dead minds over thousands of years.

They do not know what took place in the past, they do not know if protocols were implemented or not, they do not know if they followed God or not in their endeavors. They assume because they think there are errors, even though they do not have the original writings to confirm their assumptions.

On page 51 we find the third charge leveled at the ancient copyist:

“In their zealousness to preserve scripture, scribes had a tendency to include everything in the text…rather than to omit anything…”

If the scribes were Christian, why would they ignore God’s warnings and add in words that He did not put in the text? They would be placing their eternity at risk by doing so thus this charge just doesn’t holdup as it assumes that the scribe was a fearful person and could not do their jobs properly. This also assumes that the ancient employer of scribes was unable to provide direction and aid to his employee copyists.

The arrogance of the modern scholar creates these false scenarios based upon no fact or evidence for whatever reason they have in mind. Maybe to make themselves look better but who knows, as we see this attitude in the Dead Sea Scroll controversy of a few years ago (scholars did not share their portions with others or let them get copies until they published themselves. Some died before publishing anything and their successors were no better).

This elitism in the modern field impairs their work and perception of their ancient counterparts and shows an ignorance of God’s creative work, for the ancients were no different than their modern counterparts, they have the same type of brain, the same desires, the same goals thus it is safe to conclude that their work was as careful as those who do the same job today.

What else these three charges say is that God was incapable of keeping His promise of preserving His word and that it is up to the modern scholar to do it for Him. Yet, again we return to the same old problem that comes with the purpose of textual criticism. How can they reconstruct the original text when they claim they do not know what they said and have no way of proving they were successful?

If God was incapable then how will these men succeed? These questions are supported by Dr. Wegner’s own words when on page 61 he says:

“Since there is so little evidence concerning this early period, (pre-400 B.C.), we are left with several significant questions. First, in what language(s) were the earliest biblical manuscripts written?...Our final question, Who maintained these biblical texts in this early period”

If the modern textual scholar does not know which language the Bible was originally written in then how can they even consider reconstructing the original text or get a reasonable reading? They would not know if the translated the words correctly or came close to what the originals actually said.

Then is it really important as to who maintained them? Will the modern scholar change the texts we have now simply because they disproved of God’s choice of caretaker? The questions can go on for we do not know all the details of the past and we never will. They are lost to time forever and we will always have a partial picture which makes this field of textual criticism more of a waste of time than a help.

Conclusion

So it seems that the textual critics are pursuing an unreachable goal and one they can never verify. I will place just one more example here, any more and they will become redundant, as it exemplifies the reasons why I reject textual criticism in its present form. On page 140 Dr. Wegner has the following to say:

“…the better we know the sources, the better we will understand their purpose, possible corruptions, relationship to one another and value for Old Testament textual criticism. Waltke states correctly: “No one source perfectly preserves the original text of the Old Testament and in case of disagreement the critic must decide on the original reading in light of all the sources and his knowledge about them.”’

I am going to go through this quote piece by piece, with some pieces larger than others, before spending time on what I believe the believer should be doing when it comes to God’s word.

First, the better we know the sources, the better we will understand their purpose: Here the believer simply needs to know God’s word best, by doing so we know the purpose of those altered texts and sources, to deceive and lead people away from the truth. Too often, altered mss. or ‘corrupted’ material have their source in those who do not believe and their authors will not take care in how they cop the Bible for their intent is not to spread the truth but their own ideas and philosophies.

We have to know what God’s word is saying before we can see the errors and the purpose in the other works for if we do not, then how will we be able to identify which is truth and which is the error? It is quite possible to include corrupted, untruthful material when one does not know the word of God, they will not know what to look for and will remove the wrong material by mistake.

Second, No one source perfectly preserves the original text of the Old Testament. Yet how does he know this? If it is referring to fragmentary material, then he would be correct but the textbook kept on praising the accuracy of the MT editions and their copyists skillful work.

It is clear that Waltke does not believe that God will keep His promise and thinks that it is the job of man to find what is ‘missing’ from the texts we do have. Without the ‘originals’ one cannot say if they have the complete text or not, for as I said earlier, they have nothing to with which to double check their work. Nor do they have the ‘originals’ which would allow them to make that statement, and see what is actually missing.

Third, in case of disagreement the critic must decide on the original reading in light of all the sources and his knowledge about them. This is the clincher for it states that it is up to the human to decide what God has said not God. If we do not have the originals, if we do not know what the originals actually said, then there is no way that the textual critic can decide what is the original text.

How can he, for he may be making an error in judgment or another textual critic would disagree with his choice and publish his own decision, placing the people who read their work on the path to confusion. This subjectivity allows for too much doubt to enter in a believer’s mind, opening the door for evil to do its destructive work.

It also places God’s word in the hands of a few, something God did not intend to do. For if the people do not get to know God’s word but are only allowed to hear the scholar’s version, then how will they know if the scholar is a true or false teacher. The ramifications of the idea that only the critic gets to decide are immense and too dangerous.

There are no checks and balances in place which over-rule the scholar save for the their own rules of conduct but those are written by fallible man as well and are not perfect thus we have danger in every aspect of this field and nothing in place to safeguard the Word of God. The people are at the mercy of the critic and that is just not right.

