Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

When an invading enemy threatens to breach the defensive lines at a particular weak point, it must be reinforced lest the line is penetrated and the entire defense collapses. In 1934, at the advent of the Nazi usurpation of power, concerned and courageous Christian theologians met at Barmen, Germany to identify the breach and to stand against it.

The Nazis had been trying to promote the doctrine that Christians owed a double allegiance to both State and Christ. In their public life, they had to honor the State, while in their private life, they could honor Christ.

Recognizing that this stance represented the demise of the entire Church of Christ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and other Christians stood in the gap and drafted the following words:

“We reject the false doctrine that there could be areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ but to other lords, areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him…

The Christian Church is the community of brethren in which, in Word and Sacrament, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ acts in the present as Lord. With both its faith and its obedience, with both its message and its order, it has to testify in the midst of the sinful world, as the Church of pardoned sinners, that it belongs to him alone and lives and may live by his comfort and under his direction alone, in expectation of his appearing.”

They affirmed the fact that Christ had to stand supreme over all areas of life. The Barmen Declaration was consequently able to identify the breach and to enable what was then left of the Church to stand in unison against Hitler. Today, we have other serious breaches in our lines. We have capitulated to the false doctrines of our own society. We have compromised and hidden our light so as not to give offense or simply to “fit in.” In many cases, we have disdained doctrine, mimicking our culture’s disdain of doctrine. In other cases, we have simply discarded the requirement to be a light, in word and in deed, to our communities and have instead chosen conformity.

The Manhattan Declaration has done an excellent job in identifying some serious breaches that the churches are increasingly disregarding. It has done this with sensitivity, intelligence and doctrinal soundness, sounding the trumpet blast in hope of rallying us together in unity, readiness and in consideration of a great and common threat against the integrity of our Church and the future welfare of society in which we serve as watchmen and agents of peace.
It concludes this way:

“Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.” (

Please read this Declaration in its entirety and consider signing it. It entails a cost, but that’s what following Christ is about. And do not dismiss its plea because it’s political and we will be disdained for our political involvement! If we do, we might as well pass Lazarus by at his beggar’s-gate (Luke 16) or the bleeding, unconscious victim who the Good Samaritan brought to the inn (Luke 10). To pass by our responsibility to raise our voice is to allow the gas chambers, the abortions, and death by Aids. As James warned: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins” (James 4:17).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Certainty isn’t Unrealistic or even Optional

My response to a postmodern Christian who doubts that we can have certainty:

Although postmodernism has some valid things to say about the way we’ve done theology and legitimately warn us to be more self-critical, I think it has gone too far. There are many things that I can be quite certain about, including things about our faith. For instance, it is historically certain that Jesus died on the cross. Lee Strobel wrote, “Both Gerd Ludemann, who is an atheistic NT critic, and Bart Ehrman, who is an agnostic, call the crucifixion an indisputable fact.” And for good reason! There are just too many incontestable historical accounts verifying this fact.

In fact, so much of the Bible is about the need for certainty. Moses doubted that Israel would believe him that God had sent him back to Egypt to get them out. Therefore, God sent him back with miraculous signs so that Israel could be SURE that God was with them (Exodus 4:1-9). We too need certainty. I had been shriveling up without the certainty of Christ’s love for me!

Even logically, we can’t doubt that we can have certainty. When someone says, “You can’t be certain about these things!” I merely reply, “Are you CERTAIN that I can’t be certain?” If he claims that he is certain about uncertainty, then he contradicts himself. If instead he is not certain about his claim, then he has to be more tentative about his dismissal of certainty.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Science and Christianity

One Darwinist railed at me, “Christianity has nothing to do with science. In fact, it has inhibited research!” Here’s how I responded:

The historical testimony in favor of the Christian role in the development of science is overwhelming. British scientist Robert Clark sums it up this way:

“However we may interpret the fact, scientific development has only occurred in Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations—Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on—science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that, perhaps, science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did. And no wonder. For the non-Christian world believed that there was something ethically wrong about science. In Greece, this conviction was enshrined in the legend of Prometheus, the fire-bearer and prototype scientist who stole fire from heaven, thus incurring the wrath of the gods.” ("Christian Belief and Science," quoted by Henry F. Schaefer, 14)

Even the arch-enemy of religion, Richard Dawkins, has acknowledged that “science grew out of a religious tradition.”

