Tag Archives: Bible

What Do You Surrender?

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all
All to thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Whatever type of Christian you are, or even it you are not a Christian, you are probably familiar with or have at least heard this hymn. This is the dedication Christ demands. But what are you surrendering and who are you surrendering to?

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Luke 9:58

We are like Pope Innocent IV when he invited Thomas Aquinas into his chamber to count a large sum of money and said. “You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none?” “It is true, Holy Father,” replied Thomas Aquinas, “nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise up and walk!”

America is filled with churches which love the world system rather than loving the Father. They have organizations which require money to pay staff, repair buildings, advertise, broadcast and many other things which are not evil in and of themselves. They establish budgets which are reasonable when set up, but require other sources of revenue when the expenses continue or rise but income falls.

This is a great test of faith. We do not need to be a pastor of a mega church or run a large university to face this test. A single mother with children to feed can face the same test. This is when we must surrender something to continue.

The woman who turns to prostitution to feed her children is condemned as a great sinner, turning from the Faith. But the university president, evangelist or pastor who fails to proclaim the whole council of God and ignores certain sins because preaching against those sins will offend certain wealthy supporter is committing spiritual adultery.

But perhaps the greatest sin today is ignoring the Word of God and it’s teachings to satisfy our own lusts. Those lusts might be cooking or hobbies or just talking with friends. We do not want to know what God’s righteous requirements are because we are too busy “doing our own things.”

“Do not love the world nor the things of the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15.

What are you surrendering and who are you surrendering to?

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Why Him? Why Now? A Review of Messages by John Michael Hileman

Messages is described as a “fictional allegory,” similar to a parable. A parable uses physical elements to teach a spiritual lesson. David Chance develops a sudden “talent.” Words stand out in posters, newspapers, even movie titles, and give him “messages.” Some might object to these extrabiblical revelations. The story has plenty of Scripture and biblical teaching and the “messages” don’t teach doctrine. They really just push the adventure and mystery along.

Just one example, the $400 incident, is a brilliant detail. Don’t forget the $400. The full “Why Him? Why now?” mystery isn’t explained until almost the end of the book. He is an ordinary man but providentially placed for the “Why Now?” of terrorists, hidden bombs and presidential assassination. Revealing these story elements isn’t giving away the real surprises in the story. There are many, and they really keep the reader adrenalin-buzzed and zig-zagging right along with poor David.

“Why him?” It’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Or what you beg for, and pray for. When the response to his plea to understand God comes David learns how far from ready he is. Fortunately godly counsel is only a phone call away, even in the most extreme circumstances. The fact that part of David’s extraordinary quest involves keeping his godly counselor alive is another brilliant detail.

This story examines a favorite theme of mine, how a person can believe he’s “good enough,” or other people are, until reality jars that nonsense out of his head. Who can you trust? Who are the good guys and the bad guys? In the end, David realizes that goodness, and trustworthiness, and faith, are not things for which man alone has the answers.

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What is Salvation?

“The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“There is none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10)

Since we are all sinners, we need to have our sins atoned for. Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God “gave his life a ransom for many.”

First we must recognize that we are sinners in need of salvation. Then we must understand that as a sinner there is nothing we can do to atone for our own sin or bring about our own salvation. But salvation is like a marriage, it is not a 50%/50% relationship, it is a 100%/100% relationship.

Though salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5) we still have total responsibility to serve God. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

Our works are technically called Sanctification, since only God can work the work of Salvation.

God also commands us to be fruit inspectors. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) But we must be very careful to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The parable of the wheat and the tares illustrates our difficulty. Tares are a variety of weed which look very much like wheat until the time comes to produce seeds. The Bible teaches us that seemingly wicked men, such as Abraham’s nephew Lot are actually righteous. Others that appear to be righteous, even talking with God, such as Balaam, are actually evil. In the matter of salvation, we must be very careful to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

The fruit (works) we are to look for is a love for the Lord, a desire to fulfill the great commission and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).

Our beliefs on the doctrine of salvation are written down in detail in our books, Findley Family Video Biblical Studies and Antidisestablishmentarianism. The Biblical Studies books are written for homeschool so there is a student and a teacher’s edition. The only difference is that the teacher’s edition contains the answers. They include our commentary on Great Doctrines of the Bible by Evans. All of these are available in ebook format and all four books (Our three and Evans, which can be obtained free online) can be purchased for less then $10 total.

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What Is a Pig Translation?


 

Every missionary to the many tribes in Papua New Guinea has to face the translation issue. There are numerous tribes and each tribe has its own language, usually with no understanding of any outside language. There are very few missionaries for the total number of tribes. When the missionary lives in a tribe and learns the language well enough, he begins translating the Word of God into that language.

“Behold the lamb of God.” But these people have no idea what a lamb is. Some missionaries choose to stay long enough to educate these tribesmen, even paying out of their own pockets to bring a lamb in. The years or decades this takes means that other tribes will never even hear of the Word of God. There are only two alternatives. Use a word these tribesmen will probably never understand or use the closest word these tribesmen already understand. However, the only creature that these tribesmen have ever seen which is anything like a lamb is a pig. If you were the translator and were unable to stay long enough to educate this tribe would you translate John 1:36 “Behold the pig of God?”

No translation is inspired, including the King James. It was an excellent translation for its day and is still one of the best, but the meaning of many words has changed. “Suffer” no longer means “permit,” “quick” does not mean “alive,” and “conversation” does not mean “manner of life.” No modern Standard English speaker uses these words in that way. These are not errors, just obstacles to understanding. At some point, these obstacles will make understanding impossible.

The KJV is not the only translation to face this problem of changing language. All of the many translations which brought people to Christ faced this problem. The Latin Vulgate, which probably holds the “top spot” for bringing people to Christ, now requires a special course in ecclesiastical Latin to be able to read and understand. Another translation greatly blessed by God is Luther’s German (of which there are many, since he revised annually). The Reina-Valera Spanish translation has also had wide influence and been greatly used by the Holy Spirit. We can be thankful that English has no corner on the market of salvation through the Scriptures. It is sad that some people hold to the idea that more people will be in heaven because of the KJV than any other translation. This is simply not true.

