MASTER'S International UNIVERSITY of Divinity

Bi-Monthly Information and Teaching Journal

 

"And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"

 

Luke 24:32 KJV

 

ONE to ANOTHER ~ June - July 2017 ~ Volume III ~ Issue 4

In This Issue

The Power of Pentecost | Sin Is... | Here Is A Gift for You | Book Review | Christlike in A Broken World  |  Cruel Death Sentence
Sloppy Religion & Sloppy Science| Trees Did Not Just Happen | What the World Needs | The History of the Liberty bell

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Past Editions Archive

What Is the Power of Pentecost?

 

Dennis D. Frey, M.Div., Th.D., President

 

In his hymn Pentecostal Power published in 1912, Charles H. Gabriel caught the essence of the power of Pentecost in these classic lines:

 

Lord, as of old, at Pentecost,
Thou didst Thy pow’r display—
With cleansing, purifying flame,
Descend on us today.

For mighty works for Thee, prepare
And strengthen every heart;
Come, take possession of Thine own,
And nevermore depart.

All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, our faith renew!

Speak, Lord! before Thy throne we wait,
Thy promise we believe,
And will not let Thee go until
The blessing we receive.

Refrain:
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
Thy floodgates of blessing, on us throw open wide!
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
That sinners be converted and Thy Name glorified!

So, what is the essence of that power, and in what line did Gabriel best expresses it?  Expressly in the third verse:

All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, our faith renew!

The essence of Pentecostal power is the power to surrender self - All self consume.  Sin is the force that keeps the fallen human heart from full surrender.  Gabriel knew this, and added the words - all sin destroy!

But is this Biblical?  It is.  The last words spoken by Jesus to His disciples immediately prior to His ascension were these:

"He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth'"  (Acts 1:7, 8 NASV, et al.).

What power?  The power with which they were endued when the Holy Spirit came upon them.  What was that power?  The power to be "My witnesses."  Well, were they not His witnesses at the moment He was speaking to them?  Yes, and no.  They were, but inadequately.  How so?  They were inadequate by reason of what Charles H. Gabriel cries out for in his hymn:

All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, our faith renew!

I will say it yet again - the essence of Pentecostal power is the power to surrender self - All self consume.  Sin is the force that keeps the fallen human heart from full surrender.  Gabriel knew this, and added the words - all sin destroy!

Even at the moment of His ascension, Jesus' disciples were still too full of self - too much under the influence of their own sinful (fallen) nature to be the kinds of witnesses required to carry the Gospel to "the remotest part of the earth."  This is shockingly displayed in their words which Jesus rebukes in Acts 1:7 - "So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1:6)?

So, what changed?  What made them such powerful witnesses that in less than a generation they had turned the world up-side down (Acts 17:6)?  Just this: "When the day of Pentecost had come - they were all filled  with the Holy Spirit and began to speak  with other tongues,  as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 2:1a, 4).  What were they filled with?  The Holy Spirit.  What did they do (speak)?  They witnessed (began to speak with other tongues).  In fact, the rest of Luke's historical narative in the Book of Acts is the record of the power of the Gospel witness of the disciples.

The power was not to "do" something.  The power was to "be" something.  In Acts 1:8 Jesus said "and you shall be."  "Be" is esomai which is the future first person singular of "to be" (notice they were not yet, but would future tense "be").

They would be what?  They would be "My witnesses."  Witness is martus (from which we get our English word martyr) meaning one who in a legal and ethical sense is fit, reliable, and was present at the event for which they are giving testimony.

The power of Pentecost is not the power to "do" something for Christ, but to "be" something.  By being we do.  Getting that backwards is the single most common cause for failure of the Christian witness.  The failure of trying to be by doing is exactly why "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'"  (Acts 1:4, 5).  Jesus was preventing them from doing without first being.

Without first being what?  Without first being filled with Pentecostal power - that is, the power to be holy - not to do holy, but to be in order to do!  Peter, as one who was there at Pentecost, received Pentecostal power, and preached the first Pentecostal sermon wrote as a chief witness of his Master:  "but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  - because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY" (I Peter 1:15, 16).