There are several aspects of Christianity that I think have made it amenable to the progress in science:

1. The assurance of our relationship in the Lord gives us courage to ask questions and to receive answers. I never had the wherewithal to examine the world because I had been too involved in myself and my own insecurities before Christ had established me.

2. Some faith systems are fearful of antagonizing the gods by examining too closely. However, the Biblical faith is about seeking truth and wisdom and understanding the ways of God.

3. Some faith systems just believe that the gods did it. This belief also stifles inquiry. However, the Bible makes it clear that God largely rules through the laws He has established (Jeremiah 33:25). Therefore, it is possible to discover those laws.

4. Order is only possible given an omnipotent monotheistic God. Polytheistic systems can’t account for orderliness, but rather the competition among the gods.

5. The Biblical faith encourages us to use our minds (Matthew 22:37).

6. The Biblical faith regards the creation as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, it’s something worth examining. For some religions, the created order is always in flux and not worth examining, but rather transcending as quickly as possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Emergent Church Confusion

My response to the Baptist Standard which ran an article in favor of Emergent theology:

Although we have to regard our theological formulations with humility and some degree of skepticism, it seems like the Emergent Church has made skepticism into a doctrine. Reflecting this fact, Loyd Allen wrote,

“Postmoderns have abandoned big-picture reality. Either it does not exist, or it cannot be proven by a logical system of propositions—known as a ‘meta-narrative.’ Postmoderns’ reality is more like a set of children’s building blocks than a jigsaw puzzle. The blocks have meaning according to their context in a particular construct. Truth is established through local relationship more than rational, universal application.”

However, the meaning of any one “building block” (or even word) is somewhat determined by its relationship to the whole jigsaw puzzle. If I want a fuller sense of how Jesus used language so that I can interpret a particular passage, I want to see the “big-picture” range of His usages. If I want to know what He meant by “unless you drink my blood and eat my body, you have no life within you (John 6),” I have to look at what He taught about “salvation” and “life” in general.

Jesus even mandates that we look at the “big-picture reality.” He ridiculed a synagogue leader for criticizing Him for healing on the Sabbath. While He never disputed the charge that He had done work on the Sabbath, Jesus did find fault with this leader because He his interpretation was too narrow. Although the leader had gotten the one building block right – don’t work on the Sabbath – his interpretation and charge against Jesus culpably failed to take reality and the rest of revelation into the picture (Luke 13; John 7:23-24).

When our vision narrows to the immediate context, failing to appreciate the broader context of revelation (the “big-picture reality,” the “meta-narrative”), we become myopic, and this will bring many problems upon our heads.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Threats to Freedom of Speech

According to (11/11/09), “MPs have voted down a proposal that would have ensured that Christians in the UK retained the freedom to criticize homosexual activity in the country under a proposed hate crimes bill. A free speech amendment in the proposed hate crimes legislation was rejected 342 votes to 145 by MPs on Monday night.”

The amendment read, "For the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred."

In the proposed bill, hate crimes are not simply a matter of the violence. The nature of the offense is extended to also include speech -- "stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation" – and carries a sentence of up to seven years' imprisonment.

It had been argued that an amendment to this bill was necessary. Without it, the bill might have a "chilling effect on freedom of speech" and that there already is "plenty of evidence" that similar ordinances have already had this effect. According to LSN,

“Citizens expressing religious or other opinions opposing homosexual activity have been ‘interviewed’ by police as possible offenders. Such people, he said, ‘were told by the police that they were very close to the serious offence of homophobia, punishable by seven years' imprisonment.’"

What happens in the UK doesn’t stay in the UK. The USA has just signed into law a similar bill, having rejected an amendment that would have protected our freedom of speech to raise objections of conscience against alternative sexualities and family configurations.

What does this communicate? That freedom of speech and an open society, where all have the freedom to express their views, is no longer tolerated. Ironically, however, it seems like those who need the protection against violence are the very ones being silenced. OneNewsNow reports that the,

FBI is investigating terrorism threats posted on a homosexual blog that appear to be aimed at Christians. Pro-family activists have drawn attention to a disturbing exchange on a homosexual blog run by Joe Jervis of New York. The exchange takes place between individuals named Fritz and Tex in the comment section of a blog discussing the Maine homosexual marriage defeat and pro-family activists Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality. LaBarbera says the two commentators discussed carrying out acts of terrorism against Christians.

