The Beginning…

I will admit, I am a little behind in this portion of my blog. I will do the best to catch it up to speed. This year has been a busy year to say the least. God has blessed us so much in a short period of time it is amazing. It has not been huge blessings, rather many short blessings over this period. This portion of the blog will be used to document what God is doing through Faith Family and Fellowship.

Many may disagree with me on particular subjects and reasoning, but there should be no disagreements on the final outcome. Through my studies, prayer, reading scripture I began seeing things that was wrong in the global church. Focusing in my area I saw many members walking out of church on Sunday’s with their head hung low. Why are Christians leaving church down and out? Certainly, one will not argue that there is conviction and the Christian plays a part in that, but the church does also. Why are we, as church leaders, letting them walk out with their heads hung low? Church leaders are just as much at fault as the Christian themselves. When I walk into a church I am focused on what God has for me. It may sound selfish, but I am seeking. Through worship, bible study, and preaching there should be no reason I walk out destroyed. “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). If all the church leaders are obeying God, then when a Christian walks out dejected, it is their own fault. This is one area God has placed on me to change.

It is easy as a Pastor to tell myself I done all I could do, but let’s be honest. At what point has a church leader done all they could do. I find many leaders do the bare minimum and call it good. Preach a sermon, teach a bible lesson, and pray for them. That is the bare minimum. I want to make it my personal mission to not do the bare minimum and share with others what it means to go above and beyond.

What does above and beyond look like? Let’s assume we have those previous qualities down pat, and build from that. It all begins with early morning service, before anyone arrives. Has the pastor prayed over his sermon and made sure it is what God has wanted, not him or herself. Has the pastor given his bible study teachers, deacons, ushers, etc… the tools needed to be successful. It is imperative that the pastor keeps touch with those on a regular basis to assure that they have those tools and they are doing ok, personally. Christianity is not a Sunday and Wednesday operation. Everyday these people are to be prayed for and have direction in their personal lives.

Next, has these individuals prayed over their materials and lessons and jobs to make sure it is all God and not all of them. As people start filing in what is the persona of your study rooms and sanctuary? Believe it or not as people begin to file in the persona can influence each member and visitor. If taps is playing in the background you should expect a dejected, sorrowful mindset. On the other hand if you have laughing and smiles, then you should expect excited and happy people. Spending time in fellowship before service is a great opportunity to build relationships. Even taking time to have coffee and snacks before builds a positive surrounding.

Music, and I have taken the brunt of both sides of this subject and I assure you there is no wrong way to approach this. The old “red-backed” Hymnal’s have their place. If one church cleaves to them, than that is fine as long as they are serving the purpose, worship to God. The Bible is constant that hymns are to be sung to God, praise and honor showed to Him. With that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with other forms of Christian music. I find that music can dictate a Christian’s attitude before, during, and after service. The question becomes, does the church want to sing praises to uplifting and praising music? Myself, personally, I want to sing uplifting music to God. Remember Christians, we are not defeated but have victory over sin and death! If we believe we have that victory, we need to sing like it.

Which leads to the focus of the church. It is an area that has been neglected for years. Discipleship. The church has focused on evangelism so hard and long, it seems we have neglected discipleship. Don’t get me wrong, the church still needs to evangelize, but there has to be discipleship before evangelism. So many times I have read or heard that a person makes a public confession and was baptized only to see their road end there. The church needs to invest in its people. Personally, we should mimic the New Testament church as it first exploded on the scene. Jesus did not sit in a church with 250,000 members and teach and preach. Jesus invested in the 11 and those 11 invested in others which in turn started churches and invested in others. It is simple multiplication. If the pastor invests in his deacons and bible teachers and they invest in those they come in contact with then our churches would be overfilled.

This is where I have been led to Faith Family and Fellowship. To strip away unnecessary and binding problems and get back to the basics. I want to know at the end of the day I have invested in discipling at least one and allow that one to disciple two etc… It is not what you wear or how you look but your heart that matters. That is what matters to Jesus and it is your heart that matters to me. It is my prayer that churches see us or reads this and change their ways. Once we cut loose the chains we have placed on God’s hands we can begin to walk out of churches with our heads, heart, and hands lifted high.

As far as Faith Family and Fellowship, I want to document what I see God doing with us as we grow in Christ. We started in a one bedroom apartment, which I call the upper room, and we meet in a living room and our house from time to time. We have between 10-15 people so far and the Spirit is moving. While we are looking for a permanent home for us, it has not been easy but we have had a few areas open up in which we are in prayer. I ask that anyone reading this pray for us as we continue to grow and the needs are met and guidance.

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Its A Raining And The Door Is A Closing….

“And those that came, male and female, of every living thing, came as God had commanded him. And Yahweh shut the door behind him” (Gen 7:16).

 

 

While I should be working on homework, I have learned that when God gives you something, you better get it down unless you have a great memory. I do not have a great memory, therefore I have to write it down.