 

I will leave it to the reader's own experience as to whether the power of Pentecost is received as a gift at the moment of conversion, following conversion, or as a distinct work of empowerment, but I will not leave to the reader the idea that it is but a spiritual add-on to the conversion experience.  For without it all effort to do something (witness or whatever else) as a Christian is doomed to failure.  The power of Pentecost is the power to be something - to be His witness.

 

If we would be His witness we will do well to daily cry out to Him:

All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
MY waiting heart to work for Thee;
O Lord, MY faith renew!

Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
Thy floodgates of blessing, on ME throw open wide!
Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power!
That sinners be converted and Thy Name glorified!

"but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  - because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY" (I Peter 1:15, 16).

 

Sin Is...

 

David M. Tyler, Th.B., Ph.D.,
Dean, Biblical Counseling

 

 

 

Sin is man setting up a false independence; substituting God for self-worship. 

 

In a naturalistic world natural evil (tornadoes, disappointment, disease, etc), is emphasized over moral evil (hatred, lying, stealing, etc.). In Christianity it is the other way around. Moral evil is placed in the forefront, and natural evil is interpreted in light of moral evil. The psychologies of humanism may acknowledge natural evil, but for the most part do not acknowledge moral evil; sin. Hence the psychologies of humanism call sin disease.1

 

The problem of sin is one that refuses to be ignored and gotten rid of. Sin is here. The ill at ease feeling of responsibility and accountability is here. Guilt feelings are here. The uncomfortable feelings of depression, anxiety, shame, and fear and so on are here. Men may attempt to suppress the truth of sin, nevertheless man’s heart, conscience and reason will not allow him to treat it as unreal.

 

The most fundamental difference exists between an evolutionary psychology and biblical view. The difference is origins and the nature of sin. Sin is unbelief. It is unbelief that man is dependent upon God, and not himself a god. Sin is willful or ignorant acts of rebellion against the Creator. It is missing the mark that God has set for man. The humanistic view of sin is there is no sin. Man is still evolving upward. He has not shed all his old primitive animalistic ways. He has a glorious future but for now, man must learn and realize his full potential.

 

What Christianity calls sin humanistic psychology calls immaturity from an evolutionary standpoint, not living at one’s full potential and/or disease. In other words men are functioning, in their present evolutionary state, below their capability. Man is better than he is presently experiencing in life. This kind of psychology proposes to help him be what evolution has already made him to be.

 

To truly understand man one must hold firmly to the Biblical doctrine of sin. The Christian belief of sin presupposes the doctrine of a holy and righteous God. It is God’s holy and righteous nature that is the standard for man. “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Man conforms to God’s perfect will and surrenders himself to God in love and obedience. Sin is the repudiation of man to love and submit to his Maker. Sin is a revolt of the creatures will from its rightful devotion and duty to the sovereign will of God. Sin is man setting up a false independence; substituting God for self-worship.

 

Sin is not a weakness, mistake, or blunder. It cannot be compared to a man trying to find his way in the dark and accidently stumbles into a ditch. It is more comparable to a man who looks for a ditch and throws himself into it purposely. The Christian view of sin is not man’s misfortune but man’s fault. Satan tempted man, but it was man who desired to be his own god, and welcomed the idea with open arms. Since the first sin the development of the human race has not been normal, but abnormal and perverted.  

 

1 For an in-depth study on how psychology calls sin sickness see my books Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin Is Called Sickness and ADHD: Deceptive Diagnosis published by Focus Publishing. 1 800 913 6287 or focuspublishing.com.

 

Here Is A Gift for You!

 

Raymond L. Parker, M.R.E., Ph.D., V.P. Academic Affairs

Here is a Gift for You

Read I Corinthians 12:1-14

 

A husband went to buy his wife a birthday gift for her 40th birthday. At the store he saw a blue music box that played “Happy Birthday.” He thought that would be an appropriate gift. He also knew that his wife loved the color red, so he bought the red music box rather than the blue one – not realizing that each box played a different tune.

 

That night at the birthday party he handed his wife the beautifully gift wrapped present. She looked at the red music box, smiled from ear to ear. She then opened the box. The tune was “The Old Grey Mare She Ain’t What She used to Be.” This was not exactly the present he wanted to give.