"One guy [Fritz] sort of raises [the concept] and says, 'well, if Obama doesn't give us what we want, you are going to see a very real potential for violence' -- to quote his words...and then he says, 'well, that is not a good thing,'" LaBarbera reports. "Then another activist comes back and says, 'Well what's wrong with that?'" (See sample of blog comments below)

In this online conversation, Fritz goes on to say, "This happens in all cases where people are oppressed and lack representation. Our President must wake up and prevent this from happening. Otherwise we will end up like Israel and Palestine. We will have gay and lesbian people strapping bombs to their chests and blowing up churches. All it will take is one or two more losses like this. If marriage equality is taken away in one of the landmark states, we will see domestic terrorism arise very quickly....In 1991, I witnessed gay and lesbian activists setting fire to buildings and beating people with baseball bats in Los Angeles."

Tex replies, "Still not seeing this as a bad thing Fritz...[African gay activists] didn't gain their civil rights through being passive…maybe a bit of well organized terrorism is just what we need."

The message to Obama is clear, “If you don’t give us what we want, there’s going to be blood, and you’ll be the cause of it, not me!” And they mean it. They have convinced themselves that they are the victims who have been denied their lawful civil rights, and, of course, the Church is their victimizer, which deserves everything that it might get for denying these “rights.”

In Washington Square Park, a gay male threateningly charged me, “You’ve discriminated against us, denying me my right to marry my lover. What right have you to treat us this way!...I’m here to shut you down!” He had convinced himself that I was no better than an oppressor or a slave-master, and anyone who stopped me, by whatever means, was performing a just service (John 16:2). I tried to reason that we all believe that there should be limits. We don’t approve of an 80 year-old marrying 15 ten-year-olds. Are we therefore illegitimately denying their civil rights? Nevertheless, he monotonously continued to threaten, “I’m going to shut you down!” In fact, the universities and the media have already “shut down” any balanced discussion of alternative sexual lifestyles.

Western Civilization has entered into the business of shutting-down any discussion of moral absolutes in favor of sexual freedoms and pragmatism – what works and is expedient, what brings immediate results. How will this result? Without absolute principles, might-makes-right seems to inevitably fill the vacuum and pragmatism has consistently proved to be too mushy to resist it. It’s therefore not surprising to hear the ever-loudening threats, “If I don’t get what I want, somebody is going to get hurt.”

(On 11/12/09, the House of Lords reinstated the Freedom of speech amendment!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Post-Modern Emergent Church

The Emergent Church (EC) has showered the Evangelical Church with many valid critiques. We need to listen to these and cry out to our Lord for forgiveness and wisdom to proceed. However, we have to also ask what has the EC to offer in its place.

EC guru Tony Jones might be the best one to tell us. About him, Todd Hunter, the national director of Alpha USA writes,

“No one I know is better equipped than Tony Jones to write an insider’s history of emergent churches.”

Nevertheless, it’s hard to pin down what the EC is all about, so let’s take a look at what they and specifically Jones say:

“There’ll be no cutting corners, no easy answers, no magic bullets.” (The New Christians, 111)

Indeed, sometimes we feed our congregants “easy answers,” when it’s time that they should be sharpening their teeth on steak. However, Jones seemingly offers a lot of easy answers, and this statement seems to be an example of one. But perhaps I’m a bit too critical, so let’s look at a few more statements:

“Of course God is hard to grasp. One might even say that God is impossible to grasp.”

While I think that we need to be ever vigilant about our theological formulations, the EC has promoted skepticism as the Queen of virtues. While it is true that God is hard to grasp, the Bible assures us that we can and do have meaningful knowledge of God (Jeremiah 9:23-24; 1 John 5:20), because He has revealed Himself to us (Romans 1:18-21; Proverbs 1). Nevertheless, Jones seems assured that he knows something about God’s – His unknowability – while the rest of us can’t grasp anything about Him.

