AMERICA AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ME (The House I Live In) Donald R. Fox


(The House I Live In)
Donald R. Fox

Our memory is a wonderful gift from our God. Truly, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14 KJV) Have you experienced your memory going back in remembrance of a time past? Yes, of course, you have. Sometimes our memories can be fearful and other times exceedingly pleasant. The other day, I started to hum a very old song I had not thought about it for ages. I would suggest that if you are not over seventy years old and just maybe closer to eighty, you never heard this song.

The House I Live In (1945) is a ten-minute short film written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Frank Sinatra. Made to oppose anti-Semitism and racial prejudice at the end of World War II, it received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946. In 2007, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historical, or aesthetically significant" (Reference, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

People forget history in the passing of time. It is very sad to observe this truism in our own times. Those who fought in WW II are dying off very rapidly. They have been called, “The Greatest Generation." Patriotism and Americanism were vibrant during and after the war. No pass generations are perfect? However, during this era, Americans understood what it meant in the saying, “God, Country, Apple Pie and Mom."

There are eight verses in the song, “The House I Live In." The song depicts the feelings of patriotism and fair play toward our fellow man. When the short film and song came out, it became very popular. Frank Sinatra was a big star and teen-age idol. I remember singing it in our school along with a study of the lyrics. Following is a few verses from this song. You will get the emotion of this meaningful song and the message it presented. In such a time as we now live, “The House I Live In” should be revisited. Don’t you think so?

The house I live in,
My neighbors white and black,
The people who just came here,
Or from generations back;
The town hall and the soapbox,
The torch of liberty,
A home for all God's children;
That's America to me.

The words of old Abe Lincoln,
Of Jefferson and Paine,
Of Washington and Jackson
And the tasks that still remain;
The little bridge at Concord,
Where Freedom's fight began,
Our Gettysburg and Midway
And the story of Bataan.

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)(KJV)
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)(KJV)
To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" (George Washington, May 2, 1778).

NOTE: “The House I Live In” see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWixP-LE3EI

Can Desertion Precede Adultery? By Louis Rushmore


By Louis Rushmore

Can Desertion
Precede Adultery?

I believe and teach only ONE reason for divorce.  However, when one talks of desertion not being scriptural grounds for remarriage, what is the meaning of desertion?  Most all who separate will remarry.  Especially is this so amongst the younger set.  If the deserted party remains pure, tries to reconcile the marriage, but fails and the partner does remarry, does the offended have a right to remarry? ~ Don T.  Guinn
In our efforts to be biblically correct in the face of liberties taken with God’s Word, even by members of the Lord’s church, we sometimes react with a narrowness that exceeds biblical prescription.  In my judgment, this is precisely what occurs sometimes regarding the scenario presented in the query above.  The question, essentially, is: “Can desertion precede adultery?”  In short, it is my understanding that the biblical answer is, “Yes.” Like the querist, I too “believe and teach only ONE reason for divorce” and remarriage.  The reason is quite simple, of course.  That is what the New Testament, to which we are amenable and by which we will be judged, teaches (Matt. 19:9).  The apostle Paul did not alter or append what Jesus taught in Matthew 19.  Rather, Paul reinforced what Jesus taught and addressed additionally some aspects of marriage that Jesus did not address (1 Cor. 7).
Desertion is addressed by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.  The gist is that the Christian should not encourage divorce and should do everything to preserve the marriage, but one’s spouse (in that context, a non-Christian) may desert the child of God anyway. The separation of husband and wife leads to temptation to commit adultery (1 Cor. 7:2-5) for which, ordinarily, both spouses bear some responsibility (sin) for any subsequent adultery (Matt. 5:32).  However, in the case of the desertion of which Paul speaks, the unwilling party to the divorce is guiltless for any subsequent adultery the leaving party may practice as a result of temptation.
Still, the apostle Paul does not condone remarriage at this point, that is, desertion.  First Corinthians 7:11 enjoins, in the face of divorce or separation, only two possibilities: celibacy or reconciliation.  However, if and when the party who perpetrated the divorce or separation against the will of the faithful spouse subsequently commits adultery, the scenario is no longer one of merely desertion.  Then, not 1 Corinthians 7 but Matthew 19 is effective regarding the matter.
[I hasten to add that none of this permits a married couple to voluntarily separate, or for one to drive the other away, and then wait and see who falters and commits adultery first.  In this case, strictly speaking, there would be no innocent party.  Both would bear some responsibility (sin) for the adultery (Matt. 5:32).]
Some well-meaning brethren would object that the reason for the divorce or separation preceding any subsequent marriage was “desertion” and not “adultery.”  While the deserting party may have effectively divorced himself from his spouse, after which he later committed adultery, the innocent party to the adultery is the one who then becomes active in the application of Matthew 19 when he or she puts the offending spouse away for adultery.  Besides, the act of desertion and adultery may often essentially be simultaneous activities (unless one proposes that Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 can only be harmonized if, for instance, a man brings his secretary to his home to commit adultery with her before he runs off with her and deserts his family).
I believe the foregoing correctly and biblically answers the question as presented and anticipates further questions regarding my response.  However, should anyone find him or herself in similar circumstances and harbor reservations regarding the matter, it is always safe to adopt a posture that cannot be wrong, reverting back to 1 Corinthians 7:11, celibacy in the absence of the ability to reconcile a marriage where the deserting party has married another (committed adultery).  Others, I would hope, survey the biblical evidence as objectively as possible and make no hasty or heated contention.

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" The Follow-Up Of The Samaritans (8:14-25) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               The Follow-Up Of The Samaritans (8:14-25)


1. The conversion of the Samaritans was simple and straightforward...
   a. Philip preached Christ and the people heeded him - Ac 8:5-6
   b. They responded by believing and being baptized - Ac 8:12-13

2. Unique with the Samaritans' conversion is the follow-up that occurred...
   a. It has been described as one of the most extraordinary passages in Acts
   b. Used to teach various doctrines related to confirmation, sanctification, and spiritual gifts

[We must be careful not to draw conclusions contrary to the rest of the
Scriptures.  With that goal in mind, let's first review...]


