How does science support the pro-life cause? An apologist answers

By Nicole Alcindor, CP Contributor| Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pro-Life
A pro-life campaigner holds up a model of a 12-week-old embryo during a protest outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast October 18, 2012. | Reuters/Cathal McNaughto

A pro-life Christian apologist has shot down the argument that unborn babies are nothing more than “a clump of cells” that are part of the mother’s body and argues that embryos essentially drive their own development from the earliest stages of pregnancy. 

Megan Almon, who has trained hundreds of individuals to defend the pro-life viewpoint through Life Training Institute, spoke to teens and young adults gathered for Summit Ministries’ five-day online student conference on Monday. The conference challenges people ages 16 to 25 to “think deeper about their personal faith and convictions.” 

Pro-Life Apologist Megan Almon
On July, 19, the first day of the virtual conference, Summit Ministries, “Summit Virtual Program,” guest speaker, apologist, Megan Almon, spoke about how science supports the pro-life cause. | Courtesy Prolifetraining.com

“Abortion is a travesty. … The unborn is not part of the mother’s body … not in the same way that my arm is part of my body,” Almon explained to the virtual audience of over 100 teens and young adults. “The unborn is attached to its mother, but not part of her body. … We are distinct organisms. …  [The unborn] has its own unique genetic code that differs from its mothers and its fathers.” 

To explain her stance, Almon addressed a few questions: “What is the unborn?” and “How can someone know exactly when one type of egg cell becomes another type of cell — a zygote?”  

She said two scientific things must occur to create an unborn zygote. The first, she said, is that one cell becomes another type of cell if it changes in its material composition, which would create a new cell.  The other way to know if a new cell has been created, she added, is if one cell changes how it behaves. 

If the cell changes its makeup or if it changes behavior, something brand new is created — a human being, she added.  

Almon said that it only takes about 250 milliseconds after sperm and egg meet for the plasma membranes of both cells to begin to merge to form a hybrid cell surface, and the material composition and behavior changes are also very abrupt.  

“That egg cell, faster than I can snap my fingers, changes in its material composition and goes from being an egg cell that could survive about 24 hours in its environment, to being a brand new kind of cell that can now survive 100 years given medical technology because it is a human being,” Almon said.

“Within about three to five minutes, that cell changes behavior entirely and goes from being the egg cell whose sole job was to attract sperm, to being something like the death star that now repels [sperm] because of the formation of the zona pellucida, which causes that to happen. That new human being, who is protected, begins its earliest development along the way.” 

According to Almon, who received a degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University and whose husband serves as director of programs and semester with Summit Ministries, humans are constantly developing. 

Not only are humans distinct, but she said they are whole human beings at the zygote stage. 

The speaker contends that both alive and dead cells come off the epidermis when humans scratch their skin cells. 

However, after someone scratches off those cells, the ones that fall off, that are alive, will not live for much longer than a few minutes on whatever surface they land. She said that when humans scratch their skin, they are not mass murderers because the bodily cells that fall off the skin are part of them and contribute to their overall function.

However, she said an embryo — a zygote at the single-cell stage — is different from any other type of cell in the body. Sperm cells and egg cells are indeed alive, but those are also part of a larger organism and carry specific roles for that organism, she added. 

“The embryo, even at the single-celled stage, its parts contribute to its overall function, and it goes on to do something that is absolutely remarkable,” she told attendees. “We hear language oftentimes in these conversations that debate the science saying, ‘Oh, it’s just a clump of cells, it’s just a mass of tissue,’ as if the unborn is some kind of constructive thing.”

“From the time you were an embryo, you were not constructed at all. You drove your own development from within, and you’re still doing that,” she continued. “Science tells us we are living distinct and whole human beings from the moment that we came into existence. That’s remarkable.”

One of the biggest hurdles humans have to overcome when talking about the pro-life view, Almon said, is the nature of moral truth and the idea of moral relativism. Moral relativism is a term used to describe philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different individuals and cultures. 

“… Abortion most often is framed as something that is a matter of personal preference. … In other words, we hear things like, ‘I would never have an abortion, but I can’t tell people what’s right and wrong for them.’ That is moral relativism,” she explained.  

“Men and women … we need your help when it comes to issues like this one. … If I’m right about the issue of abortion, this idea that some human beings don’t matter as much as others is playing itself out to the tune of around 2,000 to 2,500 human lives every single business day [in our nation alone],” she added. “It’s overwhelming to even think about. We have to talk about this because there is too much at stake not to talk about it. … Remember that ideas have consequences. … Dangerous ideas have victims.”

As Almon concluded her lecture, some of the young adults and teens watching asked questions in the chatbox on the virtual platform. Some wondered about different opposing views used to rationalize the pro-life stance. 

“What is your opinion on the argument regarding topics such as incest, rape ending in pregnancy?” asked one viewer named Kathleen Rutler. 

Almon responded that humans should start by emotionally acknowledging there is nothing easy about the topic of rape. She said humans should not simply dismiss the question with an intellectual answer but should “meet hurting people where they are and carry their burdens with them.” 

Almon said the answer to the question points to another question: “If a baby is a product of rape, and the baby reminds the mother of how horrible that was, can she kill the baby?” 

“I think the answer is no because even though rape is psychologically different, it still begs that question, ‘What is the unborn?’ If the unborn is human, which the science and philosophy clearly demonstrate, then we cannot kill the unborn for that reason,” Almon said.

Another viewer named Tessa Doerr said she is pro-life. However, she said a question she often ponders about is: “If the baby seriously endangers the mother’s life and there is no other help for the mother,” can abortion be deemed appropriate? 

“We live in a broken world, where this sometimes happens, and this is rare when this is the case,” Almon replied, not giving a clear answer about if the mother or the baby should live in those cases. “… Abortion is the intentional killing of the human embryo or fetus. … The pro-life stance still stands [in occasions when doctors typically choose mother over baby in those cases]. …”

https://www.christianpost.com/politics/how-does-science-support-the-pro-life-cause-an-apologist-answers.html



Related

12 Things A Church Pastor Cannot Do

By Chuck Lawless -February 6, 2020

12 things pastors cannot do

There are 12 things a church pastor cannot do—even though pastors are, in my judgment, amazing people. They faithfully serve Sunday after Sunday, often with no desire for recognition or fame. In faith, they can do a lot—but here are several things they can’t do.

12 Things Pastors Cannot Do:

  1. Read minds. Everybody knows that, but many church members hold pastors accountable for unstated expectations.
  2. Be everywhere. No human being can be every place at once, yet some members still get angry when pastors have to say “No.”
  3. Change hearts. Only God can do that.
  4. Know everything. Most pastors study hard, but nobody can answer every question somebody asks.
  5. Please everybody. Even Jesus couldn’t do that.
  6. Live sinlessly. Nobody can. Including you. And me. We’re all sinners.
  7. Grow churches. If the church does grow, it’s because God does it.
  8. Multiply dollars. That’s too bad, too, since some churches don’t pay their pastors well.
  9. Escape mistakes. All of us will mess up sometimes, often unintentionally and even unknowingly.
  10. Avoid favoritism. Pastors minister to everybody, but having better (and best) friends is natural.
  11. Reveal everything. No matter how much you may want to know the details, pastors may not be in a position to tell you.
  12. Ignore sin. Pastors must address this issue, even when it’s not popular.

Say a prayer for your pastors today. They have a tough job. And, come back tomorrow, when I’ll address things that laypersons can’t do.

This article originally appeared here.