While Jones professes a high regard for theology, he also insists that it’s “local” – relative our circumstances and temporary – as opposed to “universal,” absolute, and permanent:

“Theology is not universal, nor is it transcendent. The God about whom we theologize is transcendent, but our human musings about God are not. To think that our theology is not local and specific is a falsity that has been foisted on the church.”

How then can Jones assert that God is “transcendent” if all we have are local, personal “musings?” In addition to this paradox, while it is true that our “musings” are not transcendent, God-breathed Scripture is! This suggests that as far as our teachings reflect Scripture, we are imparting timeless truths. While our personal and cultural circumstances strongly influence what we see, it doesn’t mean that we can’t rise above relativism. However, because of our fallibility, care must always be exercised that we aren’t distorting Scripture with our own agendas.

Can we know when our culture has gotten the best of us? This is like asking the question, “Can I tell the difference between ‘Jesus died for my sins’ and ‘Jesus will return in August of 2010?’” One statement is clearly in accord with the facts of Scripture, while the other isn’t! This kind of discernment isn’t impossible!

Besides, I’d like to ask Tony if his statement that “Theology is not universal, nor is it transcendent” is a “local” and culture-bound assessment. If he admits that it is, then he should also be highly skeptical of all his theological pronouncements and all the books he’s written in which he dogmatically proclaims his “local” and personal beliefs. In other words, Jones has to also be skeptical of his skepticism. Similarly, he asserts,

“To assume that our convictions about God are somehow timeless is the deepest arrogance, and it establishes an imperialistic attitude that has a chilling effect on the honest conversation that’s needed for theology to progress.” (114)

However, what kind of theological “progress” can we make if, at best, it’s all “local” and temporary. Is our understanding that Christ has died for our sins” not a timeless truth? Once again, I’d like to ask Tony, “Aren’t you also “arrogant” in your charge that our “convictions” aren’t timeless? Aren’t you equally dogmatic?” Interestingly, many of his assertions are equally self-contradictory:

“The Kingdom of God is expansive, explosive, and un-pin-downable (to coin a phrase). Consequently, our characterizations of God and God’s Kingdom are necessarily fleeting?”

I wonder whether he also regards his own proclamations as “fleeting?” Consequently, Jones’ indictments fall prey to his own charge of “un-pin-downable” and “fleeting!” As any lawyer knows, you can’t build a charge upon something that is fleeting.

Nevertheless, Jones asserts that the EC is not without its solid convictions and commitments:

“That theology is local, conversational, and temporary does not mean that we must hold our beliefs without conviction. This is a charge often thrown at emergent Christians, but it’s false. As a society, we’ve been wrong about all sorts of things in the past, like slavery….Our forebears held positions on these issues with deep conviction, but they were wrong. And I can say that unequivocally. At least I can say that from my vantage point – as one who came after them –they were wrong. What I cannot say is which side of those issues I would have been on a century or two ago. Nor can I say which issues I’m mistaken on today.”

If he can’t say “which issues I’m mistaken on today,” how then can he have any strong convictions? How can he have any confidence in his beliefs? How can he confidently assert that Christ died for his sins or that slavery is wrong? Nevertheless, he does speak with conviction, but it’s clear that his theology doesn’t give him any basis for this. In fact, he’s undermined any basis for confidence by claiming that all beliefs are “local” and impermanent – products of our relative circumstances!

I’m not trying to say that coming to a theologically stable and secure place isn’t difficult. Sometimes it’s accompanied by great turmoil and insecurity, but this isn’t the same thing as what the EC is saying – that it’s impossible and arrogant.

Elsewhere, Jones proclaims, with an air of certainty, that,

“If one has rock-solid certainty, it’s only natural to suppose that all other viewpoints are wrong and therefore impose one’s certainty on others. Proper confidence, by contrast, lends itself to persuasion, not imposition.”

Why wouldn’t Jones’ “proper confidence” also want to “impose?” Ironically, it might prove more likely to impose. As I’ve grown in certainty and assurance of the Christian faith, I’ve found that I’ve become more charitable and less defensive. Security in Christ has bred a greater “other-centeredness” and has relieved me of some of my egotistical self-concern. When I lacked this assurance, I was more prone to over-compensate by being over-assertive, as if this proved my spiritual credentials.

