Without buying into the priority of Mark’s gospel, you can appreciate the visual representation of the structure of Matthew’s gospel, below.
The graphic comes from this site.
Without buying into the priority of Mark’s gospel, you can appreciate the visual representation of the structure of Matthew’s gospel, below.
The graphic comes from this site.
QUESTION: How did you become an Atheist?
ATHEIST: By being born. I was taught about God later.
CHRISTIAN: One becomes an atheist because he (she) is taught to be one. There is no natural reason for so becoming.
“‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?'” Malachi 1:6.
After this last book of the Old Testament, there would be over four hundred years of silence from God until John would become the “voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for [Jesus].'”
So there is a lot of good and important stuff packed into these four chapters, split into two main sections. (More …)
The following exchange is from a debate between two evolutionists. Lanier is a computer scientist; Dawkins is a professor at Oxford and an ardent atheist. Jaron Lanier: “There’s a large group of people who simply are uncomfortable with accepting evolution because it leads to what they perceive as a moral vacuum, in which their best impulses have no basis in nature.” Richard Dawkins: “All I can say is, That’s just tough. We have to face up to the truth.” Before you opt for Darwin’s primrose path, consider where that pathway leads. Are you ready to live in a world with no right and wrong; where might makes right? This is Just-A-Minute.
QUESTION: What happens when we die?
ATHEIST: All bodily functions cease, and eventually our bodies decompose. (Ecclesiastes 3:19-21).
CHRISTIAN: From a purely naturalistic perspective this would be true, but there is more to man that just the material substance. There is the mind, and the mind is not material. From where did it originate? An atheist has no answer, but a theist does (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The passage used (3:19-21) is strictly from a physical perspective, but the wise preacher of Ecclesiastes knew there was more than the physical/material. In this there is wisdom.
QUESTION: What if your wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
ATHEIST: If I am wrong, then I will go to Hell. Under such a circumstance, our choices are limited: 1) Be eternally tortured. 2) Be terrorized into submission in hopes of being allowed to spend eternity with the very being who created this scenario which lead to being so terrorized in the first place. I find neither scenario appealing. (NOTE: The concept of Hell being an old Pagan myth; and the concept of Heaven being “pie in the sky” hopes of defying nature and thereby somehow reconnecting with dearly departed loved ones; neither concept renders itself either a realistic cause for concern or a viable source of consolation).
CHRISTIAN: An atheist chooses to look upon the options as to only two, and he then chooses to value those options according to his own subjective standard. Yet, his standard is arbitrary, and not objective or transcendent. Thus, no reason to accept what he says about it; it can be summarily dismissed. The third option is to change one’s thinking in accordance with the evidence, but many atheists don’t do that since naturalism is a dogma that has to be held onto at all cost. Recently read an article where naturalism has to accept supernaturalism at the outset (see earlier reply). Interesting!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is based upon “evidence” and it is a solid conviction of “things not seen.” Since “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), then the best “evidence” for faith is “the word of God” and the Creator’s Wisdom to which it points! If not, why not?
The Bible makes statements that point to external data, and that makes it a “Christian evidence” textbook. For example:
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). All scientific evidences and facts prove that matter is not eternal and must have had a beginning. The Bible begins with one of the strongest proofs possible that there had to have been The Creator: from nothing came something caused by The Power (“God”) who is the uncaused First Cause!
Jesus pointed to the inherent order in agriculture when He said: “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:28-29)
Such order is impossible without the imposition of law from a Higher Power.
Speaking of the intricacies of human development and birth, David said: “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
The millions of details involved in each human’s normal birth are mind-boggling, and faith-building, indeed. The birth of one human demands an imposing attention to details totally impossible without completing the plan of God, the Maker.
Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder [Greek, “technician, craftsman”] and maker [Greek, “framer”] is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Truly, the “technology” of life is impossible and nonsensical without the All-powerful, All-intelligent Creator God!
