From Mark Copeland... "A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD" Our Public Assemblies

                        "A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD"
                          Our Public Assemblies


1. In our last study, we noted that being a Christian involves both

2. One of the blessings as well as an important responsibility for the
   Christian is the practice of ASSEMBLING regularly with other Christians
   a. We have an example of Christians assembling in Ac 20:7
   b. We have an explicit command not to forsake our assembling
      together - He 10:25

3. The PURPOSE of our assembling is THREE-FOLD:
   a. To express praise and devotion to God and Christ
   b. To exhort and encourage our brethren to greater service
      - He 10:24-25
   c. To receive such encouragement ourselves

4. In this study, we shall:
   a. Briefly remark concerning the ACTIVITIES that we engage in during
      our assemblies
   b. See how every activity is designed to accomplish the three-fold
      purpose described above
   c. Suggest how we can get the most out of our public assemblies


   A. PRAYER...
      1. We have several examples of group prayer in the early church
         - Ac 4:23-24; 12:5,12
      2. The value of such prayer is implied in Jm 5:16 (if such is
         true concerning the prayer of ONE righteous man, how much
         more the prayers of MANY righteous!)
      3. The value of all prayer is seen further in Php 4:6-7
         a. Thus prayer not only blesses (praises) God
         b. But also blesses (benefits) those who pray!
      4. HINT:  To get the most out of public prayers, make them your own!
         a. In your heart, tell the Lord you agree with what is being
            said by the one leading the prayer
         b. Don't hesitate to offer a hearty "AMEN" if you agree

   B. SINGING...
      1. Commands to sing can be found in Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; He 13:15
      2. Notice where the emphasis lies:
         a. On praising God
         b. On teaching one another
         c. On making melody "in your hearts"
      3. So the emphasis is not on how we sound, but on what we say and
         how we feel
         a. Therefore, pay more attention to the words rather than the melody
         b. Concentrate on engaging the mind and heart, and not just
            the mouth
      4. HINT:  To get more out singing in public, sing often in
         private! - Jm 5:13

      1. Teaching or preaching of the Word of God was part of public
         worship in the early church - Ac 20:7
      2. For it is by the Word of God that we can grow spiritually 
         - 1Pe 2:2
      3. How we listen to the proclamation of God's Word is an
         indication of our devotion to God
         a. We should be quick to hear what God's Word has to say 
            - Jm 1:18-19
         b. It is important to receive God's Word with a proper
            attitude of meekness and willingness to receive it 
            - Jm 1:21; Mk 4:23-25
      4. HINT:  As with singing, the more we study the Word in private,
         the more we get out of it in the public assemblies!

      1. This is also called:
         a. The "breaking of bread" - Ac 2:42; 20:7
         b. "Communion" - 1Co 10:16
      2. A memorial feast instituted by Jesus Himself - 1Co 11:23-26
         a. In it we remember:
            1) The sinless body offered on the cross in our place
            2) The blood shed to provide forgiveness for our sins
         b. Done faithfully, we proclaim our faith in the efficacy of
            the Lord's death
      3. It should be done with all seriousness and appropriateness
         - 1Co 11:27-29
         a. In a manner worthy of the One we are remembering
         b. A time also to reflect upon our relationship with Him who
            died for us
      4. Done properly...
         a. It honors Jesus ("This do, in remembrance of Me")
         b. It  renews us to greater faithfulness - 1Co 11:28-32
         c. It strengthens our oneness in the body of Christ 
            - 1Co 10:17
         d. We continually share in the "body and blood of the Lord"
            - 1Co 10:16
            1) Not literally
            2) Perhaps referring to a continual communion with the
               benefits of that sacrifice (e.g., forgiveness)
      5. HINT:  Reading passages like Isaiah 53, Psalms 22, and the
         Gospel records of Christ's suffering and death while partaking
         of the Supper can help keep our minds focused on what we are

      1. The early church is noteworthy for its love for one another
         - Ac 2:44,45; 4:32-35
      2. Such love went beyond those in the local congregation 
         - Ac 11:27-30
      3. In time, a systematic manner for providing for needy
         Christians was instituted - 1Co 16:1-2
      4. The primary purpose of the collection, then, was to provide
         for needy Christians
         a. Locally and abroad
         b. Including those who devote their lives to preaching the
            gospel - 2Co 11:8,9; Php 4:10-18
      5. How much should one give?  The New Testament does not set a
         percentage (like the "tithe", or a tenth, found in the Old
         Testament), but rather instructs us to give according to the
         following principles:
         a. "As he may prosper" - 1Co 16:2
         b. Whatever is given with "a willing mind" - 2Co 8:12
         c. "According to what one has" - 2Co 8:12-13
         d. "As he purposes (plans) in his heart" - 2Co 9:7
         e. Whatever one can give "cheerfully", not "grudgingly" or
            "of necessity" - 2Co 9:7
         f. Keeping in mind the principle of "sowing and reaping" 
            - 2Co 9:6,8
      6. Even this activity fulfills the three-fold purpose mentioned
         at the beginning of our lesson:
         a. We are blessed in giving - Ac 20:35; 2Co 9:11
         b. Brethren's needs are met - 2Co 9:12a
         c. God is glorified - 2Co 9:12-15
      7. HINT:  to help motivate us in giving, remember the examples
         of the churches in Macedonia and of the Lord Himself - 2Co 8:1-9