      1. Hearing of the Samaritans' conversion, the apostles sent Peter and John - Ac 8:14
      2. Peter and John imparted the Spirit to the Samaritans - Ac 8:15-17
         a. While the Samaritans had been baptized, they had not "received the Spirit"
         b. The Spirit had not yet "fallen upon" any of them - cf. Ac 10:44-46; 11:15-17
         c. Through prayer and laying on of the apostles' hands, they "received the Spirit"

      1. He sought to buy the ability to impart the Spirit - Ac 8:18-19
      2. Peter rebuked him strongly, called upon him to repent and pray - Ac 8:20-23
      3. Simon asks Peter to pray for him - Ac 8:24

[Peter and John preached the gospel in many villages in Samaria on their
return to Jerusalem (Ac 8:25).  Now let's go back and look at some questions frequently raised...]


      1. Why is it said the Samaritans received baptism by Philip, but not the Spirit?
      2. What does it mean "that they might receive the Holy Spirit"?
      3. What did the apostles have that Philip did not?
      4. Was this some sort of confirmation?  Second stage of sanctification?  

      1. Whatever Luke meant to "receive the Holy Spirit"...
         a. It required the apostles' laying on of hands
            1) Philip could not impart it, making it necessary for the apostles to come
            2) Simon could see that it was through the apostles' laying
               on of hands the Spirit was given - Ac 8:18
         b. It was something visible or audible
            1) It caught Simon's attention, who sought to buy the ability to impart it
            2) It was clearly something miraculous, perhaps speaking in tongues - cf. Ac 19:1-7
            3) It involved the Spirit "falling upon them," as with Cornelius - cf. Ac 10:44-46
      2. Was it actually the Spirit Himself, or something the Spirit gives?
         a. All Christians receive the Spirit upon obedience to the
            Gospel - Ac 2:38; 5:32; 1Co 12:13; Ep 1:13-14; Ga 4:6; Ro 8:9-11
         b. But in NT times many (not all) Christians received miraculous gifts - 1Co 12-14
      3. Since the Samaritans had believed and been baptized (Ac 8:12,16)...
         a. They probably received the Spirit as any baptized believer normally would
         b. They apparently had not received the Spirit regarding miraculous gifts (see below)

      1. The expression "receive the Holy Spirit" is a metonymy ="receive spiritual gifts"
         a. Metonymy - A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is
            substituted for another with which it is closely associated
            1) E.g., "Washington" for the United States government; "Crown" for royalty
            2) E.g., "The pen is mightier than the sword" ("pen" stands
               in for "the written word"; "sword" stands in for "military aggression and force")
         b. What the Samaritans had not received were miraculous
            spiritual gifts that the Spirit often bestowed in the early church - cf. 1Co 12:1-11
      2. The apostles of Christ had the ability to impart spiritual gifts
         a. Paul imparted the "Holy Spirit" in this way - cf. Ac 19:1-7
         b. Paul hoped to impart such a gift to the Romans - Ro 1:11
         c. He imparted such a gift to Timothy - 2Ti 1:6
      3. The ability to impart spiritual gifts was limited to the apostles
         a. Which is why Philip could perform miracles, but not pass the ability on to others
            1) The apostles had laid hands on him earlier - Ac 6:5-6
            2) Philip, like Steven, could then do miracles - Ac 6:7; 8:6-7
         b. Which is why it was necessary for Peter and John to come to Samaria
            1) If spiritual gifts came simply by praying, why send for Peter and John?
            2) It took an apostle for the spiritual gifts to be imparted!
      4. It was this ability to impart spiritual gifts that Simon wanted to buy
         a. He was not content to simply receive a spiritual gift
         b. He wanted that apostolic ability to impart spiritual gifts! - Ac 8:19


1. The ministry of Philip among the Samaritans had...
   a. Been confirmed by the miracles which Philip did in their midst - Ac 8:6-7
   b. Resulted in true conversions when they believed and were baptized - Ac 8:12-13

2. Peter and John's mission to Samaria appears straightforward...
   a. To impart miraculous spiritual gifts by the apostolic laying on of hands
   b. Which served to establish the new converts in their faith - cf. Ro 1:11

Today, conversion occurs wherever people believe and are baptized (Mk
16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16).  They are established in the faith when they
observe the apostles' doctrine (Mt 28:20; Ac 2:42) which was revealed and
confirmed by the miraculous gifts of the Spirit in the first century (cf.He 2:1-4)...
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" The Conversion Of The Samaritans (8:4-13) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               The Conversion Of The Samaritans (8:4-13)


1. We have seen that preaching the gospel was not without controversy...
   a. Some took issue with the message of Christ's resurrection - Ac 4:1-3
   b. Persecution became progressively worse - Ac 4:21; 5:40; 7:54-60
   c. Stephen's death led to the dispersal of many Christians from Jerusalem - Ac 8:1-3

2. But as Christians were scattered abroad, so was the gospel...!
   a. Christians went everywhere, "preaching the word" - Ac 8:4
   b. Among them was Philip, one of the seven selected in chapter six - Ac 6:5; 8:5
   c. His evangelistic efforts involved the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:4-40

[In this study, we shall examine "The Conversion Of The Samaritans". 
They were the offspring of inter-marriages at the time of Assyrian
captivity (2Ki 17:24-41) and disdained by most Jews (Jn 4:9)...]


      1. He preached Christ to them - Ac 8:5
      2. They heeded the things he spoke - Ac 8:6
      3. Having heard and seen the miracles which he did - Ac 8:6
      4. Such as casting out unclean spirits, healing the paralyzed and lame - Ac 8:7
      5. Leading to great joy in the city - Ac 8:8

      1. A sorcerer, who had astonished the people, claiming to be great - Ac 8:9
      2. Of whom all had said, "This man is the great power of God - Ac 8:10
      3. Astonishing them with his sorceries for a long time - Ac 8:11
      1. As he preached the kingdom of God and the name of Christ - Ac 8:12 
      2. They believed and were baptized, both men and women - Ac 8:12
      3. Even Simon also believed and was baptized - Ac 8:13
      4. Who continued with Philip, amazed at the miracles and signs he did - Ac 8:13

[This is the first gospel preaching to those not fully Jews.  Let's therefore take a closer look at...]


