Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Should We Interpret the Bible?

For all Bible interpretation, the real question should not be, "could this mean something else if I look hard enough?".  The question should be: "What is the most likely meaning of this verse as it would have been understood by the common man of that time period?"

Why is this the correct question? Because God has inspired the Bible for us to read, understand, and to apply.  If it can only be understood by experts, then God probably should have worded it better, which would imply God is not perfect.  See my point?


"Sola Scriptura" means scripture alone.

A short quote from wikipedia: "Sola scriptura (Latin: by Scripture alone) is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice."


 Here are my general principles for Bible Interpretation:

1) Scripture should be used to interpret scripture.

2) Unclear or ambiguous versed should always be interpreting in the light of more clear verses.

3) The bible should be interpreted literally, meaning that ways the authors intended. If he wrote a poem, then read it as poetry, if history, then history, if symbolic vision, then symbolic, if a parable, then read it as a parable (a story with a moral), if song, then read it as a song; you get the idea.

4) Greater cultural understanding of the people and time period of a verse should deepen and expand the meaning of a verse. It should never reveal a new meaning that contradicts the previous straightforward reading. Why you ask? This technique could create a slippery slope that can be used to reject any passage to suit the desires of the reader.

5) We must be consistent to interpret all passages with the above mentioned principles. If we accept some verses as straightforward, but bend over backwards to get the meaning we want in another area, then we lessen the value and weight of all passages and give others the free pass they are looking for to bend over backward when they interpret areas that you consider straight forward.  A dangerous precedent is created.

Other good articles that talk about the proper interpretation of scripture:

Is there a Reformed approach to science and Scripture review - creation.com
http://creation.com/is-there-a-reformed-approach-to-science-and-scripture-review

Is there a universal way Christians should interpret the Bible? - creation.com
http://creation.com/is-there-a-universal-way-christians-should-interpret-the-bible

Does Modern Man Have a Problem with Idol Worship?

    

When we hear the word idol or idol worship we tend to imagine some distant remote island, isolated from the world or some primitive culture from the year 653 BC.  Natives dressed in coverings made from plants are bowing down to some statue while chanting. While this type of scenario would qualify as idol worship, it is far from the only thing that qualifies.  In the year 2016, in first world countries, this type of idol worship is becoming more rare.  Defining idol worship narrowly like this misses the point of this commandment.

Exodus 20:3 says, "You shall have no other gods before me."

The next verse does go on to talk about not making images (statues) to worship instead of God. Verse 4 and verse 3 do overlap, but I don't think they are identical. We can treat anything in our lives like a god and if we put that thing before the one true God then we are partaking in idol worship.

A better way to define idol worship for the modern man would be to say: If we allow anything in our lives to displace God, then we are committing idol worship.  In other words, if anyone who claims to follow God/Jesus puts something in the place (highest priority) that God rightfully deserves, then you have displaced God by something that you could accurate describe as an idol.

We are all sinners and most of us are guilty of this sin for a period of time.  Our goal should be to commit ourselves to avoiding this situation daily. Only by keeping God is the forefront or our mind, by mediating on his word daily, can we hope to avoid this common pitfall.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Can We Trust Science?

        I would like to start off by saying that I like science!  I am an analytical, data driven type of person.  I work on computers a lot and I appreciate all the scientific advancements that mankind has made.  Science has produced some really cool technology and other human advancements.  However, we enjoy the benefits of science so much that sometimes we forget to ask the important questions.
     Can we trust Science?  Our culture answers this question with a resounding YES!  We worship all things science.  If a scientific study says something is true, then don't ask questions just believe it!  If you try to challenge the conclusions of science you are insulted and called names.  This position that science has in our culture creates some questions. Do we understand the consequences of worshiping science?

Is it healthy to worship science?
    It is said that a strength of science is that it is "self correcting", meaning eventually the correct conclusion is reached.  However, I see this as a reason for caution.  If science is constantly correcting (a.k.a changing), we cannot tell if we are at the final correct conclusion or just a intermediate conclusion, then how can we so boldly follow and repeat the most recent scientific conclusion!?
   If a nobody like me is aware of our culture's obsession with anything that has the approval stamp of "science", then a lot of much more powerful, dishonest people are aware of this too.  They can easily manipulate huge masses of people by influencing the conclusions of a scientific study, project, or research.  The stamp of "science" is becoming a weapon wielded by all the parties fighting for a foothold in the battle for your mind.
   Part of the reason that our culture puts so much weight on "science" is because they perceive science to be objective, neutral, and less prone to corruption.  However, as I learn more about our world and human thought processes, I think that these perceived qualities of science are very questionable.  Science in its purest, theoretical form, does appear to have these qualities, but in reality our form of science is far from the theoretical and often very distant from its purest form.  A neutral scientist is getting harder and harder to find.