Atheism Equals Ignorance
Speaking of “prejudiced ignorance,” one readily thinks of an “atheist,” a word meaning, “without faith in deity,” hence a person who is without faith in God. No one can be an atheist without denying all the evidence for God’s existence and the scientific conclusion that necessitates it as fact. In other words, atheists are known for what they confess they do not or cannot know. “Ignorance” is defined as “the absence of knowledge.” It is practically impossible, then, for any atheist to ridicule a believer’s “faith” because a Bible-believer has evidence for that faith, but an atheist has reduced his or her intelligence to denial! The evidence for God is so abundant that an atheist can believe there is no God only by closing his/her mind to the factual evidence that would prove otherwise! Atheists have a big void throughout their core intellect, and are as Gentiles, “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…” (Ephesians 4:17-18).
By willfully omitting God from their consideration, the Atheists have “blacked out” their understanding, “gutted” their rationality, and grope about like blind people who have rejected any assistance they have been offered! Belief in God is a normal conclusion of a natural mind that has been given all the evidence.
Atheism is, thus, an unnatural response.
Since God does exist, then His power as Creator justifies His power to: (1) define marriage as one man and one woman united for life (Genesis 2:18-25), and accept no other (Mark 10:2-12); (2) give a day of rest to the Israelites in Moses’ Law (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) and not to anyone else; (3) be remembered in our days of youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1), not just “old age;” (4) come to earth as the Christ with total miraculous power over the Creation (John 1:1-18) unlike everyone else who has ever lived; (5) hand over the scroll of judgment against the Jews into the hand of His Son (Revelation 4:1-5:8) which was carried out in the 1st Century. Since God, as Creator, can do with His Creation as He wishes (“our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases,” Psalm 115:3); and, since no human is Creator (God asked: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,” Job 38:4); then all humans who are created beings (“creature,” Mark 16:15-16) will fail to conquer and control the world! There is no policy, people, or plan that God will allow to take His place as Controller of His Creation (Romans 1:19-25). “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). —–John T. Polk II
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 31:1-3: “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: 2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.”
Verse 1: These have been the Proverbs of Solomon: for his son (Chapters 1-9); for his people (Chapters 10-24); for his legacy (Chapters 25-29); for his influence (Chapters 30-31). The Book of Proverbs began with a father instructing his son, and ends in this last chapter with the mother’s wise words, or “hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8).
Verse 2: Almost asking: “What can I say for the best benefit for my son, my flesh and blood?”
“Son of my womb” refers to the closeness of the mother-son bond, for she was his home before he was born.
“Son of my vows” can refer to the legitimate son born after marriage vows of his parents (Malachi 2:14), or to parental commitment to raise the child “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
In any case, these words should be regarded as precious to a beloved son.
Verse 3: Two serious warnings against ways that destroy every man’s life: disrespect for marriage and disregard for authority.
To not “give your strength to women” is a major theme in Proverbs (2:16-22; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 9:13-18). Examples of what not to do are found in Samson (Judges 13-16), David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12), and Solomon, himself (1 Kings 11). Sexual satisfaction (“strength”) should be reserved only for one’s own wife (Proverbs 5:15-20).
“That which destroys kings” refers to subversive and violent methods of destroying respect for civil authority, “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). Moses recognized this danger (Deuteronomy 31:26-27); King Saul (1 Samuel 15:22-24); Barabbas (Mark 15:7). Solomon had said: “An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11), and Jesus said: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). It is never wrong to insist that rulers abide by God’s rules (the Bible) and the laws of the land (Constitution) which restricts their “authority” (as Libertarians insist), but it is wrong to advocate no authority (as Libertines claim)!
Men, listen to a godly mother!
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
A recent research survey of 1535 people by the Australian National University reveals that believing in evolution affects one’s view of morality. The survey showed that people who believed in evolution were more likely to be in favour of premarital sex than those who rejected Darwin’s theory. They were also ‘especially tolerant’ of abortion. Darwin himself forewarned this consequence of his theory and predicted it would lead to social decay. The author of the research report, Dr Jonathan Kelley, said: ‘The single most important influence after church attendance is the theory of evolution.’ This is Just-A-Minute.
Might I be forgiven the personal connection? Please read especially the last paragraph.