The very assumption that initiates their work is enough to tell someone that they are not headed in the right direction. That assumption, ‘we do not have the words of God and we must search for them…’ is not a very peaceful proclamation especially in light of the fact that the Bible promises us, ‘the peace that passes all understanding…’

We can’t have peace if we are questioning the very words granting us that relief. We wouldn’t even know if those words were actually originally God’s, given the premise behind the assumption. But what are we to do? What follows is what I believe God wants me to say and follow when it comes to knowing His words

1. We Must Have Faith:

First, we need to have faith that God has kept His word and provided us with at least one source that contains His complete word. If we do not then we might as well give up right now. In evangelism or apologetics work, if we are questioned if we think we have all of God’s word and we say no, then we have lost.

For what have we to offer the unbeliever if we do not present all of God’s word? Nothing, because they, and we, will never know which passages are God’s original word and which aren’t. They all will be called into question coupled with the charge how do you know this is God’s word and this isn’t? Our answers drive the unbeliever away because why should they believe if we do not.

Second, we need faith to please God, which means that we have faith that God has kept His word and that we have all of the original passages with none missing. How cruel would that be if God gives the promise that His word will endure forever then provides us with copies that do not contain His original message and revelations?

How could we get to know God, we would not, could not, be sure if what He tells us about Himself is actually true, nor could we defend Genesis 1 against the opposition created by the evolutionists or other origin alternative theories.

Thus by saying that we do not have the original words, we are crippling ourselves and defeating our purpose for believing in Jesus. 

Does this mean that we do not need to learn the ancient languages or study the past? NO, for not only do we need to know what is the truth so we can pass it on tour children and students, we also need to have the unbelieving world realize that we know the truth and are on watch for their distortions, alterations and lies.

If we cannot defend against the attacks of the devil, and spot error, then what good is believing the Bible? We will lose that belief once a more knowledgeable secular person comes along who has studied the ancient languages and starts changing the translation of God’s word to what they want it to be.

We are not excused from learning, we just have to do it God’s way so that we can withstand the attacks and survive without being led astray.

2. The Holy Spirit:

In reading this textbook, it was amazing to see how the author ignored or omitted the working of the Holy Spirit. As I quoted earlier, he places the burden of deciding what is or isn’t God’s word upon the fallible and sinful human critic and did not point to the Holy Spirit or His/Its(?) job to lead us to the truth.

Everything was to be done the scientific way, via humanistic rules which do not even obtain for us , according to them, all the words of God and the critic, then, must decide what is the original text. I am not a believer in science, it is a too limited field which depends upon too limited and fragmentary data and bases its conclusions upon assumption not fact or truth.

Textual Criticism has a problem, it lets the human be in charge of what he is not supposed to have authority over-God’s word. But this is typical of those who believe in science as they look to humans to ferret out the answer and leave God and the Holy Spirit on the sideline, if they acknowledge them at all.

Yet, Jesus never told us to use science, especially if it is governed by the secular world and its ways, He said, ‘However, when the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth.” {John 16:13} Jesus gave us our method, we are to lean upon the Holy Spirit to learn the truth not science.

Being guided by one who knows all the answers, knows where all the information is buried and what is truth and error is far better than being guided by humans who sin, are influenced wrongly and have never seen the original documents (according to them), let alone which text has the truth and which has the errors.

3. The Spiritual View:

This couples with the previous points as we can use ancient languages, we can use science in part but we must use them God’s way with His view not human’s. We have to apply scripture to our work to aid us in determining what is the correct passage and what is the wrong one. As we have seen earlier, people like to edit scriptures to fit their own ideas and that has not stopped with Marcion but has travelled up through the centuries via people like Rev. Moon, Jim Jones, and so many others.

If we practice textual criticism in the secular way then we are just doing the exact same thing as the cultists and putting our own stamp on scripture and making it like we want it to be instead of vice versa. But if we do it from a spiritual view, then our eyes are open and we can see the difference between the truth and the error. We have many scriptures which guide us in our quest to know God’s word:

“ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free.”; “If any man brings a different gospel than the one Jesus and the disciples brought…”; “My words shall not pass away…”

And so many more, which tells us that we do not have to rely on elitists who think they alone get to determine what God has said. It says that we with the Holy Spirit’s help will know the truth and that was addressed to all men, not just the ones who studied theology or ancient languages. But we have to start with faith and rely on the Holy Spirit not the limited vision of men and science.

4. Confidence:

We then can have the confidence that the Bible is the word of God and not only that we can have peace that we have all of His words so that we do not have to keep on searching and wondering if we got it right. We know we have it right and we know we can preach it to the unbeliever and not worry when they question us about those words.

But we have to do it God’s way not man’s and we have to rely on the Biblical verses which give us the clues we need.  It is not hard to see that Marcion was wrong because he changed the Bible to fit his ways in disobedience to God’s command and we then know to dismiss and discard his codex for it does not contain the words of God and they have no bearing on what the true documents tell us.

To end this paper, I need to say that I am not a science person nor am I a supporter of textual criticism done in the manner of secular thinking. I do not believe in those things, I believe in the Trinity and what the Bible tells us. It is after all God’s instructions to His followers and we need to adhere to that, learn all the verses which guide us in knowing what is the right scriptures and which are the wrong ones so that we do not go astray and cripple ourselves.

