Conditionally Unconditional Love

Conditionally Unconditional Love
Vol: 141 Issue: 29 Saturday, June 29, 2013

There are few words more powerful than the word ”unconditional”.  By itself, the word is just a modifier.  Its power is not unleashed until it is linked to an action such as ”agreement” or ”surrender” or ”election”.

“Unconditional” means “without condition, absolute.”  What makes the word powerful is that so few things in our existence truly are unconditional.  Even the most seemingly unconditional actions are themselves conditional.

An offer of unconditional surrender can only be accepted on the condition that the enemy actually surrenders.  An unconditional agreement can only be reached on condition that the parties agree.

John Calvin postulates a state of ‘unconditional election’ of believers.  If one accepts that concept unconditionally, then it follows that God decides who will be saved in advance.

But that creates a major problem insofar as the Great Commission is concerned. Since God has already made the decision, why bother with evangelizing the lost?

The problem with unconditional election is that it confuses knowledge with destiny.

My knowing you’ll get home from work at five o’clock isn’t the same as your being destined to get home at five o’clock.

God has perfect foreknowledge of the hour and day that you will get saved.  That isn’t the same as destining you to be saved.  Just because God knows what your choices will be doesn’t mean that you do.

You don’t know what your choices will be for lunch next Monday.  But God is omniscient and therefore, He must — by definition.  But you still don’t even know if you’ll even eat lunch next Monday.

When next Monday comes around and you’re looking over the menu, your free will choices remain unimpaired.

Even the most hyper-Calvinistic would have a hard time arguing that unconditional election doesn’t include one condition.

No matter how far one takes unconditional election, one still has to decide to come to Christ. God doesn’t, won’t and can’t do it for you.

Wait!  Are you saying that there’s something God ‘can’t’ do?  God’s sovereignty is unconditional!

With this one condition. God can’t break His Word.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)

Salvation is unconditional in that Jesus met all the conditions necessary to pay the penalty for my sins.  Nothing I do can add to the Finished Work of the Cross, and nothing I can do can take away from the Finished Work of the Cross.

Why? Because it’s finished!

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)

If the Cross was simply a fresh start with God, but after that it was up to me to maintain it on my own efforts, my last state would be worse than the first.

Hebrews 6:4-6 clearly says that once saved, if you were to lose your salvation, you are forever lost and can never be saved again.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”

“Impossible” is another one of those ‘power’ words.  So if one could lose one’s salvation, they would be forever lost because it is impossible to renew them to repentance.

It also would mean that getting saved in one’s eighties would give somebody a definite advantage over the one who gave his life to Christ as a child.

If I believed that one could sin one’s way out of salvation and as a consequence, be forever lost, I would have advised my kids to hold off on getting saved until they were more mature.  (Especially if they’ve only got one shot at it.)

The enemy has less time to work on them before they die, they have more maturity working in their favor when temptation comes, and a lot of what tempts a 17 year old isn’t so tempting when you’re eighty.

Does that sound either logical or Scriptural?

While maintaining the state of salvation is unconditional, I had to meet at least five conditions in order to obtain it.  I had to believe, accept, repent, confess and trust.

It seems there are a lot of conditions attached to even the most seemingly unconditional promises.  But there is a lot more here than just a play on words.

Stay with me.

Assessment:

I received an email the other day from a brother asking what at first blush sounded like a no-brainer. “Do you agree/disagree that God’s love is unconditional?”

I was about to dash off a quick reply when I heard that still, small voice in the back of my mind let out with a chuckle. I decided I wasn’t absolutely sure how to answer that question so I’d better make sure.

It’s that word, ‘unconditional’ that nagged at my spirit.   Unconditional love is something that makes no demands, has no preconditions, and has no strings attached.

God IS love.  But unconditional love is a humanistic concept, not a Biblical one.  Unconditional love is the highest kind of love humanism knows.

Unconditional love as humanism views it, is a love that makes no demands for performance, good behavior, fellowship or discipline.

Unconditional love as expressed by God is a bit more conditional:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

That appears to be a condition — not necessarily on love, but certainly on salvation.  But unconditional love means that God loves everybody — without condition.  So what do we do with Esau?

“And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Malachi 1:3)

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13)

Unconditional love demands that God loves Esau unconditionally, doesn’t it?  So there could be no conditions under which God could hate Esau by definition, no?

In the end, I can’t find any expression in Scripture of what could be called unconditional love.  At best, one can argue that for a Christian, the conditions have already been met.

Jesus met the first condition, to wash away the sin that God hates. The believer meets the second condition, but only by God’s grace through faith.  The conditions of God’s love are resident within Himself, but they are conditions, notwithstanding.

There is a temptation to popularize Christianity by using loaded PC buzzwords like ‘unconditional love’ to make Christianity sound more relevant.  After all,  it is politically incorrect to suggest that God doesn’t love everybody, saint and sinner, without condition.

But the Bible says God doesn’t love everybody unconditionally.   He loved the world so much that He made a way for sinners to have fellowship with Him, on condition that they believe on His Son.

He loves His children, but He still spanks them when they get out of line.

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”  (Hebrews 12:7)

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)

God’s love for us is deeper than we can contemplate and more unfathomable than vastness of the universe.  The price paid for our redemption stunned the angels and totally blindsided the enemy.

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1st Corinthians 2:8)

As deep and as wide and as unfathomable as that love might be, the word ‘unconditional’ is not the right word to describe it. 

This brief was originally published May 4, 2010

The Trouble with Angels

The Trouble with Angels
Vol: 141 Issue: 28 Friday, June 28, 2013

Angels and angel stories pre-date the oldest Hebrew texts of the bible. The Sumerians, who pre-date ancient Egyptian society, was the most ancient civilization to depict winged humans in their carvings and statues.

