Reaching The Young People

by John Henderson

It has been many years since I was a teenager freshly come to Christ.  I have never regretted making that decision to response to the evangelist’s invitation.  I do not believe I would have survived the diving accident I had some days later if I had walked away from that invitation.  In the accident, three of my neck vertebras were broken and I still suffered no nerve damage. I knew God had a purpose for me, even then.

I am eternally grateful for the faithful Christian adults who were there to teach me the right doctrines and encourage me to fully commit my life to Christ.  I am thankful for the many young people my own age that came to Christ and, together, we formed a bond of fellowship that cemented our commitments to Christ.

There were no special tailored programs for young people that were designed to peak our interest in church.  There was only the clear biblical witnessing of Christ that drew us to the Savior and the church.  The church did have youth programs of sorts.  The Methodists, of which I was a part, called it MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship).  The Baptists and Assemblies of God among my fellow believers had other names.  The Nazarenes had NYPS (Nazarene Young Peoples Society).  We usually met just before the Sunday evening services and there was a clear sense of the presence of the Spirit of God just as there was in the general services.

About the only distinction would be that our music had a lot of choruses that had been drawn from the gospel songs and hymns.  We were a bit less formal and more open among ourselves than we might have been in the regular services.  Of course, the distinction between our meetings and the other services was not all that much.

Times have changed I am told.  I have no idea what that means.  “Times” is not what changes.  People change their perspectives and notions based on influences and their own decisions.  Certainly, God has not changed.  There is no reason for Him to do so.  The truth of the Scriptures has not changed.  Even the devil has not changed.  The only thing that changes is us and our own fancies.  We fool ourselves into believing that the passing of time guarantees improvement.  We surrender values and call that progress.  Compromise only means surrender, not betterment.

I have never bought into the foolish notion that Christian leaders need to accommodate anyone, especially the youth, in presenting the claims of Christ on their souls.  I won’t get into the details, but want to emphasize that we may never reach our young people anymore unless we go back to the simplicity of the gospel.

Whatever it takes biblically is what we should be doing.  The youth are not stupid.  They just need to learn the right things and are ripe for being taught.  The socialists who have taken over our educational institutions since the 1960s and now rule our schools completely, thanks to academic buffoons for paying attention to John Dewey and his associates many years before.  We can add the entertainment industry to that list as well.  Ungodly entertainers have become the idols in place of the heroes of the faith.  Kids can quote the latest rap lyrics without hesitation and do not so much as know John 3:16 well enough to quote it or tell what it means.

The things we in the church have done to mimic worldly things has not taught them about Christ, let alone the Scriptures.  Meanwhile, those same hearts and minds are still longing yea, yearning, to hear the gospel—and we are not telling it to them.  If they hear anything at all from us, it is so watered down it provides no challenge to live godly and separated lives as truly committed Christians. They are made into religious clowns trying to accommodate the fickle world and not trained as soldiers of the Cross.  And they are certainly not encouraged to make the Word of God, the Sword of the Lord, their most important Book.

I strongly believe that if we will stop marketing for attendance and participation like a local lodge or community club and go the simple way by giving our young people what they really need, we will not be whining about losing our young people to the world and wondering why they are not coming to church.  When we stop pushing them towards the world and start calling them to the Cross, they will come running.

There are so many ways it can be done these days.  Ideas and methods are workable if they do not compromise the message of the Bible but rather seek to make it the theme.  All we need to do is make certain the message is “the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”  We must declare the strong message of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come as the Holy Spirit applies it to hearts. That is all they need from us.  The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

 

John Henderson

Are You Testing “Heaven Is For Real” According To Scripture?

It seems that we are living in times where many Christians today are just simply taking in everything that looks inspirational, without question, as long as it makes them feel good.  I believe that it is getting worse and worse, and nothing has been better illustrative than the excitement to go see something that has come out of Hollywood, and without question, believe that it is going to be a good thing for everyone!  Nothing was more illustrative of an incredible lack of discernment and good judgment than the latest Hollywood disaster (in biblical terms) than Noah.  It was not even close to being a good rendition of the Bible account of Noah and the flood- yet undiscerning Christians flocked to it, and most likely walked away disappointed.

When will some Christians start understanding that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is NOT necessarily a duck- unless you know what is in the product!