VIDEO The Reality Of Heaven

By Jack Hibbs

Heaven – you’ve heard about it. You might have even read about it. But do you believe that it’s real? Join Pastor Jack as he looks at what the Bible says about the Christian’s eternal home, the proof for its existence, and how to live, in light of Heaven.

Muslim Brother of Christian Attacks Him with Machete

Recent convert refuses to renounce Christ.

July 14, 2021 By Our East Africa Correspondent 

Abudlawali Kijwalo receives medical treatment after machete attack in Kibuku District, Uganda on June 27, 2021. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBIKenya (Morning Star News) – A 39-year-old man in eastern Uganda who recently put his faith in Christ is still recovering from a machete blow to his head by a Muslim relative in late June, sources said.

Abudlawali Kijwalo, who comes from family of devoted sheikhs and hajjis (pilgrims to Mecca), was grazing his cattle on June 27 in Nankodo, Kibuku District when his brother, Musoga Murishid, confronted him, Kijwalo said.

Family members had warned Kijwalo against listening to gospel music or claiming that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Kijwalo told Morning Star News he had been listening to a Christian radio station earlier that day.

“Are you still a Muslim, or you are now a Christian?” Murishid asked him, according to Kijwalo.

“I am for Christ,” Kijwalo told him.

His brother revealed a machete that had been strapped beneath his long robe and struck him on the head, sending Kijwalo sprawling and screaming, the Christian said. As he bled heavily, Murishid walked away, likely thinking he had killed him, Kijwalo said.

A village elder who witnessed the attack got some health workers and rushed to attend to him, Kijwalo said. They transported him by motorcycle to medical facility in nearby Kasasira town where a highly respected doctor treated him.

The doctor said that Kijwalo will survive but needs rest and more treatment. Kijwalo, who lacks money for medical bills and food, has taken refuge at an undisclosed site.

The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit https://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at https://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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© 2021 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. https://morningstarnews.org

Missouri AG Asks Supreme Court To Hear Abortion Restrictions, Crucial Abortion Case: Overturn Roe and Casey

Mississippi Brief in Crucial Supreme Court Abortion Case: Overturn Roe and Casey 

By JOHN MCCORMACK July 22, 2021

(kieferpix/Getty Images)

On Thursday afternoon, Mississippi attorney general Lynn Fitch filed a brief in the most important Supreme Court abortion case in three decades. 

In the brief defending the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of gestation (with exceptions for when the life or physical health of the mother is endangered and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities that would prove fatal to the child), Attorney General Fitch argues that the Supreme Court’s Roe and Casey decisions should be overturned and state legislatures should be allowed to pass laws protecting the lives of human beings in the womb. 

If the Court isn’t willing to allow legislatures to pass any rational law protecting the lives of unborn children, the attorney general argues, the Supreme Court should at the very least reject the “unworkable” and “arbitrary” line banning any prohibition on abortion before viability.  

“Overruling Roe and Casey makes resolution of this case straightforward,” the brief states. “The Mississippi law here prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, with exceptions for medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. That law rationally furthers valid interests in protecting unborn life, women’s health, and the medical profession’s integrity. It is therefore constitutional. If this Court does not overrule Roe and Casey’s heightened-scrutiny regime outright, it should at minimum hold that there is no pre-viability barrier to state prohibitions on abortion and uphold Mississippi’s law.”

(Update: You can read National Review‘s editorial on the brief here.)

The brief submitted by Fitch, the first woman ever elected as attorney general in Mississippi, deconstructs the Roe and Casey decisions that declared almost all state laws prohibiting abortion unconstitutional. And then the brief makes the case that the doctrine of stare decisis cannot save the Supreme Court’s erroneous abortion precedents. 

Here are some key excerpts (most citations have been omitted). 

1. Why a “right to privacy” does not protect a constitutional right to abortion:  

Roe based a right to abortion on decisions protecting aspects of privacy under the Due Process Clause. […] But Roe broke from prior cases by invoking a general “right of privacy” unmoored from the Constitution. Notably, Casey did not embrace Roe’s reasoning. […] 

Nowhere else in the law does a right of privacy or right to make personal decisions provide a right to destroy a human life. Cf. Obergefell, 576 U.S. at 679 (“[T]hese cases involve only the rights of two consenting adults whose marriages would pose no risk of harm to themselves or third parties.”)   

2. Why Roe and Casey “do not provide persuasive support for a viability rule.” 

Roe concluded that the State’s interest in unborn life becomes “compelling” at viability “because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the womb.” […] Casey added: viability “is the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman.” […] Each explanation boils down to a circular assertion: when an unborn child can live outside the womb then the State’s interest is compelling because the unborn child can live outside the womb. That explanation “mistake[s] a definition for a syllogism” and is linked to nothing in the Constitution. […] All Casey adds to Roe is to emphasize “the independent existence of the second life.” But that adds no content and fails to explain why (limited) independence matters or should serve as the centerpiece of a constitutional framework. Independence is a particularly flawed justification. Even after viability, an unborn life will remain dependent: viability contemplates the ability to live with “artificial aid.” […] Indeed, well after birth any child will be highly dependent on others for survival. It makes no sense to say that a State has a compelling interest in an unborn girl’s life when she can survive somewhat independently but not when she needs a little more help. 

In explaining why viability has “an element of fairness,” Casey said: “In some broad sense it might be said that a woman who fails to act before viability has consented to the State’s intervention on behalf of the developing child.” […]  But this provides no basis for a viability line. Innumerable other points before viability could be deemed to promote fairness just as well. Respondents do not provide abortions after 16 weeks’ gestation—weeks before viability. That undercuts any suggestion that viability is central to fairness. Given the difficult line-drawing that the competing interests call for—and on which the Constitution gives no guidance—only legislatures can properly decide what is fair in this context. […] 

No matter what a State learns—about fetal pain, about when unborn life takes on the human form, about women’s health, about what effect performing abortions has on doctors—the State cannot fully act on that knowledge before viability.  

3. On the scientific advancements that have occurred since Roe and Casey were handed down:  

[A]dvances in medicine and science have eroded the assumptions of 30—and 50—years ago. Casey recognized that “time has overtaken some of Roe’s factual assumptions,” including about abortion risks and the timing of viability. […] Casey thought that those changes “have no bearing on the validity of Roe’s central holding, that viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions.” […] Whatever the truth of that statement in 1992, events have left it behind. Advances in “neonatal and medical science” […], now show that an unborn child has “taken on ‘the human form’ in all relevant respects” by 12 weeks’ gestation […]. Knowledge of when the unborn are sensitive “to pain” has progressed considerably[…] And while the Roe Court thought there was no “consensus” among those “trained in … medicine” as to whether “life … is present throughout pregnancy,” […], the Court has since acknowledged that “by common understanding and scientific terminology, a fetus is a living organism while within the womb,” before and after viability […]. Yet Casey and Roe still impede a State from acting on this information by prohibiting pre-viability abortions. The United States finds itself in the company of China and North Korea as some of the only countries that permit elective abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. 

