Physically Fit and Spiritually Flabby
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). “Bodily exercise does profit a little. The necessity for it in our time and place is well established. But it must not be allowed to place inordinate demands upon the stewardship of our time and money. I have a friend who spends two hours a day running, thirty minutes (plus showering and dressing time) three times a week in a health club at substantial cost, and three hours or more per week playing racquetball. In addition, he belongs to the local tennis club and plays there once or twice a week. He appears to be in excellent physical condition. He asked me to lunch not long ago because he wanted to talk personally. The all-too-common story was shared of a lack of joy in his work and family in particular, and a growing sense of boredom and frustration with life in general. I asked him if he was willing to take an honest inventory of himself. He was. He discovered that the time and energy spent on the physical compared to the spiritual was one hundred to one! His conclusion: ‘I’m physically fit, but spiritually flabby.’ That may become the epitaph on too many of our headstones. We may well be in need of regular physical exercise, and we should not ignore our physical fitness. But our spiritual fitness is of much greater importance”
(The Preacher’s Commentary Series).
Noah Found Grace
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
As creationists, we spend a lot of time working on our models about how we think the Flood could have happened, developing new models. The old vapor canopy model has long since been superseded by more biblical and more scientific models, such as Catastrophic Plate Tectonics or the newer Vertical Impact Tectonics.
What we should not lose sight of is the reason why God sent the Flood. The reason for the coming of the Flood is given in Genesis 6:5. “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” If God had chosen to destroy everyone and everything, He would have been just to do so. But God also had a plan of salvation, which we read about in Genesis 6:8, which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful verse of the early chapters of Genesis.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Hebrews 11 tells us: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” It follows, then, that Noah was saved by grace through faith. And Ephesians 2:8 reminds Christians: “By grace are ye saved through faith”. There has only ever been one method of salvation – by grace, through faith. We just have that little bit more knowledge than Noah, so that we know Who bought that salvation, and how.
“Too many of us are still clueless about socialism and communism. I blame biased media and fuzzy thinking. Still, sometimes, the truth leaks out. Last year, The Washington Post published a long piece by Ilya Somin. It’s about the ‘greatest mass murderer’ in the world. Guess who wins that grim prize. It’s Mao Zedong, the leader of China’s communist revolution. ‘From 1958 to 1962,’ Somin notes, ‘his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people--easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.’ Let that sink in. In under five years, a government led by one man murdered 45 million of its own people. Scholars have long known the basic stats. But historian Frank Dikötter has shown [Mao’s Great Famine, 2011] that the number is larger than previously thought. And many more of the deaths were deliberate, rather than ‘just’ the outcome of bad policies that led to famine. Millions were tortured to death, often for minor crimes like digging up a potato. Lots of people seem to think ‘communism’ just means ‘bad socialism.’ But that ignores the meanings of words and Marxist theory itself. Here’s a brief primer: Marx and his disciples claimed that ‘capitalism’ must give way to ‘socialism,’ where private property would be abolished and an all-powerful state would own everything on behalf of the people. That’s what Marx meant by the word socialism, and that’s the main dictionary definition. This was only supposed to be a stage, though, not the end of all our strivings. At some point, under socialism, people would lose their silly fondness for property, family, religion, and other evils. A ‘new socialist man’ would emerge and then the state would ‘wither away.’ Everyone would enjoy peace, prosperity, and the brotherhood of man. Marx and his acolytes called that final, stateless paradise ‘communism.’ Here’s the point: Those regimes led by mass murderers with their gulags, death camps, man-made famines and killing fields were socialist. That’s not slander. It’s what these countries called themselves. USSR stood for the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.’ You gotta break millions of eggs with socialism to make the communist omelet. That was sort of the theory anyway. In practice, socialism has just been evil. Unremitting evil, wherever it is tried. Have a look at North Korea and now Venezuela. Socialism doesn’t lead to a higher plane of existence or a stateless utopia. It leads to a bottomless pit of immorality, poverty, and death. Why would we expect anything different? It’s based on a false view of human nature, history, labor, property, economic value, capital, and the role of prices.”
