Home

Who do you love? Ending the Great Pew Divide at the Altar

Leave a comment

 

Pews“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”

Those words, recorded in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13, were spoken by Jesus. While the immediate context was that no man can serve both God and money, there is a broader context that applies to what I usually call the Origins Argument:

No man can serve two authorities. This basic axiom is the basis for Jesus’ warning that you can’t serve both God and money. It finds a parallel in Jesus’ warning that a house or kingdom divided against itself cannot stand [Mark 3:24-25] and James’ warning about the inherent instability of a double-minded man [James 1:8].

We’ve been arguing about where we came from ever since Darwin – Before Darwin even! It’s important to know where we came from because the answer to that questions tells us who we are and how we should live our lives and even where we’re going.

Creationists believe that we were made in image of a loving personal Creator. He tells us how to live our lives and we should do what He says because He knows what’s best for us. We are loved and we matter on an individual level. What we do here and how we live our lives matters a great deal in regards to eternity.

The Battle Defined

A lot of folks see the Origins Argument as a tug of war match between Biblical Creationism and Evolutionism for our allegiance, but that’s not really the case. It’s a battle of worldviews, yes, but on either end of the rope stands Biblical Creationism and Pure Naturalism.

The doctrine of naturalism is that nature is all there is and that all the answers to our questions must be purely natural. Our modern scientific search for truth has been hitched to this principle. No Gods allowed. No acts of God. No God-written revelations either! Naturalists affirm that we came about by natural processes in which God was never necessary. There is no particular reason for our existence; we are happy cosmic accidents. There is no ultimate standard by which we should live our lives, especially since we are racing towards nothingness. Do what makes you happy and don’t think about your own mortality too much.

The confusion arises because some folks who claim to respect the Bible or who even believe much of the rest of the Bible have taken up some of the positions of the naturalists where it comes to our origins. Pastors are genuinely concerned that making a stand on the Origins Argument will lead to divisions and strife across the pews. Let me say this: the only way to end the division is to be unified, not in deceptively respectful silence on the issues but rather in unity of conviction.

The Consequences of Naturalism as our Ultimate Authority

Make no mistake: pure naturalism and supernatural revelation are directly at odds. Christians may utilize naturalism as a tool for investigation precisely because they calibrate the findings of naturalism against the supernatural revelation of the Bible. Some Christians have failed to do that where it concerns Genesis and in doing so, they seem to have forgotten the particular demands of naturalism. Naturalism does not allow for men to walk on water, multiply a kid’s lunch or raise men from the dead. Naturalism does not allow for the possibility of God. Naturalism can never entertain the possibility that He has ever acted or spoken.

Millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution is the inevitable conclusion of a man searching for answers to our origins while looking through a lens of pure naturalism. Of course, the Bible’s revelation in Genesis concerning supernatural creation and a much younger universe stands in direct contradiction their premise and its conclusions, so naturalists suppose the Bible must be wrong where it claims these supernatural things. Make no mistake: naturalists don’t just claim that the Bible is wrong in Genesis. The premise of naturalism makes the very idea of a supernaturally inspired Bible ENTIRELY wrong because the supernatural can never be considered as a possibility, be it a Deity, a miracle or the supernaturally-inspired Word of a Deity. The implication of naturalism would be that the Bible was written by fallible men who were trying to understand the universe. Likewise, naturalism could never consider that Jesus never did anything out of the ordinary, nor that He was in any way God – and certainly it could never entertain the suggestion that He rose from the dead! Naturalism implies that no God has ever acted on behalf of His people or spoke through any so-called prophets, however well-intentioned, and that no supernatural agent answers prayers now.

The Flaws of Naturalism as an Ultimate Authority

The thing is that naturalism is an assumption. All it can give us are all-natural answers that may or may not be true – and are certainly false where the supernatural was involved!

The trouble is that naturalism is also blind. It cannot tell you the supernatural does not exist or hasn’t done anything. It simply refuses to consider them as viable answers. It pretends as if the supernatural will always be irrelevant to the question and further pretends as if all-natural answers must supplant supernatural ones by virtue of being natural. If the supernatural agency was actually involved, anyone committed to naturalism would have no means to determine that they were ever wrong! So a commitment to pure naturalism becomes exactly the sort of willful ignorance Peter warned about in 2 Peter 3:3-7.

Naturalism is also inconsistent.  Those committed to naturalism must presume that nature can do supernatural things that no one has ever observed: that everything can come from nothing or comic book multiverses; that specified. complex intelligence such as that found in our DNA can come without an intelligent source; that life can come from non-life; and even that an amphibian can become a prince if we just give it enough time, chance and all that!

Hard-wired for Belief in a Supernatural Creator

Naturalism isn’t even our instinctive belief about the universe.

Research by Dr. Deborah Keleman of the University of Arizona has shown that children have this natural tendency to interpret features of the natural world things as if they have a purpose and this naturally leads to a belief in a Creator God, what has been termed “intuitive theism.

The Bible says much the same thing in several passages. For example:

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3

Romans 1:19-20 is much more bold in its declaration of intuitive theism:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

Did you catch that? There’s no excuse for ungodliness or unbelief because the Creation itself leads to intuitive theism – and as I’ve always said, if you suspect there’s a god of any sort, it’s in your best interests to see what sort of god that is and what they might expect of you!

Richard Dawkins admitted to this human tendency toward intuitive theism when he wrote that “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Of course, he believes that these things only appear to be designed. His beliefs are supported by the consensus of modern science and are taught as scientific fact in our public schools.

So the question becomes: Can we trust our instincts or do we need to lump our intuitive theism with the fairies and monsters under the bed and other childish things, grow up, and accept the cold, hard facts of the all-natural world? Or was there a reason Jesus warned us that “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” [Luke 18:17]? Is it possible that God stacked the deck in favor of theistic belief because he really is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” [2 Peter 3:9]?

More to the point: Are we the product of a benevolent Creator who spoke the cosmos and everything else into existence over the course of six calendar days about 6,000 years ago? Or are we the product of all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today taking place over the course of millions and millions of years?

Loving God Enough to Take Him at His Word

This all comes down to which authority we ultimately love more. If you love your wife, you wouldn’t trust somebody else’s word over hers unless there was a compelling reason. The God we love, the God described in the bible,  is someone who is all-powerful, knows everything, never makes mistakes and never lies, so why would we ever trust someone else’s word of His?

Churches across USAmerica and the world need to return to their first love and start trusting the God they say they love at His Word. The Bible doesn’t claim to be the work of fallible men trying to figure out God, but rather claims to be a supernatural revelation from God. The Bible doesn’t just say it contains truth; it claims it IS truth. It doesn’t make these claims lightly: its claim to supernatural revelation is authenticated by fulfilled Bible prophecy and the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We may liken the Scriptures to an infallible eyewitness account. So when naturalists make certain claims about our origins, we may say that we have a witness who says the facts should be interpreted a different way if we want to get at the truth [and not just the conclusions of naturalism]. In this way, we can calibrate our investigation of the natural world and lift the blinders naturalism would commit us to.

The Bible says that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed and that a house or kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Creationism isn’t creating division in churches; the division occurs when people abandon the ultimate authority of the Bible and the faith once delivered for another authority. Naturalism as our ultimate authority is a blind, inconsistent assumption, but can be a useful tool of investigation if calibrated against the supernatural revelation of God’s Word.

This Creation Sunday [Feb 14, 2016], lead your church and your family into a commitment to the truth of the Bible as your ultimate authority for the sake of the love you have for its Author.

Advertisements

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (Sleepy Eye, MN) 2015

Leave a comment

This video is from Creation Sunday 2015, featuring Pastor Nathaniel Mayhew at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (Sleepy Eye, MN). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8otnM5kv0Q

Celebrating Creation Sunday – Living Hope Community Church (Nescopeck, PA) 2015

2 Comments

This video is from Creation Sunday 2015, featuring Pastor Mike Makeski of Living Hope Community Church (Nescopeck, PA).