We cannot preach the Bible if we do not follow it in all fields of study and place it above all such fields. If we demote it then we have nothing to offer the unbeliever and they have no alternative to escape what they do have.

We either have the original words of God or we have nothing and textual criticism practiced Dr. Wegner’s way, tells the world we have nothing and it is up to man to decide and if it is up to man to decide, then why would we need God and the Bible?

In its present form, textual criticism is a waste of time and money for its results are too few to justify the expense of either.  Its lack of confidence, use of the Holy Spirit, its humanistic subjectivity are all dangers which keep leading us away from the truth not towards it and allows for those like Marcion and others to write their own versions and confuse the people.

We need to do what God says, ‘get knowledge, wisdom and understanding’ and apply those to our work with God’s word so that we can find the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit for such are not limited perspectives but enabled by God so we will not cripple ourselves and be defeated by evil.

Creation as Science

I. Introduction:

Notice I did not say Creation Science. The little word ‘as’ is vital to this discussion for I have my problems with both creation science and intelligent design. This paper is about the act of creation as science.

In the modern world today, there is an general acceptance of what science really is. Unfortunately, even Christians accept the general definitions for the field of science, sowing confusion in their ranks. BUT this acceptance is based upon two major assumptions:

A). That the secular world has got the field defined correctly, and

B). That science is actually limited to the secular definitions and practice. In other words, there are no other viable options.

This work will not be used to explore those options rather it will use the current secular principles and rules to show that act of creation can and should be considered science. This will be done step by step going through some of the major principles of the secular field and showing that the act does qualify even under secular definitions. It should be noted that the definitions and principles will be footnoted at the end and are not made up by me and this does not represent an exhaustive study on all points.

II. The Basic Scientific Principles.

Definition: Basis of classical science, as rules of informative activity as the original code of honor of scientists, is reduced to the following basic principles1

1. Principle of evidence - any scientific statement should be proved. Without objective and conclusive proofs any scientific statement is only a speculative guess.2

Let’s look at some of the evidence in favor of creation as science. First, we can turn to all the nurseries of the world and point to the fact that since the beginning of time, life reproduced as designed in Genesis 1, and within the boundaries set by God. Animals, plants and humans all reproduce after their kind, which does not exclude species variation due to genetic function and combinations.

Trying to produce outside of those boundaries has always proven to be a failure3. Other evidence involve the sun and moon and their parts in life which go as set in Gen. 1., and that all the specifics mentioned in the creation chapters exist today. What helps the evidence cause is the lack of viable, realistic, and legitimate alternatives to explain the existence, boundaries, and duties detailed in that first chapter of the Bible.

2. Principle of possible non-authenticity (falsification principle) - any scientific statement can be rejected by contradicting data and facts. In science, as well as in any kind of activity, there is a place for errors and faults. Science in the process of its development rejects its conclusions and deductions, which appeared to be false. The science is constant doubt. Both force of science and its main difference from nonscientific views of cognition are included into this process.4

The act of creation fits this principle as scientists throughout the millennia have proposed alternatives they think better describe origins than the Bible. They also present supposed evidence to support their thinking. The Big Bang and evolutionary theories are but 2 such alternatives.5 Unfortunately for the secularists who propose alternatives, God is perfect and all that He does is perfect and creation may not be a tight fit due to the mistakes clause (though that could have been added to exclude the act of creation from qualifying for scientific status).

3. Principle of logic - any scientific statement should be supplemented with the reasons, how it is carried out. And principles of common sense and logic, and also the fixed laws and legitimacies should not be rejected.6

For the creation act, there is a very good and the best reason for its enactment—God wanted to create the universe, the earth, and all that we see within them. We know by the Bible that God simply spoke and it was thus we know how the creation act was carried out. Since God created everything, including the fixed laws, legitimacies, and the principles of common sense and logic, (though their application and definition may disagree with the secular versions) we know that the creative act meets their requirements.

4. Principle of self-criticism (principle of honesty) - any scientific statement by all means should be accompanied by instructions on its feeble places and restrictions. The true scientist is the first critic of his work. Otherwise it will be done by his opponents.7

Here we find that God meets this criteria in His words uttered after every item that was created by Him: “and saw that it was good…’ and before the sin and corruption that entered into the world at Adam’s sin, it was and today we still see the results of that creative act in geography, reproduction, animal presentation and so on.

5. Principle of reasonable sufficiency ("Occam's Razor") - it is not necessary to increase number of substances (reasons) over already available. It is necessary for all natural phenomena to search for explanations, first of all within the limits of available knowledge and concepts.8

Here we might have a problem in meeting this criteria since the creative act was not a natural phenomenon but here is where the bias of secular science sets in as it purposefully tries to exclude the supernatural from qualifying as science. Yet we can search for explanations to questions: Why are we here? Because God wanted us here. We have our explanation for the creative act and that explanation comes from all available knowledge and concepts.

III. The Scientific Method

1. Observation: It is often claimed that the creative act is not observable but I present that it is, though it may not be through actual viewing of the act, it is still observable in many ways.