Originally posted on Musings of a TCK:
It feels wrong being up this late on purpose…and it’s not even 11:30 PM yet! You’re probably thinking, “You’re not doing this whole college thing right!” Well, my grades would be proof that I am…haha. I study for tests, feel like I didn’t study enough, freak out(not really), take the test, then find out I did pretty well! Well, in most cases. In my mid-term grades I had 6 A’s and one B…and that B sticks out like a sore thumb to me. And funny enough, I still don’t consider myself like a nerd, even though I’ve been called one several times this semester already. What am I doing up this late then? I have to register for classes for next semester. I feel like I am standing at the start line for a race. And essentially that is what I am doing…if I want to get into the classes…
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There is a very curious passage in two of the Gospels. It’s hard to initially see any point in them. Yet all of Scripture has a place and a purpose, so we have to study and find it.
When faced with a tough passage, you study what others have said and you are somewhat relieved when none of them know either. There are verses that are just perplexing. But we persevere, nonetheless. (More …)
Since Google killed its RSS Reader, I’ve not found one that really satisfies. Lately, I’ve been using the one that WordPress offers, and it’s satisfactory. Yesterday, I tried Sputnik, and, though the name doesn’t please, visually it’s the best so far. Let’s see if it has what it takes.
An RSS reader helps one to follow sites and blogs through the feed. I use them to keep up with many sites of various types: news, opinion, Bible and church.
You may have your own method of keeping up with different sites that you like.
So here are a couple of questions, with that background. How many sites do you follow on a regular basis? (Regular might mean once a week or month.) Two, how many of those sites have to do mainly or exclusively with prayer?
I noticed my category on prayer was smaller. Given, most of the other categories are broader: Bible, church, news, but still, on prayer I had fewer.
Is your experience similar? If so, do those small numbers betray us?
QUESTION: Without God, where do you get your morality from?
ATHEIST: From experience and effect. I observe what I do which hurts others, and attempt to learn how to avoid repeating that effect in future scenarios. Admittedly, a continuous work in process.
CHRISTIAN: An atheist has no moral code except his own. His moral code is of no more value than that which belongs to another, another that might be directly opposite his own. This brings about moral chaos.
GROWING A CHURCH GOD’S WAY
“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Colossians 2:18-19, NASB, emphasis mine, hf).
Having been a preacher of the gospel for some sixty years, and having served as a local minister for over forty years (but still busy preaching every week), I believe I have some qualifications to address the subject of church growth. Since I am a preacher, I will write primarily from the preacher’s viewpoint. Thus, what I say could be viewed as my philosophy of preaching and church growth. (More …)
There is a class of folk who are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. The man, who doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t know where he is, where he came from or where he is going. He doesn’t know if he is more man or monkey. He has no answers, regardless of what he claims. He has only questions. He has no past and he has no future. He has no hope and he has no help. His most intelligent relative is a chimpanzee. Of all men, he is most miserable. On the other hand, a Christian’s hope and help is God who answers his questions and provides him a future because he is the offspring of God Himself. As far as I am concerned, the evolutionist can keep his primordial ooze. As for me and my family, I choose faith. This is Just-A-Minute.
Thoughts on unbelievers urging a prophet of God to wake up and pray.
Originally posted on Call for Fire Seminar:
Jonah was on the run from God. God had given him a mission that grated against Jonah’s prejudices. Jonah hated Assyrians; God called Jonah to preach to the Assyrians in their capital city of Ninevah. Jonah ran to the port of Joppa and boarded a ship headed for Tarshish (most likely Spain, on the opposite end of the Mediterranean Sea).
Jonah did not hide his plan. He told the crew members he was running away from his God. When a great storm threatened the ship, the crew members prayed to their respective gods for deliverance. They wanted all to pray, and were distressed when they discovered that Jonah was sleeping:
“The captain came and said to him, ‘What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spares us a thought so that we do not perish” (Jonah 1:6 NRSV).