      1. The gospel message preached by Philip
         a. We are told that he preached "Christ" - Ac 8:5
            1) This undoubtedly included Christ's death, resurrection
            2) The same things Peter preached about Christ in chapters 2 and 3
         b. We are told that he preached "the things concerning the
            kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" - Ac 8:12
            1) What things concerning "the kingdom of God"?
               a) John, Jesus, and the apostles had earlier taught the kingdom was "at hand" - cf. Mt 3:1; 4:17; 10:7
               b) Later, Paul and John wrote of the kingdom as present - Col 1:13; Re 1:9
               c) The expression "kingdom of God" literally means the "reign of God"
               d) It is likely that Philip spoke of the rule and reign
                  of God now present in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36; 5:31
            2) What things concerning "the name of Jesus Christ"?
               a) Likely that repentance and remission of sins were now being proclaimed in His name - Lk 24:47
               b) It clearly included what Jesus commanded - Mk 16:15-16
      2. The response of the Samaritans
         a. They "heeded the things spoken by Philip"; this implies obedience - Ac 8:6; cf. He 5:9
         b. They "believed" and "were baptized" - Ac 8:12
         c. Like Peter, Philip faithfully fulfilled the Lord's great commission - Mk 16:15-16
         d. Heeding the things spoken by Philip therefore included baptism - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16

      1. Was Simon truly converted?
         a. Many deny that he was, because of what happened afterward
         b. But Luke (inspired by the Holy Spirit) says Simon "also believed" - Ac 8:13
         c. Simon believed just as the others did
         d. Therefore his faith was as real as the rest of the Samaritans
         e. While there may be fanciful traditions concerning Simon
            outside of the Bible, the indication of Scripture is that his conversion was real
      2. Simon is an example of how fallen Christians can be restored
         a. He was later told to "repent" and "pray" - Ac 8:22
         b. When a Christian sins, therefore, he needs not to be
            baptized again, but to repent and pray, confessing his sins cf. 1Jn 1:9
         c. Simon reveals how quickly Christians can be overtaken in
            sin, but also how they can obtain forgiveness and be restored!


1. The conversion of the Samaritans (including Simon) is simple and straightforward...
   a. When Christ is preached and heeded - Ac 8:5-6
   b. People will believe and be baptized - Ac 8:12-13

2. Their conversion is as simple and direct as the commission under which Philip preached...
   a. Jesus commanded His apostles to preach faith and baptism - Mk 16:15-16
   b. Philip fulfilled that great commission regarding the Samaritans - Ac 8:12-13

How about you?  Have you believed and been baptized?  If so but you then
strayed from the faith, have you repented and prayed like Peter later told Simon to do?  

In either case, do not delay to "heed" the commands of the gospel...!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

Should Christians Favor Accepting Syrian Refugees? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Should Christians Favor Accepting Syrian Refugees?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The recent civil war in Syria, involving the Assad regime and various radical Islamic rebel elements and factions—both Sunni and Shiite (Seale, 2012; “Syrian Refugees…,” 2012; Cloud and Abdulrahim, 2013; “Migrant Crisis…,” 2015; “Kingdom Slams…,” 2015) has resulted in millions of Syrian Muslims fleeing their homeland. This circumstance has sparked a considerable discussion among Americans and the world regarding the propriety of refusing to receive refugees into one’s home country. Setting politics and other considerations aside, the Christian’s primary concern is to ascertain God’s will on such a matter. What does He want Christians to do in response to this “humanitarian” crisis?
The only way to know God’s will on any subject is to go to the only resource on the planet that contains that will—the Bible. What is God’s will regarding accepting refugees and immigrants from other countries? Interestingly, the only civil law code in human history authored by God Himself is the Law of Moses. When one cares to examine everything the Bible says about treatment of “strangers” under the Law of Moses, it is quickly evident that the #1 concern of God in the acceptance of foreigners into one’s country is their moral, religious, and spiritual condition. That is, God was vitally concerned about the spiritual impact the foreigners would have on Israel’s ability to remain loyal to Him, untainted by moral and religious contamination. Hence, God issued several civil decrees that strictly regulated the acceptance of foreigners into Israelite society. Among other strictures, foreigners were required to:
  • observe the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14)
  • be excluded from Passover (Exodus 12:43,45—unless the foreigner was willing to naturalize via circumcision [Exodus 12:48])
  • refrain from eating blood (Leviticus 17:12)
  • abstain from sexual immorality, including homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and adultery (Leviticus 18:26)
  • not blaspheme the name of God (Leviticus 24:16,22)—an offense that at one time was upheld by American courts (e.g., in People v. Ruggles, the New York State Supreme Court declared: “Blasphemy against God, and contumelious reproaches, and profane ridicule of Christ or the Holy Scriptures, are offenses punishable at the common law, whether uttered by words or writings.”)
For those who (1) believe in God and trust God, and (2) understand that His directives in the civil law code given to the Israelites were “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12; cf. Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:72,77,97,113,142,163), then such directives—which emanated from the mind of Deity—carry great weight in sorting out the current discussion regarding the acceptance of foreign refugees.
It would seem that foreigners who immigrated to Israel were not required by God to convert to Judaism. However, they were strictly forbidden from engaging in any religious practices that were deemed unacceptable according to God’s will. For example, one of the religious precepts practiced by the Canaanite peoples of Ammon and Phoenicia was to offer their children as a propitiatory sacrifice to their god Molech. Such a false religious practice was an abomination to God. He demanded that the death penalty be invoked for such conduct (Leviticus 18:21). Religious freedom did not extend to an Ammonite immigrant to the extent that he was allowed to practice his religion on this point; he was to be executed if he did (Leviticus 20:2).