The original printing of the 1611 KJV was almost immediately replaced by the 1613 because of the number of spelling mistakes and typographical errors. Most libraries and archivists have the 1613, not the 1611. Both contained the Apocrypha, notes, and significant spelling differences. Because King James never authorized the translation which bears his name, there were thousands upon thousands of changes throughout the years. One of the most famous was the 1629 edition which incorporated the newly acquired Alexandranus text.

Current KJV versions sold throughout the English speaking world come from 1769 revisions. There are actually two 1769 editions, the Cambridge and Oxford editions. They have minor but definite differences. 1. Jeremiah 34:16, the present Oxford KJV has “whom he,” while the present Cambridge KJV has “whom ye.” 2. 2 Chronicles 33:19, the present Oxford KJV has “sins,” while the present Cambridge KJV has “sin.” 3. Nahum 3:16. At this verse, the present Oxford KJV has “fleeth” while the present Cambridge KJV has “flieth.”

There are mistakes, though they are small and relatively insignificant, in the KJV. Just one example is that candlestick should be translated lampstand. Candles did not come into use until Roman times, and so could not have been used in the Tabernacle or Temple. Besides, related passages specify the use of “oil for the light,” which indicates a lamp.

The Greek New Testament produced by Erasmus formed the basis of the KJV translation. Erasmus had only one Greek manuscript for Revelation, which did not have the last six verses. He used the Latin Vulgate for these verses. Revelation 22:19 in the KJV reads: “the book of life;” while every known Greek manuscript read “the tree of life.”

In spite of the facts, many people have made a belief in the word-for-word inspiration of the KJV a test of fellowship. They reject anyone who will not agree that the KJV is the only inspired English translation. This is a heresy.

http://jcsm.org/StudyCenter/john_macarthur/KJV.htm references a pamphlet produced by John MacArthur which provides a fairly thorough treatment of his dealings with one KJV only preacher and his perspective on the subject. It is much more detailed than this brief piece and covers the subject well.

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Random Thoughts on the Subject of Christmas

I read an article about a YMCA that replaced its Santa with Frosty the Snowman. This was a decision by the local management, not some upper-level YMCA ruling. They said it was because they wanted to make their annual seasonal celebration more inclusive for everyone. I heard earlier from a friend that a YMCA in Pennsylvania was going to let them hold church services in their building, but then decided they shouldn’t. After all, that C in the name shouldn’t be misconstrued as implying that they support Christianity.

But back to the Santa thing. Please tell me when we got to the point that Santa Claus was a Christian symbol in America? I know there are historical roots in Roman Catholicism or Orthodox belief with Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas, but I always thought that Santa Claus as an American institution was pretty much non-religious. Frequently he has quasi-religious characteristics, such as keeping a watch and a list to see about that whole naughty and nice thing, rewarding the good (candy and toys) and punishing the bad (coal and switches), and the ability to travel the world and make his deliveries in a single night.

Some Christians hasten to point out that Jesus Christ most likely wasn’t born in December, that this time-of-year celebration has many pagan roots and elements and is hardly Christian anyway. Even those conservative Christians who are glad to celebrate Christmas have frequently spoken out against Santa as usurping the place of God. They object to Santa taking on some of God’s attributes and crowding out the birth of Christ entirely. Sometimes Christ is allowed to co-exist, but it has always seemed weird to see the nativity set alongside the sleigh and reindeer on so many lawns. The church I grew up in had Santa Claus visit the Sunday School children. That was weird, too.

The true meaning and purpose of Christmas has been leaking out of the American brain for years. I’m going to continue this ramble in a later note, but let me leave you with this thought. Are you just as guilty as secularists and the rest of the confused country of making this holiday, this “Holy Day,” incomprehensible to the world?

Every year there are politically correct government or management decisions to cut out nativity scenes, to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” to stick to non-religious Christmas music, to avoid any reference to the true reason we have this holiday at this time.

More and more, however, Christmas trees are no longer welcome, decorations on desks at work are banned, and anything that reminds us that Christmas is anything but a winter holiday with possible time off from work is taboo. It’s okay to display lots of commercialism starting sometime in October, to go nuts with the lights and lawn displays, to max out the credit cards buying stuff. It’s also okay to make fun of Christmas, to emphasize that it’s totally mythological. Santa and Jesus are equally fairy tales.

The TV show “Bones,” about a forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent who solve crimes, apparently loves to do Christmas shows. One had a murdered temp agency Santa who seemed to be the “real” Santa. He refused to work on Christmas Eve, designed toys, and wore real ermine on his suit.

Another one had Dr. Brennan (Bones) expounding on how she takes a trip out of the country at Christmas to avoid the whole ridiculous celebration. She is reluctant to even enable her incarcerated father and brother to celebrate Christmas together.  Brennan objects to lying to her brother’s adopted children and pretending he is not in prison, just visiting his father. Booth (the FBI agent who is a practicing Roman Catholic and very badly represents the faithful) states that to make all this happen they are going to have to practice deceptions, and that you have to tell lies at Christmas. It’s part of the deal, apparently.

Secular Humanism has been taking aim at Christmas for years. They’d like to wipe it out of existence. Kwanzaa seems to have been invented to further that purpose. Every year you see t-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming “Festivus for the rest of us.” (If I understand it right, Festivus is some sort of celebration invented on the TV show “Seinfeld” and adopted by secularists as if it were real). Winter Solstice is another great one to bring up. Pagans can celebrate their holiday, but not Christians.

Hannukah seems to have been squeezed almost into non-existence as well. When we delivered to Michaels craft stores in Jewish areas they complained that management never sent them any Hannukah supplies. Nothing even remotely connected with Christmas or the true God in the minds of Secularists can be permitted. Every year they push the envelope further. Sometimes people push back. Even Jews want the trees, they want Santa, but do they want the true God or Christ?

The movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” deals with a congressman who, in one scene, speaks to a constituent who wants to keep a creche (nativity scene) at a firehouse. There is opposition and the man wants Wilson to make the opposition stop. Wilson says to him, with the wisdom of Solomon, knowing his people and his towns so well, that he should move the creche to a nearby church lawn, and adds, “everybody lives.” Wilson is depicted in the movie as a hard-living, hard-drinking, womanizing reprobate, but a man who still takes his political and social responsibilities seriously. And he wants to keep Christ out of secular life, over on the church lawn where He belongs.