 

We have all heard the phrase, “when a door shuts another opens or when a door shuts there is an open window” or something along those lines. Meaning that when we think we are left locked up in a situation there God will open another door for us to move through, preferably something better. Wishful thinking, but that is rarely the case because there are times we shut the door or go running to another open door without considering God’s wishes. Personally speaking, I have rushed through doors more times than waiting to see what door God wants me to pursue. The older I get the wiser I would like to think I am, and as many will attest we must always look for God’s guidance and what doors He wants us to walk through. Once you know, and believe me you will know, then your pursuit to that door should be swift.

 

Noah and his family was ordered to walk through a door that meant the rest of humanity would be left out, because of their wickedness. If we put ourselves in Noah’s shoes, we can say that we would hesitate knowing what was going to happen to neighbor Nancy. Noah kept building diligently spreading the word when he could and I am sure he endured all types of ridicule and pressure to just give up. Noah knew God wanted them through that door. All Noah had to do was build the ark and be on the inside of that door. Noah did not even have to close the door. The unknown may have plagued Noah, as far as knowing how they were to survive or make it afterwards, even though Noah still made sure he and his family was on the inside.

 

As Christians, we all are working on the ark. We should be spreading the Gospel, and warning those of the impending flood, metaphorically speaking. As we walk the walls of life there will be times we enter a door God did not intend, and other times fighting going through doors God did intend. As we grow older and wiser, we know to ignore the worldly doors and keep our focus on the godly doors and the hesitation becomes smaller and smaller. The conclusion I have come to, we hesitate less because we have had a taste of the godly side of things and we want more.

 

What does all this mean? I have no clue other than someone or someone’s needed to read this. The answer is in there. Concerning Christians, there are too many “self-proclaiming Christians” standing in the rain “ohhhhing and awwwwing” and I promise you, one day the door will be closed. For others, perhaps a door is closing or has closed. Do not fear, the other side of that door, like Noah’s, led to a whole new world full of promises and blessings. For a few, this may mean to just keep building, nothing ever worth anything was or will be easy, the road to the Cross proves that. If I have missed any, I know God will fill in the blanks.

 

-Pastor Robb

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Wisdom is Necessary

Wisdom is Necessary

“If the ax is blunt but one does not sharpen its edge, he must exert more effort, but the advantage of wisdom is it brings success. If the snake bites before the charming, the snake charmer will not succeed”[1] (Ecclesiastes 10:10–11).

            All my life I have been taught that if I want something, I need to work for it. Hard work is a value that many of us perhaps learned early in life. From the hay fields to working at Hardees; the value of those jobs are held to low standards, at least during my teenage years. I looked at those jobs as space fillers earning the least amount of money. It was not until later I realized I was gaining skills from those jobs. As I am now older, I see that hard work and skills was not the only thing that is needed to strive in this world. When I joined the Air Force at the age of 27, I seen what else was needed to have a successful and easier life. During basic training, I was the second oldest in my flight. Through the next year of training I watched the younger members do some ignorant things, some resulting in article 15’s and some being discharged. I wondered why do those things, why go out drinking or do drugs after all that hard work? The answer was simple, they had no wisdom.

I seen the worst in some people during those years and no matter how frustrated I got with them I could not get some to understand. As with my children now, those low standard jobs I had in which I cared less for, taught me some very valuable lessons. Do not expect the best and nicest of things when we start out, rather take every bit of knowledge we can from every job and life experience and apply them. That is how wisdom is gained. Hard work and skill can get us to a point in life. If we want to succeed, we have to have wisdom.

God granted Solomon all types of riches because Solomon asked for the most important characteristic, wisdom (2 Chronicles 1; 1 Kings 3). God placed and still places high value on wisdom. It is important as Christians to seek and have wisdom. Wisdom teaches us, which in turn we share with our children and grandchildren.

A Christian life is the same way. Some things we learn from others, some we learn through experience, but nonetheless, it is all wisdom. As we walk the Christian life and want to consider it a successful life, hard work and skills are necessary but only a part of the equation. Wisdom is needed for it to be successful. As men we need to stress that aspect just as much as we stress hard work and obtaining skills.

-Pastor Robb

“A wise old owl sat in an oak;

The more he saw the less he spoke;

The less he spoke the more he heard;

Let’s try to imitate that bird.”[2]

 

 

If you want to accept Jesus Christ into your life, simply bow your head and repeat these words from the heart,

“Dear God I know I’m a sinner, I know I am not where I want to be, and I want your forgiveness!  I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins and rose again and is alive today!

Please wash me clean from all sin, shame, and guilt, come into my life Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  I ask this in your name Jesus.

Amen!”

*Next find yourself a Bible believing church where there are real people with real problems who aren’t afraid to admit that.  And that they know how to take these real problems to God.

*Take time to read from the Bible, if you want, you can start with the Gospel of John and then the book of Romans in the New Testament.

 

 

 

 

[1]  Harris, W. Hall, III, Elliot Ritzema, Rick Brannan, Douglas Mangum, John Dunham, Jeffrey A. Reimer, and Micah Wierenga, eds. The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012.

[2] Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1613.

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Secular Humanism

Introduction

Secular humanism is not evil in itself and even scriptural, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (Matt 6:26).[1] When this belief detours and becomes atheistic is when pantheistic and naturalistic views of the world and mankind are adopted.

Secular humanism denies the existence of God and believes each human being are their own god. Secular humanism in its belief and theories are erroneous, unsound, and dangerous. Where secular humanism fails, Christianity succeeds, by using the historical evidence supporting the Word of God and logically solving mankind’s existence, morality, and destiny. Proving secular humanism’s view of relativism, morals, and evolution to be contentious at best.

Summary of Secular Humanism

            Humanism, as it was first titled, seeks to provide a nontheistic train of thought to explain the origins of the universe, human beings, morals, ethics, and seeks to provide a natural explanation for supernatural events and counter beliefs in a divine being. The term “secular” was added to the name humanism in the 20th century to distinguish it from other religious forms of humanism. J. Gordon Melton, author of Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, defines humanism as “Humanists are naturalists and as such do not accept the existence of any metanatural laws or principles, that is, laws or principles that transcend the natural realm, or of supernatural entities (gods, spirits, demons, and the like) beyond the material universe.”[2] Secular humanist’s believe every miracle, supernatural event, and mythical event has a logical and natural explanation which does not involve God.

If one searched for the foundation of secular humanism, one would find philosophical naturalism to be foundation on which it stands. Naturalism, secular humanisms foundation, believes that natural laws is the only thing that governs the world and actions. There is no supernatural being(s) or other forces that exist. Dan Story, author of Christianity on the Offense declares,

“Secular humanists, by virtue of adhering to the evolutionary philosophy of naturalism, see human beings as the ultimate value in the universe. There is no sovereign, creator God who upholds and governs all things according to His will. Human beings are the pinnacle of evolution. We alone are self-aware and capable of ethical behavior. The human mind is master of the universe, or at least potentially so, and all knowledge is within our grasp. With this power, we control our destiny; we create our ethics; we write our laws; we determine all social and cultural behavior; we are autonomous and self-sufficient. In short: “Man is the measure of all things.”[3]

 

Secular humanists develop their morals and ethics through critical reasoning and that no other organization should impose their beliefs and views upon the world. The existence of the universe and human life is purely by natural forces which is understood by science. Secular humanism recognizes the positive influence religion has had on society, yet refuses to find truth in the theological claims. Reason and science are the major guns of secular humanism, and with recognition of human fallibility, secular humanisms principles are left open to modifications.

Paul Kurtz, author of In Defense of Secular Humanism, founder of many secular humanists foundations, and is often known as the “Father of Secular Humanism,” notices the need for morality and ethics in life and claims that, “Ethics was developed long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority.”[4] In light of this, secular humanists looks to other humans to solve human problems instead of looking for a god to solve problems.

Relativism is affiliated with secular humanism. Absolutes are fictitious and the only morals are manmade not given by God. For example, humans are justified with ones morals, values, truths, and ethics which are relative to one’s culture. What is true and just for one human being may not be the exact same as what is true and just to another.

The sacred text which is followed by secular humanists are called the Human Manifesto’s. There are three which were written in 1933, 1973, and 2003. The first Human Manifesto gives fifteen declarations. According to the American Humanists Associations, where Kurtz was a founder, Humanists look upon the universe as always existing and that mankind is part of nature. Humanists dismiss mind and body dualism and there is no belief in any supernatural guarantees of human values. Humanism also purses self-satisfying fulfillments in the moment. Humanism also affirms that all colleges, university, and other educational institutions are to fulfill mankind.[5] “Lastly, humanism will: (a) affirm life rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life, not flee from them; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of a satisfactory life for all, not merely for the few. By this positive morale and intention humanism will be guided, and from this perspective and alignment the techniques and efforts of humanism will flow.”[6]

Human Manifesto II came about forty years later because, according to the American Humanists Association, “events since then make that earlier statement seem far too optimistic…and as we approach the twenty-first century, however, an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed.”[7] In this particular manifesto, it reaffirms the previous with updated affirmations concerning faith, ethics, the individual, democratic society, world community, and humanity as a whole. In 2003, Human Manifesto III was developed reaffirming the previous manifestos and declaring its aspirations.[8] It is suggested that one reads the previous two manifesto’s to gain knowledge and a clear picture of a humanists declaration.

Evaluation of Secular Humanism

Evolution is one corner stone in secular humanism. Evolution is defined as all living things evolving from earlier natural and simpler processes and are normally grouped in three categories, cosmic, biological, and chemical evolution. Cosmic evolution, the simplest of the three, states the universe always existed and matter is eternal. Cosmic evolution develops a serious problem. It can be said that science has never experienced life forming from non-life. This also violates the Principle of Causality which states, “Every effect has a cause.”[9] William Burt Pope calls cosmic evolution a “Bold hypothesis, sustained by mathematical science, has assumed that elementary matter existed in a highly attenuated state, for the expression of which every material word is too gross.”[10] Simply stated, any beginning can be calculated, but so can its end. This is in agreement with the Law of Thermodynamics which states, energy can change but it cannot be created or destroyed. Simply put, energy and matter does not have the ability to create nor destroy itself. The Nebular Hypothesis, which hypothesizes the beginning of the cosmos, presents itself consistent with the scripture found in Genesis concerning the beginning and it is not inconsistent with the scriptural prophecies concerning the end of the world. Where Immanuel Kant and Pierre-Simon Laplace fail is presenting a hypothesis concerning the beginning of the universe but unraveling a series of other unexplainable questions. Pope issues a few questions,

“Whence the forces residing in matter? Whence the beautiful order into which it falls? Whence the variety of elementary substances with all their endowments of gravitation, chemical affinity, and magnetic attraction? And how could these evolve the minds that make them all objective, and, by becoming their historians, show that they are themselves of another and a higher order?”[11]

 

This would show the secular humanist view of cosmic evolution as a fallacy and unanswerable without God and believing He created the cosmos.

Chemical evolution insists that natural laws explain the first origins of life. Norman Geisler explains the chemical evolution theory as,

“The theory is that shortly after the earth was cooled enough to allow it, the combination of hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and carbon dioxide reacted to form elementary amino acids, which in time developed into the DNA chains and finally into cells. This process is said to have taken several billion years and the extra energy of the sun, volcanic activity, lightning, and cosmic rays was needed to keep the process going.”[12]

 

Even after the fact that fellow scientist Louis Pasteur proved that life could not form out of non-life, by sterilizing a container killing all bacteria, naturalistic scientists still affirm that life did form from non-life in the beginning. Naturalistic chemical evolutionist’s theory contradicts life experience. It also violates the principle of causation, that life cannot form from non-life and Pasteur’s experiment proved that principle to be true. Like cosmic evolution, this theory leaves many more questions to be answered that simply cannot be answered without God. Such as, in the experiments that naturalistic scientists theorize on, why is some gases used and not others. Should there not be an intelligent designer to employ such gases. Even at the scientific level there is intelligence being used to create such experiments. Naturalistic scientists believe the conditions on earth in the beginning were perfect, which led to the “big bang” and life was formed. Geisler brings up two important problems that cannot be ignored,

“Since the experiment will not work with oxygen present, it was assumed that the earth’s early atmosphere had no oxygen. But this is now known to be false. That fact in itself is sufficient to falsify the experiment and the chemical evolution theory. Further, as even many chemical evolutionists admit, chemicals in the concentration used in the experiment are not found anywhere on earth.”[13]

 

In regards to the second Law of Thermodynamics, the energy from the sun that would be needed would destroy the substances needed to produce life, not to mention the oxygen. The components needed for life would have destroyed itself faster than it could have produced them. As Geisler puts it, “It is easy to pump a lot of energy into a system at random to make it hot, but to organize it and create information requires intelligence.”[14]

Biological evolution, perhaps the most difficult, is the explanation of continuing life forms. This form of evolution has developed two separate categories in its explanation. The first category is micro-evolution, where different life forms adapt to their environment. The second category, macro-evolution, where the one cell microbe evolved into man over a period of a billion years. Kurtz admits that evolution is not infallible (yet) and there may be differences among the sciences concerning some of the minor workings, but the weight of evidence supporting evolution is so strong that evolution is difficult to dismiss.[15]

Micro-evolution is not highly debatable since it has been proven. It can be seen in various life forms over the years. Cats for example, there are many different types of cats but in the end they are all felines. The differences in their breed has evolved over time. Another example, as a person sprays Raid, it may kill many of the insects, but over time the insects will evolve and develop an immune system against Raid, then some different type of insecticide will need to be used to kill of the pests. Macro-evolution on the other hand is considered more speculative science than empirical science. Macroevolution has yet to been proven and still sits in a theoretical state. Certainly, micro-evolution can be observed, but never has it made the large leap into a single cell microbe to evolve into a human being. There is no way to input the amount of new genetic information needed to prove macro-evolution. Simply put, sharks may have different size fins and bodies, but never have any grown wings to fly.

Secular humanists hold tight to relativism. Simply put, there are no absolute truths because what may be true for one individual may not hold true to another. Relativism poses all types of problems that causes a secular humanism to fail. If one presents the case that there is no absolute truth and all is relative, the famous rebuttal will ensue, “if that is true, how can you state an absolute truth statement?” Relativism provides a world of no wrong answers and a world full of contradictions. This view also creates an immoral world. How can one country put to death a murderer if he or she believes it is ok to murder? Secular humanists move around this query with the belief that morals are manmade laws. Though this statement does create an unsuccessful attempt to answer the question, it ignores the basis of the question. How can one country create a moral where another has no morals? If a person is raised with no morals and has no subjective feelings against murder, but the country has a moral against murder and that person murders someone, where does he or she stand? According to the relativists, the murderer is right in his or her belief to murder even though another may be against murder. It violates the law of non-contradiction as well. If Richard Dawkins claims there is no God, and Billy Graham states there is a God, these two statements cannot be true. There either is a God or there is not a God.

The Christian Alternative

Where secular humanism leads into nothingness, has no hope of a future, and offers many hypothesis and theories, Christianity offers hope, eternity, and an explanation to the origins of the universe and all life forms. Christianity gives human beings a purpose on earth and simply not to satisfy ones desires to the fullest before entering into the realm of nothingness.

Looking at the texts that is used in defending each view, the Bible states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Secular proof of the Bible has been proven in various ways, the most compelling is found in Joseph P. Free’s book, Archaeology and the Bible. Throughout his book Free investigates archaeological discoveries and compares them to the Bible, finding that those discoveries prove true in the Bible.[16] The Human Manifestos was written in 1933, 1973, and 2003 by fallible men. Furthermore, secular humanism cannot hold to objective morals and attest there is no God. However, Paul states,

“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)” (Romans 2:12–15).

 

The law is “written on their hearts,” meaning there was objective morals present that was placed there not by man but by God. C. S. Lewis goes on to formulate an argument in the basic form in Mere Christianity, 1. Moral laws signify a Moral Law Giver. 2. There is an objective moral law. 3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.”[17]

The Bible states, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen 1:26). The previous verses shows a distinction from animals who were not created in the image of God, and man who is created in the image of God. Therefore, it is illogical for man to evolve from animals which was created in a lesser form. Further in the Bible, David affirms his beginning, “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see” (Ps 94:9). Later in the New Testament Jesus affirms God’s creations, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Later, Paul, a man who died for his belief in God, states, “And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45).

Furthermore, there is evidence of Intelligent Design in human beings. Stephen C. Meyer, a philosopher of science and author of, Signature in the Cell, states that the main argument in his book is, “If we trace information back to its source, we always come to a mind, not a material process. So the discovery that DNA codes information in a digital form points decisively back to a prior intelligence.”[18] Creationism does not violate the principle of causation since God is the cause of the universe and all life forms. Science also affirms this, abiding by the second law of thermodynamics, since the universe is closed, the amount of energy is decreasing, it follows that the universe is not eternal.

Relativism fails for a number of reasons. It is immoral. If man truly determined morals and values, laws would be insignificant and human rights would be null and void. Relativism remains illogical and as Story states, “Like pluralism as a whole, it takes blatantly contradictory truth-claims and states that both are correct. This is logically impossible. Christianity and pantheism cannot both reveal the true nature of God because their respective Gods are conspicuously different.”[19] Relativism is inconsistent, as no one can live relativism daily. Furthermore, research has shown that no matter the religion, culture, or society, all held to some perception of right and wrong and accepted a moral code.

A Defense of Christianity

Since many of the other topics are argued for Christianity the focus here is to look upon two other subjects that could surface in the case for secular humanism and Christianity. Evil, one category that, more times than not, falls into God’s lap as proof that He does not exist or He is something other than perfect. Augustine of Hippo writes, “Accordingly, there is nothing of what we call evil, if there be nothing good. But a good which is wholly without evil is a perfect good. A good, on the other hand, which contains evil is a faulty or imperfect good; and there can be no evil where there is no good.”[20] Two things to understand from Augustine’s quote, first, you cannot have evil and good at the same time. A murderer may help an old lady cross the street, and at that point in time there is good, even though he committed a heinous crime one hour before. Second, as all can agree, darkness is simply the absence of light. Therefore, it is logical to assume that evil is the absence of good. Since God created everything and called it “good” (Gen 1), than something happened that took the good away. Simply put, the fallacy of man took the good away. Therefore, it is not God’s desire or fault that evil exists, it is mankind that is to blame. Carl F. H. Henry, author of God, Revelation, and Authority, explains the problem another way as he quotes John S. Feinburg, “God could have miraculously eradicated evil by intervening at any of the aforementioned junctures. But since ‘man would not always know when his actions would lead to evil,’ life as humans pursue it would then be an unpredictable jumble constantly threatened by uncertainty…’would we really desire or expect God’ to so totally alter human life by sporadically paralyzing bodily movement, intention, desire or volition?”[21] God did not create mankind to perform as robots, rather He gave us the tools to bear good fruit (Matt 7:17), leaving mankind to determine which path he or she would take. True love is given not forced.

Perhaps the most popular and highly debated issue is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The problem lies not with Jesus’ existence, rather, did He really raise from the dead. One must begin by looking at the apostles attitudes while Jesus lived. Those that walked with Jesus. After Jesus died there is an obvious change in demeanor. Take Peter for example, he was not zealous until after Christ’s resurrection. If one was to debate this issue, one would have to explain his attitude. Certainly, one attitude change would not be very strong but consider each apostle who walked with Christ. Each one died for their belief that Jesus was who He said He was and was resurrected from the dead. The next proof to look at has to be the amount of witnesses. Paul reports, “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:6). Many have tried saying it was a hallucinogen that everyone took to cause this appearance, but logic would conclude this to be false because of the impossibility of each person having the same hallucination. Furthermore, logic would conclude if the resurrection was false, someone in the five hundred would have reneged after seeing Stephen martyred (Acts 7:54-60).

Conclusion

The foundation of secular humanism is feeble. It crumbles compared to the foundation of Christianity. One must take into consideration the documents supporting each view and the people involved in writing the documents. Certainly, humans were involved in the writing of both sources, but the Bible was inspired by God. Secular humanism’s view of relativism falls very short and creates moral havoc upon mankind, almost leading it to a form of circular reasoning. Objective morals do not exist with secular humanists even though they try to claim they have objective morals. Secular humanists morals seem more subjective than objective. Rejecting God’s hand in morals is rejecting objective morals. Cosmos, chemical, and biological evolution continues to falter when explain the universe, first man, and continuous life. Secular humanism leaves too many unanswered or at best, uncertain answers to the major questions. Christianity gives logical and probable answers to those questions leaving Christianity, the only viable option. Any continuous belief upon secular humanism leads to a heart problem not a head problem.

 

Bibliography

 

Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto I. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

———. Human Manifesto II. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_II (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

———. Human Manifesto III. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

Free, Joesph P. Archaeology and the Bible. Zondervan, 1992.

 

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

 

Henry, Carl F. H. God Revelation and Authority. Vol. 6. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999.

 

Hippo, Augustine of. The Enchiridion. Vol. 3, in St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises, edited by Phillip Schaff, translated by J. F Shaw, 241. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1887.

 

Kurtz, Paul. In Defense of Secular Humanism. Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983.

 

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity . New York: MacMillian, 1960.

 

Magazine, Biola. Can DNA Prove the Existance of a Intelligent Designer. Summer 2010. http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/ (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

Melton, Gordon, J. “Council for Secular Humanism.” Edited by Gordon J Melton, & Martin Baumann. Religions of the World (Gale Virtual Reference Libary) 2, no. 2 (2010): 814-15.

 

Pope, William Burt. A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical. Vol. 1. 3 vols. London: Beveridge and Co, 1879.

 

Story, Dan. Christianity on the Offense:Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spirituality Seekers. Grand Rapids , MI: Kregel Publications, 1998.

 

 

[1]  Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible reference in this paper are to The New King James Version (NKJV) (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).

 

[2] Gordon J. Melton. “Council for Secular Humanism.” Edited by Gordon J Melton, & Martin Baumann. Religions of the World (Gale Virtual Reference Library) 2, no. 2 (2010): 814-15.

[3] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 136.

 

[4] Paul Kurtz. In Defense of Secular Humanism. (Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983), 17

 

[5] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto I. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[6] Ibid.

 

[7] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto II. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_II (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[8] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto III. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[9] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 120.

 

[10] William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical, Volumes 1-3, vol. 1 (London: Beveridge and Co., 1879), 402.

[11] William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical, Volumes 1-3, vol. 1 (London: Beveridge and Co., 1879), 403.

 

[12] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 229.

[13] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 229.

 

[14] Ibid.

 

[15]Paul Kurtz. In Defense of Secular Humanism. (Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983), 20.

 

[16] Joseph P. Free. Archaeology and the Bible. Zondervan, 1992.

 

[17] C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York: McMillian, 1960.

 

[18] Magazine, Biola. Can DNA Prove the Existence of an Intelligent Designer. Summer 2010. http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/ (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[19] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 32.

 

[20] Augustine of Hippo, “The Enchiridion,” in St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. J. F. Shaw, vol. 3, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1887), 241.

 

[21] Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, vol. 6 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 271.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Brusque on the Resurrection of Christ.

* I had completed a short discussion on the resurrection if Christ and I wanted to share. Some of the information I had knew, but there was some I had come across that made valid points that I never knew. This is a very short piece, and prayerfully someone can draw some knowledge from it. Thank you and God bless. *

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ happens to be my favorite topic. Its value to Christianity is of the upmost importance, which is an understatement. It is the spindle where Christianity spins freely. Without the resurrection, Christianity is no more than what every other religion claims. Furthermore, if one takes away or disproves the resurrection it portrays Christ as a false teacher which leaves the New Testament to be picked apart and perceived as a fairy tale. Paul states the significance of the resurrection as “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Following this further, any important piece of knowledge or direction is often repeated in various ways and the resurrection is mentioned, “Directly one hundred and four or more times in the New Testament”.[1] Certainly, something that is not considered so important would not be mentioned so many times.

Defending the resurrection is very important to Christianity. If the claims and resurrection of Christ is proven, it greatly improves the chances of the existence of God and His Word as being truth. The defense of Christ’s resurrection is broken into four important factors, Christ’s death, His empty tomb, His resurrection, and the disciple’s transformation.

Historical evidence proves Christ was indeed crucified. Outside the biblical evidence, Michael Gleghorn quotes, a Roman historian by the name of Tacitus who wrote, “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus.”[2] Josephus, a Jewish historian in the first century wrote,

“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him.  On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”[3]

 

Due to space constraints I will only mention the Babylonian Talmud and Lucian as reputable documentation to support the evidence of Christ’s death.

The empty tomb is another piece of evidence to examine. Several factors to remember according to Groothuis is that the story was not exaggerated and in fact women, who was considered with low reputation, found the empty tomb. Furthermore, the recorded Jewish story concocted to suggest the disciples stole Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:11-15), proves that the tomb was empty.[4]

Regarding the postmortem appearances, the New Testament records twelve separate appearances over a period of forty days including, Mary Magdalene, Mary and other women, Peter, two disciples, ten apostles, eleven apostles, seven apostles, all of the apostles, five hundred disciples, James, all the apostles again, and Paul (John 20:10-18; 24-31;21; Matthew 28:1-10;16-20, Luke 24:34;13-35;36-49, Acts 1:4-8;9:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:5;6;7;8;9:1).

Naturalistic explanations have been offered to suggest something other than what Jesus claimed which include hallucination, conspiracy, or simply someone stole the body of Christ. The hallucination theory seems to be the furthest one out there since there were so many witnesses and each would have to have the same hallucination. For the Christian conspiracy theory to work, every Christian would have to hold to the secret that Christ did not die and be willing to die for that cause seems nonsensical and without motive. The stolen body theory may have been the closest theory to even be considered until one discovers that grave robbers would not have touched Jesus’s body since Jesus was not rich or would have had expensive adornments on Him. Not to mention anyone thinking of stealing Jesus’ body would have gotten past skilled and trained guards and since the Jews developed a cover story to implement the disciple’s leaves this theory very suspicious.[5]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Gleghorn, Michael. Ancient Evidence for Jesus from non Christian Sources. 2001. http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4223639/k.567/Ancient_Evidence_for_Jesus_from_NonChristian_Sources.htm (accessed April 29, 2014).

 

Groothuis, Douglas. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, IL: APOLLOS, 2011.

 

Torrey, R. A. Chapter XIV: The Certainy and Importnace of the Bodily Ressurection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. Vol. 2. Bellingham, WA: LOGOS Bible Software, 2005.

 

Yamauchi, Edwin. “Jesus Outside the New Testament: What is the Evidence.” Edited by Michael Wilkins, J. P. Moreland, & John P. Meier. Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholorship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Zondervan) 52 (1990): 76-103.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] R. A. Torrey, Chapter XIV: The Cerainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), 298.

[2] Michael Gleghorn. Ancient Evidence for Jesus from non Christian Sources. 2001. http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4223639/k.567/Ancient_Evidence_for_Jesus_from_NonChristian_Sources.htm (accessed April 29, 2014).

 

[3] Edwin Yamauchi, “Jesus Outside the New Testament: What is the Evidence?” in Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, edited by Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, Zondervan, 1995, 212-14 and John P. Meier, “Jesus in Josephus: A Modest Proposal,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 52 (1990): 76-103.

 

[4] Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. (Downers Grove, IL: APOLLOS, 2011), 544-45.

[5] Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. (Downers Grove, IL: APOLLOS, 2011), 556-60.

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Control: Let Go and Let God

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:1–8).[1]

 

Control; Let go and Let God

            Control is one of those words that is near the top of a man’s list, regardless of other activities or hobbies, which will be prevalent. It is something that I even struggle giving up from time to time in my own household. There was a constant struggle between me and God during eleven years of my life. He wanted control and I wanted control. I will testify that those eleven years was extremely tough and I failed miserably. I am sure some are thinking, “Yeah right” or on the opposite side going, “duh”. I was very hard headed, (more so then than now, according to my wife) and I did not feel God should waste His time with me, that He should help someone else who needed it worse than me. Looking back now, I was the one that needed it the most. Everything I touched failed. I gave no room for decisions that was contrary to what I wanted. God wanted me in church, I convinced myself I did not need church, I was “religious” enough. I had to have everything done my way or no way at all. Needless to say this line of thinking will create havoc not only in your spiritual life, but your marriage as well.

            Concerning marriage, my wife would get tiered of me calling all the shots and never giving any consideration to her thoughts or ideas. I will not lie, even if she had a good idea I would figure a way around it so I would not look weak. This leaves your wife feeling useless and having no say so in the life she agreed to love and cherish till death do us part. I was always told that the majority of arguments between a husband and wife would be over money, religion, and politics. (Or some version of this). Well, when your wife has no say so in any of these matters, of course there will be some type of altercation. The key: “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

Communication and compromise. Listen to her guys, if she has a great idea, praise her and run with it, if you honestly believe it is a bad idea, explain and look for a compromise. She needs to feel like she is contributing into the relationship. Marriage is not a dictatorship, rather a selflessness(ship). You are not a captain on a ship, rather a co-captain in a Christ centered vessel.

Now, concerning my spiritual life. My choice of denial was I was strong enough and not worthy of God’s help. Which is ironic since I needed Christ in my life to reach heaven. Nevertheless, I wanted that control in all other aspects of my life. This led to anger and resentment when my bills was not getting paid, I lost my job, my health was not up to par, or anything that went against my will. This would keep me from praying, reading the Word, or even having God talks among my family. It took forever to realize whose fault it actually was when those bad things happened to me. My tree was bare, I imagine it may have had one half-eaten apple hanging from this tree. God was trying to prune and I wanted my dead limbs to hang. I will tell you right now, if your tree is not baring fruit, your family will starve, your friends will starve, strangers will starve because they have nothing they can pick from your tree and eat. As life continued to spiral downhill, I began to try something different. Something I felt was a last resort because there was nothing else I could do. I decided I would give God’s way a try. I did not give all the control up at one time, I am still hard headed, but I gave Him a chance. I soon found that the more I gave to Him, the more that got accomplished, and the more I could share with others in testimony (hence the bearing fruit part). Suddenly, the attitudes of my wife and kids began to change, then co-workers, and even some strangers. All because I allowed God to prune my tree and let them partake of the fruit.

Letting go and letting God, is not an easy thing to do and it is a work in progress for me. I will promise you this though, if you keep working at it and trust Him the more fruit your tree will produce and the greater His kingdom will be! Do not let Satan trick you into believing that letting go of control is sign of weakness. In reality your greatest power and strength will come when you “let go and let God.”

-Pastor Robb

Assignment: Think of one area in your life you can “let go and let God,” and truly give it to God and watch what happens. Write this down and when God fixes it, complete your writing and share it with at least ten other people. (I would love if anyone would share with me, I am always encouraged in others testimonies). When you see His progress in one of your problems, try another with the same process.

If you want to accept Jesus Christ into your life, simply bow your head and repeat these words from the heart,

“Dear God I know I’m a sinner, I know I am not where I want to be, and I want your forgiveness!  I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins and rose again and is alive today!

Please wash me clean from all sin, shame, and guilt, come into my life Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  I ask this in your name Jesus.

Amen!”

*Next find yourself a Bible believing church where there are real people with real problems who aren’t afraid to admit that.  And that they know how to take these real problems to God.

*Take time to read from the Bible, if you want, you can start with the Gospel of John and then the book of Romans in the New Testament.

 

 

 

 

[1]  Unless otherwise noted all references is in The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).

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Change, was Jesus Against Change?

 

Change, was Jesus Against Change?

            One of the most blasphemous words spoken inside the church today is the word “change.” When change is mentioned the most popular phrase, “we always done it this way” or any variation of that phrase is uttered. If something in our life is not working any longer or a situation seems to be a stalemate, we never hesitate to “change” it, and it is often done without second guessing it. But what is it about church that creates hostility and fighting when the word change is mentioned?

We all can sit and develop theories as to why, but I believe it all comes down to comfort. The church is in a comfort zone and when anyone comes with change the recliners are put down and suddenly emotions and feelings take over and groups of advocates are formed. They cannot believe that someone wants them to conform to a different way to do things or change the way a place looks. But if it is not working why do we hesitate to change something to make it work? We have no issues changing a light bulb when it goes out without arguing over what brand to buy, just as long as it works.

The Bible is pretty clear on the only One who never changes, Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”[1] I have found no scripture telling us that anything else cannot change. From the color of the church carpet, versions of the Bible, to the music we praise God with, nothing states that we as a body cannot change. Some may be asking what is broke that we would need to change, and I am glad you asked. The church has taken a negative stigma that has kept many from attending to seek God and worship. Call me crazy, but to me that seems broken. Do we sit and let this negative stigma continue to lead the lost sheep to destruction or is there something we can change without going against God’s Word?

To find the answer we first have to look at Jesus. Did Jesus hate change? After searching scripture I see nothing of the sorts, in fact, Jesus proclaimed change. There were those Sadducees and Pharisee’s that walked around all righteous and Jesus proclaimed change. The people were misled and they have put the yoke on all those who loved God. Has the church done the same with all the denominational rules and regulations? Can anyone answer with “no” after hearing of those who will not allow women to dress in slacks or have short hair, or people cannot come to church unless they are bathed or shaved, some stating that the only hymns have to come from those red books gathering dust in the back of the church pews, or every preacher has to preach hell, fire, and damnation? As far as clothing goes, I am pretty sure that when the church formed that Walmart or the mall was not around. Their clothing options were very bleak. What about music, is the only music to be sang to God be from those church hymnals? Not according to God’s Word, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:14–17). I see nothing in there that states it has to be a certain style of music. As David was escorting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place did he not sing and dance to the Lord (2 Samuel 6) and again pretty positive that he was not singing “I’ll Fly Away” or “Amazing Grace.”

We could go on and discuss clothing, different Bible versions, and preaching styles but facts remains the same. If we as a church do not do something different we will never fulfill the Great Commandments and certainly we will not fulfill the Great Commission. So, what do we do, do we continue down the broken path or do we embrace change and consider other ways to reach the masses? Personally, I want to embrace change and reach the masses because that is what Jesus called me to do. With that, we must use our minds that God has created us with to use reason and logic to determine the change, and we must not chain God’s hands by stating a particular person cannot praise God because of their clothing, style, gender, preaching style, music etc…”I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). We are all created differently and have different tastes, and there can be compromise. Believe it or not, it is not about you, it is about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. If you do not like hell, fire, and damnation preaching, it does not mean that God is not touching the person next to you with it and that there is no meat for you to feast upon in the message. You do not like contemporary or rock Christian music, it does not mean the lost soul in the back pew is not being led down the aisle to receive Jesus into their life through it. If a person has 10 tattoos, piercings and looks like they rolled out of a bar too drunk to walk, does not mean that person cannot come into a church and receive the love of Christ and His people.

Until the church is fixed, we need to put down the judgmental man made laws, the attitude that “we have always done it this way,” and we have to get back to the foot of the Cross, without it, the church is no better than the religious pious people that Jesus preached to change.

 

[1]  Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

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