History, Religion, Time, And The "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome" by Allan Turner


History, Religion, Time, And The "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome"

Time and history are inseparable. Historical events are always identified with time: that's just the way we finite creatures do things; it's just natural, we say. But wait a second, are you aware that time is actually a religious concept? You may think I'm kidding, but I assure you I'm not. And even though you may not normally think of time this way, it's true nevertheless.
Whether time is important or unimportant, cyclical or linear, are actually metaphysical and theological convictions. Now hang on for just a few paragraphs and I'll demonstrate what I'm talking about. The concept is an important one and must be understood if we are to throw off the fetters of humanistic thinking.
In our Western culture, time has traditionally been understood as that which comes between Creation and Judgment. As such, time is considered to be linear, that is, a continuum with a beginning and an end. However, in Eastern culture, time is very often thought to be cyclical, that is, a continuum having no beginning or end. To the Eastern mind, history (or events in time) are "particularities" of no real importance. Consequently, the Easter mystic prefers to contemplate the "unity" or "oneness" from which the particularities derive their meaning. Buddha, for example, is always depicted with his eyes closed because, as we have just said, to the Eastern mind there is nothing of any importance to see in events of history, except as they relate to the unity of "the whole." So, there you have it, and whether you have thought about it or not, time is, in fact, a religious concept.
Traditionally, in Western civilization, with its Biblical underpinnings, history (or events in time), contrary to the teaching of Eastern religions, has always been highly valued. It is only recently, as Western civilization continues to move further away from those truths taught in the Bible, that the value of time has been perverted. Modern evolutionary thought (viz., The General Theory of Evolution) is partly to blame for such a perversion. To many evolutionists, time, like matter, is eternal. Such is clearly an Eastern religious viewpoint. Rather than being seen as an arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man, history (or time) is seen, by those with this point of view, as the vehicle of salvation. In other words, Evolutionists, like Humanists, Marxists, and others of similar ilk, view history as "the whole show."
Such relativistic views of time always define history as a "closed system." Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd expressed it like so:

History has no windows looking out into eternity. Man is completely enclosed in it and cannot elevate himself to a supra-historical level of contemplation. History is the be-all and end-all of man's existence and of his faculty of experience. And it is ruled by destiny, the inescapable fate.

History, then, has become an absolute in the mind of humanistic man. Values, according to this way of thinking, are nothing more than "historical facts" that chart the course of the development of human reason. This is what Woodrow Wilson meant when he said: "Laws [i.e. codified values] have never altered the facts; laws have always necessarily expressed the facts." In other words, whatever the human sentiments are at any given time become the laws which govern that situation. In accepting the tenents of Humanism, Western man has rejected the "Law above the law" concept. Rejecting the supernatural, Western man has learned to bow himself in devotion to the natural, which includes history. History as the only true absolute has been enthroned as Lord of the universe. Accordingly, Oswald Spengler, in his monumental interpretation of Western civilization, The Decline Of The West, closed his two volume book of doom with this statement:
"We have not the freedom to reach to this or that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing. And a task that historic necessity has set will be accomplished with the individual or against him."
It is this philosophy, or worldview, that is currently causing our Constitution to be interpreted by jurists who believe law to be nothing more than the sentiments of the moment. For example, back in June 1972, one hundred and eighty-one years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, in Furman vs. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court "discovered" that capital punishment, at least at that time, was perhaps unconstitutional. According to the majority thinking of the court, capital punishment was a violation of the "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition of the Eighth Amendment. That such an interpretation was clearly erroneous can be seen when one considers that the Sixth Amendment, which was adopted at the same time as the Eighth, mentions "capital, or otherwise infamous crime." Additionally, the same kind of jurists have discovered a "right" to abortion in that same Constitution. But even so, both liberal and conservative constitutional scholars agree that such a right, although it is now the law of the land, is really nothing more than the sentiments of the judges who "discovered" it. The truth is that abortion is no more a constitutional right than was the unthinkable thought among the Founding Fathers that a mother should be allowed to abort her unborn child.
In reality, the Constitution has not changed, only the sentiments of those who interpret it. Just withnin the past few days, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is alleged by some to be one of the "conservative" members of the Supreme Court, has continued to bolster her reputation among knowlegable observers as nothing much more that a fairly accurate mirror of public sentiment. Her rulings on abortion, the recent Michigan affirmative action case, and now the overturning of a 1986 ruling that endorsed the legality of anti-sodomy laws has turned legal logic on its head. Justice O'Connor, who ruled in the affirmative in that 1986 case, has now reversed herself and agreed that the Court's backing of anti-sodomy laws 17 years ago "was not correct when it was decided, and that it is not correct today." Is this true, or simply O'Connor's—and the other justices who voted with her—reflection of evolving public sentiment? Obviously, the June 26, 2003 "Ban on gay sex struck down" ruling, as it was called in the front page headline of The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 27, reflects nothing much more than the evolving public sentiment that has now signed on to the homosexual agenda. (For some thoughts on this agenda, see "Homophobia" And The Homosexual Agenda.) According to Roger Pilon, who is vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, liberals see "The Constitution [as] largely an empty vessel to be filled by transient majorities in the legislature or by socially enlightened justices on the Supreme Court," He says, "Liberals see the court in large measure as one more political body [and] they judge the court according to whether it's carrying out their political agenda" (quoted in the cover article in World On The Web, June 5, 2003, Volume 18, Number 26, click here to read).
Homosexuality, traditionally thought to be a perversity in Western society, is now being touted as a "viable alternate lifestyle." The growing sentiment in favor of the homosexual is currently being translated into law. Regardless of what state laws say, homosexual activity is a "right" protected by the Constitution. Time has evolved public sentiment into acceptance of homosexuality. Therefore, history, the Lord of the universe, now demands that the highest law of the land reflect that sentiment. Each day our society enforces some new sentiment. Even the family, the very backbone of our society, is currently being redefined. The traditional family, we are being told by the social engineers, is a relic of the past and must be eliminated in favor of something more modern. Reflecting on this very thing, Justice Scalia, writing for Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the case mentioned above, predicted the ruling will mark the "end of all morals legislation" and will leave traditional marriage laws on "pretty shaky grounds." In other words, as a country, we stand on the verge of legalizing homosexual marriages.
It's disturbing isn't it? Yes, it is. And you may be asking yourself, can we really do any thing about it? My friend, listen to me, and listen closely! When we start asking this question, our enemy is very close to winning the battle. He's about to win because he has cunningly seduced us. For instance, when we mention traditional values or speak of the way things used to be, we frequently hear someone say, "You can't turn back the clock," or "You're just going to have to learn to adapt to the times." People who think this way view history as a closed system that's moving in an inevitable direction. To them, the values of the past represent archaic, out-dated thinking, while current trends are identified as modern (inevitable) thinking. To these who bow at the totem of history, historical trends must not be challenged. This "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome" (i.e. "what will be, will be") uses time as a very seductive metaphor, and if we are not careful, those of us who wouldn't think of bowing to history as the Lord of the universe can be trapped into believing a shrewdly devised deception.
Let me explain what I mean. When we speak of the destruction of traditional values and declining morality, instead of allowing the enemy to trick us into using a time metaphor, we should be insisting on the use of a space metaphor. For instance, if one were attempting to follow a road to a desired destination and came to a detour in the road, and upon taking that detour found himself up to his neck in muck and mire, but because he believed "One can't turn back the clock," he continued on until he disappeared under the ooze and slime, we would certainly think that person a fool.
So, what's my point? By now, I think you know what it is. America has taken a detour and has become bogged down in the muck and mire of Hedonism, Materialism, and Humanism. America doesn't need to be trying to return to some past that never really existed. What America needs to be doing is getting on the right road again. We must understand, therefore, the spiritual and religious aspects of the current problem. Americans must once again learn to think of time (history) as the arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man. Let us all examine ourselves, making sure we are, indeed, thinking biblically.