4. Why the doctrine of stare decisis shouldn’t save Roe and Casey  

This Court should overrule Roe and CaseyStare decisis is ‘at its weakest’ with constitutional rulings,” the brief states, “and the case for overruling here is overwhelming. Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. They have proven hopelessly unworkable. They have inflicted profound damage. Decades of progress have overtaken them. Reliance interests do not support retaining them. And nothing but a full break from those cases can stem the harms they have caused.” […] 

Roe and Casey do not raise reliance interests in the traditional sense at all. This Court has invoked reliance interests most strongly where upending a precedent could broadly undercut reasonable expectations that have formed the basis for long-term plans and commitments that cannot readily be unwound, as “in cases involving property and contract rights.” […] Casey itself appeared to acknowledge that a judicially announced right to abortion does not call up any traditional form of reliance. […] Abortion, it said, is “customarily … an unplanned response to … unplanned activity,” and arguably “reproductive planning could take virtually immediate account of” a change in the law.  […] 

Casey maintained that reliance interests favored retaining Roe because, “for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” But given the many flaws in Roe and Casey, the possibility that contraception might fail is a weak ground for retaining them—particularly given contraceptive advances since Casey. […] Further, this Court is not in a position to gauge such societal reliance. That reality may help explain why some of this Court’s most important—and societally impactful—decisions overruling precedent do not even mention reliance. E.g., Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).   

“Far from bringing peace to the controversy over abortion, Roe and Casey have made matters worse,” the brief states. The brief then quotes the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Heavy-handed judicial intervention [in Roe] was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” 

The solution, the brief contends, is to let legislators, not judges, craft abortion laws: “The national fever on abortion can break only when this Court returns abortion policy to the States—where agreement is more common, compromise is often possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.” 

5. What the Court could do if it wants to uphold the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week limit on abortions but is not yet ready to apply a rational-basis standard for reviewing all abortion laws:  

First, if this Court does not adopt rational-basis review, it should hold that the Act satisfies any standard of constitutional scrutiny including strict scrutiny, reverse the judgment below, and leave for another day the question of what standard applies in the absence of a viability rule. The Court could hold that the State’s interests in protecting unborn life, women’s health, and the medical profession’s integrity are, at a minimum, compelling at 15 weeks’ gestation—when risks to women have increased considerably […]; when the child’s basic physiological functions are all present, his or her vital organs are functioning, and he or she can open and close fingers, make sucking motions, and sense stimuli from outside the womb […]; and thus when a doctor would be extinguishing a life that has clearly taken on the human form. The Court could hold that the Act serves those “compelling interest[s]” in a “narrowly tailored” way. […] It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation except when a woman’s health is at risk (the medical-emergency exception) or when the unborn life is likely not to survive outside the womb […]. 

Second, and alternatively, this Court could reject a viability rule, clarify the undue-burden standard, and reverse on the ground that the Act does not impose an undue burden. On this approach, the Court could hold that the undue-burden standard is “a standard of general application” […] that does not categorically bar prohibitions of pre-viability abortions. That holding would draw some support from the fact that Casey upheld restrictions on abortion that would prohibit some pre-viability abortions. […] (upholding 24-hour waiting period, which would prohibit pre-viability abortions sought the day before viability); […] (upholding parental-consent provision, which would prohibit abortions for minors who could not secure consent or a judicial bypass). Casey upheld those provisions on the ground that they did not “constitute an undue burden.” […] 

Applying that approach here, this Court could hold that a State may prohibit elective abortions before viability if it does not impose a substantial obstacle to “a significant number of women” seeking abortions. Casey…. (assessing facial challenge by looking to whether abortion restriction “will operate as a substantial obstacle” “in a large fraction of the cases in which” it “is relevant”). Respondents allege that they do not perform abortions after 16 weeks’ gestation, so the Act reduces by only one week the time in which abortions are available in Mississippi. Under no sound measure of the Act’s facial validity does it impose an unconstitutional burden  […] (providing data indicating that in 2017 at most 4.5% of the women who obtained abortions from respondents did so after 15 weeks’ gestation). Indeed, given that the vast majority of abortions take place in the first trimester, a 15-week law like the Act does not pose an undue burden because it does not “prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy.” […] It just prevents a woman from doing so when the health risks are magnified, when the unborn child has fully taken on “the human form,” […] and when the typical method of accomplishing it is (a State could conclude) as “brutal” and “gruesome” as what the Court permitted Congress to ban in Gonzales […]. The Act also provides medical-emergency and severe-fetal-abnormality exceptions, which confirm that there is no undue burden. And if this Court believes that its existing approach to assessing facial challenges to abortion restrictions does not allow this result, that is another reason to reject Casey outright.  

The brief concludes: “At least it should reject a viability rule and uphold the Act. But the best resolution is overruling Roe and Casey and upholding the Act under rational-basis review. Only that approach will eliminate the grave errors of Roe and Casey, restore workability, pare back decades of negative consequences, and allow the people to address this hard issue.” 


Missouri Attorney General Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari Asking U.S. Supreme Court to Review Missouri’s Law Prohibiting Abortions of Unborn Children with Down Syndrome

Jul 1, 2021, 09:45 AM by AG SchmittMissouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Schmitt v. Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review Missouri’s law prohibiting abortions of unborn children with Down syndrome.

“My son Stephen has shown me the inherent beauty in life, and he brings immense joy and love to his loved ones and those around him. Since taking office, I’ve fought to protect all life, including the unborn. A pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome should not be a death sentence,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “It’s my hope that the Supreme Court will grant our petition for writ of certiorari and hear this critically important case.”
 
The petition, which was filed earlier today, presents three questions for the Supreme Court’s review:
 

  • Whether Missouri’s restriction on abortions performed solely because the unborn child may have Down syndrome is categorically invalid under Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), or whether it is a valid, reasonable regulation of abortion that seeks to prevent the elimination of children with Down syndrome through eugenic abortion?
  • Whether Missouri’s restrictions on abortions performed after eight, fourteen, eighteen, and twenty weeks’ gestational age are categorically invalid, or whether they are valid, reasonable regulations of abortion that advance important state interests?
  • Whether the “penumbral” right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and partially reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), should be overruled?

 
The petition argues several reasons for granting the petition, including asking the Court to resolve a circuit split on laws outlawing abortions based solely on a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome, and asking the Court to reverse decisions of the lower courts holding that such provisions are “categorically unconstitutional.” .
 
The petition begins by addressing abortions based solely on pre-natal Down syndrome diagnoses, stating, “Our society has come a long way in 39 years, since doctors viewed people like Chris Nikic as ‘mere blobs’ who ‘are quite incapable of telling us what they feel, and what they sense.’ But despite these advances, deeply entrenched forces within our medical establishment continue to treat unborn children with Down syndrome as ‘mere blobs.’ Unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted at epidemic rates.  Medicalized discrimination and directive counseling contribute heavily to their elimination.”
 
The petition continues, “In the face of this genocidal crisis, Missouri and at least 11 other States have enacted laws restricting the eugenic abortion of the disabled, especially those with Down syndrome.  In 2019, this Court declined to review the Seventh Circuit’s decision invalidating one of these laws—Indiana’s—because no Circuit split yet existed. Since then, a clear and well-developed split of authority has emerged.”
 
In the lower court, a federal judge initially allowed the state to enforce the provision banning abortions based on a pre-natal Down Syndrome diagnosis, but later reversed his ruling and enjoined the state from enforcing that provision. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office then appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed that ruling. Today, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case.
 
Previously, Attorney General Schmitt led a 22-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in support of a similar law banning abortions based solely on a pre-natal Down syndrome diagnosis in Arkansas.

[NOTE

We intend to file an amicus brief in support of Attorney General Schmitt’s Petition, others may join us on the brief]

https://ago.mo.gov/home/news/2021/07/01/missouri-attorney-general-files-petition-for-writ-of-certiorari-asking-u.s.-supreme-court-to-review-missouri-s-law-prohibiting-abortions-of-unborn-children-with-down-syndrome


AUDIO Look and Live!

By Rev Bill Woods

Last week I announced that I’d preach about Romans 7 and 8 this week.

We will eventually get there but first I want to look at some preliminary information to help us understand the truth presented by the Apostle Paul.

Romans 5:1-2  
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

What does it mean to be justified?

  • Theology definition:  “declared or made righteous in the sight of God.”

How can we claim to be justified or righteous in light of Romans 3:10-12?


“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

We’re also told: Romans 3:23:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

If this is the case then how can we read in Romans 5 that we are justified by faith?

IT’S A GOD THING!

  • It’s impossible for us to ever do enough to merit righteousness, but it isn’t you or me that brings it about!  It was earned for us when Jesus, God’s Perfect and Sinless Son, shed His Blood on the Cross in our behalf.

Imagine I get a traffic ticket on I-40 for driving 110 miles per hour when the speed limit is 75 mph. 

  • There is no doubt that I’m guilty and in big trouble!

    –   I’m told by the arresting officer to appear in court in 30 days.

    –   I spend those days worrying about that court date.  Will I go to jail, pay a   huge fine, lose my driving privileges and my car insurance, or what?

Finally the dreaded day arrives.  I reluctantly go to court to meet my future!

  • I sit there in court waiting for my turn before the judge!
  • One after another people are called to face the judge and learn the consequences of their actions.

I sit there for hours (most of the afternoon) and never hear my name called.

  • Finally, after what seems like an agonizing eternity I approach the bailiff and ask when I will be called to face the judge.
  • He looks at his docket and says, you don’t have to appear before the judge, your fine has already been paid by another and you’re justified before the law.  The law is satisfied and you’re free to go!

This is rough picture of what happens when we put our faith in Jesus Christ!  He’s paid our fine and we are JUSTIFIED!  JUST AS IF I HADN’T SINNED!

Now I have a choice to make. 

  • I’m a “Free-moral Agent” meaning I have the power to choose if I want to accept what Jesus has done for me by dying in my place or if I want to pay my own penalty!
  • After all, accepting what Jesus has done for me can be restrictive!  I’ll have to change and give up the sinful living that I think I enjoy!
  • I’ll have to start living a life that will please God!

In Numbers 21 there’s a story of the Israelites getting discouraged in the wilderness and complaining to God and to Moses about the lack of water and the lack of food, and how tired they were of manna.  They accuse God and Moses of bringing them out of Egypt just to let them die in the wilderness!

This angered God and He sent poisonous serpents into the camp.

  • People were being bitten by these vipers and dying!
  • They cried to Moses how sorry they were for their sinful attitude.
  • They asked Moses to ask God for relief.

God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole in the middle of the camp.

  • When someone was bitten if they looked at that bronze snake they’d be healed.
  • They had the choice: Look at the snake and be healed or don’t look and die.

That whole passage represented what Jesus was going to do for us!

  • John 12:32 — “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”  
  • He was lifted on the Cross to die for our sin. 
  • Just like the people in Moses’ time we can accept His sacrifice or pay our own debt for sin which will be an Eternity in Hell!

How do I receive the remedy Jesus provides for my pardon through His Atoning death on the Cross?

First, I must recognize I’m a sinner and an enemy in rebellion against God.

  • The Holy Spirit is working on me revealing my sinful condition.

It’s because of God’s Love that I’m invited to be cured of the penalty of sin.   

Romans 5:5-11 — Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Now that I’ve recognized I’m a sinner I must REPENT OF MY SINS!

  • Repentance is being sorry for my sins and confessing them to Jesus.
  • This is a sincere and thorough change of my mind in regard to sin.
  • Because I feel a personal guilt I voluntarily turn away from sin changing my life style and personal interests and begin living to please God.

When I do three things happen:  I’ve been JUSTIFIED.

  • I am REGENERATED:  I become a new Creation.
  •   – It’s like taking an old car and rebuilding the motor and adding new     
  •     upholstery, new paint and making it like new again. 
  •     That old wreck of a car is regenerated.  The car has new life!
  • Then, I am ADOPTED into the Family of God!  I’m no longer on the outside at odds with God, now I’m part of the Family — Joint Heir with Jesus Christ! 
  • I have a place in My Father’s House that Jesus has prepared for those who Love Him!  YOU WOULD BE A FOOL TO TURN DOWN THAT DEAL!

Paul sums it up for us:

Romans 5:12-21 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
13  (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15  But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
16  And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18  Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
19  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20  Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
21  so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I found an article by CBMC INTERNATIONAL that I feel sums up what I want to express today:

Imagine being convicted of a crime you deeply regretted – intentional or unintentional – and being offered a pardon to absolve you of any penalty. Would you accept it? Let me tell you about a man who did not.

In 1829 two men, George Wilson and James Porter, robbed a United States mail carrier. Both were subsequently captured and tried in a court of law. In May 1830 both men were found guilty of six charges, including robbery of the mail “and putting the life of the driver in jeopardy.” Both Wilson and Porter received their sentences: Execution by hanging, to be carried out on July 2.

Porter was executed on schedule, but Wilson was not. Influential friends pleaded for mercy to the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, on his behalf. President Jackson issued a formal pardon, dropping all charges. Wilson would have to serve only a prison term of 20 years for his other crimes. Incredibly, George Wilson refused the pardon!

An official report stated Wilson chose to “waive and decline any advantage or protection which might be supposed to arise from the pardon….” Wilson also stated he “…had nothing to say, and did not wish in any manner to avail himself in order to avoid sentence….” The U.S. Supreme Court determined, “The court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it…. It is a grant to him: it is his property; and he may accept it or not as he pleases.” Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws…. (But) delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and…we have no power in a court to force it on him.”

George Wilson committed a crime, was tried and found guilty. He was sentenced for execution, but a presidential decree granted him a full pardon. When he chose to refuse that pardon, he chose to die. Reading this amazing story, we might wonder, “How could anyone refuse a pardon for the death sentence? The man was a fool!” But what if you also are refusing a pardon, one enabling you to spend eternity in the presence of God rather than eternal separation from Him in a place the Bible calls Hell?

GOD IS OFFERING YOU A PARDON TODAY THAT WILL ABSOLVE YOU FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN WHICH IS ETERNAL DEATH.  HE IS OFFERING YOU FORGIVENESS AND ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN AS PART OF HIS FAMIY!  DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO REFUSE HIS PARDON?

JESUS WAS LIFTED UP ON A CROSS FOR YOU!

LOOK AND LIVE!


PODCAST LOOK AND LIVE

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/8916387


The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.

Still We Rise in Hope of God

Hot air balloon

Still We Rise (Isaiah 40:21-31)

“The old ones remind us that slavery’s chains Have paid for our freedom again and again.” These are the words of the African American poet Maya Angelou, offered at the Million Man March in 1995. Speaking to a huge crowd of black men on the Mall in Washington, DC, she reminded them of their difficult and painful history, and then invited them to focus their lives on joy, courtesy, gentleness and care. She said, “The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain, We are a going-on people who will rise again.” Powerful words. Hopeful words. Inspiring words. Words which culminate in Angelou’s closing line, “And still we rise.”

This soaring sentiment could be a summary of the struggle for racial justice and civil rights over the past hundred years. The NAACP—the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People—was born in a time of segregated hotels and widespread discrimination in voting booths The NAACP was designed to “promote equality of rights” and to eradicate “race prejudice among the citizens of the United States.”

February 12, 1909 was not an accidental birthday for this organization. The date was picked because it was the centennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, who emancipated the slaves during the Civil War. Just think about the progress made from 1809, when slavery was legal . . . to 1909, when the NAACP was founded . . . to 2009, when we have inaugurated the first black President of the United States. And still we rise.

There isn’t a one of us here tonight who can fathom the problems experienced by African Americans just a few years ago. Having been reared after the Civil Rights Movement, it’s hard for me to fathom that some people couldn’t use a restroom or drink from a water fountain or sit in the front of a bus or go to school simply because their skin is darker than mine.

Yet, the Israelites for whom Isaiah writes tonight’s text knew full-well such difficulties. Isaiah’s prophecy is easily divided into two parts—chapters 1 to 39 contain prophecies for Isaiah’s contemporaries and chapters 40 to 66 are written for the Jews who would be in Babylonian Captivity 200 years or so after Isaiah’s day.

Those exiles had a difficult existence in Babylon. The Babylonians wanted to keep the captives under their thumb, so they placed them as close to the city of Babylon as possible. The exiles served as household servants and slaves to the Babylonians. These were the Judean princes—the leaders, the rulers, the professionals—now doing manual labor and menial tasks as servants under the Babylonians. Everywhere the Jews looked, they would have seen temples to pagan gods—there were 53 pagan temples in Babylon.

Can you even fathom what the Jews must have been thinking as they were in Babylon? Where are all the great promises of God? Aren’t we to be the light of God to the nations? Isn’t the Messiah to come through our father Abraham? It is against this background that Isaiah writes tonight’s text to comfort the people in exile.

The message God gives the Babylonian captives is the same message Maya Angelou gave to the men on the Mall in Washington: “Still We Rise.” As we look around this world and see the immorality, greed, and oppression of fallen man, we, too, may wonder where God is in the midst of all this. This message God gives us through Isaiah is: “Still We Rise.”

But how shall we rise?

The Picture of God, v 21

“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?”

God here tells his people to check their picture of him—to know who he really and truly is.

Surely, the Israelites had heard from the beginning who God is. It was the responsibility of their parents to teach them about God. Deuteronomy 6:6-7. Notice that God asks, “Has it not been told you from the beginning?”

God had done so much for the Israelites. He had sent plagues upon the Egyptians, allowed the Israelites to cross the Red Sea on dry ground, provided them manna, quail, and water in the wilderness, raised up judges when enemies came against Israel. Was it too much to expect that the God who had done all these mighty acts for his people still had their best interests at heart?

God also says, “Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?” It was God who had created the foundations of the earth: Job 38:4-6. The Israelites—even in Babylonian Captivity—should have known that the God who had created this world out of nothing could create them into a new people.

The Israelites in captivity had no reason to despair—they simply needed to check their PICTURE OF GOD.

How many times do we despair because we forget to check our PICTURE OF GOD? Do we ever feel as though troubles are crashing in around us and forget the God to whom we pray has all power? Do we worry about our current economic situation and forget the God who has promised to supply all his people’s needs? Do we worry about some sin we’ve committed in the past and forget the God who sent his Son to redeem us from all sin?

Tonight, do we need to check our PICTURE OF GOD?

The Providence of God, vv 22-24

“It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.”

The idea of God’s sitting above the circle of the earth is that he sits upon a high point from which he can watch man. The image is almost like our going to the top of the Empire State Building from whence we could see for miles and miles and miles. From there God is able to watch over man.

In his watching over man, God effortlessly rules over the leaders of the world. God effortlessly rules over world leaders by bringing them to nothing, withering them, and allowing the tempest to carry them off like stubble. The point is that the Israelites in Babylon did not need to worry themselves with the oppression of their captors, for God was ultimately in control of the rules who were there. God, in his providence, allowed just the right rulers to govern Babylon during this period and when they no longer served his purpose, he would pluck them up.

God has always been in control of the leaders of the earth. Exodus 9:16. Pharaoh did not reign over Egypt at the time of the Exodus by birth, but by the will of God. When Mordecai encouraged Esther to go to the king to stop Haman’s plot against the Jews, he says, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). The Book of Esther demonstrates how God works behind the scenes in his providence. The word “God” does not even occur in the book, but God is there as an “invisible Worker” to bring about his purpose.

God controlled the leaders of Babylon during the Captivity. The Lord sent Nebuchadnezzar into the fields to live as a wild animal when he was carried away by his pride (Dan 4:28-33). Daniel interpreted handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar: Daniel 5:24-28. That very night Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede took possession of the kingdom (Dan 5:30). It’s not clear who Darius the Mede was, for Cyrus, the king who allowed the Israelites to return to Jerusalem, was King of Persia when Babylon fell. There is no reference in the history of Daniel’s time to a Darius the Mede—he may have been either a general of Cyrus or Darius may have been another name of Cyrus. Thus, depending upon whether Darius and Cyrus are the same person, three or four kings reigned over the Israelites during their 70 years of captivity. God raised them up and when they no longer served his purpose, he brought them low.

Therefore, God is the one ultimately in control.

The Power of God, vv 25-28

“To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”

In the Babylonian Captivity, it would have been quite tempting for the Israelites to compare God to the other gods who surrounded them. Those other gods hadn’t led their people into captivity; those other gods weren’t impotent to protect their people from attack of other nations. Surely, as the Israelites looked upon all the Babylonian temples day by day, they believed their God wasn’t all that powerful.

God says, “Wait just a minute! You want to compare me to these lifeless idols?! Look at the greatness of the creation.”

God brings out the host of heaven by number, calls them by name, and through his strength, not one of them is missing. God declares that he has named all the stars. That feat alone demonstrates the great power of God. Scientists estimate that in the entire universe there are over 10 billion trillion stars. That number itself boggles our mind. Who among us could easily recall the names of 1,000 people? Yet, God has named over 10 billion trillion stars. Not a single star is out of place—there isn’t a single star missing from where it’s supposed to be.

The everlasting God is the Creator of the ends of the earth. The “everlasting God” juxtaposes God to the host of idols the captives saw in Babylon. Every one of those idols had a beginning—someone fashioned it—not so God; he is everlasting. Those idols would come to an end—not so God; he is everlasting. The God of Israel created the earth, but the idols the Israelites saw daily were made out of the earth.

God does not faint or grow weary.

  • On one hand, these likely references those who make idols. Isaiah 44:9-12. If those who make the idols become weary, how much can be expected from the idol itself?
  • On the other hand, this undoubtedly references God’s people. A theme in this chapter is how easily humans become faint: verse 30. Yet, their God never becomes weary.

Because God is so powerful, the children of Israel had no reason to worry about their plight in Babylon. God says to them, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?” Because of God’s great power, he knew the plight of Israel and it was all part of his plan. Before the Babylonian Captivity, the Israelites struggled greatly with idolatry—over and over they were carried away by it. Yet, after that captivity, idolatry was no longer a problem—this affliction cleansed them of that sin.

People often discuss the meaning of Romans 8:28: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” As I’ve said before, verse 29 tells us what the good is that all things work toward: being transformed into the image of God’s Son.

I believe this text serves as an example of that. The captivity wasn’t a pleasant experience for the Israelites, yet it served the purpose of moving them closer to what God wanted them to be. God did so through his great power. Shall we rise through the POWER OF GOD—through trusting God’s power to providentially transform us into Jesus’ image?

The Patience of God, vv 30-31

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

The Israelites needed to wait for the Lord. Waiting on the Lord refers to a patient expectation that God will act in his time for our benefit. In the midst of the Assyrian threat upon Judah, Isaiah says (Is 8:17). Isaiah 40:1-2.

The point is that God doesn’t always use our timeline to do what we want him to do. God, in his power and sovereignty, knows the best time to act for both our discipline and our defense. God acts according to what is best.

Shall we rise in THE PATIENCE OF GOD? Shall we know that God does all things well and that he acts how and when it is best? Shall we patiently wait for him?

VIDEO Walton’s Lost World Obscures Biblical Clarity

BY RANDY J. GULIUZZA, P.E., M.D. *  | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021

“Now, that was as clear as mud!” is an exclamation we’ve heard before. We picture a frustrated person having just heard a convoluted account where, despite their best efforts, they can’t figure out what a speaker is trying to say. We chalk such episodes up as the unintentional consequence of the speaker’s hasty thinking or a lack of experience in communicating.

But how do we explain the experience where our clear understanding of a topic has been thoroughly muddied by the end of a talk or a book? Christians who have read some of The Lost World series of books by Dr. John Walton of Wheaton College have complained to me that, in effect, their formerly clear understanding of Genesis has now been turned to mud.1 These are only anecdotal accounts. I would never imply they can be extrapolated to a generalization of everyone’s experience with Walton’s materials. But I’ve heard enough from some very thoughtful people that I needed to read Walton’s material to see why it’s having this effect on some people.

The explanations of Genesis contained in Walton’s writings, in my view, constitute a classic illustration of the practice of obfuscation. Pronouncing that word leaves someone a bit tongue-tied. That’s altogether fitting. The result of a concept being obfuscated for someone is that their understanding of it has also been tied up in knots. Merriam-Webster says the verb obfuscate means “to throw into shadow: darken.” It adds that the word is related to “obscure” and that obfuscation is a practice of being “evasive, unclear, or confusing.”2 In Walton’s case, his accounts obscure or distort the meaning of the words in Genesis away from how they would normally be understood in common usage. He does this first by his claims that the intended meaning of Genesis cannot ever truly be known by anyone except the original author, and second through his habitual use of ambiguous language.

In addition, Walton does not teach that Christians can reliably arrive at a correct biblical interpretation by giving the words their normal meaning in their normal context. He insists that outside information supplied by historians or scientists is essential. Thus, his teaching is contrary to the doctrine of biblical clarity.

Obfuscation can be unintentional such as coming from a confused child or intentional such as with a criminal trying to thwart the police with a bewildering alibi. Does Dr. Walton intend to obscure the normal understanding of the historical accounts in Genesis to make them compatible with today’s consensus of evolutionary thought? Only the Lord Jesus knows his intentions.

However, looking strictly at outcomes, we ask: Is the intended meaning of Genesis obscured by Walton’s writings? Yes, it is. Using Walton’s approach, Genesis is now compatible with his belief in theistic evolution. We’ll review a few examples of how that happens and why Walton’s conclusions are incompatible with biblical Christian faith.

Walton Obscures Genesis with Professional Jargon

Explanations that are chock-full of professional jargon—uncommon words that most people don’t know—are a powerful means of obfuscation. Even though laypeople may not fully understand what a professional person says, for many of them jargon sounds both impressive and intimidating. So, they tend not to question what a professional says and, by faith, defer to their expertise.

In Walton’s case, his professional jargon consists of his appeal to the ancient writings of Near Eastern people groups that supposedly lived contemporaneously with biblical writers. For Walton these writings (and his interpretations) are extremely important. When introducing The Lost World of Adam and Eve, he explains, “In recent decades, the availability of documents from the ancient world has provided a remarkable resource for our reading of the biblical text. We dare not neglect these tools when they can contribute so significantly to our interpretation.”3 Most people cannot read or access Near Eastern writings. That’s why it’s a “lost world” that’s opened to them by faith in Walton’s beliefs about the meaning of these ancient documents. Thus, much of what Walton discusses is another form of jargon to most readers.

Walton seeks to get into the mind of writers of ancient Near Eastern literature. To him, this is an essential tool to get into the mind of biblical writers. Walton adds, “Biblical authority is tied inseparably to the author’s intention. God vested his authority in a human author, so we must consider what the human author intended to communicate, if we want to understand God’s message….We must understand how the ancients thought and what ideas underlay their communications.”4

For Walton, what a biblical author intended to write isn’t determined by the words they wrote. The discovery of this lost world enables him to present his version of why it is that biblical writers wrote things that are often so contrary to what Walton now believes the writers were actually thinking. Bible passages become less clear. Why? Because Walton’s new conclusions are often the exact opposite of what readers might conclude for themselves when taking the Bible at face value. But when readers insert a vital interpretive filter between themselves and their Bible, then understanding is restored. That filter is Walton’s beliefs about the purposes for which ancient people wrote.

When readers fail to grasp the conclusions Walton derives through this obscure approach to Bible interpretation, they may tend to blame themselves as being too simple to understand his complicated thoughts. Thus, Walton’s claim to open a lost world by employing ancient literature as jargon can be used to impress lay readers while simultaneously leaving them confused.

Convoluted Explanations Characterize Key Topics

Some Christians trying to understand what Walton is trying to say end up frustrated or confused. One case in point is Walton’s convoluted explanation of his central theme. He says:

Those who take the Bible seriously believe that God has inspired the locutions (words, whether spoken or written) that the communicator has used to accomplish their joint (divine + human) illocutions (which lead to an understanding of intentions, claims, affirmations and, ultimately, meaning) but that the foundational locutions are tied to the communicator’s world. That is, God has made accommodation to the high-context communication between the implied communicators and their implied audience, so as to optimize and facilitate the transmission of meaning via an authoritative illocution. Inspiration is tied to locutions (they have their source in God); illocutions define the necessary path to meaning that can be defined as characterized by authority.5

Walton’s main idea is inherently convoluted. Even a summary describing how Bible students must mentally zigzag between different Middle Eastern ages and places is wordy. Here is my attempt: The Bible’s words and concepts are largely unintelligible to anyone living beyond the time period of individual authors unless they possess ancient writings that enable them to project their mind back to the epoch of the biblical author to discern how nearby people groups were formerly thinking in order to figure out what a biblical author was intending to say in his era so that we can properly interpret today what the author actually wrote.

Trying to convince other Christians that what they clearly read in the Bible isn’t truly clear after all is a tough sell. It takes a lot of verbiage along twisted pathways to convince Christians that they—and innumerable Christians before them—have been confused about what the Bible has said all along.

A Helpful Tool: Walton’s Reaction to a Creationist Movie

In 2017, Thomas Purifoy Jr., who produced the creationist movie Is Genesis History?, was invited to host a showing of it at Wheaton College in Illinois.6 The movie asserts that Genesis is a true historical record that anyone can understand. Prior to the showing, Dr. Walton wrote counterarguments to the movie’s conclusions. In them he plainly summarized his suppositions. These were distributed to students and are now available online.7

Walton explains why “in many ways” asking if Genesis is real history “is just the wrong question because it forces us to operate with our modern categories, definitions and worldview regarding what constitutes ‘history.’”7 His paper should be read in its entirety. In a few of Walton’s conclusions with his own emphatic words, he says:

  • When we use the term “History,” what we are thinking about is a modern construct not known in the ancient world.
  • No such thing as a historian existed in the ancient world.
  • Genesis is better understood as narrative rather than as a record of historical events.
  • Genesis narratives are not God’s narratives (that would require dictation theory); they are human narratives that carry God’s authority….It is not provided so that we can reconstruct the creation events addressing the scientific understanding of today or meet demands of our modern worldview. Authority is vested in the interpretation of the narrator, not in the event or in our ability to reconstruct or verify the event.
  • Many believe that the genre of “history” is essentially a presentation of objective data that…takes the text’s details as if they were a series of objective data points….[However] reconstructing the event is not the pathway to truth because the target truth is not inherent in the event but in the interpretation of the event.
  • Genesis narratives are interested in a deep reality that transcends events and history. Their significance is found not in their historicity but in their theology; not in what happened, or even in asserting that something did happen, but in why it happened. What was God doing?…Behind the question of whether Genesis is “real history” is a concern for the truth of Genesis. Truth is found in the narrator’s interpretation, which we accept by faith, regardless of whether or not we can reconstruct the events.7

Walton’s Conclusions Are Contrary to Biblical Christian Faith

One doesn’t need access to Near Eastern literature to engage Walton’s propositions. We should resist the temptation to want to jump into his arena to wrestle with him. First, we do not want to surrender the power of starting with a biblical position. Walton’s conclusions are false at face value, as the Bible itself demonstrates. He says that there weren’t historians in Moses’ day. Really? Moses himself was one. God repeatedly gave instructions to remember, record, and pass on history to future generations. For instance, “these are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD. And these are their journeys” (Numbers 33:1-2).

