Book, Chapter And Book Preaching: Is It Outdated? by Allan Turner


Book, Chapter And Book Preaching: Is It Outdated?

(Originally published in The Bulletin on June 10, 1990.)

The Word of God tells us that whatever we do in word or deed must be done in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). This means that if we are going to say it or do it, we must have a "thus saith the Lord" for it. Additionally, we learn that even our thoughts are to be governed by the Word of God (cf. Proverbs 27:3; Matthew 5:27,28; Romans 12:3; etc.). In fact, God, through His revealed Word, "has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). In other words, God's people, through a study of His Word, can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work, and this is why "All Scripture... is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16,17). Consequently, if anyone speaks, he ought to speak as "the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11).
Our allegiance to these truths has made us the unique people we are: a people dedicated to God and His Word. We have demanded book, chapter and verse for everything we do in all of life. Like the noble Bereans, we have "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). While others around us have floundered in a sea of subjectivity, we have stood on the bedrock of that objective standard found in God's Word. While those about us were allowing themselves to be further secularized, we were busy being molded into a seemingly ragtag group of "strangers and pilgrims on earth" (Hebrews 11:13; I Peter 2:11,12).
But an ill wind has begun to blow within churches of Christ. Even though we correctly resisted the unscriptural schemes of our more liberal brethren, who turned their meeting houses into holy gymnasiums and "Family Life Centers," regrettably, we still fell victim to the various secular philosophies of our age. Humanism, rationalism, pragmatism, materialism, and hedonism form the foundation of the "American Dream" that has, in turn, taken its toll on us all. Our "can-do" spirit has taken us from an on-our-knees study of God's Word to a stand-on-our-own-two-feet, we-can-do-it-through-science-and-technology mentality. Such has moved us away from our duties to God and caused us to seek personal gratification (i.e., the satisfaction of needs) in all that we do. As a result, churches are seen by many as country clubs—"places" created solely for the purpose of satisfying our "needs." Consequently, "worship" must be entertaining, and will certainly be seen as a failure unless it promotes our self-esteem.
Discouraged by society's resistance to the gospel of Christ, and influenced by the previously mentioned mentality, some have begun constructing a gospel that is pleasing and acceptable to those who are "this worldly." Therefore, the latest self-centered theories from pop-psychology, sociology and success/motivation training have been "baptized" in biblical language and passed off as gospel truth. Bowing to the totem of the self-actualized, autonomous SELF, more and more are rejecting what is being called the "sin-oriented, negative message" of the Bible and are replacing it with the "feel good about yourself" gospel of self-love.
In order to become successful in such an environment, some gospel preachers have become counselors and therapists. Instead of addressing the timeless message of God's Word to the real problems of life, these preachers have poured over their secular books and accommodated the Bible to the messages found in them. Consequently, personal charm, eloquent speech, academic credentials and organizational ability are becoming much more important than a preacher's knowledge of God's Word. Of course, other than a preacher's general faithfulness to the Lord, there is not anything more important than his knowledge of the Word of God. But because many other qualities are more important than a preacher's knowledge of God's Word, we are losing our biblical world view, both in the pulpit and the pews. Many are no longer preaching book, chapter and verse and many of the brethren "love to have it so" (cf. Jeremiah 5:31).
Like those of old who did not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, and because of their "itching ears," heaped to themselves false teachers, many among us are turning their ears away from the truth and are turning to fables (II Timothy 4:3,4). The only thing that will prevent this ill wind from turning into a full-scale cyclone of apostasy is repentance and a return to the objective standard of God's Word. If we are to be the unique people our Lord created us to be, then we must demand a "thus saith the Lord" for everything we do in every facet of our lives. We must demand that the Word of God be the only standard used to "convince," "rebuke," and "exhort" us, "with all longsuffering and teaching" (II Timothy 4:1,2).
Is book, chapter and verse preaching outdated? Among some, yes; but among God's peculiar people it is the "power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes ... For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16,17).

"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Chapter Six by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                              Chapter Six


1) To see that liberty in Christ involves responsibility toward others
   and our own selves

2) To appreciate the principles involved in "sowing" and "reaping", 
   especially as they relate to the flesh and Spirit

3) To understand the importance of becoming "a new creation" in Christ


In this final chapter, Paul reveals that liberty in Christ involves 
responsibilities.  Those who are "spiritual" are to restore those 
overtaken in trespasses, and all are to bear one another's burden 
thereby fulfilling the "law of Christ" (1-2).  At the same time, each
Christian ought to examine himself and seek to bear his own load (3-5).
Further responsibilities involve sharing with those who teach, and not
growing weary in doing good to all, especially those of the household
of faith. As motivation to do good, Paul reminds them of the principles
of "sowing" and "reaping", particularly as it relates to the flesh and
Spirit (6-10).

Paul's concluding remarks include an insight into the motivation behind
those seeking to compel circumcision.  While such people may seek to 
glory in the flesh, Paul himself will only glory in the cross of the 
Lord Jesus Christ (11-14).  Summarizing his whole epistle in one verse,
Paul reasserts that circumcision is inconsequential, and that in Christ
Jesus becoming a new creation is what really matters (15).  With a plea
for no one to trouble him since he bears in his body the marks of the 
Lord Jesus, Paul closes this epistle with a prayer of peace, mercy, and
grace upon those who walk according to his teaching, and upon the 
Israel of God (16-18).