 

In this article we want to explore the gifts that are always right, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In our study text I would call your attention to

 

I.  The Analogy of the Body (see I Corinthians 12:14ff)

 

All of us are familiar with the human body – we deal with it every day. We know that the body is composed of many different parts and that it is only as the various parts work correctly and in harmony with all the other parts that things go well.

 

Imagine  you  are  taking  a  nature walk through a forest on a beautiful spring day. You begin to cross a small, trickling brook. Suddenly, without warning, your foot strikes a stone, you lose your balance and you begin to fall. We all know what the end result will be.

 

Now imagine that the various parts of the body have personality and begin to speak with each other. The right arm shouts to the left arm, “You better get ready to absorb some additional weight!” The left arm replies, “Why should I prepare, we are falling in your direction! Anyway, it’s foot’s fault; he is the one that tripped.” Foot replies, “That’s right, blame me. Hey, I was under water and did not see that rock.” The nose suddenly cries out, “Somebody better do something, this is going to be serious.” The left arm says, “Don’t yell at me. I didn’t do anything, and if you think I am going to …” CRASH! By that time the damage is done.

 

If the members of our physical body acted independently of one another, we would be in a terrible mess. The same is true of the local church. The Apostle Paul spoke of the church as the Body of Christ and each of us as believers as members of that one Body.

 

Thus, in the same way that our physical body is one with many different functioning members, so too is the local church. Each of us are to be functioning members of this one Body. Each of us at the moment of salvation are assigned by the Holy Spirit a specific task in the Body. We are not all eyes, or ears, or hands, or feet. We all have our respective responsibilities and as we work together the work of Christ is successfully accomplished.

 

If one member of the physical body does not work, other members must work harder. The same is true in the Body of Christ. If members are inactive then others in the Body must take up the slack. The point is, you cannot walk in the Spirit apart from functioning in the Body of Christ.

 

II. The Gifts of the Spirit (see I Corinthians 12:1-13)

 

Now we face the question: What determines my place in the Body? The answer is: the Spiritual gift or gifts that were given to each of us by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Paul wrote, “the manifestation (or gifts) of the Spirit are given to every man” (I Cor. 12:7).

 

A spiritual gift is a spiritual enablement or capacity for specific service in the church. Every believer has at least one and normally more than one spiritual gift or spiritual enablement as given by the Holy Spirit.

 

There are sixteen spiritual gifts revealed in the New Testament. Every believer has at least one of these sixteen. The gifts that seem to be active today are 1) the gift of teaching, 2) the gift of helping, 3) the gift of administration or ruling, 4) the gift of evangelism, 5) the gift of being a pastor, 6) the gift of encouragement, 7) the gift of giving, 8) the gift of showing mercy, and 8) the gift of faith. Our gifts allow us to become channels through which the very life and ministry of Christ flow. When we hear about a believer in need, don’t just pray; become part of the answer. Exercise your spiritual gift.

 

Now we face a very practical question: How do I discover my gift? Part of our spiritual growth is the discovery of our spiritual gifts, development of our spiritual gifts, and the use of our spiritual gifts within the church.

 

The first thing we must do to discover spiritual gifts is to be active in the Lord’s work. Spiritual gifts are not discovered by warming a pew. If work needs to be done, let’s do the work joyfully as unto the Lord. In the doing of these various works we will find that area we enjoy. Keep in mind, the exercise of a spiritual gift is not drudgery; it is a delight! A valid question is, “What do you enjoy most about serving the Lord?” You will enjoy exercising your spiritual gift.

 

Second, people will be blessed and encouraged as you exercise your spiritual gift. You become a blessing to others. They seek you out to do that specific thing because they are encouraged as you do it.

 

One lady gave this testimony, “I tried working in the nursery, but I dreaded that. Then I thought about teaching, but the idea of it scared me. Then I heard they needed some help putting together meals for our summer youth camp. I thought, ‘Hey, I can do that.’ Before I knew it, I was in charge – loving it.”[1]

 

One pastor said of a church member, “No matter how much responsibility I give her, she was able to handle it. She seemed to thrive on it. Thinking about her responsibility stressed me out! I never saw her get in a hurry. To my knowledge, she never missed a deadline. As long as she was administering and organizing she was in her element.”[2]

 

Remember, you are uniquely qualified by Spirit gifting to do a specific task in the church. You are an indispensible member of the Body of Christ. So let us put our hands to the task and get busy in the Lord’s work.  We are His Body.  You are His gift!