Later, as the storm…
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A while back a person responded to my “letter to the editor” in the Mattoon, IL newspaper (Journal Gazette) by saying: “In essence, you assert that one must accept absolutes in order to critique said absolutes. Thereby, it becomes easy to discern which position possesses the audacity of asserting complete knowledge.” The reason for this remark was because I declared that an atheist has no moral absolutes and, thus, can’t judge things to be wrong except on the basis of one’s desired thinking.
An atheist, however, does judge some things to be wrong. When you hear of that value judgment rendered by the atheist, be sure to ask on what basis the he thinks something to be wrong (or right). Is it one’s own personal perspective, is it the perspective that belongs to another, is it the perspective that belongs to a group, or is it some moral standard that is obligatory to the whole of man?
Once an answer is given, then follow that question up with a question like this: since you have identified the standard, why is that I (or another) should follow that standard? It will be at this point that atheism’s moral bankruptcy will become apparent because the foundation for that moral judgment rests on nothing. This is not to say that atheist can’t be moral (for many are), but it is to say that their moral basis is a moral code that originates with the selfish nature of man (or even self).
In the brevity of the letter to editor, the objector tried to include the Euthyphro Dilemma, but was unable (or unwilling) to develop the dilemma for the newspaper audience because, evidently, he wanted to get to some other points. It was another of his remarks I found interesting. “While philosophy rests upon assumptions not absolutes, morality is a demonstrable evolving system, which contains both objective and subjective morals, paralleling the advancements of society and humanity. That is to say morality is, inherently, from man.”
What is interesting to me in this remark is his association of “objectivity” with “a demonstrable evolving system.” Boy!, that really gives much assurance, doesn’t it? Man has an objective morality that is evolving?
These questions simply make clear that the “objective” standard is not objective at all, but subjective and whimsical. So much for a morality that is greater than man! An atheistic morality might be able to conjure up much that is good, but the atheist has no objective (transcendent) standard by which to know whether he is right or wrong; as soon as it is individually determined, it is undermined because another might disagree with him – and who is to say the other is wrong?
A youngster wrote a letter to God: “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I asked for was a puppy.” How often do we pray for one thing and get another. What we thought we wanted or needed is far surpassed by what God provides and blesses us with. Today is the first day of a new work. After over 24 years altogether and believing I would end my service with the congregation I served before, it ended and now I am beginning a new area of service. Perhaps I will finish here. God’s will be done. I am simply pleased to still be in His service in the preaching of the good news and to have the opportunity to share a few thoughts that might prove helpful to someone through this means. The Just-A-Minute format is one I developed thirty-five years ago for the radio. I hope to be able to continue posting under this format, though I will no longer be doing so over the radio.
QUESTION: If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
ATHEIST: Every person is free to do what they want, and is naturally subject to the effects of her/his actions. As to good deeds being unrewarded, why would a good person want to be rewarded? As to murdering and raping, why in the world would I want to do those things in the first place? Does the inquirer believe that if there was no God that she/he would be compelled to murder and rape? If so, then there are greater issues for the inquirer to deal with than whether or not there is a God.
CHRISTIAN: It is true that people are free to do what is desired, but the following replies to the three questions offer nothing in the way of an answer, just a set of more questions. The question is not why one would or would not engage in the vile activity, but on what basis would an atheist say they are wrong – except on the basis of his own personal likes and dislikes? Thus, moral chaos!
A new lesson has been added to the Old Paths Archive in English and Dutch and in text and audio.
What do the Scriptures tell us about Satan? (More …)
Dr. Ben Carson, speaking at the Faulkner Benefit Dinner recently, suggested we read something educational for 30 minutes each day in order to grow mentally. Every time I pick up something to read, I remember what he said. Learning my new iMac is certainly a new learning experience for me, so I feel like I am keeping my pledge to him.
The greatest book and one that provides the greatest education is the Bible, the Word of God. Think with me for a bit. (More …)
QUESTION: If there is no god, how does your life have meaning?
ATHEIST: My life has whatever meaning that I attach to the concept.
CHRISTIAN: This is true; life’s ultimate purpose or meaning is directly connected to one’s choice of a moral code.
QUESTION: Where did the universe come from?
ATHEIST: Presumably, from whatever existed before the ever increasing expansion of our universe commenced. There are of course theories based upon observable scientific facts, but the minds which so theorize are far beyond mine with regards to such. My best guess is that the elements which make up everything are eternal, and are merely transformed on a constant basis. That process then at some point leading to and developing into the universe. But that is only a guess, and a fairly uneducated one at that.
CHRISTIAN: One’s best guess is no answer at all. In fact, this is a perfect illustration of the futility of atheism. One builds his foundation on this? In a recent article, “There’s No Such Thing as a Naturalist,” Dr. Jeff Miller (Apologetics Press) illustrates the naturalist “have to” acceptance of supernaturalism to even begin a study of nature. In the fourth paragraph, Dr. Miller comments: “It is a mystery to the naturalist answering how the laws of nature exist since evidence indicates that they do not write themselves. So again, it would be unnatural (i.e., supernatural) for a law of science to write itself. But the naturalist must believe that very thing happened in order for the Universe to exist. He believes in the miraculous.”
So the perverse concept pops up yet again. This time in the epic fantasy novel The Way of Kings. The author devotes a whole chapter to three ideas, one of which is “journey before destination,” that one must consider or value the journey before the destination. Perhaps later chapters will tweak or deny the concept, but it’s doubtful.
QUESTION: What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?
ATHEIST: What of them? Demonstrate an actual miracle, or introduce me personally to a saint or an angel, and then let’s discuss the matter.
CHRISTIAN:To an atheistic naturalist there is no acceptance of the historical record that attests to the validity of such, there is mere rejection because of ideology (not evidence). However, the particular ideology accepted that seeks to use a back door rejection is met by a miracle coming in the front door because of the “have to” acceptance of a miracle at the very beginning (clarity on this tomorrow).
From 1992-4 I made eight trips to Russia, most to the Kirov region about 500 miles NE of Moscow. We managed to begin four congregations, two of which are thriving. One simply dissolved and another was absorbed into an evangelical assembly. During those visits I talked to many atheists, but mostly simply agnostics. After seventy years of atheistic education and government opposition to religion, it was a laboratory of experiential results of two generations of atheistic dominance. The single greatest feature of that society, as it struck me, was hopelessness! They simply had nothing to believe in and it resulted in utter despair. The alcoholism, immorality, graft and so forth were all symptoms of this atheistic society. There was no foundation for right living or right thinking. Yet there was a longing for something. One lady around thirty came to me and explained she was an atheist. We talked and I suggested that her coming to me was an expression of something God put into her heart that represents a spiritual thirst and longing for faith. Something struck a chord for she paused a moment and then said, “Ah, that must be why I find myself invoking God’s name when I am angry or exasperated.” I am disappointed to say that we never met and talked again, but at least she left with something to think about. This is Just-A-Minute.
The principle of silence is an important aspect of rightly dividing the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 7:14). Unfortunately it’s a concept that’s hard for many in the religious world to grasp despite the fact that it has a biblical basis. What makes it even more difficult to understand is when an individual fails to first hear what’s spoken, because if you don’t hear the speaking then there’s no way you’ll hear the silence.
A person once told me to show them where the New Testament says that baptism saves us – I showed them 1 Peter 3:21 but it didn’t change anything.
A person once told me that there were no funerals in the New Testament after the day of Pentecost – I told them about Acts 9:36-37 but it didn’t change anything.
A person once told me that Jesus never told anyone to serve him and that he never said he was the Son of God – I showed them John 5:22-23 and John 12:26 but it didn’t change anything.
You see, if a person fails to learn from what the Spirit of God has said concerning the will of God, then the will of God won’t be revealed to that individual when it comes to the Spirit’s silence.
This is why the churches of Christ still strive to speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent where the Bible is silent; because we believe that the silence of the scriptures can say as much as the speaking.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9)
QUESTION: What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
ATHEIST: I am not sure who Harris is. Dawkins and Hitchens are brilliant minds who have studied extensively and who present their concerns passionately.
