Welcome to the New

I remember exactly where I was on September 11th 2001. I was leaving my biblical Hebrew class in seminary when another student approached the prof and told him what had taken place. As news of the events unfolded I remember this sinking feeling in my stomach. I felt sick. When I heard the news that the Supreme Court ruled to make gay-marriage legal, I had that same feeling. On September 11th the twin towers fell. Today, two great towers of American culture have fallen.

Where America once had great respect for moral truth, today that tower is lying in a heap of rubble. And where America once had respect for the things of God, and even had a semblance of the “Fear of the Lord” that tower also is lying in a heap of rubble. Admittedly, one has to go back at least an entire generation to find those towers standing strong. But, for the majority of American history those two towers had a profound effect on the fiber of the American Republic. America is America only with those towers standing strong.

The founders of our republic understood the necessity of religion for a functional democracy. They believed that America would only be as strong as the people had a healthy love for the virtues and principles of religious truth. Sure, they were not all evangelical Christians, as we understood the term today. But, Continue reading

The Great Deceiver, Chapter 3: The Battle for Coherency

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible (Hebrews 11:3).

During the course of life most people develop some basic discerning tools in their intellectual arsenal that help them make sense of life. When people display these tools we normally say they have “common sense.” There are some things in life that just make sense when seen in a certain way. For instance, if you are walking in the woods and find a paper-clip lying on the ground, common sense will lead you to draw the conclusion that someone dropped it there by accident. No one would draw the conclusion that the paper clip just developed on its own in the woods. That scenario just does not make any sense. Common sense develops as a result of taking the time to observe the world around you. Simple observation leads one to understand that things like paper clips do not grow in the woods.

Having begun college a little latter than my peers, I spent time in the world developing my common sense before being introduced to idea’s that attempted to turn common sense upside down. I discovered that the longer I spent in the lecture hall the more I was encouraged to believe in idea’s as silly as believing that paper clips grow in nature. The longer I spent in school the more I began to see why our culture is in a crisis. As students we were constantly being bombarded with concepts that are absurd. Let me give you a couple jewels from just one book that was hailed as great thinking from the college I attended:

… social and political analysis which shows how such belief-systems have functioned to oppress and dehumanize will be very threatening, say, to philosophers intent on justifying the truth-claims that a good God can permit evil and suffering. But if, on the other hand, the aim of philosophy of religion is to enable becoming divine, becoming our sacred sexuate selves in relation to the earth and to one another, then mathematics and rigorous applications of theories of scientific epistemology are less likely to be helpful than are psychoanalytic theory, imaginative possibilities of human becoming drawn from literature and the arts, and careful and social political analysis.

’…naturally we ended up in Christianity by inventing a God such that it is he who comes’. But God isn’t the only one who comes. ‘It is the same for Saint Theresa – you only have to go and look at Bernini’s statue in Rome to understand immediately that she’s coming, there is no doubt about it. For that matter, the ‘mystical ejaculations’ are not restricted to the classics of the Christian tradition….

Slavery, conquest, and colonialization all appealed to God, the Great White Father.

That’s one book – and only a very small sampling from that very large book that I had to pay for. Let me say that again, I was required to buy this book. Your average college student must Continue reading

The Great Deceiver, Chapter 2: The Battle for Freedom

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

One of my more memorable experiences was when I first left home after high-school and joined the army. After processing through the MEPS station and then traveling to Ft. Benning where I was to attend basic training, I soon found myself surrounded by a group of young men my age. Before long we were greeted by a raving mad drill sergeant who made it known how happy he was to see us. After we were called to attention, the drill sergeant made it clear who was in charge. I will never forget the young solider in front of me. His whole body was shaking with such violence that I thought he was going wet his pants.

I think that for most people my age being confronted with such aggressive authority was something most of us had never experienced. We all grew up in a very permissive society. We are accustomed to living in a society that puts much emphasis on individual liberty. We do not like restrictions placed upon us. We all agree that our society should be guided by the rule of law, but are not too upset when those in authority bend the rules from time to time. However, when we stood before the drill sergeant that day we all received a crash course on military authority. We learned that it is complete, covering every area of our lives.

