Treasure the Word

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Recently, I’ve seen attacks against the inerrancy of Scripture, the truthfulness of Scripture and its reliability. These are subtlely different issues between themselves. I’ve not seen the Bible “proven” wrong. Sure there are attempts to show that it is inaccurate, or it’s chronology is off, or something else people will point to as gross error, only to realize it is a matter of understanding history. I have seen people take and run with one of these supposed errors and use it as their reason for not believing the whole thing. It’s frustrating that they give up so easily. It’s like their threshold of error is so low they intentionally don’t want to believe. Serious inquiry? Forget it! I heard that King so and so didn’t really rule for five years but four. Therefore I won’t believe any of the Bible. Really?

I have seen that people who study and believe the Bible live much more peaceful lives than those who don’t. That’s an argument from pragmatism, but it is a good one. The Bible is a far more useful and accurate history of the ancient world than we give it credit. It is more reliable historically than most of the ancient historians we are aware of. If only for that, we can trust the Bible.

But more than that, the Bible speaks of a God that no man would invent, let alone 40 men over 1500 years, most of whom did not know one another. Yet they God they speak of is consistently transcendent. He is consistently above and beyond our imagination. He is never depicted as just “the old man in the sky” but glorious, wonderful, and too holy for mortal eyes. Anyone who took the Bible seriously would know this.

I know know this is little heavy for a Thursday, but like I said, I’ve been seeing this lately and wanted to address it. God bless you all!

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Not Seeing is Still Believing

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Have you ever seen Jesus? Most of us have to be content with the apostolic witness of the New Testament, and by most I mean everybody who has been alive since Jesus’ first coming. As Jesus once told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” Peter reaffirms this here. One day we will ultimately be saved to heaven and meet Him personally. This is not to say that we aren’t already saved through faith in Christ in the present. But our salvation will be made complete when “we shall see Him as He is.” I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

So What Are We Learning?

“Formal education is about learning more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing” – Daniel Lucas, Better Life Church

So I am taking in the Pastor’s Conference at the Creation Museum this week. I heard Ken Ham and Dr. John MacArthur this morning, with a couple of AiG’s other staff personalities this afternoon. Ham and the others stated that our education system has become a target for secular humanism (duh!) and is basically an indoctrination center. Our kids are being targeted so that in just a few generations, our country will exit the church. If you compare the number of hours kids spend in school versus what they spend in church, the math is pretty easy. Add to this the number of hours the kids are exposed to media, and the case is closed.

So what to do? Their solution is to restore Bible education to the kids, restore the foundation of the church to Young Earth Creationism, and we will be on our way to restoring Christianity in America. Sounds good, right?

So why does this bother me?

They made the statement this morning that once upon a time, the schools taught Bible and morality and ethics, while the churches concentrated on teaching their theology. Somewhere, probably in the early sixties, the schools stopped teaching the Bible, stopped teaching morality, and starting teaching the kids they are descended from animals instead of created by God. In the meantime, the churches have continued to stay within their narrow theologies while their congregations are beginning to wander off and wonder, “who cares?”

But do I want my government teaching me what to believe?

I suppose government already teaches me what to believe about mathematics and the rules of English (which are arbitrary by the way). Government teaches me about history, but usually with an agenda, never a bare recitation of historical fact. It teaches me science, and I would be content with that if it left off trying to convince that science can also prove the un-provable.

Science in its essence is the formulation of a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, and either changing your hypothesis to meet the facts or using your data to prove your hypothesis. When science tries to tell me that the universe exploded, stars formed after a particular fashion, and planets came into being by a peculiar process, it is making a hypothesis it cannot prove. No one had ever run an experiment lasting millions of years to prove that you can in fact make a universe given the right conditions over millions of years. It is not an observable process. You cannot prove it, so stop trying to tell me that you can. When you say you know its true without the scientific method, you are expressing a belief, a faith in something, and you are no better in your reasoning that the people you say are “unscientific”.

I suppose we are deceiving ourselves if we believe we can teach anything without a certain point of view. We all have an agenda, a bias, so that when we share information, we also share a perspective. It doesn’t matter if its math, science, or language; you cannot help but share your perspective about it. If you teach history or social studies, you share your bias, what you think is important.

