Answering Richard Dawkins, Part 1

Tags: 

I appreciate Dr. Richard Dawkins’ impassioned arguments against creationism, as he challenges his listeners and readers to think through their positions and to offer sound reasons for their conclusions. My focus here is not to argue against his atheism, but is to answer his arguments that creationism is not a plausible understanding of our origin history. Sadly, it appears that Dawkins won’t be debating any creationists in the near future, as he is reluctant to give “wingnuts the oxygen of publicity and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere.”1 Nonetheless Dawkins, in the context of discussing the Ken Ham, Bill Nye debate on creationism, offers five points of candid and insightful advice to “anyone who, for one reason or another finds him/herself debating one of those idiots.” In this series I, Wingnut, consider Dawkins’ five-pronged critique of creationism.

Dawkins Argument #1

Physical scientists (such as Bill Nye) should play to their strengths in physical science and call the wingnut out on the age of fossils, and cosmological evidence on the age of the universe. Radiometric dating of rocks is solid, irrefutable science. The agreement between different isotopes with overlapping time spans is so strong, it is impossible for anyone to wriggle out of the conclusion that the world is billions of years old, not thousands. Astronomical evidence of the expanding universe agrees. Read more about Answering Richard Dawkins, Part 1

Login or register to post comments.

The Testimony of Foreign Missions to the Superintending Providence of God

Tags: 

(About this series)

CHAPTER I: THE TESTIMONY OF FOREIGN MISSIONS TO THE SUPERINTENDING PROVIDENCE OF GOD

BY THE LATE ARTHUR T. PIERSON

God is in creation; cosmos would still be chaos with God left out. He is also in events; the whole of mission history is a mystery until read as His story.

We are now to look at the proofs of a Superintending Providence of God in foreign missions. The word “providence” literally means forevision, and hence, foreaction—preparation for what is foreseen—expressing a divine, invisible rule of this world, including care, control, guidance, as exercised over both the animate and inanimate creation. In its largest scope it involves foreknowledge and foreordination, preservation and administration, exercised in all places and at all times.

For our present purpose the word “providence” may be limited to the divine activity in the entire control of persons and events. This sphere of action and administration, or superintendence, embraces three departments: first, the natural or material—creation; second, the spiritual or immaterial—new creation; and third, the intermediate history in which He adapts and adjusts the one to the other, so that even the marred and hostile elements, introduced by sin, are made tributary to the final triumph of redemption. Man’s degeneration is corrected in regeneration; the natural made subservient to

6 The Fundamentals

the supernatural, and even the wrath of man to the love and grace of God. Read more about The Testimony of Foreign Missions to the Superintending Providence of God

Login or register to post comments.

Uncle Ben Was Almost Right

Tags: 

The story has almost attained myth status in our culture. Brainy, often-bullied, tragically-parentless adolescent has accidental encounter with dangerously powerful lab experiment. Bitten by an unnaturally fortified spider, he soon begins to develop spider-like qualities himself. He discovers that he has faster-than-human reflexes, can climb walls, and can do amazing things with webs. (Fortunately for him, compound eyes, extra limbs, and complicated new mouth parts are not part of the package.)

The youth struggles to come to terms with his new-found abilities and how his life must change. In most versions of the story, he has a conversation with his foster father, Uncle Ben, who delivers the famous aphorism: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The good uncle was almost right.

The voice of wisdom in the tale correctly recognized that power and responsibility go together. And certainly when individuals come upon power unexpectedly they ought to ponder what responsibilities they must also have. But by putting power first, Uncle Ben expressed a popular misunderstanding—a reversal of the actual order of things. And because we are so prone to be confused about power, the difference is important. Scripture reveals that responsibility comes first, and then power. And this is true for power in the sense of ability as well as power in the sense of authority. Read more about Uncle Ben Was Almost Right

Login or register to post comments.

FEARING God or Fearing GOD?

Tags: 

The Scriptures constantly remind us to fear God (Leviticus 25:17, for example), and we find out that such a fear is the “beginning of knowledge” (ESV, Proverbs 1:7). while the fear of man “lays a snare” (Proverbs 29:25).

Many who choose to honor God struggle over what it means to “fear” God. Should we be afraid of him? Or does it mean we reverence him? Or some of both? Even believers in Jesus need to fear God in the sense that we fear his wrath, discipline, and displeasing him. We remember, as the writer to Hebrews reminds us, that our God is a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Yet we can call God “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15), a term of endearment.

