When “Flat/Young” Earth Apologetics Run Off the Rails

A great article from my friend Clark Morledge.. My apologetic approach to this has been to use the old earth as today we are trying to reach people come from a modern point of view that both the earth and the universe are billions of years old. Our job is not to convince them of the age of the earth but the truth of Jesus Christ and His redeeming death on the cross. God could take as long or as short of a time to create the universe. There is a good reason there are not a lot of dates in the Bible. Dates are not important, God’s plan for us is what is important.

Veracity

Conspiracy theories never make for good arguments in favor of the Bible.

Here is a case in point: As I learned about a year ago, apparently, the Flat Earth movement, that is alarmingly growing in some corners of evangelical Christianity, is starting to make in-roads into the Young Earth Creationist movement. As a result, some Young Earth Creationists are treating the Flat Earth movement as though it were a conspiracy theory, but this apologetic tactic is not working very well.

Now, let me be clear. I have no problem with someone believing that God created the universe within six-24-hour days, citing the Creation as a miracle. God can create the world any way He wants. However, I DO have a problem if someone bases their argument for a Young Earth Creation on the idea that the current scientific evidence leads us to conclude that we should accept a 6,000 year…

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Can We Trust Josephus When He Mentions Jesus?

From my friend Glenn’s blog.

Thomistic Bent

In the first century, the Romans had a Jew named Josephus to write a history of the Jewish people and the wars that took place in Israel. Josephus’ book Antiquities of the Jews  mentions Jesus twice. The first is brief and merely says that Jesus, who is called Christ, was the brother of James (Ant. Ant. XX.IX.1) The second is lengthier and in some dispute. It appears to us as follows:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him…

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It is Finished

John 19:30 (ESV): When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Today Christians celebrate Good Friday. As a kid it seemed odd to call the day Jesus was crucified on a cross good. If that was all that happened then I might have been correct but it wasn’t. It was the completion of Jesus’s work on earth that made this day good. When Jesus said it is finished the atonement for all our sins was complete. Nothing else is needed, nothing else can add to jesus’s finished work.

Yet way too many people want to add to Jesus’s finished work on the cross. Maybe you think you need good works to be saved. Maybe you think you need to be baptized or baptized a certain way to be saved. Maybe you think you need to be good or lead a good life to be saved. What ever you think you need to add to Jesus’s work, think again.

If it was in our power to work out our salvation then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die. But since we don’t have to ability to be saved on our own God sent His Son to earth to take on flesh a d live a sinless life in order to be God’s perfect Lamb a d the only sacrifice that could pay the price for our sins.

Think about this. When you make the final payment on your car loan or mortgage do you continue to send in payments? Of course not. That would be foolish. So, when Jesus said it was finished why would you think you need to do anything else?

The Greek word John uses for finished is tetelestai which means paid in full. Jesus paid for our sins in full. The only thing we can do is accept His payment and the free gift of eternal life.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Have a blessed Easter.

David

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Don’t Be a Pharisee

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13 ESV

For Father’s Day my son Daniel bought me a pair of on ear hearing protection that also has Bluetooth, so I can listen to my music on my phone as I mow or work with power tools and save what is left of my hearing. I indulged in way too much loud music in my youth.

I have quite a collection of music on my phone, rock, country and contemporary Christian music. I have been listening to my Christian playlist which mostly consists of older Christian music with some of the more recent music added. One artist that I love is no longer played by Christian radio stations. As a result, people are missing out of some of the best and most Biblical Christian songs in recent history. The artist I refer to is Ray Boltz who in 2008 came out as a gay man. He had separated from his wife of 33 years in 2005.

Now it is not my purpose to say homosexuality is not a sin, God’s Word clearly says it is. It is called a sin in both the Old and New testaments. But a lot of Christians tend to put homosexual sin as some how worse that any other sin. And let’s get this straight being a homosexual is not a sin, but homosexual sex is. That may be too fine a distinction for many, unless we want to classify all temptation as sin.

For most of us hiding our sins from others is relatively easy. We put on a smile and on Sundays we go to church and no one is the wiser. But we all sin. For the gay couple it is not easy to hide, I am reminded living in East Texas in the 70’s. I had long hair and all too often I felt the discrimination that was rampant back then. Just another long-haired hippy. Didn’t matter what I really was like they had judged me. I have a black friend who also traveled through East Texas back then and he was stopped for driving while black. Now I could cut my hair and suddenly I was okay, but my black friend didn’t have that option.

Are we as Christians doing the same to gay people? Judging them by appearance rather than what is in their hearts. When you stand out you are easy to judge. Most of us can silently go through life keeping our sins hidden. But God calls us to love each other. How can we show love if we are too busy judging?

Jesus used tax collectors and a pharisee who was persecuting the church to deliver His message. Jesus ate with prostitutes and sinners. In Mark we are told “and the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17 ESV) I don’t know what God has in store for Ray

We Christians tend to put or pastors and entertainers to a very high standard almost to the point of expecting them to not sin. Then when they do, we are quick to cast them out. But they are subject to the same sinful flesh as we are. Unless you believe as some do that a Christian no longer is capable of sin and if you still sin then you are not saved, and yes, I have encountered people that believe that, then what Ray Boltz and I write are of no account to you. But if you are like Paul was and are still in your sins even as the Holy Spirit works to make us into what God wants us to be then we need to look at how we treat those in the spotlight when they fall short of the goal. Today as I was doing yard work Third Day’s song Wire played on my headphones and I was reminded that they too feel the pressure to be perfect. Here are partial lyrics, “Turn on the spotlight strike up the band everyone’s looking my way. You came to see the excitement first hand hear all that I’ve got to say and oh it makes me wonder what if I slip will they catch me or watch me fall”.

I don’t know what God has in store for Ray Boltz. Maybe God wants him to minister to the gay community. Maybe God has other plans for him. What I do know after listening to all the music he wrote is that Ray Boltz is a brother in Christ. I still listen to his music and I find God and Christ in his lyrics.

When they fall, do we catch them, or do we let them fall and turn our backs?

Have a blessed day,

David

PS: Here are some of my favorite Ray Boltz songs in no particular order. “Thank You’, “There Stood a Lamb”, “Still Her Little Child”, “AT the Foot of the Cross”, “The Anchor Holds”, and “Where I Met Jesus”. If you don’t want to buy the songs at least look up the lyrics and let me know what you think.

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Who Created everything?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:1-2 ESV)

Too many Christians like to go to church on Sunday and then go home. We let our pastors do the preaching and evangelizing. But you don’t need a theological degree to share God’s Word. In fact, we are told it is our duty to spread the Good News to all the world. The past Monday a plumber let me see something I had missed.

We had a new kitchen faucet installed. My back will let me know if I try to wriggle under a kitchen sink, so I let the professionals do that type of work. Anyways, he had finished the work and I was writing out the check he noticed the fish logo on the check and asked if I was Christian. I responded yes, and he asked me who created the world. My answer was God and Jesus. To which he responded correct and that most people say God.

Now that answer isn’t incorrect as we see in the Genesis account. But it is incomplete as we can see when we turn to the New Testament. When I added Jesus to my answer, I was thinking of John chapter 1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John tells us that It was the Son personality of the Triune God who created the World and everything else.

What John the plumber brought to my attention is that the Gospel of John is not the only place in the New Testament that we are told that Jesus created everything. We are told again in Hebrews that Jesus created. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but bin these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:1-3) The writer of Hebrews also tells us that Jesus not only created the world but upholds the universe.

The Paul tells us in Colossians and Ephesians that Jesus created the world.

Colossians 1:15-17, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Ephesians 3:9 reads in the ESV translation “and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,” However if we look at the King James translation it reads, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Just a quick aside here. As those who have read my posts know, it is rare that I use multiple translations in a single post. The phrase “things by Jesus Christ” was possibly added in a late manuscript in order to harmonize this verse in Ephesians with what Paul wrote in Colossians and what was written in John’s Gospel and Hebrews. Our plumber used the KJV when he showed me these verses and told me to use the KJV when looking them up. As you can see the modern translations and the KJV do not differ in any significate way. What the modern translators have that the King James translators is more and older manuscripts to use. As to which is the better translation, well that is for a future post.

Back to the subject of this post. The New Testament makes it clear that is was through the Son that God created the universe and all that is in it. Why is this important? I think that it furthers ties Jesus to us. He created the universe and then H stepped into the world with us in order to give each of us the gift of salvation. Jesus was there in the beginning, He is here in the here and now and He will be there in the end of days.

Two other takeaways from what we have learned today. First, if God’s Word tells us something it is important but if He tells us the same thing multiple times, we need to realize it is very important.

Second, God told us through Moses, almost 4,000 years ago, that the universe had a beginning. Science finally caught up with God on May 20, 1964 when radio astronomers Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation which was the first scientific proof that the universe had a beginning. Some scientists have been desperately trying to find a way around this discovery. Because if the universe had a beginning then it had to have a cause and they are not comfortable with who that cause was.

Have a blessed day,

David

All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version except where noted.

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Wonders of Child Birth

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14 ESV

One week ago our fourth grandchild was born, Aaron Micah, he is our second grandson. As with the birth of our children and other grandchildren I am amazed with the birth process and see God’s hand in it. Now I know that those who hold a naturalist world view will say that it is just a process developed over millions of years unguided by any higher power than natural selection.

But when I think about how one cell with DNA from the mother nad father then starts to divide over and over with cells becoming specialized so that every organ in the body is formed and formed in the right place I am amazed. How that one cell becomes the millions of cells that make up a baby and for the most part rarely goes wrong. I can barely type a complete sentence without an error. Even Richard Dawkins says “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” {Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 1}

I write this sitting on my deck enjoying the cool weather, all too rare in Texas this time of year. But from my chair I get to observe countless birds and especially love watching hummingbirds as they dart here and there and I can’t help seeing God’s handiwork. It boggles my mind that all I see in this world from the butterfly to baby Aaron is just the result of random mutation and chance. I guess I just don’t have enough faith to believe that.

Have a blessed day,

David

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Love

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-29 ESV

There is so much hate in the world today that it is stifling. In the United States after the last presidential election people have been spewing out hatred for the president and anyone who voted for him or supports him. In fact, if you voice anything near a conservative opining you risk being inundated with hate filled responses. It’s enough to make one want to withdraw from social media and all social discourse.

What’s a Christian supposed to do? Well, withdrawing is not an option. And as hard as it is we are commanded to do three things, spread the Good News, love God and love our neighbors. Loving God, not all that hard to do but the other two? To quote Shakespeare, “there’s the rub.” It is easy to love God because he loved us first. Easy to love our parents, spouses, kids and friends. That neighbor thing, that can get hard. Sometimes those neighbors can be downright nasty. And Jesus didn’t just include the people living on your block. No Jesus essentially tells us everyone is our neighbor.

Even those who flame us on social media. Those who berate us in public because of our religion, political beliefs or our position on any number of issues. Yep, we are supposed to love them too. But God that’s hard to do. Come on Jesus if you just knew how bad they treat me you would change you mind. And as soon as those words cross your consciousness you feel ashamed. It really doesn’t matter how bad someone treat me, Jesus was treated so much worse.

When we approach someone with love it starts to change them. We may not see the change, but love will overcome hate. It bothers me when I see Christians spewing hatred of others. We must set an example for others to follow. I know that I can always do better than I have in the past. Unfortunately, God is not finished with me. I am a major reclamation project.

Always remember that Love is the greatest commandment. Love God, love each other and love your neighbor wherever you find them.

Have a Blessed day,

David

PS: This is my first post in over a year. One of the downfalls of retirement for me is a lack of structure. Unfortunately, this affected my writing. Also, I think I set too big a task for me in the past. Trying to write 5 or more posts a week burned me out. I hope to keep a more balanced output. Additionally, Gail and I traveled a bit and we welcomed a new grand daughter 18 months ago. A very big benefit of retirement is more time to spend with our now 3 grandkids and in October a forth. God has blessed my family.

David

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