So, see, in a way, this incident with the YMCA kicking out Santa means secularists are trying to attack Christianity when they attack Santa, and trees, and Christmas carols. I guess our culture is so warped now that we may have to consider Santa an ally, though I’m not necessarily ready to fight to keep him in Christmas celebrations.  I am ready to point out that this is another attack by Secular Humanism, and we should take it seriously.

I’d lots rather fight to keep the creches at the firehouses (the town I grew up in had one for many years), the wise men and the star up on the hill near Arizona State University in Arizona. I’d like to see stars or angels on treetops and along city streets (though the depiction of angels is a whole other subject). Now and then someone speculates that maybe the reason we give presents is because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus. I’d fight to keep that in too.

We read the Christmas story with whatever family we can gather at Christmas. The whole thing, from Zacharias to the return from Egypt, out of the Bible, not a Bible Story Book. I would definitely fight to keep that. That’s the most important thing to keep, honoring and recognizing the importance and authority of the Word of God. We should do it all year long, but maybe if you haven’t really studied the Word of God and accepted its authority in the past, this is a good time to start. To keep Christ in Christmas and in America we have to keep the Word on our lips, in our minds and in our Hearts.

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Principles of Science Teaching


There are only two ways to teach Science: to teach it as a unified subject or divide it into categories. Unified sounds good but can be overwhelming to students. Subatomic particles like electrons don’t divide themselves into disciplines according to how they behave. In Physics we study electrons in different ways from observing how they behave in Organic Chemistry as electrons generating electrical impulses. By the time they have traveled down nerves and crossed synapses and caused our muscles to move they have gone over into the study of Biology. In fact, a degree in electrical engineering is known as an EEE (electrical and electronics engineer) because electricity and electronics operate so differently on a large and a small scale.

To keep from overwhelming students on high school level and below the sciences are generally divided into different subject areas. In Jr High or Middle School they are simply taught as Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. In High School the subjects are usually broken down into Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Interrelationships are rarely explored in detail because there is no time.

The question often asked about science is, how do you make these subjects Christian? In Life Science, you can emphasize the fact that God created all life, and it did not develop by evolution. We can also study God’s requirements for treating all life, animal, plant, and human. In the hard sciences (those that are testable in a laboratory setting), the Bible speaks just as clearly.  “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Heb 11:3 NASB).

The spiritual created the material. The supernatural can intervene in and change the material world. Job got boils from head to foot from no physical cause. Jesus walked on water and healed people born blind and lame. Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot.

The material universe is finite, not infinite. Though God is in control, we are responsible as mangers. God will hold us accountable for the way we manage the material world. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26)

The world is relatively young, less than 10,000 years old. It is going to be destroyed by act of God’s judgment because of man’s rebellion. Man cannot destroy the earth.The Bible demands that we have wisdom and skill in handling material possessions but we should not spend all our time efforts and energy developing these things. They are secondary to worshiping God. The material world is not to become our god. We should not become obsessed with seeking material possessions or how to manipulate the material world. How we handle science will determine the quality of our life here on earth. We are limited in what it can do to the material world and it is finite and temporary.

Science is constantly changing, more than any other field. Whatever curriculum a homeschooling family chooses it must be a modern, comprehensive textbook acknowledging the principles God has set forth.

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Philosophy of Bible Teaching


We take the historical-grammatical interpretation. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise. God in revealing His Word neither intends nor permits the reader to be confused. He wants His children to understand.” Dr. D. A. Waite, in Ephesians.

We have examined the evidence and conclude that the facts teach that the Bible should be treated like any other literature in its proper historical and grammatical context. When it claims to be the Word of God it cannot be interpreted to mean something else and must be accepted or rejected. There are literally thousands of available Bible curricula. The question is, how thoroughly do you want to treat the subject? Also, different curricula emphasize different aspects of Bible study. Some focus on devotional aspects. These tend to include a great deal of commentary and less real study of the Scriptures themselves. Many focus on application, trying to make the Scriptures “relevant” to modern life or “age-appropriate.” These also neglect areas of historical, doctrinal or the strict interpretation of a passage. We teach a unity of Science, History, Literature and the Scriptures. Divorcing the Bible from other subjects allows secularists to put it in a separate category from the “Academic” studies.

The Bible is Scientifically and Historically accurate. It also uses literary devices. Other ancient literature contains similar poetic devices and figures of speech which can aid in understanding the Scriptures. The Bible can be studied doctrinally, chronologically, historically, biographically, by doing word studies, or topically. Many good books on all these approaches are available. If your emphasis is on doctrinal study, Evans Great Doctrines is an excellent resource. We follow Baptist belief that the church is not a continuation of Israel. While the true church is made up only of believers, the visible church may have unbelievers in it because it is not possible for us to know men’s hearts with certainty. While it would be difficult for a student to memorize the entire Bible, Elementary instruction should begin with a strong emphasis on Scripture memorization, with a focus on teaching doctrine. Some good Bible memory programs include Bible Memory Association (BMA only works through a church), Awana and Navigators.

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Secular Humanism: America’s Establishment of Religion

“Secular Humanism: Religious Mythology” is lettered on my computer bag. So “What is Secular Humanism?” The quick, simple answer is that it is the religion of self-indulgence with no possible consequences for the way we live in any kind of life after death. Beginning somewhere around the Kennedy administration, Secular Humanists learned that if they lied and claimed that they weren’t a religion, they could get federal funds. They also got political power to force everyone to practice their religion. The following more complete definition is from our book Antidisestablishmentarianism.

6. What Is Secular Humanism?

“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Edwards v Aguillard, U. S. Supreme Court, 1987. 

Almost every American colony had some form of establishment of religion. This was because their religion consisted of proven and necessary facts of existence. Religion was reliable, logical and rational to them. The modern established religion of Secular Humanism teaches that it is the only scientifically-based belief system in existence. It claims that all other religions are not scientifically-based, but the opposite is true. The Bible, upon which true religion is based, is a book of Science, and Secular Humanism is a religion of mythology.

“… Scientific history … is that the method that we use is something akin to the scientific method. It is based on at least three characteristics …. The first is to establish that the evidence is reliable. The second is making certain that the analysis being made is logical. And third, the analysis must lead to a generalisation that is based on rational argument.”2

Since time began man has only been able to take one of three positions toward a scientific fact. The first is belief, which means to accept the fact as it is and interpret its significance correctly. The second is unbelief, which means to reject a fact or give it the wrong interpretation. The third position is some degree of compromise between the other two, such as accepting a fact but wrongly interpreting its significance. It is also possible to misinterpret the true nature of the fact and misapply it to come to other wrong conclusions.