Conclusion
Science is not useless.  Science is great and has contributed greatly to society.  However, science should not be blindly trusted and new information always requires some vetting and a healthy dose of skepticism.  Science is really about man observing creation, learning about how it works, and finding new ways of arranging it so that it benefits man more.  God is the creator of all things and without him science would have nothing for it to study or rearrange.


For Further consideration:

Biblical history and role of science - creation.com
http://creation.com/biblical-history-and-role-of-science

Is Science Bullsh*t? John Oliver Explains The Corruption Behind Scientific Studies | Collective-Evolution
https://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/06/15/is-science-bullshit-john-oliver-explains-the-corruption-behind-scientific-studies/


Wikipedia has a page on scientific misconduct. one person is accused of publishing 90 fraudulent research papers.

Scientific misconduct - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct#Notable_individual_cases

Same data different interpretations - creation.com
http://creation.com/same-data-different-interpretations 

The Limits of Science | Answers in Genesis
https://answersingenesis.org/what-is-science/the-limits-of-science/

Pick your friends: Who you follow with is going to share who you are

This is a great sermon about picking your friends and being careful about who you spend time with.


 Who you follow with is going to share who you are.  -- Todd Wagner



Redeemer's Fellowship - Sermons and Media
http://redeemers.org/sermons-and-media/media-item/105/you-can-pick-your-friends

 
07.10.16 You Can Pick Your Friends from Redeemer's Fellowship on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Is Change Good or Bad? Is Newer always better?

   Some people want to change, move forward, try something new, or throw off the old ways, because they think the new approach that they have come up with is better.  Others are so set in their ways that any change or different approach is feared and avoided at all costs.

   Both views are right and both are wrong, depending on the situation.  It all depends on whether we are moving forward on the right wrong towards the right goal, or not.  If you watch the political debates that rage on in our country (the United States) you generally see these two views show up in one way or another.  One side wants to change something for some projected improvement that is not guaranteed and the other side does not want the change to occur because of some perceived harm that change will create.  It seems that some people in our society are never happy with the ways things are. They are always looking for some way to change things for the better.  The problem is that their view of "better" might be the very definition of another persons view of "much worse".  The best intentions can still bring about change that has very negative results.

   Recently it seems that our political debates center around a small portion of our society being inconvenienced or feeling uncomfortable.  That is unfortunate, but not always is it something that warrants government action.  As a society we seem to be obsessed with solving problems for a tiny portion of our society while ignoring large problems that affect nearly everyone.  I don't see this madness ending anytime soon.  As Christians we must be prepared with an answer that shows both compassion and conviction.  We also must remember that our faith needs to be in our God and not in our country/government.  Things are only going to get worse before God returns.

This quote is a good one:

 “Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

It feels like our country is on the road the leads away from everything God has intended.  So the faster we move down this road, the worse things will be.
We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. C. S. Lewis
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis132782.html

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Introduction Series to Reformed Theology

This video series looks very interesting. I am saving it here to watch later.

Introduction by R.C. Sproul from What Is Reformed Theology?
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/what_is_reformed_theology/introduction-4/?


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Video: How Should A Christian Vote If They Don’t Agree With Either Candidate?

How Should A Christian Vote If They Don’t Agree With Either Candidate? - YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHgaTsEdnLs








Paraphrase form this video:
Until Jesus Christ runs for president we will always be choosing the lesser of two evils when we vote.  However, there is a limit to the amount of evil we should tolerate in a person we vote for. If both the the major candidates surpass the amount of evil that a Christian should tolerate, then we need to vote for someone else.

During the 1840's and 1850's the republican party was non-existent.  The two major parties were the Whigs and the Democrats.  Yet in 1860 the republican candidate was elected president. The candidate's name? Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Christian family: choosing the right education for your children


If you are a Christian family with young children trying to decide if you should send your children to public school or not, then you MUST watch this video!

I highly recommend this video. You can order the DVD ($25), the video download ($13), or the stream online ($5).

The Children of Caesar: the State of America's Education | American Vision
http://store.americanvision.org/products/the-children-of-caesar

Part 1 is a must see: Whoever controls the schools controls the world!


Some good phrases, quotes, statistics, and images from the video:

"If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, then we  need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans."


"We lose evangelical children to the world 70% to 88% of the time by the end of their freshman year in college."

Ever parent who does not want to accept these statistics will say: "most public schools are like that, but not ours. ours is different." Every family says this. They cannot all be right.

Curriculum is selected by government and teach unions. Curriculum is doing the teaching.  Not the teachers.

"Whoever educates our children is disciplining our children."

During K to 12th grade children spends 14,000 seat hours in school. The average Christian family spends less than 30 minutes per week discussing spiritual matters.


Many of the historic architects of the public education system were also signers of the humanist manifesto.

Public school teachers are frequently among the lowest scoring groups in their own education scores.




Here is a more recent (2015) graph directly from the Nehemiah Institute showing how the different education types score on producing secular worldview or a biblical worldview.

Classical Christian schools (and similar schools) are defined on the chart as "Biblical worldview Christian schools", the blue line.

The Best Education Options
This last graph makes it clear that the two highest levels are Biblical Worldview schools and homeschool.  This means children educating in this way have very high and proper (biblical) views of God, reality, and life. If these options fit into your life, and they can for most families if they make it a priority, then pursue them. If neither of these options are avaialble to you, no matter how hard you try, then read my other post here:
http://www.seektruthnow.com/2014/06/choosing-school-for-your-child-will.html

Monday, April 11, 2016

18 Things To Teach Your Child Before They Are 18: Part 1

18 things to teach your children to give them a healthy Christian worldview.


04/10/2016
 18 Things To Teach Your Child Before They Are 18: Part 1 on Vimeo
https://vimeo.com/162410018


04.10.16 18 Things To Teach Your Child Before They Are 18: Part 1 from Redeemer's Fellowship on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

New vs. Old, History vs. Now: Are we making progress or Just moving forward?

How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture | Minding The Campus
http://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/how-a-generation-lost-its-common-culture/


"Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctable outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West."

Bible vs. Koran on Violence: Flying Hijacked Planes into Glass Houses

Islam: The Politically Incorrect Truth
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/articles/bible-quran-violence.aspx

The difference, as we point out in this article is not just quantitative, but one of quality as well.  As Warner puts it:  "The political violence of the Koran is eternal and universal. The political violence of the Bible was for that particular historical time and place. This is the vast difference between Islam and other ideologies. The violence remains a constant threat to all non-Islamic cultures, now and into the future."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Bible: a book like no other



       The Bible is an amazing book.  Not everyone accepts the Bible as the word of God, but nobody can make a strong argument that the Bible is ordinary, boring, not valuable, or worthless. As I will discuss below, the Bible proves itself time and time again. It is mostly those who don't look very close or don't pay good attention that find the Bible worthless.

By © 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at gmail.com] - Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki / Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10711

Attacks on the Bible
Let us start by listing some of the arguments against the Bible so that when I list the arguments for the value of the Bible you can see that the arguments against the Bible fall flat when put to the test.  We will also see that people hold the Bible to unrealistic standards. Some people are happy to accept certain things as undeniable fact even though these items have less supporting evidence than the Bible.

- The Bible we have now resembles the original very little.  It has been distorted and corrupted beyond any value for today's word.
- The history in the Bible is unreliable and fantasy, so why should we believe any of it?
- The bible is full of unfulfilled prophesies like every other holy book. what makes it special?
- The bible is full of supernatural events that we know in today's scientific world, could not have happened. Therefore, it cannot be trusted and we should not waste our time with it.
 

The integrity of Bible manuscripts:


Bible manuscripts are more numerous and more accurate than other widely accepted Greek manuscripts.

Manuscript Evidence for Superior New Testament Reliability - https://carm.org/manuscript-evidence
The Manuscripts - http://www.icr.org/bible-manuscripts/

Do you ever wish you could travel back in time 1000 years prior to the oldest known copy of the Old Testament to see if maybe the text had been corrupted over 1000 years? You can! Enter dead sea scrolls:

Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation - http://www.deadseascrollsfoundation.com/#why

History of the Bible confirmed:

50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically - http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/

Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible - http://www.equip.org/article/biblical-archaeology-factual-evidence-to-support-the-historicity-of-the-bible/

a lot more good Bible articles here:
Bible Questions and Answers - http://creation.com/bible-questions-and-answers

Bible Prophecy:

Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible - http://www.reasons.org/articles/articles/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-for-the-reliability-of-the-bible  [this page shows some probability statistics too!]

The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy - http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/the-old-testament-is-filled-with-fulfilled-prophecy-11652232.html

Could Jesus have fulfilled Bible prophecy by chance? checkout this short youtube cartoon:

"Jesus Historically fulfilled over 300 Prophecies...Accidentally?" (by Intelligent Faith 315) - YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG37ysdWLWc

Miracles in the Bible:

some people see the old testament as mostly fairy tales while accepting the new testament, and Jesus, as much more factual. The main problem with this view is that Jesus himself mentioned portions and people from the old testament and he does not discuss them as you would a "fairy tale". see below:

Jesus Christ on the infallibility of Scripture  - http://creation.com/jesus-christ-on-the-infallibility-of-scripture

Miracles and science - http://creation.com/miracles-and-science [look at the related articles section at this link for additional articles]

Are miracles scientific? DVD - http://usstore.creation.com/catalog/miracles-scientific-p-1683.html?osCsid=gqtl2kq0beokgsb67cufgcdj95

More info:
This is a lot more information on this subject that help show the value of the Bible, not just as good history, but as the best source to build a coherent worldview. checkout http://creation.com [I like their site a lot, if you have not figured that out yet.]

In Closing
I don't expect a short blog post like this one to convert a skeptic into a believer over night. However, if you have read the suggested material, given it some serious thought, and provided an open mind, then you will find it much more difficult to discount the Bible so easy. Perhaps maybe it is worth your time and energy to consider the natural and the supernatural claims of the Bible?  You got very little to lose and a lot to gain.



My Views on Abortion

This article will serve as a detailed explanation of my views on abortion.

My pastor recently used this phrase and it suits so many controversial topics:
 "Compassion and Conviction!"

That is how I feel all Christians should relate to the world when a common cultural view point conflicts with a biblical worldview. Christians often choose compassion or conviction without finding the appropriate balance.

Too much compassion: you accept un-biblical views in order to appease or not hurt the other party.

Too much conviction: you stand your ground, but you make sure the other party knows they are completely wrong and they are going to pay for their bad choice!  You shame them. You reject them. Often you hurt them.

Abortion is wrong. It is murder. As technology improves we can find more and more signs of human life earlier and earlier in the development process of humans in utero.  We also have learned that babies in utero do feel pain [1]. Rejecting that there is a human growing inside of a pregnant woman is harder and harder to do.

However, people who are pro-abortion can still be my friends. They are humans too!  They will never reconsider their stance if they are attacked and insulted.  Many of them are lying to themselves and they know the error of their ways. They don't need someone to attack them to realize what is going on.

Woman who have had an abortion do not need us to judge or condemn them! They need our compassion most of all. Just like the child they abort, they are victims of the terrible lies that our culture is believing. They need help to deal with their emotional wounds, not insults.

There is also data to suggest that abortions can be very dangerous and send women to the hospital! [2]

The pro-abortion movement in the past has used the phrase, "safe, legal, and rare".  However, current and past data would seem to indicate that "safe" and "rare" both seem to not apply. Regarding "legal", I personally have yet to hear a strong argument for why it should be legal to kill a child living in utero.

Sound random quotes, thoughts and phrases:

Everyone who is pro-abortion has already been born!

"Those who summarily advocate a blanket population control [Reagan’s emphasis] should think carefully. Who might they be doing away? Another Lincoln or Bethoven, an Einstein or Edison? Who shall play God?" Reagan wrote.


Some articles and sources you might want to read:

When Human Life Begins | American College of Pediatricians
https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/life-issues/when-human-life-begins

Life Begins at Fertilization with the Embryo's Conception
http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html

41 Quotes From Medical Textbooks Prove Human Life Begins at Conception | LifeNews.com
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/01/08/41-quotes-from-medical-textbooks-prove-human-life-begins-at-conception/

Margaret Sanger Darwinian eugenicist - creation.com
http://creation.com/margaret-sanger-darwinian-eugenicist


sources:
1. http://www.lifenews.com/2016/03/17/leading-physician-confirms-unborn-children-feel-excruciating-pain-during-late-term-abortions/

2. http://www.lifenews.com/2016/02/02/planned-parenthood-clinic-injures-30th-woman-in-botched-abortion-hides-victim-with-sheet/