When Desert Storm broke out, the unit I belonged to at the time was locked down for a special mission were we to invade Iraq. Thankfully our armies stopped at the border and my unit was not sent in for the mission. But, while we were waiting Continue reading

The Great Deceiver, Chapter 1: The Battle for Truth

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3)

I remember the first time I was pulled over for a speeding ticket. I was in high school. I will never forget how my heart leaped into my mouth when I saw those flashing lights behind me. The officer was not interested in having a conversation, “License and registration please” he said dryly. It was not a pleasant experience. Those radar guns have a nagging way of telling on you. Special pleading does not help. He walked back, gave me the ticket and told me to slow down. My parent’s insurance company was, no doubt, not interested in special pleading either. Pay up or ride your bike.

Life is like that. No one really complains that a police officer pulls over teenage kids driving too fast. In fact, most people are grateful for that. Kids need to learn to drive safe; and that means learning to drive by the rules, speed limits included. I’m still a student.

Radar detectors were invented to speak truth when otherwise the truth would be clouded by all the excuses inventive teenagers can muster. Unfortunately for the kid driving, the speed limit is not a suggestion, it’s the law. Black and white. You either comply or you break it. When you break the law, you pay the piper.

But, while no one today would argue with an officer about the legitimacy of a radar’s ability to accurately track speed, many people, most really, want to argue that there is no such thing as truth that should guide how we live. There are opinions, and various points of view but nothing as solid as Truth by which real things can be defined. The sad reality is that this is accepted as perfectly normal today.

I don’t know when people began to accept this en mass, Continue reading

The Great Deceiver, Intro

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Isaiah 5:20-21; Revelation 12:9)

There have been few times in history when a mass psychosis seems to have taken hold of an entire civilization. We are living in such a time. It would be interesting to go back a few generations and bring a person back into our own time and observe their reaction to where we are as a culture. I think disbelief and shock would characterize their response to our current state of affairs.

In the not too distant past right living was taught and expected. Universal truths in regard to morals and ethics were universally accepted and lived by. When those standards were broken swift consequences followed. When a man and women married they were expected to work through their problems. If an individual committed a crime they were expected to face judgment. Kids were taught to respect their elders. People were taught personal responsibility and held accountable by their peers. Lying was always wrong. Hard work was expected. The family mattered; motherhood cherished; babies were a blessing; fathers were expected to take care of their families. God was honored; His laws obeyed; and the church respected. Teachers taught kids reading, writing, and arithmetic. The police were seen as the good guys; criminals were not held up as role models; and Hollywood understood that modesty was a necessity for a moral society.

There were standards that were held on the geopolitical front as well. When the evils of Hitler’s National Socialism captivated the German people and created a mass psychosis there, the rest of the Western world acted to stop the madness. When it became clear that communist Russia was ambitious for world domination, the West, again, curtailed their advances. Today the world is no longer capable of acting against evil with decisive action. The peoples of the West have been paralyzed by political correctness and the politicization of life.

Political correctness has generated doubt in the hearts of people about right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and has even led people to obsess about their own motivations. The politicization of life has emasculated people Continue reading

The Debate

Some thoughts on tonight’s debate: Bill Nye is a very good speaker. He is very personable and inviting. He has a good sense of humor. He is very likeable. I also think that his debating skills are very good. But … he presented only one real argument. His main argument, indeed, his only argument was based on a grand presentation of doubt. He did not prove evolution. He did not debunk creationism, or a young earth. He did not prove the superiority of naturalism. He simply raised the specter of a single question: is it reasonable? He failed to prove that creationism was unreasonable. He failed to debunk any argument that Ken Ham presented. He simply exalted man’s ability to be skeptical and doubt what he does not want to accept.