Jay Richards, “What’s the Difference?” The Stream, Aug. 7, 2017
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”
The Moon is covered with craters. Other bodies in the Solar System are also covered with craters. If you look at an unlabeled photograph of Mercury, it is likely that you would simply assume it was the Moon because the cratering is so similar. Such craters have only been discovered since the advent of spacecraft to view the planets up close, so it was not until 1965, when the Mariner 4 craft flew by Mars, that craters other than on Earth or Moon were seen. Today, we know that a great many of the planets and moons of the Solar System are covered with craters which have been formed by the impact of bodies, such as meteors.
This large number of craters represents a puzzle for all interested scientists. After all, cratering is not observed happening today. So, evolutionary astronomers suggest that there are particular periods when impact cratering has occurred. Most impact cratering is attributed to a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, or LHB, which they date at about 3.9 billion years ago.
Creationists also have models to explain the large amount of cratering. There are two main creationist models. Some suggest that the cratering was part of God’s formation of the Solar System on the 4th day of the Creation Week, while others suggest that cratering occurred in the early stages of the Flood and might have been a mechanism that triggered the Flood. In either case, the specific timetable given by creationist models seem to provide a much more satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon than a naturalistic model.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a strong policy statement claiming that the use of corporal punishment in the home is harmful. The group, which represents about 67,000 doctors, defines spanking as “noninjurious, openhanded hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior.” The group’s previous policy encouraged parents not to spank, but stopped short of calling it harmful. According to polls, the use of spanking in the U.S. has declined over the past two decades, but 70% of adults still have enough sense to agree that a “good, hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child” (2014 General Social Survey, cited from “Spanking Is Ineffective and Harmful, Pediatricians’ Group Says,” New York Times, Nov. 5, 2018). There are still 19 states in the U.S. that either allow spanking in schools or do not have specific rules prohibiting it. God’s Word is unequivocal on the issue. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Note that the Bible is enjoining the rod of loving correction, not the rod of hateful abuse.
(Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
Life on Titan
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth."
What could it be like to live on a space base on the surface of Titan? The sky would be either deep blue or perhaps a shade of orange under certain conditions. The base could be picturesquely situated by a lake, with a background of mountains. Perhaps a view across a plain would enable the breathtaking sight of the giant planet Saturn, with its majestic rings, hanging in the sky.
The atmospheric pressure would be sufficient for flying machines to operate like terrestrial airplanes, using shaped wings to provide the uplift, as a means of transport to other bases on the surface of this largest of Saturn’s moons.
But the similarities would be superficial. With the highest temperatures about -180°C (-292°F), the lakes would be of liquid methane. The base would need to be sealed against the atmosphere, which contains no oxygen. In fact, life would be bleak.
Yet it is life that encourages NASA to continue to want to explore Titan, to garner data beyond that which was collected by the Huygens mission.
NASA scientists, because of their belief in evolution, cannot comprehend that life is a phenomenon unique to the Earth. Surely, if life evolved on the Earth, then it must have evolved elsewhere, and, despite its extreme conditions, many so called “astrobiologists” think that Titan is the most likely candidate for similarly evolved life.
The Bible, on the other hand, shows us that the Earth is indeed unique. God has placed created life on this world, and we have no evidence to suggest that He put life anywhere else.
Man Files Suit to Change Age from 69 to 49
“A 69-year-old Dutch ‘positivity guru’ who says he does not feel his age has started a battle to make himself legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app. Emile Ratelband told a court in Arnhem in the Netherlands that he did not feel ‘comfortable’ with his date of birth, and compared his wish to alter it to people who identified as transgender. Ratelband said that due to having an official age that did not reflect his emotional state he was struggling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. ‘When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car,’ he said. ‘I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.’ Doctors had told him his body was that of a 45-year-old man, Ratelband argued. He described himself as a ‘young god.’”
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
“Dutch man, 69, starts legal fight,” The Guardian, Nov. 8, 2018
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
In various Creation Moments, I have sometimes criticized the so-called green movement over its obsession with the flawed concept of Climate Change. For example, the demonization of the naturally occurring gas carbon dioxide, essential for the life and growth of plants, makes little sense. In practice, the contribution of artificially produced CO2 as a greenhouse gas is negligible compared with materials such as water vapor. And the panic caused by dire predictions of global warming catastrophes are contrary to God’s words about the seasons continuing as long as the Earth endures.