      1. Our brethren in Christ
         a. People like you, who appreciate the presence and encourage-
            ment of other Christians
         b. So take the time to visit with them before and after the assembly
            1) Don't get into the habit of always coming in at the last minute
            2) Don't be in such a rush to leave after the service is ended
      2. Frequently visitors
         a. Who naturally draw conclusions about the congregation
            during their visit
            1) Will they conclude we are really disciples of Jesus?
               - cf. Jn 13:35
            2) Will they say in their hearts "God is truly among you"?
               - cf. 1Co 14:25
         b. So take the time to welcome them and visit with them 
            - He 13:2
      3. And especially our Lord
         a. As He promised in Mt 18:20
         b. Do we act as we would if He were bodily present?

      1. Preparation beforehand makes a big difference
         a. Such as praying and meditating upon what you are going to do
         b. Planning what you can do to make the assembly more edifying
            (such as welcoming and visiting)
         c. In other words, come to serve, not to be served (although
            you will blessed in return by doing it this way)
      2. The more you come, the more interest you show, the more (and
         faster) you will grow!
         a. This is true in any endeavor (e.g., physical exercise,hobbies)
         b. "How often do I have to come?" is an indication of grave
            spiritual immaturity!
            1) It displays a lack of true love for Christ and His brethren
            2) It shows that one is selfishly concerned with how little
               they can do to save themselves
            3) How does the love of God abide in such a person?
               - cf. 1Jn 3:16-19


1. Rather, our attitude ought to be like that expressed by David in Ps 122:1

2. Neglecting the assemblies is detrimental to our spiritual growth as
   disciples of Christ

3. Do we express our love for God, our brethren, even our own selves as
   we should?

4. One of the greatest spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ in this
   life is the fellowship we share in our public assemblies... Let's all
   do our part to fully utilize that blessing!


1. Does one attend the assemblies to be entertained, or to serve?

2. Do you attend every assembly of the congregation where you are?

3. If not, are you praying to God to help you make it possible for you
   to do so?

4. What can you do before the assemblies to get more out of them?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Husband and Wife in the Quran by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Husband and Wife in the Quran

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Islamic world has not distinguished itself over the centuries in its respect for and kind treatment of women (Austen, 2012; Thompson, 2011; Kotz, 2009; “Melbourne Islamic…,” 2009; “Missouri Couple…,” 1991; “Father of…,” 2008; Schoetz, 2008; “Raped…,” 2007). This observation is unprejudiced and hardly novel. Around the world for centuries, Islamic women have endured a subpar status with Islamic men. As General George S. Patton observed, having witnessed the impact of Islam on the countries of North Africa during World War II:
One cannot but ponder the question: What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing. Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity (1947, p. 43, emp. added).
No doubt 7th and 8th century Arabian culture contributed to Muhammad’s view of women. However, the Quran stands on its own for its advocacy of female inferiority. For example, in Mohammed Pickthall’s translation of the Quran, Surah 4:34 reads:
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great (emp. added).
A host of Islamic translations confirm this translation. The words in bold in Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation are rendered: “refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly).” Ahmed Raza Khan’s translation reads: “do not cohabit with them, and (lastly) beat them.” Maududi has “remain apart from them in beds, and beat them.” Wahiduddin Khan “refuse to share their beds, and finally hit them.” Shakir has “leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.” Sarwar reads: “do not sleep with them and beat them.” Saheeh International reads: “forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.” Qaribullah and Darwish have: “desert them in the bed and smack them (without harshness).” Qarai reads: “keep away from them in the bed, and [as the last resort] beat them” (Tanzil Project, 2007-2014).
Observe two startling realizations from this passage:
(1) The Quran explicitly gives sanction to Muslim men to beat their wives. Some translators try to soften the directive by inserting qualifiers like “lightly” (Ali) and “without harshness” (Qaribullah and Darwish), but the Arabic text is unqualified. In stark contrast, the Bible, while assigning differing roles and responsibilities based on gender, nowhere suggests that men have a right to inflict physical punishment on women. The intimidating, overbearing role of men in Islam is proof that the religion was invented by a male.
(2) The command to banish a wife to a separate bed implies at least three concepts that cast Islam and the Quran in an unfavorable light.
First, the Bible and the Quran contradict each other on this point. Paul instructed the Corinthian Christians:
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, emp. added).
The Quran says a man may sexually banish his wife, without her consent, as punishment for displeasing him. Yet Paul said a married couple is not to refrain from sexual relations except bymutual consent, and then only for a brief period. One cannot take the position that the Quran and the Bible are both from God. They contradict each other on many matters. Insisting that these differences are due to the Bible having being corrupted is an untenable and unsubstantiated explanation (Miller, 2005, p. 89; Miller, 2013).
Second, when one weighs both the Bible and the Quran’s portraits of deity, it quickly becomes self-evident to the unbiased observer which of the two books portrays the inspired view of women. The Bible contains the fair, compassionate, majestic perspective in taking into account both marriage partners as equals. As Peter stated so eloquently: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Both male and female were made in God's image (Genesis 1:27).
Third, observe further how the Quran exposes its human origin, demonstrating that it came from man, not God. Women are “wired” differently from men. They have one-tenth the testosterone of men (“Testosterone,” 2011). To suggest that a man could punish his wife by the cessation of sexual relations with her is undoubtedly written from the perspective of a man, and not from the vantage point of most women.
Comparing the Bible with the Quran is a useful exercise. The process calls the inspiration of the Quran into question. At the same time, the Bible’s superiority is reinforced.