Belief does not mean mere opinion, as modern culture has degraded the word. The legal term belief means to accept something as true based on the facts available. Facts are true whether or not you choose to believe them. The Scriptures are the basis of scientific facts. This is the standard the founding fathers began with and also the colonials before them. All scientific facts are based on the Scriptures. “Facts are stubborn things;” said John Adams, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”3

Since the opposite is drilled into everyone through western culture and western education, we need to think the following example through slowly and carefully. The Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt is told in the Bible as a straightforward, factual, historic event. Charlton Heston, in his narration of the picturesque Bible video series, presents the Bible as part of the “oral tradition in storytelling” as if teachings passed on orally were understood to be less accurate or reliable and therefore merely legends and myths. Socrates, in Plato’s Dialogue “Phaedrus,” addresses the subject of oral versus written history.

“Theuth [Thoth] … was the inventor of many arts, … but his great discovery was the use of letters. … Thammus [the god Ammon] was the king of … Egypt; …To him came Theuth … desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of [his inventions]; … when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; … Thamus replied: … you … attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this … will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, … they will trust to the external written characters … This is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, … not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”4

Plutarch, in his discourse on the life of Lycurgus and his rule in ancient Greece, expresses the belief that oral tradition is a way of making the law more firmly fixed in the mind.

“None of his laws were put into writing by Lycurgus, indeed, one of the so-called “rhetras” forbids it. For he thought that if the most important and binding principles which conduce to the prosperity and virtue of a city were implanted in the habits and training of its citizens, they would remain unchanged and secure, having a stronger bond than compulsion in the fixed purposes imparted to the young by education, which performs the office of a law-giver for every one of them.”5

There is considerable disagreement about whether the Scriptures were in some part orally communicated before being written down. The point is that even if they were it does not make them less authoritative or reliable. Socrates may not be entirely justified in discounting the value of written records but he reinforces the point that oral communication of history does not make it unreliable or inaccurate. Memorizing and passing on history demands great discipline and does not result in a form of the child’s game “gossip.”

Gossip, sometimes called Telephone or other names, consists of a group made to stand in a line. The first person in line is given a piece of paper on which is written a phrase to whisper into the ear of the second person. Frequently there is only one opportunity to whisper the message. The second person whispers what he heard to the third, and so on down the line. The last person is to write down or speak aloud what he heard the person before him say. When the final form of the “gossip” message is made public, frequently it bears little resemblance to the original phrase. The distortion of the oral message in the game gossip is simply due to the indifference of the people playing the game. In fact, one simple change in the rules of the game of gossip produces correct transmission of the message even by children. Simply offer everyone who is playing a large enough reward, or punishment, if the final message is correct.

Modern prisoners of war, inmates in prison, gang members, spies and others today pass on important information without writing it down and without changing the message. Most American Indian tribes had no written language and saw no need for one, until Europeans demonstrated the ability to talk to people far away. In the popular TV series Mission: Impossible, the leader of the team received his orders on a recording that self-destructed after he had heard it one time. He was forced to memorize the mission immediately or he would be unable to complete it.

In the Scriptures, the Exodus is not recorded as a “story” which only “contains” truth. The Exodus is recorded as an historic event like WWII, Benjamin Franklin hearing George Whitfield preach or the invention of the steam engine.

The established religion of secular humanism would single out the invention of the steam engine as the only scientific fact included in these historic events. The word science, however, means something has been correctly observed and accurately recorded under controlled circumstances. For an event or experiment to be a scientific fact it must normally be reproducible. There are exceptions to this, however. The explosion of a supernova is a scientific fact, though no one on earth knows of any way to reproduce that explosion. And even though some of the information recorded about WWII is incorrect information, the historic fact of WWII is also a scientific fact. In fact, WWII is probably the most well recorded fact of history. The abundance of evidence allows modern observers to cross reference records to make a true scientific picture of WWII. Benjamin Franklin’s observations are just as scientific.

“He [Whitefield] … preach’d one evening from the top of the Court-house steps, which are in the middle of Market-street, … I had the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, … I found his voice distinct till I came near Front-street… Imagining then a semi-circle, … fill’d with auditors, to each of whom I allow’d two square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by more than thirty thousand. This reconcil’d me to the newspaper accounts of his having preach’d to twenty-five thousand people … and to the antient histories of generals haranguing whole armies, of which I had sometimes doubted.”6

On the other hand, Benjamin Franklin’s observations of George Whitfield’s preaching were the scientific measurements of a single observer. Though a single observer, even a careful one like Benjamin Franklin, might be more prone to error than a large number of observers, Franklin’s measurements were still scientific. Franklin used a step-by-step process of investigation. He physically walked off the distance to determine the range of Whitfield’s voice. Next he compared his observation with previous witnesses of Whitfield’s audiences and range. Finally he adds similar established historic accounts of commanders addressing troops (adding that he previously doubted their truth).

In the following paragraph the Bible presents step-by step scientific proofs of the accuracy of the historical event of the Exodus. Three hundred years after the event Jephthah confirms its occurrence (Judges 11:26). At the time of the beginning of Solomon’s temple construction the official historical record of the event (I Kings 6:1) confirms that 480 years have passed. If someone falsely claims that the Biblical record of the Exodus is not scientific, that is an issue of his unbelief, not an issue of science.

In the book of Judges, part of Jephthah’s speech to the Ammonites includes an approximate date for the Exodus. …Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? (Judges 11:26, KJV) By the time of Solomon, the date of the Exodus was the foundational date for the kingdom. And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. (I Kings 6:1, KJV) Though the comparison of modern calendars with ancient calendars is very difficult and it is easy to be a few years off, I Kings 6:1 gives a precise date to the Exodus. Anyone who understands that Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in 966 BC of our Gregorian calendar knows that the Exodus took place in 1446 BC according to our Gregorian calendar. If you are interested in understanding these discrepancies, please see the Section Two Appendix on Calendars. Anyone who uses a slightly different date, such as 1444 BC or 1447 BC is not disagreeing about the date of the Exodus. He is simply disagreeing about the proper method of scientifically reconciling ancient calendars to our modern Gregorian calendar. Clearly this documentation of the Exodus is scientific history, actual events recorded and verified by scientific methods.

