Monday, January 31, 2011

Darwin and Biblical Compromise



Theistic evolutionists (TEs) tend to resent and deny the charge that their embrace of Darwin has been at the expense of Biblical revelation. I therefore want to list some of the most critical Biblical compromises that the TEs make and the implications of these compromises:

1. God’s creation placed His creatures in the ideal environment. He called it all “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Even the animals were designed as herbivores, eating only vegetation. This affirms that God is truly good, and the subsequent problems – sin and death – are our fault, not God’s. However, TEs are forced by their commitment to Darwinism to regard the bloody struggle of life and death, the survival-of-the-fittest, as God’s ultimate plan to establish the origin of the species. The absurdity of this is obvious. Consequently, the cunning Cain was acting in concert with God’s plan in killing his na├»ve brother Abel!

2. Humankind was God’s crowning creation, created in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27), making humankind far more valuable to Him than the rest of His creation. Consequently, there is sharp distinction between humans and the animal world. However, evolution dissolves this distinction in favor of an evolutionary continuum in which the distinctions are merely a matter of degree, and value is determined not by the fact that we are created to be like God (sanctity of life), but rather by an arbitrary appeal to our superior intelligence, productivity, or depth of our feelings (quality of life). To deny the special creation of humankind is also to deny the NT’s affirmation of its historicity and the theology derived from this historical event (James 3:9). It makes man into no more than a more sophisticated animal. It also serves to deprive humankind of the special privileges and protections that our moral and legal systems extend to him.

3. The Fall – the advent of sin and death through Adam – is the Bible’s explanation for our problems. As a result of the Fall, all creation was subjected to decay, awaiting the redemption of the physical world (Romans 8:19-23), which will take place when Christ returns (1 Cor. 15:20-57). However, if we embrace Darwinism, there is no room for a Fall, since sin and death originated long before Adam’s existence. In fact, the entire notion of sin has to be overhauled. Selfishness, competition, and securing exclusive mating privileges become an “essential” under Darwinism. Although TEs will strenuously deny this, it is a necessary part of the naturalistic system into which they have invested themselves.

4. The Restoration (Acts 3:21) to the original order is a “restoration” to the survival-of-the-fittest under Darwinism and not deliverance from sin, decay, and death as the Bible promises. While the Garden account presents us with an explanation of the advent of sin and death, it also provides the hope of restoration through the coming of a child, a second Adam (Gen. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:21-22), who will reverse the effects of the sin of the first Adam. When TEs undermine that historicity of the first Adam, they also deprive the second Adam of His theological underpinning and impinge upon the theological unity of the Bible.

5. TEs generally “harmonize” Darwin with the Bible by asserting that the Bible is only about the spiritual world while evolution is only concerned with the physical (Good fences make good neighbors.) However, the Bible’s theology is inseparable from its history. The history of the Cross is essential to the theology of the Cross. The history of God creating male and female and joining them as “one” is essential to the theology of marriage, family and divorce (Matthew 19:4-6).

6. TE’s must “spiritualize” Scripture – regarding it as figurative – in order to regard it as exclusively “spiritual” and not physical. However, this creates additional problems:

a. By wrenching Scripture away from its most natural reading – rendering it figurative – interpretation is freed from all necessary constraints and simply becomes a reflection of whatever we want to read into Scripture. Therefore, there can be no certainty or assurance about what it is really saying.
b. The Bible consistently provides commentary on what has already been written. This commentary reaffirms its historicity, whether through its genealogies or theological reexaminations. The TE is therefore coerced by his presuppositions to reject the plain meaning of Scripture – adding and subtracting from the Word (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-20). Although they claim that it’s about honest interpretation, it resembles the coercion of the text into conformity with an alien worldview.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Un-Nurtured Mind is a Vulnerable Mind, and Heart



“I don’t care what the skeptics have to say. I just know what I believe, and that’s not going to change!”
This is something that many Christians mouth prior to going to university. Although I appreciate this resolve, I also think it a bit naive. It disregards the power of secular thought and the challenge to their faith that they will surely encounter in the university.