"THE EPISTLE TO TITUS" Introduction by Mark Copeland

                         "THE EPISTLE TO TITUS"


AUTHOR:  The apostle Paul, as stated in the salutation (1:1).  The
testimony of church history also provides overwhelming support that
Paul is the author.

RECIPIENT:  Titus, Paul's "true son in common faith" (1:4).  There is
no mention of Titus by name in the book of Acts, but we can glean much
about him from the epistles of Paul.  He was a Gentile by birth (Ga
2:3), and accompanied Paul to Jerusalem during the controversy over
circumcision (Ac 15:1-2; Ga 2:1-5).

During Paul's third missionary journey, Titus became his personal
emissary to the church at Corinth, seeking to learn how they received
his first letter.  When Titus did not return to Troas as expected, Paul
anxiously went on to Macedonia (2Co 2:12-13).  It was there that Paul
and Titus finally connected, much to the relief and comfort of Paul
when Titus reported how well he was received by the Corinthians (2 Co
7:5-7,13-15).  Paul then sent Titus and two others back to Corinth, 
bearing the letter we call Second Corinthians, and exhorting the 
brethren to complete their collection for the needy saints in Jerusalem
(2Co 8:16-9:5).

At the time of the epistle to Titus, he had been left on the island of
Crete by Paul to "set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint
elders in every city" (Tit 1:5).  If Paul's plans as expressed in this 
epistle materialized, then Titus left soon after the arrival of Artemas
or Tychicus, and met Paul at Nicopolis in northwest Greece (cf. Ti
3:12).  We last read of Titus that he had gone to Dalmatia (in modern
day Yugoslavia) during the final days of Paul's life (2Ti 4:10).

TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING:  The general consensus is that following
his first imprisonment in Rome the apostle Paul was released and
allowed to travel for several years before being arrested again.  The
following itinerary has been proposed by the Ryrie Study Bible:

   * Paul was released from his house arrest in Rome (where we find him
     at the end of Acts), probably because his accusers did not choose
     to press their charges against him before Caesar (Ac 24:1; 28:30).
     Their case, therefore, was lost by default, and Paul was freed.

   * Paul visited Ephesus, left Timothy there to supervise the
     churches, and went on to Macedonia (northern Greece).

   * From there he wrote 1 Timothy (1Ti 1:3).

   * He visited Crete, left Titus there to supervise those churches,
     and went to Nicopolis in Achaia (southern Greece, Tit 3:12).

   * Either from Macedonia or Nicopolis, he wrote this letter to 
     encourage Titus.

   * He visited Troas (2Ti 4:13), where he was suddenly arrested,
     taken to Rome, imprisoned, and finally beheaded.