First, we have the Biblical record., we can ‘observe’ God acting through each step of the creative acts by the testimony of this ancient document. One that has been proven accurate and truthful via other fields of research

Second, we have the myriad of ancient civilizations creation stories. If creation did not happen, then there would be no need for these stories to exist in one country let alone all of them. It does not matter that some of the details are different than the Biblical record because the main ones match—there was a creation act and for mist there were gods or some supreme being in some form starting the process.9

Third, we see the results of that creative act every day and do not have to wait millions of years to see some change.

2. Questioning: We can question how the universe or the things on earth work but for the creative act, we do not need to waste the time for the answer is already supplied for us10 To be part of the scientific method, one must conjure up an alternative theory and then set about constructing the appropriate questions to ferret out the imaginary answers. We do not need to question the act of speaking for we know how to do that and we can see how it works right in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, we do not have the power God has thus we will not see implementation of our words.

3. Hypothesis: This, along with the previous point, seems to be included merely for the exclusion of the supernatural and to allow justification for wasted effort, money and time in pursuing false alternatives. A scientist has to form a hypothesis, then set about proving it true or false or viable or not. Yet, with the creative act this is already done thus saving time, money, energy for more important projects like providing clean water for the impoverished nations of the world or the development of solar energy as a resource so people can save money and the environment is not destroyed.

4. Testing: This actually can be done to the creative act as boundaries set in Gen. Can be tested to see if they are true or not. The aforementioned and footnoted Hybrid experiments provides the testing to meet this desire. We can also test reproduction by actual participation (humor) We cannot test the actual act for that is outside the scope of science BUT we can test the results and see for ourselves what God has done.

Science cannot go beyond what God has allowed to be done which the alchemy experiments have so faithfully proven true11

5. Explanation:12 We can easily explain the creative act for we have all the results surrounding us each and every day. This explanation may not fit the idea or form of secular science but it is a valid and true explanation which trumps any scientific demand to fit their format.

IV. Failures

For the act of creation the only real failure is that it does not meet the secular scientific model but then any alternative for origins cannot meet the secular model simply because the laws, the details have to come into existence first and bringing something into existence will not follow the rules determined by modern scientists. They will follow the rules of either God or the force providing the alternative, in the case of the evolution, the rules of the Big Bang apply and they do not meet modern scientific criteria, especially those commented upon above.

The act of creation was a one-time supernatural act that will defy secular science simply because secular science has chosen to use their God given right of free choice to design their part of the field of science after a manner that prevents them from finding the truth and has them looking in the wrong direction and the wrong places for any answers, evidence or proof. It also goes beyond the basic assumptions mentioned in the introduction.

V. In Contrast

Due to time restraints I will only look at a few of the points discussed above and add a couple of others to show that by comparison, evolution is not scientific and does not qualify like creation does and it is only accepted because the secular world refuses to accept the Biblical account and want their own version, constructed by them so that they can feel superior to anyone even God.

1. Observation: Evolution fails here because, first, no one has observed the original conditions that sparked the existence of the universe, earth, life or even the process of evolution itself. Nor can they verify those conditions because there are no ancient records describing them and no eye witnesses to analyze them.

Second, no one has observed the original conditions or act that allowed for the actual process of evolution to intersect and intrude on life and start its supposed guidance upon it. There is also no way to verify such interaction for the above mentioned reasons.

Third, No one can prove that the actual process exists or is responsible for what we see in life. It is all assumed, conjectured, speculated and attributed but extrapolation backwards by secular scientists via the prediction method is moot as such do not exclude alternatives from producing the same results. Plus there is no way to verify that the process actually caused those changes as predicted. Predictions are not valid for they are not exclusive, nor take into account other factors.

2. Scientific process doesn't have an end:13 Thus secular science is an act of futility. If we never get the correct answer then why try at all? Without truth, then what are the people to believe? In reality they can believe anything they want and it can be considered scientific under this philosophy and the secular science cannot say nay to it. Simply because they do not have the truth and they cannot conclude that other considerations are not true.

3. There is no such thing as proof in science:14If there are no proofs, then secular science cannot claim to have the correct answer for the world thus it is demoted from being an authority and final determiner to that of someone and something having just another subjective opinion. It abdicates all rights to determine the right or wrongness of all other ideas as alternatives to the secular scientific conclusions to origins. If it cannot prove what it says is true then it is just babbling away and can be safely ignored for it does not have the answers for the world and cannot present anything to say that it does. Secular science loses everything it claims to be and is reduced to nothing as it offers nothing.

But this is an indication that it knows it is wrong and that the creative act as recorded in Genesis is the correct version of events for origins.

VI. Conclusion:

Simply put, the act of creation is far more scientific, even under the secular scientific ‘rules’, and is more valid for the explanation of origins than the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution violates its own rules and that disqualifies it not only as an alternative but as valid or true for the act of Hypocrisy is wrong in both the divine and secular worlds and undermines any claim made.

The act of creation does not violate God’s rules, which are truth & error, right & wrong, nor does it seem to violate the rules or principles of secular science, though the latter has made modifications to exclude the supernatural and that is simply just dishonesty (another trait that disqualifies the secular version of science).