So back to my original question. If the Bible returns to school, whose bias and perspective gets shared along with it? The America that taught the Bible in the classroom was predominantly Christian. Everyone shared the same values and morality, and even though churches disagreed on specifics, they agreed on the general points of theology. But could your Jewish or Muslim teacher teach the Bible in the same way? What about the Hindi or the Taoist? What about the Atheist who is told she has to teach the Bible to her students? How do you think her perspective will affect her teaching?

So many Christian parents have resorted to pulling their kids out of the public schools and putting them in home schools or private schools. Fair enough. That is their right. What happens to the public schools? What happens the Christian influence? It’s like a premature rapture. Suddenly all the Christians are gone, and all that’s left is the heathen. Is that what we want in the public school system?

I guess what I’m saying is that I have no easy answers. My kids are in the public schools, because I can’t afford to put my kids in private school. They have to be salt and light. They have to learn how to get along with people who don’t share their faith. We have open and honest discussion at home about stuff at school. I teach my kids about young earth creationism, because I believe it best fits the text of Scripture. That’s my solution for the present. If you find something better, pursue it.

God bless.

Free Living

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it would be really easy to take this out of context. Here’s the whole verse.

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

Both a command and a warning. How interesting. This is how most heresies get started. People see a snippet of a verse like the picture above, and totally forget that the passage has a context, a particular meaning colored by the text it is found in. Peter is saying that because we are Christ’s we are not bound by this world, however, we are bound to Christ, and we are to live for Him, and not use our freedom as license to do whatever we want, which is the implication of the picture.

Never take one of these verse pics for granted. Please take the time to consider the verse in its context.

God bless you on this Wednesday.

The Unluckiest Ram

In Genesis 22 is the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. It is a heartbreaking story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son because God said so. As we walk that path with Abraham, we note his cringing grief when Isaac asks, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Truer than Abraham himself realized, he says, “God Himself will provide the lamb.”

Rewind to several years earlier. Somewhere in the holy land, a lamb was born in an unknown place to an unknown sire. This lamb was raised in its family of mountain sheep, becoming a young adult. But a notable fact of this animal was its horns. It had a long and curly set of horns that circled its head as ram’s horns often do, giving it the advantage over other rams and making it the envy of other males. These horns attracted good ewe lambs and made him a king.

But one day, this king of rams wandered off on his own, perhaps to admire himself in some pool or seek worthy challenges from other rams. As he wandered, he moved from grassy patch to grassy patch, moving ever higher on this particular mountain.

As he moved closer to the top, he noticed some commotion near the summit. People, two of the them, one tied and laid upon a pile of rock. The other brandishing shiny metal, but much distressed. The ram knew this was not a place he wanted to be. Dueling rams was one thing, but he stayed away from people.

But something caught his eye. Under a set of bushes, hidden from view, was a wondrous patch of green, so inviting, so delicious. The ram could not help himself. He had to have some of that tender green. While the people were distracted, he crept over to the bushes and tasted the green. It was the most delightful, most wonderful patch of grass he had ever eaten. He must have more. He was fully consumed by his desire for this wonderful food.

And then suddenly, a powerful voice broke the air. “Abraham! Abraham!” The ram was startled, even scared, and raised his head to assess the threat. Was it the people? A lion? He looked up and saw nothing. The voice made a few more sounds, and the man dropped the shiny metal and unbound the other one. Then they embraced. People are weird.

As he bent down again to eat more of that wonderful grass, he stopped short. His horns, his big, luxuriant, beautiful horns that had been his best allies all his life, granting him the best grazing, the best ewes, suddenly betrayed him. They were tangled in the bush he had been feeding under. He pulled, pushed and pulled again. His fear turned to anger, and anger to rage. He would pull this bush out by the roots! But the more he struggled, the tighter the branches held him. Within a few moments, he was hopelessly stuck. That’s when the man saw him.

“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.”

Sometimes you have been extraordinarily blessed, not simply to glorify you. Sometimes God has laid enormous advantage upon you, maybe even privilege that others do not share. But God gives His gifts in wisdom. Sometimes God blesses you so that through you someone else might receive the blessing.