A Jewish perspective on fearing God is summarized in the Jewish Encyclopedia:

Who fears God will refrain from doing the things that would be displeasing to Him, the things that would make himself unworthy of God’s regard. Fear of God does not make men shrink from Him as one would from a tyrant or a wild beast; it draws them nearer to Him and fills them with reverential awe. That fear which is merely self-regarding is unworthy of a child of God.

Read more about FEARING God or Fearing GOD?
Login or register to post comments.

Woodpeckers and Termites

Tags: 

Photo by Althepal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Althepal)

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2014. Used by permission.

Would you rather deal with woodpeckers or termites? The woodpecker’s color and noise demand your attention. You know he is there. But in contrast, by the time you notice termites, it’s already too late: your house is crumbling around you.

Yes, I would definitely rather have woodpeckers.

The Bible identifies some woodpeckers but gives them the name of “apostate.” This is an unbeliever who makes a lot of theological noise that is easily identified as false doctrine. You can’t miss him. You know he is there. But while the apostate can harm the church, the bigger threat is a heretic. Like a termite, he works within the church to bring division. He often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Before we go much further, we need to define those two biblical words. That is the key to understanding this issue. Read more about Woodpeckers and Termites

Login or register to post comments.

Toward Expository Preaching

Tags: 

From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2014. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

God’s people understand that the Bible demands the preaching of God’s Word. Faithful ministers will, therefore, preach God’s Word, and God’s people will listen to the proclamation of His Word. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 and 2 Timothy 3:15—4:2 demonstrate the priority God places on preaching the Word. Paul insisted that God’s methodology is the “foolishness of the message preached” (1 Cor. 1:21). The preacher must proclaim the Word “not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4). He further instructed Timothy to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2).

The Background of Preaching

The ancient world recognized the value of spoken words. Aristotle’s On Rhetoric provides insight into the importance of public speaking. He defined speaking in terms of the ethos (character) of the author, the pathos (emotion) of the author, and the logos (content) of the message. Aristotle argued against the manipulation of an audience and concluded that the character of the author must come before either emotion or the content. All of these elements find emphasis in a class on preaching.

Classic education also emphasized the value of spoken words. Classic education typically divided itself into three categories (trivium): grammar, logic, and rhetoric. This form of education is actually finding a rebirth in some school curricula. The New Testament church found itself in the cultural backdrop of these educational emphases in the first century. Read more about Toward Expository Preaching

Login or register to post comments.

“Net” or “Nets”? Why Greek Texts and English Translations Differ

Tags: 

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, 1545. Jacopo Bassano

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. (KJV, Luke 5:4–6. Emphasis added.)

Hello Mr. Kutilek,

Years ago, I heard a preacher make an entire sermon out of the difference between “nets” plural and “net” singular in Luke 5:4-5 [KJV]. The message was that Peter trifled at the word by not obeying and letting down the nets and instead just threw out one net because of his lack of faith. This past Sunday, I heard another person mention this very thing so I’m prompted to check into it.

It seems that the Greek word diktuon is exactly the same in both places. NIV and NASB use plural in both places. I can see where people would pick up on it and make a point out of Peter not fully following the Lord’s instruction, but I’m not sure that it really is written that way. I don’t know Greek well enough to know how to see the difference between the singular and plural forms. Would you be willing to comment?

Thanks for your help.

C. Read more about “Net” or “Nets”? Why Greek Texts and English Translations Differ

Login or register to post comments.

Strive Not About Words

Tags: 

Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. (KJV, 2 Timothy 2:14)

I’ve often heard this text used to discourage detailed debate about the meaning of Scripture passages, or even to devalue highly precise Bible study. Is this what Paul’s warning to Timothy here is about?

First, observe that whatever “striving about words” is, Paul clearly saw it as something that threatened Timothy’s ministry. Timothy is to “charge them before the Lord” not to do this. Second, the activity is doubly discouraged as lacking in value (“no profit”) and also as causing damage of some kind to hearers (“subverting”). Third, the activity apparently involved individuals in at least two roles: the “strivers” and the “hearers.”

So what activity is being forbidden here? What is meant by “strive not about words”? Read more about Strive Not About Words

Login or register to post comments.

Pages