The Sumerians tell the oldest known angel stories of “messengers of the gods” who would intervene between the “gods” and men. Angel stories permeate most ancient primitive cultures. Winged, angelic-like beings can be found within most all of their artwork and lore.

In Scripture, angels are presented as messengers. St Augustine, one of the early Church Fathers, wrote that angels are spirit-beings and that ‘angel’ is their designation of office, rather than their nature.

According to Augustine, therefore, anyone bearing a Divine message is an angel. The Greek and Hebrew words translated in Scripture as ‘angel’ means, ‘a messenger’.

Angel stories are not unique to Judeo-Christianity — the ‘prophet’ Mohammed claimed that an angel (Jabril, or Gabriel) dictated the Koran to him.

There are stories of angels in the ancient literature of Babylon, Persia, Greece, as well as references to angel-like spirit-beings within Eastern mystical religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.

Angels would seem, therefore, to exist independently from Christianity or Judaism. Every major religion has its own, unique form of angelic being. What makes them unique, however, is the role they play — all religions tend to describe them the same way.

They are more or less universally described as winged creatures of indeterminate sex and of indescribable beauty. They are capable of appearing both as a spirit and in corporeal form. Depending on the religious tradition, they range from being the gentle and benign to that of malignant creatures possessing great powers.

Uniquely then, it is possible for one to believe in the existence of angels without necessarily believing in either God or the Bible.

In some religious traditions, angels are viewed as gods in their own right — the Romans and Greeks had a pantheon of lesser gods; Mercury, (or Hermes) is depicted by the Greeks as Romans as the ‘winged messenger’ of Jupiter (or Zeus).

But where angels have really hit their stride is within the New Age. People are invited to get in touch with their ‘inner angel’ or their ‘angelic spirit guide’. Some teach we are all angels-in-waiting and that after we die, we become angels.

One hears that all the time, particularly from parents grieving the loss of a child. “She’s God’s little angel, now.”

The New Age tends to portray modern-day angels as ethereal, all-forgiving images of light.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2nd Corinthians 11:14)

New Agers see angels as “doorways” into the spirit world.

A New Age mystic named Andrew Ramer writes his travels with an “angel” through many reincarnated lives, “the two of us working to bridge the physical and spiritual worlds.”

(His angel comments: “We angels cannot enter your world unless you open a window or a doorway for us.”)

New Age angelologists develop that ‘opening’ through a host of techniques that are intended to help people connect with a personal angel. Besides the usual angel workshops–attended by a surprising number of professionals and religious folk– there are angelic oracles, spiritual specialists, divination tools, angel cards (like horoscopes), karma cleansing and much more.

TIME Magazine’s Nancy Gibbs accidently hit the nail on the head, so to speak, in trying to explain why people would so readily embrace angels while rejecting the notion of a Personal Redeemer.

“For those who choke too easily on God and His rules, theologians observe, angels are the handy compromise, all fluff and meringue, kind, nonjudgmental. And they avail themselves to everyone, like aspirin.”

It doesn’t really take that much faith to believe in angels. Lots of people see them.

And that’s the trouble with angels.

Assessment:

Almost all religious traditions have some form of angel. They almost all describe the same being. But the Bible is unique in that it explains who and what angels are. This tells us three things right off the bat. Angels are real. Angels are not religious. The Bible is true.

I’ll explain how I arrived at the last point from the first two. Speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, God hurled a challenge to the would-be gods of this world, naming the defining characteristic of Deity;

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

There are lots of ‘prophets’ — Nostradamus, St Malachy, the Mayan Indians, Edgar Cayce, etc., but their ‘prophecies’ are of the “I predict my dog will poop on the carpet” type.

Make the prediction, wait for conditions to fulfill it and shout, “Aha!”

I believe that Satan is real, but the Bible says he is but a finite, created being –an angel. He cannot predict the future. But he can manipulate conditions. (Like predicting a dog will poop on the carpet and then locking it in a house until it does.)

God tells the end from the beginning. That is, God starts at the end and then explains how it got that way. By way of illustration, anybody can predict the winner of the World Series — somebody does it every year.

It is a good guess based on statistical probabilities, not prophecy.

That’s how false prophecies, angelic, spirit guide, whatever, appear to come to pass. It is just the enemy playing the odds.

Imagine predicting the winner of the World Series and then predicting the details of every game throughout the season and how they interconnected to bring about the winning result.

Two thousand years before the invention of baseball.

Angels are real. Lost people see them all the time, so they are not religious manifestations. The Bible explains their end from the beginning.

Isaiah introduces Satan’s fall from heaven, starting at the point where he is judged at the end of time, then jumping back to the rebellion that took place before time began.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” (Isaiah 14:12,13)

The first half of this morning’s discussion covered what angel’s aren’t. Now, let’s discuss what angels are.

Angels are the first of four distinct sentient, spiritual creations of God. The second is the natural, unregenerate seed of Adam, or Gentile (meaning, ‘one apart from God’).

The third unique spiritual creation of God is the seed of Abraham and Isaac, or the Jew. Until the selection of the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob as a unique spiritual creation of God, there were only angels and Gentiles.

The fourth unique spiritual creation of God is the Christian, a new creature, neither Jew nor Gentile;

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

A Christian or a Jew cannot transform into a Gentile. They are different spiritual creatures. Neither could a Christian, a Jew or a Gentile transform into angels.

The Bible demonstrates how the angels harmonize with the rest of creation. Angels serve as messengers of God. Our relationship with angels is symbiotic and in harmony with creation.

The Bible tasks angels with serving mankind in this life, and then tasks mankind with judging angels in the next.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1st Corinthians 6:3)

The Bible says that fallen mankind serves a secondary purpose in the instruction of angels;

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. “ (1st Peter 1:12)

Fallen angels exist as adversaries of God, which then creates harmony in a created physical universe. Evil cannot exist apart from good. But without evil, there could be neither a measure of goodness nor a sense of appreciation for it.

