By the Numbers

Saturday, November 26, 2011

God's Gospel Truth

                                       God's Gospel Truth

 #Truth #Gospel #God #Salvation 

I'm a good person. I pay my taxes. I obey the laws. I treat people right. I work to support my family. My granddaddy was a preacher or priest. I'm a lot better than those judgmental so-called Christians and church people. They're just hypocrites anyway. If anybody goes to Heaven, I think I will because I'm a good person and I deserve it. God will appreciate me and I will tell everybody about my good accomplishments. It's all about me.
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When we give reasons like those above for going to Heaven could we have overlooked something? Does our thinking agree with what God says? Shouldn't it be His Word, His criteria and His right to say who enters His HeavenIs it just about us, or really all about Him? I will discuss this under the following three questions.
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                                                        What Is God's Gospel Truth?
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It's Christ's death, burial and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-8). Ancient peoples feared their gods, sacrificed to them, but never loved them. Soldiers sacrifice themselves for love of country. Mothers die for children they love. But Jesus showed supreme love giving his human life for us guilty rebels in his death on the cross (John 15:13; 2 Cor. 5:21). Though innocent, Jesus was rejected, condemned, severally beaten, ridiculed, slapped, spit on, and hung naked before staring eyes. Ancient prophets foretold it (Gen. 3:15; Psalm 2; 22; Isaiah 53). Jesus predicted it (Matt. 17:9; 27:63; Mark 8:31).  Miracles testified to it--darkness, earthquake, temple vale torn, resurrections (Matt. 27:51-53; Luke 23:44). It announced, "God so loved the world that He gave His unique Son (sinless God-man) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). But it would be a dead hope apart from Jesus' resurrection.
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Jesus' resurrection established the most crucial things. There's life after death. Jesus is the God-man with power of life and death. As God, all Jesus taught in and of Scripture is absolute truth.
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Humans created in God's mental, moral immortal image have dignity and freedom. Ethics make sense--our thoughts, words, deeds are accountable to God so life has purpose. Our conscience, justice and love make sense. As created and controlled by a rational God, the world is meaningfully moving toward a climax. Experimental science is possible. No other religions provide a basis for these things.
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Jesus divided our thinking about history into Before Christ and After His Death. This personal ethically perfect God offers us wayward rebels forgiveness, cleansing, and eternal life with Him forever through faith in Jesus, the Lord and Savior of us sinners. Spreading this hope and love is imperative education--without it, all is lost.
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It transforms societies in many beneficial ways. Persons in Christ are new creations with new desires, a new outlook, a new hope, a new concern for human well-being (2 Cor. 5:17). And because of this, they established great universities, brought education to the masses, put in writing many of the world's languages as people needed to know the gospel. They engineered capitalism and free enterprise to raise the standard of living everywhere. They devised representative government for civil liberties to abolish slavery and oppressive elitest state dictatorships.
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They experimented with nature as God created a rational world for human benefit. They elevated the dignity and value of life, of women, children, and all people in God's image. They established the Good Samaritan ethic, organizations of charity, benevolence, and rescue missions. They built hospitals to heal persons suffering from injury and disease. They sought to make laws that would eliminate destructive human behaviors such as adultery, polygamy, incest, homosexuality, prostitution, rape, sex slavery and sex with animals. They developed beautiful art, music, and literature. And most of all they sought to spread the gospel that is the power of God which is the basis and incentive to all the above.
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                   "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God
                              to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
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                             Why Then Are Some Persons Ashamed of God's Gospel Truth?
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 It tells the ugly truth about us. We love our sin that brings us pleasure for a season, and makes us popular and accepted with other sinners. When confronted with our sins, we excuse our guilt blaming it on our genes, the environment, the devil, parents, even God for creating us. We take pride in our supposed moral accomplishments, never mind our sins, rebellions, and need for the Savior of us sinners. See Hebrews 11:25; Romans 1:18-32; First Corinthians 6:9-10.
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It separates us from the evil world system opposed to God. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Love of the world is evidence we don't know God or do His will. Satan will tempt us but we're to resist him by knowing and abiding by God's Word. We can gain the whole world and lose our own soul. To be without Christ is to be without God and without hope. Christ came to save us from the world's evils and we are to be as salt to prevent sinful decay and as light to dispel the darkness of ignorance and evil. Many persons love neither Christians nor Christ but love the evil world and ignore or deny the consequences. See James 4:4; Matthew 4:1-11; 9:50; 1 John 2:15-17; Mark 8:36: Ephesians 2:12).
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It exposes our human guesses, opinions and preferences. If God is omnipresent eternal spirit as the Bible teaches, He surrounds us and our human senses never detect His presence. Atheists can shake their fist toward Heaven and demand God appear and perform a miracle for them to believe. But if God is Lord, there is no rule He must do it for their amusement. Atheism is a foolish excuse to live a Godless life just as the Bible says (Psalm 14:1).
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Reincarnation religions are based upon nature's yearly vegetation cycles, thinking birth defects unjust, and feeling we have lived former lives. But the earth's yearly revolution, genetic defects, and imagined past life recall better explain such things. Besides, karma is a brainless principle that can't know good or evil.
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Muslims and Mormons base their religion upon an angel who they claim gave their founder God's revelation. Nobody but the founder has knowledge of the angel. Couldn't anybody make such a claim? God's apostle Paul warns of alleged angel gospels (Gal. 1:8-9). So such religions have no eyewitness testimony or fulfilled prophecies, prophetic miracles, or God verifications--they're just our guesses, opinions, and preferences.
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It's so simple yet so difficult to believe. It doesn't matter if we live in Australia, Africa, or America, we're taught the same thing. From childhood, we're taught that if we were good, we will be rewarded, but if we were bad, we will be punished. So we grow up feeling if there's a good God and some kind of good place we can go to after death, then surely we must try to be good to go there--that seems so reasonable. Just trusting in a Savior of us sinners seems too easy. But could there be some things we don't know or haven't thought about?
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Yes! The biblical God is morally perfect who regards us as unacceptable self-centered rebels. God's prophet Isaiah says, "We are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousness are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:19-21). Further, the biblical Heaven is perfect excluding unclean defilers (Matt. 5:48; Rev. 21:27; 22:15). The biblical teaching is that we're saved by God's grace (unearned & undeserved favor) and not by our good deeds (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:29-31; Titus 3:5). So God's ways and our ways go in different directions which make sense with an all-knowing perfect God and ignorant wicked people (Isa. 55:7-9; Rom. 11:6; Gal. 2:16). The Bible is abundantly clear and rational to all willing to receive God's message that Jesus alone is our Savior (John 1:29; 3:36; 7:16; Acts 4:12; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18; 2:24; 3:18).
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                                                    Why is the Gospel Such Good News?
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The gospel is God's authoritative Word supported by rational fact. We could not know God's salvation except given us by God's apostles and prophets who saw the risen Lord (Eph.2:20; 3:5). People were living at the time Scripture was published who knew Jesus, his fulfilled prophecies, miracles, claims to be God, and resurrection.
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Secular writers also wrote details about his life. Archaeologists uncovered artifacts verifying Scripture. His disciples were tortured and murdered for their faith. No world religion has any Scripture or any founder like Jesus. The Bible is history, not some made up stories centuries later. (Luke 1:1-3; Acts 1:1-3; 2:22-24; 4:33; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; 2 Pet. 1:16). Moreover, it's translated from comparative copies of early original languages with the highest degree of accuracy of any ancient documents. We have every reason to trust in the Bible as God's authority and truth, and in Jesus as the sinless God-man sent to give us abundant life and save us from Hell (Luke 19:10; John 10:10; 3:36; 7:16; 8:24).
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The gospel is God's power for worship, walk and witness. The harder we try to do right, the more aware we become that we cannot be perfect. God's great apostle Paul, admitted he couldn't fulfill God's law and that we have deliverance only through Christ (Rom. 6). Realizing our sinful estate and God's forgiveness, love, and sustaining grace in Christ, lifts us up to worship, walk, witness for Him (Rom. 8). God is our power in the gospel to live and share the love of Christ.
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The gospel is God's offer of abundant life now and of Heaven's reward after death. This is the gospel truth and the best news ever. It respects our dignity and freedom of choice. There can be no better offer than abundant and eternal life. The alternative is the self-chosen eternal death of darkness, despair, tears, and torments. Won't you pray, Lord Jesus I trust You as my Lord, Savior, and Guide forever? Now share God's gospel with those without Christ, without God, and without hope. Ephesians 2:12-13. Be a good news messenger. God bless.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Will Postmondernism Destroy Us?

                                 Will Postmodernism Destroy Us?  
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Biblical Christianity, modernism, and postmodernism have serious consequences that will decide the fate of the world in which we will find ourselves. I don't claim to be an expert on anything. I read books, think, and pray asking the wise Lord for guidance to give clear, accurate, helpful information. I will first explain these three worldviews and then postmodernism in relation to biblical Christianity.
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Christians believing the Bible as God's inspired Word have confidence in a rational world since a rational God created it and made us in His mental, moral, and immortal image to understand it and have relationship with Him. We are to be His stewards taking good care of His world and developing it for our good. Under God, people are to show respect for God and all His creations. There is no superstitious, hocus pocus, or magic that makes the world unintelligible. But man chooses to disobey His Maker with decisions and desires opposed to God. In love, God sent His prophets, and finally His Son to tell us to trust Him and His way as best for us, or regretfully pay the consequences both now and hereafter.
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Modernists, also known as secularists, materialists, naturalists, have adopted certain beliefs radically different from Bible believing Christians. They contend that there is no personal ethical God, only nature; man is its pinnacle and is basically good. And since there are no divine revelations and miracles there is no religious authority. But we can acquire objective knowledge through human reason and scientific testing of hypotheses. We can progress in knowledge and build a good world and come to live together in peace and prosperity. God, divine revelations, miracles, angels, and an afterlife is just an imaginative dream or ideal, but we must face the real world.
Postmodernists have taken the modernist beliefs a step further. Evolution is supreme so everything is in flux and we can have no absolute, universal or objective truth or moral standards. Each person must decide his or her own beliefs and language is ambigious. We can't know the changing world but knowledge is not so important. We are culturally conditioned--so we must be tolerant. There may be mystery even magic and science is not always right. It's the journey, relationships, diversity, tolerance, and experiences that are important, not an all inclusive philosophy or even progress and truth.
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Where Will Postmodernism Lead Us?
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Postmodernists claim a Godlike knowledge that no God exists. But how do they know? Have they looked over every hill, around every curve, behind the moon and planets? Do those who affirm this even know what's taking place in the next room or outside their office or school? The Bible's God is an  all-knowing eternal spirit that exists everywhere and manifests Himself only when He wills. Could this postmodern claim be bias arrogance?
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They are certain no absolute truth exists. Something seems amiss here. Aren't they saying the only truth is that there's no truth? But if there's no truth, how is it even possible to know that? And who can live on that assumption? We know people make mistakes, but we believe doctors, lawyers, police, food labels, and direction signs generally are true? Don't professors who make such statements expect us to believe their teachings true and grade us accordingly? Did we pay our money for them to tell us a bunch of lies? Of course, what they really believe is that the Bible's God and moral Lawgiver is a myth so evolutionary flux discredits absolute eternal truth?
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I want proof to believe it. Show me proof this dependent running down universe created itself from nothing. Show me proof mindless molecules can arrange themselves into men. Show me proof the Bible's God doesn't exist. I don't accept unwarranted assumptions--I want facts. I don't believe I'm just a more fit evolved animal destined for extinction. My dignity and destiny are at stake here.
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Postmodernists judge people hypocrites who judge other people's beliefs and behaviors. If there's no absolute truth, then anything goes. One person's opinion is as good as another's. This destroys moral standards. It puts each person's ideas and preference above criticism--thus deception, adultery, homosexuality, theft, rape, murder, sex slavery, sex with animals all become acceptable. Would they do away with law, judges, jails? Don't postmodernist judgments show the very hypocracy of which they accuse others?
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They even quote the Bible claiming Jesus said not to judge people's actions."Judge not, that you be not judged." They conveniently ignore the context that Jesus is calling people hypocrites who rebuke others yet have worse sins themselves. Jesus in context didn't say there's no sin or that sin is justified (Matt.7:1-5). Nonspiritual persons  regard spiritual  truths  foolish while God's spiritual people judge with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:14-16).
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They affirm fickle feelings and desires right, but ignore or discount obvious moral facts and injustices. Politicians as public servants may feel they deserve inside stock information for which citizens would be jailed. Mothers who don't want their freedom restricted may abort their baby. Horny people don't deserve being tied down with marital obligations.  Homosexuals were terribly treated by a parent and just need love. Political parties feel public deception is justified when they have the right agenda. Lawyers must win their case no matter how deceptive and unjust. She caused him to rape her. Since my people are better than yours, I can show you disrespect. Jihadists use innocent persons as human shields. When truth and morals are downgraded any evil can be justified.
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They claim opposing viewpoints can both be true--it's my truth and your truth. A proposition is universally either true or false. The opposite of true is false and what corresponds to reality is true. People once believed the world was flat but now know it's round. In temperature 75 degrees some persons are hot and others cool. Situations, perspectives, understandings, cultures, beliefs and commands may change, but truth is the same for all persons at all times and all places. The world was always round and 75 degrees is the same everywhere regardless of how people may feel. One can't even deny truth without affirming their denial true.
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They are intolerant of rational and especially religious people. Relativists can't tolerate persons who show respect and give good reasons their beliefs are true. It makes relativists look bad, hurts their feelings, angers them, and makes them feel guilty. They shout insults, throw things, threaten, and become violent and destructive to overthrow their opponents. They plot behind closed doors, have no logical factual evidence that can withstand scrutiny, and must try to force their position. Consider two American protest groups. The Tea Party were economic conservatives and lawful patriots while the later socialists were takeover welfare recipients requiring lawful removal. Their intolerance or politically correct stance stifles freedom, leads to anarchy and then harsh dictatorship maybe even a blood bath to restore and maintain order.
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They deny others objective statements to affirm their subjective interpretations. They claim all language is ambiguous in multiple cultures, so we have to deconstruct it providing our own understanding. Thus, our school system must dismantle oppressive outmoded lifestyles showing many gender types and experiences. They follow atheists  such as  Nietzsche, Marx, Derrida, Foucault, Rorty and many others.
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We have dictionaries and we have minds that can understand clear intelligent speech. A survival of the fittest animal mentality leads to constant human conflict, destruction and dispare. Marxist countries have to build walls to keep citizens from risking death to escape terrible oppressive conditions. They came to an exceptional land of the free and home of the brave to have rights and opportunity--it's no accident that America's founders were Bible believing Christians and taught Bible in its schools for its first 150 years. Postmodernism is simply atheist propaganda which leads to destruction of societies, human achievements, warfare, and oppressive dictatorship.
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Where Would Biblical Christianity Lead Us?
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Is Biblical Christianity idealistic or realistic? If facts, logic, and evidence should be the structure upon which we base our lives, thinking and behavior, then here are some things requiring honest consideration. (1) The claim there's no Lifegiving God and Judge exists who can, or has, or will act in our world is something no right thinking person can make. To ignore the possibility is the most serious and foolish thing we can do. (2) To discount the hundreds of ancient detailed Bible predictions of things impossible for men to guess, engineer, or occur accidentally can only be explained by an all-knowing God. (3) To deny or ignore the multitude of eyewitness miracles  recorded by intelligent Bible persons fully aware of nature's normal patterns as we today and who staked their reputation and lives on its reality is just not realistic. How else could God's show us His reality other than visible miracles and fulfilled prophecies? Idealistic--yes! But isn't hope better than dispare? And when it corresponds with facts, logic, and good evidence--that's reality! In Christ alone we have a future of hope, progress, freedom, and fulfillment. The alternative is darkness, dispair, chaos, conflict and eternal tears and torments.
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Christian faith calls for wholehearted commitment and conduct. In the Bible, Christians are said to be many things depicting their behavior in relationship to world conditions. We are soldiers fighting a war against evil, ambassadors representing the government of the King of kings, athletes disciplining our bodies and minds for the race to win the prise. We are farmers sowing seed of God's Word on human hearts, fishers of men who seek to save them from polluted waters, salt preserving the world from decay, light dispelling the world's ignorance and darkness of God and His way, a city on a hill to light the way for others to come, and other metaphors.
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We're not perfect but have a great God and a great future if we embrace it and work to bring it about. It's the highest honor to be one of God's people working to bring about a better world. It begins with trust in the Savior to cleans us from sins and to keep devoted to know Him and His will for our lives. Won't you join this holy band to give yourself wholeheartedly to the greatest task ever?
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Let me recommend some important books discussing this and other vital subjects. For students: Understanding The Times, by David A. Noebel. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, by Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. For professors. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, by Norman L. Geisler.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

College Students Question Biblical Christianity!

                        College Students Question Biblical Christianity!  
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We've grown up hearing what our parents and religious teachers said was true.  College professors often challenge that view. We want to base our beliefs upon good evidence and logic?
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 Too often, we base what we think upon hearsay, bias, misunderstandings, or falsehoods. That's not fair or right with any ones beliefs. Honest thinking persons' ask these questions and they deserve good answers. They concern the most serious issues of our lives so we should give these questions our utmost attention and thoughtful consideration.
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What Are the Consequences of Denying Existence of the Biblical God?
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Affirming the biblical God has seriously good consequences. Nature, an impersonal force,  carved pieces of wood or stone, can be called gods But they are dead objects that can neither know nor care about us. But the Bible's God is a Creator and Upholder of the universe who is personally and ethically aware of everything we think or do. His will is that we live in obedience to Him. We will one-day kneel before Him who will either condemn or commend our every action. Biblical Christianity makes all life purposeful and bursting with meaning. It gives people dignity, freedom, ethical responsibility, security, purpose, hope, love, joy, and a destiny of their choice.
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Denying the Bible's God has terribly serious consequences. It means as far as we know there's no life after death. Ethics has no higher authority than each person's preference--some eat chicken, others prefer to eat people. The world will one-day be destroyed and our lives have no purpose except to satisfy our own desires. Everything is evolving so there's no final or ultimate truth--my truth verses your truth. We're all just evolving animals waiting to die--lights out!
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What  Arguments Supposedly Show Non-existence of the Biblical God?
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One major argument is that evil disproves God. If there is a good and powerful God, then why is there so much evil? If God were good, He would destroy evil, and if He is almighty, He could destroy evil, but evil remains--so no good or powerful God exists. But if so, why do some atheists seem to hate a non-existent deity? Do they demand God tailor all life to their interests? Is it the true God they hate? Could God have a good reason for delay?
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Several replies deserve mention. First, God didn't bring evil into the world--man did and still does. Evil is a corruption of the good world God made like blindness in an eye made to see. We often blame God for the evil and suffering we cause. Second, if there is no God, evil has no meaning--it's just the way things are. Third, evil is always an alternative option when we have free choice. But our having free choice gives us dignity and is far better than being robots. Fourth, if God destroyed evil, he would have to destroy us all since we're none perfect. And, any degree of evil is always up for objection. Fifth, our Lifegiver, Owner, and Lawgiver's purpose and plan is sovereign over all. Finally, our infinite Creator may have a purpose we self-centered limited people have overlooked--such as His greater glory. Apart from our fall into sin and salvation in Christ, we're unable to understand experiencially God's great forgiveness, purity, goodness, mercy, love, peace, truth, joy, or even our need of Him. Praise the Lord for His gracious provision for our limited understanding!
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The other major argument is that evolution makes God unnecessary. Evolution is the belief that all life originated by chance over time from one primary life form. In other words, molecules arranged themselves over time  into all life forms including man. Evolutionists claim we don't need God since evolution explains everything. Just a thought: If there's no God, does anything we think or do ultimately matter? 
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But does evolutions explain everything? Evolution destroys human dignity reducing us to soulless evolving dirt. It destroys hope for life after death. It reduces ethics to each person's preference--deception, adultery, rape, murder, incest, sodomy, sex slaves, sex with animals--there can be no absolute law against them. It destroys absolute truth as everything is in flux. It results in the irrational chaotic destructive world that we see increasing today. Doesn't evolution ultimately make us mindless matter? 
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The evolution claim ignores all the facts that disprove it. First, this dependent universe with all its galaxies and design didn't pop into existence from a powerless nothing--it took a cause that is eternal, self-existent, intelligent all-powerful will or person or God to bring it about. Second, we know scientifically that heat energy is cooling and that we can't backtrack eternally. Third, we know life doesn't arise from non-living chemicals over any amount of time but requires a Life-giver. Four, we know that life forms left alone don't improve but break down which shows evolution impossible. Fifth, we know life forms show specified irreducible complex systems and organs working together. Animals can't exist with partly developed reproductive or digestive systems, eyes and legs. Such had to exist and be functional at the outset. They cannot be attributed to blind mindless chance, but require an intelligent mind and will--God.
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Sixth, no known mechanism exists for evolution to take place--natural selection doesn't add anything new to the gene pool and mutations are destructive mistakes like a monkey wrench thrown into a machine. Seventh, breeding is selective design. we do observe small adaptations within microbes, monkeys, and men, but they don't change into different life forms. And, of course, some life forms didn't adapt to a changing environment and died out. Eight if true science proves its theories by experimentation, what experiment proves evolution? NONE! Nine, the real proof of evolution would be thousands of intermediate fossils showing each step in the evolutionary process. But with millions of fossils found since Darwin only a handful are claimed to show anything and even they are disputed. Tenth, what we actually know is best explained by a Divine Designer throughout life's forms rather than by a common ancestor. Evolution is based upon naturalistic philosophy, not true scientific research. Moreover, it takes away everything good biblical Christianity gives humanity--the biblical God is the most reasonable.
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Why Couldn't a Creator of the Universe Take on a Human Nature, Body and Walk Among Us?
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In agreement with the above, the Bible says, "All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Col. 1:16-17).  The Creator and Upholderer of this vast universe of matter, space, and time can do anything that suits His purpose. He is an infinite, self-existent, perfect Spirit everywhere present with all power, knowledge, wisdom, goodness, and truth. The Bible further says, "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). So while God created all things, only man was created in God's image because God wanted relationship with us.
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God walked and talked with man in the garden paradise and gave him instructions to test his obedience whether he would trust and love God above all else. But man failed. So God set in motion His plan and purpose to save us self-centered rebellious persons hinted at in Genesis 3:15. Satan's seed is unbelievers (John 8:44), and the woman's seed is Christ and believers who will one day defeat them (Rom. 16:20; Heb.2:14-15; Rev. 20:10). God tests us human beings every day in the thoughts we allow and decisions we make for or against Him. Are our thoughts of love and gratitude for our Life-giver and one day Judge?
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Why couldn't Jesus the God-man die for sinners and arise from the dead it that's His will? "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians. 1:7). There's no problem for man's Maker to take on a human nature and body in a holy virgin birth (Matt. 1:18-23). Jesus walked among us experiencing firsthand all that we do, yet without sin qualifying Him to be our Savior. Jesus" death for our sins was God's plan and purpose. Foolishness calls  Jesus bearing our sin and counting believers righteous unjust. As our omniscient Creator, He alone qualifies as the standard of justice and the Judge to execute it. Limited, conflicting, changing human opinions amount to very little.
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What benefits does Christ's resurrection mean for our world? There's life after death. Jesus is the God-man with power of life and death. As God, all Jesus taught in and of Scripture is absolute truth. Humans created in God's mental, moral immortal image have dignity and freedom. Ethics made sense--our thoughts, words, deeds are accountable to God so life has purpose. Our conscience, justice and love make sense. As created and controlled by a rational God, the world is meaningfully moving toward a climax. Experimental science is possible.
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Jesus divided our thinking about history into Before Christ and After His Death. This personal ethically perfect God offers us wayward rebels forgiveness, cleansing, and eternal life with Him forever through faith in Jesus, the Lord and Savior of sinners. Spreading this hope and love is imperative education--without it, all is lost.
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We decide how we want to live whether for self, the world and the devil. or for the God who loves us and died to give us abundant and eternal life. We're never going to be perfect in this life (Jn.  8:7; 1 Jn. 1:8-10). We're never going to understand everything (Isa. 55:6-9; 1 Cor. 13:12). We can experience peace, love, joy in Christ but should not depend upon feelings but upon our love-trust relationship with Him that issues in obedience (John 15).

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Won't you say, Lord Jesus Christ, I turn from sin to trust in You as my Savior, Lord and Guide throughout life? If you pray this honestly trusting in Him, you will become a child of God. Then grow in Christ through prayer, study of God's Word, worship with His people, and sharing this good news with others. NOW, God bless you on your journey to the promised land, Heaven.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is Postmodernitry Subjective Suicide?


               Is Postmodernity Subjective Suicide?

A foreboding crisis of faith darkens the Western world. Traditional institutions seem unable to reach their goals. Capitalism hasn’t reduced disparity between the wealthy and the poor. Wasteful throwaway societies trash earth’s resources and environment. Science and technology haven’t solved our problems. Governments tax citizens into poverty taking their money, or wasting it on ineffective projects. Special interests usurp democratic systems making them unresponsive to citizens. Nations hoard weapons of mass destruction threatening to devastate each other. Greed and corruption appear everywhere. Traditional religions don’t improve the situation and fight among themselves. We fear global warming, an asteroid from space, or that aliens among us may destroy us. We no longer believe in absolute authority, truth, and morality. Let’s look at five stages of change. Change can be either progressive or regressive and in different ways.
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Pre-Christian Barbarism.
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 Before Christ, it was a brutal world where human life had little value. Half the world were slaves of no concern, dignity, or rights. They could be beaten, raped, sold or killed at their master’s will. They usually were put to death when their master died. Women were considered their husband’s property and animals might be thought more valuable.
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Unwanted babies were thrown away to be starved or eaten. Children could be put to death without pity or not live beyond the age of eight. Women could die in childbirth and men in war. City-states, tribes and empires fought all the time and authority rested in whoever had superior weaponry and army to dominate the others.
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People thought killing was the way to gain your enemies strength. Cannibalism, human sacrifice, sexual orgies, sometimes sex with animals were part of many people’s lives and used in worship of their gods. Their gods were as brutal, indifferent, jealous and cruel as were their worshippers. They knew of the one high God but felt estranged from him as isolated peoples do today. Plato (350 B.C.) made an amazing statement, “We wait for one be he a God or an inspired man to instruct us in our duties and to take away the darkness from our eyes.”
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The West’s Hope in Jesus and the Bible until 1960.
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The death and resurrection of Jesus as taught in the Bible radically changed the Western world’s thinking. Ancient peoples feared their gods, sacrificed to them, but never loved them. Soldiers sacrifice themselves for love of country. Mothers died for children they loved. But Jesus showed supreme love giving His human life for us guilty rebels in his death on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21).
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Though innocent, Jesus was rejected, condemned, severally beaten, ridiculed, slapped, spit on, and hung naked before staring eyes. Ancient prophets foretold it (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 2; 22; Isa. 53). Jesus predicted it (Matt. 17:9; 27:63; Mark 8:31). Miracles testified to it—darkness, earthquake, temple vale torn, resurrections (Matt. 27:51-53; Luke. 23:44). It announced, “God so loved the world that He gave His unique Son (sinless God-man) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But it would be a dead hope apart from Jesus’ resurrection.
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Jesus resurrection established the most crucial things. There’s life after death. Jesus is the God-man with power of life and death. As God, all Jesus taught in and of Scripture is absolute truth. Humans created in God’s mental, moral immortal image have dignity and freedom. Ethics make sense—our thoughts, words, deeds are accountable to God so life has purpose. Our conscience, justice and love make sense.
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As created and controlled by a rational God, the world is meaningfully moving toward a climax. Experimental science is possible. Jesus divided our thinking about history into Before Christ and After His Death. This personal ethically perfect God offers us wayward rebels’ eternal life with Him forever through faith in Jesus, the Lord and Savior of sinners. Spreading this hope and love is imperative education--without it, all is lost.
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We could not know all this except for the Bible. Christians collected the Gospels written about Jesus and the letters of His apostles before A.D. 100. People were living at the time Scripture was published who knew Jesus, his fulfilled prophecies, miracles, claims to be God, and resurrection. Secular writers wrote details about his life. His disciples were tortured and murdered for their faith. No world religion has any Scripture or any founder like Jesus.
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The Bible is history, not some made up stories centuries later (Luke 1:1-3; Acts 1:1-3; 2:22-24; 4:33; 1 Cor. 15:3-8). Moreover, it’s translated from comparative copies of early original languages with the highest degree of accuracy of any ancient documents. We have every reason to trust the Bible as God’s authority and truth and in Jesus as the sinless God-man sent to give us abundant life and save us from Hell (Luke. 19:10; John 10:10; 3:36; 7:16; 8:24). All the unparalleled benefits Christianity bring without commitment to Christ and the Bible will pass away to pre-Christian barbarism.
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Modernity’s Self-sufficient Rejection of the Christian Worldview by 1990.
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Like waves pounding shoreline rocks turning them to sand, unbelief relentlessly pounds Godly faith intent on beating it to pieces. We decided we don’t need God—evolution explains everything. Scientific method and logical reasoning will lead us to truth and progress. Our objective thinking can make things right, save us, and make us free. Jesus, the Bible, and divine authority haven’t worked. Though imperfect, we quickly excuse ourselves pointing the finger at persons struggling to live God honoring lives.
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We blame the world’s evils and sufferings upon superstitious belief in God though we bring them about ourselves. We decided the Bible’s miracles were only imaginative tales of later prescientific writers--it contains numerous absurdities and contradictions—never mind checking out any facts. We were confident our new gods of science, technology, democratic government, law, diplomacy, a good economy, and a strong military could correct any adverse conditions. But then adverse conditions seem to pile up to overwhelm us without relief and without faith.
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Postmodernity’s Lost Faith in Human Achievements from 1991 to today.
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Loss of faith in the personal ethical God demonstrated in Jesus and the Bible has brought about loss of faith altogether. If we’re only evolving animals that return to dirt, we have no great dignity or destiny. If no personal ethically perfect Creator exists who knows and guides our lives, each person’s purpose is freedom to please them self. But it’s a freedom to destroy us. God warns us, “All who hate me love death (Prov. 8:36).
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To follow Darwin, Marx, Muhammad, or some other dictator will lead us to poverty, virtual slavery, and possibly a blood bath. Check it out in history. When we have no objective authoritative guide, we call good evil and evil good. C. S. Lewis in Christian Reflections warned us of the poison of subjectivism that can remove all restraints to evil. Politically correct lays the groundwork for government takeover and imposition of tyranny. It destroys honest objective thinking.
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Science and technology cannot save us and may even destroy us. It is what has enabled us to build weapons of mass destruction but gives no guidelines about using them. Terrorism increasingly stalks our lands. Could the real problem be that we ignore the selfishness, greed, overindulgence, injustice and indifference of our rebellious hearts? With little thought for others, all we care about is our being happy and having life’s good things on our terms. Is our self-occupation and self-sufficiency all we need to make things right? Where are our limited, conflicting, self-centered lives leading us? Those who make the subjective claim there’s no absolute truth and morals, believe they’re making a true statement, and that makes them liars and opens the door to every evil.
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What Does the Future Hold?
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As I see it, we have three options. One, the West can avoid barbarism and return to its former glory of the Christian worldview with serious commitment to Jesus as Savior, Lord, and the Bible to Guide us as we are so prone to sin. Sin is the basis of all our problems. Then, the Lord will hear and bring healing, renewal, and restore us as light to the nations (2 Chron. 7:14; Isa. 55:6-7). God may rise up strong godly national leaders such as Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Daniel.
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Two, it may be that since the West turned its back on the Lord, God will give the East opportunity it’s not had before (Rom. 1:28; Acts 16:6-10). Many in the East are coming to Christ. Three, many believe we’re near the rapture, the revealing of the Anti-Christ, and world domination and persecution of everything Godly. Then, the Bible predicts a Golden Age like the Garden of Eden ending in a final conflict of good over evil. More will be said about these things in God’s later articles.
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Dear friends, thank you for reading my articles and for your concern. Let me plead with you again. We never know how much time we have left. Turn to the Lord Jesus who can save us sinners and be our Guide for life. He alone has given us evidence He’s real, not just conflicting human guesses, opinions and preferences. He’s humanity’s only hope, authority, and absolute truth. Everything else is subjective suicide. Pray, Lord Jesus, save me and control my life.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Did Jesus Really Perform Miracles?


                                                Did Jesus Really Perform Miracles?
#miracles   #Jesus   #supernatural-faith 
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The universe’s expansion, it’s running down, the impossibility of eternal backtracking, and its complexity, all point to its being the effect of a self-existing, eternal, infinite, unchanging intelligence and will which best explains the world and is rightly called God. And since this Creator God exists, it’s a small thing for him to perform miracles or even take on a human nature and body and walk among us as said of Jesus. Several factors require honest consideration.

Jesus’ Miracles Require Open-minded Consideration

Some object saying that’s religious, bias and unfair. But isn’t government refusal of research grants to religious universities biased? Isn’t Bible study and prayer illegal in public schools biased? Isn’t forbidding discussion of Christian ethics on TV and radio biased? Isn’t politically correct secular legislation against the Bible, prayer and Jesus biased? Isn’t a judge’s opinion contrary to a nation’s will biased? Secular politically correct philosophy is what's biased and unfair--God made us with the right to free speech and to know the truth.

Some claim nature’s laws make miracles impossible and it would destroy science.  Ridiculous! A rocket going to the moon didn't destroy gravity or make science impossible. Jesus' turning water to wine, walking on water, feeding the hungry demonstrated he was nature's Lord. Unless God did extraordinary astonishing things beyond nature’s usual patterns, we would never recognize his presence and power.  Nature’s regularity is required in order to identify miracles as exceptions and Jesus as its Lord. Miracles show conclusively there is a God who can act in our world.

Others claim the scientific empirical method alone leads us to knowledge as only repeated experiments under controlled conditions can insure a predictable outcome. Scientific method can’t prove ethics, history, macro evolution, or even the scientific method itself. And there’s no rule the Almighty must submit to our controlled experiments for us to believe in him. God could be the primary sustaining Cause and nature’s patterns secondary causes. We can’t show nature is everything
without exhaustive knowledge. Do we even know what's taking place in the house next door?

Good objective science doesn’t exclude God and miracle before investigation. Science’s role is to describe what is, not prescribe what can and cannot be. supernatural--that's a closed-minded, biased, unscientific dogmatism. Beware of biased scientists who say there's no God and no miracles. 

The skeptic philosopher David Hume said miracles were impossible but he never weighed the evidence of Jesus’ miracles. He assumed overwhelming evidence of natural events outweighed their possibility. He said miracles would violate nature’s laws. No wise man, only ignorant superstitious persons in some unknown corner believes them. Hume claims also that miracles occur in all religions alike that discredits their opposed teachings. He never examined the exceptional nature of Bible miracles.

Hume’s objection would eliminate the possibility of any unknown or exceptional event even when we know it occurs, such as walking on the moon. Unlike other miracle accounts, Jesus’ disciples were eyewitnesses and martyred for their belief. Jesus’ miracles astonished his disciples and his  hostile  critics couldn’t deny them, which shows all knew nature’s laws. We know miracles impossible only if we  know no miracle working God exists and that requires exhaustive knowledge we don’t have.

Naturalistic philosophy makes us soulless material manipulative dirt without dignity, worth or rights. Pantheism makes us illusion cycles of energy awaiting absorption into nothingness. If Jesus arose bodily from the grave, it assures everybody’s vital human needs and rights. For only Jesus showed life beyond the grave. Since only God the Creator has power over death, we can know Jesus Christ is the incarnate God-man who walked among us. God grants us the right to life, dignity, and free speech as created in His image for His glory and for relationship with Him.

What basic momentous things did Jesus teach? The Bible is God’s message to man. We’re beings of great value in God’s rational, moral, immortal image. God gave us laws, justice, love and his human life to save us. Jesus alone can save us from sin. Heaven and Hell are eternal realities-- we decide our destiny. Jesus makes history climactic, life ultimately meaningful, truth and ethics realities, the world understandable, experimental science possible, and our daily choices crucial. Wow! Can speculative philosophy and religion match that? No way!

Now, let’s examine Christ’s miracles. Our present well being and eternal destiny could be at stake. Unless we have irrefutable proof it can’t be true, we’re most wise to give it utmost honest consideration. Jesus’ miracles were God’s exceptional acts within nature showing his claims true.

Jesus’ Miracles Are True History

Several lines of evidence establish Jesus’ miracles as real historical events showing he was the God-man who walked among us. But even then, it requires open-minded consideration.

Historians accept two primary sources as verifying events and three as excellent. Jesus has six independent sources each telling the same general events but with different details: the four gospels, the sermons of Acts and statements of Paul and Peter in their epistles. Except for an anti-supernatural bias, that alone would establish historical fact.

Matthew and John were Jesus’ disciples for over three years. Mark was a close associate of his chief apostle Peter while Luke was Paul’s disciple and an extensive eyewitness researcher. That’s immediate documentation. And while other historical events have few manuscripts to document them with the New Testament there are thousands.

The Gospels mention well-known persons, places, dates, events, and customs. Archaeological and historical research has repeatedly verified the Gospels as history. Luke mentions thirty prominent names of that time and place known to secular writers and archaeologists. For example, Tiberius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, Herod Antipas, Herod the Great, Pilate, and high priests as Caiaphas and Ananias. An ossuary or bone box recently found may contain Caiaphas’s bones. He mentions social Jewish customs, laws, places, feasts verified as true to the time. Fiction writers dare not mention things fact hunters would expose.

Published by A.D. 100, the whole New Testament amazingly circulated among churches less than seventy years after Christ. The few copies of other ancient documents are dated hundreds of years after publication. Over five thousand Greek copies, thousands of copies in other languages and New Testament quotes of all but eleven verses of the church fathers give far greater evidence of accurate history than the few surviving ancient secular documents. Scholars point to creeds and hymns of the early church the apostles received and incorporated in their letters (Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Cor. 11:23-33; 15:3-8; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-18; 1Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:8; 1 Pet. 3:18-22; 1 Jn. 4:2-3). They date them as early as A.D. 33 to 48, which rules out any legendary and imaginary embellishment. So the accounts of Jesus’ miracles then are true history.

Jesus’ Miracles Show He Is God

Biblical prophets and apostles performed miracles grouped around three crucial periods in Israel’s history. During slavery in Egypt, Israel needed miracles to establish Moses as their leader to the Promised Land. Again, miracles group around Elijah and Elisha to save Israel from Baal worship. Finally, miracles occur with Christ and the apostles to show God’s new revelation. Of course, the Creator can heal and provide miracles any time. But these grouping in crises times show they are not everyday occurrences. What’s different about Jesus’ miracles is that he alone claimed to be Israel’s predicted Messiah and humanity’s God. What is the character of Jesus’ miracles that elicit faith?

First, the Gospels mention only 35 miracles but Jesus performed hundreds if not thousands (John. 3:2; 21:25). Individuals and groups requested healing for over three years wherever he went between towns, in people’s homes, by the seaside and at the temple. Hostile critics accused Jesus of blasphemy claiming to be God, said his miracles were Satanic, but could never deny them even when challenged to do so (John. 10:33; 11:47-48).

Second, Jesus performed visible close-up miracles before watching crowds and critics in the daylight. Sleight of hand tricks in darkness or at a distance and freakish accidents or anomalies of nature were simply impossible.

Third, wherever Jesus went both individuals and crowds requested healing, and they were healed on the spot (Luke 4:40). He healed the nobleman’s son (Jn. 4:46-53) and the centurion’s son (Matt. 8:5-13) from a distance. Preplanned healings among strangers might be faked, but not spontaneous healings among well-known townspeople and relations.

Fourth, Jesus’ miracles were of varies kinds and in four categories. He did nature miracles such as stilling the storm, walking on the water, cursing the fig tree and ascending into Heaven—no magic or anomalies of nature here. He healed obvious visible ailments such as blindness, deafness, leprosy, dropsy, and paralysis—no deception or hypnotism possible here. Demons acknowledged Jesus as the holy one of God who cast them into pigs restoring the possessed to sanity. Jesus raised three stiff cold people from the dead. He visibly showed control of all nature, disease, demons and death. Natural causes can’t explain away Jesus’ miracles.

Fifth, Jesus works identify him as God. Only the God-man could live without sin, forgive sins, and die to save sinners. Only God could fulfill scores of detailed ancient prophecies of a divine Messiah. Only God could come down from Heaven, existed before creation, raise the dead, command angels and demons, knew people’s inner motives, change into Light. Only God could claim to be the only way, truth and life to the Father. Jesus showed himself the self-existing I Am of the unconsumed burning bush. No sorcerer or anyone was like Jesus.

Sixth, Jesus’ miracles stand alone in the world’s knowledge. Modern medicine can’t heal every disease and do it instantly as did Jesus. World religions don’t claim anything like Jesus’ supernatural actions. Jesus’ miracles were not freakish bizarre myths like moving statues, one-eyed giants, snake headed Medusas or flying carpets in some far away land. Jesus turning water into wine, multiplying food and catching fish in great abundance show the natural order. What better visible proof could we have that Jesus is in fact nature’s Lord and our God? He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

But, the decisive question is this: Is Jesus your Lord and Savior from sin, self, Satan and Hell? As rebellious sinners before a morally perfect God, we face an eternity of darkness, despair, tears and torments. Or, we can have an eternity of love, fulfillment, joy and service with our Maker. Won’t you humbly say, Lord, I’m an unworthy sinner deserving Hell? But I trust Jesus taking my place bearing my sin upon the cross. I accept you right now as my Savior, Lord and Guide throughout life. Thank you Lord. Help me live a life pleasing to you and share my godly faith with others according to your Word. So be it. Feel free to link & share these blog articles, even translate them into other languages.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Faith, Reason & Revelation

                                                Faith, Reason & Revelation
 #Epistemology                                                                                                                            #Knowledge
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Thinking people can’t avoid the question of the relationship between faith and reason. Great minds such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and others have grappled with this through the centuries. Let me be candid. I’m not a philosopher, theologian, or logician, so you don’t have to believe all I say. But I’ll give you the best I can, and pray we come to the truth. Examine carefully the steps of my thinking.
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The Question of Faith and Reason.
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Throughout life, we reach conclusions we believe true and call natural human knowledge. Faith and reason are foundational and inseparably joined to form our conclusions. We think and act by faith that our senses give us accurate information and that we exist, that a world outside of us exists, that other persons and minds we can rightly correspond with exists, and that we may discover many things exist that we don’t know how they exist. But we just don’t believe anything—we must first think it’s worth believing or has some basis in reason and fact. Certainly I can't claim the world doesn't exist unless I exist to make the claim.
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In youth, we accepted a particular religion largely on the authority of our parents, or religious teachers, and identified with it. But in growing older, teachers and friends may present hostile ideas, cause us painful doubts, and to forsake our once held beliefs. How can we know with certainty what to believe? With approximated seven billion people on the earth, and a multitude of different religions, how can we know the religion our parents or teachers taught us just happened to be the right one? Good honest question!
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The Question of God.
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The teachings of the Christian faith require supernatural or spiritual knowledge. Supernatural knowledge is not based upon physical things we see every day and can examine firsthand. They are not a visible tangible part of our everyday world, but our limited senses may not tell us everything that exists. Unique events may occur at times and places unknown to us. Honesty compels us to admit these statements are true. This opens the door to consider the Christian faith based upon supernatural or spiritual knowledge that a real God exists who can act in our real world. Although, there’s no rule God must appear or act in obedience to our whims or desires. 
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The origin of Christian faith is based upon a personal ethical triune Creator God. Unless we can give evidence to show no such Creator exists, it’s an open question. But then we must give evidence to show one could or likely does exist.
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Common sense and science point us to the biblical God. Common sense tells us if nothing exists, it means no existence of any kind—no matter, no power or force, no consciousness or life, no mind or will. Yet, we know all these things presently exist. Science tells us the universe began to be or came into existence. If it didn’t exist, it couldn’t cause itself—that would be an impossible contradiction. Thus, the universe is the effect of a preceding existing cause that explains and sustains all present dependent existence. What might that cause be like?
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That cause must be spiritual or nonmaterial since it is the cause of this material dependent universe. That cause must be self-existent, eternal, and unchangeable or else it would have ceased to exist. That cause must be one infinite power everywhere present to uphold every particle comprising this expanding universe. Also, that cause must be a mind and will since mindless force can’t plan or produce anything. So we conclude the cause of the universe is one infinite self-existent, eternal, unchangeable, all-powerful mind or person who willed to create this universe. This corresponds with what we read in Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14; Col 1:16-17 and the further teaching of the Creator God of the Bible. Super important at this point is this: The biblical God is what makes everything a rational, dependable, and moral universe and everything we know and do possible.
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There are some unworthy human ideas about God. Atheists say no god of any kind exists. Atheism destroys the basis for human dignity, ethics, eternal existence, and is a claim to exhaustive knowledge atheists don’t have. Deists say God is the Creator who forsook his creation to run on its own steam. Their God forsook us, is irrelevant and unworthy of our worship. Pantheists or monist religions claim the universe is god. But that leads to a mass of contradictions, they can’t live as though the world is illusion, can’t give proof of reincarnation, it destroys human dignity and ethics, and it ends in human extinction. Polytheists believe in limited local tribal gods that evolved somehow out of nature that fight and destroy themselves and really care nothing for their worshippers. It too is conflicting ideas and makes nature itself supreme. The intellectual’s evolving process god is not sovereign and depends on the world, thus is untrustworthy and irrelevant to human needs. All this is further explained in my other articles, especially worldviews.
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Islam claims the angel Gabriel spoke God or Allah's  message to Muhammad. But the prophet could give no evidence this claim was true and anybody could make a similar claim. In fact, the Mormon Joseph Smith Jr. did. Further, Muhammad came centuries after Christianity was established and made false statements about the persons, events and teachings of the Bible. We know it's true because our manuscripts today agree with the ancient ones discovered to be thousands of years ago before Muhammad's time. That's why both Jews and Christians rejected him as a false prophet. See my article: What Did Muhammad Say About Jesus?
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The Question of Which Revelation.
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There are good reasons to think Christian faith is of God. If a Creator God exists, he is in control and nothing he desires is impossible. But how can we know such a God can act in our world? Just the subjective claim that God spoke to me or to someone is not convincing. That claim can be explained by imagination, hallucination, drugs, a blow to the head, or something I ate. The claimer may even be telling a lie. Some kind of objective, visual sensual events attracting attention and that are unknown or beyond normal human experience are imperative. Moreover, if such events really occurred at one time, the mere passing of time cannot undermine their reality. A Creator can act in our world when and how He desires.
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Three lines of evidence demonstrate the Creator acting in our world. First, miracles. Consider God parting the Red Sea with walls of water on each side, Jesus walking on the sea, immediate healing of blindness, lameness and all kinds of diseases, stilling a storm, restoring a man’s cut off ear, raising the dead, being transformed into light, ascending into the sky. If someone claims to be from God and could perform such extraordinary actions, we have certain reason to believe it’s true and of God. It’s true especially when Jesus did such things repeatedly for more than three years before skeptical astonished disciples and hostile critics.  Moreover, Jesus’ disciples who witnessed these things underwent inhuman tortures and gave their life’s blood for what they knew to be true. What world religion can claim such things of their founder? NONE!
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Another line of evidence is fulfilled predictions in accord with certain objective criteria. A prophet of God must say things in accord with the teaching of God already known and be recognized by other established prophets. He must predict specific details that can’t be attributed to guess or in line with present trends or be artificially fulfilled. He must make short-term predictions fulfilled in his time so people will believe long-term predictions will be fulfilled. Biblical prophets made hundreds of such prophecies about individuals, surrounding nations, and about a coming Messiah.
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Consider just some predictions made centuries before of the coming Messiah--his virgin birth (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23), miracles (Isa. 35:5-6; Matt. 11:4-6), rejection (Ps.69:8; John. 1:11) death for sinners (Isa. 53:6-7; Jn. 1:29), resurrection (Ps. 16:10; Mark 16:6-7; Acts 16:35), and ascension (Ps. 68:18; Eph. 4:8). The chances against these predictions being fulfilled is in the trillions and simply impossible. They have to be given the prophets by an all-knowing God. And no future prophetic fulfillments are found among world religions.
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A third reason the Christian faith is of God is that the things said of Jesus could only be true of God. Jesus lived without sin, forgave sin--will judge the world of sin. Jesus was with the Father before creation, addressed by the Father from Heaven, is one with the Father, and to accept him is to receive the Father. Jesus who was attended by angels and commanded demons will return in glory. At his trial, the only charge against him was that he said he was God. It’s clear that the man Jesus, who walked among us 2,000 years ago and said he was God, actually was and is God. Now, whatever God says is final authority, and we will be judged accordingly. Nothing like this is claimed of other world religion founders.
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There are reasons to think non-Christian religions and philosophies are not of God. As both men and women are created in God’s image, and both contain the same genes, both deserve the same respectful treatment not shown in world religions. As we all descended from human parents, we are on the same plane so that class distinctions, or castes between peoples is seriously wrong. Moreover, we have the same freedoms and rights without discrimination. It’s clear to everyone that men and women are designed for each other and for family living. Jesus said God intended a one-flesh union so many spouses shows the hardness of our hearts and indifference to the needs of singles. The Lord Jesus who died to save us, in utter fairness and complete knowledge will one day judge our every action and abuse. Unlike other religions, biblical Christianity is not a blind leap into the dark, but a step of faith into the light.
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Won’t you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Savior and life Guide? Christian teaching is supported by reasonable evidence, but we come to Christian faith only when the person of God’s Spirit convicts, convinces, and converts our sinful rebellious heart.
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Objections generally boil down to two. Either in pride we give some intellectual excuse that Christianity doesn’t make sense, as I want it to make sense. Or, more likely, I just don’t want anyone including God telling me what to do. Reasonable arguments can clear away the cobwebs, but God doesn’t force us to believe. One must willingly respond to the person of the Holy Spirit who convicts, convinces, and converts us of our sin and need of the Savior (Matt. 16:16-17; Jn. 16:8-10). We can understand intellectually, but reject God’s truth spiritually and experientially (John 1:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:14). ,Consistent habitual sinful living is the proof we’re not in Christ (1 John. 3:4-6).
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We must come to understand that our Maker and Judge is a Holy Moral Lawgiver, who despises sin and desires we live a consistent holy life. “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Joining a church, or attending church, serving in a church office, being baptized, burning candles, carrying a cross, knelling before an altar, shaking a pastor’s hand, giving money, saying a prayer, confessing to a priest, or any other good deeds are not what saves us. If our good deeds save us, then Jesus' death on the cross to pay for our sins would be useless, even stupid (Rom. 11:6; Gal. 2:16).
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The Scripture says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31). He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (Jn. 3:36). For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:8-10).
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Won’t you enter into a love-trust relationship with the One who died to save you and which issues in a life of obedience. Salvation of us sinners must be received by faith as God’s gift. Pray, Lord I’m an unworthy sinner deserving eternal separation from you in the eternal Hell of wrath, despair, darkness, tears, and torments. But right now and from this day on I trust you to make me a clean child of God to live a consistent life before you that brings you the glory. Amen (So be it).
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Now you can render the greatest service to your Lord & for others by linking & sharing these articles with friends & relations. Your efforts may be the reason you will see them in Heaven one day & have a better world here. God bless.
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Let me recommend some books. For everybody, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, Understanding the Times, by David A. Noebel. For pastors, The Fundamentals For The Twenty- Century-First Century, by Mal Couch. The Popular Enclopedia of Apologetics, by Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner. See my other article on epistemology: Jesus, Faith, & Knowledge.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Jesus Gave Human Life Value

How Jesus Gave Human Life Value

Few people realize that Jesus has transformed human life in every area His influence is felt. Jesus brought the West out of barbarianism. But, it’s not mentioned in revised history. It’s attacked by the liberal media, and scoffed at by atheists and skeptics. It’s not valued in cold backslidden churches, and hardly known or realized even by true believing Christians. Let’s look at the many areas where Jesus has lifted humanity out of barbarianism giving human life value.
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Jesus saved the life of children. Jesus said whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me (Matt. 18:5). 
Child sacrifice was common in the ancient world. We read in the Bible of the Baal and Ashtoreth worshippers who practiced child sacrificed. Archaeologists digging up a cemetery a few feet from their temple uncovered jars containing remains of infants. Human life was cheap in the East as in classical Greece, Rome, Europe, India, Japan and China so that abortion, infanticide, abandonment, and exposure were commonplace.
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Infirm and unwanted babies would be taken to the forest or the mountainside to be eaten by wild animals, or starved, or picked up by strange people who crept around at night for whatever suited their desires. Then as now, it was more often the human life of female babies considered inferior. Of course, many children were born since men of all ages slept with their slaves. And due to famine, illness, and exposure, only about half of the many children born lived past the age of eight. In ancient Rome, a father held absolute authority over his children. He could kill them, sell them as slaves, marry them off, divorce them, or confiscate their property. It was indeed dangerous to be born in ancient times. Human life was so cheap in the ancient world.
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When the Son of God took on the nature and body of a human child, he established human dignity created in God’s image. So, Christian believers in Rome saved many of the castaway babies to bring them up in the Christian faith. Abortion and abandonment disappeared in the early Church. Christians began foundling homes and orphanages to save children. When Jesus said God was our Father that radically altered the attitudes fathers should have toward their children. Based on the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, it laid the foundation and brought about our laws of child protection in the West we today call normal and natural. The church fought and overcame abortion repeatedly to save human life but it always returns when Christian influence wanes.
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The only choice today’s Planned Parenthood gives pregnant girls is killing their baby on Wednesday or on Friday, and of cutting their helpless screaming infant in pieces, burning them with acid, or sticking a stake in the back of their head. Who knows but that that murdered human life might have become a genius making great contributions to our world. And the girls experience trauma, guilt and regret the rest of their lives.
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Jesus elevated the position of women. The men who caught the woman in the act of adultery were shamed and walked away unable to caste a stone at her. Jesus asked her where her accusers were. When she replied there were none, Jesus said, “neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:9-11). The woman of Samaria said to Jesus, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans (John 4:9). Since the woman was caught in the act of adultery, so was the man. But nothing was done about him. Why? If the woman deserved stoning, so did the man according to Jewish law and being guilty of the same sin. Isn’t this an unfair double standard? Also, notice that Jesus didn’t treat the Samaritan woman with contempt as his fellow Jews, but with respect even though a sinner. Jesus is to be the Christian’s example.
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Women have always been abused throughout the world. And it can’t be blamed on Eve’s sin. Since Adam was to be head of the family and God specifically warned him about eating the forbidden fruit, he should have stopped Eve from eating. Moreover, the husband being bigger and stronger and the wife being helpless in pregnancy, shows he is to protect and provide for his family and she is to nurture it. Except for gender, both receive genes from both parents so neither is inferior to the other but made for essential rolls that happen to be different. Men abusers are without excuse.
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Aristotle thought a woman’s status somewhere between a free man and a slave. Plato believed cowardly men would be reincarnated as a woman. In ancient times, women were the property of their husbands. The Quran of Islam says women can be denied sex, beaten, and divorced, but wives can’t divorce husbands. Some Muslim countries degrade women requiring them to wear a black gown with only their eyes showing. Often they aren’t permitted to drive a vehicle or go to school. In Christ all persons are to be shown respect and the dividing wall is broken down (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11; Eph. 2;14). Jesus elevates human life everywhere his teachings are believed and practiced.
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Modern missionaries were shocked and horrified by the treatment of women in Eastern countries. In India, Hindus practiced suttee that meant that a wife was to be burned to death on her husband’s funeral pyre. Young girls could be killed or made temple prostitutes. In Africa, the chieftain’s wives and concubines (sex slaves) were killed when he died. Men may even use a woman hitched with an ox to plow a field. It’s hard to understand why modern feminists berate Christianity when historically it freed and ennobled womanhood.
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Jesus’ influence overtime eradicates slavery. Slavery came about through people captured in wars, inheritance, or voluntarily submission to pay a dept. Slavery was common in all the ancient world but Jews gave them rights, had humane laws, and freed them if injured and in the year of Jubilee. It’s estimated a third to half of the Roman Empire was slaves and the slave owner could kill his slave at whim. Slaves had no dignity and no rights in society or the state. They could be beaten, sold, or murdered. If their master was murdered, all his slaves were put to death maybe fed to alligators.
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Aristotle referred to slaves as a “living tool.” Female slaves were given for nightly convenience of guests. People of the same race enslaved each other and the gods had no pity on them. Gladiators were slaves who hacked themselves to pieces in the coliseum until the fifth century monk Telemachus jumped into the arena pleading for them to stop. He was stoned for interfering with the crowd’s amusement but the emperor then put a stop to it and made him a Christian martyr. Muslims still take slaves in Africa today.
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Skeptics of Christianity criticize it for not abolishing slavery. Biblical Christianity laid the basis of abolishing slavery but it was slow to take root in our depraved prideful hearts. Plantation owners in the southern states of America argued that slavery existed in Bible times so it was justified. But the real reason was that slaves make their owners rich. Had the civil war not occurred, slavery might have died out. Many Christians and ministers helped runaway slaves escape through the underground railroad. Had the apostles told Christian slave owners to free their slaves, the Roman Caesars would have crucified both the Christians and the slaves just as the Spartacus slave rebellion was crushed and thousands of slaves crucified. Those skeptics seem to ignore all this and give Jesus no credit for giving dignity to human life.
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The Bible argues against slavery and for human freedom. All persons are created in God’s image, descended from the same parents, have the same blood, thus have the same rights to dignity, respect, and fair treatment (Gen. 1:27; Acts 17:26). God’s apostle Paul told Philemon to treat his runaway now Christian slave Onesimus as a beloved brother (Phil. 15-16). In Christ, masters are to treat slaves, as they would want the Lord to treat them. We’re to show no difference among peoples (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:8-10; Eph. 6:5-9). All this was unthinkable in the ancient world. The great evangelical statesman, William Wilberforce, fought in the English parliament to free the slaves and on his deathbed-received word the bill was passed and 700,000 British Empire slaves were freed.
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The Christian biblical faith alone frees us from slavery to every sin. It gives us motives and power to live Godly lives in this wicked world. Jesus’ teaching eliminates barbarianism and establishes human dignity, rights, and ethical standards. Human babies were dumped outside ancient city walls so the poorest people could find something to cook for food. Aztecs and others killed thousands of their enemies as offerings to their gods. People too believed that killing their enemies gave them their enemy’s strength. Where the gospel has not penetrated and leaders know nothing of God’s love and grace, they may take their own lives rather than face the shame and disgrace of failure. Pontius Pilate, the Emperors Nero and Hadrian, the Stoic philosopher Seneca and others did this. The ancient Stoic philosophy was that suicide was a person’s choice. The Japanese thought it an honor to show how a Samurai could die with a sword in his belly.
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Human life had little value until the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ came to dwell in human hearts and lives. Few persons today realize conditions prevalent in ancient times. They have little or no idea of the impact Jesus and the Bible have had on the western world. In ancient cultures, it was common to have human sacrifice, cannibalism, head hunting, suicide. If we human beings are of little worth, what could be wrong with such things? If cows or pigs are worth more to you than babies or women, or slaves, why be concerned with what happens to them? If killing another person brings you his power, then that’s to your advantage. If we are all just another kind of animal that returns to the dirt, why care? If gaining power and control is your only concern, then why not lie, steal, or murder to gain it? And, if evolution is true, then your murderer is the fittest. With Christian influence waning in the West, we are once again returning to this way of thinking and acting which will have disastrous consequences.  Tyranny and slavery will be the result. Our lives will mean nothing.
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Jesus and the Bible lifted us out of this to a higher plane but that has not been passed on to following generations. We have succumbed to evolutionary naturalism. The Bible warns, “He who sins against me (God) wrongs his own soul’; All those who hate me love death” (Prov. 8:36).
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The Christian worldview teaches we are created in the mental moral immortal image of God. We will answer to God for how we obeyed his moral law. This gives us all dignity, rights and a moral standard to uphold. We cannot long enjoy the fruits of Christianity by cutting ourselves off from their roots in Jesus and the Bible. Thinking ourselves wise in rejecting Jesus and God’s Word, we are descending into darkness. The value of human life will diminish, and all the evils of pre-Christian influence will return.
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There is still time if we will turn to real faith in the Lord and forsake our sin. Commitment of life to the Savior of sinners will restore our Godly heritage, human value, and avert disaster. Won’t you make an honest commitment to trust in the Savior, have Him for your life Guide, and tell others about His deliverance from sin and Hell?
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These researched books further substantiate other articles showing the benefits of Jesus & the Bible.
Dr. D. James Kennedy & Jerry Newcombe. What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?
Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe. What if the Bible Had Never Been Written?
Jerry Newcombe. The Book That Made America.
Earle E. Cairns. Christianity In The United States.
John W. Whitehead. The Stealing Of America.
Erwin W. Lutzer. When A Nation Forgets God.
Newt Gingrich. Rediscovering God in America.
Mike Huckabee. Do the Right Thing.
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