I understand that many non-believers and even naïve young Christians (young in the faith) might be excited about such movies, and go to them, enjoy them, and come away excited and even encouraged about the afterlife.  That is quite understandable.  What bothers me is how supposedly mature, Bible-believing Christians, especially pastors and other leaders, are encouraging people to go to the movie, without checking out the claims of the young man and seeing whether they clash with Scripture in any way.  What would be more disturbing I suppose is if a Christian leader knows that this movie is very dubious, and recommends it anyway.  The emotional value of a movie it seems might be a very influential factor that perhaps clouds an otherwise mature Christian’s judgment, and makes them set aside God’s word, in exchange for the emotional benefits from the story.

I listened to a portion of Sean Hannity’s radio show a few days ago, where he interviewed Colton Burpo, who is now 14 years old, and his father Todd Burpo.  Colton is the young man who claims that at four years old, while undergoing surgery, he went to heaven and experienced some incredible things, including meeting Jesus, his grandfather who he never knew, and his sister who he never met, because she had died while in her mothers womb.  The movie is opening nationwide this Wednesday, April 16, and I am sure it will make millions of dollars this week.

Do We Have Physical Bodies in Heaven Right After We Die?

In the interview, Colton was asked about the people he saw in heaven, and whether they have physical bodies or not, or whether it was just a spiritual thing.  He answered Sean Hannity and said that definitely everyone in heaven has their own physical body, and he was able to hug some people physically.  So he had no doubt that people that he met in heaven possess physical bodies.

Now, the important question: what does Scripture say about death, and about what happens after a Christian dies?

As a believer who is saved, Scripture says that after death we are taken into the presence of Christ.  To the thief on the cross, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  And on two separate occasions, Paul said the following regarding death and bringing us into Christ’s presence:

“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:23-24)


“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight–we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9)

Here’s where it gets “tricky”, in relation to Colton Burpo’s testimony.  I believe that when a Christian dies, his spirit/soul goes to be with the Lord- but not his physical body.

How do I know that?  Let’s see what Scripture says about this.

Paul says, in Romans 8:23, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Then we have 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

And then 1 Thessalonians 14: 13-17, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,4 that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

These two passages are describing believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies.

The question then follows here:

If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth. (source, www.gotquestions.org)

And according to Revelation 20:11-15, those who died as unbelievers will also be resurrected just as the believer will be, but they will be eternally condemned to hell.  They will be resurrected to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Scriptures say that those judged are judged according “…to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev 20: 12). And v 13 says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” This answers the question: “What about the poor heathen who never heard?” They will be in this judgment.

Frankly, I don’t think a movie called “Hell is For Real” would have much appeal to people today, although if it followed Scripture, it could present the Gospel and show unbelievers where their destiny would be without Christ.

So it seems to me that Colton Burpo got it wrong.  The only other conclusion is that Scripture has it wrong, and what is described in the Bible is a mistake.  So you must choose: either believe Colton Burpo, or believe Scripture.

If Scripture is correct, what does that say of Colton’s testimony?  We already know of the other contradictions from his account that do not line up with Scripture.  What does a Bible-believing Christian do with the fact that much of Colton’s story is in opposition to the Bible?  What does one do with the fact that his claim to have gone to heaven is contradicted by God’s word?  Jesus told Nicodemus:

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” John 3:13

I don’t often reference the NLT, but I believe it translates it most clearly: “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.”

Dear brothers and sisters, pastors, and youth leaders, you may think I am obsessed with yet another nitpicky thing.  Why should I ruin such a wonderful, inspiring and emotionally reassuring story? Why spoil people’s chances at getting a good feeling about life after death?  Why not let them have a modicum of comfort in their lives?  The answer is simple.  We must not accept anything just because it has the label of “Christian”, or because it feels good, or looks good, for the sake of temporary good feelings and comfort- if it goes against God’s Holy word.  Don’t you think that there are many more people in this world who could sit down and write an even more incredible story than Colton has written?  Would you believe them too?

Either Colton Burpo’s story must be rejected, or you must reject the veracity of Scripture.  You cannot have both.

Reference: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/how-do-i-know-heaven-is-for-real/

How Do I Know Heaven Is For Real?