However, we should not leap to the opposite conclusion that all environmental science is flawed. Indeed, the Bible lays down a reason, as well as a mandate, for human beings to look after this planet on which we live. This is the biblical concept of stewardship, which is first outlined in the very first chapter of the Bible.
And God said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
By commissioning humanity to have dominion over all creatures and to subdue the Earth, God established us as stewards. The quality and cleanliness of our rivers, lakes, oceans, and living spaces is a solemn responsibility for humanity, and we are neglecting our God-given duty when we allow pollution of any sort to spoil and degrade the world. Projects which improve our environment in tangible ways are, therefore, in accord with what the Bible teaches.
“Zeynep Tufekci, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, observes, ‘What Facebook does is profile you. If you are on Facebook, it is collecting everything you do. If you are off Facebook, it is using tracking pixels to collect what you are browsing. And for its micro-targeting to work, for its business model to work, it has to remain a surveillance machine.’ From 2012-2015, Rand Waltzman and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Defense published more than 200 academic papers and reports about the threats they were seeing from social media. Waltzman says, ‘The concern was that social media could be used for really nefarious purposes. The opportunities for disinformation, for deception, for everything else, are enormous. Bad guys, or anyone else, could use this for any kind of purpose in a way that wasn’t possible before. That’s the concern. [The potential threat of people giving up their data] is that they are opening themselves up for being targets for manipulation. I can manipulate you to buy something. I can manipulate you to vote for somebody. It is like putting a big target on yourself and saying, “Here I am; come and manipulate me. I’ve given you everything you need. Have at it.” That’s the threat. What I saw over the years of the program was that the medium enables you to really take disinformation and turn it into a serious weapon. When you look at how it works, you see the opportunities for mass manipulation. People are easily misled, if you do it the right way. For example, when you see people forming into communities, I can exploit that to craft my message so that it resonates most exactly with that community. And I can do that for every single community. It would be pretty easy to set up a fake account, and large numbers of fake accounts, embedded in different communities, and use them to disseminate propaganda. It’s a serious weapon, because it is an enormous scale. It’s the scale that makes it a weapon.’ Dmytro Shymkiv, adviser to the president of Ukraine, 2014-2018, describes the propaganda center that was set up in St. Petersburg, Russia, called the Internet Research Agency, which has poured out disinformation to fight the anti-Russian government in Ukraine. ‘Russian propaganda against the Ukrainian government was massive on social media. There were so many stories that started emerging on Facebook. They scared people. They planted a story that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a child, which is totally nonsense. It was proven that the people telling the story of the crucifixion were actually hired actors. So Facebook was weaponized. [Just as in the Arab Spring, Facebook was being used to flame division. But now by groups working in behalf of a foreign power, using Facebook’s tools built to help advertisers boost their content.] By that time in Facebook, you could pay money to promote these stories so your stories emerge on the top lines. You immediately get media response. You can test all kinds of nonsense and understand which nonsense people do not believe and to which nonsense people start believing which will influence the persons receptive to propaganda. And then provoking that person to certain action.’ [After Shymkiv met with Facebook executives and asked them to intervene, the response was,] ‘Sorry, we are an open platform; anyone can do anything within our policy, which is written on the website. We will think about this, but you know we have freedom of speech and we are a very pro-democracy platform; everybody can say anything.’”
“The Facebook Dilemma,” part one, Frontline PBS, Oct. 29, 2018
Could We Be Heroes?
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
What makes a hero? Is it a particular character trait? Are some personalities better suited to being heroes than others? Or could anyone be a hero, given the right circumstances? A research project of the Ohio State University was set up to try to answer these questions.
OSU needed a case study to track how heroes emerge and behave. They chose to study the behavior of individuals involved in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
I remember with horror watching the events of the genocide unfold on the television news. The event which triggered the genocide was the assassination of Rwanda’s president, who came from the majority Hutu people. Within hours, Hutu people were attacking and massacring members of the minority Tutsi people. The numbers of dead are uncertain, but at least 500,000 were murdered, and possibly as many as 1.3 million – possibly 70% of the pre-genocide population.