Contemplate the following scenario. Suppose in ancient Israel the Moabites attacked the Ammonites, or the Ammonites themselves experienced an internal political upheaval, causing thousands of Ammonite refugees to flee north, west, or south to the corresponding transjordanic tribal lands of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben (see map on previous page). Would God have insisted that godly love for neighbors would require that the Israelites take them in? The relevant passages indicate that God would not have wanted them received unconditionally. He would not have sanctioned a massive influx of pagan peoples into the heart of Israelite society, bringing their immoralities and false religion with them, with no safeguards or means by which to protect the moral and spiritual health of the Israelites. Further, what Ammonite would want to come to Israel where he would not be allowed to practice his religion, and where the morals and customs of the people would contradict his own? One could only imagine that Ammonites would not want to be subjected to such rigid moral conditions. However, they most certainly would want to come if they discovered that they could retain their evil religious practices, get welfare money from the Israelites, and locate in such numbers that they could take over local city government and schools.

The Founders

The Founders of the American Republic possessed precisely the same concerns. To them, “freedom” did not mean permission to engage in any practice deemed by Christian standards to be immoral or threatening to the Christian community. Consider, for example, prominent Founder Gouverneur Morris, who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the New York State militia, was a member of the Continental Congress, signing both the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution, served as America’s Minister Plenipotentiary to France during the notorious French Revolution (1792-1794), and also served in the U.S. Senate. Though the French sought to establish a Republic like America, Morris’ observations of French life, which he witnessed firsthand, led him to believe the population of France was incapable of governing themselves and creating a Republic like we enjoy. Why? Among other concerns, he saw very little evidence of worship of the true God, and with an air of regret, he observed: “I do not yet perceive that reformation of morals without which liberty is but an empty sound” (Morris, 1888, 2:7-8, emp. added). As the storm clouds of the Revolution were gathering over France, writing from Paris in 1789, he explained:
The materials for a revolution in this country are very indifferent. Everybody agrees that there is an utter prostration of morals—but this general position can never convey to the American mind the degree of depravity…. The great mass of the people have no religion but their priests, no law but their superiors, no morals but their interest.... Paris is perhaps as wicked a spot as exists. Incest, murder, bestiality, fraud, rapine, oppression, baseness, cruelty;…every bad passion exerts its peculiar energy. How the conflict will terminate Heaven knows. Badly I fear; that is to say, in slavery (1:68-69,200-201, emp. added).
He concluded that the French were “a nation not yet fitted by education and habit for the enjoyment of freedom” (1:109). Consequently, the Founders did not encourage immigration from such countries whose population would seriously undermine the underpinnings of the American Republic. [NOTE: For another example among many, see the opinion of the State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Commonwealth v. Nesbit in 1859 which declared the attitude of the Founders and the nation as a whole in its utter rejection of pagan morality.]
The vast majority of the Syrian refugees are Muslims. They do not share Christian values in several key, critical points (including polygamy, treatment of women, and severing limbs as punishment—Miller, 2005, pp. 177ff.,192-197). Muslim enclaves already in America, like those in several European countries, gradually transform their neighborhoods into Islamic strongholds where Sharia law is applied (Gaffney, 2015; Hickford, 2015; Hohmann, 2015; James, 2014; Kern, 2015a; Kern, 2015b; Bailey, 2015; Selk, 2015a; Selk, 2015b; Sheikh, 2015, Spencer, 2014). Though it may take many years, gradual encroachment on American culture due to “immigration jihad” will conceivably transform the U.S. into an Islamic nation. The Founders so designed the Republic that the citizens govern themselves. Hence, the moral, spiritual, and religious condition of the majority of citizens ultimately determines which politicians are installed on every level of government, what laws are made, and what content the teachers will teach in public schools. In short, the influx of Muslims will radically transform American civilization. Such an observation hardly constitutes racism or hate speech.

Good Samaritan?

But what about the “Good Samaritan”? Shouldn’t Christians show compassion? Most certainly. But how? What does God expect in such a situation? The story of the Good Samaritan pertains to individuals treating other individuals kindly. It does not refer to God’s will regarding the immigration policies of nations. On the contrary, God expressed His will with regard to immigration in His civil law code He gave to the Israelites. Further, when the Good Samaritan rendered aid to the stranger he encountered, he saw to his immediate needs (Luke 10:33-35). This attention did not entail transporting the man to the Samaritan’s own country or home—many miles away.
Many political and religious disturbances occur in many countries of the world and have for thousands of years. America has long rendered assistance to a host of needy peoples of various countries. Yet Christian compassion does not—in God’s sight—necessitate bringing large numbers of displaced peoples to America without suitable regard for the potential moral and spiritual threat to the health, safety, and future of the nation. There is nothing in the Bible that would lead us to believe that refusing refugees into the country is a violation of the Bible principle of compassion and concern for others. Should the good Samaritan have taken into his home a complete stranger without regard to the man’s moral and religious condition? Should he have jeopardized the safety of his own wife and children when he left to continue his business, as the text says he did? The Bible, in fact, teaches that we have just as much responsibility to be kind and benevolent to ourselves, our families, and our fellow citizens as we do to peoples of other countries (Matthew 22:39; Ephesians 5:25,28). Is God, Himself, guilty of violating His own benevolent nature when He placed restrictions on immigrants and refugees to Israel? Clearly, carte blanche reception of refugees into one’s own country does not trump all other considerations—not the least of which is the spiritual impact of that reception.
A far more rational, appropriate solution would be to assist the refugees with returning to their own country, or other Muslim countries, by interceding on their behalf, whether diplomatically or militarily, to right the wrongs being inflicted on them by their persecutors. There is nothing about Christianity that necessitates relocating foreigners to America who possess conflicting—and counterproductive—moral and religious values.
So the question of receiving refugees into the U.S. is not about “compassion,” benevolence, or Christian kindness. After all, America leads the world in providing the greatest amount of humanitarian assistance in the Syrian refugee crisis (Chorley, 2015). Rather, in keeping with God’s own assessment of nations, the key, all-encompassing issue that our national leaders ought to be taking into consideration is: what will be the moral and religious impact with the entrance of these peoples, and will their presence over the long term affect the ability of America to retain its unique and historically unparalleled status? Indeed, will the moral and religious syncretism, that will inevitably result from such decisions, enable the God of the Bible to continue to bless America?