They also exist to provide us with clear choices between good and evil;

“that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” (Psalms 51:4)

Angel worship is forbidden by Scripture. Divine angels never accept worship. But fallen angels live for it.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4)

And that’s also the trouble with angels.

Originally published: Novemeber 20, 2008

Today’s Featured Commentary: On Honor, Hope & Joy

The Multitude of Counsellors and The Great Debate

The Multitude of Counsellors and The Great Debate
Vol: 141 Issue: 27 Thursday, June 27, 2013

I recently received a rather belligerent challenge from one Farell Till, who challenged me to debate the inerrancy of the Bible. Till operates a website called theskepticalreview.com which exists for the express purpose of trying to prove the Bible is a collection of myths.

Evidently, the Omega Letter came to his attention after someone sent him a copy of the Tuesday, August 17 briefing in which we discussed another website specializing in Bible denial run by one Joseph Alward.

What I didn’t know until Till informed me, was that I had picked a “notoriously weak skeptic to attack”, and that he thinks I will find that he has “far better credentials in Biblical errancy that Joseph Alward. I hereby challenge you to debate me on the issue of errancy.”

He ended his message with a schoolyard taunt:

“If you decline this challenge that will tell me that you talk a good game but don’t have the courage to walk onto the field when it is time to play.”

Like a fish, I took the bait, firing off a reply, saying at the end, “Come up with a proposal for a level playing field with an impartial moderator and we’ll talk.” To his credit, Till even offered to conduct the debate in one of our forums. It seemed fair enough, and I accepted.

It didn’t start getting nasty until Till sent me a list of proposed topics.

The first five called on me to prove five specific Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled ‘in all their details.’ The next two demanded I prove the Virigin Birth and Resurrection as ‘verifiable historical fact’.

“I have many other suggestions for propositions, but these are sufficient for me to determine if you are willing to defend the Bible against an informed opposition. I personally don’t think you are. In fact, I am sure that I can already hear chickens clucking.”

That’s when I wrote him off in my mind as a nut. First, it would be impossible to argue that any prophecy of the Old Testament has been ‘fulfilled’ in all its details before the 2nd Coming of Christ. Even the Old Testament prophecies of the birth of the Messiah are tied to His ultimate purpose at the 2nd Advent.

Secondly, the Resurrection is attested to by eyewitness testimony;

“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6)

Remove the Bible’s eyewitness testimony, and one can only prove that Jesus was an historical figure who lived and died in Jerusalem in the first part of the first century.

The same applies to the Virgin Birth. All seven debate propositions were front-loaded, so I declined. Till raised the ante a notch from schoolyard taunting and fired off a shot that hit me where I live:

“I will be waiting to hear from you, and so will the lady who made me aware of your article about Ezekiel 4. She thought that it was a brilliant presentation of a biblical prophecy fulfillment. You aren’t going to disappoint her by refusing to defend your position against informed opposition, are you?”

Reluctantly, I accepted the challenge to debate, provided the topic was not front-loaded like his first seven submissions. As the negotiations over terms progessed, I began to regret accepting his challenge. There wasn’t much about it that gave me incentive to discuss anything with this guy.

In reply to one such exchange, I asked, “But by your comments, you suggest I am either a liar or a fool who takes a stand based on, what? Ignorance? Or dishonesty?” In reply, he told me:

“I really wish I knew the answer to that question. Why is it that I was able to see 40 years ago that the Bible is a mass of silly myths, legends, and superstitions, whereas some people like you apparently spend years reading it and are unable to see the obvious? I really do wish I knew.”

In another exchange, I told him,

“Truth to tell, I couldn’t care less what you believe. You’ve made an informed decision concerning what you choose to believe and have heard the Gospel message and rejected it.”

He replied,

“I doubt that you ever made an informed decision. You simply accepted uncritically what you were taught to believe as you were growing up. . . Don’t talk to me about informed decisions, Jack. I am pretty sure that I can best you in that area.”

(I will post the entire exchange in the member’s forum shortly so you can read it in context for fairness)

So you see, I am not exactly looking forward to any form of exchange with this guy. And I certainly don’t want to bring any attention to his website. As he told me in another exchange,

“Out of curiosity, I went to Google and typed our names into the window. Your name gave me 3,570 hits, and mine gave me 3,430 hits, so I am almost as famous as you.”

Hmmm.

Now we get to the point of today’s OL. The Scriptures say,

“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” (Proverbs 15:22)

I seek your counsel because this is YOUR Omega Letter, and it is on Omega Letter turf that I agreed to this debate. But here is the problem. I despise this guy and everything he stands for. I can’t help myself.

(But then there is that lady who was so encouraged by the Omega Letter that she sent it to Till: “You aren’t going to disappoint her by refusing to defend your position against informed opposition, are you?”)

To a believer, the worst possible thing that could happen in this life would be to ‘discover’ their faith is in vain. Just imagine how it would affect you.

Dwell on it for a second. Everybody you ever loved who died in the Lord, not in Heaven. Just ceased to exist.

That still, small Voice, that constant Companionship, gone. Hope, gone. Faith, gone. Sense of spiritual direction, gone. Indescribable, aching, agonizing emptiness in place of the assurance of an indwelling Holy Spirit.

Forget, for a moment, that it couldn’t happen to you. (I know it couldn’t. Me either) But just allow yourself to imagine that it COULD, and think of what it would mean to your life, your family, your very existence.

But the baby Christian, the skeptical Christian, somebody seeking Christ? That is what this guy, and guys like him, try to do, just for the FUN of it.

As Till told me:

“I have had too many former Christians and even ex-preachers write to me and tell me that my debates and articles were helpful to them in coming to see that they had been falsely indoctrinated about the Bible. I seriously doubt, however, that you have had any biblical skeptics and atheists contact you to say that they didn’t believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant “word of God” until they read your articles.”