      1. Be willing to bear one another's burdens (1-2)
         a. Those who are spiritual ought to restore those overtaken in
            a trespass (1)
         b. Bearing one another's burdens fulfills the law of Christ
      2. Be willing to bear your own burden (3-4)
         a. If one thinks himself to be something when he is not, he 
            deceives himself (3)
         b. Examine your own work, and bear your own load (4)

      1. Those who are taught should share in all good things with 
         those who teach (6)
      2. Principles governing sowing and reaping (7-9)
         a. What a man sows, that he will also reap (7)
         b. Sow to the flesh, and you reap corruption; sow to the 
            Spirit, and you reap everlasting life (8)
         c. Don't grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall 
            reap if we do not lose heart (9)
      3. Where there is opportunity, do good to all, especially to 
         those of the household of faith (10)


      1. The large letters confirm that Paul has written with his own
         hands (11)
      2. The motivation behind those who compel others to be 
         circumcised (12,13b)
         a. They desire to make a good showing in the flesh (12a)
         b. They do not want to suffer persecution for the cross of 
            Christ (12b)
         c. They wish to glory in your flesh (13b)
      3. Those who would bind circumcision do not even keep the Law
         themselves (13a)

      1. God forbid that he might glory in anything other than in the
         cross of Jesus (14a)
      2. For by Christ the world has been crucified to him, and he to
         the world (14b)
      3. In Christ, circumcision is inconsequential; what matters is a
         new creation (15)
      4. For those who abide by this same rule, peace and mercy be upon
         them, and upon the Israel of God (16)
      5. Let no one trouble him, for he bears in his body the marks of
         the Lord Jesus (17)

      1. Directed toward the brethren
      2. That the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirit


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - A liberty with a sense of responsibility (1-10)
   - Concluding remarks (11-18)

2) What should those who are "spiritual" be willing to do?  What 
   attitudes should accompany them in what they do? (1)
   - Restore those overtaken in a trespass
   - A spirit of gentleness, and a watchful eye for one's own self

3) How can we fulfill "the law of Christ"? (2)
   - By bearing one another's burdens

4) What responsibility is placed upon each person? (4)
   - To bear his or her own load

5) What responsibility does the person taught have toward the one who
   teaches? (6)
   - To share in all good things with him

6) What three principles are given by Paul concerning "sowing" and 
   "reaping"? (7-9)
   - Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap
   - Sow to the flesh, and you will of the flesh reap corruption; sow
     to the Spirit, and you will of the Spirit reap everlasting life
   - Don't grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if
     we do not lose heart

7) As we have opportunity, what is our responsibility? (10)
   - To do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of

8) What motivation does Paul ascribe to those who would compel 
   circumcision? (12-13)
   - They desire to make a good showing in the flesh
   - That they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ
   - That they may glory in your flesh

9) What was the inconsistency of those compelling circumcision? (13)
   - They themselves did not keep the Law

10) In what did Paul glory? (14)
   - The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world had been 
     crucified to him, and he to the world

11) In Christ Jesus, what is it that avails anything? (15)
   - A new creation

12) Upon whom did Paul pray for peace and mercy? (16)
   - As many as walk according to the rule that a new creation in
     Christ is what really matters
   - The Israel of God

13) Why did Paul ask that no one trouble him? (17)
   - Because he bore in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus

14) What was Paul's final benediction to the Galatians? (18)
   - "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Muhammad or Jesus? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Muhammad or Jesus?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Muhammad: “Those who say: Allah hath chosen a son…speak nothing but a lie” (Surah 18:4-5).
Jesus (through John): “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?... Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either” (1 John 2:22-23).
Muhammad: “Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him” (Surah 23:91).
God: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
Muhammad: “[T]he Christians call Christ the Son of God.... Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!” (Surah 9:30).
Jesus: “[H]e who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). “Jesus…said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you’” (John 9:35-37).
Muhammad: “They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain, but Allah took him up unto Himself” (Surah 4:157-158).
Jesus: “‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:32-33).
Muhammad: “[S]ay not ‘Three’—Cease! (it is) better for you!—Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son” (Surah 4:171-172).
Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Muhammad: “They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary…. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden Paradise. His abode is the Fire” (Surah 5:72-74).
Jesus: “[I]f you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Muhammad: Polygamous, having multiple wives, as many as 12 at a time.
Jesus: Remained single, devoting Himself to His divine mission.
The Jesus of the Quran: A mere human prophet, finite in his attributes, like sinful man, flawed.
The Jesus of the Bible: Perfect, infinite in all of His attributes, unlike sinful man.
Islam is focused on Muhammad, who was merely a man.
Christianity is focused on Jesus, Who was God in the flesh.
According to Islam and the Quran—
                 If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you will be lost eternally in hell.
According to Christianity and the Bible—
                 If you do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you will be lost eternally in hell.

Jesus said: “Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

NOTE: The above verses from the Quran were taken from two celebrated Muslim translations:
Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1934), The Qur’an (Elmhurst, NY: Tahrike Tarsile Quran), ninth edition.
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (1930), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).