   * From Rome, during this second imprisonment, he wrote 2 Timothy.

It cannot be established with certainty, but it possible that Paul
wrote this letter from Corinth, sometime around 63-66 A.D.

PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE:  Like his first epistle to Timothy, this letter
is written to a young preacher assigned a difficult task.  Evidently
the churches on the island of Crete were in need of maturation, and
this letter is designed to assist Titus in that work.  Therefore, Paul
wrote to encourage Titus:

   * To see that qualified elders were appointed in every city (1:5-9)

   * To preach things befitting "sound doctrine" (2:1)

   * To exhort the brethren to be "zealous for good works" (2:14; 3:1,

THEME OF THE EPISTLE:  The key phrase in this epistle is "good works"
(1:16; 2:7,14; 3:1,8,14).  An appropriate theme for this epistle might
therefore be:
                         "MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS!"

KEY VERSE:  Titus 3:8

   "This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm
   constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful
   to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable for








   C. FOR THE SERVANTS (2:9-14)


CONCLUSION (3:12-15)


1) What were the circumstances in which we first find Titus and Paul 
   together? (Ga 2:1-5)
   - Titus had accompanied Paul in attending the conference in 
     Jerusalem regarding circumcision

2) Why was Paul adamant in not allowing others to compel Titus to be 
   circumcised? (Ga 2:3-5)
   - Titus was a Greek, not a Jew; to force him to be circumcised would
     violate the truth of the gospel

3) With what church did Titus serve as Paul's messenger? (2Co 7:6-7,
   - The church at Corinth

4) Why did Paul send Titus along with the second letter to Corinth? 
   (2Co 8:16-9:5)
   - To make sure that the Corinthians' gift for the needy saints in
     Jerusalem would be ready

5) From where and when was this epistle to Titus possibly written?
   - From Corinth, sometime between 63-66 A.D.

6) Where was Titus when this letter was written to him? (1:5)
   - On the island of Crete

7) In this epistle, what three things does Paul exhort Titus to do?
   (1:5-9; 2:1; 3:1,8,14)
   - To see that qualified elders were appointed in every city
   - To preach things befitting "sound doctrine"
   - To exhort the brethren to be "zealous for good works"

8) What is the theme of this epistle, as suggested in the introductory
   - Maintain Good Works!

9) What is proposed as the key verse?
   - Titus 3:8

10) According to the outline above, what are the main points of this
   - Instructions concerning church organization
   - Instructions concerning Christian conduct

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

How does the “20 years” reference in 1 Samuel 7:2 harmonize with the fact that the ark was not brought from Kirjath-jearim until 2 Samuel 6:4—more than 40 years later?
Even though God’s Word can be substantially communicated from one language to another, the translation process is sufficiently complex to the extent that many of the subtleties of the parent language are lost in translation. These subtleties rarely, if ever, involve matters that are critical to the central purpose of revelation. However, apparent discrepancies on minor details can surface that require a careful re-examination of the actual linguistic data of the parent language (in this case Hebrew) in order to dissolve the apparent discrepancy.
The individual clauses of 1 Samuel 7:2-3 are linked in Hebrew by “waw consecutives” that bring the statements into close logical and temporal connection. The three verbs of verse two are a continuation of the infinitive, which points to the main sentence being resumed in verse three (“and Samuel spoke”). The gist of these grammatical data is that the writer is informing us that after the ark’s capture, the people endured Philistine oppression for the next twenty years. Though all Israel “lamented after the Lord,” He allowed the Israelites to continue their suffering at the hands of the Philistines for 20 years—at which time Samuel called upon the nation to put away its idols.
First Samuel describes the final years of the period of the judges. The reliance upon the ark as a sort of mystical talisman brought swift military tragedy, precipitating yet another period of foreign oppression by Israel’s enemies due to their own apostasy. This period of Philistine preeminence went on for twenty years before the lamentations of God’s people were finally heard. At the end of the twenty years, Samuel called on them to couple their lamentations with genuine penitence (1 Samuel 7:3). When they put away their idolatry (vs. 4), they once again enjoyed the services of the judge (vs. 6), who assisted them in throwing off Philistine oppression by military defeat (vss. 10ff.).
Thus the twenty years refers—not to the total number of years that the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim—but merely to the number of years the ark was in Kirjath-jearim before the Lord chose to hear the people’s lamentations and provide them with intervention through Samuel.

"God’s Not Dead": A Movie Review by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.Div.