The believer understands that the Exodus took place in 1446 BC. In this case the word believer does not mean someone who has put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It simply means that he has examined the evidence and chosen to accept the facts. For example, Immanuel Velikovsky, author of numerous works on errors in the currently accepted dating methods of mainstream archaeology, believes the Exodus took place at the time recorded in the Bible, even though he rejects everything supernatural.

The unbeliever, however, does not understand that an Exodus ever took place. He simply rejects anything like the Biblical record. In other aspects of his life he may be a Hindu, a Muslim, an atheist or almost anything else. He looks at the work of Egyptologists since James Breasted’s Ancient Records of Egypt and concludes that nothing like the Exodus recorded in the Bible ever happened. Mainstream history has no room for anything like the Exodus. A belief in the Exodus will keep doctoral candidates from receiving their doctorates, PhDs from getting a job, prevent professors from achieving tenure and will blacklist tenured professors. A brief look at a few people who have experienced some of this prejudice is documented in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled.7

The compromiser examines the Exodus recorded in the Bible and the massive works of mainstream historians and attempts to reconcile them. Though it is possible for as many reconciled dates as there are individuals doing the reconciling, the most common date compromisers arrive at is 1295 BC. The 1295 BC date often makes Rameses II the pharaoh of the Exodus, as in the Stephen Spielberg movie, Prince of Egypt and the 1956 classic Cecil DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. The 1295 BC date is a poor fit and is often ridiculed by mainstream historians who completely reject anything like an Exodus. Though it is the best fit these men can come up with, it is still wrong. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon said:

“A chasm is opening between the men who believe their Bibles and the men who are prepared for an advance upon Scripture. Inspiration and speculation cannot long abide in peace. Compromise there can be none. We cannot hold the inspiration of the Word, and yet reject it; we cannot believe in the atonement and deny it; we cannot hold the doctrine of the fall and yet talk of the evolution of spiritual life from human nature; we cannot recognize the punishment of the impenitent and yet indulge the “larger hope.” One way or the other we must go. Decision is the virtue of the hour.”8

Compromisers want to “get along,” to make allowances for other views, to be tolerant. They won’t stand up for the truth because it doesn’t matter enough to them. These are people who believe that “getting along” is more important than honesty. Dorothy Sayer said, “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”9

Though massive tomes have been written on date of the Exodus, that is not the purpose of this work. The Exodus is but one example of the three possible positions of belief, unbelief and compromise. A juror for an automobile accident can be a believer, an unbeliever or a compromiser. A juror who makes a decision based on the evidence of the case alone is a believer. A juror who rejects the evidence and draws conclusions based on some other preconception is an unbeliever. A juror who combines evidence with preconceptions and jumbles it all together into a mess is a compromiser. We are all compromisers on issues where we fail to stand firmly on principle. Compromise is the most destructive thing we can do to our character. Yet as destructive as compromise is, it is an area in each of our lives that we have difficulty seeing clearly.

Throughout history, unbelief has taken many forms. In the Roman Empire the main form of unbelief was polytheism and Christians were viewed as atheists because they believed in only one God. Christianity was dangerous as a “foreign superstition,” and its followers “notoriously depraved,” said Tacitus, first and second century Roman historian.10Suetonius, a second century Roman historian, called Christianity a “new and mischievous religious belief,”11in his work The Twelve Caesars. In Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations Christians are called a “gang… of ignorant men and credulous women.” He believed they were guilty of lawlessness, or “mere contumacy.”12 Athenagoras, an Athenian who wrote to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, said that Romans accused Christians of “atheism, Thyestean feasts [cannibalism], [and] Oedipodean intercourse [incest].”13

Justin Martyr, a second century Christian apologist, acknowledged the Roman perspective but made the Christian position clear to those who ignorantly or willfully misinterpreted it. “Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort [the Roman pantheon] are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God…”14 Athenagoras pleaded with Marcus Aurelius to recall that every nation under Roman control was allowed to worship its own gods. Romans believed their vassal states were made better by religious practice, but Athenagoras said that Christians were “harassed, plundered, and persecuted, the multitude making war upon us for our name alone.”13

The Romans founded this empire-wide persecution of Christians upon the charge of Atheism, since Christians were not pantheists like the Romans. But beneath the mask of the worship of many gods, the Romans held the same beliefs Secular Humanists hold today.

Unbelief can take different forms in different cultures. In Japan it was emperor worship; other cultures have even degenerated into cannibalism. But the predominant form of unbelief in the world today is Secular Humanism. We use the term “Secular Humanist” or “Secular Humanism” because that is what they called themselves. The Humanist Manifesto I is a religious document, written by a Unitarian Minister, Raymond B. Bragg, in 1933. Thirty men who believed themselves to be representative of a vast multitude “forging a new philosophy” signed it. “… there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, KJV)

The Humanist Manifesto I,II and III can be viewed on the website americanhumanist.org. It cannot be reprinted here because of the following notice on the site:

Copyright renewed 1973 by the American Humanist Association. Permission to reproduce this material, complete and unmodified, in electronic or printout form is hereby granted free of charge by the copyright holder to nonprofit humanist and freethought publications. All other uses, and uses by all others, requires that requests for permission be made through the American Humanist Association.15

These men quickly learned that using the word “religion” actually hampered their cause. If they could deceive people into believing that secular humanism was not a religion and that religion was bad, then they could get state funding (follow the money trail) and political power while putting ungodly restrictions on those who actually dared to call themselves religious. Humanist Manifestos II and III call traditional religions “traditional theism” and describe them as “obstacles to human progress.” Many have also dropped the word “secular” and simply call themselves “humanists.”This is an effective propaganda technique, since they are now denying that they are a religion.

The 1973 Humanist Manifesto II is lengthy and filled with doublespeak. It is exactly what George Orwell in 1984 and Aldous Huxley in Brave New World warned us about. It is important because it was signed by more than one hundred influential people, including doctors, university professors, and others like Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer, B. F. Skinner, Prof. of Psychology, Harvard University, Betty Friedan, Founder of N.O.W, and Sir Julian Huxley, former head, UNESCO, Great Britain. All the manifesto texts can be viewed online. Humanist Manifesto III is the most seductive. True intentions are cleverly obscured and it sounds very good. As commentator Bill O’Reilly points out, the term Secular Humanist is not very accurate. It is, however, the oldest and most accurate of the labels they have chosen for themselves.