The Prophecy of Nations by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


The Prophecy of Nations

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

In the feature article, I raised the issue of time, only to say that it does not need to be a problem. Whether differences built up between populations gradually, or rapidly at the beginning, or in occasional brief spurts of intense change, seems to be an empirical matter. The pattern of change should not be assumed ahead of time.
However, we do have to work within certain constraints. If James Ussher’s dates are anything to go by, the Flood occurred in 2348 B.C., and the dispersion from the Tower of Babel occurred in 2234 B.C. Even conservative writers do not agree on the exact dating (e.g., Morris, 1974, pp. 247-250) but, for the sake of argument, let us say that human variation began around the time of Ussher’s date for the Flood. This sets a time limit of approximately 4,350 years.
Next, we need to know the extent of variation. The commonly cited figure is 0.2%. In other words, if you were to compare your DNA with the DNA of a stranger picked randomly from anywhere in the world, you would find that two base pairs (the “rungs” of the twisted, ladder-likeDNA molecule) in every thousand base pairs are different, on average. There are around 3 billion base pairs in human DNA, so 0.2% of this figure would equal 6 million base pairs.
Actually, the situation is a little worse than this. If ancient art is anything to go by, skin coloration was a significant feature at an early stage (again, for the sake of argument, I will not worry about the discrepancies between archaeological and biblical chronologies). We could assume that obvious physical variations were fairly well established by the time of Abraham (c. 2000 B.C.). Is there enough time to accumulate these changes in the first few hundred years after the Flood?
The situation is helped a little by the estimate that only 6% of the 0.2% variation represents differences across major groupings (Gutin, 1994, p. 72). Between, say, a European and an Asian chosen at random, we would expect to find a difference of only 360,000 base pairs. Of course, all we need are sufficient mutations in the genes that are most responsible for making us appear different to people in other places. In the case of skin color (see feature article), this could mean a few mutations among a handful of genes.
So far, this is just a sketch of where we need to go in terms of a biblical model. No one, including the evolutionist, has explained all the empirical data. Still, 6 million mutations in such a short time requires some explanation.
One solution may lie in much higher mutation rates. Most estimates have rested on molecular clocks which, in turn, have rested on evolutionary assumptions. Until recently, we have not had good empirical measures of the mutation rates in humans. The situation improved when geneticists were able to analyze DNA from individuals with well-established family trees going back several generations. One study found that mutation rates in mitochondrial DNA are 18 times higher than previous estimates (Parsons, et al., 1997). If this new rate were applied to the “mitochondrial Eve” research, it would turn out that this hypothetical woman lived 6,000 years ago. “No one thinks that’s the case,” science writer Ann Gibbons is quick to point out (1998, 279:29). Still, if these new estimates hold, evolutionary anthropologists will have to do some fancy footwork around their dates for key events in the development of modern humans. Most important, the new data may put a biblical empirical model in closer reach.


Gibbons, Ann (1998), “Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock,” Science, 279:28-29, January 2.
Gutin, Joann C. (1994), “End of the Rainbow,” Discover, 15[2]:70-75, November.
Morris, Henry M. (1974), Scientific Creationism (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers).
Parsons, Thomas J., et al. (1997), “A High Observed Substitution Rate in the Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region,” Nature Genetics, 15:363.

Torporific Biomimicry by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Torporific Biomimicry