"God’s Not Dead": A Movie Review

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On March 21, 2014, the movie God’s Not Dead was released in 780 theaters across the country. Since then, more than 1,000 other theaters began showing the film, which grossed over $41 million in less than one month—pretty good for a movie with a budget of only $2 million (God’s Not Dead, 2014a).
Though many Christians and pro-Christian organizations around the country have been fairly complimentary of the film, general reviewers have not been so kind. RottenTomatoes.com rated the movie with one star, as only 15% of the Web site’s approved critics gave the movie a positive review (God’s Not Dead, 2014b). Although the Hollywood Reporter had a few positive things to say about the movie, in their “bottom line” they referred to it as a “simple-minded sermon” (Farber, 2014). Claudia Puig of USA Today has alleged that “the contrived premise of God’s Not Dead is anything but credible.” Puig dismissed the idea of a professor at a respected academic institution ever criticizing religion as “primitive superstition,” saying, “Even if a teacher believed this, it’s highly unlikely he would declare it to a class full of students” (2014, emp. added).
The fact of the matter is, belligerent criticism of theism and Christianity has been occurring on college campuses all over the country for years, and it is very appropriate for God’s Not Dead to raise awareness of such bullying from various intolerant, liberal professors. Sometime ago a gentleman, who had been a student at a well-known university in the southeastern United States, visited with us after one of our lectures and recounted how, at the beginning of one particular semester, a science professor asked students in the class to stand up if they believed in God. Seven individuals out of a fairly large class rose from their seats. The professor then went on to say that by the end of the semester not one of them would stand up when he asked that question. Sure enough, toward the end of the semester the professor posed the question again, “How many of you believe in God?” Only one student stood up. Several months later, another student from the same university confirmed that the same thing happened in one of her classes. There was obvious bullying and intimidation taking place. The often-overlooked fact is, theistic, creationist, and Christian-oriented students and professors are frequently the target of liberal, atheistic, and/or evolutionary professors and department heads (e.g., Kingkade, 2013; Bergman, 2008; Stein and Miller, 2008; see also Miller, 2011).
Perhaps the most powerful and pervasive message of God’s Not Dead is that any person who calls himself or herself a Christian must be willing to sacrifice everything for Christ. The hero of the movie, a young university freshman named Josh Wheaton, is willing to sacrifice his relationship with his fiancĂ©e, his university career, his future job, and his reputation to stand up for God’s existence. In a subplot, a young Muslim student is willing to sacrifice her family relationships for her belief in Christ. A freshman student from China is consistently urged by his father to stop thinking about “foolish” religious ideas and concentrate on his grades, but the young man refuses. And the girlfriend of the antagonistic atheistic professor breaks off their relationship because of her religious convictions.
This message of sacrifice is both biblical and extremely important in our increasingly self-centered society. Jesus said: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me…. For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34,38). In all of our years as Christian apologists, we have seen countless “Christians” bowing to the secular standards of our day, afraid to stand for the truth of the Bible and God’s existence. We could recount stories of college freshmen too afraid of ruining their reputations or of getting a bad grade to stand up for their belief in God. We could tell of university professors who were so very concerned about tenure, their salary, or their teaching positions that they refused to speak or write about their faith in Christ because of the possible repercussions. How many school teachers have allowed their Christian influence to be silenced because they might lose their job? It truly is a shame to see the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and the complete dedication of His early followers who “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41), and then witness certain “Christians” today who will not even acknowledge in public that they believe in God or His Word. Any faithful Christian would have to say “Amen,” to the movie’s main message that following Jesus requires complete sacrifice to His Will.
Unfortunately, the main message of the movie is overshadowed at times by the failure of the movie to accurately apply it. For instance, although Josh, the hero, is to be commended for his study and some of the effective arguments he used in class, at times during his defense he affirms error. For example, he implies that the Big Bang is scientifically and biblically credible, and that God could have used evolution as the process by which all life (including humans) came into existence. Not only is the Big Bang an unscientific idea (May, et al., 2003a), it is an unbiblical idea as well (May, et al., 2003b; Lyons, 2003). Additionally, the idea that God directed the process of evolution to produce life is equally unbiblical and antiscientific (Houts, 2007), though it is very appealing to our secular culture. In their attempt to make belief in God more palatable (by notmaking Josh, what Screenit.com calls, “a simple-minded believer who thinks the Earth was created…in just under a week”—God’s Not Dead, 2014c), the producers of the film fail to stand courageously against the foolish theories of cosmic and biological evolution and stand unashamedly for the truthfulness of the biblical account of Creation.
Furthermore, the movie completely misrepresents how God has commanded people to be saved. The clearest example of this false teaching comes at the end of the movie. In a tragic accident, the atheistic professor is struck by a car and is about to die. It just so happens that a denominational minister is on the scene. The minister begs the atheistic professor to call on the Lord, say a version of the “sinner’s prayer,” and receive Jesus into his heart. Yet such teaching is never found in the Bible (Lyons, 2004; Jackson, 2014). God requires faithful obedience to the Gospel plan of salvation in order to receive the gift of salvation (Lyons and Butt). Paul informed the Thessalonians that at the end of time Jesus Christ will be revealed from heaven “with His Mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those whodo not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, emp. added). What the atheistic professor did in the movie to be “saved” is not what the New Testament means when it says to “obey the Gospel” (cf. Romans 6:3-4; Matthew 7:21). Thus, in the very process of claiming to teach that people should be willing to sacrifice everything for Christ, the movie producers failed to heed their own message. Not only must we be willing to sacrifice our reputations, careers, and families, we must be willing to sacrifice any manmade doctrine that is not taught in Scripture. We must be willing to leave any group or teaching, even if it goes by the name “Christian,” if and when we find it does not correspond to God’s will found in the New Testament.
Overall, we believe that God’s Not Dead effectively highlights a serious problem in universities across the United States—showing some of the challenges that many Christian students face. We also believe that Christians should take to heart the overall message of the movie: the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the cross. We would greatly caution viewers, however, to understand that the producer’s application of the theme is occasionally lacking. Yes, the movie’s approach to a defense of God’s existence is rational and biblical at times, but then at other times it is both biblically and scientifically unsound. What’s more, the film’s presentation of how God has instructed people to become Christians is at odds with the Bible. We all need to be reminded of the importance of sacrificing everything for Christ, including compromises with the world and any long-held false religious ideas.