Thus we can conclude form this brief study that the act of creation is the only explanation for origins and all the things we see in the universe today.

Why So Little Truth

I read. I read a lot and through the years one apparent oversight seems has come to the surface, many Christian authors do not tell the truth. Oh they do not lie, they tell what they believe truthfully but they do not get to ‘the truth’

Case in point, there was an article written in the august issue of Joy magazine entitled, The Return of the Judaizers and throughout this piece the author is criticizing those who say believers need to return to the Jewish way of life. In some spots the author may be correct but spends a large portion of the article on the Sabbath.

Now those who advocate a ‘Christian liberty’ often attack the practice of observing the Sabbath and paying their tithes. Observing the latter was reinforced by Jesus who said, ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things of God to God.’ Jesus did not strike down the commandment to give 1/10th back to God and modern believers should tithe.

The attack on the former is supported by ancient documents, ancient events and the practice of the early church. Let me go through some of the comments made by that author to illustrate my point.

1. “Modern Judaizers claim that we are not observing the true Sabbath unless we are observing it on Saturday.”

By my calculations, Genesis 1 states, ‘the evening and morning…’, thus putting the Sabbath on Friday night, through the day Saturday and stops on Saturday evening. What better day to show that believers are different from the world by resting on a party night. As we read the Bible we notice that God sanctified the 7th day and blessed it (2:3). He did not make it part of Mosaic law till after the Israelites left Egypt.

2. “Actually, the institution of the Sabbath was changed to the Lord’s Day on the first day of the week by Christ and His Apostles”

Actually there is NO scripture, no words spoken by Jesus or the disciples that change the Sabbath to Sunday. In fact, Jesus clearly stated that He did not come to change or break the law but to fulfill it, and one would notice that throughout Jesus’ life, He observed the Saturday Sabbath. He was often vilified for doing good on that day, not for skipping it and doing good on the first day of the week.

3. “Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt 20:1-3). The Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, on the first day of the week.”

When people mention these events, they often, like that author, ignore certain facts. Jesus rose from the dead, and Pentecost came surely on a Sunday or the first day of the week but that is because of two simple factors. First, God sets the example for His creation. He could not raise Jesus nor send the Holy Spirit on the actual Sabbath day for He would be violating His own law and destroying the faith of His chosen people. He would be a hypocrite, sin, and would not be God.

Second, He told His followers that they are to rest on that day, thus God could not violate His own rules. He had to ‘rest’ and wait till the following day to do His work of raising Jesus and sending the Holy Spirit. Neither act changed the day of the Sabbath or God’s commands to rest that day. They are not scripture changing events but events that show God is consistent with His word and commands.

4. “We read that the Disciples gathered to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The Apostle Paul told the Christians to set aside their tithes and offerings on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:2). The Apostle John received his Revelation from Christ while worshipping on the first day of the week – which he described as “the Lord’s Day” Rev 1:10.”

None of these acts change scripture. If you will notice that when Jesus gave His command to ‘do this in remembrance of me…’ He did not say which day to observe it, thus the disciples gathering on the first day to celebrate Christ’s life, etc., does not change God’s command to rest on the Sabbath. In fact, one could argue that they met on the first day because they were resting on the 7th in obedience to God’s command.

Paul’s instruction does not change God’s command either. Setting aside one’s tithes and offerings are not Sabbath observing changing acts either. It is possible that the ancients were paid on the first day of the week. We do not know but what we do know is that there is nothing in that instruction which lays a foundation for altering the day God set aside for rest.

Now depending on the version one reads will determine the terminology but the two I checked simply state that John was ‘in the Spirit’, it does not say he was ‘worshipping’. Of course, Jesus did not limit the day one worships God. He did say something about ‘worshipping in spirit and truth’ and the truth is, one does not limit the worship of God to just 1 day. All Christians are free to worship God each day of the week. John’s act does not change God’s command but rather sets an example for other believers to worship God freely and often.

So there is nothing in those scriptures which change God’s original declaration and command to rest on the 7th day but they do provide examples of what Christians should do in their lives.

5. “Whereas, in the Old Testament, the Jewish believers observed the last day of the week as the Sabbath in commemoration of the Lord’s work of Creation, Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead and His work of re-creation, looking forward to the New Heaven and the new earth – the everlasting Kingdom of God brought about by Christ’s victory over death, hell and the grave – in His Resurrection”

Yet there is no command in any of the books of the Bible to change the day of worship. New Testament Christians can worship Christ’s resurrection on the 7th day just as easy as it can on the 1st. Keep in mind that Jesus and the disciples did not say in the books of the New Testament that the Sabbath was changed.

6. “The early Church fathers, long before Constantine, taught that Christians should set aside the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day. These included Barnabas and Polycarp. Justin Martyr in AD150 wrote: “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our communion assembly, because Jesus Christ, our Savior, on the same day, arose from the dead.”

This is one of the key mistakes made in the modern church’s attempt to justify their changing of the day of worship. They assume that the ancient manuscripts (non-biblical), the ancient practices, the ancient words over-rule God’s words and commands. They do not for they are not rewriting scripture but writing their own ideas, reporting certain practices none of which are infallible or included in the scriptures themselves.