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Certain animals, such as the American black bear, exhibit hibernation, a temporary, sleep-like torpor during cold, winter months (see Tyson, 2000). The torpor involved in hibernation is “a state of self-induced reduction in body temperature and metabolic rate” to conserve energy (Harder, 2007; Fury, n.d.). Evolutionists are unsure why animals hibernate (see Luis and Hudson, 2006). How hibernation works remains a mystery. Harder reported for Science News Online:
Researchers still don’t understand how natural hibernators put themselves into torpor or how they bring themselves out of it. But new studies are peeling away the outer layers of that mystery. Far from succumbing to hypothermia, it seems, hibernators exploit it. Experiments are also revealing how animal tissues evade the damage that comes from inactivity and low blood flow, and suggesting that relatively few genes are involved in torpor and hibernation. That’s an auspicious sign for researchers who strive to manipulate the process (2007).
Physiologist Hannah V. Carey, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, added: “These animals have got it right. They know how to use hypothermia to their advantage” (quoted in Harder). Hibernating animals are resistant to tissue breakdown that would kill other animals exposed to frigid temperatures.
The arctic ground squirrel, for example, hibernates over half the year and adopts the lowest body temperature ever measured in a mammal (“Arctic...,” 2006). Researchers at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks have shown that the squirrel’s body temperature drops below freezing, a condition known as supercooling (“Arctic...”). Every two to three weeks, while still in a state of torpor, the hibernating squirrel shivers and shakes for 12 to 15 hours, warming its body to 98 degrees Fahrenheit (“Arctic...”).
Researchers hope to reduce the danger of certain tedious medical procedures, particularly when ill or injured human patients are involved, by inducing torpor. Harder reported that “recent findings in animals point the way toward medical shortcuts that might mimic in people the effects of torpor, although these measures don’t exactly reproduce the biological state” (2007).
In 2005, “[u]sing a natural chemical humans and other animals produce in their bodies, scientists...for the first time induced hibernation in mammals, putting mice into a state similar to suspended animation for up to six hours and then bringing them back to normal life” (Britt, 2005). This achievement, “the first demonstration of ‘hibernation on demand’ in a mammal, ultimately could lead to new ways to treat cancer and prevent injury and death from insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues” (“Buying Time...,” 2005). The mice required no freezing. Instead, “the rodents breathed air laced with hydrogen sulfide, a chemical produced naturally in the bodies of humans and other animals. Within minutes, they stopped moving and soon their cell functions approached total inactivity” (Britt). Mark Roth, affiliate professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine and leader of the mice investigation, said: “Manipulating this metabolic mechanism for clinical benefit potentially could revolutionize treatment for a host of human ills related to ischemia, or damage to living tissue from lack of oxygen” (quoted in “Buying Time...,” 2005).
Humans have gone essentially cold-blooded automatically in some emergency situations, so developing a reliable torporific procedure seems advantageous (see Britt). Clinical applications of induced metabolic hibernation could include treating severe blood-loss injury, hypothermia, malignant fever, cardiac arrest, and stroke (see “Buying Time...,” 2005). The potential medical benefits also include improving cancer treatment by allowing patients to tolerate higher radiation doses without damaging healthy tissue (“Buying Time...”). Roth commented: “Right now in most forms of cancer treatment we’re killing off the normal cells long before we’re killing off the tumor cells. By inducing metabolic hibernation in healthy tissue we’d at least level the playing field” (quoted in “Buying Time...”). Molecular biologist Sandra Martin, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, admitted that such applications “lie far in the future” (quoted in Harder, 2007).
While animals already “know” how to use hypothermia to their advantage, scientists, the alleged inheritors of millions of years of evolutionary development, are yet to understand the hibernation process well enough to manipulate it in non-hibernating mammals and harness torpor’s advantages. Man continues his quest to understand and apply God’s masterful design. Often, however, he does so while ignoring or denying the very existence of the Designer (Romans 1:19-22). Will multiplying examples of biomimicry open his eyes? Apologetics Press remains committed to offering him every opportunity to see the truth of the Genesis account and its massive implications for human life and spiritual afterlife.


“Arctic Ground Squirrel” (2006), Denali National Park and Preserve, [On-line], URL:http://www.nps.gov/dena/naturescience/arcticgroundsquirrel.htm.
Britt, Robert Roy (2005), “New Hibernation Technique Might Work on Humans,” LiveScience, [On-line], URL: http://www.livescience.com/health/050421_hibernation.html.
“Buying Time Through ‘Hibernation on Demand’: Landmark Finding in Mice May Lead to New Approaches for Cancer and Trauma Care in Humans,” (2005), Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, [On-line], URL: http://www.fhcrc.org/about/ne/news/2005/04/21/roth.html.
Fury, Amy (no date), “Naturalist Notes: Birds in Winter,” Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, [On-line], URL: http://www.wolf-ridge.org/whats_hap/nat_note_archive/birds_in_ winter.html.
Harder, Ben (2007), “Perchance to Hibernate,” Science News Online, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070127/bob9.asp.
Luis, A.D. and P.J. Hudson (2006), “Hibernation Patterns in Mammals: a Role for Bacterial Growth?,” Functional Ecology, [On-line], URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2435. 2006.01119.x.
Tyson, Peter (2000), “Secrets of Hibernation,” NOVA scienceNow, [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/satoyama/hibernation.html.

What Must I Know to Be Saved? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Must I Know to Be Saved?
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The question frequently is asked by those who are contemplating becoming a child of God, “How much do I have to know in order to become a Christian?” Some feel like they have to know virtually every detail in the Bible before submitting to the Savior to get rid of sin in their lives. Others believe they need every question “under the Sun” answered before becoming a Christian. Some want to know about the origin of the races. Others want to know whether or not there is life on other planets. The Bible, however, never indicates that for one to become a Christian, he has to know every detail about every book in the Bible, or that a person has to be able to answer every question that arises. But what, if anything, is necessary for a person to know before becoming a disciple of Christ?
First, an individual contemplating his spiritual life must understand that the reason there is even something for him to do is because he has sinned. Everyone who has reached the level of mental maturity (sometimes referred to as “the age of accountability”) so that he or she understands what sin is (cf. 1 John 3:4; 5:17), has sinned (Romans 3:10,23; 1 John 1:8). [The one exception, of course, was Jesus—1 Peter 2:22.] Sin is that which separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). For a person to be saved, he first must have knowledge that he is a sinner, and as such stands in a lost condition. One of the reasons Jesus condemned certain Jewish priests, elders, and sects was because they did not admit their sinfulness after hearing the preaching of John the baptizer (Matthew 21:31-32)—though the tax collectors and harlots (i.e., sinners) did acknowledge their sin, and believed.
Second, the one who aspires to become a Christian must know something about Jesus—the One Who came to save us from our sins (Luke 19:10; John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8). A person does not have to know every one of Jesus’ parables, or be able to quote the Sermon on the Mount, but he must know that Jesus is the Son of God Who died and was raised so that all men might have their sins forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven (Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:9). In other words, before becoming a Christian, a person must have heard the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Finally, the individual who aspires to become a child of God must realize there is something for him to do (cf. Acts 2:38; 16:30; 8:36). If one understands that the Bible says he must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of his sins (Luke 13:3,5), confess that Jesus is God’s Son (Romans 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38), he or she then possesses enough knowledge to put on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:27) and become a Christian, being added by God to the church that Christ established (Acts 2:47; Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16).
Contrary to the belief of some, a person who desires to become a Christian does not have to know the whole Bible thoroughly before he takes action. Nor is there a need to have every question imaginable answered. The Ethiopian eunuch heard one Christ-centered lesson from Philip before asking, “What hinders me from being baptized” (Acts 8:35-36)? The three thousand on Pentecost heard only one Gospel sermon before accepting the grace of God and obeying the plan of salvation (Acts 2:41). They did not wait around for years, thinking they were not knowledgeable enough to be followers of Christ. Rather, they were convinced of their sins (Acts 2:37), heard the Gospel, believed it, and obeyed it. It is after one becomes a Christian that God commands us a person to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), and to continue to study the Word in order to teach others (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 3:15).

