Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Age Old Question...

Can God create a rock so heavy He can't lift it? This and other paradoxical (and somewhat ridiculous) questions are repeated so many times they are quickly passed off as simply unanswerable just to make the matter easier to deal with. Which is sad, considering how easy the answer is to come by: Yes, if He imposes limitations upon Himself to do it. Not only is this answer simple, but, surprisingly, it is Biblical. Just as God created a cross so burdensome He needed help to carry it (Matthew 27:32), God can impose limitations upon Himself.
A few other silly questions atheists throw our way:

1. Can God create a spherical triangle?

2. Could God think of a time when He was not omnipotent? If He can't think of it, He isn't omnipotent, but if He does think of it then there was a time when He wasn't omnipotent?

3. If God can do anything, does that mean He can fail?

By asking these self-cancelling questions, atheists hope to "prove" God doesn't exist simply because they were able to hopelessly confuse a Christian. In the future, don't fall for it. If the atheist has any common sense He knows none of these questions can resolve the question of whether or not God exists.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Useless Limbs?

A recent article from Live Science provides a list of the top ten "useless limbs," two of which caught my eye. The article includes the human tail-bone among its other "useless limbs," which, contrary to popular belief, does indeed have a function. There are nine muscles attached to the tail-bone in humans which are extremely important for certain activities, including: sitting, certain bowel movements, labor movements, and supporting certain internal organs. Why are these functions so often ignored? Because the "useless" tail-bone in humans is often used as evidence to support the theory of Darwinian evolution.

Another "useless" organ mentioned in the Live Science article is the pelvis and "thigh bones" found in whales, another alleged evidence for evolution. I won't delve too deep into the details here, but I did find this one rather amusing as the pelvis and "thigh bones" (trust me, that's not what they are) are vital to the structure of the whale and if they were to be removed, the whales would be incapable of reproduction.

A couple other "useless" organs cited by evolutionists as evidence:

Human Tonsils: The tonsils are important both to antibody production and cell mediated immunity, as well as being an important lymphoid organ in the upper respiratory tract.

Human Appendix: The appendix filters and removes bacteria and protects the intestines from infection. The appendix also produces antibodies.

This information is not difficult to come by, it would seem that evolutionists would rather continue to cite false evidence than admit they may have been wrong.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vatican Celebrates Charles Darwin

The Vatican is planning a conference in 2009 to honor the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species. Cardinal Paul Poupard, former president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, says Darwinian evolution and the book of Genesis are "perfectly compatible" so long as one reads the Bible correctly, also stating, "The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," and that the true meaning of the Genesis account was in fact quite simply that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator."

Are the Bible and Darwinian evolution compatible? Let's examine the facts...

1. According to the Bible, man brought death into the world through his sin. According to evolution, death brought man into the world through natural selection.

2. According to the Bible, the oceans were created before the dry land. According to evolution, the dry land came first, then the oceans.

3. According to the Bible, light was created before the sun. According to evolution, the sun came first, then the light.

4. According to the Bible, plants were created before the sun. According to evolution, the sun came first, then the plants.

5. According to the Bible, birds were created before reptiles. According to evolution, reptiles came before birds.

Does that sound compatible to you? Somewhere along the line, some brilliant genius came up with the idea of "Theistic Evolution," easily one of the most absurd theories ever introduced. In an attempt to please everyone by saying that God created the universe over billions of years through evolution and the Big Bang, ultimately no one is pleased as it leaves evolutionists having to believe in God and Christians completely throwing out the Genesis account of creation.

Let me leave you with one last chilling thought: The Bible says man was created in God's image. If you say man evolved from apes and that he was created in God's image, then what are you saying about God? This is a dangerous theory to try and reconcile your faith with...

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Answering 8 Silly Questions Skeptics Ask...
















Here are eight of the many strange and less than well-thought-out questions/objections you are probably tired of hearing while sharing your faith:

Q. "If there is a God who loves us, then why is there suffering in the world?"

A. Where does suffering come from? Suffering is caused by sin. If your home is broken into and your belongings are missing, that's suffering. Who caused it? A fellow human being who broke God's moral law, so your suffering was caused by man, not God. God gives us all a choice, the God you are proposing would force us all to adhere to His standards... that isn't very loving, is it?
Q. "Don't all paths lead to the same place?"