I have to admit THAT one made me laugh out loud — he’s clearly never read our forums.

In any case, I need your counsel, and your permission to host this debate on the Omega Letter. Post your comments in the member’s forum, so that I can get some sense of direction from you. Remember that the debate, if we have one, will also end up on the skepticsreview pages, which will draw readers and additional attention to his website.

It is a conundrum. I need your counsel.

Note: Jack sought the counsel of the members in 2004 and received 23 responses to his request.  The debate continued and Till signed up for the free trial we had set up at the time.  The key word search we used to find this mornings brief was “encouragement“.  This wasn’t exactly the type of encouragement we thought we were going to receive in the search, but “His thoughts are not our thoughts“.  Continuing in the research on Farrell Till we discovered that he has recently passed.  He was cared for until he left this world by Methodist Medical Center in Peoria. (Christian name but seems like it is just a name). 

Today’s Featured Commentary: Paula Deen and Gay Marriage

The Truth About Denial

The Truth About Denial
Vol: 141 Issue: 26 Wednesday, June 26, 2013

That is what Newsweek promised in its cover story. Under the headline, ”The Truth About Denial” it promised to tell the truth about what it calls ”global warming deniers”.

Even the label is loaded — the phrase ‘global warming deniers’ has the same flavor as the phrase, “Holocaust deniers” — it conjures up images of far-right extremists who refuse, for their own nefarious purposes, to acknowledge the evidence of massive human tragedy right before their eyes.

Given the overwhelming evidence attesting to the Holocaust, Holocaust deniers are almost religiously blind; it wouldn’t matter if they had been eyewitnesses to Auschwitz, they would still deny that Germany systematically set out to destroy the Jewish race.

That is the reason for the label, ‘global warming deniers — it carries with it the sense of blind defiance on an almost mystical level. How could anybody deny something when, to quote Senator Barbara Boxer, the evidence is “unequivocal.”

In fact, the evidence is almost childishly simple.

In Newsweek’s April, 1975 issue, the magazine was predicting the onset of another Ice Age. Citing “ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically,” the magazine warned of an impending “drastic decline in food production.”

Political disruptions stemming from food shortages could affect “just about every nation on earth.” Scientists urged governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible threat of global cooling.

To be fair, it wasn’t just Newsweek that was predicting we’d all be living in igloos by 2007. TIME Magazine also ran a 1974 cover story predicting the onset of a new Ice Age.

But that was 1974. This time, they are not only absolutely certain that they are right, but any disagreement with their assessments is nothing short of scientific heresy. This time, the evidence is unequivocal!

Ahem. The evidence was ‘unequivocal’ the last time, too.

Last time, they argued that it would take only a tiny tilt of the Earth’s rotation to plunge it into a deep freeze.

Both magazines sought out the most respectable scientists to underscore their point that the earth was about to freeze to death in another Ice Age. Among their principle sources was Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer.

Defending its failed 1975 prediction, Newsweek says this week,

“Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen—even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov—saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production.”

Hold everything! Isn’t that what they are saying now, only in reverse? In 1975, all our crops were gonna freeze, causing a worldwide food shortage. In 2007, all our crops are gonna burn up, causing a worldwide food shortage.

In 1975, the scientists and laymen who thought the Earth was entering a new Ice Age did so based on the climate record of the preceding three decades.

Thirty years later, the “settled” science uses the climate record of the preceding three centuries, and therefore, (based on the climate record of preceding three decades,) the earth is undergoing catastrophic global warming.

Since the science is “settled” the recent revelation that the data used was flawed is “irrelevant.” (As noted, this time they’re positively positive they aren’t as wrong as they were in 1975).

A Canadian amateur climatologist, Steve McIntyre, dissected their data and found an uncorrected Y2K bug that changed the hottest year in history from 1998, supporting global warming, to 1934, supporting, er, common sense.

The corrected figures show that 4 of the 10 warmest years in the US occurred during the 1930s. Rather than thanking McIntyre for pointing out an error in their calculations, NASA dismissed the error as “inconsequential” to their conclusion.

NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt told the LA Times;

“The data adjustment changes ‘the inconsequential bragging rights for certain years in the U.S.,’ he said. “But ‘global warming is a global issue, and the global numbers show that there is no question that the last five to 10 years have been the hottest period of the last century.'”

(“You see? the science is ‘settled’. Therefore, the data error is inconsequential, since we were half right! Now, don’t interrupt! The March Hare is about to recite a poem!”)

The Bible defines ‘faith’ this way:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Global warming isn’t a science. It’s a religion.

Assessment:

The religion of global warming is rooted in “settled” science that is actually based in the observations of the last thirty years, rather than the last three hundred.

Until global warming became a religion, it was a matter of scientific fact that until 1900, the world had been going through a three hundred year long cold ‘snap’ dubbed “The Little Ice Age.”

It was also a matter of scientific fact that the “Little Ice Age” was measured against its predecessor, the “Medieval Warming Period” that occurred between 1000 AD and the mid-14th century.

Since the Little Ice Age only ended about 100 years ago, without the Medieval Warming Period to compare it to, we wouldn’t KNOW it was the “Little Ice Age.” It would be the ‘historical average temperature’.

It isn’t as warm now as it was during the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). Greenland is still 84% ice. When it was discovered and settled by the Vikings during the MWP, it was called “Greenland” because it was green and habitable. Then it got cold during the Little Ice Age and they left. (I learned this in 7th grade.)

So, it was warm for four hundred years. Then it got cold for three hundred more. Then, in 1900, after being cold for three hundred years, it started to warm so rapidly that, by the 1930’s, the heat and drought caused massive crop failures.

Five of the ten hottest years on record were during this period.

