Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Bible’s Historical And Scientific Relevance

A while back, I was asked to write an article for the Carolina Messenger about the Bible’s Historical and Scientific Relevance. It was published last month, and I am reprinting the article in this forum as well as giving a link to the Carolina Messenger page. Be sure to check them out. There are lots of good articles there!

The Bible’s Historical And Scientific Relevance

Jesus taught that the Bible speaks truthfully about both the physical world and the spiritual world. John 3:12 is proof that Jesus “did not accept the false idea that the Bible could tell you how to ‘go to Heaven’ but not ‘how the heavens go’” (Geisler & Turek, 358). Put another way, if the Bible is not trustworthy in what it says about the physical world, it cannot possibly be trusted on spiritual matters. And so, if we are to teach, as Jesus did, that the Bible is accurate in matters of faith, we must teach that it is accurate in matters of history and science.

Failure to teach an evidence based faith is in direct contrast to Hebrews 11:1.  Faith is the evidence of things unseen. We are poor stewards of the inerrant, inspired Word of God, if we accept the false notion that true science and religion are at odds with each other (Keller, 92). In fact, the honest seeker has far more information available to confirm the truth of the Bible today than in any generation before. In a world dominated by scientific thinking, few people will hear the truth of the gospel if the church fails to teach the reliability and relevance of scripture.

The Sincere Seeker

Many intelligent people have the false notion that all science is based on what is observable or known, while all faith is based on the unseen and unknown. When confronted with the unknown or unseen, the atheist responds “no God,” and the agnostic says “unknowable.” But the Bible gives verifiable, testable data when it speaks about the physical world. So the question is not necessarily, “Can a smart person believe in God” as Michael Guillen asks in his book by that name. Rather, what evidence are we giving to intellectuals to help them make an informed decision? I pray that every person would ask, as I did in my own journey, two simple questions and be willing to trust the evidence that demands a decision.

How did we get here?

No reasonable explanation has ever been given, outside of the Bible, for the most basic question of life: “How did something (matter, energy, space, time, etc.) come from nothing?” The God theory isn’t just convenient. Rather, it is the only answer to the Cosmological Statement: Every beginning has a beginner; the universe had a beginning; therefore, the universe had a beginner. Some have referred to this first cause as the “Unmoved Mover” (Craig, 97).

Einstein’s oscillating universe theory was proven false in 1922 by Alexander Friedman and others who displayed that Einstein had divided by zero in his cosmological constant or “fudge factor” (Geisler & Turek, 74). But it was the Hubble telescope that proved that the universe was not only expanding, but its rate of expansion was increasing! The universe has not always been here, oscillating in and out for eternity. Rather, it had a beginning, ex nihilio (out of nothing). The Bible explains this as, “In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1). It is a blind faith that would believe that trillions of stars, planets, and every living creature came from nothing. The evidence points to an intelligent being that caused matter to come into existence.

Is the Bible God’s inerrant Word?

The Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook. Nevertheless, where the Bible speaks on any topic, it has been shown to be reliable. The Bible withstands attacks from every religion, theory, supposition, and fantasy; yet it shines despite rigorous scrutiny.

Inerrancy in Astronomy

Though Bible believers have been accused of thinking the world is flat, the Bible has always taught a round Earth (Isaiah 40:22). God wants us to use our ability to view the stars as a means of confirming Him. In Psalm 19, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” It is telling that many intelligent design proponents can be found in the field of astronomy. Isaiah wrote, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens”(Isaiah 40:26).

Inerrancy in Physics

There is no new energy being created in the universe today. The Bible accurately reflects this in the words, “God created” and “rested” when the “heavens and earth were finished” (Genesis 1:1; 2:1). Though scientists traditionally argued this idea, it is now incontrovertible that nothing new is being created in this system. Matter and energy change form, but nothing new is being created (Thompson, 233).

Inerrancy in History

Archeology “does not prove the truth of the Bible in its theological and spiritual statements” (Hoerth & McRay, 11). Yet, archeology can correct historians who claim that Bible stories are myths. (Bryant, 54-56). As archeology unearths more data, the Bible has maintained trustworthiness. Whether it is Tel Dan proving David’s existence, the Black Obelisk of Shalmanesser III proving tribute from Jehu, the Taylor Prism declaring Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, The Moabite Stone (c. 850 B.C),found in 1868, confirming 1 Kings 16:1, or the excavations of Nineveh, Egypt, Palestine, etc., each new dig leads to greater Biblical reliability (Bryant, 55; Hoerth & McRay, 50-129; Thompson, 240).