Yes, we can turn to the ancient writers to get some insight on how to deal with heresies and other such subjects but at no time do their writings replace God’s. They do not have the authority to change the Sabbath from the 7th to the 1st days. There is also no teaching from Jesus or the disciples to listen to those writers and practices over their own words.

This mistake of listening to ancient people may have its origin in the idea that they were eye-witnesses, or friends of eye-witnesses thus they knew better and had better information from God. They did not, for the same Holy Spirit that modern believer and church are to follow today, led the true church in ancient times. We do not need to go to the ancients because as Jesus said in John 14 & 16, we are to follow the Holy Spirit to the Truth. Notice He did not say to follow the ancient church.

We can turn to the Holy Spirit today and get the same information, the same leading to the truth, the same correct way to worship as the ancients could 2,000 years ago. We are not to follow fallible men, we are to follow Triune God of the Bible thus we do not change the day unless God leads us to do it and He has yet to go against His own commands or His own teaching.

7. “Now on the first day of the week, when the Disciples came together to break bread …” Acts 20:7. The Scriptures further teach: “Let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon, or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”  Col 2:16-17

This verse, quoted by the author of that piece, does not change God’s command nor the setting aside of the 7th day for a day of rest. The believer must remember that the Sabbath was instituted at Creation and was not originally part of the Mosaic Law thus its establishment carries weight for the New Testament believer today and is not limited solely to the Jewish people. In dealing with scripture we must be honest, truthful and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit instead of rubber stamping teaching that may not be correct but traditional.

Do we change from the first day to the 7th? That is a question each believer must take up with God but the evidence shows that we should not because we are to obey God in all things, not the ones we or the majority wants. The truth never changes thus the Christian and the church cannot change what it practices or preaches (if they have the real truth).

Unfortunately, too many Christian writers repeat what they think is the truth and do not investigate further and the church suffers for it. We need more Spirit lead people to humbly write the truth so the church will grow strong and make a real impact for Jesus.

Some words of caution are in order. First, too often Christians are afraid to hold on to some of their beliefs or God’s commands simply because a heresy, cult, or unbeliever holds to them. This is a wrong attitude to take as the believer needs to be aware of the fact that for those alternatives to work, they must contain parts of the truth.

Every con artist knows that if they do not mix some truth in with their lies their cons will not work. Lies do not hold up and need support from its opponent to be successful. The same idea holds true with alternatives to the Bible, which is why the LDS cult claims to use the Bible even though all their other religious writings contradict its teachings. Or why the Jehovah Witnesses use the Bible, even though they alter verses in their own translation and the examples continue.

It is not wrong to hold to the truth even when non-Christians hold to it, the believer is told we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free. We do not sacrifice that promise and objective because others misuse the truth to manipulate and deceive. Nor do we stop following the Holy Spirit who is to lead us to the truth simply because some cultist happens to attach some of the truth to their religious writings.

We hold to the truth because we want to be free from the lies and be able to see where those alternative beliefs go wrong. In other words we do not go wrong just because those who are wrong steal some of the truth for their evil ways.

Second, if one looks closely at the quotes from the ancient authors used to defend changing the Sabbath from the 7thday to the 1st day, one would find that NOT ONE of them declare that God changed the day or lead them to change the day. Without that, the Sabbath cannot be changed. Does that mean we are restricted to just one day of worship? NO. For we can worship on any day of the week we choose. God will not stop people from worshipping Him. It just stops us from changing the Sabbath to the wrong day without permission.
 
 

Faith Healing

 

Recently a Korean newspaper carried the story of a minister and his wife who lost their three children by opting to use faith healing. It didn’t take long for the news to hit the world stage and provide fodder for those unbelievers who do not grasp anything about the spiritual world.

 

The couple was arrested but that act only displays the ignorance the unbelievers have about faith healing and its participants. Was this act of their faith manslaughter or murder? Of course not but it is very difficult to get that concept through the heads of those who think any involvement of children in life grants them permission to interfere and ruin the lives of the parents.

 

A child as a victim does no such thing especially when it comes to spiritual matters for such things are far above the comprehension of the unbeliever who can only apply their deceived and uninformed ideas to the situation. Their perspective is quite limited when it comes to spiritual life.

 

Should the parents face more punishment for their mis-application of their spiritual beliefs and God’s word? Since they have already paid a heavy price for their actions I doubt that anything the secular world can bring will penalize the couple or accomplish anything positive.  Sometimes the results of people’s actions are penalty enough.

 

When it comes to faith healing too many believers are misguided in their attempts to seek the return of the health of their loved ones. Often they consider alternatives to faith healing as disobedience to God or Jesus’ teachings BUT at no time do the Bible, Jesus or the disciples state that believers cannot use a doctor for health related issues.

 

Yes, Jesus and the disciples healed miraculously but they never once spoke against the profession or its use. The one example in the Old Testament has a King going to a doctor before consulting God, resulting in punishment but that does not mean that Christians will be punished by God for going to a doctor. It simply means that Christians need to consult God FIRST then follow His guidance to the correct physician or treatment.