The Christian life is not only about a new heart.
Although this is the primary most important element in our salvation, it is also about a new mind that requires continual nurturing (Romans 12:2; Psalm 1:2-3)! And we will not receive this nurturing in the secular university. Instead, we are grown through food that comes from God alone. There are many things that might look like growth, but Paul warns that what we call “maturity” will all be consumed in the end if it isn’t of Christ (1 Cor. 3:10-15). Instead, we must be built up by the teachings of “grace” (Heb. 13:9).

It is not enough to merely love God with all of our heart. Our heart must be directed by the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, Jesus required that you love God, “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This is something that we can’t fulfill as long as our vulnerable minds are subject to teachings that we aren’t prepared to effectively critique.

While our heart affects our thinking, our thinking also affects our heart.
We can’t divorce the two as many claim that we can. We will be influenced by what we hear, especially when it comes from highly educated authorities. Paul warned Timothy what the world calls “knowledge” because “some have professed [it] and in so doing have wandered from the faith” (1 Tim. 6:21).

Professor of Science, Karl Giberson, who teaches at a Christian school is
a good example of this. In “Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution,” he explains that he had been a fundamentalist until exposed to Darwin, which altered his faith:

• “Acid is an appropriate metaphor for the erosion of my fundamentalism, as I slowly lost confidence in the Genesis story of creation and the scientific creationism that placed this ancient story within the framework of modern science….[Darwin’s] acid dissolved Adam and Eve; it ate through the Garden of Eden; it destroyed the historicity of the events of creation week. It etched holes in those parts of Christianity connected to the stories—the fall, “Christ as the second Adam,” the origins of sin, and nearly everything else that I counted sacred.”
(9-10)

However, Giberson reassured his readers that Darwin’s acid would go no further. However, several years later, it is apparent that the Darwinian leaven didn’t stop where he intended that it would. He writes:

“In “The God Delusion” [evolutionist and atheist Richard] Dawkins eloquently skewers the tyrannical anthropomorphic deity of the Old Testament—the God that supposedly commanded the Jews to go on genocidal rampages and who occasionally went on his own rampages, flooding the planet or raining fire and brimstone on wicked cities. BUT WHO BELIEVES IN THIS DEITY ANY MORE, besides those same fundamentalists who think the earth is 10,000 years old? Modern theology has moved past this view of God.” http://biologos.org/blog/exposing-the-straw-men-of-new-atheism-part-five/

It therefore makes a lot of sense that the Bible teaches us to bring all of our thoughts into conformity with the Gospel (2 Cor. 10:4-5). A little bad teaching can corrupt everything else (Gal. 5:9). If we don’t take these thoughts captive, they will surely take us captive. Our thoughts can support our faith or battle against it, but they will not sit quickly at the sidelines.

Mind and heart must be in agreement.
Jesus taught that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. If our heart is telling us one thing and our mind is preaching another message, we will live in conflict.

Our mind forms a necessary protective shield around our tender heart. For instance, many experienced a failure in faith after having read Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. The world of God was no longer trustworthy. However, through the efforts of many able apologists, many a doubting mind was fortified with facts, and faith was restored.

I underwent a severe trial of my faith after reading about the “manuscript hypothesis” which claimed the Old Testament was merely the product of many devious editors cutting and passing from existing manuscripts, over time. I tried to shelve my doubts, but they wouldn’t remain shelved. Consequently my faith in the Scriptures was undermined, until I read a dry but satisfying text on the subject, “Survey of Old Testament Introductions,” by Gleason Archer. This volume fortified my mind with the facts that I needed to reassure my beseiged heart.