It is also the term used in court documents, including the US Supreme Court, so we will continue to use it. “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.”16 Justice Black based his comments on the 1957 case of Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda. In this case an organization of humanists sought a tax exemption on the ground that they used their property “solely and exclusively for religious worship.” The court ruled that the activities of Fellowship of Humanity entitled it to an exemption. These activities included weekly Sunday meetings. The Fellowship of Humanity case used the word humanism, not secular humanism.16

Secular Humanism also made a separate manifesto, first published in 1980 as A Secular Humanist Declaration by CODESH (Council for Democratic Secular Humanism) co-authored by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, both editors of The Humanist magazine. Its principle purpose was to declare its compatibility with democracy and how enlightened man should view traditional religions as inferior to secular humanism.

Still, …there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV). Plato praised many of these same follies in his dialogue The Republic. Since Plato is so verbose, few study him in detail today, which is good. Where Aldous Huxley in Brave New World and George Orwell in 1984 viewed the following principles as deplorable, Plato praised them as necessary. His philosopher king would use thugs he called guardians to enforce the will of the legislators on a hapless society divided into classes. Plato’s philosopher/king together with legislators and guardians would determine what the classes would be and who would belong to which class. The class you belonged to would determine every aspect of your life.

But Secular Humanism is older than Plato. It is older than anything written which is still in existence. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV). Contrary to scientific facts, the modern version of the religion of Secular Humanism believes that a simple, chaotic universe evolved into

a complex, ordered universe. To oversimplify, everything came from nothing. Secular Humanists deny that they are a religion for the express purpose of attacking all other religions, collecting tax money and obtaining political power. They also deny that same political power to anyone who disagrees with them. As no two Christians, Jews, Taoists, etc. believe exactly the same way, so no two Secular Humanists believe the same thing. Despite their differences, Secular Humanists hold many beliefs in common.

People who hold beliefs in common can be labeled by those common beliefs. For example, the Niagara Bible Conference is where the term Fundamentalism first began to be used. The term was also used to describe “The Fundamentals,a collection of twelve books funded by Milton and Lyman Stewart. These men collected as many addresses of Christian teachers, preachers and other leaders as they could find. They published the books and sent them to these addresses over a period of time ending around 1910. This group of beliefs became known as Fundamentalism. Fundamentalists defined their beliefs so clearly that anyone willing to be called a Fundamentalist told others something about what they believe.17The term Fundamentalist, however, applies to every aspect of life. A football coach who emphasizes the basics of blocking and tackling as opposed to trick plays or a wide open offence like the West Coast offence is known as a Fundamentalist. An architect who designs simple, inexpensive buildings using the basics of engineering is a Fundamentalist. And a believer in the following list of fundamentals for Secular Humanism makes a person a Fundamentalist in Secular Humanism.

The Fundamentals of Secular Humanism

1.Secular Humanism is a religion based on feelings and emotion, not reason.

2.Secular Humanism denies anything non-material. Anything spiritual is redefined as “energy.” Various humanists use terms such as “Life Energy,” “Life-Force,” “Interdimensional Energy,” etc. The source of the energy is always material or natural, not supernatural.

3.Secular Humanism denies the existence of a supreme being including Intelligent Design.

4.While acknowledging the existence of evil it denies the concept of original sin. It believes in the perfectibility of man.

5.Though Secular Humanism is open to things not yet discovered, at this time there is no scientific evidence for life after death.

6.Man’s existence on the Earth, like everything else in the universe, is a result of chance and not a plan. The most likely explanation for this chance is evolution, which is based on uniformitarianism.

7.Secular Humanism demands that science include only what is within the scope of “natural law” but does not allow for any explanation for the origin of natural law, and therefore the origins of matter or energy; nor is there any reliable information on a possible end to the universe.

8.Only secular humanist beliefs are reasonable; all other religions raise false hopes, restrict personal fulfillment, or both.

9.The purpose of life is to make you a better person. This is accomplished by service to others and seeking

fulfillment in this life. Though each person might have a different concept of fulfillment, no one has the right to tell another person that what he is doing is wrong, unless it harms someone else. This is especially true with sexual gratification.

10. The accumulated improvements of many individuals will drive the evolution of the human race.

11. The best way for society to survive and thrive is to allow enlightened leaders complete freedom to guide all institutions and organizations that serve all people from the beginning to the end of life.

12. Man exists only as a member of the world community. The world community is responsible to provide for the protection and guidance of the enlightened society from the earliest age. Children must not be separated from the world community. Any persons of majority age who oppose the ideals of the world community must be forced into conformity through employment sanctions or reeducation. Opposition must be suppressed by any necessary means.

13. Improvement of society is the essential duty of the enlightened guardians and includes guidance to prevent nonproductive, undesirable or inferior types.

14. Enlightened leaders guide others to fulfillment in this life. The community chooses the values of these enlightened leaders. The enlightened leaders help to guide the community in developing their values system.

15. Compulsory education indoctrinates the citizen of the world community. It is the catechism of the new society.

16. Personal property is evil. This includes any type of marriage since marriage is a property arrangement. Since Secular Humanists recognize evil, it is the responsibility of the guardians to supervise the distribution of material possessions, including social contracts. Individuals corrupt material possessions by unnecessarily hoarding them.

17. National sovereignty is the cause of war, poverty, overpopulation, and waste or destruction of resources. A unified world government is essential to stable economics and freedom in the areas of communication, travel, arts, sciences and education.

18. Unity means eradication of opposition. Secular Humanists characterize anyone who differs from them on these fundamentals as opponents. Opponents are characterized as being oppressive, divisive, fearful of change, bigoted or guilty of hatred.

Some of these items may seem extreme, even to those who claim to be humanists. Some will protest, “I don’t believe that!” As was said before, not all humanists believe all these points exactly in these words. The position of the Secular Humanists has been evolving over millennia, not just centuries, and in the next chapters some surprising adherents will come to light. Prepare to hear from people who lived in times when they could see and touch the gods the state demanded they worship, yet their words produced the echoes secularists proclaim today as “new ideas for new times.” Look for parallels of these “modern” beliefs in the words of ancient writers who were required by law to believe in the gods of Sumeria, Babylonia, Egypt, India, Meso-America, Greece and Rome. They still spoke clearly about how they had already forged their own beliefs with man as his own prophet, priest and object of worship. Moving closer to modern times, hundreds of well-known humanists will make it clear that those who are influencing every aspect of our culture have believed these concepts for centuries and do, in fact, believe them and work for their realization today.