 

God knows who has the correct attitude, the correct mentality, skills, and resources at hand to attend to a believer’s child.  What the believer needs to remember is that if God does not direct them to do faith healing then they are in disobedience if they choose that option over seeing a doctor. Christians are not limited to faith healing alone nor is it the only option God chooses to use to heal sick people.

 

The miraculous is not always done with supernatural work, sometimes the miracle is in finding the right doctor with the right knowledge in the right place at the right time with the right treatment readily available. The odds of that happening are a miracle in and of itself. Christians also need to remember that God used a doctor to write 2 books of the Bible which tells us that He is not condemning that practice. The world certainly needs Christian doctors.

 

What the believer needs to do when their child gets sick is to go to God and ask for help and direction. Faith healing is not wrong; except when God does not direct a parent to use that method of recovery. If a parent thinks He is directing that way then they need to get that leading confirmed by a unemotional outside source like a pastor or elder. For we know emotions tend to distort one’s ability to think clearly, especially when a child is involved.

 

A simple belief that the disease is caused by demons is not enough, that diagnosis should also be confirmed by very mature, clear thinking believers. The source of the illness must be confirmed first before taking any action as we see by this sad situation, the results can be devastating. Yes people want to please God and think that faith healing is the way to go. It is not so, for it takes just as much faith in God to use doctors as it does the miraculous.

 

People need to learn how to use discernment before acting.
 
 

Atheists Are Intolerant & Bullies

 

Recently, there was an article in the newspaper talking about a young atheist’s victory over a gift of a banner with a prayer on it to the school she attended.  It told of how the school was not going to appeal because the expense of the legal fees was just too much over such a small and insignificant item.

 

It was saddening to read as the assault on people’s behaviour is increasing as atheists find their courage to attack anything that hints upon governmental support for religion in general. They recklessly run up huge court related bills, in some cases, in hopes of winning their cases illegitimately or distorting the meaning behind the item or act attacked.

 

What the young lady did to her school reminded me of what took place in my undergrad alma mater for about a year or so. She mis-interpreted the word 'offended' and used her subjective feelings to force her ways upon a larger group of people even though she was in the wrong.

In my undergrad school, students would constantly use the word 'offended' to mean that they alone didn't like something thus the act must stop. Instead of learning how to accept other people as they were. It got to the point where no student could do anything because someone was going to be 'offended' and the activity banned.

The young lady above has just put all atheists on a slippery slope because now, someone who disagrees with her can now use the word 'offended' and get her or her activities banned from any school. She also exposes the lack of tolerance, the unrealism, the desire to force everyone to do things the atheist way and demonstrates that atheists will bully others with the courts to ensure that their will reigns over all others.

What should be asked of the atheist is to be wiser than they are. Instead of all these blind, knee jerk reactions to anything remotely to do with a religious ideology, they should learn that having a banner, or some other religious symbol is NOT promoting one religion over another nor that the government is promoting a favored belief.

They need to be more tolerant in that they need to accept the idea of living and let live. They need to realize that NO ONE is going to court forcing the atheist to keep their unbelief at home. Their way of life and their unbelief are NOT threatened by religious people. The atheist is free to practice their unbelief where they like BUT they are NOT free to tell the religious where they can or cannot practice their beliefs.

The establishment clause is not a constitutional ammendment, not a part of the bill of rights and is not the measuring stick to limit religious practice. What the constitution does say is that the nation is NOT allowed to make a national religion. Putting up religious symbols or banners in public or government places does not violate that restriction nor do gifts by groups of people.

If the atheist doe snot like what is going on in their schools then they are free to vote with their feet and move to another institution more to their liking or build their own educational facilities with their own money, charge their own tuition, recruit their own students and implement their own curriculum sans religious motifs and beliefs.

Failure to do this just exposes the lack of credibility atheists really have, their own double standard and a failure to put their money where their mouths are. I do not expect the atheist to follow that suggestion simply because they like free education and since their own moral code is subjective, flexible and changeable, they would not fight fair when told to leave so others may be able to express their gratitude, concerns, and hopes in a manner that is comfortable for them.

 

The question is ‘what can the believer do in response?’ to these constant attacks. The Bible reminds us that the battle is not against flesh and blood thus we cannot point any finger at the human pawns used by evil in their advance against Christ.  We are reminded to take the fight to a higher court where fairness, love, honesty, justice reign. How do we do that? We pray and look to God’s leading to ensure any actions we do remain sinless and in His will and will reap the best rewards for all concerned.

 

There are no legal costs in this higher court of appeal and evil does not dominate there as well which means that the believer should make this their first step in battling those who disagree with their faith.  Yes, the article mentioned in this piece is about a public high school but Christians are part of that public and they should not be punished because a one person or a minority of people misunderstand, distort, misinterpret, and so on, some item that happens to contain something religious on it.

 

Christian students in public school need to see their parents take the right action and they need to see that God is looking out for them as they study thus the believer needs to follow God’s direction found in the Bible and be led by the Holy Spirit so these young people can know they are not alone, not defenceless and not vulnerable to these attacks on their generosity, their faith or their concerns.

 

Christians need to put their faith in practice as God directs if they want to make an impact for God and show the unsaved world that God is stronger than the enemy.
 
