Thursday, August 27, 2015

Creation and Evolution

Creation versus Evolution. It is one of the most important battle-fronts in Christ's church today. While the age of the earth was once considered to be settled around 6,000 years, that notion has been challenged by evolutionism for the past 150+ years. Why is time so important to the conflicting worldviews of biblical creationism versus naturalistic evolutionism? Because time to the evolutionist functions like magic. If I was to tell someone that tomorrow this earthworm will be a human being, they would laugh at me and rightly so. For some strange reason in our day, if I was to tell someone that in millions of years this earthworm will be a human being, people nod and call that "science." 

The weakness of the Christian church in our day is due largely to its biblical illiteracy, theological indifference, and its familial collapse. Fathers, generally speaking, do not lead or educate their families (contra Deut. 6:4-9; Psalm 78:1-8; Ephesians 6:4; etc.). Children are sent off to the government schools where they have materialism, naturalism, and evolutionism pumped into them. In summary, here is what has happened: Biblical authority has been challenged and abandoned by our culture. These challenges have made their way into the church as well. The primary challenge is deep time. The world has been demanding for some time now that we find somewhere to cram these millions and billions of years into the biblical text. Sadly, many prominent churchmen have obliged. Now we have the gap-theory, the framework hypothesis, and the day-age theory regarding the true meaning of Genesis 1's days of creation. What do all three of those compromised positions have in common? They allow for millions and/or billions of years. The church, instead of standing its ground upon the infallible Word of God, has chosen to sell its birthright for a mess of pottage. Jude 3 commands us to contend for the faith, but we've allowed the enemy to make a huge hole in the ship. That ship is now dangerously close to sinking in America. 

The fact is, there are very solid and biblical answers to the challenges of evolutionism and all that accompanies it: materialism, naturalism, secularism, atheism, etc. There are many excellent apologetical works being produced by great theologians and Christian natural scientists all over the world. Answers in Genesis is a group whose materials we have encouraged people to use for a long time now. Creation Ministries International is another such group. Their DVD called Evolution's Achilles Heels is the single best refutation of evolutionary ideas I have ever seen. The fact is, evolutionism is a house of cards. It is really not science at all. Evolutionism is an expression of man's rebellion against the authority of God. It is philosophy, a worldview and nothing more. It is based upon no observable or repeatable evidence. And its philosophical underpinnings such as atheism, materialism, and naturalism render science non-justifiable anyway. The only reason we can do science and expect regularity in nature is because of the biblical doctrine of providence. Atheism has no way of explaining or accounting for anything that is needed for science to be possible. But let's just grant the other side the Christian property of science for the moment. Evolution is still false. The sacred cow for it is deep time. The idea is: given enough time, anything is possible. But if the universe is only 6,000 years old, then evolutionism cannot possibly be true. Of course, as Christians, we would point out that given an infinite amount of time it would still not be possible. How can the infinite complexity of life come from non-living matter? How did consciousness originate? How did sex differentiation and reproduction by copulation evolve slowly and gradually? How can unintelligent and non-directed impersonal laws account for the voluminous amount of information contained in the double-helix of a DNA molecule? Why are the majority of point mutations fatal to the organism that experiences them? Why is no new genetic information ever added to the genome of any living organism by mutations if that is supposedly the mechanism by which new physical features are added to less complex organisms? How can there be any objective morality at all in an atheistic universe? How can there be concepts, abstractions, laws of logic, laws of reason in a world composed only of matter? How is induction possible when there is no rational basis for believing in the uniformity of nature over time in an atheist universe? These are questions which spell the death-knell to evolutionism. 

The insistence of deep time and the almost constant mockery of any idea of a young earth has shamed many Christians into silence and compromise. The reason this is so devastating to the Christian church is plain: The Biblical text is plain and simple to understandThe days of Genesis chapter one are twenty-four hour days. The earth cannot possibly be much older than 6,000 years if the Bible is true. Does it now make sense why this would be a major attack-point for the enemy? Do you see what is at stake here? If we give away natural history to the secularists, biblical authority is badly compromised and undermined. Sadly, that is exactly what has happened on our watch. And this, dear friends, is why so few will listen to the church's calls to repent and come to Christ. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We do not use the church calendar. A response to a counter-argument...

“But where has God’s Word commanded us to preach straight through books of the Bible? And who is some pastor or session to impose 5 years’ worth of Sundays through Romans upon your conscience?”
For those who make this argument, it is a simple category error. We who believe in the Regulative Principle of Worship, namely that God alone instructs us how to glorify and enjoy Him, are arguing that there is freedom where the Word of God has not given us explicit direction. The fact is: The Bible does not tell us what to preach when. It is also a gross historical error to assert that “the Church has always marked time through an annual cycle in the life of Christ.” The church calendar was very a long time in developing and there are many different versions of it. Ought we to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th? How about the Calendar of Saints? At any rate, when proponents of the church calendar try to reverse the argument against us who hold to the Regulative Principle of Worship, the argument becomes unintelligible. How can the practice of biblical freedom regarding what passages of Scripture we preach on ever be construed as a violation of conscience? You are, in fact, comparing apples and oranges. Think of it like this: One man is in prison and another is free. Someone then asks: "Who do those police think they are to shut that man up in prison?" And then another man asks, "Who do those police think they are to impose freedom on that other guy?" The first question would get a response. The second question is, well, just weird. It would be like walking up to someone walking down the street in town on a Saturday afternoon and asking them: "How does it feel to have your conscience violated by the police who are imposing freedom on you?" The person would likely be rather bewildered by such a question and rightly so!
Proponents of the church calendar are arguing for restriction where the Bible gives us no such restrictions. This is a violation of conscience – clearly. To argue that by exercising freedom where the Scriptures do not impose specifics we are violating people’s consciences is quite simply wrong. No one’s conscience is violated when Scripture is being followed correctly. That’s the entire point of the Regulative Principle of Worship. The idea that we as a session would impose things upon the people of God which He has not commanded us such that they were left scratching their heads with their consciences wounded thinking, “Should we really be doing this?” is almost more than I can bear as a shepherd. The church calendar is not biblical. Its proponents know this. This is why they will offer nothing from Scripture to support it. Individual churches are free to emphasize and preach and teach on certain parts of God’s Word as they see fit and as their congregations’ pastoral needs would indicate because God has left them free in this matter.
For those who think their creativity or traditions are on par with Scripture, God gave us a haunting warning of His stance toward those who do in worship that “which He had not commanded them.”
Leviticus 10:1-3 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. [2] So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. [3] And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.' " So Aaron held his peace.
Deut. 12:32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.
It is also important to note that if you accept the argument as laid out at the beginning as a justification for using the church calendar, the same argument can be used to justify almost anything you want. You could make up feast days, festivals, and church calendar days for anything you wanted since no biblical commands or examples are needed to justify them. Anyone who objected that we need some biblical rationale for our practices could then be answered with the above argument. And then: We could have a "Balaam's Talking Donkey Feast Day." And a "David presenting to Saul 100 Philistine Foreskins Day." As long as we have the same normal elements of worship, we're good, right? And on what possible grounds could proponents of the church calendar object - in principle? Friends, we need to learn to think one step past an initial argument and recognize what, if accepted, it logically leads to.
Sola Scriptura!