1 Edwards v Aguillard, U. S. Supreme Court, 1987. Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion Chief Justice William Rehnquist concurring with Scalia.

2 Professor Romila Thapar, Frontline magazine Volume 18 – Issue 19, Sep. 15 – 28, 2001 India’s National Magazine from the publishers of THE HINDU.

3 John Adams, “Argument in defence of the soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial,” December 1770.

4 From Plato’s Dialogue “Phaedrus,” Translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1871.

5 Plutarch, from his Life of Lycurgus, translated by John Dryden and others, 1683.

6 Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography. First English version published London, 1793. (The Appendix of the Great Awakening includes the publication history of this work.)

7 Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Prod. Logan Craft, Walt Ruloff and John Sullivan. Dir. Nathan Frankowski. Writ. Kevin Miller and Ben Stein. Assoc. Prod. Mark Mathis. Ed. Simon Tondeur. © 2008 Premise Media Corporation, Rampart Films Production.

8 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers,” The Sword and Trowel, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Elephant and Castle, London, Sept. 1887.

9 Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Other Six Deadly Sins,” Creed or Chaos, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York: NY, 1994, p. 81.

10 Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome, 109 AD, XIII. 32, Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb, 1876.

11 Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, The Twelve Caesars, written c. 117 138 AD, translation J. C. Rolfe, 1913-1914.

12 Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XI.3, 167 AD, translated by George Long, 1862.

13 Athenagoras of Athens, Legatio pro Christianis [translated “Supplication for the Christians”], a letter to Marcus Aurelius written in 177 A.D. Translated by B. P. Pratten in “Athenagoras.” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids: Michigan, 1954.

14 Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 6, “The Charge of Atheism Refuted,” Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Translators, 1867.

15 Humanist Manifestos I, II, III, http://www.americanhumanist .org/ Who_We_Are/About_Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I (II or III).

16 Torcaso v. Watkins,United States Supreme Court, 1961, Justice Hugo Black in a footnote. Justice Black based his comments on the 1957 case of Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda. Where an organization of humanists sought a tax exemption on the ground that they used their property “solely and exclusively for religious worship.”

17 More detailed information on the Niagara Bible Conference and the Fundamentals can be found in the following sources: Ahlstrom.Sydney F. A Religious History of the American People. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972; Beale, David O. In Pursuit of Purity. Bob Jones University Press: Greenville, SC, 1986; Dollar, George W. A History of Fundamentalism in America. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1973.

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The Conflict of the Ages

Every good writing teacher tells us to narrow our topic because the sure sign of a novice is a paper entitled “The Universe and Everything in It.” Yet The Conflict of the Ages can rightfully include every thought every man has ever made. Augustine’s City of God, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae are three attempts at this daunting task, yet they are incomplete. This brief overview, The Conflict of the Ages, will include information not available to Augustine, John Calvin or Thomas Aquinas. I also hope, by the grace of God, to make this much shorter work easier to understand for the modern mind. All Scripture references are from the KJV, unless otherwise noted.

The Conflict of the Ages references hundreds of authors, yet one source needs special mention. The website Sacred Texts by J.B. Hare is the largest collection of public domain material of which I am aware. The entire website of over one thousand books is available for purchase on either CD ROM or DVD ROM. All of the ancient texts I source are public domain books from this collection. A problem with this or any other collection is proving the validity of the primary sources. Though I do not know anything about J. B. Hare, except the information posted on his website, I believe that he faithfully and accurately scanned the texts. The problem is, are the texts reliable? Since they are public domain, they are older and sometimes not the latest translations. I am confident, however, that they are acceptable. Some sources I use are books where Westerners lived among a tribe and wrote down oral traditions. Though we trust that the authors accurately recorded the oral traditions, how much ‘contamination’ with outside influences shaped these oral traditions? The Lore of the Whare-Wananga, a New Zealand tribe, is well documented by the translator S. Percy Smith to be older than outside influences and free of ‘contamination.’  Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney, however, was published in 1900 after more than 250 years of wars and close contact with outsiders. The level of outside influence on the oral traditions of the North American Indians is impossible to measure or deny.

Introduction

I. Desire and Interest

No power on earth can substitute for desire and interest. In the oldest written human record, The Epic of Gilgamesh, men are controlled by gods and goddesses through their desires. Children who want something can do unimaginable amounts of work to fulfill their desires when no amount of coercion can force them to fulfill their responsibilities. God has given us the responsibility is to control our desires.

A. Personal Responsibility

Some responsibilities we can ignore and others can do them for us, such as washing dishes or taking out the trash. Some can do other responsibilities for us with great difficulty, such as bathing an invalid. But some responsibilities cannot be done by anyone else. No one can memorize for us. No one else can change our will. Other people can change circumstances to force us to do something against our will, but no one can honestly change another person’s will.

1. Get Wisdom and Understanding

The purpose of this is to help us obey the command Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:7. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” The way Solomon uses the word wisdom is close to our idea of skill. It means a combination of the knowledge necessary for a task and the discipline to do the task correctly. Solomon exhorts us to use all of our strength and ability to become knowledgeable and skillful in doing what is right and best. He put it another way in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

2. Study Commanded

However, even when we have no burning desire, we are still commanded to sturdy. 2 Timothy 2:15: :Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is not referring to bookwork only, but is similar to what Solomon calls wisdom. It means learning what is right and doing what is right. This is a little clearer in Paul’s admonition in 1 Thessalonians 4:1: “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

3. Keep at it; a little at a time

Isaiah said in 28:10 and 13, “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” A strict interpretation of the passage is Israelites listening to another language in captivity. However, the same principles apply to any type of study, even involuntary. Keep at it, a little at a time.

B. Attitude of the World

Charles Stanley has often said that attitude is what controls us, that it is the most important thing in our lives. The attitude of the world is self indulgence, pleasure. Self-discipline is only important when the end result is greater pleasure.

1. Love not the World

I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The attitude of self-indulgence is at war with the love of God. This is a simple, though difficult, decision which everyone must make. 1 John 2:17: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

2. Learn not the way of the heathen

Jeremiah 10:2: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.” Where John writes about the attitude of the world, Jeremiah writes about that attitude carried out into action. Once again a simple, though difficult command.

C. Study is difficult

Some people might find study a way of escaping other responsibilities. A very tiny number of people find study enjoyable. Most people, however, would rather do just about anything rather than study. Remaining focused on the subject of study is tiring and difficult.

1. No end to book.

Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 12:12, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” No one has the time to do all the studying he believes that he should. Other responsibilities interfere. No one could have ever read all the books he should have. There simply are too many books and life is too short.

2. Study wearies the flesh

Study is one of the most fatiguing tasks God has given to the children of men. He has given us the responsibility to balance the tasks in our lives for His glory. But just because a task is difficult does not mean that we should ignore it.

II. Honesty

Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. “

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Honesty and truth are similar, but not quite the same. Diogenes searched for an honest man, yet he never claimed to be one. Searching for honesty in others is certainly frustrating, but searching for truth can be quite fulfilling. Truth is an absolute, independent of the sinner. Honesty is a character trait. Since we are all sinners, each of us can be honest and truthful at one time and dishonest at another. A man unfaithful to his wife might be trustworthy with large amounts of money. A woman who lies to get a promotion at work might never even consider stealing from that same employer.

A. We are self-deceived.

Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

I John 1:8-10: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

We are born self-deceived and nothing we can do will change our basic nature.

1. We do what we want to do: Pride

Putting our own desires ahead of doing or thinking what is right is the essence of pride. Monks in the Middle Ages who gave up all their personal goods and rights would fight over a pen, simply because it was assigned to them. Apart from yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit, we are all proud. We ignore our pride by looking for pride in others.

2. What we want to do is not what is best.

This is a more subtle form of pride. We choose to do something that we are convinced is best, simply because it is what we want to do. The first and more obvious form of pride is simply doing what we want. This is convincing ourselves, and often others, that our course of action is best. True love is doing what is best for the ones we love. It is also honest.

B. Honesty is the greatest need on earth.

Complete honesty will begin by admitting that we are sinners and finish in Jesus Christ. Without honesty, neither individuals nor the human race has any hope. Wars are the result of national dishonesty. Endless fights are the result of personal dishonesty. Dishonesty is the root cause for personal destruction. Dishonesty is the root cause for family disintegration, national disintegration and ultimately, wars.

C. According to the Word of God, everyone who was ever born or ever will be born falls into one of three categories.

1. Believer

The Bible is a record of believers. Adam is a believer. So also are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Daniel, John, Mary, Peter, Paul and many more. They are also, as we are, sinners. Their sins are recorded along with their faith.

2. Unbeliever

The Bible is a record of triumph over unbelievers. Balak, Goliath, Jezebel and her prophets of Baal, Sennacherib, the Philistines, Tobiah and many others openly defied the living God. Their destruction is accurately recorded.

3. Compromiser

These are men who knew the Living God and chose to rebel against Him. Today we might say that these are men who want their freedom. Lot, Balaam, Samson, Saul the first king of Israel and Esau fall into this category. Without additional revelation, it is not possible to know if these men were believers or not. Their sins destroyed others and their life stories are great tragedies.

III. Tools

Very few people who look at beautiful cabinets wonder what kind of tools made them. Like those cabinets, very few people who look at our lives will wonder what kind of tools shaped us into what we are today. Tools, and skillful use of those tools, however, are essential for shaping us. We must not get wrapped up in the tools themselves, but keep our eyes focused on the ultimate goal, the ‘finished product.’

A. Designed for unbelievers or weak believers

If we look at ourselves honestly, each of us must admit that in at least some area of his life he is a weak believer. Only pride will toss aside these tools with the attitude of ‘I have progressed beyond this.’

1. Apologetics: Francis Schaeffer, Josh Mac Dowell

The science of Apologetics is the systematic defense of the Faith. It does not mean to apologize for. I am not endorsing any of the men I mention simply because I do not know enough about them. All men change from day to day. I am, however, endorsing these books. Josh MacDowell wrote two excellent books, Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Both books now have been combined into The New evidence that Demands a Verdict. These books use an outline format that makes the information easy to understand. It is similar in format to many doctrines books, with a lot of information in a small space.

Francis Schaeffer, who is now with the Lord, wrote many books in prose. His books are easy to read, though the subject matter is difficult. His major apologetic work is The God Who Is There. Francis Schaeffer not only shows that God exists, but also that He is a God of Love. Each work of his that I have read remained focus on his main point and was a delight to read. If you do not enjoy outlines, I highly recommend Francis Schaeffer.

I realize that most people either skimmed over or skipped entirely my emphasis on honesty and the dangers of pride. The following is one example of why honesty and avoiding pride are so important. The source of this piece is the website http://www.infidels.org. Jeffrey Jay Lowder lists himself as editor. “Many readers will recognize me as the editor of a comprehensive Internet rebuttal to Volume I of McDowell’s Evidence. Yet McDowell completely ignored our criticisms in his “fully updated” New Evidence. This cannot be due to ignorance. I have personally tried to correspond with Mr. McDowell twice; each time I received no acknowledgement.” When I clicked on the rebuttal, I found a series of authors, with Mr Lowder writing the introduction. In the introduction he writes that the purpose for writing these articles is that “ETDAV is also arguably the most influential Christian apologetics book on the Internet, which is what led the Internet Infidels to write The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell’s “Evidence”.” The first author, Farrell Till, writes in his opening paragraph:

“In ETDAV, McDowell begins his defense of the Bible with the claim that it is unique. He parades before us an array of ‘scholars’ to testify to various features of the Bible that qualify it to be considered ‘different from all others [books],’ as if anyone would seriously try to deny that the Bible is unique, i.e., different from all others. At the very beginning of my analysis of this chapter of ETDAV, I will concede that the Bible is undeniably unique. Certainly, there is no other book like it, but this fact, as we will see, becomes more of an embarrassment to the Bible than proof of its divine origin.”

This is character assassination, a tactic they frequently use, as well as flawed logic. The poor writing style makes any kind of an intelligent response difficult. Rather than angering these people with points they do not understand, we need to look at the real issue, honesty.

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