 

Lessons from Whitney Houston

 

No, this is not jumping on the Miss Houston bandwagon nor is this an attempt to be redundant and just restate examples made from so many others who have raised this lady up as a standard for people to glean some sort of life lesson from. Nor is this an attempt to state the obvious as everyone already knows that drugs are bad for you and you can achieve an early death from their abuse. That lesson has been known for centuries, if not millennia.

 

The focus is also not on the scripture verse, ‘do not judge…’ because everyone already knows this and whether they follow the admonition or not is another matter for another day.  The imperfectness of humans disqualifies anyone from taking the superior position not only on Miss Houston’s life and death but on the rest of the world. In judging others, often many mitigating factors are left out in the judgmental person’s haste to condemn the weak or the misfortunate.

 

What this article is about is the failure of people to resist elevating their fellow humans to levels they are not entitled. It doesn’t just happen in the secular part of society but in the religious section as well. Some people are given abilities and talents that far outshine the rest of the group and immediately, they are promoted to offices a frail, fallible and sinful person cannot hold.

 

This is a very great problem in the world today as these, for lack of a better term, celebrities are only human, with the same sin nature, the same desires, the same needs as anyone else. Yet they are held aloft as some sort of god because the less talented need someone to look up to, to inspire their lives and make them more fulfilling or whatever reason they have.

 

These very talented people then are given adoration and praise meant for God and they are not equipped to handle such worship, though some do adjust others cannot grasp the purpose for their promotion.  On top of all the praise and exaltation these celebrities, both christian and not, have placed upon them unrealistic and impossible standards to live by.

 

Then, being human, they make one mistake and instead of receiving mercy and forgiveness they are vilified and persecuted viciously. These human standards are applied without thought or care as to how the celebrity was raised and they are expected to be followed even though the one held in high esteem may never had heard of such rigorous rules.

 

A prime example from the football world, of course, would be Joe Paterno as he had placed upon him some ‘moral responsibility’ that was not present when the events in question happened. It was not in his job description nor did he have the knowledge that he had to meet some law enforcement officer’s idea of what this supposed ‘moral responsibility’ entailed. Other examples can be politicians who say 1 thing wrong to the wrong crowd and his or her career is over or, as in the case of Miss Houston, they turn to drugs to help them cope and immediately they are condemned, judged, vilified and have the horror of having the adulation removed by but the most ardent fans.

 

Who can live under such extreme pressures? Certainly not the normal folk who apply them and they do not even try to uphold these standards placed upon those talented idols.  This unrealism is unfair but in today’s politically correct world, unfairness doesn’t matter. All that matters is that these people meet these standards 24.7 or they are not good people. No one can do that and it is no wonder so many of these people get frustrated with their lives and seek alternative avenues of pleasure.

 

Secular figures are not the only ones who get put on a pedestal and made into idols. The christian world is not exempt from this as their entertainers, preachers and evangelists are often place upon high pedestals and worshipped as if they are Jesus themselves. Not only does this allow sin to enter into the church via pride, arrogance, false worship, etc. it also impedes the progress of those more less talented or gifted men who serve God humbly and correctly.

 

Such adulation also divides the church and causes friction among its members as people stop following the Holy Spirit and start following their fellow humans. The Book of Acts provides examples of what these men and women should do when they are elevated to such high status. The disciples rejected it and maintained their humble positions, and modern Christian leaders should do the same.

 

The church is not about raising up good preachers etc., as the Bible does not teach that that should take place. In fact, it is very clear that the followers of God are to ‘lift Jesus higher’. To do otherwise is idolatry and other disobedient acts. 

 

The sad thing in all of this, which is so well exampled by Miss Houston’s life, is  that when this adoration and promotion is removed, the celebrity has no where to go but crashing down. The removal of the support of the common people leaves a big void in the talented person’s life and they are not able to fill it so when the questions and confusion come from the sudden attacks and hatred when the celebrity makes a mis-step, they are left with few options.

 

Without the correct support, their lives turn into a public soap opera. We are not privy to what Miss Houston’s friends and family did in her life thus we cannot judge them either. We cannot say that they failed her because we do not know their offers and her choices. There is enough blame to spread around to all people including her fans and their unrealistic demands.

 

Humans are not equipped to be gods. They are not equipped to take the place of God or Jesus thus no matter how talented a person is, they should not be placed upon a pedestal, they should not be praised beyond what God would want and they should not be made the standard. For both secular and Christian celebrities do not have to answer to the people, nor do they have to please the people and they do not have to live by other humans subjective and unrealistic standards.

 

They answer to God and have to please Him. They are also commanded to follow after Jesus’ teachings not some law enforcement officer’s idea of what those teachings say. They are to follow the Holy Spirit not the current false teachings of political correctness or no tolerance. Just like the there fans are to do.

 

I do not know how many lives have been destroyed by this idolization of those who have abilities above the rest of the crowd but such tragedies could be avoided if people followed Jesus instead of the world and stopped putting humans in the place of God. If the church wants to make an impact on the world, then they need to get of this adulation of humans bandwagon and get back to the Bible, lifting Jesus higher so that he can draw all men unto Him.

 

Humans are fickle and it is time to take the pressure of others and instead of holding them to some standard no one can meet and treat them like the Bible says.