But there were some Hutus who sheltered Tutsis. Why would they do this? Remarkably, some of the Hutu rescuers were also killers; six of the people studied had murdered Tutsis who they did not know, while sheltering Tutsis who they did know.
The study concluded that the nature and motivations of heroes are complicated. But they also noted that a very large majority of rescuers were what the researchers called “people of faith”. But the only faith recorded was Christianity. Those who have given their lives to the Lord, while being imperfect vessels, are capable of extraordinary compassion and bravery, which cannot be explained by humanity, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Golden Number
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
Beauty with golden makeup
Are you fascinated by special numbers? One number that fascinates me is the so-called Golden Number – 1.618.
A boring definition of the Golden Number would be to say that it is the square root of 5 plus 1, all divided by 2. This is approximately 1.618.
The number can also be found from a sequence. If the first and second element of a sequence are both 1, then every element after that is equal to the sum of the previous 2, then we get a sequence like this:
This is known as the Fibonacci Sequence, named for its inventor.
We can then define a second sequence where the first element is equal to the second element of the Fibonacci sequence, divided by the first, and so on. We find that we get a sequence, where, after about ten or eleven elements, every element becomes equal to 1.618 – the Golden Number.
This number can also be found in nature. The spiral shell of a nautiloid grows according to this pattern, as do the elements in the face of a sunflower.
One fascinating application is to measure features on the faces of people. Take a photo of a person, considered to be good looking. Measure the distance between their eyes, and the length of their nose, and divide one by the other. The number is approximately 1.618. But if the face is not what is considered good-looking – my face, for example – then the number obtained is further away from the Golden Number! Is this number a coincidence, or is it part of God’s good design?
The United Bible Societies (UBS) and the World Council of Churches have published a book that discussed the Bible as an ecumenical tool. It is called Your Word Is Truth: The Bible in 10 Christian Traditions. “The publication revives a long history between the WCC and UBS of working together to nurture engagement with Scripture as a unifying element in ecumenical, inter-confessional relations” (Christian Newswire, Nov. 8, 2018). The only way that the Bible can be a unifying element in ecumenical relations (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox) is to misuse it. If it were interpreted literally and accurately, it would destroy the ecumenical movement. The Bible says, “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Fighting for the one true faith of God’s Word is the very opposite of ecumenical unity. If I stand up, for example, for the gospel of the grace of Christ without works or sacraments as taught in God’s Word, then I destroy unity with those who preach a sacramental gospel. If I stand up for the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, I destroy unity with those who hold to an allegorical method of interpretation. If I stand up for the cessation of apostolic sign gifts, I destroy unity with those who claim to exercise those gifts. In truth, the World Council of Churches and the United Bible Societies are enemies of the Bible. they together because they are unified in error. They have a false christ, a false gospel, and a false spirit. For evidence of this, see the free eBooks Unholy Hands on God’s Holy Book and The World Council of Churches, available at www.wayoflife.org.
(Friday Church News Notes, November 16, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
Bird-Hipped and Lizard-Hipped Dinosaurs
“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
Evolutionists believe that dinosaurs appeared about 240 million years ago and then disappeared again about 65 million years ago. They believe in the development and evolution of different dinosaur kinds within that period of about 175 million years.
In order to understand any type of animal, it is always helpful to find subdivisions, usually by looking at an easily observed feature. Traditionally, dinosaurs have been divided into two orders, based on the shape of their hips. These orders are known as saurischia and ornithischia. The former order have hips shaped like those of lizards – hence. they are lizard-hipped, which is what saurischia means. The latter order have hips shaped like birds, so they are known as bird-hipped – and that is what ornithischia means. The saurischia order includes sauropods and therapods. Sauropods are the large, long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs, like apatosaurus and diplodocus. Therapods are the allegedly fierce meat-eaters, like tyrannosaurus, allosaurus, and oviraptor. Ornithischians include stegasauruses and ceratopsians – the group that includes triceratops.
As we know, evolutionists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. So, obviously birds evolved from bird-hipped dinosaurs, right? Wrong. Evolutionists believe that birds evolved from therapods, which are lizard-hipped.
The division between bird-hipped and lizard-hipped creatures is so old that even I remember reading about it in childhood dinosaur books. But now modern evolutionists are abandoning the theory, suggesting that therapods evolved from within the ornithischian kind, somehow temporarily producing lizard-hips, which would evolve back into bird-hips.
As creationists, we look at the bone structure of dinosaurs and think that they look as if they have been well designed for the purpose God gave them.
“Growing up in the Hinn family empire was like belonging to some hybrid of the royal family and the mafia. Our lifestyle was lavish, our loyalty was enforced, and our version of the gospel was big business. Though Jesus Christ was still a part of our gospel, he was more of a magic genie than the King of Kings. Rubbing him the right way—by giving money and having enough faith—would unlock your spiritual inheritance. God’s goal was not his glory but our gain. His grace was not to set us free from sin but to make us rich. The abundant life he offered wasn’t eternal, it was now. We lived the prosperity gospel. We lived in a 10,000-square-foot mansion guarded by a private gate, drove two Mercedes Benz vehicles, vacationed in exotic destinations, and shopped at the most expensive stores. On top of that, we bought a $2 million ocean-view home in Dana Point, California, where another Benz joined the fleet. Doubts would surface. What about unsuccessful healing attempts? I learned that it was the sick person’s fault for doubting God. Why would we speak in tongues without interpretation? ‘Don’t quench the Spirit,’ I was told. ‘He can do what he wants.’ Why did many of our prophecies contradict the Bible? ‘Don’t put God in a box.’ Despite the questions, I trusted my family because we were so successful. After graduating college and returning home, I met my wife, Christyne. I had no idea that God would use her in bringing about my salvation. In fact, my family and I were nervous because she didn’t speak in tongues. One day she pointed to a verse I had never seen: 1 Corinthians 12:30 (‘Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?’). I was shaken to the core. There it was plain as day—not everybody has to speak in tongues. Soon, the domino effect began. Other longstanding beliefs were failing the biblical test. No longer did I believe that God’s purpose was to make me happy, healthy, and wealthy. Instead, I saw that he wanted me to live for him regardless of what I could get from him. I am thankful that my wife was willing to question my insistence on speaking in tongues and that my pastor loved me enough to disciple me out of prosperity gospel confusion.”
“Benny Hinn Is My Uncle,” Christianity Today, Nov. 20, 2017
Neanderthals Were Caring People
“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”
You must remember the pictures of Neanderthals that you saw in high school textbooks. These creatures were drawn to look like subhuman brutes. They had angry, but unintelligent looking faces. The men almost certainly pulled their womenfolk around by the hair, and arguments were settled with a brutish looking club.
Of course, in recent years, many articles have been published to soften this image that we have. It has been shown that Neanderthals could make flutes out of bones, but they were still not fully human. They buried their dead with what appears to be the ritual use of flowering plants, but they were still not fully human. Now, a new study by the University of York has suggested that Neanderthals cared for their sick and elderly. Dr. Penny Spikins of the University of York said, “Our findings suggest Neanderthals didn’t think in terms of whether others might repay their efforts, they just responded to their feelings about seeing their loved ones suffering.”
One Neanderthal body shows evidence of having suffered from a degenerative disease. This disease would probably have rendered him incapable of fully independent living for the last 12 months of his life. Yet, he was buried with all the same ritual honors as Neanderthals without disease. The York study claims that this suggests the Neanderthal man must have received a pretty high level of health care.
We should not be surprised by such care. Biblically speaking, we simply accept Neanderthals as fellow human beings, descended from Adam and made in the image of God.
“Scotland will become the first country in the world to embed the teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights in the school curriculum, in what campaigners have described as a historic moment. State schools will be required to teach pupils about the history of LGBTI equalities and movements, as well as tackling homophobia and transphobia and exploring LGBTI identity, after ministers accepted in full the recommendations of a working group led by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign. There will be no exemptions or opt-outs to the policy, which will embed LGBTI inclusive education across the curriculum and across subjects and which the Scottish government believes is a world first. Scotland has regularly been ranked as one of the best countries in Europe in relation to legal protections for LGBTI people. In 2016, the former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale described the country as having ‘the gayest parliament in the world’: at the time four of Scotland’s six party leaders (Dugdale, the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson, Ukip’s David Coburn and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.”
“Scotland to Embed LGBTI,” The Guardian, Nov. 9, 2018
Read, Mark, Learn and Inwardly Digest
2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
The message “Read, Mark, Learn and Inwardly Digest” was cast in iron above the door of the public library in Stalybridge – the town in England where I grew up. In fact, the phrase comes from a prayer, written by Thomas Cranmer, and later included in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them…
I remember the phrase being quoted at a university Christian Union meeting by a student a couple of years older than I. He was leading a study group on why we should read Christian books. He had asked us what the purpose of Christian books was. Eventually, we came to the conclusion, at his guidance, that Christian literature was actually frozen preaching! As such, it has the same purpose as preaching.
“Preach the word,” the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy. “Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon – the great 19th Century preacher – was a prolific writer of books, but he also had his sermons printed and published in several volumes. His 20th Century equivalent was probably Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose sermons were frequently published, especially those on Ephesians and Romans.
In my own much lesser extent, I am committed to the printed word. I want to see more good books about creation and apologetics in order that Christians might be more ready, in season and out of season.
Facebook: The Devil's Mixing Bowl
Facebook is a two-edged sword. On one hand, it has benefits such as advertising churches and legitimately keeping touch with friends. On the other hand, it is one of the greatest tools of the devil to foster spiritual compromise. It has great potential to corrupt through evil communications (1 Corinthians 15:33). Facebook is the devil’s mixing bowl. It tends to mix everything together, the holy and the unholy, the spiritual and the worldly. The following observation is from Brian Snider, “Most people in our circles do not have the discernment, discretion or courage to stand against things that are wrong. For instance, when someone leaves a good church and goes down a worldly or wicked road, many people continue to remain friends with them and ‘Like’ everything they do. They will approve of things on Facebook that their church and pastor plainly stand against including immodest attire, worldly activities, wrong relationships, wrong marriages, rebellion against church, bad doctrine…you name it. They hear these things preached against on Sunday, but Monday morning they approve of them on Facebook. They will not clearly and plainly separate from folks who are going in a direction that contradicts the doctrine of their own church. This encourages the one who is doing wrong, weakens those who would stand against that behavior, and signals to others that these wrong activities are okay. In doing this, they seem to care more about the feelings of rebels than they do the feelings and concerns of a pastor who loves and cares for them. From that standpoint, I believe that Facebook has done untold damage to churches. I have friends in independent, fundamental churches around the world and I have observed that this takes place everywhere.”
CONCLUDING NOTE: Spiritual victory in the age of social media is the same as it has been since the days of Job, who loved God and wanted to honor Him and therefore made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1). The victory is in being born again (not just a sinner’s prayer), abiding in Christ in my everyday life, having a pilgrim mindset so that I am aware that I presently live in a strange land filled with spiritual and moral dangers, and having a testing mindset to guard against those dangers and keep them out of my life. It is a continual and daily battle. It is a mindset whereby I refuse to be manipulated by the world system and its technology. It is the mindset whereby I will use the technology for the glory of God within biblical boundaries, but I will not be controlled by it and negatively influenced by it, whatever that entails, even if it means having no Internet and no smartphone and no social media. If I can use a technology for the glory of God without being harmed by it, then I can use it. If not, then I don’t need it. I am in a spiritual war, and I am fighting to win. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
(Friday Church News Notes, November 16, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
Not-So-Primitive Stone Age
“And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
Accounts of forgotten people groups making tools out of stone and bone are always fascinating. Many of us were brought up on tales of stone age ancestors, who did not know how to speak, beyond the occasional “Ug!”, and were so primitive that they lived in caves, banging rocks together to use as simple tools. This meta-narrative seems to cover everything we learn about such people groups, even though the reports of such peoples invariably express surprise. Reports of people making tools out of stone and bone always seem to be amazed at the levels of sophistication. After decades of reading such reports, one would suppose that evolutionary scientists would finally give up on the idea of the existence of primitive people groups, but they are unable to do so because of their commitment to the meta-narrative.
Let’s look at a recent report to illustrate this point. A recent study by the University of Montreal looked at bone tools from China, which they claim are 115,000 years old. Leaving aside, for one moment, our oft-repeated disagreement with their dating calculations, we note that the scientists say that these tools were made by people who they categorize as neither sapiens (modern humans) or Neanderthals. As usual, the report expresses surprise.
“The toolmaking techniques mastered by prehistoric humans there were more sophisticated than previously thought,” opines the article, yet I have read similar articles for more than 20 years. For biblical creationists, these finds are not surprising. We expect constant levels of sophistication in tool making, even if the material out of which they are made is simple.
More about the Amazing Human Eye
“Intelligent processing occurs in the retina before the information is transmitted to the brain. It has been estimated that 10 billion calculations occur every second in the retina before the image even gets to the brain (Gillen). George Marshall, Ph.D. in Ophthalmic Science from Glasgow University, says: ‘The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature brain. Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain’ (‘An Eye for Creation: An Interview with Eye-disease Researcher Dr. George Marshall,’ Creation, September 1996, www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i4/eye.asp). Even the atheist Richard Dawkins has to marvel at the complexity of the human eye, though he reaches the strange conclusion that it is the product of blind evolution: ‘The optic nerve is a trunk cable, a bundle of separate insulated wires, in this case about three million of them. Each of the three million wires leads from one cell in the retina to the brain. You can think of them as the wires leading from a bank of three million photocells (actually three million relay stations gathering information from an even larger number of photocells) to the computer that is to process the information in the brain’ (Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 93). The eye’s optic nerve can handle 1.5 million simultaneous messages that are sent to the brain where this massive amount of information is instantaneously processed. The eyes are set in the body at the ideal place and are protected by the surrounding bone structure, by the eyelid, the eyelashes, and the eyebrows. The eyes are self-cleaning and self-maintaining. They produce three different types of tears, each with its own complex chemical makeup. Basal tears are the normal lubricating tears that keep the eye clear of dust. The composition of these tears includes lysozyme which fights against bacterial infection as part of the body’s mind-bogglingly complex immune system. Reflex tears are produced to flush the eye of irritants, such as onion or pepper vapors. Emotional tears are produced as a result of emotional stress and contain a natural painkiller and calming hormones. Tears have three layers, an outer layer which contains oils that prevent evaporation and controls the flow of tears onto the cheek; a middle layer, which contains the proteins and hormones, and a mucous layer touching the eye itself which coats the cornea and provides for even distribution of the tear film.”
Seeing the Non-existent: Evolution’s Myths and Hoaxes, David Cloud
Human Evolution: Are We All Equally Evolved?
“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,”
The late Stephen J. Gould once commented that “biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.” Charles Darwin’s views, in particular, would not pass muster as politically correct today. The reason for this seems clear. If one believes that human beings have evolved, from more primitive ape-like creatures, then it is possible for some people groups in the world to have evolved further than others. Of course, Darwin’s view was that the most highly evolved people group was that of white Europeans.
Over the decades, evolutionists shied away from such attitudes. This is probably the motivation for the popular “out-of-Africa” evolutionary model that suggests all humans evolved in East Africa, and then migrated to the rest of the world. This gives evolutionists, like creationists, the ability to suggest that all humans are related, and therefore to oppose racism.
However, recent evolutionary ideas reported in previous Creation Moments have suggested that early homo sapiens sapiens, migrating out of Africa, interbred with a differing number of times with groups that evolutionists consider subhuman, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. One article suggested that differing amounts of interbreeding with Denisovans could have developed the specific characteristics of people groups, such as Tibetans or Australian Aborigines. It would seem that the stage is set for some evolutionists, while notionally accepting the out-of-Africa model, could describe certain people groups as more or less “pure”, depending on their imagined levels of interbreeding. Evolutionism could be returning to racist ideas, whereas biblical creationism cannot allow for racism.
Old Baptist Churches and Discipline
Abraham Marshall (1748-1819) is an example of the type of man who pastored Baptist churches in America in the early 19th century. He was the son of Daniel Marshall, founder of the first Baptist church in Georgia (Kiokee Baptist, founded in 1772). Abraham pastored Kiokee Baptist for 37 years after his father’s death. He also had an itinerant ministry. On one arduous six-month journey in 1786, he traveled 3,000 miles on horseback, visited 11 states, and preached at least 197 times. “The minutes reveal that Marshall and the church were strict in their discipline but they were never hasty or careless. They exhibited patience and only exercised discipline when their pleas and counsel were rejected or ignored. They were slow to discipline but quick to forgive, welcoming back into the church anyone who demonstrated a humble and repentant spirit. Marshall was a loving and compassionate pastor, but at the same time he was a man of strong convictions--especially when it involved loyalty to Christ and His church. Whenever he observed his people being careless or neglecting their Christian duties he was quick to admonish and if necessary rebuke their actions. One such issue which aroused Marshall’s ire was church members who would load up their wagons in the latter part of the week and go to market in Augusta and not return in time for the Sunday services. As pastor he expected all of the heads of families to have a daily time of prayer, Bible reading, and personal instruction. Marshall’s goal was to produce a people that put Christ and His church first in their lives” (Thomas Ray, Daniel and Abraham Marshall: Pioneer Baptist Evangelists to the South, pp. 36, 37).
(Friday Church News Notes, November 9, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
Did Early Sub-Humans Exist and Interbreed?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
In previous Creation Moments, we have discussed the ideas evolutionists have about interbreeding between emerging modern humans, migrating out of Africa, and Neanderthal people. We have commented that we do not accept the evolutionary paradigm that labels Neanderthals as separate from, or even inferior to, modern humans. We suggest that they were all human, and hence all descended from Adam.
Evolutionists postulate another group of subhumans, called Denisovans. These, they believe, lived in East Asia and Oceania. A recent evolutionary study, published in the journal Cell, suggests that Denisovens interbred with migrating Homo Sapiens on two occasions, giving rise to certain genetic features of East Asians, and of Oceanians, such as Papuans and Australian Aborigienes.
Bones of these people were discovered in the Denisova Cave, in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Scientists have studied mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) from a finger discovered in the cave. These studies have led evolutionists to conclude that there is a distinction between mDNA in modern humans and Denisovans. Nevertheless, they suggest that Aboriginals share 5% of this mDNA with homo sapiens sapiens.
When one looks at reproductions of Neanderthals or Denisovans, it is interesting to imagine what you would think if you saw such a person in the street, wearing modern clothes. In fact, given the large variety of human facial features, you would not recognize a Neanderthal or Denisovan as any different from any other human. Once again, this is because there is no significant difference. All three groups were human, and hence all descended from Adam and Eve.
Pray for Preachers
This one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader’s memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ’s army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you "BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US.”
Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening: “‘Brethren, pray for us’ (1 Th. 5:25)
Teenagers and the Bible
1 Timothy 4:12
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Teenagers were invented in the 1950s, so they say. Strangely enough, there is a lot of truth in that. The concept of a separate, defined age-range between childhood and adulthood is certainly a 20th Century phenomenon.
Recent research by the University of Buffalo has suggested that the traditional excuses for teenage behaviors, such as hormones, are not really applicable. Of course, it is true that young people are in a development stage, but so they are at other stages of life, such as elementary school age, or young people in their twenties. The university’s research suggests a large number of factors influencing changes in behavior, which occur during this age range.
This agrees with the Bible, which does not address teenagers as a separate group. Granted, the Bible refers to youth, and the idea of developing experience, but this is seen as a continuum. There are articles, which purport to refer to Bible characters in their teens, but it is not always clear whether they are teenagers, or in their twenties. Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone despise him because of his youth, implying that he is an adult, even if he still has more to learn, but it is not clear what age Timothy is, and some have even suggested he be in his thirties.
While we need to look after our young people, of all ages, it is possible that, as modern Christians, we permit more immaturity among young people than those in the Bible did. We should be nurturing our young people to take their place as strong, mature Christians in the body of Christ.