Sam Harris, Christ’s Resurrection, and the Nature of Belief by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Sam Harris, Christ’s Resurrection, and the Nature of Belief

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Sam Harris has helped lead the new brigade of militant atheists in their charge against God. His bestseller, The End of Faith, attempts to persuade the reader that all religions, including Christianity, are not only useless, but often quite harmful. In truth, he does an outstanding job showing some of the problems with false religions like Islam, and he also effectively repudiates perversions of Christian doctrine that attempt to pass themselves off as authentic. What he fails to do, however, is accurately assess true, New Testament Christianity, a fault that lies at the heart of much modern, atheistic writing.
As a case in point, Harris asked the question: “What should we believe?” He answered:
We believe most of what we believe about the world because others have told us to.... In fact, the more educated we become, the more our beliefs come to us second hand. A person who believes only those propositions for which he can provide full sensory or theoretical justification will know almost nothing about the world (2004).
Harris then proceeded to discuss how to assess the validity of what we should or should not believe that other people tell us. He gave three sources of information and analyzed the validity of each. First, he proposed the scenario of an anchorman on the evening news claiming that a fire in Colorado had burned 100,000 acres. Second, he listed as a source of information numerous biologists who claim that DNA is the “molecular basis for sexual reproduction.” And the third source of information he listed was the Pope, who claims that Jesus is the Son of God, was born of a virgin, and was resurrected bodily after death.
After some discussion, Harris concluded that the first and second sources of information are reliable and should be trusted, but the third, the Pope, is not. What is interesting about Harris’ discussion is why he concluded that the story about the fire on the evening news is trustworthy. He elaborated:
Given our beliefs about the human mind, the success of our widespread collaboration with other human beings, and the degree to which we all rely on the news, it is scarcely conceivable that a respected television network and a highly paid anchorman are perpetrating a hoax, or that thousands of firefighters, newsmen, and terrified homeowners have mistaken Texas for Colorado. Implicit in such commonsense judgments lurks an understanding of the causal connections between various processes in the world, the likelihood of different outcomes, and the vested interests or lack thereof, of those whose testimony we are considering. What would a professional news anchor stand to gain from lying about a fire in Colorado? We need not go into the details here, if the anchor on the evening news says that there is a fire in Colorado and then shows us images of burning trees, we can be reasonably sure that there really is a fire in Colorado (2004).
It is not surprising that Harris follows this explanation with his statement about mistrusting the words of the Pope pertaining to the resurrection of Christ. In this regard, he is right: the Pope’s “word” on the resurrection is no more authoritative than the word of Sam Harris. But notice the straw man Harris has built. He rightly attacks the false belief of the Pope’s infallibility, but he does not address the real evidence that validates Jesus’ resurrection. Were we to put the evidence for the resurrection beside that of the news story, the resurrection would have unquestionably more “commonsense judgments” to commend it, making it much more “reasonably sure” than a modern news story.
Analyzing the resurrection of Christ in light of Harris’ filter of evidence, it is “scarcely conceivable” that several hundred eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6) of the resurrected Christ simply concocted the story to further their agenda. What would ordinary fishermen, farmers, or businessmen and women stand to gain from perpetuating such a hoax? The reward for their testimony was that many of them were stoned, killed with the sword, tortured, or imprisoned for nothing more than saying that they knew Jesus came back to life. Thousands of their peers listened with interest to their evidence, assessed the value of the witnesses and other information, such as the empty tomb of Christ, and were forced to conclude that the resurrection had, indeed, occurred (Acts 2:41). Many among the most educated classes, including the priests, who would have had numerous reasons to deny the validity of the evidence, were convinced of the truth of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 6:7). The many “infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) offered for the resurrection are recorded in the most reliable documents ever to come down to modern man from any historical repository (see Butt, 2004). In fact, so powerful are the various evidences for the resurrection (see Butt, 2002), that, knowing what we know “about the casual connections between various processes” and humanity’s “success of our widespread collaboration with other human beings,” it is inconceivable that the resurrection of Christ is a hoax. The Pope is an easy target. The real evidence for the resurrection is not.


