Surviving College Intellectually as a Christian

dwwork:

Something for all our youth heading to college or already in college.

Originally posted on Veracity:

Michael Kruger was a young Christian when he entered his first year at the University of North Carolina. He thought he was prepared for the challenges to his faith at college, but when sat in a New Testament introduction class taught by Bart Ehrman, it nearly blew out his faith, much like the feeling of getting a flat tire and listening to all of the air hiss out.

Colleges across the country are now in session. Will young Christians survive their time at a university with their faith intact? Dr. Kruger, now the president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, shares some wisdom about surviving “Religion 101” in the following 6 minute video. I highly recommend Dr. Kruger’s blog.

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The Unreasonableness of Atheism

dwwork:

I wanted to share my friend Glenn’s post on “the Unreasonableness of Atheism. I have found what Glenn writes here to be all too true. David

Originally posted on Thomistic Bent:

There is great post over at the Shadow To Light blog. You can find it here.  That post reminds me of a statement made by Richard Howe, where he said this:

When I was debating this atheist, I asked him, ‘what would convince you there is a god?’ He said “If all the chairs in this room rose up, flew against the back wall, and spelled ‘I am here — God’ then I would believe there is a god.” I am not convinced he would believe if this happened. If he was consistent philosophically, his atheism would have some way of trying to account for it, that there is some type of natural law that we have not yet discovered. Why do I think this? Because they already do this in things they observe, like the DNA molecule.

Suppose that all the chairs did rise up and float against the…

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Of Humpbacks and Orcas

As many of my readers know my wife and I took a cruise along the Alaska coastline earlier this month. One of the highlights was the excursion we took while in Juneau to see whales. Typically on such an excursion you get to see humpback whales, sea lions and bald eagles. On that the trip did not disappoint but we were lucky to encounter orcas or as they are [popularly known killer whales. Our guide informed us that only about ten percent of the excursions get an orca sighting. We were extremely lucky as we saw three orcas one which was a pup. After about forty five minutes of orca watching we went to where humpbacks are commonly seen and were rewarded with over an hour of whale watching.

Whales and dolphins are amazing creatures. Being mammals that breathe air yet are able to submerge for long periods of time in order to feed. Additionally the humpback whales migrate from the pacific around Alaska in the summer to Hawaii in the winter a distance of over 3,000 miles. As I took picture after picture of the whales and orcas I got to thinking about what the evolutionist tells us about the whale.

Mammals are land dwellers. From the very first mammal to today the vast majority of mammals live on land. Yet we are told that for some reason the ancestor of whales gave up an aquatic life to go live in the sea. Evolutionary theory tells us that such changes happen via helpful mutations over a long period of time. Each mutation given the animal a survival advantage over others of its species and other animals living in the same niche.

Now what often gets left out is that beneficial mutations occur only about 2% or less of the time. Most mutations are harmful while others are benign. If you accept that the earth is over 4 billion years old that seems like sufficient time for evolution to occur even with such a low rate of beneficial mutations. The problem is whales did not have 4 billion years to evolve. They did not have 1 billion years.

You see all the mammals that grace the earth today really had only about 65 million years to evolve from a tiny shrew like animal to all the thousands of mammal species that have walked the earth. They are supposed to go from something like this. To the following evolution of whales.

First mammalWhales

From a dog like mammal to the humpback seven easy steps. Now to be fare the evolutionist will tell us that there were really thousands of steps, maybe even millions from the shrew like animal to today’s humpback. The problem with the steps to whale is that all we know is these seven and they are purely speculation. Biologists today have the same problem Darwin had over 150 years ago, the lack of transitional fossils. Rather than the vast majority of fossils being of the transitional sort we find fossils that appear on the scene and disappear with very few if any changes. The late Stephen J. Gould in his book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory said “Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives… Paleontologists have always recognized    the   long-term stability of most species; we had become more than a bit ashamed by this strong and literal signal, for the dominant theory or our scientific culture told us to look for the opposite result of gradualism as the primary empirical expression of every   biologist’s favorite subject–evolution itself.” p. 749 You can find more quotes from Gould in my post Evolution – Science Trapped in the Nineteenth Century Part 2 https://dwwork.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/evolution-science-trapped-in-the-nineteenth-century-part-2/

Finally what they never tell us is why. Yes I know the animals are more fit is the standard answer but why would an animal go from the land where mammals flourish to an environment where they compete with fish and sharks, animals that are able to take oxygen from the water and never need to come to the surface. We are asked to accept such a drastic change from land animal to water dweller without question.

It seems to me that a designer is a much better answer. In order to go from a land dwelling animal to a whale there has to be multiple organic system changes. Just a few are legs to fins, nostrils moved from the face to the top of the head and wholesale changes to the skeletomuscular systems, for example the tail in a whale needs to move up and down. All the changes need to be made and if evolution is correct they need to be made rapidly so as not to reduce the animal’s survival. So many changes in so short a time period using only a random system that cannot anticipate what changes need to be made in what order is just beyond my faith. This speaks more to an intelligent designer who made to whale as is and not in a step by step evolution.

As luck would have it when we returned from our cruse I received Illustra Medias newest video in their Design of Life series, Living Waters. I just finished watching it and will review it in a few days.

Have a blessed day,

David

PS: I apologize for how long it has been between posts. We have been going through our home getting rid of excess so that our middle child, Amy, and her husband, Jon, can move in with us for about a year in order to save money to make a down payment on a house. It is amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 28 years of marriage and three kids. It is an ongoing process but Gail and I are excited about the change.

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Divorce

“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. Luke 16:18

Marriage is supposed to be until death but back in the first century as today this is often not the case. People get divorced. That is just a fact of life. There are many reasons people get divorced and unfortunately in today’s culture sometimes there are no reasons other than people just get tired of each other. In today’s verse Luke recounts what Jesus said about divorce. It is short and seems a bit out of place between Jesus calling the Pharisees lovers of money and the following verses telling the parable about the Rich Man and Lazarus.

If you take this verse from Luke by itself it is harsh and a bit off putting to those of us who have gone through a divorce. Essentially it says that I am living in adultery. But this is where taking any verse out of context come in to play. Even harsh verses or those that seem out of place are revealed if we take God’s Word in its entirety. Matthew also records what Jesus says about divorce and Matthew elaborates a bit. So let’s look at what Matthew wrote.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9 ESV)

It seems there is one reason a person can divorce and not cause themselves or their spouse to be adulterers if they remarry. If your spouse is guilty of sexual immorality. Now that does not mean you have to divorce them but it is permissible. God realizes we make mistakes and sometime we marry people who are not as committed to the marriage as they should be. In my case my first wife did indeed have other lovers than me. But I did try to save my marriage but as too many of us know it takes both parties to work on a marriage and in my case only I was willing to put in the necessary work. As it turned out I remarried and will celebrate out 28th anniversary this October 10th. My ex-wife remarried two additional times and at least during her second marriage kept someone on the side. Some people are just not able to commit to monogyny. One of our biggest problems was not having God at the center of our marriage.

This is not to say that my current and final marriage has been all roses. I do not know of any marriage that is. But if God is at the center than you can get past the rough patches. If both of you commit that this marriage is to last and divorce is not an option than give up your problem to God, that is a marriage that will last.

Let’s get ball to Matthew. What Jesus does not say about divorce is you can get a divorce because your spouse no longer makes you happy or you have grown apart. Of the fire is out or I met someone who really understands me. None of these are acceptable reason to leave your spouse.

In looking at the marriages of my two daughters what I see as the secret to a lasting marriage is that both of the men they married were and are godly men. If a godly man and a godly woman marry and keep their marriage God centered it will last.

There are reasons for divorce but they are limited. Do not expect the person you marry to change. People only change when they want to and nothing you can do will change them. If they do not have a close relationship to God and a Christ committed life before the marriage it is doubtful they will change. Not impossible but doubtful. Forgiveness is a key to a lasting marriage. Forgiveness to your spouse and forgiveness to yourself. Then you need to honor your commitment to God that your marriage will last until death. It won’t be easy, nothing worthwhile in life is but it is worth it.

Have a blessed day,

David

Readers, this may be the last post for a bit. We are leaving tomorrow on vacation and my not have access to the internet. We will be taking an Alaska cruise and I am not sure if the ship will have Wi-Fi and if they do will it be affordable. I will have time to do some writing and am eager to see some of God’s creation I have only seen on TV.

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Twelve Points That Show Christianity is True, A Handbook on Defending the Faith by Norman L. Geisler – Book review

Over the past month I have been catching up on my reading as well as reading some new books. Today I will start reviews of three E-books I found for my Kindle app on my tablet. As far as I can tell these short works are not available in paper editions. While I have been a convert to e-reading I still love books I can hold in my hands. But being Able to take multiple books with me using one devise the size of a large paperback has its appeal.

Twelve Points That Show Christianity is True, A Handbook on Defending the Faith is a nice summary of Norman Geisler’s twelve step apologetics method that can be found in such titles by Geisler as I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheists which I have reviewed on this blog. Twelve Points covers everything Geisler covers in his other books on apologetic but in a more concise form. For me it is nice to have this in a form I can access from my tablet or phone either as a refresher or to help someone else when they have a question about how to go about defending the faith.

Twelve Points starts with the fact that truth is knowable moves on the reason and then that a theistic God does exists. He then demonstrates that miracles are possible and then uses this to show that miracles can be used to confirm a message from God. He moves on the show that the New testament documents are reliable before moving us to how these documents as well As the miracles He did confirm Jesus as God.

My friends at Veracity did a great job moving through these points in some of their recent post on apologetics. Some of you may ask why we need to go through twelve steps in order to get someone to accept God. The reason is that in today’s culture we are told that there are no absolute truths, that all truth is relative. Too many today do not believe that God exists and therefor how could the Bible be God’s Word. Many time we need to get people to accept some things that to past generations were self-evident in order to get them to open their minds to God and Jesus. There is a lot of cultural baggage we need to overcome in order to get many people to even open God’s Word.

When I have taught classes on Christian Apologetics we would not even open the Bible until we had gotten past showing how truth is absolute, that God exists and that the New Testament documents are reliable. Once you get people to this point then you can use the Bible to open their eyes to the truth. Until that point you may only get blank looks or outright hostility.

Have a blessed day,

David

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Under the Law

“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. Luke 16:16-17

Are Christians still under the Law as handed down by God to Moses and recorded in the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What if I said yes and no. Kind of a weasely answer isn’t it. But let’s dive a bit further into God’s Word and see what I mean by my yes and no answer.

We are no longer under the dietary laws of the Old Testament. How do we know this? We can look to Peter’s vision in Acts to find our answer.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. (Acts 10:9-16 ESV)

Now we can debate until the cows come home why God told Peter this but I think it is because the apostles were now taking the Good News to the Gentiles. God gave these dietary laws to the Jews in order to set them apart from the rest of the people. Just as He did many other Laws. So I believe that many of the Laws of the Old Testament were given to set apart God’s Chosen People. Now that the Gospel was being taken to the world per Jesus’ command in Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

Let’s take a moment to look at who Jesus was talking to. He was not addressing Gentiles or Christians, Jesus was talking to Jews. Now when Christians think of the Law we often think only of the Ten Commandments and the various rules in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. But to find out what the Jewish people would have understood to Law to mean we need to look at how they looked at God’s Word. To the Jew to Law was the first five books of their Bible. So to them the Law was not just a bunch of rules but the Word of God as written down by Moses. God’s Word will never go away.

We can clarify this if we look at the parallel verses in Matthew where Matthew relates that Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18 ESV) From Matthew we see that Jesus is talking about more than a set of rules He is speaking of God’s Word in its entirety.

So, that is the answer to the “no” above but what about the “yes”? For that we need to distill the Law down to its core message and we can find that in Luke 10 when Jesus was talking to the young lawyer who asked Jesus “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.”

Jesus came to deliver us from the burden of the Law but not from its core meanings nor did He come to replace the Scriptures as they had been given to the Old Testament writers. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Word. Today we are set apart by our commitment to Jesus. It is our salvation that sets us apart from the rest of the world. But Jesus did not come to release us from the command to Love God or the command to love others. These two commands are the basis for the entire Word of God. Without them the Bible would just be another holy book. I have often heard the Bible described as a love letter from God to us. I firmly believe this to be true. The Bible is a book of love sent from a loving God to His children whom he loves in order to bring each and every one of us back to Him. But more than Just a love letter it is also a GPS directing us back to our home. All we need do is believe and accept.

Have a blessed day,

David

PS I am finishing this after an eye appointment and my eyes are still dilated so I apologize in advance if there are more typos than normal.

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Lovers of money

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:14-15

In today’s verses the Pharisees once again take offense at what Jesus was teaching. They were lovers of money and put the pursuit of money before the pursuit of God. But money is not the only thing we can place before God. Too often we put the pursuit of things before all else. A popular saying in the 80’s was “he who dies with the most toys wins” but wins what? In the end we all end up with six feet of dirt covering our dead body. Nothing we accumulate on earth will do us any good in the grave.

We constantly seek newer cars, bigger houses, vacation homes and the newest gadgets. There is nothing wrong with having nice things or a lot of money but when we put these things and money before our relationship with God then we have a grave problem. At most none of us will have more than about 110 years of life. Now that might seem like a long time but as I approach 65 years next January I can tell you that the years fly by. As I write this we are almost halfway through 2015 and it seems like we were celebrating the New Year yesterday.

Eternity however will last forever and we need to make sure we will spend eternity in the right place. If life just ended and all we have after death is the grave than maybe we have no worries. But life goes on after our earthly life is over. Do we spend eternity with God or apart from Him? The choice is ours. The key is that choice has to be made here on earth. Once we are before God for the judgement it will be too late to ask for a do over.

Don’t be like the Pharisees and spend what little time you have running after material things. Spend your time running to God and then you will have something that will never rust or rot or become devalued. Salvation is a forever gift from God to each of us. All anyone need do is accept God’s gift.

Have a blessed day,

David

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