A. Most paths lead to the same place, so you're almost right. Truth is not relative, we don't get to decide what the truth is. If you step off the edge of a cliff and proclaim, "I don't believe in gravity," you will still suffer the consequences of breaking the law of gravity, regardless of whether you believe in it or not. Likewise, when you choose to violate God's moral law, you run the risk of suffering the consequences of breaking that law, regardless of whether you believe in it or not.

Q. "Why should I go to church when those people are nothing but hypocrites?"

A. True Christians don't claim to be perfect (which would violate 1 John 1:8), only forgiven.

Q. "Isn't the Bible full of contradictions?"

A. See Contradictions In the Bible?

Q. "If I'm a good person, God wouldn't send me to Hell, would He?"

A. If you were a good person, then you might be on to something. But the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Q. "Can't I just worry about all this religious stuff in the next life?"

A. Trust me, you will be worrying about it in "the next life," but by then it will be too late to do anything about it. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Q. "If I became a Christian, wouldn't I have to give up all the things I like to do?"

A. Why would you have to give them up? If you think that coming to God would mean giving up the things you enjoy, then doesn't that mean that you know those things are wrong? The choice is yours: Risk misery now, or guarantee misery for eternity.

Q. "I want to remain open-minded, so why would I want to become a Christian?"

A. If you know you will never become a Christian because you are too open-minded, then in reality you are being very close-minded.

More often than not, the sort of person who will ask any of these questions will probably ask them all (and in rapid succession). When this happens, you need not worry: you probably aren't going to get anywhere with this person no matter what you say, at least not in an intellectual argument. Try and direct the discussion toward one's personal sin and need of forgiveness, the true problem at the heart of the issue.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In the Beginning...

Where did the universe come from? From a strictly analytical perspective, it would seem that there are only three options:

1. The universe found its beginning within itself (natural processes - i.e. created itself)

2. The universe found its beginning without itself (God - or other super-natural phenomenon [to be debated in a religious setting] taking place outside the universe)

3. The universe found its beginning neither within nor without itself (no beginning at all - i.e. always existed)

Now, let's examine these three possibilities in light of what we know from science:

1. The universe found its beginning within itself

This one, to the surprise of some, is actually rather ridiculous in light of our current scientific knowledge. (Note: Do NOT misinterpret this as a critique of the "Big Bang Theory," which never claims to explain the origin of the universe, only how the universe came upon its current arrangement.) One of the most basic laws of science is the Conservation of Matter, which tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Since the laws of the universe make such a creative act impossible, no process within the universe could bring the universe into existence as in so doing the universe would violate its very own laws.

Conclusion: Self-Contradictory (The "natural processes" required are unnatural and impossible)

2. The universe found its beginning without itself

It is impossible to measure the feasibility of this option with science, as the natural/scientific laws of the universe would not (obviously) apply to super-natural events originating outside of the universe.

Conclusion: Plausible, but unprovable (not within the jurisdiction of science)

3. The universe found its beginning neither within nor without itself (no beginning)

This one gets a little tricky, not because the answer is unclear, but rather because the answer is rather difficult to explain. In essence, the answer is as follows: It is impossible to traverse an infinite period of time. You see, if the universe has no beginning, then we would never traverse a large enough space of time to reach the moment we are at now. While an infinity forward is plausible, to suggest the same in the opposite direction is simply impossible. In other words, time itself must have a beginning. You can't have matter before time, it is simply impossible.

Conclusion: Impossible

So here are the scores:

Option #1 - Self-Contradictory
Option #2 - Plausible
Option #3 - Impossible

Inside, outside, or neither? Those are the only options, there can be no middle-ground. While none of these options can be proven true by themselves, process of elimination provides us with only one possibility: Special Creation.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Friday, May 23, 2008

Transitional Species Found?

Has one of the many long sought-after "transitional species" finally been found? According to this article from Live Science, a transitional species between the salamander and the frog was discovered in Baylor County, Texas a few years ago, though it was only recently looked over by paleontologists. According to the article:

Called Gerobatrachus hottoni after its discoverer Nicholas Hotton, a
paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution, the creature represents a transitional amphibian, sporting features of both frogs and salamanders.


So is this indeed evidence of macro-evolution? Some evolutionists certainly think so. One in particular stated that the next Christian who claimed there was no evidence for macro-evolution would now officially be a "liar for Christ." It is at this point that I feel the need to stress a very important (and not too difficult to figure out) point: If you dig up a bone in the dirt which looks similar to that of both frogs and salamanders, this does not prove that humans evolved from apes! In fact, it doesn't even support "the idea that frogs and salamanders evolved from one ancient amphibian group called temnospondyls" as the article claims. While the find is compatible with the theory, it isn't evidence because we still have not been provided with any reason to believe that any creature was ever capable of doing something that the creatures of today are incapable of: to reproduce something other than it's own kind. The only "evidence" for this that the evolutionists continually proclaim from the mountain-tops is genetic mutation, and there has never in known history been even one documented "beneficial mutation."


Take, for instance, the "four winged fly" once featured in many text-books as a "beneficial mutation." What they often-times will not tell you is that the mutation was caused by human interference in the development of the fly (i.e. this was not a naturally occurring mutation). And more importantly, the mutation wasn't beneficial because the "fly" was incapable of flying.


It would seem to me that all which has been discovered is a new species of amphibian, and that to insinuate it is anything other than what it is would be folly.




"Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable." - Sir Arthur Keith.


In Christ’s Love,
Matthew






Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adam Walked With God?

I would have began this post with a scripture citation, but there don't seem to be any! This would seem to be yet another case of needing to discern the difference between what we think we know, and what we really know. It occurred to me recently that we always use the example "Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden every day before the Fall," as an example of the relationship God wants to have with us, but I didn't know where the verse was that said it. So I decided it would be better to find out than to have someone question me on it later and leave me with no explanation. So I looked... and looked... and looked... and this looking went on for quite some time before in my frustration I exclaimed "IT'S JUST NOT HERE!!!" If you know where the Bible says this, then by all means correct my understanding, but I have yet to find anywhere where the Bible actually says that Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden on a daily basis (or at all, unfortunately). Please understand that I'm not saying that this wasn't the case, merely that the Bible doesn't actually say that it happened.

I know it's not much, but this is basically what I've been studying for the past couple days and sadly this is all I came up with... i.e. nothing.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew Chapter 22

1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.


When I first read this parable, I was troubled deeply by it. I had no problem understanding verses 1-9, as they seemed to clearly refer to the nation of Israel's rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. It was the state of the man in verse 11 that concerned me. After considering this passage more closely, I found myself asking a question I had not previously thought necessary: Who is at fault here? Let's consider a few things...

1. The servants were told to go out into the streets and invite to the wedding "as many as ye shall find" (verse 9).

2. The servants gathered as many as they found in the streets, "both bad and good" (verse 10).

3. At least one of these individuals came lacking the proper attire for a wedding (verse 11).

4. When questioned as to why he had come unprepared, the man was "speechless" (verse 12).

If this parable is meant to draw a parallel with the church, then surely we want to avoid situations such as the one described in verse 11, correct? Surprisingly, after reading this passage a few times through, I have drawn the conclusion that the servants must share the blame for this man's lack of preparation. While they had done exactly what they had been bidden to do (to bring as many to the wedding as they could), they do not seem to have done so in the proper manner. In their zeal to bring as many to the wedding as possible, some of the servants may have failed to inform those they were speaking with as to what exactly they were being invited to. When confronted by the king as to the state of his apparel, the man has no pre-conceived reply or excuse, but rather is "speechless" (verse 12), the mark of a man confused (I know this as I was "speechless" the first time I read this parable). This man apparently either 1.) was not aware that the event he had been invited to was the wedding of the king's son, or 2.) had not been informed as to the attire required for the occasion. In either case, the man's unpreparedness is as much the fault of the servant who invited him as it is his own.

What does this mean for us? It is our job as the "servants" to inform potential converts of what they are getting into (i.e. "count the cost" - Luke 14:28). Rather than simply trying to "get them in the door," we must be certaint that sinners see their guilt and their need for God's grace, and that it is only by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that we are brought to a point of reconciliation with God and are saved from eternal damnation in hell. This parable may also suggest that if we fail in this task, we will personally witness the results of our failure. Verse 13 says that the servants were told to bind the man hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness. God holds us personally accountable if we give false testimony concerning the gift of God grace. Read this chilling e-mail from one pastor (read it in context here):


Dear Brother Ray,

I have been a pastor for 25 years. I always thought I was doing a reasonably good job. Kind of like the folks that tell you they consider themselves "good people." I had tried to preach, what I thought, was the whole counsel of God. I prayed, over the years, with many people to accept Jesus and make Him Lord of their lives.