Conclusion

Unfortunately, too many people are fooled into thinking that true science and the Bible are at odds. God created an observable world so that we can seek Him while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6-7). The necessary information is available. Science has never answered how matter appeared ex nihilio or disproved any Bible statement. Christians should boldly proclaim the truth and reliability of God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Church must teach these truths because the world will not show interest in matters of salvation if we aren’t proving the Bible is reliable on historical and scientific matters. Faith, of course, comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). Let them hear the whole full counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Bibliography

Bryant, Dewayne12 Compelling Truths: Why Biblical Faith is Completely Reasonable. Nashville, Tennessee: 21st Century Christian, 2010.

Craig, William L. Reasonable Faith: Christian truth and apologetics. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2008.

Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2004.

Guillen, Michael. Can a Smart Person Believe in God. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2004.

Hoerth, Alfred J., and John McRay. Bible Archaeology : an exploration of the history and culture of early civilizations. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 2005.

Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God : Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.

Thompson, BertIn Defense of the Bible’s Inspiration. S.l: Apologetics Press Inc, 2001.

Greg Wanderman is the minister for the church of Christ at Clover, SC

Is Dan Cathy Chickening Out?

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Chik-Fil-A chicken tastes good. Waffle fries taste good. Even their lemonade is good. The kids love the stuff. And to boot, the company just happens to be run by those who promote Biblical principles. So why are some Christians and non-Christians so upset these days with Dan Cathy, the CEO of the billion-dollar chicken company?

A couple of years ago, Cathy got in trouble with LGBT community by making a few public statements and tweets in favor of traditional marriage. This past week, in what appears to some Christians as a flip-flop, Cathy admitted in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was a mistake for him to have made public, political statements on legislation regarding marriage. Cathy said:

“Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with,” Cathy said. “And it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.”

In other words, it was costly for his business to alienate those who support non-traditional marriage. He went on to say, that while the political debate will continue, “the wiser thing for us to do is to stay focused on customer service.”

To that, I actually say, “Amen.” It is wiser for his business to stay out of politics and focus on treating ALL his customers with the respect that chicken and waffle fry buyers deserve. Does it mean he shouldn’t support traditional marriages anymore? No. In fact, he still does!

You see, Cathy hasn’t changed his stance. In the same interview, he said, “The truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word and I’m just personally committed to that.” He added, naïvely, “I know others feel very different from that and I respect their opinion and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.”

Sorry, Dan; but the LGBT community and supporters won’t be respectful of your opinions. The sad truth is, that while many are crying “fairness,” “respect,” and “equality,” they have no intention of reciprocating…ever. As the webisphere at-large has already shown, there is no tolerance for any opinion other than complete acceptance and congratulatory glorification.

So let’s be clear. Cathy claims to be in support of what the Bible teaches about traditional marriage. Let’s check and see what “traditional marriage” is according to the Bible and why that is so offensive to some people. The Biblical teaching on marriage is simply this: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Does that seem offensive? Look closely. The ire is in what it doesn’t say. No other union is authorized or glorified. In fact, Jesus quotes this passage and makes this point exactly. Only one kind of marriage is intended in God’s eyes: one man, one woman, forever (Matthew 19:4-6).

Now with regard to all other unions, the Bible speaks plainly:

1)   Old Testament

  1. Lev. 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
  2. Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act;”

2)   New Testament

  1. Christ used the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as dramatic examples of God’s wrath (Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12, and Luke 17:29). These cities were primarily remembered for homosexual activity.
  2. Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
  3. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
  4. 1 Timothy 1:9-11: “realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”

So what is the Bible believer to do? Even if the believer is trying to be tolerant, loving, and full of grace and mercy, he cannot praise and celebrate a behavior that God has condemned. In fact, not only are those who practice such things condemned, but those who “give hearty approval” to such behavior are condemned as well (Romans 1:31)!

But tolerance and equality under the law are not the goals of the homosexual, transsexual, and transgender agenda. Rather, the ultimate goal is to force society to celebrate sexual choice as an enlightened achievement of our moral evolution.

So is Cathy wrong to leave the political scene and focus on customer service? No. I for one can’t wait to see how he makes awesome chicken even better. Do I support Cathy’s right to believe in traditional marriage and the Bible? Absolutely. Do I see a contradiction? Not at all.

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul reminds Christians to abstain from sexual immorality and to lead a quiet life, attend to their own business, and work with their hands so they will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in need (1 Thessalonians 4:3,11-12). I see Cathy trying to do exactly that with this move away from politics.