 


[1] Stanley, Charles. The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992), p. 137

[2] Ibid. pp. 132-133.

 

Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus
 

Marcel Simon, translated by James H. Farley, ​Philadelphia, ISBN 0-8006-0183-1,Fortress Press, 1967.  

 

Cheryl A. Durham, M.Min., Ph.D., Dean of Students

 

 

This little book gives lots of information about the various religious sects that existed and flourished at the time of Jesus. It clarifies that there really was no such thing as Judaism or Christianity in the first century. Simon elaborates on the various beliefs, conflicts and socio-political issues that surrounded the religious community in Rome at the time and helps the reader understand the community as Jesus and the Apostles would have known it.

 

I am an avid seeker of truth when it comes to reading the New Testament within its context. This little volume is a fast read (one day) but will illuminate many New Testament puzzles that stand out when one reads the Biblical text without context.  The astute reader will want to go look things up in the New Testament to see if certain verses now take on a different meaning than they did before.  What a pleasant surprise!

 

One of the interesting things Simon tells the reader is that while there was certainly a unity among the various groups there certainly was no uniformity. Simon goes into great detail to describe how the various subgroups differ from what was post Biblically known as “the Jews”. He also goes into detail about the difference between how the Jews (anachronistic term) viewed things and how the Greeks (later Christians) did. I don’t want to go into too much detail because the book is short, but there is much to learn.

 

While this little volume is an oldie, it is also a goodie that is often overlooked. I recommend it to pastoral students, Biblical counseling students and even Theology students who want to have a more accurate grasp in their attempts at exegesis and hermeneutics. 

 

Being Christlike in A Broken World -
Part 4 of 4

 

David W. Anderson, Ed.D., D.B.S.; Program Developer and Director for the Master of Arts Certificate in Disabilities Ministry

 

Dr. Anderson's book, Reaching Out & Bringing People In : Ministry to and with Persons with Disabilities, ISBN 978-1-4497-9095-0, Westbow Press, 2013 can be purchased through Master's Bookstore or Click here to purchase.

 

 

Part 4 of 4 – Acting Justly

This series of articles opened by acknowledging that being Christ in a broken world requires transformation in character, a transformation which began when we became a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), and continues as an ongoing process of renewal and spiritual growth as we are molded more into the image of Christ (Romans 12:1B2). At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, He revealed His mission to be one of concern for people in need of good news, held captive by sin or circumstances, treated unfairly, and spiritually and emotionally distressed (Luke 4:18). Before returning to the Father, Jesus passed along that commission to bring good news to his disciples (Matthew 28:18B20). For us to be Christ in a broken world, requires having a similar focus and intent, and conformity to Jesus’ model of ministry and living. The specific focus of these articles is ministry to and with persons affected by disability, a people held captive by social ideals of perfection, prejudice, fear, and faulty theology. And a  ministry typically neglected by many churches today. Aspects of Christlikeness considered in previous issues of One-to-Another were incarnation (Part 1), vulnerability (Part 2), and servanthood (Part 3). In this final installment of the series, the focus is on justice.

 

Compassion for the oppressed such as Jesus expressed calls for similar concern on the part of His followers. We are tasked with bringing comfort, lightening their load, seeking justice for the poor, and upholding the cause of those in need (cf. Psalm 140:12). The good news Christians bring is not simply an appeal to receive Christ as Lord and Savior; it includes seeking justice for those who are oppressed by society, culture, and Satan. God's concern for social justice is found throughout the Scriptures. Two themes found throughout the Bible: God's concern for truth, and God's concern for the poor and oppressed (Perkins, 1976). Both themes are critical in understanding God's view of people who are differently abled and how we, as Christians, should respond to them. People who are able‑bodied often believe they have control over their body and their circumstances. But this control is more fictitious than real. We are all vulnerable to accidents, illnesses, genetic weaknesses, and the effects of aging, all of  which can result in a disabling condition. Many people (including Christians) overtly or covertly push aside persons who are disabled to preserve their psychological comfort and their idolized view of self and body. Some in the church have hearts blinded by bad theology which equates disability with sin, punishment, or lack of faith. But our commission as Christians is to share the good news with all people groups through words and deeds; through compassion and a call for social justice; through acceptance and welcoming of all people.

 

The Call to Social Justice

The Old Testament prophets affirmed God's concern for people looked down upon or pushed aside by society - the poor, widows, orphans, and aliens. In His ministry, Jesus broadened this theme to include people marginalized by disability. Christians must have the same attitude as Jesus (Philippians 2:5), expressing compassion and a desire to serve others. This service and compassion builds on the strong scriptural foundation for social justice and equality grounded in the doctrine of God and the nature of humankind.

 

Justice is sometimes thought to mean equality, but to be treated equally is not the same as being treated justly. Equality expresses a commonality or sameness which can be repressive and disrespectful, denying individuality and disregarding diversity for the sake of uniformity. But “no one wants to pay the price of being treated equally if that means they must reject who they are" (Hauerwas, 2004, p. 39). A more mature understanding of justice promotes an ethic of care in which benevolence assumes a greater role and consideration is given to individual differences and needs; all receiving what is needed.

 

Biblical Justice Defined

Biblical justice is not a thing - a state, situation, or entitlement, making justice a noun referring to something residing outside of self. Biblical justice is more properly understood as a verb. In is not a "thing" we experience, but an action to be performed.  Biblical justice requires love and concern for those who are weak, oppressed, vulnerable, or disabled. We are "to be the voice of the voiceless and the champion of the powerless" (Stott, 1990, p. 157). The prophets often spoke on behalf of the weakest and most vulnerable in their community, taking a public stance against the injustice they endured, whether that injustice was out of ignorance or intentional disregard. Like the prophets, Christians must speak out for all who experience injustice, including people with disabilities who have been pushed aside by social policy or spiritual ignorance (or arrogance).

 

Sadly, however, efforts to promote social justice on behalf of persons with disabilities have not always been championed by the church, despite the clear biblical declaration of God's concern and the extent to which Jesus' ministry embraced social outcasts, including those with disabilities. Few churches openly welcome persons with disabilities to fellowship with them; many differently-abled persons feel they are "disinvited" by churches (Webb‑Mitchell, 1994).

 

Micah 6:8 emphasizes doing justice, particularly in regard to those who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, or oppressed by the more powerful in society. Justice must be a lifestyle, evidenced by a motivation to practice good and to interact in a manner that will establish and maintain just relationships with others. In the same way that justice is grounded in God's nature, justice must be demonstrated by Christians. Christians give justice a human form as we speak to both those in need and those who keep people in need.

 

Implications for the Church

When disability, and persons who have a disability, are not understood, those with disabilities are easily devalued, dismissed, or set aside as the responsibility of "someone else." Micah 6:8 points the way to correcting this situation by highlighting the connection between justice and love. The passage includes an implied warning against a hierarchical view of people ("walk humbly with your God"), calling attention to barriers that often exist between the temporarily able‑bodied and persons who have a disability, barriers that necessitate reconciliation so that justice can prevail.

 

A radical transformation based on principles of Biblical justice is necessary so that the church can become a microcosm of an inclusive community. Justice is a lifestyle rather than merely a strategy for human relations. It requires a re‑envisioning of all persons based on a scriptural understanding of what it means to be human and to be God's image‑bearer.

 

Applying principles of Biblical justice, demonstrating love and kindness, and walking humbly before God can lead to appreciation of the abilities and gifts of persons with disabilities thus encouraging welcome and celebration of difference and the contributions of each member of the community. This can promote a mutual sense of responsibility to and need of one another, in line with Paul’s described of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12.

 

Just as Jesus broke through barriers of gender, religion, ethnicity, and ability/disability during his earthly ministry, Christians must also challenge practices and ideologies that lead to the exclusion of others. All Christians are to "do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God" (Micah 6:8, NCV). Including persons with disabilities in the social, political, and religious community "is an issue of justice fundamental to the Gospel. Exclusion, on the other hand, has an oppressive, dehumanizing impact running contrary to the Christian vision" (Senior, 1995, p. 6).

 

Ministry to and with persons with disabilities is something which is close to the heart of God. The Christian Church should be a model for the rest of the world of inclusiveness and accessibility; a place where acceptance and welcome of all people is evident, and where grace is preached and practiced without reservation. Failure to demonstrate God's love for all humanity through action and words may result in the Church being associated with injustice and persecution of persons with disabilities.

 

Being Christ in a Broken World

To be Christ in a broken world means that Jesus’ concern for justice for people who have been marginalized and oppressed must feature prominently in our ministry. We do call people to repentance and to accept Christ as their personal Savior. But just as God's prophets did in the past, we must also address social, institutionalized sin that keeps people in bondage (poverty, prostitution, disease, prejudice, and all forms of injustice). We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9). Being Christ in a broken world means that we must have a passion to reach people who are spiritually lost, and who are in bondage in any way. Wiersbe's (2001) comment is relevant: "The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about God!"

 

The role of the Church should be to create communities in which people who are not alike can be found living and working together (McCollum, 1998). In doing this, the Church will take its rightful position in shaping culture, and will be a visible expression of God's love for all humanity through constructive protest against the present conditions of men and women with disabilities.

 

For the Church to be salt and light in society (Matthew 5:13-14) necessitates speaking out against any form of discrimination and injustice, especially against those who cannot defend themselves. The Church must advocate for and defend the welfare and human rights of even the most severely disabled, recognizing that all people are God's children by creation and have equal value as God's image bearers.

 

God does not exclude people on the basis of ability; neither can the Church. Hale’s (2012) statement is pertinent: "When Jesus described His mission as proclaiming release of the captives, He was talking about anyone who is held as a prisoner by the attitudinal and physical barriers that exists in our society . . . . [The church] is called by its nature of being Christ's loving body on earth to be on the side of people who are marginalized, and to work proactively to name, challenge, and tear down all of these societal and churchly barriers. (p.101)

 

References cited:

Hale, N. (2012) The healing of acceptance. In R. L. Walker (Ed.), Speaking out: Gifts of ministering undeterred by disabilities (pp. 95—102). Charleston, NC: CreateSpace.

Hauerwas, S. (2004). Community and diversity: The tyranny of normality. In J. Swinton (Ed.), Critical reflections on Stanley Hauerwas’ theology of disability: Disabling society, enabling theology (pp. 37—43).  Binghamton, NY: Haworth Pastoral Press.

McCollum, A. B.  (1998). Tradition, folklore, and disability: A heritage of inclusion. In N. L. Eiesland & D. E. Saliers (Eds.), Human disability and the service of God: Reassessing religious practice (pp. 167—186). Nashville: Abingdon.

Perkins, J. (1976). A quiet revolution. Waco: Word.

Senior, D. (1995). Beware the Canaanite woman: Disabilities and the Bible. In M. E. Bishop (Ed.), Religion and disability: Essays in scripture, theology, and ethics (pp. 1—25). Wheaton: Crossways Books.

Stott, J. (1990).  Decisive issues facing Christians today. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell.

Webb-Mitchell, B. (1994). Unexpected guests at God’s banquet: Welcoming people with disabilities into the church. New York: Crossroad Publishing.

Wiersbe, W. (2001). The Bible exposition commentaryNew Testament, Volume 2. Colorado Spring: Victor Books. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

 

An Agonizingly Cruel Death Sentence

 

Bradley Mattes, M.B.S. Adjunct Faculty; President and CEO of Life Issues Institute, Inc.

 

Physician assisted suicide legislation has been making the news recently. Legalized euthanasia in Canada, Netherlands, Belgium and other European nations have also generated headlines.

However, a silent, rampant killer is intentionally claiming lives of far more patients each day in America’s medical facilities.

 

This quiet, legal killer is taking the lives more Americans than all the assisted suicide deaths combined. It’s the withdrawal of food and water from patients whose lives are deemed “futile” by hospitals, nursing homes and hospices throughout the nation.

 

Food and water delivered by tube instead of mouth was once deemed “basic and ordinary care” but is now viewed as “extraordinary medical treatment.” Further, it’s legal in all 50 states to withhold food and water when it will directly result in the death of a patient.


So how many patients is this likely affecting? According to the American Hospital Association and the Centers for Disease Control, there are nearly 35,000 hospitals, nursing homes and hospices operating in the USA — 1.3 million patients in hospice alone.

 

After doing the math it’s easy to assume that every day patients are being “put down” using an agonizingly cruel, drawn-out death sentence.

 

Continue reading...

 

Sloppy Religion and Sloppy Science*

 

James J.S. Johnson, Th.D., J.D.
Chief Academic Officer, The Institute for Creation Research

 

*By permission of the author.

 

In 1633, Galileo Galilei faced hostile inquisitors who opposed his astronomical discoveries. Galileo claimed that Earth moves around the sun while the sun stays stationary, which was opposite to what Galileo’s church taught. This confrontation is often labeled as a “religion versus science” trial because it involved a disagreement about the meaning of Psalm 93:1:

 

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.


The latter part of Psalm 93:1 allegedly clashed with Galileo’s analysis of our solar system. His telescopic measurements of movements in the heavens (i.e., sun, moon, planets, etc.) proved that Earth orbited the “stationary” sun, not vice versa. However, Roman Catholic interpretations of Scripture at the time disagreed with Galileo’s astronomical analysis, claiming the opposite was true. Actually, both sides were partly wrong because both sides relied on errors.

 

1.  Both the sun and Earth are moving in very predictable orbits (and thus neither is absolutely stationary), yet when described contextually both are moving in relation to one another—and to the Milky Way galaxy, as well. Plus, all motion must be described with respect to a frame of reference, so it’s most practical for observers to use their own positions as locational indices.

 

2.  The Hebrew phrase translated “it cannot be moved” in Psalm 93:1 means that Earth cannot be yanked away (i.e., pulled off course) from its divinely prescribed and established program of movements—as opposed to describing a state of absolute motionlessness.

 

The lesson? When religion clashes with science, expect to see examples of sloppy religion in the form of inaccurate Bible interpretations, or sloppy science as evidenced in inaccurate scientific observations and/or analysis, or both.

 

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Trees Did Not Just Happen!

 

Gary K. Fair, M.Min., D.P.Th.,

Vice President

 

I THINK THAT I SHALL NEVER SEE…

 

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

 

TREES, by Joyce Kilmer

 

Today I walked, as is my habit, in one of the most beautiful peaceful outdoor settings in the city. Walking there always reveals to me vivid signs of God’s hand In the creation of His earth. His hand is in every aspect of the great outdoors. If we will take a look around His power and His design to provide a perfect environment for mankind is evident.

 

During the walk today, I “happened” to see this one particular tree I had never noticed before. Now, understand I have walked in this setting two to three times a week for over a year. Without a doubt, this tree (pictured above) has been standing much longer. But, what caught my eye was the perfect shape of this tree. The symmetry, the wide spread, and the dome like shape, all present an example of the work of perfection that only God could create.

 

As I ponder the work of God in the creation of this earth and the wonder of it all, perfection comes to mind. Perfection is found in all His works. Whether in the shaping of a tree, or the process of planting, watering, and harvesting grain, or the procreation of mankind, or the changing of the seasons, God’s perfect hand is present. None of these, nor multiple other aspects of nature, could possibly just happened.

 

Each of them was planned, designed, and brought into being through the spoken Word of our God, our Creator. Today, mankind plans, designs, and brings into being many useful and necessary things. However, all that mankind produces is imperfect; they are produced, not to survive eternally, but for a short time. The appliances of convenience, vehicles, magnificent buildings, all these, and more, may for a season enhance our lives. Then, after their usefulness has passed, they are thrown into the landfill, useless and used up.

 

However, God’s creation, His perfectly designed and planned creation, endures. Because His design is perfect, He carries us through our lifetime and into eternity.

 

In Deuteronomy 32, Moses recites a song, which speaks to God’s earth and His perfection.

 

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. 

 

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 

 

I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

 

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 

 

In our sometimes over-programmed schedules we miss so much of the blessings God has created for us; to allow us not only to survive, but also to enjoy. Simply take a moment to genuinely see a tree, watch a bee carry out the process of life God designed for him, or taking in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Maybe you will “happen” upon a bit of God’s work, designed just for your blessing.

 

What the World Needs - Part 3 of 3

 

James B. Solberg, M.Div., D.D.,

Adjunct Faculty; U.S.A. National Director, Bridges for Peace International

 

 

Christianity Declining in the West
(continued from the previous edition)

 

Competing Discussions About Religion:

 

Thus, discussions about true religion often began with the common framework of seeking to better understand how to get the creator God to intervene in lives and circumstances with solutions to otherwise unsolvable problems. In Judaism and Christianity, we call these problems sin. At the same time that Darwin began to erase the concept of a creator, philosophy did likewise with the concept of sin.

 

In 1872, Friedrich Nietzsche, the son of a Lutheran pastor, published his first book The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. Here, Nietzsche introduced the idea that man is only responsible for himself, and there is no god at all. The catch phrase used by his followers is “God is dead,” and the movement became known as existentialism. Again, paralleling the acceptance of evolution, existentialism really gained public acceptance in the 1950s following the horrors of World War II under the teaching of French philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.

These changes to the general philosophic paradigm of mankind, combined with post-world war prosperity, have together entrenched the belief that man is basically good. Western society, both in Europe and North America, has lived in the most comfortable, secure, and prosperous time and place in human history. The forces that shape culture––from books, to music, to movies––have adopted the existentialist belief that if it feels good to me, then it is right.

 

We have lost that basic sense that change is needed. No one is interested in a discussion about a creator who will bring change to your life if your life is comfortable and you don’t want it changed. Individuals have been deluded into thinking that they have the right to do whatever they might choose as long as it feels good to them, and there is no external moral standard for comparison. Scripture, however, provides us the best place to go in these discussions.

The vast bulk of the Tanach(Older Testament) is filled with historical summaries of what happens when people follow their own hearts versus what happens if they follow the God that created them.

Finally, I would propose that there is a third necessary foundation to meaningful discussion about faith. First, we need agreement that there is a creator or some form of intelligence and power beyond ourselves. Second, we need agreement that there is something wrong in my situation that needs to be changed, and that I need help to change it. But third, we need evidence that this creative force can and will intervene in the lives of people and nations to bring about that needed change.

 

In the past, when the West was a majority Christian culture, multiple personal examples of God’s power and action were anecdotally available through the witness or testimony of friends, neighbors, and family. To disbelieve that there was a God who could and did act on behalf of His people was uncommon rather than the societal norm it is today. Today, most commonly, such discussions happen only with two individuals comparing experience and belief. With the foundational assumption that my truth is as good as your truth, no progress can occur in such a discussion without some clear external example to which both parties can appeal.

 

As Christians, our appeal is not to agnostic reasoning, but in the words of the Apostle Paul:

 

"Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, Be reconciled to God"
(II Corinthians 5:20 TCJB)!

 

UNITED STATES
Independance Day

July 4, 1776

The History of the Liberty Bell,

by William J. Federer, Adjunct Faculty Member.

 

The History of the American Liberty Bell

 

The Liberty Bell got its name from being rung JULY 8, 1776, to call the citizens of Philadelphia together to hear the Declaration of Independence read out loud for the first time. 

 

The Liberty Bell, weighing over 2,000 pounds, was cast in England in August of 1752.

 

The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered it to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn founding the Colony in 1701 and writing the Charter of Privileges.  In 1751, the colony's Assembly declared a "Year of Jubilee" and commissioned the bell to be put in the Philadelphia State House. 

 

Isaac Norris, Speaker of Pennsylvania's Assembly, read Leviticus chapter 25 verse 10:  "And ye shall make hallow the fiftieth year, and PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee." 

 

Inscribed on The Liberty Bell is: "PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE THE INHABITANTS THEREOF." 

 

During the Revolution, as the British were invading Philadelphia in 1777, The Liberty Bell was rushed out of the city to prevent it from being melted down into musket balls. 

 

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