My wife Judy and I moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico about six years ago to plant a church. Shortly after arriving I was convicted that something was horribly wrong with my ministry. I read the scriptures and prayed earnestly that God would show me what was wrong. The feeling continued to grow and I became depressed and moody. I asked Judy to pray for me and explained my problem. I didn't know if this was the Holy Spirit convicting or Satan attacking. She prayed that God would reveal the cause of my depression and make Himself clear as He revealed any problem with my ministry for Him.

That night I had the most terrifying, realistic, blood chilling nightmare any man has ever had. I am a Vietnam veteran and I know a little about nightmares. Nothing in my experience has ever come close, nor do I ever want it to, to the horror of that night!

I dreamed that it was judgment day and I was standing right next to the throne of God. I noticed that to my left and my right were pastors as far as I could see. I thought this was odd that the Lord would reserve this front row space for pastors only.

I looked out across a space of only a few yards and there were millions, maybe billions, of people, yet I could see each one of their eyes staring at me. As I studied this group I noticed that I knew many of them from times at the altar or ones who had sat under my teaching. I was pleased to see that they had made it to heaven, but confused because they didn't look happy. They looked very angry and hateful.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, "Away, I never knew you." I was suddenly frightened that what I was seeing was those who "thought" that they were saved. Then I saw all of them pointing a finger at each of us pastors and together, in one voice that shook my soul, "WE SAT IN YOUR CHURCH AND THOUGHT WE WERE SAVED. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US WE WERE LOST?"

Tears were pouring down my face and the faces of all of those pastors. I watched as one by one those people were cast into hell. One and then another, and another, and another......., until they were all gone. I died inside as each one screamed in agony and gnashed their teeth, cursing us as they went into the lake of fire.

Then I was looking into the face of Jesus and He said to me, "Is this the part where I'm supposed to say, ' Well done my good and faithful servant?" I woke up with a scream and my heart pounding and I was begging Jesus to forgive me.

I died a million deaths that night. Since that night I have done two things on a daily bases. I do everything I can to preach the law before grace in the hope that conviction of sin will bring a sinner to true salvation. The other thing that I do is pray for every person I have ever preached to asking God to repair any damage I have done. I also never believe anyone when they tell me they are saved. It is my duty to challenge them and search out the solidness of their salvation.


We can't afford to lie to the lost just to get them in the door, in the end we aren't doing them any favors. They will still be "bound hand and foot" and cast into outer darkness, where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth." We all must seriously consider our motives in evangelism if we are preaching anything short of the whole, untainted truth of God's justice, man's sinfulness, the reality of Hell, and the need of repentance and faith, without which there can be no salvation.

In Christ’s Love,
Matthew

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Something's Not Right Here...

Something's been bothering me for quite a while now... Why are so many "Christian" authors quoting Theosophists and New Agers in their books as though they're reputable sources? Don't know who I'm referring to? Allow me to explain...

In Cure for the Common Life Max Lucado quotes mystic Martin Buber as saying “a divine spark lives in every being and thing” (pgs. 3, 215). This is a quote from Buber’s The Way of Man. In The Way of Man Buber also states “All men can have access to God, but each man has a different access” and “God does not say: ‘This way leads to me that does not,’ but he says: ‘Whatever you do may be a way to me’” (pg. 17). It is strange to consider that such a well-known Christian author would sympathize with these New Age teachings.

Another best-selling book that has filled the shelves of many Christian bookstores is the ever popular Chicken Soup for the Soul written by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Disturbingly, I later discovered that Jack Canfield is a 'psychosynthesis' teacher and Mark Victor Hansen wrote the forward to Arielle Ford’s Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul, a book filled with New Age and Eastern principles (coincidentally, Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul is also written in an identical format to Chicken Soup for the Soul, interpret that however you choose).

On page 248 of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren quotes New Ager and mystic Aldous Huxley, the single most quoted individual in Marilyn Ferguson's The Aquarian Conspiracy. Also, on page 33 of the The Purpose Driven Life, Warren provides a quote from Theosophist George Bernard Shaw with no explanation whatsoever.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." - 2nd Timothy 4:3-4

What's wrong with this picture? If you can't see, then I can't help you. Christian authors shouldn't need to draw inspiration from New Age, mystical, occultic, and Theosophical leaders. Whether or not this is any indication as to the authors' true attitudes toward spirituality is yet to be seen, but these and several others are certainly some to watch...



Authors to keep an eye on:


Erwin McManus
Brian McLaren
Max Lucado
Rick Warren
Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen
Donald Miller
Neale Donald Walsch


In Christ's Love,
Matthew