Austen, Ian (2012), “Afghan Family, Led by Father Who Called Girls a Disgrace, Is Guilty of Murder,”The New York Times, January 29, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/world/americas/afghan-family-members-convicted-in-honor-killings.html?_r=0.
“Father of Slain Teen Girls Upset That Daughter Dated Non-Muslim, Police Records Show” (2008), Associated Press, January 9, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/01/09/father-slain-teen-girls-upset-that-daughter-dated-non-muslim-police-records/.
Kotz, Pete (2009), “Faleh Almaleki Runs Over Daughter in Attempted ‘Honor Killing,’” True Crime Report, October 30, http://www.truecrimereport.com/2009/10/faleh_almaleki_runs_over_daugh.php.
 “Melbourne Islamic Cleric Says its OK to Rape Your Wife,” (2009), Herald Sun, January 21,http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/rudd-condemns-rape-in-marriage-cleric/story-e6freol3-1111118630585.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25[12]:89-95,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=572&article=433.
Miller, Dave (2013), “Has the Bible Been Corrupted?” Apologetics Press,https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=4649.
“Missouri Couple Sentenced to Die In Murder of Their Daughter, 16” (1991), The New York Times, December 20, http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/20/us/missouri-couple-sentenced-to-die-in-murder-of-their-daughter-16.html.
Patton, George S. (1947), War As I Knew It (New York: The Great Commanders, 1994 edition).
“Raped ‘for reading Holy Bible’” (2007), News.com.au, April 17,http://www.news.com.au/national/raped-for-reading-holy-bible/story-e6frfkp9-1111113353497.
Schoetz, David (2008), “Daughter Rejects Marriage, Ends Up Dead,” ABC News, July 7,http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=5322587&page=1.
Tanzil Project (2007-2014), http://tanzil.net/#4:34.
“Testosterone” (2011), Lab Tests Online, American Association for Clinical Chemistry,http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/testosterone/tab/faq.
Thompson, Carolyn (2011), “Jury Convicts Muslim TV Exec of Beheading Wife,” Associated Press, February 9, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/07/closing-arguments-begin-new-york-beheading-murder-trial/.

Biblical Accuracy Set in Stone by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Biblical Accuracy Set in Stone

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Writing about a rock that was discovered almost 150 years ago certainly would not fit in a current “in the news” section. In fact, since 1868, so much has been written about this stone that very few new articles pertaining to it come to light. But the truth of the matter is that even though it was discovered more than a century ago, many Christians do not even know it exists, and need to be reminded of its importance.
The stone is known as the Moabite Stone (or the Mesha Inscription). A missionary named Klein first discovered the stone in August of 1868 (Edersheim, n.d., p. 109). When he initially saw the black basalt stone, it measured about 3.5 feet high and 2 feet wide. Upon hearing of Klein’s adventure, a French scholar named Clermont-Ganneau located the antiquated piece of rock and made an impression of the writing on its surface. From that point, the details surrounding the stone are not quite as clear. Apparently, the Arabs who had the stone thought that it was a religious talisman of some sort, and broke it into several pieces by heating it in fire and then pouring cold water on it. The pieces were scattered, but about two-thirds of the original stone has been relocated, and currently resides at the Louvre in Paris (Jacobs and McCurdy, 2002).
The written inscription on the stone provides a piece of “rock-solid” evidence verifying the Bible’s accuracy. Mesha, the king of Moab, had the stone cut in about 850 B.C. to tell of his many conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel. In the over 30-line text composed of about 260 words, Mesha mentions that Omri was the King of Israel who had oppressed Moab, but then Mesha says he “saw his desire upon” Omri’s son and upon “his house.” The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Omri’s son (Ahab) in close connection with the Moabites, just as 2 Kings 3:4-6 does. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as the king of Moab. The stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. Taken as a whole, the Moabite stone remains one of the most impressive pieces of evidence verifying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. And, although this find has been around almost 150 years, it “still speaks” to us today (Hebrews 11:4).