Instead of backing off our assurances, I’ve observed that it’s these assurances that have enabled us to become spiritually secure, personally humble and therefore, non-coercive. The more certain I became of Christ, the less assured I had to be in myself, my own giftedness and accomplishments. Therefore, I was relieved of the pressure of trying to prove myself at every turn. Consequently, I don’t believe that the EC can deliver on the non-impositional goods.

What then does the EC believe? While they are very dogmatic about their critiques and disdain for the Evangelical Church, they seem to adopt the very opposite posture when it comes to postmodern professionals.

What do we do when our brother sins against us? Well, Jones agrees that we should talk to that individual in private, and if he doesn’t listen to bring some others with us the next time. If he still fails to repent, he should then be brought before the church. However, this is only for more of the same discussions. Any form of punishment or church discipline is absent from his equation.

Well, what then of Jesus’ command that the church should then treat the unrepentant one as a “pagan or a tax collector” (Matthew 18:17)? According to Jones, Jesus received the unrepentant sinners and tax collectors, and so the church must continue to do the same. This is what is meant to treat them as a “pagan or a tax collector.” There’s no mention of the necessity for repentance (Luke 17:3)! No church discipline! No excommunication! To support his permissive interpretation, Jones cites Eugene Petersen’s The Message:

“If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” (91)

Some years back, I had a contentious student in my Sunday School class. He would repeatedly stand and charge, “Don’t listen to him. He’s a false teacher!” He wasn’t amenable to discussion. He was unwilling or perhaps also unable to show how I was teaching wrongly. After several unpleasant encounters with this student, I went to the elders. Fortunately, the elders hadn’t read Eugene Petersen and didn’t tell me “If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch.”

Church discipline is a very necessary tool to prevent the leaven of sin from leavening and corrupting the entire loaf of the church (1 Cor. 5:5-8; Gal. 5:8-9), a tool the will probably fall into greater disuse through the influence of postmodern permissiveness. It’s also a practice for which God commended the churches (Rev. 2:2) and censured other churches which were too permissive (Rev. 2:14; 20).

Despite his numerous pronouncements about tolerance and the need for conversation, Jones censures The Rhyme Bible Storybook for its “unbiblical” portrayal of the people of Joshua’s Jericho:

“It’s downright dishonest to impugn the morals and motives of the seemingly innocent residents of Jericho. They were, by all accounts, just going about their lives in Jericho when, unbeknownst to them, God promised their acreage to the Israelites. Their own crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time…The biblical God is the instigator of all sorts of nasty incidents, especially in the Old Testament, that don’t make for good children’s stories. It might be easier to swallow if the Jerichoans were indeed ‘wicked’…”

Indeed, God didn’t recite a litany of charges against each city which He had designated for destruction. He didn’t have to! It was enough that He condemned the behaviors of the Canaanite peoples in general (Lev. 18:24-28; 20:22-23; Gen. 15:16; Deut. 9:5). Consequently, we’re left to marvel at the severity of Jones’ attack against the children’s Rhyme Storybook (and even the “biblical God”), referring to its author as “downright dishonest.”

Jones seems to be bewildered that conservative preachers and theologians have taken issue with his theology and the EC. He acts clueless, and carefully paints his critics as small-minded bigots. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped many evangelicals from applauding his book. Go figure!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Criterion of Falsifiability and Proofs for the Existence of God

A Letter to a theistic-evolution blog:

You have mis-applied the criterion of “falsifiability” in order to dismiss ID proofs for the existence of an Intelligent Designer. “Falsifiability” can’t be applied to questions of existence. This is because science can’t deal with questions of non-existence. It is unable to disprove the existence of the sun, moon, the Lock Ness Monster, and even my wife. However, this doesn’t mean that science has nothing positive to say about these entities. In fact, science has a lot to say about the sun and the moon – and potentially, even God.

Ironically, while science can’t disprove naturalism, it has NOTHING to say about it either. There are no positive evidences for it, unlike the case of the sun and God. In fact, there is not a shred of evidence for naturalism. Although we all agree that phenomena act according to laws and formulas in predictable ways, rather than these being the result of natural, unintelligent laws, there is a growing body of evidence that these laws are actually part of the mind of God and derive their continuance through Him.

Nevertheless, “naturalism” has been enthroned as the goddess-gatekeeper over the sciences, preventing access to certain people and ideas.

Here is what is even more astounding – Many who call themselves “Christian” have become the most hostile voices against ID, despite the fact that the essence of ID is Biblical! According to Romans 1, we are without excuse when it comes to the knowledge of God. Why? Because God has made both His existence and character plain to us through the things He created!

It seems to me that TEers loathe themselves and are afflicted with an auto-immune response that deprives them of the very evidential reassurances that they so desperately need in this contentious world. Not only that, but those confused Christians who come to them for guidance are unknowingly also stripped of those very supports (Romans 1:32).

Friday, November 6, 2009


If you do feel this way, it might not be your imagination. PBS and the evolution establishment have just launched a new series entitled, “Becoming Human.” Predictably, it’s about how we humans emerged from our ape-like relatives over the last millions of years, and you’ve seen it all before – many times!

Don’t expect to hear any counter-evidence or an opposing word . You might ask, “How can they get away with such blatant censorship? How is it they are allowed to exercise such thought control through their dictatorial monopoly?” Rather than trying to explain this puzzling phenomenon, let me just refer you to Ben Stein’s video, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

I’d rather discuss whether or not they make a convincing case with the various skull fragments that they have assembled into a line in an attempt to prove common descent. I have my students place ten random dots on the board and demonstrate that, even though they are random, I can connect them in an infinite number of ways to produce an infinite number of patterns, none of which actually has any reality inherent to those random dots. I created the pattern!

This thought experiment can be expanded by asking the students to place several hundred random dots on the board. If I were an artist, I could draw any image that I so desired by using selected dots and drawing lines through them.

What does this have to do with “common descent?” Everything in the world! If patterns can be created where there were no patterns, then a case for the pattern of “common descent” can easily be created where there is none!

Add to this the fact that masses of money and manpower are being committed for the purpose of proving and expanding the theory of evolution and also for promoting it to a skeptical public. (If you have any doubt about this, just listen to the evolutionists strategizing among themselves!) Consequently, they are unearthing tons of “findings,” many of which can conveniently be overlooked if they don’t fit into the portrait that evolution is trying to draw.

These tons of findings are like thousands of dots on the board which can be connected in an infinite number of ways to produce whatever portrait you so desire, as long as you are selective about the dots you use.

According to scientist Bruce Malone, this is just what the evolution establishment is doing:

“The strongest evidence that these fossil finds have been misinterpreted is the fact that erectus-type [extinct upright apes] skulls (closely related to modern human skull) have been found in the same rock layers as australopithecines (Lucy) [which are supposed to pre-date erectus-types], while other homo erectus skulls have been found right up to contemporary times, along with modern man.” (Censored Science: The Suppressed Evidence, 27)

If this is the case, Darwinists shouldn’t designate homo-erectus as a missing link between humankind and the proto-apes. It can’t be a link if it had been the same all along. However, if you leave out some of the dots, you can make homo-erectus look like our ancester. Malone continues,

“Whenever human activity, artifacts, or fossils are found deep in rock layers where they shouldn’t be, the evidence is classified as “non-human.” Fully human footprints have been found in the same rock layers as Lucy [the proto-ape, proto-human], as have evidences of fully modern human activities (the use of tools, the burial of the dead, etc.) All of this evidence is simply ignored or attributed to man’s ape-like ancestors.”

If the evidence doesn’t follow the evolutionary pattern of common descent, it’s either coerced into saying something it doesn’t say or simply ignored. The dots that don’t fit neatly into the portrait are discarded. Malone continues:

“In similar fashion, when erectus-like skulls – with ‘low-end’ [ape-like] brain size, eyebrow ridges, or thick jaws – are found in the same rock layers as modern man, they [the ape-like skulls] are explained away as human variation, the result of pathological (disease) or environmental causes. Yet similar skulls found in the sediment layers, which have been assigned old dates are proclaimed pre-human ancestors.”

In other words, with so many “findings” to select from and the freedom to interpret them in such varied and unrestrained ways, the Darwinist can “prove” anything he wants. Dots can be made into anyone’s cheering section.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I’m in Charge Here!

What constitutes adequate reasons to believe? Last week, I had a remarkable conversation. A woman friend informed me, “I’ve seen visions and had the experiences like any Christian!”

Curious about this, I probed, “Well, why then aren’t you a follower of Jesus?” She retorted, “I don’t like the exclusivity of the Christian message. Only those who believe in the Gospel are going to heaven and the rest are condemned. How about those who never heard about Jesus?”

I could have responded Biblically—“We are all guilty before God because we all haven’t been faithful to the truths we already know” (Romans 1:18:32)—but instead, I decided to pursue my probing in a more personal way. “Is it appropriate to reject Christ and His Gospel simply because we don’t like what He said?”

I went on to explain that there are many things in the Bible that I don’t particularly like, but should this be otherwise? If God is truly God and not an idea created by us to satisfy our needs, shouldn’t we expect that such a transcendent Being will say things that offend us? And aren’t we a bit proud to insist that everything He says must sit well with us? Shouldn’t a relationship with such a Being require Him to judge us and not us to judge Him?

Demanding that everything that God says meets our approval is not consistent with our puny status and the character of God. While He is all-knowing, we are petty, selfish, and blind. If I know that I am ignorant of math and have to learn it, I will want to find a teacher who is very knowledgeable and then learn from her. I would be foolish to correct and indict this teacher, knowing that her understanding goes far beyond my own.

Instead, if we know that God exists, we should be willing to come as little children, laying aside our rigid demands that everything meets our approval. If He is God, we must conform to Him, and not the other way around. I might not like everything that gravity does, but it’s greater than I and very demanding. I would be foolish to jump from a building, ignoring gravity, because I don’t approve of all its ways.

I don’t like going to doctors and don’t believe strongly in taking medications, but if I’m desperately ill and all other hope of recovery has vanished, I’ll submit to the doctor. Sadly, over time, our hardness becomes so deeply entrenched that we would gladly place our hope in anyone who isn’t God. I have become acquainted with so many people experiencing life-crushing problems who staunchly continue to refuse to cry out to God. My friend is ready to check herself into a hospital psych-ward even as she valiantly refuses to consider God, despite the many miracles she has seen.

What is even more startling is that we refuse to turn to God even when all other hope has been taken away. Just go to a nursing home or hospice and see how many people are crying out for a hope in the One who can lead them safely beyond death!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Beauty and Simplicity of the ID Hypothesis

A Response to an Atheist:

I am delighted that you seem to indirectly admit that there isn’t any evidence for naturalism. Instead, to fill the evidence void, you argue, “That the laws are natural and unintelligent is the simplest, most parsimonious hypothesis, which science prefers.”

While you are correct that science does prefer the “simplest, most parsimonious hypothesis,” I’m afraid that naturalism can’t deliver in this regard. Let’s just consider some phenomena that any theory must be able to account for and then naturalism’s desperate gyrations:

1. THE ORIGIN OF THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE: Naturalism attempts to explain the origin of proteins and DNA in terms of self-organization. However, there is not a shred of evidence for this. These substances are produced in no other place than in living cells.

2. THE ORIGIN OF THE CELL OR OF LIFE: Panspermia (seeded from extra-terrestrial life) is no explanation at all. It just forces the explanation abroad. There seems to be no other “natural” contender.

3. CONSCIOUSNESS: Just a natural outgrowth of matter when it becomes complex enough?? Please notice that there is nothing simple or parsimonious about the desperate contortions of naturalism!”

4. FREEWILL: Naturalism can’t explain it, so naturalists often deny it exists! Now that’s putting one’s head in the sand.

5. THE ORIGIN OF THE LAWS OF NATURE: The Big Bang? Is that really an explanation? Since when do explosions create unchanging laws?

6. THE FINE-TUNIG OF THE UNIVERSE: If there are an infinite number of universes (something logically incoherent!) then it would be likely that one of them is this perfectly tuned universe! However, there is no evidence for even a second universe.

7. MORAL ABSOLUTES: Again, naturalism finds it more convenient to deny that such things exist. Consequently, injustice isn’t ABSOLUTELY wrong!

8. LOGIC AND REASON: Naturalists usually say, “Well, we might not have an explanation, but eventually we’ll have one!” Now that’s faith!

9. IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY: Co-option and faith!

Please notice that in order to explain each phenomena, naturalism must invoke an entirely different mechanism (if they can pull one out of the hat?). In contrast, the ID hypothesis need only posit our One all-powerful God. Now that’s simplicity!