CHRISTIAN: Whatever capability these men have (or might have had) is thrown away because of a willful acceptance toward a naturalistic ideology. It can be said: there are no dead atheists. They went into the realm of death as an atheist, but on the other side of life they are not!
Scattering my ashes? How about scattering good deeds and the seed of the word of God? Tim Hall in Weekly messages from the light of God’s word.
A very plain but excellent article that addresses the “elephant in the room” when it comes to the theory of naturalism:
The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms defines “natural science” as, “Collectively, the branches of science dealing with objectively measurable phenomena…” (2003, p. 1402). A naturalist, then, is a person who believes everything in the Universe must be able to be explained through purely naturalistic processes–with no supernatural help. Everything believed must be based on empirical evidence that is “measurable.” According to the National Academy of Sciences, “The statements of science must invoke only natural things and processes. The statements of science are those that emerge from the application of human intelligence to data obtained from observation and experiment” (Teaching About Evolution…, 1998, p. 42, emp. added). Read >>
QUESTION: If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?
AN ATHEIST’S actual answer: Societies are people. People develop theories and create concepts. The existence of religion merely proves the existence of people. The various concepts of god(s) and the great number of different religions no more provide evidence for the existence of multiple gods than they do so for even one.
A CHRISTIAN (me) answer: This answer is pretty much accurate. The debate on God’s existence must have a different starting place than a society’s religion, or many societies having a religious community. There might be some warrant to asking why the religion exists, but the answer will have to travel further into the depths of the foundation than mere existence of a community idea.
THE ENDURING VALUE OF A CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
by David R. Kenney
All of my life I wanted to be a preacher like my father. Then, due to circumstances that were beyond his control, I allowed the negative impacts of others on my father and family to persuade me to abandon that noble ambition. This set me on a wave of confusion as to what I would do with my future. Due to negative circumstances of my own, I came to realize that I needed to regroup my thoughts as I moved from the sound instruction of my parents to a faith that was at bloom within me as an emerging adult. My parents persistently encouraged me to go to Freed-Hardeman College and convinced me with the question–“If you do not have anything better to suggest, then why not try this?” The greatest influence in getting me to come to Freed-Hardeman College, outside of original interest due to Artie Collins and my father, was the President of the college, Dr. E. Claude Gardner. My father talked with Dr. Gardner while at the Bible Lectureship and explained that I wanted to come to Freed-Hardeman College, but I did not think I would have the funds. President Gardner told my father, “You tell David he needs to come to Freed-Hardeman College. We will find the way for him to afford it.” I enrolled in the Fall of 1987.
When I began college, I still did not know what my major would be, a vexing question to me. I knew I did not want to major in either Bible (due to the negative experiences my father encountered) or Management (due to the negative experiences I encountered). This changed when I signed up for a business required course as a Finance Major (or Management Information Systems Major) called Business Management. The course was taught by Dr. Bobby Bush. Through his instruction, personal anecdote, case study, sense of humor, Christian influence and Mississippi hospitality, I graduated in 1991 with a degree in Business Management.
As part of requisite study, I took a bible course each semester. This brought to my attention a level of Bible knowledge I had underestimated. When I completed the Master of Business Administration degree from the Graduate School of Management from Kent State University, I began a career in Business; however, I did continue my interest in researching, writing, teaching and preaching. When I had the opportunity to preach full-time, I called Bobby Bush and asked if he thought it would hurt my career in business or to teach management in the future. He encouraged me to preach full-time stating that it would not hurt me in any noble pursuit and would help if I ever decided to come back to Freed-Hardeman University to teach. I entered the ministry full-time in July 2010.
I do not know what lies ahead, but in doing some research I came across this list of reasons to pursue a Christian education at Freed-Hardeman College (now University). Looking these points over, I can gladly report I agree with each point! Here is the list as it appeared in the 1984 Bible Lectureship Book:
FREED-HARDEMAN IS A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE
30 GOOD REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AT FREED-HARDEMAN COLLEGE.
I was recently asked, “Who is faithful?” It is a good question. It is one we should think about and try to answer. My first thought is 1 John 1:7 “If we walk in the light . . .” But who is walking in the light. As I continue reading 1 John I discover that John defines who is walking in the light and who is not throughout the rest of 1 John. And if I were to point to a key passage it would have to be 3:7, 8 “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” It is a question not of how perfectly one practices righteousness, but a question of whose side you are on. We are either living for Jesus, however imperfectly; or we are not and therefore of the devil. At least that is what it seems to me to be saying. I could always be wrong, I have been often. This is Just-A-Minute.
In the Tuesday paper (10.14.2014) there was an article headline telling us the Catholic Church is entertaining a more open response to the homosexual community. The lead sentence conveyed two primary points in regard to a new practice within: first, the church is now “accepting gays into the church” because they have “gifts to offer,” and second, morality in regards to any homosexual couple is now “problematic.” This is not a surprise. The Catholic Church has not followed the Bible for years, hundreds years in fact. They take some information in the Bible and teach it, but following the New Testament as prescribed by the Lord and His apostles is something they don’t do.
What is truly problematic is that the Catholic Church, a significant religious community, has now introduced confusion into their own community. “Some conservative cardinals downplayed the report as insignificant or derided it as unacceptable, while conservative groups denounced it as heresy and a ‘betrayal’ that will only serve to confuse Catholics.”
This gets to a greater issue: a moral base from which one can understand right, wrong, good or bad is set in place by God, or by man. If by man, then the moral base is fluid, not anchored in anything but man’s thinking. If it is anchored in God (and it is), then that which the Catholic Church, or any other church says to the contrary is a church to be rejected as not of God.
Submitted to the Herald-Review (Decatur, IL)
“I get so tired of the church always wanting my money! Why can’t they take someone else’s money, and leave me alone to worship?” I remember when I was much younger that my sentiments were not too far off these. Since that time, learning from God in Scripture, I have come to understand what it means to give. Paul felt compelled to encourage and instruct the Corinthians concerning a great collection he was gathering for those in poverty in another location. Thus, he wrote to the church in Corinth: “For by experience you know the unmerited favor shown by our Lord Jesus Christ; that although He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, in order that by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9, Williams New Testament). When one gives, that giving should be to the Lord, in order for the Lord to make use of that so others can benefit. Don’t lose sight of what is important.
A POTPOURRI OF MATTERS
This past weekend, Jan and I were in Memphis, Tennessee to attend the opening day of the 2014 Spiritual Sword Lectures, hosted by the Getwell Church of Christ. Specifically and more especially, we were there to attend an Appreciation Luncheon for our longtime friend, Alan E. Highers, in honor of his twenty-five years as editor of The Spiritual Sword journal. (More …)
Recently I set the personal goal of reading the Koran in its entirety. I’m a good way into it, compiling a list as I go of some of its more egregious passages. Some are outright untruths (e.g. Abraham was a Muslim, Sura III), and it freely borrows from and then rewrites biblical events. Whatever the page, you are never far from a line about a “mighty chastisement,” “painful chastisement,” “lasting chastisement” or something about unbelievers being roasted in the fire. There is an unmistakable fixation on punishment that permeates the Koran. I saw Ron T. had a post about Jesus and the Koran. Its error regarding Jesus’ deity is only a beginning to the problems it contains. Anyone who has read the New Testament should be able at once to see the Koran’s painfully evident inferiority by any measure of comparison. But what it lacks in veracity it makes up for in violence. For example, here’s a quote from Sura V in Arberry’s translation (p. 133) I came across in this morning’s reading. Notice that the killing and mutilation are to be carried out on earth against Islam’s enemies:
“This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off, or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement, except for such as repent, before you have power over them. So know you that God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
I don’t have anything up my sleeve, but this riddle is a tricky one to say the least:
There were 4 men fishing. The boat tipped, and every man fell into the water. Not a single man got wet. How is this possible?
Believe it or not there’s a “scriptural answer” to this not so scriptural riddle. Do you know what it is? Need that clue? Check out Numbers 36:1-13 and look for the word(s) that answer this head-scratcher.