Butt, Kyle (2002), “Jesus Christ—Dead or Alive?” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/121.
Butt, Kyle (2004), “Archaeology and the New Testament,” Reason & Revelation, [On-line],URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2591.
Harris, Sam (2004), The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton).

What Made Us Human? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


What Made Us Human?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Guess what! Evolutionary scientists claim they have finally found the impetus behind why humans evolved from lower mammals. Charles Choi, a LiveScience writer, penned an article titled: “Eating Meat Made Us Human Suggests New Skull Fossil” (2012). He wrote that “[f]ragments of a 1.5-million-year-old skull from a child recently found in Tanzania suggest early hominids weren’t just occasional carnivores but regular meat eaters, researchers say. The finding helps build the case that meat-eating helped the human lineage evolve large brains, scientists added.” There you have it, the fact that “early hominids” could eat meat is why humans are so intelligent today. But wait, how can that be right? Stephanie Pappas, writing for LiveScience, wrote an article titled, “Did Exercise Make the Human Brain So Buff?” (2012). She said that, “[h]uman brawn may be the key to why human brains are so big, according to a new hypothesis linking exercise to the evolution of our oversize noggins.” Of course, she says there is not enough research to nail this down, but scientists say this is “an intriguing possibility.”
What are we to make of all these possibilities? The simple fact of the matter is human evolution did not occur. If you pay attention to the headlines, you will see one “possibility” after another trotted out in a parade of scientific research, none of which will get scientists any closer to the truth. That so many dead-ends are presented should alert the astute reader to the fact that something is amiss with this system. Just think of the copious resources spent to study how meat eating caused the human brain to get big. No, how exercise did. Rather, how walking on two legs is what inflated our brains. Change that to making crude tools. Well, alter that to elaborate mating rituals. On sixth thought maybe our brains are larger because…just fill in the blank with your favorite latest theory.
Humans did not evolve larger brains. God created humans in His image on the sixth day of Creation. Plus, brain size has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with being a human, or with human intelligence. If we were to compare the late He Pingping’s tiny head with the massive skull of the late Andre the Giant (Andre Roussimoff), we would quickly see a wide range of human skull sizes, and that variations in size do not show a direct correlation to increased or decreased intelligence. If that were true, Neanderthals [I am using the term in the evolutionary sense, but certainly not suggesting that there was a sub-group of human-like creatures from which humans evolved] should have been much smarter than humans, because they had larger brains, on average, than modern humans. Furthermore, the sperm whale should be the most brilliant animal of all time because it has the largest brain ever recorded, weighing in at about 17 pounds. Compare that to the average human brain of about three pounds and you begin to see the “brain size = intelligence” problem the standard evolutionary propaganda faces.
But, some will say, it is not the overall size of the brain, but the size of the brain compared to the size of the animal. If that were the case, the shrew should be about twice as intelligent as humans, because it has a brain that composes between 3-5% of overall body weight, while humans have a brain that composes about 1-2%. And Neanderthals had about the same brain-to-body ratio as modern humans, yet evolutionists are quick to assess their lack of intelligence compared to “modern” humans.
What do we learn from all this talk about the causes of “bigger brains” and “becoming human.” What we learn is that the theory of evolution can tell us nothing about how we became human. And the billions of dollars and man-hours spent fleshing out innumerable theories about human evolution are nothing more than exercises in futility. The next time you see a headline touting the latest, greatest impetus that drove primordial slime toward human-hood, give it some critical analysis and see what is really behind it all. When you do, you will discover that the best answer is simply that humans have been humans from the moment they were created by God in His image on the sixth day of Creation.


Choi, Charles (2012), “Eating Meat Made Us Human Suggests New Skull Fossil,” LiveScience,http://news.yahoo.com/eating-meat-made-us-human-suggests-skull-fossil-211048849.html.
Pappas, Stephanie (2012), “Did Exercise Make the Human Brain So Buff?” LiveScience,http://news.yahoo.com/did-exercise-human-brain-buff-001925728.html.

The Supreme Court is Not THE Supreme Court by Frank Chesser, M.S.


The Supreme Court is Not THE Supreme Court
by Frank Chesser, M.S.

[NOTE: The following uplifting words are based on a sermon by A.P. board member Frank Chesser preached on Sunday, June 28, 2015 in Montgomery, Alabama in response to the Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriages.]
There are twin sins that could serve as bookends for all other sins—abortion and homosexuality. From a biblical perspective, these sins are so monumentally evil, that a nation’s embracement of them is a solicitation for divine judgment. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized the slaughter of babies in the womb. Forty-two years has witnessed human intrusion into the mother’s womb, the workshop of God, extracting from the hands of God a work in progress, and crushing it into pieces with brutal tools of death. This sin has resulted in figurative oceans of abortive blood, waves of scarlet, washing against the seashore of the mind of God with unceasing cries for divine vengeance. When God’s judgment befell Judah, one of the reasons cited was the rivers of innocent blood with which Manasseh flooded Jerusalem that the “Lord would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:4). Homosexual conduct is an abomination for which God demanded the death penalty under the Old Testament (Leviticus 20:13). It is vile and unnatural (Romans 1:26). Homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah were “exceedingly wicked and sinful before the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). They were pursuers of “strange flesh” and are “set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). Legalizing such unspeakable sins is a call for the judgment of God. Hopefully, reflection upon the following points will prove helpful in this dark national hour brought about by the recent endorsement by the Supreme Court of homosexual marriages.
1. The Supreme Court’s decision was an expression of freewill. Freewill is a gift of God. It prevents man from being a robot clothed in flesh. It enables love to be a reality, the greatest of the triune traits of 1 Corinthians 13:13. But it is fraught with fearful consequences. A tragic choice of freewill made Genesis 3:6 an actuality and Calvary a necessity. Five Justices exhibited their freewill in the legalization of homosexual marriages. Some may question the value of our prayers for God to cast the deciding vote in this decision. It was God’s desire to cast His vote through one more Justice who would stand for righteousness, but it was not to be. We are haunted by God’s affirmation to Ezekiel, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). God cannot overrule man’s freewill.
2. Sin has an aggressive nature. Sin is the most aggressive thing known to man. It is not stagnant. It never stands still. It is constantly moving forward in search of its next victim. Its appetite is insatiable. Sin was not satisfied with Genesis 3:6. It devised the false worship of Genesis 4:5, the murder of Genesis 4:8 and the world-wide wickedness of Genesis 6:5. Sin was not content with the success of its bloody assault upon the womb. It moved on to tamper with the pattern of marriage, divinely instituted by God. The vote of five Justices on the Supreme Court has opened the door to a dark and foreboding world that will prove to be a national disaster of epic proportions.
3. We should not be surprised. The nation has been moving in this direction for several decades. This decision is simply the end result of years of decadent behavior that has unraveled the moral fiber of the nation. The pace was fairly slow leading up to homosexual marriages until recently when the executive branch of our federal government, with tacit legislative approval, placed its unequivocal sanction upon homosexual unions. The homosexual community, many in the entertainment industry, the music industry, and all supporters of this aberrant lifestyle, released a collective sigh of victory. The Supreme Court took the final step in endorsing this profligate lifestyle. Sin is an alien concept to the minds of many Americans. It is no longer a part of the vocabulary of the general public. The average person could not define sin if his very life depended upon it. A new glossary of terms has been invented to extract the sinfulness out of sin and whitewash sinful acts into respectability. Hence, homosexuality is now just an “alternate lifestyle.” Should we expect a world that hates Christ (John 15:18) and the truth that comes from Christ (which demands purity and holiness of life) to possess and exhibit repugnance for moral degeneracy?
4. We need to face reality. We are likely not going to be able to change the direction of this country. It will probably never again be what it once was. This has been proven by history when tracing the rise and fall of nations and empires. It is not possible to restore the moral and spiritual foundation upon which America was constructed. We have very likely gone too far in the wrong direction to reverse our national course. We may not like the thrust of these words, but it would be foolish to argue against them. The Bible and the whole history of man testify to the truthfulness of these sentiments. There will be no Jonah-like sign (Luke 11:30) to provoke America to repentance. Refusing to accept the reality of our national state of decline will only negate our resolve to make what difference we can by shining the Gospel where we are and taking essential steps to victoriously confront whatever difficulties face us in the future.
5. Our situation today is not new. Several thousand years of human experience and national history bear witness to this truth. Many nations have preceded ours and are now buried beneath the aging dust of the Earth, and they all followed the same course. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). God destroyed the nation of Israel in Assyrian captivity because of its sin (2 Kings 17). A spiritual remnant in Judah returned from Babylonian captivity, but their national glory was gone forever. Divine judgment could purge America in some sense, but it would be most unwise to base one’s hope on a restoration of its former moral national climate and greatness.
6. Trials are inevitable. Loving God and truth beckons the world’s hatred (John 15:18-19). Persecution is like a shadow to godly living (2 Timothy 3:12). Inspiration warns against viewing trials as something “strange” (1 Peter 4:12). No nation can declare war upon the most innocent of the Earth and put a legal stamp of approval upon what God calls vile, wicked, unnatural, and an abomination and escape the judgment of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). There will be trials to bear under the hand of God’s wrath.
7. Trials are bearable. First Corinthians 10:13 should mightily comfort the spiritual mind with God’s promise that He will not allow His people to be tried above their ability to endure. He will aid us every step of the way. He is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 41:1). There was one occasion in Paul’s life when all human assistance failed him (2 Timothy 4:16), but he hastened to affirm, “Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17).
8. God is sovereign. The term “sovereignty” denotes supreme power and authority. God alone is sovereign. He is transcendent to all that is. He controls the universe. He is the “Almighty God” (Genesis 17:1) and the “possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19). He is “exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). Jehoshaphat averred, “rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” (2 Chronicles 20:6). Nebuchadnezzar learned this truth by bitter experience (Daniel 4:35). When Habakkuk expressed concern over what he viewed as a delay in God’s judgment upon Judah (Habakkuk 1:2-4), he was informed that Babylon was on its way with the sword of violence in its hand (Habakkuk 1:5-11). God is going to attend to the moral chaos in America in His own time and way, and in harmony with His own nature and will. Let us resolve to be among the righteous remnant and beseech Him for wisdom, courage and preservation in this dark and dreary hour.
9. The Supreme Court is not THE Supreme Court. Five Justices have declared war on God and His will for the sanctity of the marital state. They have declared “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). They are void of moral perception. Judah was unable to apprehend the folly of idolatry (Isaiah 44:9-20), and these Justices are incapable of discerning basic moral evil. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). When time is no more, they will stand before the Supreme Judge of all the Earth and give an account for joining the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) in mightily enlarging the chasm between America and God, and perhaps driving the dagger of death into its national heart.
10. This world is not our home. Abraham recognized that even the land of promise was a “strange country” (Hebrews 11:9). Many others joined him in confessing “that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). It does not take long to get old and arrive at the point in life when the time of our “departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6). There is an incorruptible, undefiled eternal inheritance “reserved in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4) for the righteous servant of every age.
11. What should be our response? Refuse to allow the spiritually deranged decision of three women and two men to unduly affect your life. Greet the dawn and dusk of each day with a growing love for God, truth and righteousness. Do not crack the door of your life and allow Satan to “get an advantage” (2 Corinthians 2:11) of you. Love the saved and the lost; all of them. Do not permit dark days to rob you of your joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Never quit. Never give up. Do not allow the Devil to defeat you with the rod of discouragement. Let every heartbeat sing with ceaseless gratitude for dew drops of mercy from heaven, the cross of Calvary, and exult in every good blessing that flows from the loving and generous hand of God. Lean on God, your family, and your brethren. Fill your mind with the mind of God as revealed in the Bible. Pray fervently. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21). May God bless us to this end.

At What Hour was Jesus Crucified? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


At What Hour was Jesus Crucified?
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One allegation leveled by Bible critics is the difference that exists between Mark and John in their reporting of the hour of the crucifixion (McKinsey, 2000, pp. 295-296; Wells, 2013). Mark records that the Lord was crucified at the third hour (15:25), while John records that Jesus was tried before Pilate at the sixth hour (19:14)—which would seem to be after the time Mark says Jesus was crucified. The harmonization of this surface difference is quite simple and further underscores the sophistication of Bible inspiration.
Living as we do in the 21st century, we fail to remember or recognize that time has not always been reckoned the way it is today worldwide. We are able to calculate quickly the time anywhere in the world. For example, if it is 9:00 a.m. in Montgomery, Alabama (which is on Central time), it is 10:00 a.m. in New York City (which is on Eastern time), 3:00 p.m. in London, and 12:00 midnight in Sydney, Australia. Not so in antiquity. The ancients used a variety of systems by which they reckoned time.
A careful study of the biblical text reveals the fact that John (who wrote near the end of the first century, several years after the writings of the synoptic writers, away from Palestine, and addressing an eclectic, Hellenistic audience) based his calculations on Roman civil time. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on the other hand, computed their allusions to days and hours according to Jewish time (cf. Smith, 1869, 2:1102; Robertson, 1922, p. 285; Lockhart, 1901, p. 28; Geisler and Howe, 1992, p. 376; Brewer, 1941, pp. 330-331; McGarvey, 1892, 2:181-182).
In light of these facts, read the context of John’s allusion to the “sixth hour”:
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away (John 19:13-16, emp. added).
John does not actually refer to the hour of the crucifixion, but only to the proceedings leading up to the crucifixion, specifically, the general timeframe when Pilate handed Jesus over to the Roman guards to commence the execution procedures. At this point, there yet remained the torturous, time-consuming journey to the place of execution. These events began to occur “about” 6:00 a.m.
Mark’s account reads as follows:
Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him (Mark 15:21-25, emp. added).
Using Jewish reckoning, Mark’s “third hour” is 9:00 a.m.—three hours after John’s “sixth hour” (see also Miller, 2007). Ample time is provided for the events leading up to the actual crucifixion, the proper sequence is preserved, and the Bible’s pristine historicity is vindicated.
It is truly tragic that skeptics are so bent on discovering discrepancies in inspired writ that they manifest such extreme prejudice. An honest, unbiased individual will take the time to examine the details of Scripture and extend a fair hearing to its record—the same fairness that the skeptic desires for himself. Despite the ongoing assault of those who view the Bible with disdain—an assault that has spanned two millennia—the Bible remains unscathed in its claim to be of divine origin.


Brewer, G.C. (1941), Contending For the Faith (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Geisler, Norman and Thomas Howe (1992), When Critics Ask (Wheaton: IL: Victor).
Lockhart, Clinton (1901), Principles of Interpretation (Delight, AR: Gospel Light), revised edition.
McGarvey, J.W. (1892), New Commentary on Acts of Apostles (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Miller, Dave (2007), "Sunday and the Lord's Supper," Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1254&topic=288.
Robertson, A.T. (1922), A Harmony of the Gospels (New York: Harper & Row).
Smith, William (1869), Dictionary of the Bible, ed. H.B. Hackett (New York: Hurd & Houghton).
Wells, Steve (2013), The Skeptic’s Annotated Biblehttp://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/hour.html.