 

How Rejecting Biblical History Damned Charles Darwin

Leave a comment

defgenbookcoverYesterday, we happily supported Question Evolution Day in lieu of Darwin Day, as we have for the past few years. Of course, Biblical Creation has never been simply about questioning evolution; rather it has been about affirming the historical veracity of Genesis. Oh yes, we definitely fight against the influence of microbes-to-man evolution in our culture and, therefore, we point out the mortal flaws in the theory, so questioning evolution is a part of establishing a case for creationism; however, creationism isn’t merely a reaction against evolution.

The problem with microbes-to-man evolution is that it is the product of science chained to pure naturalism. The Biblicist recognizes the truth of God’s Word when it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. The Biblicist likewise notes that we may expect the present world to be uniform because it is upheld by God’s will and He has promised it will continue according to the processes we observe [Genesis 8:22]. Thus we may accept the assumption of uniformitarianism except where Biblical revelation reveals that these uniform processes were not the causes of past events [ie, the Creation Week, the Fall, the Flood, the origin of differing languages at babel, the miracles of the Bible, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection of Christ, etc]. We reject microbes-to-man common descent evolution because the Bible makes a positive declaration in the Creation account, the Flood account and in passages dealing with Levitical law that plants and animals were created after their kind, which implies a limit to the amount of variation an organism can undergo. In the interests of full disclosure (and to silence those who claim that creation science isn’t really a science since our science never changes in regard to new observations), one should know that creationists once supposed that a created kind was analogous to a species, but further observation has caused us to realize that this assumption was incorrect; yet we still note that a dog remains a dog, whether a wolf, English bulldog or an Australian shepherd, and recognizably so, so some level of limitation to the amount of change an organism is capable of is evident (which limitation is also implicit in the Biblical phrase “after their kind” and “according to their kind”). Creationists affirm observable speciation, mutation, adaptation and natural selection [though we affirm the latter as a preservative mechanism against the deleterious effects of the Fall (i.e., mutations) rather than the creative mechanism Darwin proposed] as variation within created kinds, and we now propose that the created kind is generally found at the family taxon.

If we begin with the fear of the Lord, we start with His Word as our ultimate authority and calibrate our observations according to its superior witness. Darwin didn’t start with the fear of the Lord. He began with the geology of Charles Lyell, whose book, Principles of Geology, Darwin brought along on his historic voyage aboard the H. M. S. Beagle. Darwin comments in his autobiography how he came to shed his Christian faith during this voyage:

“During these two years I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian…

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported,–that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,–that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,–that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,–that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses;–by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.”

We see that the reason for his loss of faith began with his rejection of Biblical history.

Darwin himself noted that the concept of theistic evolution carries with it the problem of theodicy: how can a benevolent God create through a process involving multiple mass extinction events and a process of death, mutation, suffering and more death? As Darwin objected in his autobiography:

“A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time? This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.”

By all accounts, Darwin died in his unbelief.

According to Charles Darwin’s autobiography, he was an a “theist.” The term in Darwin’s day meant someone who believed that a supernatural deity had created nature or the universe but did not intervene in the course of history, which is analogous to the modern sense of the word ‘deist.’

Darwin used the term in one famous passage in the autobiography:

“… the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker.”

In an 1879 letter, written around the same time as the autobiography and first published in Life and Letters, he writes:

“In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

Since Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” we must conclude that neither the modern-day equivalent of a deist nor an agnostic qualifies as an authentic Christian.

It didn’t have to be that way. Millions of years of molecules-to-man evolution was never a necessary interpretation of the evidence. For example, people most often recall that Robert Fitzroy and Darwin journeyed together aboard the Beagle and perhaps even that the captain gave Darwin a copy of Lyell’s Principles of Geology and just sort of assume they agreed on the matter of evolution, but when you compare the spiritual journeys of Fitzroy and Darwin, they couldn’t be more different. Thanks to Lyell’s book, Darwin saw uniformitarian geology everywhere he looked; in Fitzroy’s later journeys, he began to see the hallmarks of the Deluge in the geology he surveyed. He later denounced Darwin’s theory publicly, on numerous occasions, and begged people to believe God rather than man.

Facts are not self-explanatory. Facts must be interpreted and we generally interpret evidence according to our presuppositions. We either presuppose pure naturalism consistent with processes we observe today or supernatural agency consistent with the record of supernatural revelation found in God’s Word.

I hope you will begin with the fear of the Lord as you search out the matter. I urge you to celebrate a Creation Sunday this February 15, 2015 rather than atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s proposed Evolution Sunday. If you’re still undecided, we hope you’ll take a moment to view a short video we’ve prepared called “A Tale of Two Churches.” This cautionary tale shows how abandoning a historical Genesis undermines the Gospel itself. The video can be found at http://youtu.be/SmA_SHctzI0

Creation Sunday 2012

Leave a comment

Tim Gilleand spoke at Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church in South Bend, IN on Creation Sunday 2012. Here are some notes from his talk. Maybe they’ll give you some ideas for your own Creation Sunday sermon. ;]
-Tony Breeden, CreationSundays.com

Grace with Salt

Atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman promotes that churches hold an “Evolution Sunday” on the second Sunday in February each year to celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday.  A movement has grown to counter Zimmerman’s promotions called “Creation Sunday”.

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 I spoke at my church – Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church in South Bend, Indiana as part of our celebration of “Creation Sunday”.  I spoke about what the Bible has to say about creation, what about evolution, and why this is important.  Here are the notes from my talk:

______________________________

CREATION SUNDAY –  February 12, 2012

DAY 1 – Earth, Space, Time & Light    
Day 2 – Atmosphere    
Day 3 – Dry land & plants
Day 4 – Sun, Moon & stars    
Day 5 – Sea & Flying creatures    
Day 6 – land animals & man

 EXODUS 20:11 – “For in six days the Lord made…

View original post 454 more words

Evolution Sunday is Gearing Up for Another Year… And So Is Creation Sunday!

Leave a comment

Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

I never asked for it, but at some point atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman put me on his Clergy Letter News mailing list. The September newsletter announced the dates for Evolution Weekend 2015. On Evolution Weekend, Zimmerman urges churches to preach the compatibility of microbes-to-man evolution and religion from their pulpits and Sunday school lecterns. Actually, this year he might settle for a whole lot less, but I’ll get to that.

First, let’s see what Evolution Weekend’s founder had to say:  

“Over the past nine years, a conservative estimate is that Evolution Weekend events have reached approximately three-quarters of a million people! We’ve reached that number in person and many, many more have been educated by our events through media coverage. What an amazing thing we’ve accomplished together!

“Evolution Weekend 2015, 13-15 February 2015, our tenth anniversary, will allow us to expand our reach even further. Already, more than 165 congregations and institutions from eight countries and 39 states have signed up to participate. Check out our list by going to our Evolution Weekend 2015 web page.

“If you’re not yet on the list, please let me know and I’ll get you added immediately.

“Please remember a couple of things. First, even if you’ve signed up to participate in previous years, you must sign up this year to be listed. That’s the only way for our list to have integrity! Second, participation can take any form you deem most appropriate to raise the level of discourse about the relationship between religion and science. Third, if you can’t participate on that exact weekend, you can do so on any other! What’s most important is the discussion that you facilitate.

“So, please sign up now!” [emphasis mine]

So after a quick pep talk, he immediately begins asking for folks to sign up foe Evolution Weekend. I expected that.

I didn’t expect his three-fold reminders:

1. Participants have to sign up each year, for integrity’s sake.

That one is probably my fault.

In the days leading up to Evolution Weekend 2012,  decided to call all of the congregations from right here in West Virginia who were slated to participate in atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s infamous Evolution Weekend to confirm whether they were in fact participating. The results were a bit surprising, to say the least. Of the seven churches and synagogues listed NOT ONE was actually doing anything for Evolution Weekend. One had been listed in error. One had a schedule conflict but said they might do something the following week. And then there was the curious case of Cross Lanes Baptist…

When I contacted the pastor of this church, he was surprised to say the least. Rev. Gregory Hayes said his church had never participated in Evolution Weekend and that the contact person on the Clergy Letter Project website was merely a deacon. Regarding evolution, he stated, “That’s an argument we’re simply not interested in.”

I contacted Dr. Zimmerman regarding the error on his website and also provided him with a number to reach the church’s pastor. He responded with the following:

“I’m shocked and troubled by the information you’ve provided.  In the interest of being as conservative as possible, I’ve removed Cross Lanes UMC from our list of participants for 2012 and I’ve copied Reverend Lacaria so he can respond.  I’ll make a decision about how to proceed once I hear from him.  Again, though, in the meantime, I’ve removed Cross Lanes from our list.”

I did confirm that Cross lanes UMC has been removed from the Evolution Weekend 2012 list, but I find it odd that Zimmerman would not contact the church’s actual pastor for confirmation; instead, he says we’ll have to wait on word from the fellow who misrepresented the church he attends as a participant! Again, Cross Lanes United Methodist has been listed on the Clergy Letter Project’s website every year since Evolution Weekend 2009 as:

Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, WV
The Rev. J.F. Lacaria

Well, I spoke to the Rev. Dr. J. F. Lacaria and I asked him if Cross Lanes UMC was participating in this year’s Evolution Weekend. He replied that he wasn’t doing anything specific this year, but that he had participated in the past. When I noted that this claim oddly contradicted the pastor’s denial that Cross Lanes UMC had ever participated in Evolution Weekend, Rev. Lacaria, admitted that he did so through his adult Sunday School class and that he doubted his pastor knew about it!

2. Participation can take any form.

Seriously? So a mention in the church bulletin counts? How about simply saying, “Oh, and today is Evolution Sunday”? Would that be enough? Would that be enough to raise the level of discourse about the relationship between religion and science?

3. If you can’t participate on Evolution Weekend, you can do so on any other weekend.

Yeah, but he’s not counting those as Evolution Weekend participants, right? Because he mentioned integrity and… Nevermind. I’m sure he’d never do that (but I might make a few calls just to be sure).

Anyway, here we encourage you to celebrate a Creation Sunday instead of an Evolution Sunday. If you’re interested in adding your church to the list of Creation Sunday participants this year, send an email to creationletter@yahoo.com with the following:

_____ Yes, I want to be part of Creation Weekend 2015. Please add me to the growing list of participants.

Congregation/Institution:

City, State (Country if not USA):

Your Name:”

Also be sure to visit our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/creationsunday

And visit http://eepurl.com/8x9XL to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, Creation Sunday News

Crosstalk Radio Interviews Highlight Creation Sunday and Question Evolution Day

Leave a comment

Yesterday, Crosstalk radio host Jim Schneider interviewed Jay Seegert, co-founder and principal lecturer for the Creation Education Center, and Bob Sorenson, founder of Question Evolution Day.

The interview discussed the lies and misrepresentations of athiest Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s Christian Clergy Letter, discussed Evolution Weekend and the need to keep the Bible as our ultimate authority and starting point, and gave an invitation for viewers to learn more about the Creation Education Center, Question Evolution Day and [our thanks to Bob Sorenson] Creation Sunday.

You can listen to the MP3 audio of the broadcast and explore links relevant to the program at http://www.vcyamerica.org/blog/2013/02/06/evolution-weekend

For more information about Question Evolution Day, go to http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/p/question-evolution-video.html

For more information about the Creation Education Center, go to http://cecwisc.org

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: