Kids Say the Dardest Things & Other Thoughts

Today I stopped by Joey’s class to pick him up from school. As I entered the room, I called his name and he began to pack up his crayons.

The other children stared at me wondering who I was, so I introduced myself. I said, “Hi everyone, I’m Joey’s daddy.”

To which one little girl quickly responded: “No you’re not. Your his granddaddy!”

I was speechless.

I know I must look older than the other fathers… in fact… I am older than the other fathers. Most of my fellow graduates from Lufkin High School, and fellow classmates from Westchester High School, all have grandchildren. I don’t and I don’t think of myself as being 50. So I was quite surprised to hear the little girl say that, especially since I like to think that I look much younger than 50… say… 35. But children rarely will say that. I was caught by her honesty.

I remember growing up thinking how old the Queen of England looked when she was with Richard M. Nixon. Then I saw that photo recently and realized she was not all that old when she was hanging out with President Nixon. So I imagine to Joey’s classmate, I must look really old.

OK, enough humility for the day. I need to go take my Metamucil.


Adam & Eve are Not Fictitious

Fictitious or real? Unfortunately, this is another one of those theological battles that is rearing its ugly head again, this time, using the human genome for defense. There are scientist who are dabbling in theology, saying that there just isn’t enough time for the population to be as large as it is, with as much diversity as there is, given our start with one couple.

Al Mohler writes:

A report from Barbara Bradley Hagerty of National Public Radio a few weeks ago is an undeniable sign that even the secular world now recognizes that this is a question central to Christianity. Hagerty, a skilled religion reporter, talked to me and several others about this subject. Her interviews were broadcast as a report on August 9, with Steve Inskeep of NPR as host.

Inskeep got right to the point: “For many Evangelicals, a historical Adam and Eve is a critical part of their theology, but now some conservative religious scholars are saying, publicly, that they can no longer believe it.”
Hagerty asked Dennis Venema, a professor of biology at Trinity Western University, if all humans descended from Adam and Eve. “That would be against all the genomics evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all,” Venema said. He explained that there is simply too much genetic diversity among human beings than would be possible with an original reproducing pair. Venema affirmed the standard evolutionary line of argument and explained that, in Hagerty’s words, “modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population – long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago.”

Hagerty is counting on us not looking at the Biblical record and knowing just how prosperous Adam and Eve actually were. Adam lived to be 930 years old. This was at a time when humans lived much longer than we do now. As we can assume, the genetic pool wasn’t as diluted as it is today. In fact, I would argue that human sin had not corrupted genetics to its fullest extent and we see the longevity of mankind remaining around 900 years until after the flood of Noah.

Given this reality, Adam and Eve could have had many more children than the three that are listed, Cain, Abel and Seth. If we just assume that Eve remained fertile for at least half that time, and they had a child every 2 years for the sake of argument, Adam and Eve could have had 225 children. Given that this first generation could have also had children in the time span before the flood, and that those people formed 112 couples, and they all had 225 children, that would be roughly 25,200. This went on for some 10 generations which would have led to 252,000 people just from that first set of children. I’m sure the numbers were much higher before the flood came along. But you can see that already, there were plenty of children on the earth by the time Noah entered the ark.

It’s interesting to note that the argument is that Adam & Eve could not have had enough children to bring our world to the present day population and diversity. What these scientist should be doing is arguing from the point of Noah and his family entering the ark. But that would be a concession on their part since it would mean they believed in a world-wide flood that wipe out the entire population of the earth except eight people. Their view of Scripture, science and evolution keep them from making that argument. They have to attack the validity of Scripture from the stand point of Adam & Eve, not Noah and the flood.

The other attack on Adam & Eve is actually more insidious. It’s the claim that the account of Adam & Eve are fiction because the Bible is actually a library of books where some of those books are fiction and others are not. Mohler writes:

Karl Giberson, who has also been affiliated with BioLogos and is the author of Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution, goes so far as to argue that the biblical account of Adam and Eve “was never intended to be read as literal history.” But, he was asked, what does this then say about the Bible’s truthfulness and authority?
Giberson then wrote:
The Bible is not a book. It is a library — dozens of very different books bound together. The assumption that identifying one part as fiction undermines the factual character of another part is ludicrous. It would be like going into an actual physical library and saying “Well, if all these books about Harry Potter are fictional, then how do I know these other books about Abraham Lincoln are factual? How can Lincoln be real if Potter is not?” And then “Aha! I have got you! So much for your library.”
That is an amazing and deeply troubling paragraph. Giberson uses the metaphor of the Bible as a library of books — a metaphor popularized by author Brian McLaren. But Giberson then goes where many others lack the courage and candor to go — he is ready to identify part of the Bible as “fiction.” In his words, “The assumption that identifying one part as fiction undermines the factual character of another part is ludicrous.” What can his argument mean but that Adam is to be understood as like Harry Potter, a fictional character, while Jesus is like Abraham Lincoln, an historical figure who really existed?

This points to more Leopard Theology by liberals. Remember Leopard Theology is the view that the Bible has spots of truth and it takes liberal theologians to help us spot the spots that are true.

But back to my case against Giberson and McLaren. If they are saying that Adam and Eve are fiction, then why do the gospel writers tie Jesus to Adam & Eve via genealogy? It stands to reason that if they were truly fiction, how can a true and historical genealogy tie Jesus to that couple? That would be like me tracing my genealogy back to Santa Claus. It makes for a good Christmas story, but it’s not true and would show me to be a liar. If Jesus is not tied to Adam & Eve, then why does Luke record this in chapter 3 of his gospel? Are we to believe the McLaren and Giberson know more than the writers of the gospels? Are we to believe that God sent them along to correct the historical record, that has somehow been wrong for 6,000 to 10,000 years?

The other argument against this notion that Adam & Eve are fiction is that the Apostle Paul also treats Adam as a real person. He does not refer to Adam as a fictional character, but as a real man that sinned and brought sin and death to all mankind.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Paul isn’t treating Adam as a fictional character. Fictional characters don’t bring death and sin to humanity. That takes a real man to do that. He also relates Adam to Christ. Adam was our representative in the Garden of Eden. This is why sin is passed to all of us. He was our federal head, so to speak. We may complain that we don’t care much for his representation, or say that we didn’t vote for him, but God wasn’t asking. We must trust that had God chosen us to be the representative, we would have fallen as well.

But Paul is pointing back to Adam as our federal head, to show us that we have a new federal head, that of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Just as Adam was real, so to is Christ. He is God’s grace to fallen humanity, for where Adam sinned, fell and took the entire human race with him, Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life in order to provide salvation to those who believe.

It’s amazing that men like Giberson and McLaren, both men who are supposed to preach the gospel, can get one of the fundamental tenants of the gospel so wrong. For if Adam and Eve are fiction, then is the sin that is passed to all humanity really there? Do we really have a problem that needs the life of God’s Son to atone for us? When you look at what they are saying, they are undermining the very gospel of Christ and His atoning work. It’s sad that these men are put forth as teachers of truth, because they are not.

We can trust the word of God to be true. All we have to do is look around at fallen humanity and we see the evidence of Adam’s fall among us. Every time we transgress against someone, or they sin against us, Adam’s fall scream as us. Every time we attend a funeral, again, the evidence of Adam’s disobedience. Even when there are earthquakes and hurricanes, more evidence of Adam’s rebellion against God. It’s hard to believe that some people would try to make the man out to be fiction. The evidence for his existence is all around us.

Son of Sam Killer Is a Christian!

I know this makes skeptics really angry when they hear news like this, but the Son of Sam killer has come to know Christ in prison. According to Foxnews, David Berkowitz does not plan on seeking parole at his next hearing because he is already free through the forgiveness found in Christ.

“I have no interest in parole and no plans to seek release,” Berkowitz wrote in an Aug. 6 letter. “If you could understand this, I am already a ‘free man.’ I am not saying this jokingly. I really am. Jesus Christ has already forgiven and pardoned me, and I believe this.”

Berkowitz, who killed six people and wounded seven others in 1976-77, was dubbed the “Son of Sam” after a note left at a crime scene read: “I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam.” After intense manhunts and widespread public panic throughout New York, he was arrested in 1977.

I only point this out because we need the reminder that there is no sin too heinous for Christ to forgive, no sinner too lost for Him to save. The gospel is the power unto salvation and that salvation can redeem even the most wicked of sinners. As John Newton, former slave trader, was in the habit of saying, “I am a great sinner, but Jesus is a great savior.

How true this is. I know that this truth makes skeptics angry because they claim that somehow, it’s unfair that God would forgive such a heinous man. What skeptics and many Christians do not realize is that the degree of sin between someone like Mother Teresa and Berkowitz, is negligible, for as Jesus points out, that even if we hate someone, it’s the same as murder (Matthew 5:21-26). Not that we should go ahead an act out on our sinful impulses. What this should do is remind us that we are all in need of a savior, even if we have not acted out on our sinful impulses.

God is not unjust in redeeming serial killers. He is not being “unfair” as they claim. In fact, if we want fairness, we need to realize that because all sin and fall short of God’s glory, we all deserve eternal damnation. That would be fair. God is showing grace to men like Berkowitz and men like myself. The skeptic can scoff all he or she wants to. But come judgment day, those in Christ will stand in His righteousness, not our own, while the unbeliever gets to relish is his or her unrighteousness for eternity.

May I paraphrase Newton: We are great sinners, but we have a great Savior.

Most Americans Want Pastors to Remain Silent on Politics

It does not surprise me that data collected from the General Social Survey indicate that most Americans, 71 percent, do not want their religious leaders getting involved in politics. (Story here.) This simply reflects many Americans view on religion. Religion is something you do when it is convenient and is to be kept locked in our own little religious box.

This is really a sad view on the state of religion and Christianity as a whole because the deeper issue is that many Christians live as though Jesus died on the cross to save them, but not to redeem them. What I mean by this is that they see the death and suffering of Christ as a means to provide eternal blessings in the future, and peace and tranquility in the present. The cross for these people is just an add on like so many apps on an iphone. They don’t want the pain and suffering that the believer is called to as we are conformed to Christ’s image. That is just too much Jesus for these people as they seek to keep religion compartmentalized.

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John Newton’s View of Sanctification

I am still reading John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken, and I find Newton’s view on sanctification quite helpful. It’s not the perfect view of sanctification, but he does help us understand the process.

Newton believes that sanctification was like a train, where all start at the same point, that of unbelief and being dead in trespasses and sins. Those who become believers, are then at point A of belief. They are being drawn by God even though they may not understand why. Aitken quotes Newton:

“It is a spring-time with A. His faith is weak, but his heart is warm. He will seldom venture to think of himself as a believer, but he sees, feels, and does those things that no one could unless the Lord was with him.”

Most of us remember those days of infant belief. I remember those first days when the Spirit was moving in me and my soul desire was to be at His feet, reading His word, soaking in His truth. My life had changed from that of being a wanderer, lost and tossed in the world of ideas and thoughts to one who suddenly awakens to a deep and passionate love. Not that I loved Him, but that Jesus truly loved me. The realization was that Jesus truly did die on the cross, and truly died on the cross on my behalf. He was no longer just an historical figure, but my eyes were open to the the living King of the universe who was and is in control of all things. Life began to slowly make sense. All those years of drifting and searching finally came to an end. I had found my Rock, or should I say, He had found me and placed me on the Rock of salvation.

There is no sweeter realization of this truth for the person that experiences it and knows it. Grace had come raining down in my life and the sojourner without a home, now had a destination.

For Newton, this is what happened to him on a ship while out at sea. The ship was in a terrible storm and should have sunk, but during that time, God’s Spirit began to move in the slave trader in order to bring him to repentance. It wasn’t a foxhole conversion, but one that had been coming about for weeks and months.

The next step for sanctification is step B. Aitken writes:

“Newton suggested that B has to be humbled and tested by God. As B goes through trials and temptations, he wrestles with new sins of the kind that evidently troubled Newton, such as ‘spiritual pride, self-dependence, vain confidence, creative attachments, and a train of evils.’ Gradually B realizes that God’s testings and working of the Holy Spirit are training him up in ‘a growing knowledge of himself and of the Lord.’ Beginning to understand the sovereign mercy of God, B learns how to love deeply and to forgive others. B’s spiritual formation is complete when he reaches this stage of love and forgiveness and is able to stop boasting, complaining, and censuring others.”

Newton believed that once a person reached and fulfilled the steps of B, they then progressed to level C. Aitken points out that Newton never felt that he had arrived at level C and I think this is where Newton’s view of sanctification break down. Not that I want to take anything from it, because he was so right about much of it. However the thought of moving from A, then to B, then to C, in progressive steps is the problem with his view. Sanctification is more like moving between A and C, and the more we grow and mature, the more we remain in C. But just because we have moved into C doesn’t mean we do not visit section A or B as well. There are times where someone at level A, will jump to C and demonstrate great levels of spiritual maturity. But the inverse is also true, those who demonstrate great levels of spiritual maturity can fall back into level B or A.

A lot depends upon what God is doing with us in our lives, and how much the Holy Spirit is working in and through us. The closer we walk with Him, and focus on Him, is when we find ourselves living as those who are spiritually mature, because we are leaning less on ourselves and more on Him. When we try and fix our problems and struggles by ourselves, this is when we are acting with less maturity. This doesn’t me we are complacent, but we need to look to Him when dealing with something.

This is very similar to Joshua and the Israelites when they decided to conquer Ai in Joshua 7. Not only did the sin of Achan play a huge roll in their defeat, for the Lord’s anger burned against Israel because of Achan, but they did not inquire of the Lord before doing so. They thought that they could handle it without the Lord, and He let them fail. Had they inquired of the Lord, I’m sure the Lord would have told them of His anger because of Achan.

As for step C in Newton’s view, Aitken writes:

“… Newton describes C as being in a state of contemplation. This means he accepts his absolute dependence on God and acknowledges his own complete weakness. Surrendering his will to God’s will, C concentrates on contemplating the glory of Christ. As he does this, C grows in humility, spirituality, love of God, and tenderness toward others. He is both the object and the example of divine love. Newton concluded this third letter, ‘Happy C! His toils, sufferings, and exercises will soon be at an end; soon his desires will be accomplished; and he who has loved him and redeemed him will receive him to himself with a ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'”

Again, I like his description of this position. But I think we only get glimpses of it on this side of glory. Those who are His will experience this glory in the fullest. Yet, most of us are probably well grounded in stage B of Newton’s view of sanctification. We are tested and pressed and challenged because God’s hand is working in us. Remember this is the same God that tested Abraham with his son Isaac. He is the same One that test His own Son on our behalf. Since this is true, then why should we not be tested as well?

Every day, the question remains: “Will we trust in Him to do what is best in our lives?” Or, “will we trust in ourselves?” I’m a strong proponent of trusting in Him. Let the One who began a good work in us, continue to do so until the day of salvation!

We Are to Stand Against Evil

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

There are some encouraging words for us in America today. How many of us are reluctant to speak out against that which is evil because we fear such foolishness as political correctness? How many of us are silent, because we fear losing our jobs? How many of us remain silent about the truth when it comes to dealing with our friends?

We have gone far too soft in our country. We are far too afraid, far too timid. Yet, being called to be a Christian means standing against evil and for the truth. We are to stand up against that which is evil because God has called us to, casting down every evil thought that stands opposed to God’s word.

Baba, a dear friend, encouraged me today by loaning me the biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas. Metaxas is the same man that wrote Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. Some of you may be familiar with the subsequent movie that was made from that book entitled Amazing Grace. If you have not seen, then by all means, order it now and watch it. It ranks up there is the movie, Luther, as far as movies that depict men who were strong in their faith and willing to suffer for it.

I look forward to reading the book on Bonhoeffer. You can see that it is already worth the read just from the quote above. Bonhoeffer truly stood against evil in his day and it cost him his life. We too are to do the same. It probably won’t cost us our lives, which is even more of a reason to stand for righteousness sake. In other words, we have fewer excuses in not standing for right. Falling under the condemnation of those who are politically correct and using a gallows has the same evil one behind it all. We are to resist him nonetheless.  As the Scripture tells us, resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Let us stand against that which is evil and for righteousness sake.

Pro-Abort Groups Have Crisis Pregnancy Centers in their Crosshairs

Al Mohler Jr. has a good piece on how the city councils in New York, Baltimore and San Francisco are trying to shut down Crisis Pregnancy Centers saying that women get counseling there that could lead to something other than an abortion.

First in Baltimore, and then in New YorkCity, municipal governments passed laws intended to shut down or curtail the work of crisis pregnancy centers in their cities. The crisis pregnancy centers have been among the most important platforms for saving unborn human lives and reasserting human dignity. This is especially true in more recent years, as many of these centers have begun using sophisticated ultrasound imaging technologies in order to show pregnant women the unborn babies within them.

These centers are staffed by brave workers and an army of volunteers who are committed to counsel women against killing their unborn babies. The ultrasound images have been massively important in this counseling process. Once the woman sees the unborn life within her, the chances of that baby surviving to live birth are tremendously enhanced.

As one abortion rights activist famously declared, “The fetus beat us.” When the fetus is seen for what is really is, the mother has a much harder time deciding to abort it. Crisis pregnancy centers generally offer a variety of services, ranging from counseling and adoption services to medical care and support for new mothers. All this is too much for the abortion industry, which rightly sees crisis pregnancy centers as their increasingly powerful opposition.

The pro-abort crowd cannot handle the reality that the “fetus” is actually a baby. Fetus is from the Latin word that means “little one” so even those pesky Italians understood that the thing growing inside a woman’s belly was actually a baby and not just “pregnancy mass” as the pro-abort crowd tried calling it back in the 1990s. The last thing they want is a woman having an ultra-sound in a Crisis Pregnancy Center showing the woman that the pregnancy mass is actually a baby. That destroys every last shed of the lie put forth by the pro-abort crowd (notice, I refuse to call them pro-choice because the only choice they ever really offer is that of abortion).

Mohler continues by showing that the attack on the Crisis Pregnancy Center’s is by saying that the center’s operate on propaganda, something the pro-abort crowd never do.

Now, city officials in San Francisco have launched their own effort to shutter crisis pregnancy centers, claiming that staff at the centers impose “anti-abortion propaganda and mistruths on suspecting women.”

As if the Planned Parenthood groups were also set forth to tell the truth. Just their cry to be referred to as “pro-choice” shows the hypocrisy in any references to the truth.

Note the reference to anti-abortion arguments as “propaganda,” as if there could only be one side to the issue. Dennis Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney who is running for mayor, called the crisis pregnancy centers “right wing” and “politically motivated.” There was no acknowledgment of the fact that pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood are “left wing” and “politically motivated.” Furthermore, given the millions of dollars of income made by Planned Parenthood and other major components of the abortion industry, the phrase “financially motivated” should be added as well. Where are the calls for honesty from Planned Parenthood?

Mohler concludes:

This is the logic of the Culture of Death laid bare for all to see. Crisis pregnancy centers deserve the support of all who cherish the sanctity of life, the defense of the unborn, and the right of free speech. As defenders of life, crisis pregnancy centers should be committed to nothing less than comprehensive truth-telling. It is the Culture of Death, and not the Culture of Life, that fears the truth.

These groups will do whatever it takes to silence those of us who fight for life and speak the truth. The truth is far too damaging to their cause and their sick view of life. We must continue to speak the truth about abortion no matter how ugly the truth may be. After all, it is killing the next generation. God will certainly not continue to bless us as a nation as long as we are destroying little ones that bear His image.

Upon Further Review…

I have deleted both posts concerning Campus Crusade for Christ. Both were a bit on the unloving side towards our brothers and sisters in that organization that are laboring faithfully for the Lord. CCC dropping “Christ” from their name is really not worth all the derision that they are undergoing for doing so.

CCC and other members, please forgive me for my words earlier.




NEWSFLASH: True Christians Don’t Leave the Faith

In the discussions on atheists and their attempts to recruit more atheists, it was stated that many atheists were Christians at one time and then … they found their brains and left the faith. Or at least, that is the implied argument. This is the tactic used by the neo-atheists. They not only want to be outspoken in their atheism, but they also oppose Christianity and paint those in it as being less intelligent than your average yard dog.

But that is not the point of this post. The point is that these atheists claim they were at one time Christians, and now they are not. We must not fall for this line of thinking. Even if they were baptized and made professions of faith, and went through all the motions of being a believer, if they left the faith, they are not believers and never were.

Here is what Scripture says about those who leave the faith: 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

This verse, along with Hebrews 6:4-6, shows us that those who leave the faith have no real hope, and were never really a part of the true believers in the faith. A true believer is one that perseveres to the end of his days. He/She may wander from the faith for a time, but the moment that they renounce the faith is the moment we know that they were not true believers. To renounce the faith and declare yourself an atheist is to become apostate, for which Hebrews says there is no hope.

Let us not be overtaken by the atheist arguments that they were believers and then left the faith for whatever reason. If they were of the faith, they would never have left it in the first place, and they certainly would not have renounced the faith as many atheists do. This is what the Apostle John is telling us in his letter. Those who leave were never truly believers. They were not of the light, but loved darkness more than the light (John 3:19-21).

But What About Their Earnest Prayers?

Some ask this question as well. What about those who were earnest in their prayers and actions, and then leave the faith. We can only say that while those prayers and actions seemed to us to be earnest, God knows the truth of their hearts. Tares always look like wheat and it is up to the Father to separate out the tares from the wheat. Regardless of what it looks like to us, there was no real saving faith in those who leave Christianity. They were never really believers and because of their fruit of apostasy, we can know that they were not believers.

But What About Those Who Were Really Seeking God?

They were not. Remember Romans 3:10ff, There is none who seeks after God. The point is that the atheist may give testimonies of being believers at one point, then coming to some depraved epiphany and leave the faith. They say these things to puff themselves up and to show themselves superior to those who are true believers. Let them. For God hates the proud and is looking for those with true humble hearts before Him. The proud, arrogant atheist has no claim of righteousness and will be judge because of it. Let us not be fooled by their claims and trust in what the Scripture says about them: Psalm 14:1, The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’ While they may claim to have testimonies of being believers and then leaving the faith, they never were true believers.