Edersheim, Albert (no date), The Bible History—Old Testament, book VI (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jacobs, Joseph and J. Frederick McCurdy (2002), “Moabite Stone,” JewishEncyclopedia.com, [On-line], URL: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=680&letter=M.

All Clocks Have a Clockmaker by Kyle Butt, M.A.


All Clocks Have a Clockmaker

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

In 1802, William Paley published his famous book Natural Theology, in which he presented the watchmaker analogy. He explained that if a person were to stumble across a well-designed watch in the middle of the woods, the complexity of the watch would be evidence that an intelligent designer made the machine. His analogy is an extension of the more formal teleological argument, which simply states that if there is design in nature, that design demands the existence of a designer. The Hebrews writer used the same line of reasoning when he wrote: “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (3:4).
Cutting-edge biological research has added some fresh insight to this ancient wisdom. Malcolm Ritter recently reported on work done by Akhilesh Reddy of Cambridge University and Joseph Bass of Northwestern University (2011). Their research, published in Nature centers on the built-in clocks that are housed in the cells of the human body. Ritter wrote, “even the cells throughout our body have their own 24-hour clocks to coordinate activities at the cellular level. Now new research suggests these internal timepieces may be more complicated than scientists thought” (2011).
How interesting! Our body is filled with trillions of cells that contain complicated clocks. Man-made clocks are complex and effective. If a person found such a device in the middle of the forest, he would be forced to conclude it was intelligently designed. The same is true of the biological clocks found in the body.


Ritter, Malcom (2011), “Study of Cell ‘Clocks’ Looks at What Makes Us Tick,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110126/ap_on_sc/us_sci_body_clocks/print.

Did Jesus Perform Miracles Or Not? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus Perform Miracles Or Not?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

A gentleman who was struggling with his beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible recently contacted our offices questioning why Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that “no sign shall be given to this generation” (Mark 8:12; cf. Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29). Since other scriptures clearly teach that Jesus worked “many signs” (John 12:37; 20:30-31; 3:2; Acts 2:22), how could Jesus truthfully and consistently say, “no sign shall be given to this generation”? According to certain Bible critics, Jesus was a false prophet since His “prediction that no sign would be given to that generation is clearly false” (McKinsey, 1995, p. 114; cf. Wells, 2010). How can a Christian reasonably and biblically respond to such an assertion?

Sadly, Bible critics (and some Christians) are fond of disregarding the context in which biblical statements are found. Yet, no statement can be understood properly without some kind of background or contextual information. Words mean different things depending on how, when, and where they are spoken. Figures of speech abound in all cultures around the world (cf. Lyons, 2010). Truthful people, for example, have been joking, exaggerating, and using sarcasm for millennia (cf. Job 12:2; Psalm 58:3), all the while rightly expecting their listeners to interpret their language accurately, and without accusation of lying. Unfortunately, skeptics of the Bible’s inspiration often ignore much of the necessary information needed to properly understand Scripture.

When Jesus first made the statement, “no sign will be given” to this generation (Matthew 12:39; Luke 11:29), He had just healed a person who was blind, mute, and demon-possessed (Matthew 12:22; Luke 11:14). Notice that, rather than acknowledging that the great miracle Jesus worked was proof of His deity (John 20:30-31), the hard-hearted Pharisees alleged that His power came from the devil (Matthew 12:24). They did not simply turn away from Jesus; they turned 180 degrees away from the direction that such miracles led the honest and good-hearted truth-seekers. And Jesus’ enemies had not simply seen one miracle. Earlier in Matthew 12, Jesus had healed a man with a withered hand (vss. 9-13). How did the Pharisees react then? Rather than acknowledge the power of Christ, they “plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (vs. 14). The fact is, by this time in Jesus’ ministry He had already worked a number of miracles (Matthew 11:4-5), and many of the scribes and Pharisees absolutely refused to believe in Him (cf. Matthew 9:32-34). Regardless of what Jesus did or said, some of His enemies would never be convinced (cf. Matthew 12:31-32; see Butt, 2003).

So what did Jesus mean when He said on two different occasions that “no sign” would be given to “this generation” except “the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:12; Luke 11:29)? Jesus was responding to the Pharisees’ desire to see a sign. But they had already witnessed and heard about many of Jesus’ miracles. They wanted something “more.” They sought “a sign from heaven” (Luke 11:16; Matthew 16:1; Mark 8:11, emp. added). Exactly what Jesus’ enemies meant by this, we may not know. What we do know is that while on Earth Jesus manifested His power over nature, disease, demon, and death (see Lyons and Butt, 2007), yet the Pharisees said they wanted more. It seems, as Burton Coffman noted, they “meant some spectacular wonder without moral value but which would appeal sensationally to man’s curiosity” (Coffman, 1984, p. 179). Jesus, however, always rejected doing such miracles. He refused to turn stones to bread or to jump from the temple’s pinnacle simply because Satan challenged Him to do so (Matthew 4:1-7). Jesus could have performed any miracle that He wanted—whether when tempted by Satan, prodded by Herod (Luke 23:8-12), or tested by the Pharisees. He could have pulled rabbits from hats for the sole purpose of amusing people. He could have turned His Jewish enemies into stones or given a person three eyes. He could have commanded that it literally rain cats and dogs. He could have lit the robes of the Pharisees on fire with the snap of his fingers and told them that hell would be ten times as hot. He could have done any number of wonders. But the insincere Pharisees would see none of that (i.e., “no sign [like these] will be given”).

What sign would be given? Other than the kinds of miracles that Christ’s enemies had already rejected, the only other sign Jesus prophesied was “the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29)—Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

Most certainly, Jesus performed miracles. And though Jesus “humbled himself...taking the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 1:7-8), He refused to get on the lowly, perpetually defiled spiritual level of His enemies. He worked no miracle of the kind that the Pharisees wished to see. But make no mistake, He worked plenty of the kind that provide honest-hearted people sufficient evidence to come to the conclusion that He is, indeed, “the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30-31).


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The Unpardonable Sin,”http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2272.

Coffman, Burton (1984), Matthew (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).

Lyons, Eric (2010), “The ‘Twelve,’” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240449.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2007), “The Very Works that I Do Bear Witness of Me,” Reason & Revelation, 26[3]:17-23, March, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2857.

McKinsey, Dennis (1995), The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).

Wells, Steve (2010), “Did Jesus Perform Many Signs and Wonders?” http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/signs.html.

“Documented” Transitional Forms? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


“Documented” Transitional Forms?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The cover of the March 1-7, 2008 issue of New Scientist pictures an illustrator’s attempt at drawing a half fish, half reptilian creature. Above the illustration is the title: “Amazing Missing Links: Creatures that Reveal the Real Power of Evolution.” Allegedly, evolutionists “have abundant evidence for how all the major groups of animals are related, much of it in the form of excellent transitional fossils” (Prothero, 2008, 197[2645]:35). After his introductory comments, the author, Donald Prothero, listed several alleged transitional fossils, which supposedly “are conclusive proof that evolution has occurred, and is still occurring” (p. 41). Included in this list were a variety of animals—from velvet worms to dinosaurs, and giraffes to manatees. Readers, however, have to go no further than Prothero’s introduction to see the inaccuracy of his assertions.
Prothero introduced his list of transitional forms, that supposedly prove evolution, with two examples that science dealt a crushing blow to long ago. Prothero wrote: “Darwin’s 1859 prediction that transitional forms would be found was quickly confirmed. In 1861 the first specimen of Archaeopteryx—a classic transitional form between dinosaurs and birds—was discovered, and in the 1870s the iconic sequence of fossil horses was documented” (p. 35, emp. added). Of the alleged “numerous fossils and fossil sequences showing evolutionary change,” Prothero chose to begin his article withArchaeopteryx and the “sequence of horse fossils,” both of which are supposedly “documented” proof of evolution. In truth, Archaeopteryx and the horse family tree do not even come close to confirming evolution.
Regarding horse evolution, the fossil record simply does not bear out what New Scientist writer Prothero claimed. In fact, due to the severe lack of fossil evidence linking the various horse “family members” together, even prominent evolutionists have abandoned the “horse evolution” argument. Prothero claimed that as far back as “the 1870s the iconic sequence of fossil horses was documented” (p. 35). Since that time, however, evolutionists such as Dr. George Gaylord Simpson have admitted, “The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature” (Simpson, 1953, p. 125, emp. added). In a 2000 article that appeared in the journal Natural History, Dr. Stephen Jay Gould criticized science textbooks’ use of misinformation surrounding the evolution of horses. He wrote:
Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because, as stated above, textbooks copy from previous texts. (I have written two essays on this lamentable practice: one on the amusingly perennial description of the eohippus, or “dawn horse,” as the size of a fox terrier, even though most authors, including yours truly, have no idea of the dimensions or appearance of this breed...) [2000, 109[2]:45, emp. added].
In light of such statements by renowned evolutionists, one wonders how Prothero can be so confident that the evolution of horses was documented by fossils as far back as the 1870s. Is Prothero’s article just another example of how “misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent” in many evolutionary writings?
And what about Archaeopteryx? Is it a “confirmed” transitional form, as Prothero asserted? Simply because Archaeopteryx has teeth in its beak and claws on its wings, does not prove that it was the transitional form between reptiles and birds. Consider that some modern birds have claws on their wings, and yet no one thinks of them as being missing links. The African bird known as touraco has claws on its wings, as does the hoatzin of South America when it is young. Both of these birds use their fully functional claws to grasp branches and climb trees. If you have ever seen an ostrich close up, you might have noticed that it, too, has claws on each wing and can use them if attacked. Obviously, simply because a bird in the fossil record is discovered with claws on its wings does not mean that it is a transitional fossil.
In 1993, Science News reported that an odd fossil bird had been unearthed in Mongolia. It supposedly is millions of years younger than Archaeopteryx and, interestingly, had teeth in its beak (Monasterky, 1993, 143:245). As with the claws on the wings of Archaeopteryx, evolutionists cannot prove that the presence of teeth make the animal something more than a bird. What’s more, consider that while most reptiles have teeth, turtles do not. And, some fish and amphibians have teeth, while other fish and amphibians have no teeth. How can evolutionists be so sure that Archaeopteryx’s teeth make it a dinosaur-bird link? Such an assertion is based on unprovable assumptions.
Archaeopteryx also had fully formed feathers, just like living birds. Fossils of Archaeopteryx leave no hint of the animal being a half-scaly/half-feathered creature. It was not in some kind of in-between stage. Furthermore, “[e]xperts don’t know what Archaeopteryx’s closest [alleged—EL] dinosaur ancestor looked like—fossils haven’t yet been found” (“Fossil Evidence,” 2007), i.e., evolutionists have been entirely unsuccessful in finding any actual transitional forms between dinosaurs and birds.
Finally, what makes the suggestion that Archaeopteryx was the missing link between reptiles and birds even more unbelievable is that “[a]nother bird fossil found in the desert of west Texas in 1983,Protoavis, is dated even earlier, 75 million years before Archaeopteryx” (DeYoung, 2000, p. 37, emp. added). Although some paleontologists have questions about the fossil remains of Protoavis (birds, after all, were not supposed to be around with the “earliest dinosaurs”), Dr. Chatterjee of Texas Tech University “has pointed out, the skull of Protoavis has 23 features that are fundamentally bird-like, as are the forelimbs, the shoulders, and the hip girdle” (Harrub and Thompson, 2001). In 1991, Sciencemagazine ran a story titled, “Early Bird Threatens Archaeopteryx’s Perch,” wherein Alan Anderson wrote: “His [Chaterjee’s—EL] reconstruction also shows a flexible neck, large brain, binocular vision, and, crucially, portals running from the rear of the skull to the eye socket—a feature seen in modern birds but not dinosaurs” (253:35).
The fact is, the fossil record does not, in any way, demonstrate that dinosaurs evolved into birds or that horses evolved from little dog-like creatures. Ironically, although Prothero, writing for New Scientist, wrote that a “favourite lie” of creationists is ‘there are no transitional fossils’” (2008, 197[2645]:35), evolutionist Mark Ridley wrote an article for the same journal 27 years earlier and confessed that “no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation...” (1981, 90:832, emp. added).


Anderson, Alan (1991), “Early Bird Threatens Archaeopteryx’s Perch,” Science, 253:35, July 5.
DeYoung, Don (2000), Dinosaurs and Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“Fossil Evidence” (2007), NOVA, [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/transitional.html.
Gould, Stephen Jay (2000), “Abscheulich! (Atrocious),” Natural History, 109[2]:42-50, March.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), “ArchaeopteryxArchaeoraptor, and the ‘Dinosaurs-to-Birds’ Theory [Part 1],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/473.
Monastersky, Richard (1993), “A Clawed Wonder Unearthed in Mongolia,” Science News, 143:245, April 17.
Prothero, Donald (2008), “What Missing Link?” New Scientist, 197[2645]:35-41, March 1-7.
Ridley, Mark (1981), “Who Doubts Evolution?” New Scientist, June 25, 90:832.
Simpson, George Gaylord (1953), Life of the Past (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

Abortion and the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Abortion and the Bible

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Every year in the United States of America, more than one million children are butchered by abortion doctors. Since 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand, some forty-three million babies have been slaughtered in America (see “Consequences,” 2003). Every year, an estimated forty-six million abortions occur worldwide (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002). In three decades, an entire generation of children has been forever eliminated. In fact, more than 20% of all babies conceived in this country are killed before they ever see the light of day (Finer and Henshaw, 2003, p. 6)—and the slaughter continues....
Some encouraging signs have surfaced recently. In March 2003, the United States Senate, by a 64-33 vote, approved a ban on the particularly barbaric abortion procedure known as “partial-birth” abortion (Kiely, 2003). In their efforts to sort out the moral and ethical issues involved in human cloning, the President’s Council on Bioethics concluded, among other things, that “the case for treating the early-stage embryo as simply the moral equivalent of all other human cells…is simply mistaken” (Kass, 2002, p. liv). But even these laudable attempts to turn back the tide of moral degradation that has swept over the nation are too little, too late.
A significant number of Americans consider abortion to be an acceptable option. What would one expect? They’ve been browbeaten with the “politically correct” agenda of the social liberals for decades. The highest court in the land has weighed in on the matter, making abortion legitimate by means of the power of “the law.” The medical profession has followed suit, lending its prestige and sanction to the practice of abortion—in direct violation of the Hippocratic Oath. But have the majority of Americans heard the biblical viewpoint? Do they even care how God feels about abortion? Are they interested in investigating His view of the matter? After all, the Bible does, in fact, speak decisively about abortion.
American civilization has undergone a sweeping cultural revolution for over forty years. The American moral framework is being restructured, and this country’s religious roots and spiritual perspective are being altered. The founding fathers and the American population of the first 150 years of our national existence would not have tolerated many of the beliefs and practices that have become commonplace in society. This list of practices would include gambling (i.e., the lottery, horse-racing, casinos, etc.), divorce, alcohol and public drunkenness, homosexuality, unwed pregnancy, and pornography in movies and magazines. These behaviors simply would not have been tolerated by the bulk of American society from the beginning up to World War II. But the moral and religious foundations of our nation are experiencing catastrophic erosion. The widespread practice of abortion is simply one sign among many of this cultural shift in our country.
But there is still a God in Heaven—the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the Universe. He has communicated to the human race in the Bible, and He has stated that He one day will call all human beings who have ever lived to account, and He will judge them on the basis of their behavior on Earth. Therefore, every single person is responsible for carefully studying God’s Word, determining how He wants us to behave, and then complying with those directions. It is that simple, and it is that certain.
While the Bible does not speak directly to the practice of abortion, it does provide enough relevant material to enable us to know God’s will on the matter. In Zechariah 12:1, God is said to be not only the Creator of the heavens and the Earth, but also the One Who “forms the spirit of man within him.” So God is the giver of life. That alone makes human life sacred. God is responsible for implanting the human spirit within the human body. We humans have no right to end human life—unless God authorizes us to do so. But taking a human life, biblically, is based on that human’s behavior. Taking the life of an unborn infant certainly is not based upon the moral conduct of that infant. So if God places the human spirit in a human being while that person is in the mother’s womb, to end that life is a deliberate attempt to thwart God’s action of “forming the spirit of man in him.”
But when does the human spirit enter the human body and thereby bring into existence a human being? When does God implant the soul into the body—at birth or prior to birth? The Bible provides abundant evidence to answer that question. For example, the Bible states: “As you do not know what is the way of the spirit, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5). In this passage, Solomon equated fetal development with the activity of God. Job described the same process in Job 10:11-12. There he attributed his pre-birth growth to God. David was even more specific.
For You have formed my inward parts; You have 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).
David insisted that his development as a human being—his personhood—was achieved by God,prior to his birth, while he was yet in his mother’s womb. Some have suggested that Ecclesiastes, Job, and Psalms are all books of poetry and, therefore, not to be taken literally. However, poetic language has meaning. Solomon, Job, and David were clearly attributing their pre-birth personhood to the creative activity of God.
Of course, many additional passages that make the same point are not couched in poetic imagery. Jeremiah declared: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations’ ” (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Compare this statement with Paul’s equivalent claim, in which he said that God set him apart to do his apostolic ministry even while he was in his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15). Isaiah made the same declaration: “Listen, O coastlands, to me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother He has made mention of my name” (Isaiah 49:1).
These passages do not teach predestination. Jeremiah and Paul could have exercised their free will and rejected God’s will for their lives—in which case God would have found someone else to do the job. But these passages do teach that God treats people as human beings even before they are born. These passages show that a pre-born infant is a person—a human being. There is no significant difference between a human baby one minute before birth and that same human baby one minute after birth. And that status as a human being applies to a person throughout his or her pre-natal development from the moment of conception.
Consider further the recorded visit that Mary, the mother of Jesus, made to Elizabeth, the mother of John the baptizer. Both women were pregnant at the time.
Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:39-44).
Notice that Elizabeth’s pre-born baby is being represented as a living human being. In fact, the term “baby” used in verses 41 and 44 to refer to the pre-born John is the exact same term that is used in chapter two to refer to Jesus after His birth as He laid in the manger (Luke 2:12,16). So in God’s sight, whether a person is in his or her pre-birth developmental state, or in a post-birth developmental state, that person is still a baby! In Luke 1:36, John the Baptist is referred to as “a son” from the very moment of conception. All three phases of human life are listed in reverse order in Hosea 9:11—birth, pregnancy, and conception.
If abortion is not wrong, Mary would have been within her moral and spiritual rights to abort the baby Jesus—the divine Son of God! Someone may say, “But that’s different, since God had a special plan for that child.” But the Bible teaches that God has special plans for every human being. Every single human life is precious to God—so much so that a single soul is more significant than everything else that is physical in the world (Matthew 16:26). God sacrificed His own Son for every single human being on an individual basis. Each human life is equally valuable to God. The unrealized and incomprehensible potential for achieving great things by millions of human beings has been forever expunged by abortion. The remarkably resourceful potential of even one of those tiny human minds—now extinguished—may well have included a cure for cancer, or some other horrible, debilitating, and deadly disease.
Another insightful passage from the Old Testament is found in Exodus 21:22-25. This passage describes what action is to be taken in a case of accidental injury to a pregnant woman:
If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no lasting harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any lasting harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (NKJV).
This passage has been mistranslated in some versions. For example, some versions use the word “miscarriage” instead of translating the Hebrew phrase literally—“so that her children come out.” The text is envisioning a situation in which two brawling men accidentally injure a pregnant bystander. The injury causes the woman to go into early labor, resulting in a premature birth of her child. If neither the woman nor the child is harmed, then the Law of Moses levied a fine against the one who caused the premature birth. But if injury or even death resulted from the brawl, then the law imposed a parallel punishment: if the premature baby died, the one who caused the premature birth was to be executed—life for life. This passage clearly considers the pre-born infant to be a human being, and to cause a pre-born infant’s death was homicide under the Old Testament—homicide punishable by death.
Notice that this regulation under the Law of Moses had to do with injury inflicted accidentally. Abortion is a deliberatepurposeful termination of a child’s life. If God dealt severely with the accidental death of a pre-born infant, how do you suppose He feels about the deliberate murder of the unborn by an abortion doctor? The Bible states explicitly how He feels: “[D]o not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7). As a matter of fact, one of the things that God hates is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17).
This matter of abortion is a serious matter with God. We absolutely must base our views on God’s will—not the will of men. The very heart and soul of this great nation is being ripped out by unethical behaviors like abortion. We must return to the Bible as our standard of behavior—before it is too late.
When one contemplates the passages examined above, and compares them with what is happening in society, one surely is amazed and appalled. For example, women have been indicted and convicted of the murder of their own children when those children have been just a few months old. The news media nationwide, and society in general, have been up in arms and outraged at the unconscionable behavior of mothers who have so harmed their young children so as to result in death. Most Americans have been incensed that a mother could have so little regard for the lives of her own children. Yet the same society and the same news media that are outraged at such behavior would have been perfectly content for the same mother to have murdered the same children if she had simply chosen to do so a few minutes or a few months before those children were actually born!Such is the insanity of a civilization that has become estranged from God.
A terrible and tragic inconsistency and incongruity exists in this country. Merely taking possession of an egg containing the pre-born American bald eagle—let alone if one were to destroy that little pre-birth environment and thus destroy the baby eagle that is developing within—results in a stiff fine and even prison time. Yet one can take a human child in its pre-born environment and not only murder that child, but also receive government blessing to do so! Eagle eggs, i.e., pre-born eagles, are of greater value to American civilization than pre-born humans! What has happened to our society? This cannot be harmonized in a consistent, rational fashion. The ethics and moral sensibilities that lie behind this circumstance are absolutely bizarre.
The ethical disharmony and moral confusion that reign in our society have escalated the activity of criminals who commit a variety of heinous crimes—killing large numbers of people, raping women, and doing all sorts of terrible things. Yet, a sizeable portion of society is against capital punishment. Many people feel that these wicked adults, who have engaged in heinous, destructive conduct, should not be executed—a viewpoint that flies directly in the face of what the Bible teaches (Romans 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14). God wants evildoers in society to be punished—even to the point of capital punishment. Yet, we will not execute guilty, hardened criminals, while we will execute innocent human babies! How can one possibly accept this terrible disparity and the horrible scourge of abortion?
The ultimate solution to every moral issue is genuine New Testament Christianity and the objective standard of the Bible. If all people would organize their lives around the precepts and principles presented in the Bible, civilization would be in good shape. No other suitable alternative exists. There is simply no other way to live life cohesively, with focus, with perspective, with direction, and with the proper sense of the purpose of life.


Alan Guttmacher Institute (2002), “Induced Abortion,” [On-line], URL: http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.pdf.
“Consequences of Roe v. Wade” (2003), National Right to Life, [On-line], URL: http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/pbafacts.html.
Finer, Lawrence B. and Stanley K. Henshaw (2003), “Abortion Incidence and Services in the United States in 2000,” [On-line], URL: http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/3500603.pdf.
Kass, Leon (2002), Human Cloning and Human Dignity (New York: PublicAffairs).
Kiely, Kathy (2003), “Senate Okays Partial Birth Abortion Ban,” [On-line], URL: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-01-15-abortion-usat_x.htm.