Bergman, Jerry (2008), Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters (Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press).
Farber, Stephen (2014), “God’s Not Dead: Film Review,” The Hollywood Reporter,http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/gods-not-dead-film-review-690393.
God’s Not Dead (2014a), Box Office Mojo, http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=godsnotdead.htm.
God’s Not Dead (2014b), Rotten Tomatoes,http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/gods_not_dead/#contentReviews.
God’s Not Dead (2014c), Screen It,http://www.screenit.com/ourtake/2014/gods_not_dead.html.
Houts, Michael (2007), “Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part 1],”http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=97&article=2299.
Jackson, Wayne (2014), “The Sinner’s Prayer—Is it Biblical?”https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/368-sinners-prayer-is-it-biblical-the.
Kingkade, Tyler (2013), “Deandre Poole Keeps FAU Job After ‘Stomp on Jesus’ Controversy,”Huffington Post, June 24, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/deandre-poole-fau-stomp-on-jesus_n_3490263.html.
Lyons, Eric (2003), “Man Has Been on Earth Since…,”https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=538&topic=56.
Lyons, Eric (2004), “Calling on the Name of the Lord,”http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=775&topic=379.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (n.d.), Receiving the Gift of Salvation,http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.
May, Branyon, Bert Thompson, and Brad Harrub (2003a), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=1453&topic=57.
May, Branyon, Bert Thompson, and Brad Harrub (2003b), “The Big Bang Theory—A Biblical Critique,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=56.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “Expelled—Again,” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3655.
Puig, Claudia (2014), “In ‘God’s Not Dead,’ Message is Lost Amid Melodrama,” USA Today, April 8, http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/04/08/review-gods-not-dead/7457995/.
Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

"But What About David and Bathsheba's Marriage?" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"But What About David and Bathsheba's Marriage?"

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Jesus’ views of divorce and remarriage are really quite concise and comprehensible. Putting a mate away and marrying another can be undertaken honorably in God’s sight only on the grounds that that mate has been sexually unfaithful (Matthew 19:9). Despite the simplicity of such statements from God, there have always been individuals who would rather try to justify themselves or others instead of humbly submitting to divine standards (cf. Luke 10:29; 16:15). In the case of the Pharisees, they stubbornly threw up to Jesus their Old Testament justification for refusing to accept the stringency of God’s law of marriage, divorce, and remarriage: “Why then did Moses...?”(Matthew 19:7). In like manner, in an effort to side step the clear thrust of New Testament teaching regarding the sinfulness of adulterous marriages and the need for the parties involved to sever the sinful relationship, some today stubbornly appeal to the Old Testament case of David and Bathsheba: “If God requires marriages to be severed today, why was David permitted to keep Bathsheba?”
The following observations merit consideration:
First, there is no parallel between the adulterous marriages being defended today and the relationship sustained by David and Bathsheba. It is true that David’s affair with Bathsheba while her husband was at the battle front constituted adultery. However, he did not further complicate or solidify his adultery by marrying her. She returned to her own home (2 Samuel 11:4). The two apparently had no intentions of further complicating their sin by forming an adulterous marital union. Instead, when Bathsheba notified David that she was pregnant, David made every effort to hide the sin by making it appear as if Uriah was the father of the child (2 Samuel 11:6-13). Repentance at this stage of the situation would entail David’s confession of his sin and his determination to never repeat such illicit behavior. David could have devised some other plan, say, the banishment of Uriah for some breach of military regulations. With Uriah expelled from the land, he could have then taken Bathsheba as his own wife. In such a case, David would have been living in adultery, and the only divinely-approved course of action would have been to sever the marriage relationship. But David did not do this. When his efforts failed, he decided the way he could “cover his tracks” was to bring about Uriah’s death (2 Samuel 11:14-15). To the sin of adultery, he added murder.
Notice that David was not going through all this rigmarole in order to free Bathsheba to be married to himself, but to keep Uriah from finding out that his wife was pregnant by another man. Thus the argument that states, “You’re saying a person ought to murder the mate of the individual that they wish to be married to,” holds no validity in this discussion. By definition, adultery entails sexual relations with a person whose scriptural mate is still livingNotice God’s own words on this matter:
For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man (Romans 7:2-3, NKJV).
However inappropriate David’s action after the death of Uriah may have been, his marriage to Bathsheba was not adultery and is therefore not parallel to the illicit marriages contracted by so many today whose former mates are still living.
Second, why would we wish to go to David and Bathsheba for insight into acceptable divorce and remarriage practices, anyway? Even when Scripture does not specifically condemn a certain action, we should not necessarily assume that God condones or approves it. There are numerous instances of improper behavior in the Old Testament that are in no way intended to be used today as justification for similar behavior today. Abraham (Genesis 12:13), Isaac (Genesis 26:7), and Jacob (Genesis 27:19) all behaved deceptively. Judah committed fornication (Genesis 38:18). Moses failed to trust in God as he should have (Numbers 20:12). Are these instances appropriate examples to emulate? David, himself, was guilty of additional violations of God’s law. He desecrated the tabernacle by entering and unlawfully consuming consecrated bread (1 Samuel 21:1-6; Matthew 12:3-4). He neglected Mosaic regulations concerning proper transport and treatment of the ark (2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 15:13). His reliance upon troop strength (as evidenced in his military census) cost 70,000 people their lives (2 Samuel 24:15). Such instances as these are intended to remind us of the necessity to adhere strictly to God’s instructions (Romans 15:4). They are certainly not designed to encourage us to relax our own ethical behavior on the grounds that others did so in the Old Testament! Though at one time David was truly “a man after God's own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), his behavior later in life demonstrates that he drifted from this ideal.
Third, by employing the same logic as those who fumble for the case of David and Bathsheba to justify the continuance of adulterous unions today, one could just as easily make a case for the permissibility of polygamy today. Bathsheba was only one of several wives (cf. 1 Samuel 18:27; 25:42-­43; 1 Chronicles 3:2-5). Maybe Joseph Smith, with his 28+ wives, was nearer to the truth than we have previously supposed?
Fourth, David and Bathsheba are not intended as models for ascertaining God’s requirements concerning divorce and remarriage today in any sense. For the Scriptures are exceedingly explicit concerning God’s feelings about the whole sordid affair: “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27). He did not have to sever the marital relationship with Bathsheba since her husband was dead and she was released from that law (Romans 7:2). However, God brought down upon David untold misery and unpleasant consequences to punish David, as well as instruct us concerning His true view of such iniquity. Three direct consequences were inflicted upon David: (1) Nathan said the sword would never depart from David’s house (2 Samuel 12:10), fulfilled in the successive violent deaths of at least three sons—Amnon (2 Samuel 13:29), Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25); (2) Nathan also declared to David that his own wives would be shamefully misused in broad daylight before all Israel by someone close to him (2 Samuel 12:11), distastefully fulfilled when Absalom “lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel” (2 Samuel 16:22); (3) Further, Nathan pronounced the fatal fate of the son conceived by David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:14), fulfilled seven days after Nathan’s judgment sentence (2 Samuel 12:18). All of this detailed narration suggests that we have missed a major point if we seek to justify illicit behavior today on the grounds that “David did it.”
Friends, let us not scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel in a desperate attempt to come up with just any argument to defend our position. Let us weigh biblical data fairly, rightly handling the Word of truth, and drawing only those conclusions that are warranted by the evidence (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Only then can we be approved in God’s sight (2 Timothy 2:15).