At the core of Bill’s argument was the philosophical position that man’s doubt and skepticism are the ultimate authority. Notice, that while he promoted science, he only presented skepticism. Even the so called scientific arguments he presented were actually props to raise doubts about creation. For example, he presented ice cores, and said that in order for those cores to be created in four-thousand years, that there would most likely have to be around 170+ summer/winter cycles per year. However, he did not present scientific evidence that those cores are old, and that they were developed in the manner he suggested. He did not present a scientific argument based on evidence that they are as old as he said they were. He simply used an assumption that they are old (he mockingly spoke about injecting bubbles into the ice) to raise doubts that the world is young. He succeeded in that endeavor, but failed to present any real scientific argument that would have led one to a reasonable conclusion that creationism is wrong – based on evidence.

Ultimately, Bill Nye the “Science guy” is a product of his culture. Instead of promoting science, he promoted man’s ability to declare himself the sole authority on matters of truth and falsehood. Notice, he had no problem appealing to “mystery” when it was convenient to do so. But when Ken Ham appealed to God, Bill mockingly said Ken was relying on “magic.” His appeal to “mystery” however, was intended to promote the unlimited imagination and wisdom of man; and was instead to be a grand appeal to man’s ability to define the boundaries life for himself. According to Bill, an appeal to God is small and unworthy of man’s intellect. But, an appeal to mystery, and man’s ability to imagine the possibilities, is the real god that should be enshrined.

If Bill Nye proved anything, he proved that man’s quest for self-deification has only intensified since the fall (we are the universe becoming itself). I did not walk away from Bill’s arguments having gained one shred of information that was meaningful. I walked away from him with the feeling that man’s only legitimate quest is to enshrine human imagination as the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge.

In the end, he proved Ken Ham right.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

There are some things more dangerous than a loaded gun in the hands of a criminal without a conscience. Ideas. specifically bad ideas in the minds of a people who have lost their conscience. In our culture today we are swimming in an ocean of bad ideas. The problem is that we are so used to the intellectual pollution that we have forgotten what good, wholesome, healthy, God-honoring ideas are. As a result our collective conscience had died.

Bad thinking does not lead to dead ends. It leads to dead people – physically, morally and spiritually. Take abortion for instance. When a woman aborts her child, the child is not the only casualty; usually the mother is as well. The baby dies a physical death, and the mother, having already died a moral death, begins to experience spiritual death as well.

Why did mommy have an abortion? Because somewhere, someone told her that it was a good idea. Before that, some politician convinced a rogue court that it was an idea implicitly embedded into the constitution. Before that some activist convinced women that it was an idea that would promote a woman’s health. Before that, it was practiced by Continue reading

The Nation that Forgets God

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

Someone has rightly said that when a nation forgets God they are building their own gallows! A quick reading of the book of revelation confirms that observation. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that our society today is attempting to remove God from all areas of influence and authority. We are on a fast track to “forget” God. But, we need to remember that there is a high cost in doing so.

Historically it seems to be the case that the country who forgets God tends towards tyranny. Just two examples come to mind. The French revolution was really a wholesale rejection of God. It wasn’t just a rejection of the aristocracy. In the minds of the revolutionaries, the aristocracy represented an authority from God, and that could not be tolerated. So, they attempted to scrub God from every sphere of society. Instead of liberating themselves, however, they only consumed themselves at the guillotine.  Another example is seen in communist Russia. The state attempted to replace God, and the people suffered under one of the most brutal totalitarian forces the world has ever seen.

I believe there is a very real relationship between removing God from society and that society experiencing a form of slavery, as they find themselves under the boot of tyranny. But, we need to remember, it is not governments that forget God, it is the people who forget God. Governments are usually an expression of the people of the time. The French revolution was the result of the Jacobins, and communist Russia was the result of the Bolsheviks implementing Marxist ideology – both of which were atheistic in nature.

It has rightly been said that those Continue reading

Response to Bill Nye, the “Science Guy”

Does teaching Creationism hurt science? Of course not! I think the “Science Guy’s” reflexive response brings into question his true credentials as a scientist. Since when does science seek a monopoly on a particular idea? The whole scientific enterprise, when done properly, seeks to disprove idea’s not hide behind rhetoric. That’s what peer review is all about. Someone presents a hypothesis, and everyone tries to disprove it. When they have failed, the hypothesis becomes a theory. The scientists who promote evolution seem to have a problem. They do not want any competing alternative to their hypothesis. The fact is that there are scientists who engage in scientific research who can show evidence for a young earth. So, why not hear them out? Could it be that there is in fact scant evidence behind the hypothesis of evolution? And could it be that they do not want the public to see that there is real evidence for an alternative point of view?

The reality is that evolution is more of a philosophy. Any scientific “research” is always done with some very important qualifications in place. For example, when evolutionary scientists approach something that might be deemed evidence for evolution, they always begin with the philosophical commitment that the earth is really, really old. But, what if the evidence says otherwise? Because of their prior commitment to their “belief” in an old earth, they will not consider anything that tells them something different. The reality is that the hypothesis of evolution has almost no tangible evidence. Everything that is presented as such is usually clouded with a heavy dose of philosophical fussy language. When all the hypothetical meanderings are cleared away what is left is something that is far removed from true scientific evidence. Evolution rests on creative rhetoric, nothing more.

And as to the Science Guy’s ill-conceived rhetoric that studying the Bible will “Hurt” science, or those who study it, he forgets two important things. First, it was Bible believing Christians who began much of the scientific enterprise to begin with. For example, Sir Isaac Newton said that doing science was “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” Because he believed in a rational God who can clearly communicate, Newton believed that the universe must be rational, and therefore subject to rational inquiry. Second, the philosophical theory of evolution has “hurt” more people than every other “ism” combined. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche considered the practical consequences of evolution and discovered that if life is an accident, then there is no foundation for ethics, truth, or morality. Instead he proposed the “Superman.” No not the guy in the blue cape who can leap tall buildings, but instead the guy in the military uniform who can subdue others to his will. The man who attempted to perfect Nietzsche’s idea was named Adolf Hitler. Hitler is a direct consequence of the very bad philosophical influence of Natural Evolution.

No, evolution is a bad idea with no real scientific support. And it is itself an idea that has proven to bring true pain and suffering into God’s beautiful creation.

The Essential Ingredient

When reading about the last days in the Bible, it is obvious that those times will be perilous. The sobering reality is that those times are the product of spiritual degeneration. Unfortunately the church will not be immune from the surrounding depravity, but God has warned the church ahead of time (2 Tim 3:1-9).

It is the Lord’s desire that the church remain strong and vibrant. Historically, when the culture has denied God and walked away from Christ (as we are witnessing today) the church has ironically become stronger. God has done some of His best work through a church struggling with its surrounding spiritual climate.

I believe the reason is because all pretenses for hypocrisy are removed. When the culture claims to be Christian, many pretenders flood the pews. But with the collapse of a Christian culture, they have no reason to seek approval by claiming to be something they are not.

The good news is that when the church grows in this environment, it begins to grow the way God intended … by conversion. People join the church because they truly have been saved, and as a result, are fully committed to following Christ – no matter the cost.

A great example of this can be seen in China. After the communists took power, they threw out all Western missionaries. However, their absence did not prevent God from working. They planted the seeds and God showed up to reap a harvest – and what a harvest! Today the underground Chinese church is probably the strongest single church in the world, claiming over 100 million strong – and this is an environment hostile to the gospel.

Their strength, however, is not only seen in their staggering numbers as much as in the spiritual vitality of its members. If one wants to see a living embodiment of a church that resembles the books of Acts, one to need look no farther than the Chinese church.

What is the lesson for us in all that? Several, I suspect, but an important one stands out. Our spiritual vitality, and therefore ability to succeed as a church, is not dependent upon cultural acceptance and our ability to adapt to it (with all its many crude forms: dress, music, property, etc.), but upon a willingness to be authentic before God. As has been said by others, “Never underestimate what God can do through one person fully committed to Christ.” In a hostile culture one has to do some serious soul searching before committing to Christ. Once that commitment is made, it’s made to Christ no matter the culture.

The reality is that God can change the world through a single person whose sole desire is to glorify Him by accomplishing His will. Cultural accretions only hinder the gospel. Personal commitment to the gospel transforms culture every time. Although our culture is rapidly falling away from the things of God, our personal commitment to Christ will have the result of transforming our culture for Christ.