Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theistic Evolution Reduces the Glory of God

God speaks; and it is so. What Glory is this that God can merely speak and it comes to pass?

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  Genesis 1:3 ESV

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters,... And it was so.          Genesis 1:6, 7 ESV

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together,… And it was so.  Genesis 1:9 ESV

And God said, “Let the earth sprout… And it was so.  Genesis 1:11 ESV

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens… And it was so.  Genesis 1:14, 15 ESV

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures,,, And it was so.  Genesis 1:24 ESV

Then God said, “Let us make man… And it was so.  Genesis 1:26, 30

On each day of creation God spoke and brought into being what He declared; accompanied by the words “And there was evening and there was morning, (a sequential numeric) day.

The heavens and the earth are vast beyond our comprehension and complex beyond our understanding. The wisdom and power and presence of God are magnified in great Glory for he did what He said He did when He said He did it.

God speaks, and it is so.

How does it glorify God to inject hundreds of millions and billions of years between the time God speaks and the manifestation of His word? Is there even an obscure hint within the text of such long ages?

God speaks; and 900 million years later it is so? God speaks; and 3 billion years later it is so?

Or does the Creator speak very slowly?

One would tend to think that God’s Glory is seriously curtailed by such a method of interpreting Genesis 1. Reducing God’s Glory is not worship it is antiworship.

What godlessness and unrighteousness is this that suppresses the truth?  Romans 1:18b

Where are the Biblical expositions that teach theistic evolution?

Theistic evolution does not come from the mind of God, but from the imaginations of those who predetermine that they will seek knowledge without considering the existence of God at all. In fact, any reference to the Creator is intentionally excluded from their pursuit of knowledge. God is intentionally excluded!

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.  Psalm 14:1

            Will you reduce the Glory of God in order to Compromise with Fools?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Flood of Noah: Global or Local?

…Noah, a herald of righteousness…2 Peter 2:5 ESV

What did Noah proclaim? Would he not proclaim what God told him?

“For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.  Genesis 6:17 ESV

God certainly told Noah more than this, but this word is the heart of the building of the Ark.

The context was a time in which mankind lived upward of 900 years. A little research on your part will reveal that the population was probably between many-hundreds-of-millions to possibly billions of people. A little more research on your part will indicate that we are genetic mutants compared to the people of this time.

Such people would not have stayed in one local area. Even if compelled by some great post-flood patriotism (Genesis 11:4) there would be rebels and outcasts who would leave the ‘local area’ far behind. They, in turn, would multiply and fill the earth.

How would those who heard the preaching of Noah interpret it?

Then, like now, there would be apostates who proclaimed their faithfulness to the Creator and yet doubted Noah’s word. They would have displayed varying levels of unbelief. Some would mock. Some would consider Noah’s words to be figurative. Some would want to believe but be unable to overcome the skepticism of the respectable intellectuals among them, and would compromise with them.

Believing that the flood was real, they would only consider it ‘local’. Appreciating Noah’s call to repentance they would fear the disapproval of the great men of the world even more than they feared God. It is still the same in that regard. After all, a global flood was not a ‘salvation’ issue.

Such an interpretation did not work out well for them. They drowned in their own unfaithfulness and took their followers with them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Tiny Post: Great Big Application

The demons all obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

You don't.

See the problem?

Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it.

Just don't ignore it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

If Jesus Christ is our Lord, then He will save us from sin, now and in
the future.

If we are saved from sin, then we are saved from wrath, now and in the future.

If we desire to be saved from wrath in the future, but do not want to
be saved from our sins now; then we want to sin now and get away with
it both now and in the future.

Did Jesus Christ die on the cross so we could sin now and avoid wrath?
Or did He die on the cross so we could be saved from sin now and live
a godly life now?

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live
self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,…”  Titus
2:11, 12

“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no
one disregard you.”         Titus 2:15

Why give regard to anyone who does not ‘declare these things, and
exhort and rebuke with all authority?’

What kind of soil will this seed fall upon?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Biblical Inerrancy can Fail

Inerrancy, like physical training, is of some value; but it will fall short of addressing unfaithful teaching (doctrine).

I agree with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. I am impressed with this statement. I could not do better. I could not even come close to doing better.