"Christ—the Firstfruits" by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


"Christ—the Firstfruits"

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul wrote at length concerning the resurrection of the dead, because some of the Christians in Corinth taught “that there is no resurrection of the dead” (vs. 12). As one of his proofs for the Christian’s eventual resurrection, Paul pointed to the fact of the resurrection of Christ, and showed that the two stand or fall together, saying, “if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (vss. 16-17)! After hypothetically arguing from the absurd in an attempt to get the Corinthian Christians to see that their stance on the final resurrection completely undermined Christianity, Paul proceeded to demonstrate that Christ had risen, and thus made the resurrection of the dead inevitable. It is in this section of scripture that some find a difficulty. Beginning with verse 20, Paul wrote:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, emp. added).
In view of the fact that Jesus was not the first person ever to arise from the dead (cf. 2 Kings 13:21; Luke 7:14-15; Matthew 10:8; 11:5), some have questioned why the apostle Paul twice described Jesus as “the firstfruits” from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15. Did Paul err? Was he ignorant of the widow’s son whom God revived at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:22)? Did he not know that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44)? How could Paul legitimately speak of Christ as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”?
One solution to this alleged discrepancy can be found in the fact that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead—never to die again. All who have ever arisen from the dead, including the sons of both the widow of Zarephath and the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:8-37), the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:35-43), Lazarus, et al., died in later years. Jesus, however, accurately could be called “the firstfruits” of the dead because “Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9). All others who previously were raised at one time, died again, and are among those who “sleep” and continue to wait for the bodily resurrection; only Jesus has truly conquered death. In this sense, Christ is “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5; cf. Acts 26:23).
Another possible explanation of the difficulty surrounding 1 Corinthians 15:20,23 and Paul’s use of the word “firstfruits” (Greek aparche) is to understand how "firstfruits" was used in the Old Testament. Under the Old Law, the firstfruits were the earliest gathered grains, fruits, and vegetables that the people dedicated to God in recognition of His faithfulness for providing the necessities of life. The Israelites were to offer to God a sheaf of the first grain that was harvested on the day after the Sabbath following the Passover feast (Leviticus 23:9-14). Paul may have used the term “firstfruits” in this letter to the Corinthian church to reinforce the certainty of the resurrection. Just as the term “firstfruits” indicates that “the first sheaf of the forthcoming grain harvest will be followed by the rest of the sheaves, Christ, the firstfruits raised from the dead, is the guarantee for all those who belong to him that they also will share in his resurrection” (Kistemaker, 1993, p. 548). Jesus is God’s “firstfruits” of the resurrection. And, like the Israelites, God will gather the rest of the harvest at the final resurrection. It may be that Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand (by way of metaphor) that Christ’s resurrection is a pledge of our resurrection. It is inevitable—guaranteed by God Himself.


Kistemaker, Simon J. (1993), Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

"After Reading a Book on Dinosaurs in the Third Grade..." by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


"After Reading a Book on Dinosaurs in the Third Grade..."

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On Tuesday, March 16, Kathryn Satterfield published an article titled “A Double Dinosaur Discovery” that was featured in the on-line periodical Time for Kids, an affiliate of Timemagazine. In the article, she told about two research teams that each found dinosaur fossils in Antarctica. Interestingly, the finds came less than a week apart. This unprecedented “double discovery” was definitely news in the scientific community. James Martin and William Hammer led the two teams. Hammer’s team found what appears to be a plant-eating sauropod dinosaur that, according to the article, lived 200 million years ago. Martin’s team found what they think to be a theropod, a group that includes meat-eaters like the tyrannosaur. Martin’s dinosaur supposedly lived about 70 million years ago.
While these finds are intriguing, the old ages assigned to them are inaccurate and should be examined with a critical eye. According to this line of thinking, humans did not evolve on the Earth until about 4-6 million years ago, which would separate humans and dinosaurs by about 60 million years. The Bible, however, plainly states that Adam was created on the same day of Creation as all land-dwelling creatures, which would include the dinosaurs (Genesis 1:24-31). Furthermore, much scientific evidence puts humans and dinosaurs on the Earth at the same time in the same locations (Harrub and Thompson, 2003). This article by Satterfield, as well as this entire fossil discovery, is being plied by the evolutionists to teach their false theory.
Think through this critically. This article appeared in a resource for children. Thus, the target audience is children. The author of this article is influencing children to believe in an evolutionary theory that requires millions of years, and runs contrary to what the Bible teaches. What kind of impact will this have on the children who read the article? James Martin, the leader of one of the research teams, tells us in no uncertain terms: “After reading a book on dinosaurs in the third grade, I decided I would work on fossils” (Satterfield, 2004, emp. added).
James Martin read a book on dinosaurs in the third grade that changed his life forever. Will the children who are reading this article one day say the same thing? We must never underestimate the power of books, articles, and the printed page; a power for great good or devastating evil. Furthermore, we must never underestimate how much children are influenced by what they read and hear. Let’s make sure we guard our children from false theories like evolution, and arm them with the truth about the Creator.


Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), “Walking Amidst the Dinosaurs,” Reason and Revelation, [On-line], URL: https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=37.
Satterfield, Kathryn (2004), “A Double Dinosaur Discovery,” Time for Kids, [On-line], URL: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/class/area/newsarticle/0,18077,600802,00.html.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Why not order a copy of our book Dinosaurs Unleashed, so that the book your child reads on dinosaurs will not teach him or her evolution, but instead will bring that child to a better understanding of God and His amazing creation? The book can be ordered via our WebStore, or by calling us toll-free at 800/234-8558.]

"Be Not Unequally Yoked" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



"Be Not Unequally Yoked"

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Paul admonished the Corinthian Christians, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). This statement often has been applied to the question of marriage, with the subsequent conclusion that Christians are commanded not to marry non-Christians. However, this interpretation creates several problems.
First, marriage is not under discussion in the context. Great care must be taken to avoid misapplying the principles taught in a given passage. The application of a passage must be accurate. For example, to apply the injunction “taste not” (Colossians 2:21) to eating chocolate would be a misapplication on two counts. First, it assumes that chocolate is included in the category of substances being forbidden in the context. Second, it fails to perceive the fact that “taste not” was what the opponents of Paul were enjoining. They were wrong in their making of a law that God had not made. Likewise, the prohibition of not being unequally yoked would have to be demonstrated to apply to marriage.
Second, if forming a marriage between a Christian and non-Christian is being forbidden, the only way to repent of such an action would be to sever the marriage. The only way to repent of an illicit relationship is to terminate the relationship (cf. Ezra 10:11; Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Paul explicitly stated in the context to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). But this inevitable conclusion would contradict Matthew 19:9, where Jesus stated that there is one and only one grounds for divorce, i.e., fornication—not marriage to a non-Christian.
Third, if marriage to a non-Christian is forbidden, then non-Christians sin when they marry each other. The non-Christian who marries another non-Christian is guilty of not marrying a Christian.
Fourth, if the Christian sins when he marries a non-Christian, what about that non-Christian whom the Christian marries? That non-Christian would not be sinning since he/she is marrying a Christian. Hence, the very action that is sin for one (the Christian) is righteous and proper for the other (non-Christian)!
Fifth, such an interpretation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 implies that marriage is a “Christian” institution. Yet the marriage relationship was formed by God at Creation thousands of years before Christianity was introduced onto the planet (Genesis 2:24). God’s marriage laws apply equally to all people in all periods of Bible history. No one prior to the cross of Christ married a Christian! Yet marriages contracted prior to Christianity were valid if contracted in harmony with God’s marriage laws (i.e., in accordance with Genesis 1:27, 2:24, Matthew 19:3-12, Romans 7:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 7:1-40).
All persons who choose to be married are required by God to “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). That is, one must marry in harmony with God’s laws, even as children are to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1), i.e., compliant with parental instructions that are in harmony the will of Christ. Marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian may well be fraught with peril. It may be at times inexpedient, unwise, or extremely dangerous spiritually. However, the Bible does not teach that it is sinful.

Luke’s “Orderly Account” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Luke’s “Orderly Account”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the prologue to Luke’s gospel narrative, he informed his readers that he sought to write “an orderly account” of the life of Christ (Luke 1:3). Based upon this statement, some tend to believe that everything in Luke’s narrative must have been recorded chronologically. Others have come to the conclusion that this statement must also mean that Luke’s account avoided the omissions that the other writers made from time to time. The evidence suggests, however, that though Luke’s account should be understood as being orderly to a degree, it is erroneous to contend that everything in Luke’s narrative is arranged in a precise chronological sequence.
One indication of Luke’s “orderly account” not being a strict sequence of events is found in Luke 3. Immediately following the record of John the Baptizer teaching the Jews about the coming of the Christ, Luke wrote: “And with many other exhortations he preached to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison” (3:18-20, emp. added). Had Luke already covered everything that John the Baptizer accomplished before his imprisonment and subsequent death, this statement might still be considered sequentially in order with everything else in the life of Christ. The fact is, however, the very next paragraph clearly indicates that Luke sometimes strayed from a normal chronology. Luke proceeded to inform his readers of Jesus’ baptism, saying, “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized” (3:21). John baptized Jesus prior to his imprisonment (cf. Matthew 3:1-17; 4:12; John 1:29-34), yet Luke places John’s imprisonment before Jesus’ baptism. Although Luke does not indicate why he mentioned this event earlier than one might expect, Luke’s account is still very much characterized as being “orderly” and logical. It seems clear that Luke simply wanted to move John off the stage before focusing on the ministry of Christ. Luke did mention John a few more times in his narrative (cf. 5:33; 7:18-35; 9:7,9,19; 11:1; 16:16; 20:4,6), but “the story of John’s active ministry as a free man ends here” (Hendriksen, 1978, pp. 212-213).
A second indication that Luke’s “orderly” narrative should not be understood as being a strict chronological order ofeverything that Jesus ever did or spoke comes from Luke 4. In the first thirteen verses of this chapter, Luke recorded how Satan confronted Jesus and tempted Him three times: first, to turn stones to bread; second, to worship him; and third, to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Interestingly, Luke’s order of the temptations is different than that found in Matthew’s gospel account. Matthew recorded that Satan’s second temptation involved him trying to persuade Jesus to throw Himself down off of the temple, while the third temptation was Satan’s attempt to get Jesus to worship him. Some might assume that because Luke had earlier professed to write an “orderly account” that his specific arrangement of the temptations of Christ must be the correct order. Most biblical scholars, however, believe that Matthew was concerned more with the order of events in this story because of his use of words like “afterward” (4:2, Greek husteron), “then” (4:5, Greektote), “again” (4:8, Greek palin). These three adverbs strongly suggest that Matthew recorded the precise order of the temptations. Luke merely links the events by using the Greek words kai and de (4:2,5,6, translated “and”). [NOTE: TheNKJV’s translation of kai as “then” in Luke 4:5 is incorrect. It should be translated simply “and” (cf. KJV, ASV,NASV, and RSV)]. Similar to the English word “and” not having specific chronological implications, neither do the Greek words kai and de (Richards, 1993, p. 230). In short, the evidence suggests that Matthew’s account of the temptations of Jesus is arranged chronologically, whereas Luke’s account is arranged in some other orderly fashion—perhaps thematically, or possibly climactically.
A final example indicating Luke’s “orderly account” is not as chronological and all-encompassing as some might initially think, appears near the end of his narrative. Luke began his final chapter “on the first day of the week” when Jesus rose from the grave (24:1). He concluded this chapter (and the narrative as a whole) informing the reader of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Of interest, is that Luke never indicated that the events of chapter 24 covered any more than one day. Someone might read the entire chapter and assume that Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to His disciples, and ascended into heaven all on the same day, when actually what Luke recorded in this final chapter covered a period of more than five weeks (cf. Acts 1:3). Luke simply omitted most of what Jesus and the apostles did during this time, including the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in Galilee mentioned by both Matthew (28:16) and John (21:1ff.). Luke chose to focus most of his attention on what happened in (and around) Jerusalem on the day of Jesus’ resurrection. In order to get a more comprehensive chronological view of what occurred after Jesus’ resurrection and before His ascension, a person must consult the other gospel accounts.
Luke’s narrative certainly is an “orderly account.” It begins with the announcement, birth, and ministry of John the Baptizer—the forerunner of Christ, and then proceeds to focus on the life and teachings of Christ—from birth to death, and from resurrection to ascension. Luke’s account is not confused or haphazard, but “orderly.” Nevertheless, one must be careful not to force his orderly account into a strict arrangement in which every single detail falls into chronological order. In fact, according to Greek lexicographer Frederick Danker, the Greek word Luke used for “orderly” (kathexas) can refer to “sequence in time, space, or logic” (2000, p. 490, emp. added). Thus, similar to modern-day history books that are arranged chronologically, yet occasionally include nonsequential discussions of people, places, and events in order to accomplish a specific, intended purpose, Luke obviously wrote certain portions of his inspired account of the gospel in more of a thematic or climatic order.


Danker, Fredrick William (2000), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature(Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), third edition of Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich.
Hendriksen, William (1978), Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House).
Richards, Larry (1993), 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell).