Monthly Archives: March 2009

Info for those researching the movie “Expelled…”

Hat-tip to Uncommon Descent for this link.

At the time Expelled came out, there was a bunch of misinformation released about some of the people that were a part of the documentary.  This article; Expelled Exposed” Exposed: Your One-Stop Rebuttal to Attacks on the Documentary Expelled takes a look at that misinformation and the attempt to discredit some of the content of Expelled.  If you haven’t yet watched the movie, I do heartily recommend it, and yes, it’s out on DVD.

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Filed under Of Interest, Origins

Ben Burnley’s Collaboration with Red…

Since I write about Breaking Benjamin a bit on here, and am a fan of the band, I thought I’d remind everyone that Ben collaborated recently with Red on the song “Shadows” for Red’s new album Innocence & Instinct released in Feb.  For those of you who don’t know, Red is a Christian alternative rock band, and yes, I really like this song and I plan to check out the rest of the album soon.

I’ll list the lyrics, and post a YouTube vid, but as always, if you like the song, go out and buy/download it to support the band…

Shadows by Red

Sunset, I close my eyes
I pretend everything’s alright
Drowning in anger from all these lies
I can’t pretend everything’s alright
Please don’t let me fall forever
Can you tell me it’s over?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

Caught in the darkness, I go blind
But can you help me find my way out?
Nobody hears me, I suffer the silence
Can you tell me it’s over now?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

I’m holding onto you [x2]
There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

posted by Wickedsin69 over at youtube

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Filed under Of Interest, Sacred Secular

Feedback; Judgment for Believers?

This post is in reply to a feedback question I recently received from a reader.  This is a very common question, and one the is talked about a lot amongst believers; what awaits believers after death, since we know that our sins are forgiven us, is there any kind of judgment upon us, and how do “our works” play into it?

The main thing to always keep in mind, and the reader pointed this out, is that our sins, and the punishment for those sins has been, is, and will be completely covered by Christ’s sacrifice.  They are over and done with, completely washed away.  This means that the Law has no more power to condemn us and our salvation is not in question.  However, we have freedom with responsibility, we are still called to yield to righteousness.

I believe Paul talks about this idea of our works being judged here in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:

11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  15If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Notice this important point; it is our works that our judged, not us.  At this point, Paul is talking about a believer, already saved.  Look at verses 11 and 12.  The foundation is Jesus Christ, then the discussion turns to what we put or build on this foundation.  This is a time of rewarding of deeds; and I believe everything contained in this passage is a reward, even though many people see a negative here if one’s work is mainly wood, hay, stubble, etc…

Let me explain with a question; what greater reward can await we believers than to see all of our bad deeds go up in smoke?  Seriously, regardless of anything else we might receive, this is the one thing that I’m definitely looking forward to.  My sin is already covered, then, at this time that Paul is describing, all my bad works, anytime I’ve failed to respond in faith to God’s leading, or His word, will be burnt up…the works will be burnt up, NOT me.  I emphasize this lest anyone think this passage is talking about something like purgatory, which is not biblical.

As for those works that are not burnt up, I believe those consist of those times we yielded to righteousness.  Nothing truly good that we do originates with ourselves, but rather with the Holy Spirit.  There is some clue that we might take those rewards we receive for yielding and place them at Christ’s feet (look at the elders example in Rev. 4:10), which would make a lot of sense.

So, as Paul clearly teaches, there remains no condemnation for those of us in Christ; our works do follow us but NOT in regards to salvation.  There is also no room for fear at the thought of our works being tried, God loves us and has accepted us via His Son.  What we can take from this, and other teaching of Paul is that we should try to yield to God whenever we can, in whatever situation we find ourselves in.  Not all the rewards are going to go to people who lived fast-paced exciting lives, but rather they will go to anyone who yields in faith to God in big things or in small, everything else including our mistakes and our slip-ups will be burnt up and blown away, praise God for that!

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Filed under Christianity

A new favorite saying…

“Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.”

Heh.  Carry on…

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Filed under Humor, Musings

Feedback; What evidence is out there?

I had some feedback awhile ago, and the email contained a question about evidence.  What evidence is out there that someone can read or know that would support that idea that Christianity is “it?”  Meaning, evidence that supports the idea that Christianity is true.  Obviously, for this site, find the “apologetics” link off to the side, and you can review what I’ve posted so far in that section.  I always welcome questions, so if there is something you’d like me to covers, feel free to comment.

First, I have to make a couple of things clear.  Christianity’s job, as a religion, is to point to Christ.  Christianity is only true because it is based on Truth, and Christ is Truth.  Religion doesn’t save you; Jesus does.  So, anything and everything that is presented as evidence ultimately points to Christ.  Anyone who wants to understand Christians should learn of Christ, and further, He invites everyone to do just that.  The sign we are promised is the sign of Jonah, in Christian terms, it is Jesus Christ and His resurrection.

If non-believers (and even believers) would keep that fact in mind, a lot less confusion would occur in my opinion.  One of the things that can contribute keeping non-believers in a state of non-belief is their cries of “hypocrisy!” when it comes to Christians.  Well, sorry, Christians solid in their faith will admit we are nothing but a bunch of sinners who slip and stumble and fall…but we have a Shepherd that forgives us, and picks us again.  It’s the Shepherd you need to be examining, not the flock.  Look to Christ; He’d the only human who lived a perfect life, and who is not a hypocrite, including everyone reading this (that includes me in case anyone was wondering).

This same idea hold true for anyone who has either been hurt by a certain church, or another person claiming to be a believer.  Unfortunately not everyone who claims to be Christian is, and again, even those that are can and do slip and fall and sin.  Mere humans will disappoint, there is no doubt about it, but Christ never will.

So, that’s issue number one; Christ.  Who do you say that He is?  If you are one of those people who tries to convince themselves that Christ never even existed, well, you have to be honest enough to really, truly look at the evidence of His existence (just as in introduction, Tektonics has an article discussing this idea of the Christ-myth).  If you are one of those people who tries to paint Christ as a good and wise teacher, you have to be honest enough to admit that He didn’t leave that option without you also believing His other teachings; that He’s “it,” and there’s something wrong with the world and all of us that only He can fix.  One good source for this idea, including the evidence for the resurrection can be found here:  The Resurrection by Dr. Gene Scott.

Second, we have the Bible.  Before anyone jumps on me about “circular logic” and using the Bible to prove the Bible, please read my post on Biblical Reliability.  In that post you will find other links, and also different books you can research.  There are many reasons why you can trust the Bible, take some time to study them; historical reliability, archaeological reliability, prophetic reliability, its internally consistent, etc…  This is were evidence for Christ, and evidence for the Bible intersect, for example; all the Messianic prophecies that are contained within the Bible, and Jesus fulfillment of a substantial number, and His future fulfillment of the rest.  Fulfilled prophecy in other areas is also very interesting and enlightening to study.

There are also personal evidences.  I don’t go into them very much on my site, or on other forums because most non-believers want “external” evidences, or claim they do at least.  Evidence that can be researched by them that is more “objective.”  However, the transforming power of Christ, and the Holy Spirit in our lives is some of the dearest evidences we Christians have, and are usually happy to share when asked.  I know that for me, my life would look and be totally different without Christ and the Holy Spirit interceding for me, guiding me, etc…

Which brings me to my last point in this particular post; no amount of evidence in the world, from fulfilled prophecy, to archaeological and historical evidences will sway you if you are not willing to have your heart softened.  All of creation screams out that there is a Creator behind it all…and yet, some people don’t like to retain God in their knowledge.  Looking into all of this is not time to cop an attitude, this kind of thing requires great thought, and a willingness to admit when one has been wrong.  Discussions happen between people, and it’s so much easier to cling onto a set of beliefs when you are dialoguing…but this type of research into the very truth of our world is something to be done soberly, and with true searching.  You don’t constantly have to talk to another human about it, but it’d be nice if you’d talk to Him about it, and ask Him to help believe in Him if He’s really there, ask Him for His grace; don’t do it on a website, don’t do it to try to prove a point, don’t do it to mock…go somewhere by yourself, be honest, and simply ask for help to believe in Him.

Recently I had the honor to “witness” an agnostic finally connect with God.  She said it wasn’t any one thing anyone had said to her, but rather, she woke up one night, and just knew.  After that realization that there was a God, and Jesus was Who He claimed to be, everything everyone had told her all fell into place and it all made sense, it all clicked; the Gospel message, all the apologetics, etc…  Seek Him diligently and honestly, you won’t be disappointed.

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Conversion

A Common Atheist Contention…

I had to make a post about this, because it is something that amuses me, and it has come up once more in the past few days.  Just so everyone here knows, when I’m “absent” for a while from my blog, I’m usually carrying on apologetics elsewhere on the web.  This week I was dialoguing with two atheists simultaneously on another website.

When in deep discussion on topics such as Darwinian evolution, philosophy, psychology, etc… there is an assumption that many of the atheists I’ve dialogued with make.  That assumption (contention), especially when it comes to Darwinian evolution is that if you don’t buy into it, you obviously have never been exposed to any real educational or scientific material.  Translation; if you don’t swallow the Darwinist line, you are a poor ignorant wretch who doesn’t know any better.

And lest anyone think this is a personal issue; it isn’t.  I’ve seen this contention leveled against many many different individuals, not just me.  What is also amusing is that the atheists leveling this charge think they are being polite…because we all know if you don’t buy into Darwinian evolution and you actually do have a scientific education, then you have to be either a liar or suffering from delusions. Heh.

So, anyway, I politely explain that I’ve graduated high school, university, and grad school, and am now teaching at a college level, and that I assure them I’ve been exposed to Darwinist thought all through my educational career, and further, to toot my own horn since it is relevant; I’ve aced every class in which Darwinism is preached.  Can you guess the next contention?  “You had to have gone through a religious institution, and you have to be teaching at a religious institution.”  Seriously.  And, this isn’t limited to discussions of Darwinist evolution by any means; the latest instance of this was when I was discussing Pascal’s Wager.

When I point out that, in fact, I’ve never attended, nor taught at a religious institution, that I’ve had all of my education and employment at secular schools, there is a deafening silence from the other side.  It throws a kink in their thought processes, and that is sad.  Why is it sad?  Because they have this false impression given them by leading atheist proselytizers that Christians are a bunch of drooling idiots…which in turn shows the tendency of some leading atheists to resort to ad hominem attacks against believers.

So, what is the point of this post?  Don’t assume just because someone opposes things like Darwinian evolution that they lack the necessary exposure (kind of like a virus maybe?) to the Naturalists’ POV.  I shouldn’t have to assure anyone that at this point in our society, we’ve all been exposed, and it is starting now even prior to grade school in things like children’s cartoons.  If you doubt a person’s education (formal or informal), their experience with Darwinist thought or something similar, after checking your own biases, just ask if you truly want to know and aren’t being facetious or sarcastic.

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Origins

Feedback; Faith vs. Works

I recently had a reader ask about faith vs. works, and this is a very common question.  Often, the perceived conflict can come in another “vs.” form; Paul vs. James.  There is indeed a reason why many people have this question, it can indeed be confusing.

We have Paul on one hand who makes it absolutely clear that faith is a main component of salvation (Grace being the other), and works are not.  We cannot work our way to Heaven, nor can we work our way into God’s good graces.  It doesn’t function that way.  God’s grace is just that; it is unmerited favour; it is unearned favour.  Unearned is a clear word to use, as God gives His grace as a gift.  So if all of this is so clear, what’s the issue?

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

That is the verse that throws a lot of people off.  There is a short answer to this question and a long answer.  Let’s do the long answer first.  The long answer starts with a few important facts.  First, James was the head of the church in Jerusalem, and was writing to Christians who were indeed Jewish.  James also came to faith after Christ resurrected.  If you read his story in scripture, James did not believe Jesus was the Son of God whilst He lived, but only after He was resurrected.  This means James would have been learning about the new covenant probably through the other apostles.  Scripture definitely reads as though James was more “clingy” to the old covenant system.

Paul, on the other hand, was specifically designated to be the apostle to the Gentiles.  His teaching, his letters were also labeled as scripture by the other apostles; this is a great honour and shows his teachings were held to the same level as the old testament.  He was taught his message by Jesus Himself after the resurrection.  We know Paul’s position on these issues to be airtight.  What does that mean for us as we read the scriptures in James that can seem a bit contradictory.  This means we need to interpret James through Paul, and not Paul through James.  This does not mean that James is completely wrong, it just means James needs to be put into context.

Paul taught about the New Covenant, and made himself abundantly clear about the role of faith, especially in books like Galatians, and Romans.  One of the things that James was apparently trying to get at was that if you are saved, if you have the transforming power of the Holy Spirit inside you, it will come out of you in such a way that others can tell.  We have a list of the fruit of the Spirit, so it is apparent that James isn’t wrong on this idea, but we must be very very careful in how we approach the idea lest we leave any room at all for legalism.

In James’ examples he’s careful to always include faith; why?  Because he knows, even if it seems he’s hedging a bit, that faith is where right action starts, and that is if faith where the righteousness comes in.  Any work that is really good is not of us, but of God; it is the Holy Spirit inside of us that pulls us toward righteousness.  In the examples that James gives, like Abraham, and Rahab, they started with faith; and it was their faith that God responded to, and that He considered righteousness.  James’ point is that they did not stop at that faith point, but continued on in action.  That has nothing to do with salvation.  Notice that James, rightly or wrongly, is discussing how we appear before other humans.  I can have true faith all day long, and God will know it regardless of physical action; but other humans can’t see “faith,” they can only see works.

One is saved by Christ, by grace and faith.  Our proper response to God’s grace is a faith response; to come to trust Christ utterly and completely for our salvation.  That brings me to the short answer to this question of faith vs. works.  James says to look at works, ok.  So, what does Jesus Himself tell us?

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The word there for “believe” is Pisteuo in the Greek; that ye faithe on Him whom He hath sent.  Christ leaves no room for a legalistic interpretation of James; the work of God is to faithe on Christ.  Period.

Now, if one has the Holy Spirit, and lives long enough, will the Holy Spirit work on him/her?  Absolutely.  It doesn’t always happen over night, but it does happen over time…sometimes a long time.  That process of sanctification should not be confused with salvation.  Once we place our faith in Christ by God’s grace, that is what saves us.  Walking and living our lives in faith with the help of the Holy Spirit is a part of the process too, but it is a different issue than salvation.

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Filed under Christianity, Theology

Be thankful…

Time for a humor break once more…I will be posting a new blog article shortly.  I had feedback asking about faith vs. works, so will touch on that soon.

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Filed under Humor