While I deeply regret the godless way some Southern Baptists treated each other during the Conservative Resurgence (all sides), I agree that the issue needed to be addressed in that generation. It will need to be addressed in every generation until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

But even if all evangelical entities embraced Inerrancy with all their heart, it still would not prevent many kinds of apostasy (falling away from the truth). And Inerrancy alone fails for the following reasons.

First reason

The flesh (ESV, NAS), the sinful nature (NIV), is capable of idolatry (Gal. 5:19, 20). A person without the help of the Holy Spirit is still disposed toward religious belief. The lost man and the Christian who quenches the Holy Spirit are still capable of understanding inerrancy. The lost man and the Christian who quenches the Holy Spirit are still capable of sincere zeal as they approach religious issues. But they do not have access to the leadership of the Holy Spirit who is necessary for guiding them into the truth (John 14:26, 1 Cor. 2:11-16); unless they repent. That does not prevent them from drawing conclusions anyway. They will ‘interpret’ the inerrant Scripture as they, personally, see fit. They will still share their influence, they will still teach and preach, they will still write books, they will still teach in the world’s seminaries, and they will still find denominational positions in which to serve.

Our denominational structures are becoming less connected with our ability to actually know the persons who lead the denominational structure. We are increasingly tempted to give our confidence to a person’s words when we have no meaningful contact with the way the person lives. When this happens, we are deprived of the following safeguards; “If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him” (1 John 2:29; see also 1 John 3:4-10).  An inerrantist who does not walk in submissive and dependent fellowship with the Holy Spirit may be “accredited”, but not by the Holy Spirit.

Second reason

Our American culture is currently immersed in the pursuit of comfort and convenience. In such a culture it is rare to take the fear of God seriously. The fear of God is more than ‘reverence’. One can reverence God’s name and still take fearless liberties in interpreting God’s words in a way that God does not intend. If one has a growing fear of God then one will not dare to interpret God’s words in a way that reduces God’s glory or that ‘might’ be in error. To interpret God’s words in a way that changes people’s perception of what God has said is a serious matter. Even a false prophet can be sincere. What can a man possibly do that is more offensive to God than misrepresent what God has said?

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Pro. 1:29) and the beginning of knowledge (Pro. 1:7). The fear of God will cause us to approach His words with the absolute highest respect for submitting ourselves to His meaning. The fear of God will cause us to approach His words with the absolute greatest humility of which we are capable. It is easy to let this priority slip amidst our ambitions toward comforts and conveniences, yet God says, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2b).  Impeccable credentials and vast knowledge and attractive articulation are not safeguards! Popularity is not a worthy sign of faithfulness. An inerrantist who does not tremble at God’s words will not securely handle God’s words.

Third reason

In a culture that is immersed in comfort and convenience it is hard to avoid personal ambition in a religious ‘pecking order’. Whether in a local church or in a denominational structure, we all are tempted to rise in the eyes of those who are around us. We crave the affirmation of our ‘peers’ and of our ‘idols’ ( !!!). We tend to follow men as if they were worth following. An insidious consequence of this ambition is that we do not want to seriously challenge one another to follow the Lord Jesus Christ whether the denominational structure agrees or not. We are beset by the fear of man instead of the fear of the Lord (John 5:41-44).

What is the answer to this problem? There isn’t a human answer to this problem! Only the Sovereign will of God expressed through the Holy Spirit will cause a generation to become faithful. Consider the following two instances and you will see the magnitude of the problem.

Instance #1.  Seminaries turn out men and women who want to learn about God. They are tested and trained by the seminary staff. If one makes the grades and earns the units; they are graduated. Which seminary will not grant an earned degree because the student is quenching the spirit or lacks a meaningful fear of God? Should such discernment fall to the staff of the seminary? Should such a weighty matter of discernment fall to the governing board of the seminary? Should it fall to those who appoint the governing board? No, no, and no. What mere humans could make such a judgment within the seminary structures? Will seminary staff keep their own ranks faithful? Will the governing boards keep the seminary staffs faithful? How? A degree is validation of educational achievement, but not a validation of faithfulness to God.

Instance #2  Denominational employees and missionaries spend a whole lot of time on their own. It is not possible to maintain close accountability with someone who is on their own most of the time. It is not desirable to maintain close accountability with someone who must be trusted to be on their own most of the time. To a lesser extent, ministerial staffs are also on their own a great deal of the time. Who can possibly know their hearts? Who can tell if they are walking in fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit? Who can tell what they are teaching regarding God’s words? Who can tell if they fear God in the way that humility demands? How does one discern whether they are ambitious for the Lord’s will instead of ambitious for their own comforts and conveniences?