Then, in 1940, another cold ‘snap’ settled in — the one most of us grew up in. That was the cold snap that, by 1975, had Newsweek and TIME convinced that we were on the road to another Ice Age.

Today, Newsweek is utterly confident that, based on the “settled science” we are on the road to catastrophic global warming, flawed data and climate history notwithstanding. The “settled science” upon which this is based is the same science used to predict tomorrow’s weather.

Most major cities have three local stations. Most local stations have local weather forecasts. All use the same ‘settled’ science. Every day, all three give slightly different forecasts. Rain, high of 76 . . . or is it a chance of rain and 72? Then the third guy splits the difference and forecasts 74 and partly sunny.

Go to the three five-day forecasts and one would think each forecast was for a different part of the country.

That is the ‘settled science’ they started with. State of the art, 21st century weather forecasting equipment and technology — like that used by your three local weather forecasters.

Then, it turns out that the data they input into this state of the art, 21st century weather forecasting equipment and technology that forecasts three alternative scenarios each day, was flawed. No matter. The science is “settled”. Anybody who says otherwise is immediately branded a “heretic.”

The faith in global warming goes beyond science and into the realm of religion.

“Heretic” is a religious term. It’s classic meaning is “person who has expressed formal denial or doubt of any defined doctrine of the church.” I typed the word “heretic” into Google’s news search engine.

The first hit I got was the headline: “A Conversation with an Energy Heretic.”

There have been all kinds of candidates for the religion of the antichrist and environmentalism certainly deserves consideration. Al Gore uses ten times the energy of the average family, travels in private jets, limos and SUV’s and claims to live a ‘carbon-neutral’ lifestyle — and his followers accept it without question.

I don’t think it is THE religion of antichrist, but it will certainly find a home there.

Among the signs of the last days, according to Jesus Christ, would be,

“signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring. Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)

Global warming ‘heretics’ note that recent and unprecedented solar eruptions are the best explanation for the recent warming spell. They note that similar warming is occurring on Mars, which has no atmosphere to pollute nor people to pollute it.

But whole nations are distressed and perplexed about the threat of catastrophic global warming because it is warmer now than it was thirty-five years ago when we were anticipating a new Ice Age.

Al Gore warns the sea will reclaim most of the world’s coastlines within fifty years. His “Inconvenient Truth” slide show actually contains images of ‘the sea and the waves roaring’.

It is the “powers of heaven” — the extremes of wind, rain, heat, cold, that is behind the fear, and the global warming predictions are nothing less than that they will be ‘shaken’ by catastrophic global warming.

Is global warming real? I don’t know, but I seriously doubt it. What the Bible actually predicts is fear of the perception of something like global warming, not the actual event itself.

It is that perception, and its attending fear that points to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. If we aren’t worrying about global warming, we are spending billions looking for the Next Killer Asteroid.

The same passage in Luke also predicts,

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Note: Obama gave a speech yesterday at Georgetown University, while wiping the sweat from his brow he said; “We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society,” bypassing congressional approvalAs noted on one website, “Audience at president’s climate change speech so motivated, forgets to pick up litter” which led us to this brief published August 23, 2007 .

Today’s Featured Commentary: Different Seasons

Foolishness and Political Correctness

Foolishness and Political Correctness
Vol: 141 Issue: 25 Tuesday, June 25, 2013

For most of the last thirteen years, the mantra has remained the same: ”Islam is a religion of peace and love that was hijacked by the terrorists.” If there is any single place where the Bush administration truly dropped the ball, it’s there.

This fundamental misunderstanding of Islam’s core teachings is at the heart of whatever military miscalculations have been made since September 11. Indeed, it was this misunderstanding that made September 11 possible in the first place.

Americans, by nature, want to be fair with other religionists and other religions, even those they don’t understand. Since most Americans grew up in a mainly Christian culture, their assumption is that other religions preach the same basic message of peace, love and the hope of redemption that they are familiar with.

And, since Islam presents itself as one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions, the default assumption is that Islam worships the same God as Christians and Jews, albeit differently and by a different Name.

That isn’t so broad an assumption. God is worshipped by many Names, Jehovah, Adonai, G-d, Jesus, El Shaddai, etc. But the nature and character of God, by any Name, is the same. At least, it is within the Judeo-Christian cultural understanding of ‘God’.

To a person raised in a Christian culture, there are essentially three understandings of Deity. There are religions who worship the same God by many Names, there are atheists, and there are pagan religions that have many gods.

Each is understood as distinctly different, but when one adds Islam as ‘one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions’ — Allah tends to be viewed less as a pagan god and more as the God worshipped by many Names.

Culturally, it is a social taboo akin to racism to suggest Allah is NOT the same Deity worshipped by Christians and Jews.

I am often amused by the strict separationists within US culture who insist religion should play no role in US public life while simultaneously advancing theological interpretations on the validity of Islam.

The ACLU has fought pitched battles for decades to eliminate any vestiges of Christianity from the public school system, but it defended the mandatory study of Islam in the California school system, for example.

It isn’t because the ACLU favors Islamic teachings. Islam gets preferential treatment because it is politically correct to advance the causes of minorities and politically incorrect to speak ill of minorities, which, according to the Marxist principle of political correctness, is the equivalent to ‘oppression’.

Islam enjoys political influence far beyond its numbers because of political correctness. Islam might be the world’s fastest growing religion, but in America, its numbers lag behind the number of Americans who believe they’ve been abducted by UFO’s. (Twenty million Americans believe they’ve been abducted by UFO’s, compared to the US Islamic population of seven million.)

In the past thirteen years, Islamic terrorism has dominated US foreign policy. Thousands of Americans, both military and civilian, have died at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

The television airwaves have been saturated with warnings, releases, fatwas and declarations of ‘Death to America’ by Islamic terrorists. Islamic cultural centers have been used as terror recruitment outposts throughout the Western world.

During those thirteen years, ‘moderate’ Islam (the alleged majority of the Islamic world) was nowhere to be found.

A few half-hearted condemnations of terror by minor Islamic organizations, like the recent fatwa issued by the “Muslim American Society” are lost in the din of fatwas from so-called ‘radical’ Muslim groups world-wide.

Political correctness demands that the cacaphony of radical statements MUST represent the tiny minority of Islam, and the anti-terrorism fatwa issued by the largely unknown “Muslim American Society” — coming THIRTEEN YEARS after September 11 — MUST represent the majority view of Islam toward terrorism.

The fatwa condemning terror was the FIRST one ever issued by a North American Muslim group, and it wasn’t issued until July 28. Even then, the American fatwa was in response to two bombings in Great Britain, not the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Or the terrorist attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan that claimed American forces on an almost daily basis.

I referred to ‘radical Muslims’ as ‘so-called’ for a reason. If the majority of Islam approves of jihad, (as polls taken in the Islamic world indicate) then it is ‘moderate’ Islam that is actually the ‘radical’ branch.

The jihadists are the ones that represent ‘mainstream’ Islam.

Assessment:

A radio talk-show host for ABC made the mistake of making similar observations about Islam on the air.

The Council on Islamic American Relations complained, and he was fired for his comments. It didn’t matter that what Michael Graham said was true. It was politically incorrect.

Graham lost his job for making the following observation:

“Because of the mix of Islamic theology that—rightly or wrongly—is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam’s name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn’t have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don’t support terror will step forward and re-claim their religion.”

As I noted, it doesn’t matter if what Graham said was true. CAIR, the organization that lobbied for Graham’s head, has had ample opportunity to prove Islam is really a religion of peace and love. But instead, three of its top leaders have been convicted of terrorist activities since September 11.

As far as CAIR’s ‘condemnation of terrorism’ in November 1999, CAIR President Omar Ahmad addressed a youth session at the IAP annual convention in Chicago, where he praised suicide bombers who “kill themselves for Islam”:

“Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam – that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.”

Not only did the Left fail to call for CAIR President Omar Ahmad’s head when he advocated suicide bombing as an Islamic duty, it roundly supported his right to do so.

On the other hand, CAIR was profoundly offended by an analogy offered by Graham between Islam and the Boy Scouts. And so was ABC, since the fired Graham for saying it on the air:

“If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization,” he said.

That sounds reasonable enough. Especially if the Scouts as an organization defended it, as Graham’s analogy postulated.

“If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder – and the scoutmasters in charge simply said ‘Could be’ – the Boy Scouts would have driven out of America long ago.”

Let’s compare the two statements. One from CAIR, an allegedly moderate Muslim group, advocating suicide bombing as an Islamic duty, and the other an analogy that perfectly captures the allegedly ‘moderate’ Islamic attitude toward terror — as expressed by the leader of the allegedly ‘moderate’ group being offended.

Let’s break it down further. Taking the politically correct view, statements from Muslims favoring Islamic terror don’t disqualify them from being ‘moderate’ but saying moderate Islam favors Islamic terror is ‘racist Islamophobia’.

Political correctness is an object lesson in the principle that spiritual blindess causes spiritual insanity. The world cannot accept the concept that one of the ‘world’s three great monotheistic religions’ is at its core, a bloodthirsty, xenophobic religion dedicated to spreading Islam at the point of a sword, if necessary.

If one denies the existence of a good God, one cannot accept the existence of an ‘evil god’ — and therefore, Islam is no greater a threat than Christianity or Judaism. Less, even, since it shares the world’s irrational hatred of both Christians and Jews.

We are engaged in both a material and spiritual conflict, with the emphasis on the latter. It is a war between the forces of the Bible and the forces of the Prince of Persia. But recognizing the threat means recognizing the spiritual element behind it. That is too great a hurdle for the world to overcome.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

The world prefers its version of ‘moderate’ Islam despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary because it is blinded by the god of this world.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1st Corinthians 3:19)

Conventional wisdom looks more like the results of mass hysterical hypnosis than it does the results of sober, thoughtful, contemplative examination of the evidence.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)

This is another reason why I believe the Bible indicates a pre-Tribulation Rapture. The indwelt Church isn’t under that delusion. The Apostle Paul noted;

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

Note:  This brief was originally published August 23, 2005.  The only edit that we made was the number of years referenced (“five” to “thirteen”).  “Foolishness and Political Correctness” brought to mind the new movement known as “My Jihad” based out of Chicago, Illinois.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Blind Date

What’s the Buzz — Or Lack of It?

What’s the Buzz — Or Lack of It?
Vol: 141 Issue: 24 Monday, June 24, 2013

A mystery malady known as ‘colony collapse disorder’ has destroyed from fifty to ninety percent of honeybee colonies in the United States and Europe.

In Great Britain, London beekeepers said starting at the end of 2006 that up to three-quarters of their bees have either died or simply ‘vanished’. John Chapple, head of the London Beekeepers’ Association, said that when he opened his 40 hives after the winter, only 10 were unaffected by a mystery plague. Twenty-three of the hives were empty and seven contained dead bees.

In North America, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been reported in Canada, and in at least 24 US states.

In a legislative hearing before the House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture in March, Gene Brandi, a Merced County (California) beekeeper and chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association, told lawmakers that while bee losses are not uncommon, the current ailment plaguing bee colonies is much more serious.

He says about 40 percent of his colonies died over the winter, his greatest loss in 30 years of business. That equates to a loss of nearly $60,000 in pollination income and another $20,000 in bulk bee sales, plus a cost of $48,000 to restock the 800 dead hives.

“Even though my loss is substantial, other beekeepers throughout the country have suffered much great losses,” he says. “Beekeepers who lost over 50 percent of their colonies will have difficulty making up their losses from their own colonies as I plan to do.”