I have been thinking of the parade of “Christian” movies that have come out this year, and of more to follow. The movie Exodus is scheduled to be out this Fall, with Christian Bale playing Moses (Bale was the first choice of Darren Aronofsky to play Noah, but he had scheduling conflicts). Recently, we had “Son Of God”, a movie about Jesus that was produced by a professing “Christian”, Roma Downey- a woman who dabbles in the occult, speaks to her dead mother through a psychic, attended a New Age school founded by John Roger, listens to tapes by Eckhart Tolle and Tony Robbins- among other issues. Most recently was the movie Noah, which butchered the biblical account, and distorted the character of Noah, distorted the reason for the flood, and whose own director, an atheist, said that it is only a fable, and not a true account. For the most part, we can count on Hollywood to distort biblical truth, in exchange for what they really seek: money and fame.

But right now, the latest “Christian” movie to soon debut, Heaven Is Real, is coming out on April 16. It is based on the wildly popular book of the same title, which is an account of a four year old boy’s near-death experience, where later he amazes everyone with stories of his visit to heaven. It has been a book that has had great emotional effect on many people seeking comfort about death and the hereafter, and the movie is sure to elicit the same emotions. But is it biblical, and is it reliable? By the way, there was never any medical evidence that Colton Burpo was clinically dead during his surgery.

Is someone’s mystical experience necessary to validate the existence of heaven, or to teach how heaven is actually like? Keep this in mind especially in light of the trend in Christianity for people to want to “experience God.” This is very important, as Christians move from the objective knowledge of God’s reliable word, to placing more and more trust in subjective and unverifiable mystical experiences, including near death accounts of heaven.

(Disclaimer: I have read only parts of the book, but not the entire book from cover to cover. But I believe I have enough facts to comment on it).
On the Facebook page promoting the movie, there are thousands of comments, and the vast majority are in favor of it. Here are a few samples:

“I feel like this movie is going to be a huge change for many!!! And of course it comes to us through a child.

“Can’t wait!!! Ever since my daughter could talk she’s told us that she remembers being in heaven with Jesus and “choosing me” to be her mommy.”

“I just lost my son, and I believe this movie is going to help me to understand, some may question that I have, I know he is in heaven.”

“I read the book! I believe!!!”

If I told you the following, would you believe my testimony as a Christian was authentic and believable? If so, on what basis would you accept what I told you?

  1. Jesus rides a rainbow-colored horse (see Rev. 19:11)
  2. The Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (see Acts 1:8)
  3. Everyone in heaven has wings except Jesus
  4. The angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne
  5. The Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God
  6. Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus

These statements are either contradicted by Scripture, or are outside of any Scriptural revelation. And then we have Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians:

12 It is doubtless[a] not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

If Paul is referring to himself, which I believe he is, note the humility this man had, so as not to draw attention to himself regarding this experience.

If I told you that I learned secrets about someone who died in the womb, and that I knew facts about a great-grandfather that had never been told to me, would you credit that knowledge as a revelation from God? Is it possible that the source of that information may have been a manipulation of some kind, or even worse?

Quoting David Cloud:

Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).” (David Cloud, Way of Life website)

I am not saying that God will never reveal to us in one shape or another something that can only be explained as supernatural. I believe that the best we can say is that “it is possible” that it was a direct experience with the supernatural that was initiated by God. On the other hand, we can also know for sure that an experience cannot be from God, but is satanic in origin, if that experience is in direct, clear contradiction with scripture. Yet, even if it lines up with scripture, that does not mean the event actually happened, does it?

When my wonderful, godly mother passed away nine years ago, she experienced something the night before she passed away and went to be with the Lord. She was very weak physically, but was of a clear sound mind at the time. She was sitting in her bed and suddenly asked us, “who are all these men in white robes standing around my bed?” Did angels come to minister to her, and comfort her in her final hours? Perhaps. I do believe that was probably what happened. Will I tell you for sure that is what it was? Of course not. How would I know with full certainty, unless I saw the angels also?

I don’t tell folks much about this story, because my certainty and assurance of eternal life and heaven comes not from what may have been a supernatural occurrence for my mother, but my assurance comes from Jesus Christ and His word. No other experience can add to my confidence in my salvation, and in knowing that He has prepared a place for me.

Heaven is for real- because God’s word says it’s real. Scripture tells us that heaven is God’s throne (Isa. 66:1; Mat. 5:34-35). After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to His disciples, ““He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56). He spoke of how the Father has “many mansions” in heaven. He assured us that He would return and take us to be with Him in heaven. Because of His word, His assurance and promise to us, I know that heaven is real- and I need no other confirmation.

I am not telling you to not go see this movie. That is up to you. I myself do not feel the need to see this movie, particularly because of the things in this young boy’s story that contradict Holy Scripture.

