Archive for the ‘Christ’ Category

Which history?

October 3, 2014

hbirdDavid P. Barash believes that the different views of creationism and evolutionism are irreconcilable. He is correct; however he is backing the wrong horse. These two world views have very different views of history. Creationism is founded on the view of history revealed in the bible, and evidenced by scientific study of biology and geology. Evolutionism is founded on an a commitment to atheism with evidence drawn from biology and geology in support. I place Professor Barash’s comments indented below, with my notes following.

It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution

The evolution Barash is talking about is how the biological machinery we can see today came about. This is his view of history, or his creation myth.

Many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science

Thank God many Americans are not so foolish as Professor Barash.

Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy

Not really. Cells, behavior, molecules, mass and energy are well within the reach of scientists to observe today. Molecules to men evolution is a speculative theory of HISTORY, that cannot be observed today.

Everything that we know about biology and geology proclaims that the Earth was not made in a day

Barash is waxing lyrical from the pulpit here. There is no presentation of evidence, just bold rhetoric. Strangely the secular creation myth would have us believe that nothing created everything instantly in the big bang. Actual history from the creator states that everything was created by God over a six day period.

Evolutionary science … has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God

  1. Argument from complexity,  we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness.

  2. Illusion of centrality,  we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism.

  3. The problem of pain, just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things.

The pillars of belief in a creator remain potent.

  1. Argument from complexity, see biochemist Michael Behe’s book “Darwin’s black box” for one revelation of the biological complexity that is unattainable to evolutionary processes.
  2. Reality of centrality, the creator states: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. Centrality is not an illusion. The primary place of man evident by his rule over the ecosystem today is reality.
  3. The problem of pain, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.

There are none so blind as those who will not see. Barash states that the natural world is “marvelous” and “wonderfully complex” but he cannot see that this itself is a clarion call of our benevolent, controlling creator. Wake up David P. Barash.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire

October 21, 2013

At his recent “Strange Fire” conference John MacArthur closed with 8 statements for theological conservatives who do not believe that spiritual gifts ceased in the 1st century. As one of these pentecostal theological conservatives, I reply below.

Continuationists give legitimacy to the contemporary charismatic movement.

Indeed, the existence of theologically conservative Christians who hold to the continuation of spiritual gifts does point to the legitimacy of that view.

Continuationists degrade the miraculous nature of true gifts given by God to the 1st Century Church.

Hardly. A small modern miracle is still a miracle. It is nowhere written that God is currently limited to demonstrations of his power that are pre-recorded for us in the Bible.

Continuationists severely limit how people can be responsive to charismatic confusion.

This is partly true, but not all that is charismatic is confusion.  It would seem that MacArthur wants a blanket ban on charismatic expression. The question is, has God really stopped pouring out the gifts of the spirit?

Continuationists who insist that God gives special revelation today gives way to people being led by confusion and error.

The chief answer to this is that continuationists are channelled by past revelation of the God who does not change. Any word for today will not contradict God’s word in history. Refusing to accept a direct word from God today (prophecy) sounds very much like that person is dull of hearing.

Continuationists tacitly deny the reformed tenet of Sola Scriptura.

MacArthur is correct here. Put another way, continuationists expect God to speak in other ways than through the pages of the scripture. However, the wise Christian realizes that while every word of God is truth, not every word of man is the word of God. The bible is an arbiter of truth because it is the approved word of God, but God may speak in any way he chooses.

By all means the Christian must “test all things, clinging to the good, avoiding every kind of evil”. This is not achieved by putting a blanket ban on something that God does not.

Continuationists open the door to speaking in tongues which is the mindless ecstacy of the charismatic expression.

Tongues in the Bible were not just languages. “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

Continuationists assert the gift of healing and in turn affirm the fraudulent ministry of healers.

Is God unable to heal today? “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Continuationists distract from the Holy Spirit’s true ministry by enticing people to buy into a false ministry.

The spirit gives gifts to all:

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

The Lord gives ministries as he wills:

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”


March 25, 2013

What is marriage? That seems to be the question of the day. My particular view is informed by my understanding of the Bible’s revelation. This is not an experimentally or statistically or democratically derived view; I would call it a historically informed Christian view. Marriage is: a creation of God, a picture of God himself, a means of multiplying children for God, and a prophecy of humanity’s final destiny.

Marriage began at the very start of creation, if not as the first work of God, it certainly was his crowning achievement. The first marriage came about in the creation of man, which happened in this way. On the sixth day of creation, God created a man named Adam from the dust of the earth. But although Adam was able to enjoy the rest of God’s creation, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone. So God took one of Adam’s ribs, and formed from it a woman, to be Adam’s helper. God brought Adam and the woman together, and Adam named her “woman”, because she was formed from his own flesh. From this we see that God’s answer to a lack of relationship for Adam was not the creation of another being the same as him, from the same dust, but a different being, yet from his own flesh. So, in the first marriage we have a coming together which is a kind of reunion where that which was removed from Adam is rejoined to him.

Man was created in the image of God. Moses tells us: “In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them”. Paul adds “Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man”. Although it is true to say that it is Adam who pre-eminently bears that image, Eve both shares and completes that image. Firstly, woman was created from Adam’s flesh, and secondly in marriage Adam and Eve are joined together and become one flesh again. So the image of God in humanity is complete when man and woman are joined together in the relationship of marriage.

Adam also named his wife “Eve”, which means “the mother of the living”. Marriage is not a loose joining together of two equivalent partners, as in a friendship or contractual arrangement between peers. Instead, the marriage joins back together two different beings who share the same flesh for a God-given purpose that individually neither can achieve. For although God had a particular purpose in Eve for Adam, to meet his immediate need for relationship, he had a further purpose: to multiply the image of God through Eve’s children. So marriage is beautiful in that it knits two awesome creatures of God together in a unity which is a picture of God himself, and also in that it multiplies that image in sons and daughters.

Marriage has a further purpose in God’s design however. God’s creation is a picture of the whole scope of time from the beginning to its end. To summarize that picture, God works for a time building the world, and at the end we have a culmination where Adam and Eve are joined together in marriage to rule the world under God. This is the completed creation which is supremely beautiful and good. But we do not see this completed creation today, or in the previous thousands of years of history, as we are all painfully aware. However, God’s plans may seem slow, but they are never frustrated. The beautiful marriage at the end of creation is still coming! For the marriage of Adam the son of God to a woman created by God for him, is a pre-figure of the marriage of Jesus the Son of God, to his church at his second coming. Even to this day, Jesus waits while God prepares for him a beautiful bride, in the Christian church. This church is not made of stone, but it is a living church made up of all those, men and women, who accept the image of the son of God in their lives, who can call the Son of God their Lord.

I think the primary thing to take from the reality of what marriage is, is that it is God’s. He created it. He has a plan for it both in the microcosm of one man and one woman and in the macro of his only son Jesus and his bride. In whatever way we relate to marriage we must remember whose it is. As the Bible warns: “Let the marriage bed be held in honour by all, but the sexually immoral and adulterers God will judge”.

Benjamin baptized, March 17 2012

April 2, 2012

What should not be

March 13, 2011

In the warm light of God
A memory stirs
Eyes that saw what should not be
The shadow of death etched in steel
Eyes with tears running from yesterday
Memory that longs to devour today
Gentle Lord wipe away the tears
Remember the rainbow in the sky
Fill our weakness with your strength
Draw us, diamond bright from dust and blood
We are your pearl beyond price
You are the knight of our salvation
Your arm is strong to save
Shadow is but a memory
Shine my Lord and King

Full scale Noah’s ark in Hong Kong

December 6, 2010

That’s a pretty big boat. Check it out from satellite on google maps.


Pike River through the lens of Jesus

November 26, 2010

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thess 4: 13-18

Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

John 11:21-44

How is God involved in the world?

September 21, 2010

Earthquakes?  Such as the recent one in Canterbury. Talking with a friend tonight we came  to:

God is in control of the macro… Joseph says “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. There IS a famine coming that Joseph is put in place to solve…

God is NOT a micro manager. He respects the authorities he grants.

Choosing a new shepherd

May 15, 2010

Thinking about qualifications for a church leader.

I think any church leader has to affirm the truth of scripture:

(2Ti 3:14)  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The bible uses the metaphor of a shepherd for this role, a useful picture to think on. The church term “pastor” is literally “shepherd”.

A church leader should be one that acts like the chief shepherd of course. Jesus says:

I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Peter received the role of shepherd directly from Jesus after his resurrection. Peter says to shepherds, here called “elders”:

(1Pe 5:1-4)  So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Paul the apostle gives some guidelines as well. An “overseer” is the church term “bishop”.

(1Ti 3:1-7)  The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.  Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, or if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

And again

(Tit 1:6-9)  if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Paul does not permit women to teach or have authority over men:

(1Ti 2:11-14)  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve;  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

(1Ti 2:11)  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

(1Ti 2:12)  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

(1Ti 2:13)  For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

(1Ti 2:14)  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

What does the bible say about life after death?

March 30, 2010

An old study of mine pulled up from the archives.

Life after death.