If our mind has not aligned itself with our born-again heart, we live a schizoid and defensive life, fearful of the next attack or the next atheist who might cross our path. And fear brings avoidance and seclusion. We will not be able to make a defense of our faith as required (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3) and will not have a joyful and assured witness.

To disregard the command to love God with all of our minds is to disregard the tools He has given us, even His teachings. How can we submit our precious minds to the secular university, after He tells us that He blesses us in every way through the spiritual renewal of our minds:

• Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
(2 Peter 1:2-3)

One Christian claimed that nothing can separate us from God (Rom. 8:38-39). Although this is true, this doesn’t mean that we can disobey all of His teachings that He uses to keep us. To do so is to put our God to the test. When Jesus was challenged by the Deceiver to jump off the mountain – if He’s the Son of God, His angels with rescue Him – Jesus answered that this would be presumptuous of the grace and promises of the Father (Matthew 4:5-7), expecting God to compensate for our foolishness.

It is equally presumptuous of us to expose our minds to ideas and teachings we are not ready to handle and then to say, “I don’t care what the skeptics have to say. I just know what I believe and that’s not going to change."

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Impact of Secularism



While it is important to know from whence we have come, it is also important, although difficult, to know where we now are. It does seem however that we can note markers along the way in our march into the “brave and new world” of secularism:

• The European Commission has been attacked this week for its production of over three million copies of a diary, called Agenda Europa, which neglects to mention Christmas or any other Christian holiday. The diary includes references to Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities, as well as to May 9 - Europe Day. However, there is no mention of Christmas or Easter. The diary section dated December 25 is blank, while the bottom of the page reads the secular message: “A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and will double your joy,” London’s Telegraph reports.
(as reported by LifeSiteNews.com)

When this “oversight” was brought to the attention of the EU commission,

• A commission spokesman in Brussels, Frederic Vincent, said the “blunder” would not be repeated in future editions. “We’re sorry about it, and we’ll correct that in next edition. Religious holidays may not be mentioned at all to avoid any controversy,” Vincent said, the Telegraph reports.


Well, that sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Not really! All of our values, decisions, legislative acts, committee determinations reflect our morality and worldviews, hence our religions. When the secularist says, “Religious holidays may not be mentioned at all to avoid any controversy,” it leaves Secularism as the only public fount of religious judgment, influence and teaching. In a sense, secularism is saying, “My religion will be the only one heard. All others will be removed from the public sector because of their potential for giving offense to the others.”

However, secularism is a stealth religion posing as an impartial ideology. It has its judgments and opinions about moral and legal issues, just as any other religion, and it’s just as evangelistic. Just attend a few atheistic/secular humanistic meetings! Although this network of groups disdains any reference to themselves as “religious,” it is interesting to note that they used to refer to themselves in this manner:

• BERTRAND RUSSELL: “The greatest danger in our day comes from new religions, communism and Nazism. To call these religions may perhaps be objectionable both to their friends and enemies, but in fact they have all the characteristics of religions…”

• THE FIRST HUMANIST MANIFESTO (Paul Kurtz, 1933): “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”

• JOHN DEWEY, WHO SIGNED THE MANIFESTO: “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…It remains to make it explicit and militant.”

• THE US SUPREME COURT (Torasco v. Watkins – 1961): “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.”

Why does secularism now disown the idea that it is a religion? “Kurtz understands this, admitting that if Secular Humanism is a religion, ‘then we would be faced with a violation of the First Amendment…’” (All the above quoted from David Noebel’s, Understanding the Times, 16-18)

What does this portend for the future? If the present trend continues, we should expect to see the marginalization of traditional religions and their domination by an increasingly repressive, secular state, all in the name of maintaining peace and order!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shariah and Western Democracy




To be an Islamic nation requires Shariah Law, and Shariah Law requires penalties for criticizing Islam. This fact has once again come to light, this time in conjunction of the sentencing to death of a Pakistani Christian woman for the crime of “blaspheme.” However, this sentenced had been opposed by at least one Pakistani:

In an editorial today entitled “Under Siege,” the New York Times laments the recent violence committed by radical Islamists against Christians in Egypt and Iraq. Yesterday, the Times ran an editorial entitled “A Brave Man Killed,” in which it lamented the assassination of Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province who had called for the repeal of Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law. This law, popular with Pakistan’s Muslim majority, imposes a mandatory death sentence on anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Blaspheme laws are not the product of Islamic extremists. They find their basis within the Koran itself:

• [33:57-58] Those who insult [aa-dh-aa] God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them— and those who undeservedly insult [aa-dh-aa] believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and obvious sin.

Although the Koran doesn’t specify the here-and-now penalties against the blasphemer, all Islamic nations impose penalties. In the “moderate” nation of Malaysia, Christians had even been prohibited from using their traditional name for God – “Allah.” However, legal petition was made, and this right was granted to the churches. Immediately, 10 churches were burned to the ground. The case was then appealed to the higher court, where the privilege to use the name “Allah” was retracted.

All of this suggests that if there is such a thing as “moderate” Islam, it lacks any meaningful voice in the Islamic world. Not only was the reformer Taseer murdered, but a great number of clerics applauded it:

As reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute, on January 4, 2011, just a few hours after the assassination of Salman Taseer, more than 500 Pakistani religious scholars and clerics issued a statement lauding the assassin, who was Taseer’s bodyguard. They praised the assassin for keeping alive a “tradition of 1,400 years in Islam” which requires the killing of anyone committing an act of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad. (Quoted from an article by Joseph Klein: http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/01/06/the-global-radical-islamic-threat-to-freedom-ignore-or-excuse-at-our-peril/)

Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum in 1994, laments that Western resolve to stand against Shariah is crumbling, even in the USA. When the Ayatollah Khomenei issued a death edict against the writer Salman Rushdie,

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously for a resolution asserting the right to write whatever you want. Well, 21 years later, people are being threatened and the Senate is not responding. Before 1989 anyone could write or draw whatever they wanted about Islam. Now if you do this, you are taking your life in your hands. If those of us who critique Islam and Muhammad are not allowed to speak or are intimidated from speaking, Islamists prevail…The real issue here is: Are we allowed to defend our civilization or not?” (From an interview, WORLD, Jan. 15, 2011, 28)

Pipes claims that polygamy is already here, but no one is saying anything. How can they, if they are promoting same-sex marriage! Where choice has become the highest “truth,” any moral rationale to resist Shariah is diminished.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cohabitation: Freedom or Bondage

Cohabitation (trial marriage) burst onto the Western scene with the promise that it would protect both partners from abuse and a potentially bad choice. After all, either party could just walk away! However, many studies have already demonstrated that everything that glitters isn’t necessarily gold, especially when it comes to our relationships. For example,

• Spanish statistics, which have been highlighted in recent years by Europe’s Family Policy Institute (FPI), and recently reported by the Spanish Newspaper ABC, indicate that while only 11% of Spanish couples cohabit without marriage, such unions account for 58% of the most violent crimes between couples. For every one protection order issued for a married couple, ten are issued for cohabiting couples. (LifeSiteNews.com)


The big boast of cohabitation is that an abused or disappointed partner could merely walk away from a trial relationship without having to pull up his/her deeply driven stakes. Clearly, however, this hasn’t been the case. Ironically, cohabitation has multiplied abuse. This is especially true when it comes to the children of such unions:

• “Men in cohabiting relationships are four times more likely to be unfaithful…Depression is three times more likely…The poverty rate among children of cohabiting couples is five-fold greater…and 90% more likely to have a low GPA…Abuse of children is 20 times higher in cohabiting biological-parent families; and 33 times higher when the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend…Cohabitation is bad for men, worse for women, and horrible for children. It is a deadly toxin to marriage, family, and culture.” (www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?print=1&did=0907-schneider

Well, if cohabitation doesn’t work, why does its popularity persist? I think that there are a number of reasons for this. For one thing, this institution tells us, “You can have it all without the cost of marriage, and right now!” However, I think that there is a greater rationale, perhaps somewhat imperceptible. Cohabitation fits our worldview – a worldview that has little regard for questions of moral absolutes.

Disdain for moral absolutes and the Christian worldview has been building for a long time. Its voice has been projected out from many quarters. Let me just take one example. The therapeutic community has systematically attempted to replace moral absolutes for self-actualization and other “religious surrogates.” In “One Nation Under Therapy,” Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel write,

At the heart of therapism is the revolutionary idea that psychology can and should take the place of ethics and religion. Recall Abraham Maslow’s elated claim that the new psychologists of self-actualization were offering a ‘religious surrogate’ that could change the world. He had ‘come to think of this humanist trend in psychology as a revolution…new conceptions of ethics and values.’ Carl Rogers then looked upon group therapy as a kind of earthly paradise—a ‘state where all is known and all accepted.’ The sixties and seventies were heady times for Maslow and Rogers. They were promoting a visionary realignment of values, away from the Judeo-Christian ethic, in the direction of what they regarded as a science of self-actualization. (216-17)

As a result of this thinking, moral absolutes were disdained in favor of the “disease model” – we act in hurtful ways, not because we are morally irresponsible, but because we have a “mental disease.” Regarding this, Sommers and Satel give the example of addicts:

• Treating addicts as morally responsible, self-determining human beings free to change their behavior is, in the end, more effective, more respectful, and more compassionate.
(7)

Instead, we have gravitated towards dehumanizing those we have wanted to help by conveying the idea that they are merely products of their society and by rejecting the moral, volitional dimension of their lives.

Nor did Rogers and Maslow dream up this anti-traditional worldview! It has been on the march for a long time. In 1945, Psychiatrist G. Brock Chisholm, president of the World Federation for Mental Health, stated something that wasn’t at all revolutionary, at least within his profession:

The re-interpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking with faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives of practically all effective psychotherapy…The fact is that most psychiatrists and psychologists and other respectable people have escaped from these moral chains and are able to observe and think freely…If the race is to be free from the crippling burden of good and evil, it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility.

It is no wonder that cohabitation and other forms of relational experimentation persist. If it isn’t morally wrong, why shouldn’t it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abortion: The Removal of Tissue?




On January 10, 2011, LifeSiteNews.com excerpted a portion from the first chapter of Abby Johnson’s forthcoming book. For two years, she had been the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, until she was asked to assist in an ultra-sound, which accompanies abortions. What she saw totally undid her orientation towards abortions:

What was in this woman’s womb just a moment ago was alive. It wasn’t just tissue, just cells. It was a human baby. And it was fighting for its life! A battle it lost in the blink of an eye. What I have told people for years, what I’ve believed and taught and defended, is a lie.

She realized in an instance that abortion was more than a surgical procedure to remove an unwanted and uninvited package of impersonal tissue, but how had she been deceived to believe this:

How had it come to this? How had I let this happen? I had invested myself, my heart, my career in Planned Parenthood because I cared about women in crisis. And now I faced a crisis of my own.

She now painfully realized that those women she had wanted to help and comfort, she had instead irrevocably wounded:

How much damage have these hands done over the past eight years? How many lives have been taken because of them? Not just because of my hands, but because of my words. What if I’d known the truth, and what if I’d told all those women?

Johnson may always live with regrets for the things she has sponsored, but it sounds like she is aware that our Lord is willing and able to forgive her and to cleanse her of all her guilt (1 John 1:8-9). However, many others refuse this forgiveness in favor of an endless struggle to convince themselves that they had done the right thing.

Johnson’s account makes us wonder how an intelligent professional woman could have fallen for the line that the fetus was merely “tissue” – merely a part of the mother’s body. Was it a matter of the media incessantly repeating their erroneous dogma or the university disparaging anyone who disagreed with its “wisdom?” It also should make us wonder how many other “truths” we have been made to mindlessly swallow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Spirit World Revisited



Many deny the reality and dangers of the spirit world. In some cases, their worldview rules out any consideration of its reality; in other cases, initiates are so desperate to believe that they are plugging into something benign. In The facts on Spirit Guides, John Ankerberg and John Weldon sound the alarm about this often ignored world, which carries such a high price tag. They warn of the strong association between spiritism and mental illness:

“One discovers many mental patients who are mentally ill precisely because they are demonized. This is born out by the research of German psychiatrist and parapsychologist Hans Bender who coined the term “mediumistic psychosis’; by theologian and psychologist Kurt Koch; and by clinical psychologist and Swedenborgian Wilson Van Dusen, who has examined thousands of patients and noted the parallels to spiritistic experiences and phenomena.” (27)

However, the spirits do not gain a foothold by advertising the costs, one of which is suicide. According to Ankerberg and Weldon, there have been,

• “…innumerable cases where the ‘loving’ spirits have deliberately induced emotional dependence upon their advice and then at a moment of weakness encouraged their contact to commit suicide. And this has been occurring for decades, probably even centuries. In the 1920 text The Menace of Spiritualism, case after case of tragedy is listed.”
(37)

The authors have compiled their own list of horrors that have stalked mediums:

“Arthur Ford became a morphine addict and alcoholic…Bishop Pike died a tragic death…The biography on [Edgar] Cayce by Joseph Millar reveals the extent of suffering Cayce’s occultic involvement cost him—from psychic attacks to mysterious fires…Many channelers seem to succumb to various vices later in life.” (39)

Although they describe the medium M. Lamar Keene as “fraudulent,” from his book, The Psychic Mafia, the authors cite:

• “All the mediums I’ve known or known about have had tragic endings. The Fox sisters, who started it all, wound up as alcoholic derelicts. William Slade…died insane in a Michigan sanitarium. Margery, the medium, lay on her deathbed a hopeless drunk….Wherever I looked it was the same: mediums, at the end of their tawdry life, dying a tawdry death.”
(39-40)

Violence was another price to be paid:

• “Spiritist and guru Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual advisor at the United Nations observes, ‘Many, many black magicians and people who deal with spirits have been strangled or killed. I know because I’ve been near quite a few of these cases.’”
(40)

• “Dr. Kurt Koch observed after 45 years of counseling the occultly oppressed that from his own experience ‘numerous cases of suicide, fatal accidents, strokes and insanity are to be observed among occult practitioners…Anyone who has had to observe for 45 years the effects of spiritism can only warn people with all the strength at his disposal.”
(40)

These observations parallel our more global observations regarding the fate of spiritistic cultures. In Whence the “Noble Savage,” Patrick Frank, summarizes the research regarding analysis of ancient burial sites of spiritistic cultures. The findings, for instance, demonstrate that the violent death rates of British Columbian Native Americans (27-33%) far exceeded even the violent death rate of 20th century Europe and the US (1%). Frank also adds,

“The Southwest is dotted with finds of people killed en masse…These indications of war, violent deaths, mutilations and cannibalism are from tribal societies that experienced no European or modern contact, thus contradicting the idea that peoples who were free from European influence lived relatively peaceful lives.” (Skeptic Mag. Vol 9, #1,2001, 54-60)

Spiritistic societies build no hospitals, establish no universities, and build no enduring institutions. Instead, according to their own reports, they have been spirit-ravaged. Ankerberg and Weldon and also list some books by spiritists who have found refuge in Christ:

1. Victor Ernest, I talked with Spirits
2. Ben Alexander, Out from Darkness
3. Raphel Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit

They conclude, “What is amazing is that the evidence is there for all to see and yet it is ignored.” (38) This may be “amazing,” but it’s also frustratingly true!