In both instances, there is no sure human plan to maintain a faithful approach to God’s holy and inerrant words. However, there is something that can be done.

We can pray that God will have mercy upon us, and give us faithful leaders. We can pray that our leaders will care about God’s approval more than they care about the approval of men; even if the men are members of the same religious ‘pecking order’.

Our leaders can challenge one another to humble themselves, and tremble at God’s words, and walk every day in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and despise bitter jealousy and selfish ambition toward an ‘office in the church’, or a degree, or a denominational office, or a title, or great popularity among the people of the world. “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”  James 3:14, 15

Religious leaders who care more for their paycheck and their tenure and their denominational rise than they do for the fear of God and the integrity of God’s words are already quenching the Holy Spirit. How can the fear of God be before their eyes? Religious leaders who will not put their name behind their witness to righteousness are already quenching the Holy Spirit.

Why don’t most of the members of past and present evangelical denominations publicly condemn their own denomination’s apostasy? Why didn’t they prevent it? Could they prevent it?

Why don’t the staffs and professors of past and present evangelical seminaries publicly condemn their own seminaries’ apostasy? Why didn’t they prevent it? Could they prevent it?

Why do so many current people call themselves “Christians” and deny that every generation must always be wary of the many instances where they must confront unfaithful leadership? Haven’t they read the Old Testament and the New Testament? Are they unaware of apostasy even when our culture is submerged in it?

Fourth reason

I will risk saying that it is self-evident that those who speak of ‘inerrancy’ are students of the Bible; though some may only be students of the history of man studying God (theology). Some may be both. Both are beneficial. But the study of what God says about Himself and man far exceeds the study of what man has said about God. The words of theologians are not the words of God. Biblical scholarship trumps theology.

Here is a simple land-mine that you cannot pass without getting yourself blown away. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”  (James 1:22). A great deal of study (hearing) without a great deal of humility, obedience, and confession of sin; results in a great deal of personal deception. A disciple of Jesus Christ wants to know what their Master teaches so they can do what their Master says should be done. A disciple who only wants to know what Jesus Christ teaches so they can teach it also has a self-deception problem. God says the result of their Scriptural intake will result in deception, not faithfulness. Will a seminary degree, or the accolades of your friends in the ‘pecking order’, or acclaim from the congregation, enable you to see the truth? Not at all. When a Christian does not do what God says, they deceive themselves. They may be personally sincere, they may affirm inerrancy, but they are quenching God’s Spirit and they are not faithful teachers. The more one shows rebellious contempt for God’s words, while studying large portions of God’s words; the more they deceive themselves.

A man’s affirmation of the truth of inerrancy is not enough. Believe in inerrancy? Yes. And fear God and tremble at His words. Maintain a daily humility that reveals a contrite heart to those around you. Do what God says. “To obey is better than sacrifice”. Care more for what God says than what your religious ‘pecking order’ desires. Have the courage to be a witness (Greek – martyr) and challenge those who are false. Challenge those who might be false. What will you tell Jesus on your day of judgment? “I thought it might be false teaching, but I didn’t dare find out?” Really? Put your name behind your actions so that you are not a false witness. Do what God says you should do. When you fail, confess it as sin (regardless of what others may think of you). Then try again sometime.

So what is the solution to saving the evangelical denominations from apostasy? There isn’t one that I can see. No solution was found for similar groups in Europe over the last 150 years. While I sincerely pray for mercy, I see cause for judgment and wrath mounting higher and higher.

Might there be a solution for you, personally? Sure. Read the Bible as if God breathed it Himself. Take it personally, with fear and humility and contrition. Confess your sin to Him and seek purification and faithfulness. Influence yourself!

And as God empowers your faithfulness, influence those around you. Who knows how far your faithful influence will spread?

If a nation follows a course of apostasy, the denomination doesn’t have to follow it. If a denomination follows a course of apostasy, the church doesn’t have to follow it. If the church follows a course of apostasy, the family doesn’t have to follow it. If the family follows a course of apostasy, the individual doesn’t have to follow.