Second, as you read the Bible, ask yourself: Are our spiritual ancestors really that different from us? Not really. We find their worries, reliefs, joys, fears, and most of their thoughts are just like ours today…that’s why we can identify with them.

Walton’s teaching is contrary to what I learned as a student at Moody Bible Institute. I was taught that the biblical writers were controlled by the Holy Spirit during writing. This truth is termed biblical inspiration, and this doctrine has both breadth and depth. This meant that inspiration encompasses all the canonical books of the Bible and extends down to the words themselves.

I was instructed at this level of detail because some people were claiming that they held to inspiration but that inspiration applied only to the concepts taught in Scripture and not the words. People who want the Bible to say whatever they would like it to say don’t seem to ever want words to have their normal contextual meaning. Walton’s view that the historical accounts recorded in Genesis may not have even occurred is not just a deviation from someone’s traditions, as he claims, but is contrary to the doctrines of inspiration, inerrancy, and clarity.

The Institute for Creation Research’s position is that the doctrines of inspiration and clarity go hand in hand.8 We teach that Christians can reliably arrive at a correct biblical interpretation by giving the words their normal meaning in their normal context. Outside information may be helpful, but it’s not essential for interpretation.

Our Christian ancestors had many solid theologians and good doctrine long before Walton’s “lost worlds” were discovered. We believe in educating others that the sharp differences between ICR and some other organizations are not strictly over science or inspiration but over biblical clarity.

References

  1. Walton, J. H. 2009. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press; Walton, J. H. 2013. The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press; Walton, J. H. and D. B. Sandy. 2015. The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press; Walton, J. H. and T. Longman III. 2018. The Lost World of the Flood: Mythology, Theology, and the Deluge Debate. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press.
  2. ObfuscateMerriam-Webster Dictionary. Posted on merriam-webster.com.
  3. Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, 12.
  4. Ibid, 15.
  5. Ibid, 17.
  6. Purifoy, T. How did Theistic Evolution Bring 3 Wheaton College Students to the Ark? Is Genesis History? Posted on isgenesishistory.com, accessed May 3, 2021.
  7. Walton, J. Is Genesis Real History? Posted on isgenesishistory.com.
  8. Guliuzza, R. J. 2018. Engineered Adaptability: The Need for Biblical Clarity. Acts & Facts. 47 (8): 17-19. See also Tomkins, J. P. 2020. Walton’s Cosmic Temple Is a House of CardsActs & Facts. 49 (7): 16-19.

* Dr. Guliuzza is President of the Institute for Creation Research. He earned his M.D. from the University of Minnesota, his Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and served in the U.S. Air Force as 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Guliuzza is also a registered Professional Engineer and holds a B.A. in theology from Moody Bible Institute.

Cite this article: Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D. 2021. Walton’s Lost World Obscures Biblical ClarityActs & Facts. 50 (7).

https://www.icr.org/article/walton-lost-world-obscures-biblical-clarity/

The Great American Story: A Land of Hope – CRT War on the Republic

Not that long ago, we couldn’t have imagined a time when American history wouldn’t be studied. Today, sadly, the unimaginable is upon us.

The inspiring history of our nation, passed down by generations of Americans, is being replaced by a false and dishonest narrative that depicts our nation’s history as essentially flawed and unjust.

On top of this false narrative, “critical race theory” is being used to condition young Americans to look past our common humanity and separate themselves in terms of race and skin color.

Given these developments in our schools, is it any surprise that so many young Americans are less patriotic and increasingly attracted to ideas like socialism that are destructive of liberty?

As part of its fight against these developments, Hillsdale College has produced what is becoming one of its most popular free online courses, “The Great American Story: A Land of Hope.”

Taught by Dr. Wilfred McClay, this course provides a comprehensive and unbiased account of America’s past—and a powerful counterweight to the destructive ideas behind “critical race theory.”

Hillsdale College produced this course in the belief that a proper understanding of America’s great heritage of liberty is essential to intelligent patriotism and the cause of preserving free government.

I invite you to use the link below to join over 100,000 citizens who have already enrolled for free in “The Great American Story: A Land of Hope.”

http://online.hillsdale.edu/courses/the-great-american-story 

Warm regards,

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College
Pursuing Truth and Defending Liberty Since 1844


The CRT War on the Republic

By Colleen Ann Ruggieri July 21, 2021

“George Washington was an evil man! He’s not a hero. You need to take that picture down,” my 13-year-old daughter admonished my brother while standing in his home. “He slaughtered Native Americans and owned slaves. My social studies teacher taught me all about him.”   

“And you are sending your kids to that school?” my brother asked. I shook my head and vowed to investigate while gazing at his copy of “The Prayer at Valley Forge” by Arnold Friberg. It has always been one of my favorite works of art, and in our family, the portrait is symbolic of the power of prayer and what it means to be an American. 

 I would not condemn my daughter’s instructor until I knew the whole story. However, I could not get over her dismissal of Washington’s role as a Revolutionary War hero and his place in history as the first president of the United States. 

In our family, this was the opening of the Critical Race Theory can of worms in the Olentangy Local School District, a system that began as a one-room schoolhouse in the early 1900s and grew to be Ohio’s sixth-largest public school system. 

As it turns out, my daughter’s teacher, a self-proclaimed lover of “hard history,” is a disciple of anti-racist teaching. Parents in our community have testified that they do not object to lesson plans presenting multiple perspectives of history and they support diversity training; they disagree when instructors present revisionist history as fact and disavow the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, this seems to be lost on educators like my daughter’s teacher, who tweets praise for activists such as Hasan Kwami Jeffries, an Ohio State University professor who was contracted by OLSD to provide professional development. 

On one of Jeffries’ instructional slides, he states that 1619 is our country’s origin, and that “Racism is encoded in our DNA.” After uncovering this, parents began protesting Jeffries’ teachings and the fact that teachers had been given the green light to implement anti-racist, CRT ideas into their lessons. Unabashed, Jeffries taunted them on Twitter. His assault continues, as he attacked Republicans and Tweeted multiple CRT endorsements last month.  On July 4th he echoed the assault on George Washington’s place in American history.   

Even after sharing Jeffries’ social media posts, school board members and administrators insisted that the district was not teaching CRT. When parents brought evidence forward, the “CRT is not in our curriculum” message continued, and the school board president charged parents with “conflating national media reports” with what was going on in their kids’ classrooms. 

Trained in equity and inclusion, teachers all over the country are operating as Marxist social justice activists. Parents are fighting to take back their schools. On defense, newspapers, along with local and national television news broadcasts, rage against reason with slanted stories arguing that conservative parents refuse to acknowledge history over heritage and that Critical Race Theory is not being taught in schools and the Republican party is racist and soulless

This hit home for Olentangy parents reading the July 17th lead story of the Columbus Dispatch, a paper that serves a metropolitan area of two million people and is owned by Gannet, America’s largest newspaper publisher. The top-of-the-fold, front-page article “Future of Critical Race Theory Debate” includes coverage of the most recent Olentangy Local School District board meeting. 

Months prior to that meeting, parent groups voiced concern that school officials were placing a stronger emphasis on equity and inclusion and emotional and social learning than on academics. However, the Dispatch story leads readers to believe that only three parents and a student were at the board meeting to speak in opposition to teachers’ use of CRT in classrooms. The story’s lie of omission is that school board policy limits community participation to thirty minutes at meetings, with each speaker having a maximum speaking time of five minutes. 

During the meeting, two parents gave their speaking time to former Ohio State football player Dimitrious Stanley who delivered his objections to Critical Race Theory and shared how anti-racist teachings negatively impact his interracial family. The reporter writing the story failed to acknowledge that parents filled an entire side of a high school auditorium and that numerous families had been in contact with administrators in objection to assignments and projects promoting the 1619 Project as the beginning of America, presenting Marxism as a superior form of government, and examining how Caucasian students have used white privilege to harm minorities. 

The Dispatch story reports that a local petition against teaching CRT had fewer than 200 signatures but fails to mention the

 

community’s Change.org petition which has been signed by more than 1,200 objectors. By neglecting to provide background information and extended facts about the board meeting, the Dispatch, like so many other media outlets, marginalized parents’ concerns and portrayed them as outliers. 

Should anyone really care about these school official denials and the media’s attempted manipulation? The answer lies in the Illusory Truth Effect, the phenomenon in which the repetition of ideas makes them easier to process. Ultimately, the fluency in which people receive information creates a perfect method of disseminating fiction-over-fact because the more often people hear ideas, the more likely that some might start to believe them. Americans cannot escape corporate media headlines stating that America is systemically racist and that CRT is only taught at colleges.

While truth-seeking citizens will see through these swirling sound bites, some viewers will fall victim to false claims and choose to criticize, ostracize, and demonize anyone who goes against the media machine, including neighbors, friends, and family. Don’t want the “hard truth” taught exclusively? You’re racist! Voted for Trump? You’re a white supremacist! The endgame of this media manipulation is a fractured nation, a fallen Republic that is devoured and destroyed by revisionist history-driven socialists. 

In a correspondence sent to Thomas Lomax on March 12, 1799, Thomas Jefferson shared sentiments that transcend time:

The spirit of 1776 is not dead. It has only been slumbering. The body of the American people is substantially republican. But their virtuous feelings have been played on by some fact with more fiction; they have been the dupes of artful maneuvers, & made for a moment to be willing instruments in forging chains for themselves. But time & truth have dissipated the delusion, & opened their eyes. 

Indeed, though mainstream media outlets dishonestly dismiss dissident parents and categorize free-thinking objectors as ignorant, ill-intentioned fascists who are trying to protect their way of life at others’ expense, parents will not be thwarted. Public teachers will no longer go unchecked as they strive to suppress cognitive dissonance and dupe their students into believing that the Western ideals of capitalism, individualism, and equality should no longer serve as America’s foundation. Media moguls and teachers-turned-ideologues have underestimated how many people are willing to break the chains and engage in a modern revolution to protect our Republic. Americans know that the truth will set them free, and they will refuse to drown in the river of miseducation, manipulation, and misinformation. 

Image: Max Pixel

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/07/the_crt_war_on_the_republic.html


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5 Mistakes Churches Make With Money

By Kent Woodyard on Mar 20, 2021

My article last week focused on a particularly negative reaction I received to a blog post about online giving. That response – and the misunderstanding it belied – galvanized me to talk about generosity, stewardship, and all things giving even more than I had before.

And I want to start that conversation by looking at a few of the ways I, and many others along with me, have missed the mark when it comes to money.

When I hear the same tired refrain about churches being money-hungry fundraising machines, I am often quick to discount the critic as either (1) a non-believer heckling from the sidelines, or (2) a lapsed giver looking for an easy excuse for their own lack of generosity.

True or not, this gut reaction fails to acknowledge the culpability that churches and church leaders must bear for our own failures in correctly framing the conversation around finances. When listeners repeatedly fail to grasp the intent of a speaker’s message, at some point, the fault must lie with the speaker for failing to communicate clearly.

And so it is with giving. Specifically, here are five things pastors and “giving professionals” do to confuse our messages about money:

1.  We’re Bashful About It

Considering all of the caveats that so often accompany any mention of money in the church, it feels sometimes like we’re more interested in people NOT giving. We tell visitors to feel free to abstain. (As if God’s call to generosity doesn’t apply to them.) We tell casual attenders to not worry about giving until they’ve gotten plugged into a life group. We ask our members to please forgive this brief commercial interruption. Is it any wonder that giving to the church continues to decline? If we were half as bold in encouraging giving as we were in providing exemptions from giving, people might start to feel differently about it!

2.  We Only Talk About It When We Need It

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a great eBook I read recently from the folks at Generis: “When generosity becomes just another word for increasing church funding, it will lose its ability to impact people’s lives and develop them as disciples of Jesus Christ.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! Why do people think churches are little more than “religiously-themed businesses?” Because we treat “giving” as synonymous with “cash flow.” Now yes, there is certainly a time and place for you to have frank conversations with your congregation about your church’s budgetary needs. But that should NOT be the only time the topic comes up. The more frequently money is discussed, the easier it will be to talk about “generosity as discipleship” without sounding disingenuous.

3.  We Talk About Giving In A Silo

This is closely related to the point above. And it’s a point I’ve mentioned before in previous articles on this site. We have a tendency to compartmentalize our conversations about finances. It’s almost as if we regard money as a dangerous contagion that needs to be cordoned off from the other aspects of our ministry – lest it make those conversations awkward as well. Nothing could be further from the truth! Generosity flourishes when church leaders “connect the dots” (and the dollars) between the offering and missions, outreach, education, spiritual formation, fellowship, and every other vital element of a church’s ministry.

4.  We Forget To Say “Thank You”

Among nonprofits, aid organizations, para-church organizations, NGOs, and all other companies who depend on donations for their survival, churches seem to be among the worst at saying two simple words: “thank you.” I think this is due, in part, to our belief that giving is more than just a good idea; it’s a Biblical mandate. And if someone is “supposed” to do something, what’s the point of saying “thank you,” right? Perhaps part of it is also due to our general squeamishness around people’s money. It’s almost as if we don’t even want to acknowledge that we’ve seen the gift. Whatever the reason, when churches forget to say “thanks,” their giving suffers. A direct and personal expression of gratitude is about way more than just being polite. It is one of the best ways to encourage continued generosity!

5.  We DON’T Talk About It

Due to the manifold discomforts associated with preaching, teaching, or merely bringing up “The Almighty Dollar,” many churches have taken the approach of simply ignoring the topic altogether. Not surprisingly, all of this not talking about money has done little to properly orient peoples’ attitudes toward their finances. Materialism and greed are still two of the chief sins of our nation. As Hosea 4:6 says, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Even if your church has decided to stop “passing the plate.” Even if you routinely exceed your annual budget. That does not take money off the table. If we believe (as I hope you do) that generosity is more about the heart of the giver than it is about the health of the church, then it should continually factor into our conversations.

Get Kent’s free ebook, 7 Ways to Increase Your Church’s Giving Today.

https://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/kent-woodyard-5-mistakes-churches-make-with-money-2508