Bailey, Sarah (2015), “In the First Majority-Muslim U.S. City, Residents Tense About Its Future,” The Washington Post, November 21, https://goo.gl/KW5KMc.
Chorley, Matt (2015), “British Aid to Refugees Smashes Through £1BILLION as Cameron Boasts UK is Spending More Than Any EU Country,” Daily Mail, September 4, http://goo.gl/Srf17S.
Cloud, David and Raja Abdulrahim (2013), “U.S. Has Secretly Provided Arms Training to Syria Rebels Since 2012,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/21/world/la-fg-cia-syria-20130622.
Commonwealth v. Nesbit (1859), Pa. 398; 1859 Pa. LEXIS 240.
Gaffney, Frank (2015), “Sharia Shaping a New Europe,” Secure Freedom Radio Podcasts, Center for Security Policy, September 21, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/09/21/sharia-shaping-a-new-europe/.
Hickford, Michele (2015), “Already Here: Meet America’s FIRST Muslim Majority City,” Allenbwest.com, November 22, http://www.allenbwest.com/2015/11/already-here-meet-americas-first-muslim-majority-city/.
Hohmann, Leo (2015), “Major U.S. City Poised to Implement Islamic Law,” July 23, http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/major-u-s-city-poised-to-implement-islamic-law/#c23Cxzir1klfk84R.99.
James, Dean (2014), “Christians Win Big Lawsuit Against Muslim Thugs in Dearborn, Michigan!” America’s Freedom Fighters, March 24, http://www.americasfreedomfighters.com/2014/03/24/christians-win-big-lawsuit-against-muslim-thugs-in-dearborn-michigan/.
Kern, Soeren (2015a), “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 1: France,” Gatestone Institute, January 20http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5128/france-no-go-zones.
Kern, Soeren (2015b), “European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 2: Britain,” Gatestone Institute, February 3, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5177/no-go-zones-britain.
“Kingdom Slams Racism Against Muslim Refugees” (2015), Arab News, November 25, http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/840761.
“Migrant Crisis: One Million Enter Europe in 2015” (2015), BBC News, December 22, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35158769.
Miller, Dave (2005), The Quran Unveiled (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Morris, Anne Cary, ed. (1888), The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris (New York: Charles Scribners’ Sons).
People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290 (N.Y. 1811).
Seale, Patrick (2012), “What Is Really Happening in Syria?” Washington Report, August, 17-18, http://www.wrmea.org/2012-august/what-is-really-happening-in-syria.html.
Selk, Avi (2015a), “Irving City Council Backs State Bill Muslims Say Targets Them,”The Dallas Morning News, March 19, http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20150319-dispute-on-islam-roils-irving.ece.
Selk, Avi (2015b), “Irving Muslims Join Voter Rolls in Record Numbers,” The Dallas Morning News, May 10, http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/local-politics/20150510-irving-muslims-join-voter-rolls-in-record-numbers.ece.
Sheikh, Zia (2015), “Islamic Center of Irving Statement Regarding ‘Shariah Court’,” Islamic Center of Irving, http://irvingmasjid.org/index.php/ici-statement-regarding-sharia-court.
Spencer, Robert (2014), “Dearborn: Muslim at City Council Meeting Calls for Sharia Patrols, Restriction on Free Speech,” JihadWatch, February 22, http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/02/dearborn-muslim-at-city-council-meeting-calls-for-sharia-patrols-restriction-on-free-speech.
“Syrian Refugees Flood into Turkey” (2012), The Telegraph, March 13, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9141678/Syrian-refugees-flood-into-Turkey.html.

The Stone that Rocked the World by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


The Stone that Rocked the World

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

Juma became increasingly apprehensive as he watched several of his goats climbing too high up the cliffs. Being a conscientious shepherd, he decided to retrieve the strays. As he climbed, he noticed two small openings to a cave. Thinking that one of his goats might be hiding inside, he tossed a stone into the opening. Much to his surprise, he heard an unusual cracking sound. His younger cousin and fellow shepherd, Muhammed adh-Dhib, investigated the cave the following day and discovered that Juma’s stone had broken open a pottery vessel containing ancient documents. Little did Juma realize that his fortuitously cast stone on that afternoon in 1947 eventually would rock the world of biblical scholarship for decades to come.
The cave (called cave 1) housed the first seven manuscripts of the now-famous Qumran materials commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Subsequent expeditions in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered a vast cache of ancient Jewish writings from ten other caves in the forms of well-preserved scrolls and fragments that represent an entire library of over 800 volumes (Shanks, 1990, p. 1). Unfortunately, after nearly five decades large portions of these documents have not been published, which has caused considerable controversy over the last few years.
Some Qumran material has been published, however, and analyses of these manuscripts have produced some interesting developments in biblical studies. For example, these documents have radically altered mainstream Johannine scholarship. The gospel of John purports to have been written by one who was a contemporary and close companion of Jesus (John 21:20-24). Extrabiblical and biblical evidences suggest that John, the son of Zebedee, authored his Gospel during the latter part of the first century (see Thiessen, 1943, pp. 162-170). Obviously, it would be physically impossible for one of Jesus’ contemporaries to live much into the second century.
Prior to the Qumran discoveries a popular belief among more liberal theologians was that the Fourth Gospel was a mid-to-late second century document whose author was influenced heavily by Grecian philosophy (see Guthrie, 1970, pp. 277-279). This view, which clearly repudiated the biblical implication that an eyewitness wrote the narrative, was first espoused in 1847 by F.C. Bauer, and persisted into the 1950s (Charlesworth, 1993). Linguistic parallels between John’s Gospel and Grecian literature formed the basis for this perspective. These scholars argued that such terms as Logos, truth, light, and darkness appearing in the Fourth Gospel corresponded to Grecian thought but were foreign to common Judaistic concepts. Thus, John was regarded as the latest Gospel and, because of its late date, historically unreliable.
Texts from Qumran, however, demonstrate the usage of such terminology in Jewish literature during the first century. One manuscript called the Rule of the Community contrasts the “Sons of Righteousness” with the “Sons of Deceit.” This document states that the former walk in the “ways of light,” but the latter walk in the “ways of darkness.” Further, it declares that the “nature of truth” emanates from a “spring of light,” and deceit emerges from a “well of darkness.” This language is strikingly similar to many phrases in John’s Gospel. For instance, John 12:35 states: “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35; cf. John 1:1-9; 3:19-21). Due to this information from the Dead Sea Scrolls, most scholars now “...agree that [John] dates from around 100 C.E. [A.D.] or perhaps a decade earlier” (Charlesworth, 1993, 9[1]:20).
This does not necessarily mean, (as some scholars suggest) that John was influenced directly by the Qumran community, but it does demonstrate that these were terms commonly employed by Jews both earlier than, and contemporary with, John (see Charlesworth, 1993, 9[1]:25). Thus, as Charlesworth further admitted, almost all the scholarship that denied John as a first-century Jewish composition “...must be discarded” (9[1]:19). That small stone thrown forty-seven years ago continues to rock the biblical world of liberal scholarship.


Charlesworth, James (1993), “Reinterpreting John: How the Dead Sea Scrolls Have Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Gospel of John,” Bible Review, 9[1]:19-25,54, February.
Guthrie, Donald (1970), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity).
Shanks, Hershel (1990), “The Excitement Lasts: An Overview,” The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society).
Thiessen, Henry (1934), Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

The Laws of Science —by God by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


The Laws of Science —by God

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

The laws of nature have been discovered through extensive scientific investigation—gathering mounds and mounds of evidence, all of which has proven consistently to point to one conclusion. They are, by definition, a concluding statement that has been drawn from the scientific evidence, and therefore, are in keeping with the rule of logic known as the Law of Rationality (Ruby, 1960, pp. 130-131). If anything can be said to be “scientific,” it is the laws of science, and to hold to a view or theory that contradicts the laws of science is, by definition, irrational, since such a theory would contradict the evidence from science.
The laws of science explain how things work in nature at all times—without exception. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms defines a scientific law as “a regularity which applies to all members of a broad class of phenomena” (2003, p. 1182, emp. added). Notice that the writers use the word “all” rather than “some” or even “most.” There are no exceptions to a law of science. Wherever a law is applicable, it has been found to be without exception.
Evolutionists endorse wholeheartedly the laws of science. Evolutionary geologist Robert Hazen, a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Lab, who graduated with a Ph.D. from Harvard, in his lecture series on the origin of life, states, “In this lecture series, I make an assumption that life emerged [i.e., spontaneously generated—JM] from basic raw materials through a sequence of events that was completely consistent with the natural laws of chemistry and physics” (Hazen, 2005, emp. added). Even on something as unfounded as postulating the origin of life from non-life—a proposition which flies in the face of all scientific evidence to the contrary—evolutionists do not wish to resort to calling such a phenomenon an exception to the laws of nature. After all, there are no exceptions to the laws. Instead, they hope, without evidence, that their claims will prove to be in keeping with some elusive, hitherto undiscovered, scientific evidence in the future that will be “completely consistent with the natural laws.” [NOTE: Such an approach is the equivalent of brushing aside the mounds of evidence for the existence of gravity in order to develop a theory that asserts that tomorrow, all humanity will start levitating up from the surface of the Earth. Science has already spoken on that matter, and to postulate such a theory would be unscientific. It would go against the evidence from science. Similarly, science has already spoken on the matter of life from non-life and shown that abiogenesis does not occur in nature, according to the Law of Biogenesis (see Miller, 2012), or in the words of Hazen, abiogenesis is completely inconsistent “with the natural laws of chemistry and physics.” And yet he, along with all atheistic evolutionists, continues to promote evolutionary theory in spite of this crucial piece of evidence to the contrary.] Evolutionists believe in the natural laws, even if they fail to concede the import of their implications with regard to atheistic evolution.
Richard Dawkins, a world renowned evolutionary biologist and professor of zoology at Oxford University, put his stamp of endorsement on the laws of nature as well. While conjecturing (without evidence) about the possibility of life in outer space, he said, “But that higher intelligence would, itself, had to have come about by some ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously” (Stein and Miller, 2008). Dawkins admits that life could not pop into existence from non-life. But why? Because that would contradict a well-known and respected law of science that is based on mounds of scientific evidence and that has no exception: the Law of Biogenesis. Of course evolution, which Dawkins wholeheartedly subscribes to, requires abiogenesis, which contradicts the Law of Biogenesis. However, notice that Dawkins so respects the laws of nature that he cannot bring himself to consciously and openly admit that his theory requires the violation of said law. Self-delusion can be a powerful narcotic.
Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, highly reveres the laws of science as well. In 2011, he hosted a show on Discovery Channel titled, “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” In that show, he said,
[T]he Universe is a machine governed by principles or laws—laws that can be understood by the human mind. I believe that the discovery of these laws has been humankind’s greatest achievement…. But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful (“Curiosity…,” 2011, emp. added).
According to Hawking, the laws of nature exist, are unbreakable (i.e., without exception), and apply to the entire Universe—not just to the Earth.
Again, the atheistic evolutionary community believes in the existence of and highly respects the laws of science (i.e., when those laws coincide with the evolutionist’s viewpoints) and would not wish to consciously deny or contradict them. Sadly, they do so, and often, when it comes to their beloved atheistic, origin theories. But that admission by the evolutionary community presents a major problem for atheism. Humanist Martin Gardner said,
Imagine that physicists finally discover all the basic waves and their particles, and all the basic laws, and unite everything in one equation. We can then ask, “Why that equation?” It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing. There had to be quantum laws to fluctuate. And why are there quantum laws?...There is no escape from the superultimate questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is the something structured the way it is? (2000, p. 303, emp. added).
Even if Big Bang cosmology were correct (and it is not), you still can’t have a law without a law writer. In “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” Hawking boldly claims that everything in the Universe can be accounted for through atheistic evolution without the need of God. This is untrue, as we have discussed elsewhere (e.g., Miller, 2011), but notice that Hawking does not even believe that assertion himself. He said, “Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, did we need a god to set it all up so that the Big Bang could bang?” (“Curiosity…”). He provided no answer to these crucial questions—not even an attempt. And he is not alone. No atheist can provide an adequate answer to those questions.
The eminent atheistic, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted Hawking’s sidestep of that question in the “round table discussion” on the Discovery Channel following “Curiosity,” titled, “The Creation Question: a Curiosity Conversation.” Concerning Hawking, Davies said,
In the show, Stephen Hawking gets very, very close to saying, “Well, where did the laws of physics come from? That’s where we might find some sort of God.” And then he backs away and doesn’t return to the subject…. You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws (“The Creation Question…,” 2011).
In his book, The Grand Design, Hawking tries (and fails) to submit a way that the Universe could have created itself from nothing in keeping with the laws of nature without God—an impossible concept, to be sure. He says, “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (2010, p. 180). Of course, even if such were possible (and it is not), he does not explain where the law of gravity came from. A more rational statement would have been the following: “Because there is a law like gravity, the Universe must have been created by God.”
Just as the evidence says that you cannot have a poem without a poet, a fingerprint without a finger, or a material effect without a cause, a law must be written by someone. But the atheistic community does not believe in the “Someone” Who alone could have written the laws of nature. So the atheist stands in the dark mist of irrationality—holding to a viewpoint that contradicts the evidence. However, the Christian has no qualms with the existence of the laws of nature. They provide no problem or inconsistency with the Creation model. Long before the laws of thermodynamics were formally articulated in the 1850s and long before the Law of Biogenesis was formally proven by Louis Pasteur in 1864, the laws of science were written in stone and set in place to govern the Universe by the Being in Whom we believe. Recall the last few chapters of the book of Job, where God commenced a speech, humbling Job with the awareness that Job’s knowledge and understanding of the workings of the Universe were extremely deficient in comparison with the omniscience and omnipotence of Almighty God. Two of the humbling questions that God asked Job to ponder were, “Do you know the ordinances [“laws”—NIV] of the heavens? Can you set their dominion [“rule”—ESV] over the earth?” (Job 38:33). These were rhetorical questions, and the obvious answer from Job was, “No, Sir.” He could not even know of all the laws, much less could he understand them, and even less could he have written them and established their rule over the Earth. Only a Supreme Being transcendent of the natural Universe would have the power to do such a thing.
According to the Creation model and in keeping with the evidence, that Supreme Being is the God of the Bible, Who created everything in the Universe in six literal days, only a few thousand years ago. In the words of the 19th-century song writer, Lowell Mason, “Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken; worlds His mighty voice obeyed; laws which never shall be broken, for their guidance He hath made. Hallelujah! Amen” (Howard, 1977, #427).


“The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Gardner, Martin (2000), Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? (New York: W.W. Norton).
Hawking, Stephen (2010), The Grand Design (New York, NY: Bantam Books).
Hazen, Robert (2005), Origins of Life (Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company).
Howard, Alton (1977), “Praise the Lord,” Songs of the Church (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.
Miller, Jeff  (2011), “A Review of Discovery Channel’s ‘Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?’” Reason & Revelation, 31[10]:98-107, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1004&article=1687.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Ruby, Lionel (1960), Logic: An Introduction (Chicago, IL: J.B. Lippincott).
Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

Laying On of Hands by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Laying On of Hands

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The ability to perform miracles in the first century church was granted by God in essentially two ways: baptism of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of the apostles’ hands. The Bible only mentions the former avenue as occurring twice (Acts 2 and Acts 10), and then only for special and limited purposes, with a third occurrence implied in connection with Paul’s unique calling (Acts 9:15; 22:21; Romans 1:5; 11:13; 1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:16; 2:7-8; et al. See Miller, 2003). The latter avenue is specifically described by Luke in his account of the initial proclamation of the Gospel to the Samaritans:
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-19, emp. added).
Since the New Testament expounds no other means by which any person may receive ability to perform miracles, it inevitably follows that no person living on Earth today has miraculous capability. Holy Spirit baptism was unique, exclusive, and limited at the beginning of the church, and no apostles are alive today to impart miraculous ability to anyone.
Some have challenged the exclusivity of the role of the apostles in their unique ability to impart miraculous capability by calling attention to the admonition given by Paul to Timothy: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14, emp. added). Based on this verse, some insist that the apostles were not the only conduit through which God would/will impart miraculous ability. Does the New Testament clarify this situation?
In 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul plainly declared that the “gift of God” which Timothy possessed was conferred “through the laying on of my hands.” How does one harmonize 1 Timothy 4:14 with 2 Timothy 1:6? Was Timothy’s miraculous ability conferred upon him by Paul, by the eldership, or by both? The grammar of the text provides the answer. In 2 Timothy 1:6, where Paul claimed sole credit for imparting the gift to Timothy, the Holy Spirit employed the Greek preposition dia with the genitive, which means “through” or “by means of ” (Machen, 1923, p. 41; Dana and Mantey, 1927, p. 101). However, in 1 Timothy 4:14, where Paul included the eldership in the action of impartation, he employed a completely different Greek preposition—meta. The root meaning of meta is “in the midst of ” (Dana and Mantey, p. 107). It denotes “the attendant circumstances of something that takes place”—the “accompanying phenomena” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 510-511, emp. added). It means “in association with” or “accompanied by” (Moule, 1959, p. 61; Thayer, 1901, p. 404; cf. Robertson, 1934, p. 611). In other words, Paul—as an apostle—imparted the miraculous gift to Timothy. It came from God through Paul. However, on that occasion, the local eldership of the church was present and participated with Paul in the event, lending their simultaneous support and accompanying commendation. After examining the grammatical data on the matter, Nicoll concluded: “[I]t was the imposition of hands by St. Paul that was the instrument used by God in the communication of the charisma to Timothy” (1900, 4:127; cf. Jamieson, et al., n.d., 2:414; Williams, 1960, p. 956). Consequently, 1 Timothy 4:14 provides no proof that miraculous capability could be received through other means in addition to apostolic imposition of hands and the two clear instances of Holy Spirit baptism.
[NOTE: For a more thorough study of miracles, see "Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION"]


Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Dana, H.E. and Julius Mantey (1927), A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Toronto, Canada: Macmillan).
Jamieson, Robert, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown (no date), A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Machen, J. Gresham (1923), New Testament Greek for Beginners (Toronto, Canada: Macmillan).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.
Moule, C.F.D. (1959), An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: University Press, 1977 reprint).
Nicoll, W. Robertson, ed. (1900), The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press).
Thayer, J.H. (1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Williams, George (1960), The Student’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel), sixth edition.

Jesus' Resurrection and the Life of a Christian by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Jesus' Resurrection and the Life of a Christian

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Is the fact that Jesus rose from the grave about 2,000 years ago really all that important to a Christian’s faith? What if Jesus had never risen from the tomb in which He was buried? What if He were in the grave today? Could we still be Christians if Jesus had never arisen?
Consider what the apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ. In a passage where he was writing about the reality of the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, he also mentioned Christ’s resurrection, saying, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Then, three verses later, he made a similar statement, saying, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (15:17). In other words, without Jesus’ resurrection, no one would have any hope of going to heaven. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith (cf. Romans 1:4).
The early church multiplied quickly in just a few short years. They grew by “leaps and bounds.” People were obeying the Gospel by the thousands, and one central message laid at the heart of their decision—the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Had Jesus never been raised from the grave, the Gospel never could have been preached. The Gospel is not about a “lifeless lord,” but a “risen Redeemer.”
Jesus resurrection’ gives meaning to a Christian’s faith.
  • Every Sunday when Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper, we remember the Lord’s death “until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). If Jesus were not risen, however, we would have no hope of His coming again, and Paul’s statement here regarding the Lord’s Supper would be meaningless.
  • Every time Christians pray “in Jesus name,” we are relying on a risen Savior—Jesus—to mediate on our behalf (1 Timothy 2:5; cf. John 14:6; 1 John 2:1). But, if Jesus were not risen, our prayers would not be heard, and our petitions to have our sins forgiven could not be granted.
  • The only reason that preaching and baptizing (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) are of any importance at all is because Jesus is not dead, but alive. When a person is baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), he is raised from a world of sin, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Romans 6:4).
Christians always need to keep in mind how important Jesus’ resurrection is to our faith. We must not let the fact that Jesus’ resurrection occurred nearly 2,000 years ago lessen the importance of His victory over death.

Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life?

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

You may have heard of the field of science known as synthetic biology. In this highly advanced area of science, engineers utilize their understanding of biology to “create” new life forms not found in nature. According to SyntheticBiology.org, synthetic biology involves “the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems” and “the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes” (“Synthetic Biology,” 2012). Perhaps this conjures up in your mind, as it does in the minds of many others, images of Dr. Frankenstein sewing pieces of dead tissue together into a monster on his laboratory table and bringing it to life. Is this what goes on in synthetic biology? Can scientists create life?
In a word: no. Life cannot come from non-life without supernatural help (cf. Miller, 2012). God alone “gives to all life” (Acts 17:25). Notice that a careful reading of what synthetic biology involves reveals that these engineers are designing and constructing new biological parts, not life; re-designing existing biological systems, not bringing systems to life. Earlier this year, The New York Times ran an article highlighting the remarkable work of Craig Venter, a synthetic biologist who is working on a project involving designing custom bugs. According to the article,
Each of the bugs will have a mission. Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA (Hylton, 2012).
There is no doubt that such feats of engineering would be worth high accolades and recognition from the scientific community but, again, Venter is not creating life itself.
Though the authors might wish to “accidentally” convey that idea, since such a feat would certainly attract more attention to the article, a careful reading of the fairly lengthy story reveals the truth. Venter’s methods involve manufacturing DNA and injecting it into a host cell. “It means taking four bottles of chemicals—the adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine that make up DNA—and linking them into a daisy chain at least half a million units long, then inserting that molecule into a host cell” that they hope will be able to reproduce. “[T]he DNA was modeled on a natural organism and was inserted into a natural cell.” So a cell is already alive and in existence, and the man-made (i.e, man-mixed) DNA is injected into the living cell. Venter, himself, notes that his team is constructing the DNA, not the cell. “It is just the DNA. You have to have the cell there to read it” (Hylton).
Notice also that the life forms being developed are not completely new designs. According to the article, “the DNA was modeled on a natural organism” (Hylton). Nobel laureate David Baltimore, commenting on Venter’s work, said, “He has not created life, only mimicked it” (Hylton). In other words, this is another example of biomimicry—an act of plagiarism, in a sense, when carried out by atheists.
So, life has not been created. The cell is already alive when it is manipulated by engineers using their DNA designs. A new life form is being designed, but life itself has not been created from non-life. The Law of Biogenesis stands. In nature, life comes only from life of its kind. God is needed in the recipe in order to arrive at life from non-life. [NOTE: For more on Venter and synthetic biology, see Deweese, 2010]


Deweese, Joe (2010), “Has Life Been Made From Scratch?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=3597.
Hylton, Wil S. (2012), “Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World,” The New York Times, May 30, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/magazine/craig-venters-bugs-might-save-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
“Synthetic Biology” (2012), OpenWetWare, http://syntheticbiology.org/.