It’s my prayer that you will rely solely on God and His word, the promises of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which will never give you false information.

 

Related Articles:

http://www.thebereancall.org/content/heaven-real-real-exercise-discernment-0/

 

http://thebereanlibrary.com/archives/1802

 

 

A Church in Crisis

by Lige Jeter, 4/9/2014

It has been awhile since I visited the NazNet web site. A recent article there caught my attention, especially since its topic [seems to] always be in the news. It is just a matter of time before churches are forced to accept its agenda or no doubt will be punished for taking a stand against such immoral behavior. After reading the post, I wonder what the Nazarene Church will do regarding homosexuality.

I read a recent post on www.naznet.comtitled Homosexuality — where I stand and why” , by Marsha Lynn, March 31, 2014. Without being judgmental, based upon many of the responses, it raises the question, “Where will the church stand when mandated by the law to perform same sex marriages,” which has prompted me to write this article. Although the site has no official connection to the denomination, it expresses the assessments of the subject, provided by its members and friends expressing their views on the topic. Many of their interpretations of Biblical truths are alarming and are an insight to their lack of spiritual understanding.

Marsha begins her thread with the following introduction.

I have been asked several times to provide biblical support for my position on homosexuality and gay marriage. This post is intended to address that issue.”

After the introduction, she states

“First, I need to clearly state my position on the matter: I believe that the question of sexual ethics for Christians experiencing exclusively same-sex attraction can be answered only from within the community of those experiencing such attraction. Second, having exposed myself to the words of those living in this tension, I am seeing a rising number of Christian gays concluding that God can and does bless committed, monogamous, loving, same-gender relationships – marriage.”

And here is her most alarming statement:

But, people ask, what about the Bible? Are we to set aside clear biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord simply because some people who obviously are unable to take an objective viewpoint are willing to do so? Yes. We already set aside clear biblical teaching.”

Apparently, the social values pressed upon society as socially acceptable are forcing its way into the church with the goal to accept its practice as morally acceptable. We are not the first to fall under the spell of this kind of false accepted wisdom regardless how presented.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church warned against those who passed themselves off as the enlightened ones with special wisdom, knowledge or consciousness. It has been said that in Corinth you could meet self-taught sagacious men who mimicked their favorite philosopher by echoing philosophic discussions on any number of topics. They often portrayed themselves as learned or leading authorities in their field of study. I believe we are seeing a resurrection of such in these days spreading their false ideology, both in the church and society. Many today still seek recognition at any cost! Do not be fooled by their clever way of twisting the truth.

This newfound recognition has no doubt immersed itself into today’s beliefs, and touted by many as “experts” in their field of academics. I do not wish to imply that people with a higher education are not godly or wise; however, there is a tendency to trust one’s own judgment and learning rather than to trust in God’s wisdom. I am often reminded that the Bible teaches that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

For me this separates reality from deception, keeping a proper perspective relating to things that are valid. In greater detail this is found in I Corinthians [1: 18-25] “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this Age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Have we reached a point in our society where man’s teaching has now become superior to God’s and is being touted as the truth, while God’s truth has now become suspect or inferior to man’s? It has become easier for many to accept the myth that God’s word is no longer indisputable and open to challenge or useful regarding one’s moral behavior. When will humankind recognize that God is supreme and that our existence depends upon Him, and not in the reverse.

Could it be that many church leaders are in the pastorate today as a vocation, and do not qualify as the spiritual leader chosen by God? Are they serving by “election” {God selected them} or by “self will” {they chose themselves}. This may account for their apathy concerning their beliefs about morality. Jesus warns His disciples about false teachers. Our Lord describes those in His day as serving God only to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. They loved to be highly thought of by men enjoying recognition as men of God. Jesus charged them with blocking the truth from others, thus keeping them from entering in. Matthew [23: 5 - 7, 13 - 15].

In lock step with Christ’s condemnation of false teachers, I say this in writing this warning. There are no easy ways to say this without being falsely misunderstood. That said, I hope my remarks in the spirit of a loving warning will be received. There is no “clergyman or church” that can truthfully boast as being more compassionate, loving, more forgiving, or merciful than God. I repeat there is none, and yet this is happening in churches all across our land today.

For any religious church leader either to condone or defend any abominable sin such as; {abortion, homosexual behavior ‘either sex’, or take part in performing same sex marriages, etc.}, they are hypocrites. In reality, they are saying they are more loving and merciful than God is even though the Creator condemns these sinful acts. I caution those who knowingly follow their example, avoid them at all cost.

Jesus describes them as setting out to “win one proselyte,” and when he is won, “you make him twice as much a son of hell.” As illustrated in the above scripture they circumvent the word of God pretending to be religious and accept only the parts that pleases them. The rest they ignore or discount as a myth or fable especially the truth pertaining to God’s judgments upon such behavior. It is dangerous to play god no matter who you are. Buyers beware of those who would offer you the easy way out that requires nothing on your part. There is the price of repentance to be paid. The non-repentant will go to hell in the end.

 

Related Articles:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/no-resurrection-false-doctrines-no-big-deal-to-emergent-nazarenes/

Science versus Revelation

By John Henderson

I read of a “debate” recently at a Nazarene university where two participants were invited to present the creationist position as opposed to the evolutionary position.  That was for just one session among others where they were not included.  The report indicated that the creationists were not in friendly territory and their message showed no indications of being well-received.  I did note that one of the pro-evolution representatives is a Nazarene elder who has never, to my knowledge, given a clear testimony of ever having been born again but submits himself as an expert on Wesleyanism.

As tragic as it is that this went on in a Nazarene supported school with no repercussions from the denomination in any way, I want to use that as a backdrop to address the idea of science—the very thing evolutionists completely hang their argument on so far as their assumed evidence is concerned.  In spite of the fact there are those who attempt to meld theology with evolutionism, I am in full agreement with atheistic evolutionists that theology of any sort is in no way compatible with evolutionism. Both are mutually exclusive. The evolutionists readily scoff at the very idea and see it as a joke.  I agree, except I am not laughing.

In a way, I take it personally for two reasons.  The first has to do with my unmoving commitment to revelational truth as put forth in the inerrant Scriptures.  The other reason is related to my own training and experiences in academic research principles.  I will deal with only the latter here.

Fundamentally speaking, science is no more than a system of observation, discovery, and interpretation of what has been discovered and observed.  Interpretation is that which attempts to make sense of what has been discovered and observed and it is often a mixture of much subjectivity and enough objectivity to offer a sense of credibility.

A true scientist recognizes that he or she is always faced with at least four major obstacles in research:  missing information, point in time, uncontrollable influences (variables), and bias in interpretation.  In other words, no science is absolutely certain of anything at any point in time.  That is why it is always changing in the face of new data and ways of thinking.  It is even honest enough to come up with what is called a margin of error because it recognizes the potential weaknesses in its own research.

Because of these weaknesses, science is not a highly reliable tool in supporting interpretations. Even hard evidence, as in chemistry, is subject to being misinterpreted. Many times researchers have come away with egg on their faces because new data has destroyed their former assumptions about the previous data.  This fluid condition is a given albatross in legitimate research.  That is why it is an ongoing process and that is why things in life are being improved across time with “new” discoveries and developments.

Essentially beginning a scientific investigation is to start with what is called a null hypothesis.  The null hypothesis says that you have come up with an idea about something after looking and poking around a bit but that your initial assumptions about it are not true because they have not been proven true.  The research that follows attempts to prove the null hypothesis—that your initial assumptions cannot be proved.  If the results do not support the null hypothesis, you then make the opposite assumptions (interpretations) that the data is probably true, given a few qualifications:  point in time, conditions of the research, unknown and uncontrollable factors influencing results, etc. that lead to the assumption of a margin of error.

When all of this is applied to the various disciplines of research, it becomes even more problematic.  As you move from “pure” science (that in which every variable is controlled, but still imperfectly—you let in only those variables you want for that study into a “closed” environment),  into an open environment, such as some social research involving questionnaires and people-responses, the researcher’s control is drastically reduced.  One can never be certain in those environments that the interpretations are certain because the data are so mixed with uncontrolled variables it comes down to making interpretations about something very narrow and highly unreliable, especially when generalized outside of the research parameters.  One ends up with “results” that, at best, can be claimed to maybe be valid and reliable for that particular set of variables at that particular point in time in that particular environment.

Evolutionists of all stripes manage to dance around all of these obstacles to come forth with such “certainty” that would make an angel blush with shame.  When a “theologian” presumes to relegate the Scriptures to scrutiny by science, that “theologian” is treading in the quicksand of faulty logic and highly unreliable and unpredictable authority.  They are taking the Scriptures that exist on absolute certainty by virtue of divine revelation and arbitrarily making them amenable to science which isn’t even sure of itself at any point in time.  In other words, they are basically making it up as they go.

It is tremendously foolish to presume that biblical truth can be measured by science, so-called (that is a quote from the Scriptures).  Science depends solely on the outcome of creation, not the other way around.  We know creation in two ways:  the heavens declare the glory of God and the Bible provides an accurate account of the creation.  Granted, the creation is not a step-by-step description but is panoramic.  Someone has rightly said that the Bible does not contain all that God knows.

There is more to God than is revealed in the pages of the Bible.  Enough is said to inform us of what we need to know according to His will for us.  I cannot build a computer but I can use one.  I cannot build a car but I can drive one.  All of life is like that.  I know what I need to know without having to know everything there is to know about anything. Someone once asked a Christian if he was not bothered by the things in the Bible he did not understand.  He replied that that was not what concerned him.  What concerned him was what he did understand.

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)

 

Related Article:  http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/defending_design

 

All This Fuss About Inspiration

By John Henderson

It is becoming apparent to me that the attempts to discredit and diminish the Scriptures are foundational to all postmodern errors}

Our times (which I believe are the End Times) are replete with openly conflicting ideas about the inspiration of the Scriptures. This is just one among other key issues that are clearly connected. Sadly, the championing of anything other than the complete inspiration of the Scriptures is coming from within the evangelical community, especially the so-called holiness movement—and especially from much of the Church of the Nazarene leadership and those in positions of influence.

I have been around long enough to remember that only “modernists” openly espoused such nonsense as is being espoused by today’s neo-orthodox adherents in our midst. At that time, those of us in the evangelical circles never questioned among ourselves the inerrancy, authenticity, authority, and total reliability of the inspiration of the Scriptures. About all we discussed was how the Scriptures were inspired—verbal, dictatorial, or plenary. Otherwise, we were in complete agreement that the Word of God was the Word of God. That was never questioned among us.

There were those in academia who may have been doing philosophical diggings and speculations but they were so vague to us that we didn’t pay them a whole lot of attention. No one seemed to pay them much mind one way or the other until they had gained a menacing foothold in our organizations and control began to slip through our fingers and into their grasp.

Well, we should have! Slowly—incrementally—they managed to create a major shift in the way many of the supercilious among the evangelicals look at the Scriptures. (I make a distinction between those “among us” and those who were actually of us).

No longer do they take God at His Word, if they ever did. They question His Word. They do not question us. They challenge His Word. They do not challenge us. A pigeon may as well challenge a jumbo jet, but they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Their own deception is deeply rooted in them and they think they can somehow out-maneuver God and bring Him in line with their opinions. Just like their father, the devil, they presume to ascend to the very throne of God. They cannot rise to His level so, in their own imagination, try to pull Him down to theirs. I think they may be stupid enough to think they actually do.

It is a fantasy, to be sure, but they are completely insensible to that fact. The imaginary god they have re-invented goes along with them very well but they do not comprehend that the God of creation will have nothing to do with their foolishness and is becoming increasingly agitated with the whole affair.

It is becoming apparent to me that the attempts to discredit and diminish the Scriptures are foundational to all postmodern errors. That is where it all begins. That is where it is all deeply rooted. A synthetic concept of tarnished Scriptures is the very hub of all modern apostasy. An honored and cherished Scriptures is the obvious antidote.

It has been said that you become what you eat. Someone may have also said that you are what you think. The Scriptures do tell us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). It is a foregone conclusion that a person follows through most readily on the things that occupy the mind the most. Facts—truth—has no bearing on that at all. Most people tend to argue from the standpoint of a prior accumulation of subjective opinion. At some point, arbitrarily biased opinion replaces facts and evidence as the authority in a matter.

There is a reason that Paul admonishes in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Humanity is tragically flawed, especially when it come to the mind and the exercise of free-will. We are so overly proud of our puny mental abilities and boast like a hen that just laid an egg as if that was really something. We desperately need the right guidance and the only source of absolute truth is the Bible.

Some say that the Bible is relevant only in matters concerning salvation. That can be true only in the sense that everything in creation is relative to salvation in some way. Actually, everything is relative to the glory of God and that includes salvation. When the Bible speaks of “scientific” matters, it points to the glory of God. The same is true of all other topics the Bible engages. “Science” and its earthy companions are useless aside from how it all glorifies God. To try to separate them as somehow superior to biblical revelation is a false premise. It becomes a house of cards that is easily tumbled by the slightest breeze of truth.

So the hammers continue to pound against the anvil of God’s Word. The Anvil still stands and the hammers break, one by one, and fall into the dust of fading memories. There will be many more hammers but there will only be the one Anvil. Each hammer will think it will be the one to break the Anvil only to finally break apart itself.

Psalm 119:160 – “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”

​John Henderson

 

Fo further reference: Is The Bible Inspired?

 

​Ash Wednes​day For Nazarenes: The Catholic Way​

Ashes to forehead
(NPH Endorsement of the Catholic way)

In 2009, Ashes to Fire was published and distributed by Nazarene Publishing House.  Now Ash Wednesday is ever increasing in popularity in the Church of the Nazarene. While General Superintendents ignore Bible-believing Nazarenes and their concerns, they are clearly on board with the Roman “Catholization” of the church.  Just a few readings over at Sacramental Nazarenes Facebook group shows how serious they are in going full steam ahead, including the use of ashes to the forehead Catholic style.  To what end?  This was not my father’s denomination when he was alive; he was rescued from Roman Catholicism, and now the leadership has no problem becoming more like the RCC.  Is it financial motivation?  Is it to get more members and show how diverse or welcoming the church is?  That would be ironic, since there seems to be very little room for Bible-believers now, unless the remain silent and mind their own business.  I wonder how many Nazarene churches across North America, and also around the world, practiced the Catholic rituals last night?  Did you, and if so, why?  The following by John Henderson is some food for thought.

By John Henderson:​
I have seen and heard of some responses to what is called Ash Wednesday. It appears that some Nazarenes now practice the Catholic version of it. There are at least three varieties of Nazarenes these days: Emergent Nazarenes, Sacramental Nazarenes, and Fundamental Nazarenes. I identify with the Fundamental Nazarenes. I respect the Catholics’ right to be Catholic and believe that Nazarenes historically have no practical or spiritual need to identify with Catholicism in fundamental doctrines and practices in a Nazarene setting and context. The practices associated with Ash Wednesday are among them.  I am aware of the many, many “reason” given by some Nazarenes to justify the practice, but none are supported by the Scriptures or evangelical tradition.  I share the following, written by a Catholic I assume, without further comment:

Ash Wednesday: of pagan origin?

“Ash Wednesday” is a day when Catholics receive a mark of ashes on their forehead, supposedly as a token of penitence.
Ash Wednesday was taken from Roman paganism, which took it from Vedic India. Ashes were called the seed of the fire god Agni, with power to forgive sins. Ashes were said to be a symbol for the purifying blood of Shiva, in which, one could bathe away sins. During Rome’s New Year Feast of Atonement in March, people wore sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for their sins. As the dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers sins with him into death. The carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars. In English, this was Tuesday, because Mars was identified with the Saxon god Tiw. In French the carnival day was Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” the day of merrymaking before Ash Wednesday.(illuminati-news.com)

What do Catholics say about Ash Wednesday? According to americancatholic.org

Although Ash Wednesday is not a Catholic holy day of obligation, it is an important part of the season of Lent. The first clear evidence of Ash Wednesday is around 960, and in the 12th century people began using palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday for ashes.
the use of ashes in the Church left only a few records in the first millennium of Church history. Thomas Talley, an expert on the history of the liturgical year, says that the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. Before that time, ashes had been used as a sign of admission to the Order of Penitents. As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. At the beginning of the 11th century, Abbot Aelfric notes that it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes. Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.

At first, clerics and men had ashes sprinkled on their heads, while women had the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Eventually, of course, the ritual used with women came to be used for men as well.

In the 12th century the rule developed that the ashes were to be created by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. Many parishes today invite parishioners to bring such palms to church before Lent begins and have a ritual burning of the palms after Mass. ( source:americancatholic.org)​
There is no mention of Ash Wednesday, the practice of it or even a semblance of it in the Bible. This is also true with Lent of which Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a preparation for.

So ask yourself this: if you’re a Christian, a true Christian, would you practice something not taught by Jesus Christ or his Apostles?  If so, why?

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:​

​The practice of ashes to the forehead:​ http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/nph-endorses-catholic-practice-of-ashes-on-forehead/
​Ashes To Fire Book:​ http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/ashes-to-fire-baby-step-to-apostasy-and-spiritual-damage/