The cause of colony collapse disorder is unknown, although poor nutrition, mites, diseases and pesticides have all been suspect. There is also concern that some genetically modified crops may be responsible. But nobody knows for sure.

The only thing that is seems certain is that, as Speigel Online reported last month, “the phenomenon is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions.”

This is a much more important story than the mainstream media yet realized in 2006. CCD is not simply a case of entire colonies of bees just dying in the hive. If that were the case, then the cause could be determined and dealt with.

There are lots of diseases and parasitic mites than can wipe out a bee colony. But Colony Collapse Disorder refers to the total disappearance of whole bee colonies — the BBC calls it VBS, or “Vanishing Bee Syndrome“.

According to Wikipedia “a colony which has collapsed from CCD is generally characterized by all of these conditions occurring simultaneously: 

  • Complete absence of adult bees in colonies, with no or little build-up of dead bees in or in front of the colonies.
  • Presence of capped brood in colonies. Bees normally will not abandon a hive until the capped brood have all hatched.
  • Presence of food stores, both honey and bee pollen: (i) which is not immediately robbed by other bees.  (ii) when attacked by hive pests such as wax moth and small hive beetle, the attack is noticeably delayed.”

Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive’s honey. That’s not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem.

To summarize, for reasons unknown, millions of bees just pack up and abandon their hive, leaving everything behind. Nobody knows where they go. They just disappear.

Sounds like the kind of story one tells to kids over a campfire, but it’s true.

Assessment:

How important are honeybees? According to Greg Hunt, assistant professor of entomology at Purdue University, a common refrain throughout the beekeeping industry is that we can thank these busy pollinators for “one out of every three bites of food we eat.”

Crops in the United States that rely on these pollinators include 300 different nectar-producing plants and trees, including all vine crops, such as cucumbers, squash, melons and pumpkins, and also all fruits.

Honeybees pollinate the alfalfa that feeds the cattle that make the milk our children drink. They’re responsible for one-third of human nutrition.

Bees are not only needed to make honey, they are critical in the pollination of almonds, apples, grapes, cherries and cauliflower.

Honey production in the U.S. generates more than $150 million annually, while crop pollination is valued at $14 billion a year, according to a Cornell study.

A complete collapse of the US honeybee population would be catastrophic to America’s food supply, which would wreak even greater catastrophe world-wide. (America isn’t going to export food if there isn’t enough for its own population).

Famine is a central theme of Bible prophecy for the last days.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)

“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and FAMINES, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” (Luke 21:11)

“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and FAMINE; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Revelation 18:8)

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.”

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with HUNGER, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:6-8)

Most Christians in the Western developed world have always looked at the Biblical prophecies concerning famine the way they USED to look at prophecies of pestilences, or deadly infectious diseases — as Third World afflictions.

By the mid 1960’s, Western medicine had all but eliminated all the ancient killers — only to see the rise of new killer diseases and the resurgence of new antibiotic resistant strains of the old ones. By the 1990’s it became painfully obvious that the developed West had become as susceptible as the underdeveloped Third World.

Like pestilence, the idea of widespread famine across the developed world used to seem impossible. But a headline in South Florida Sun-Sentinel summed up the threat from CCD this way: “Without Bees to Pollinate Crops, We Won’t Have Food“.

It doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.

Note:  Although the bee population was not a big concern in the media back in 2007 when this brief was originally published, Monsanto is big news today.  A recent colum reports that;

“Monsanto has decided to buy out one of the major international firms devoted to studying and protecting bees. According to a company announcement, Beeologics handed over the reins to Monsanto back on September 28, 2011, which means the gene-manipulating giant will now be able to control the flow of information and products coming from Beeologics for colony collapse disorder (CCD).” (emphasis mine)

Today’s Featured Commentary: Technology is Great Until It Isn’t

Warts and All

Warts and All
Vol: 141 Issue: 22 Saturday, June 22, 2013

”But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The God-haters argue that the Bible is a dishonest record that, if properly scrutinized, is filled with errors. In fact the exact reverse is true. The Bible is painfully honest.

It depicts Jacob, the father of God’s “chosen people,” to be a deceiver. (His name even means ‘deceiver’) It describes Moses, the lawgiver, as an insecure, reluctant leader, who, in his first attempt to come to the aid of his own people, killed a man, and then ran for his life into the desert to avoid punishment.

It portrays David not only as Israel’s most loved king, general, and spiritual leader, but as a man who took another man’s wife and then, to cover his own sin, conspired to have her husband killed.

Israel, God’s Chosen People, are depicted in Scripture (Ezekiel 16:46-52) as being so evil they made Sodom and Gomorrah look good.

The Apostle Peter denied Jesus three times, and, together with most of the Apostles, abandoned Jesus and ran for their lives. The Apostle Paul is self-described as the ‘chief among sinners’ with the blood of the Christian martyrs on his hand.

Despite arguments from the God-haters that the Bible was changed after the fact to make it appear prophetic, the Dead Sea Scrolls prove otherwise. Among the most important finds in the treasure trove of ancient documents discovered in a cave in 1947 was a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah.

It varied from the modern book of Isaiah only in matters of dialect and the use of vowels. The Bible’s preservation over the centuries is nothing short of miraculous, but, of course, that is because the Bible is a miracle in and of itself.

The Bible, particularly the New Testament, employs the use of eyewitness accounts, as well as Divine Revelation, to teach its eternal truths. Paul writes:

“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17)

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the resurrected Jesus had been seen by more than five hundred witnesses, (1 Corinthians 15:1-6) many of whom Paul writes, were still alive at the time of his writing, in case anybody living during that period wanted to do a little fact-checking.

It is not unreasonable to assume that the God-haters of Paul’s time were just as dedicated to disproving the Resurrection story in the 1st century as they are in the 21st.

Paul provided the opportunity, but there were evidently no takers.

Many of the witnesses ended up as martyrs, not for abstract moral or spiritual convictions but for their claim that Jesus had risen from the dead.

While martyrdom is not unusual, the basis on which these people gave their lives is what IS important. Many have died for what they believed to be the truth. But people do not die for what they KNOW to be a lie.

The Bible’s composition also defies the God-haters contentions. Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible. Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament.

Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story. Each book flows seamlessly into the next, gradually unfolding, without contradiction, the progressive Revelation of God to man. Although the Bible is made up of many books, it is really just one.

The God-haters throughout history have tried to make the case for Bible errancy based on the absence of historical evidence of its accuracy. One such argument concerned the historical reality of Pontius Pilate.

Pilate, according to Scripture, was the Roman governor of Judea. The Romans kept meticulous records, but there was no record of Pontius Pilate among them. For centuries, the historical absence of Pilate was the God-haters ‘gotcha’ question.

But in 1961, archaeologists found a stone inscription at the excavation of an old Roman temple located in Caesarea in Israel. It was constructed by Pilate in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, (called a Tiberieum).

It says in Latin:”TIBERIEUM (PON)TIUS PILATUS (PRAEF)ECTUSIUD” identifying Pontius Pilate as Rome’s prefect in the time of Jesus.

The Bible names Caiaphas as the chief of the Sanhedrin who oversaw the trial of Jesus. His existence was also questioned, since the only record of his existence is in the Gospels.

Until 1990 when an ossuary was discovered bearing the inscription, Caiaphas ben-Joseph was discovered in Jerusalem.

The discovery of Caiaphas ben Joseph’s ossuary established — for the first time — that such a historical personage actually lived and artifacts in the box indicated he died sometime after AD 37.

The ossuary’s discovery was announced in the Biblical Archeological Review (BAR). It is important to note that the BAR is a Jewish secular organization. They do not take a position of Biblical inerrancy. And being Jews – secular or otherwise — they have nothing to gain by proving the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Caiaphas’ house has since also been identified. It was the only house in first-century Jerusalem to have its own dungeon. I’ve been in that dungeon. I stood in the exact place where Jesus was chained to the dungeon wall. It’s real enough, believe me.

Jesus Christ Himself verified the accuracy of Scripture, which, while meaningless to the Godhaters, is undeniable proof to those who know Him.

He said,

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40)

The Book of Daniel is one of the books the God-haters hate the most, since it contains details about global empires that came to power centuries after Daniel’s death.

For that reason, many advance the argument that Daniel is a forgery written sometime during the Macabean Revolt of BC 163 to encourage the revolutionaries.

But Jesus Christ verified Daniel as ‘a prophet’ (and He oughta know).

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel THE PROPHET, stand in the holy place . . ” (Matthew 24:15)

The books of Moses were written 500 years before the earliest Hindu Scriptures. Moses wrote Genesis 2,000 years before Muhammad penned the Koran. In all those generations, Godhaters and skeptics have sought to discredit its testimony.

If anybody actually ever did, Christianity would be a dead religion today. As noted earlier, who wants to die for a lie?

Despite centuries of attacks, no other book has been so consistently bought, studied, and quoted as the Bible. While millions of other titles come and go, the Bible is still the Book by which all other books are measured.

Then there is the Bible’s most undeniable evidence — its power to change lives.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon vainly searched for peace until he heard this verse quoted by a country preacher:

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).

Martin Luther found deliverance for his sin and the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation when he read these words:

“The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Chuck Colson, convicted Watergate conspirator, came to the truth through the faithful witness and clear teaching of the Bible by some of his friends. He now directs a ministry for prisoners, and his book ‘Born Again’ has influenced many who were trapped by the consequences of their own behavior.

Hal Lindsey was a hard-drinking Missippi riverboat captain before hearing God’s call. I was a cynical, hard-bitten Texas cop when the Lord changed me.

The God-haters, not understanding the concept of grace, discount the evidence of changed lives, arguing instead that such people still sin. (The preaching of the cross is foolishness to the natural man, remember?)

There will always be idiots who will focus on whether or not Solomon had four thousand horses (2nd Chronicles 9:25) or forty thousand horses (1 Kings 4:26) when what both books refer to are ‘stalls’ and not horses at all. One passage refers to just horses and horsemen, while the other, if one looks closely, refers to horses, horsemen AND chariots.

It is a dishonest debate they seek. But they don’t have an answer for why the Apostles chose death rather than deny Jesus. They don’t explain why the 1st century Christians willingly went to their deaths rather than deny Jesus.

They don’t explain how the Bible can be so brutally honest and simultaneously be corrupt, despite the historical evidence of its incorruption.

And they can’t explain away its power.

Remove the Bible from history and our social structure collapses into chaos. What happens to our laws, our police, and our judges? What happens to the weak, the defenseless, the downtrodden, the lonely, and the despairing?

One shudders to think of the tribulation that would fall upon our world. One trembles at the heartlessness, the cruelty, the deprivation of an unrestrained mankind.

Noted one apologist, “Take it all away, and what is left? A Milton without a poem; a Michelangelo without a theme; a Dante without a vision; a Handel without inspiration; a Whitfield without a sermon.”

There have always been self-important wannabes who seek fame by being the first one in history to conclusively disprove the Word of God. The Scripture says they will continue in their efforts until the Lord returns at the end of the Tribulation Period.

The Scriptures tell us to ‘trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding’ (Proverbs 3:5) when faced by glib-tongued Godhaters seeking to steal your victory.

As Paul awaited his own martyrdom, from a prison cell in Rome, he wrote the following words:

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-4)

Note: This brief was originally published August 7, 2009.  And despite the world’s skeptics and hatred, God still SO loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son and whosoever (warts and all) believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)