Fifth reason

What God has said about love is critical regarding our faithfulness. Adherence to Biblical Inerrancy without the personal priority to love (1 Cor. 13:4-7) God and others (Matt. 22:37-40) results in becoming an ‘annoying nothing that gains nothing’ in God’s eyes (1 Cor. 13:1-3). I fear God too much to become an ‘annoying nothing that gains nothing’ in His eyes. The Holy Spirit will not fellowship with an ‘annoying nothing that gains nothing’. The very mark of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is that Christians love one another (John 13:34, 35). There is a massive deception in the middle of our culture: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).

Unloving words and actions quench the Holy Spirit. Even when one is defending the truth of the Bible, unloving words and actions tend to annul the blessing that God wants to bestow. An unloving controversy over any given issue can do a lot of damage. Unloving advocates for Biblical Inerrancy can do the cause more damage than good.

Will adherence to Biblical Inerrancy help a person before God when they are apathetic about what God considers to be the Great Commandment? What kind of blindness is it, when Christians don’t bother with a personal awareness of what God means when He uses the word ‘love’?

What kind of religious organization is it, when the love of God is assumed, or ignored, or belittled? What is a Soldier of Jesus Christ who does not bother to carefully examine the Lord of Hosts’ greatest command?

I believe in Biblical Inerrancy. But it will not stand alone. The remnant will stand alone; and they will not fail. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Please God

Part 3

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6

The Infinite God knows where you are. He knows what you think, what you say and what you do. He does not forget. He does not get your thoughts and words and actions out of context. By definition; an Infinite God can give an infinite amount of attention to an infinite number of people. It is not difficult for Him.

He doesn’t have to seek for us, He knows where we are. He does not have to search for us to call us to account for what we have done with the life He has given us. He knows where we live.

In the distant future one thing will be clear: He will be in the company of those who have faith in what He says. He will be accompanied by those who want to trust Him. He will be attended by those who have suffered the consequences of living in a world that has rejected Him, and have chosen to trust Him instead of the apathetic and unbelieving world they are willing to leave behind.

Read about the lives of the people in Hebrews chapter 11. You will see that this is true.

Everyone acts on what they believe. Our thoughts, words and actions are the result of ‘what’ or ‘who’ we put our faith ‘in’.

Why should God let you find Him if you are just ‘curious’ about Him? We can be He would ‘curious’ about many things. But seeking God requires the awareness that He must be worshiped if He is found. Our attitude as we seek Him is critical. He will know our attitude.

Why should God let you find Him if your search is really to disprove His existence? He is calling to those who WANT Him to exist. He is calling to those who will worship Him when they find Him. He is more real than you are. Why should He prove Himself to you? Must God meet your terms to receive your approval? Such an attitude will fail. He will know.

Why should God let you find Him if you seek Him as if He were merely your equal? What terms for a ‘bargain’ do you hold in your heart? Are you (we) such a marvelous treasure that He should rejoice over your approval of who He is? He is Holy and Perfect and Infinite and Eternal. We are unholy and far-from-perfect and finite in significance and brief. We are not seeking our equal; we are seeking the Holy Creator of everything. He will know.

Why should God let you find Him if you seek Him without the humility of admitting you have sinned? If you look into the lives of those folks in Hebrews chapter 11 who were commended for their faith you will see that they were frail and often failed. They sought forgiveness for their sin. They trusted God’s love and forgiveness; but they never, never, considered themselves worthy before God. Seeking God is seeking your Judge, and the guilty verdict is already known. Seek God with the humility that is looking for mercy and forgiveness. Seek Him with a willingness to repent of the sin that offends the Infinite Judge.

To which ‘seeker’ will God reveal Himself?

“But this is the one to whom I (God) will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”  Isaiah 66:2b

There are consequences to being ‘made’ by God, and ‘owned’ by God, and being ‘accountable’ to God. Whether we know it or not; or whether we like it or not: He will do just what He wants to do with us.

The Father (God) loves the Son (Jesus Christ) and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.  John 3:35, 36

The following Scripture is longer than I typically use; but it is worth your careful, prayerful, consideration!

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:25-30

God is with you right now. Talk to Him (that is what ‘prayer’ is!). Call out to Him with faith, humility, and the awareness that you need forgiveness from the Eternal Judge of all mankind. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to forgive your sin. Ask Him to change you into what He wants you to become. Keep seeking Him until you find Him.

As questions arise, find the answers.