Personally, I say, let the man make his chicken in peace. But if you want to boycott him for believing in traditional marriage or for not believing enough, that is your right. But if you are a Christian, prepare yourself for far worse than this.

The day is coming when preaching the Bible will be considered a hate crime. How many will stand strong for the truth when they don’t just boycott chicken, but come to eat your whole lunch?

Every week I preach a simple message: go out and BE a sermon in your life. But being a Christian doesn’t require being political. We are told to be salt and light. We are told to make a change by the lives we live and the love we share. Our money says, “In God We Trust,” but our actions often say, “In Politics We Trust.”

It is the Christian’s responsibility to learn God’s Word, live God’s Word, and share God’s Word. Each of us will be judged for the manner in which we do that.

In the mean time, feel free to “Eat Mor Chikin” or not…your choice. Just be sure your heart is in the right place as you serve God and eat your meal.

Small Terrorist; Big Damage

A baby squirrel is seen in Los Angeles,

I’ll paraphrase what my good friend, David Pharr, is fond of saying: “You don’t have to lose the whole fence for it to be useless; just a small hole will let the wolves in or let the livestock wander out.”

The saying reminds us that small holes in our defenses can be as damaging, sometimes more so, than big ones. When we see large holes in our defenses we rush to fix them, but smaller holes often go unnoticed until it is too late.

Last week, the Fort Wayne Parks Department learned firsthand the truth behind this wise saying when a suicide terrorist caused $300k in damages to their new $2 million community center. Well, “suicide terrorist” might be a little strong. You see, it wasn’t a jihad; it wasn’t a bomb; rather, it was a squirrel, a harmless critter that made a fatal mistake.

Apparently, the squirrel got into the electrical equipment of the building and created a “power surge that damaged the heating and air conditioning systems and some parts of the boiler system.” Obviously, it didn’t end well for the squirrel. But I think we, in the church, can learn a few lessons so  that this tragic squirrel death won’t be in vain.

1)   Squirrels might look harmless, but they can cause a lot of trouble! False teachers may seem harmless enough, but if they tinker with the wrong wires, they can cause severe damage in a church. Jesus said “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Squirrels can be dangerous!

2)   Be vigilant. Look for holes in the fence. Paul warned: “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). A squirrel isn’t going to let anything, not even massive power lines, get in its way. The threat of spiritual death is not much of a deterrent to those who set their minds to damage Christ’s church.

3)   Grow the flock and mend fences at the same time. Often, truth suffers for the sake of growth or growth suffers for the sake of truth. In Nehemiah’s day, he armed the people with a sword and a trowel so that they could build AND defend simultaneously (Nehemiah 4:17).

Are there squirrels among your congregation today? Be vigilant and keep them away from the electrical room…for your sake and theirs!

 

 

 

Windows XP and Doomsday: Heed the Warnings

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Microsoft was responsible for causing one of the greatest scares of our modern technological era, Y2K. Eventually, what had been billed as a technological disaster went by with more of a whimper than a bang. But Microsoft is in the news again for another doomsday prediction; and this time it is for real.

For some time, Microsoft has warned of the end – doomsday. They have advertised it, they have publicized it, and yet, the public has ignored it. Now the day has come. As of yesterday, Microsoft is done updating Windows XP!

“Um…ok,” you say. “So what does that have to do with doomsday?”

Ending support of Windows XP means no more security patches, which means there are gaping holes for hackers, malware, adware, and virus attacks. IT professionals, business managers, and the public have either ignored the warnings or have responded casually. Unfortunately, so many people have failed to heed the warnings that a substantial percentage of computers still run XP – almost 30%.

Why would people ignore such obvious danger? Millions of people are now vulnerable to cybercriminals and a barrage of attacks that may damage the financial sector, logistics operators, and the public at large. All of us are in danger because so many refused to prepare for the inevitable day, despite the warnings.

People ignore warning signs every day. The lackadaisical attitude of those who refused to upgrade their Windows operating system is no different from those who refuse to heed God’s warnings today.

For thousands of years, God has warned that we must change our ways.  Jesus reminded people living in His day that people have always refused to heed the warnings. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:38).

Our software is infected with the “sin” virus. Thankfully God provided an “upgrade” to fix the problem. Download the blood of Jesus by being immersed in baptism. Become protected from malicious attacks by living in His Word.

Yesterday was the end for XP; did you upgrade? What if tomorrow is the judgment? Have you upgraded to Christ?