Plain and simple by Gary Rose



Why is it that this generation is departing from normal communication? I see things like this picture on the INTERNET on a regular basis and wonder WHY? If you have ever received a text message from someone under 40 (could be any age, really) you will immediately notice all sorts of abbreviations that make it difficult to understand.

This made me think: Gary, aren’t you glad that God doesn’t act like that? What you need to know to “get right and stay right” with God is in plain and very straightforward language.

There is truth, there is right and wrong; you choose whether or not you will accept it or reject it and reap the consequences.

Jesus said…

John 8 ( World English Bible )
 30  As he spoke these things, many believed in him.  31 Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples.   32  You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 

So, what truth does God want you to know?

1 Corinthians 15 ( WEB )
  1 Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand,  2 by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep.

Looking again to the words of Jesus…

John 3 ( WEB )
 1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  2 The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”

3  Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the Kingdom of God.”

4  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

5  Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into the Kingdom of God!   6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   7  Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 

Once again, Jesus said…

Matthew 28 ( WEB)
 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.   19  Go,  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,   20  teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

And what did his apostles teach?

Acts 2 ( WEB )
  22  “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in your midst, even as you yourselves know,  23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;  24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.
26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope;
27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay.
28 You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29  “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,  31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay.  32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.  34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself,
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

36  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

41  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls.  42 They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer.  43 Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  44 All who believed were together, and had all things in common.  45 They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need.  46 Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart,  47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved. 

And lastly…

Timothy 4 ( WEB )
  1 I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: 2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.  3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;  4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.  5 But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.

6  For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.  7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.  8 From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.

Believe in Jesus, repent of sin, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and remain faithful unto death.

Simple, direct and easy to understand. I for one am very glad God gave me a Bible and NOT A TEXT MESSAGE.

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" The Chastening Of The Lord (12:4-11) by Mark Copeland


The Chastening Of The Lord (12:4-11)


1. In encouraging his readers to "run the race that is set before us",
   the author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" mentions the need for endurance...
   a. Suggesting that the "race" will not always be an easy one - He 12:1
   b. Indeed, our "forerunner" Himself had to endure hostility from 
      sinners and eventually the cross - He 12:2-3

2. They were reminded that they had yet to endure as much as the Lord...
   a. They had "not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin" - He 12:4
   b. Though they had earlier endured "a great struggle with sufferings" - He 10:32-34
   -- Because persecutions were likely to intensify, they needed "endurance" - He 10:35-36

3. To help them in this regard, he reminds them of "The Chastening Of The Lord" by...
   a. Quoting a well-known passage in Proverbs - He 12:5-6
   b. Expounding upon the purpose of the Lord's chastening - He 12:7-11
   -- Understanding how the Lord might use hardships, even 
      persecutions, to "chasten" them for their good, would serve to encourage them to endure

4. What does the word "chasten" mean?
   a. The Greek word is paideia {pahee-di'-ah}
   b. In the KJV, it is variously translated as "chastening, nurture, instruction, chastisement"
   c. Thayer defines the word in this way:
      1) "the whole training and education of children (which relates
         to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this 
         purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment)"
      2) "whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by 
         correcting mistakes and curbing passions"
         a) "instruction which aims at increasing virtue"
         b) "acc. to biblical usage chastisement, chastening, (of the 
            evils with which God visits men for their amendment)"

[In this lesson, I wish to focus on "The Chastening Of The Lord", 
using this text in Hebrews as the basis for our study.  To begin, let me stress...]


      1. Believing that a loving God would never bring suffering to His children
      2. Believing that any suffering is due solely to the influence of Satan
         a. As some have so interpreted the Book of Job
         b. Yet because Satan himself could not do anything unless God
            allowed it, Job's adversity came ultimately from the Lord - cf. Job 42:11

      1. In the Old Testament:
         a. "You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his
            son, so the LORD your God chastens you." - Deut 8:5
         b. "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor 
            detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
            Just as a father the son in whom he delights." - Pr 3:11-12
      2. In the New Testament:
         a. "For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
            But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that
            we may not be condemned with the world." - 1Co 11:31-32
         b. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be 
            zealous and repent." - Re 3:19
         c. And of course, our entire text under consideration - He 12:4-11
            1) Especially verses 7-8
            2) Which state that all of God's children must experience chastening!

[The "fact" of the Lord's chastening cannot be questioned by anyone who
accepts the Bible.  At this point, let's consider "how" God might chasten His children...]


      1. There is both "instructive" and "corrective" chastening (discipline)
      2. "Instructive" chastening is designed to prevent the need for "corrective" chastening
      3. Instructive discipline is seen most often in the form of "teaching"
         a. In the form of warnings, admonitions
         b. Thus Jesus could "clean" (purify) His disciples through His teaching - Jn 15:2-3
         c. Through His words Jesus sought to chasten the Laodiceans - Re 3:15-19
         -- One way, then, that God chastens us is through His Word!
      4. But instructive discipline can also be in the form of "tribulation"
         a. In the case of Job...
            1) His suffering was not because he needed correction - cf. Job 1:1,8
            2) Yet God allowed it, knowing it would make him better
         b. In the case of the early Christians...
            1) Persecution was looked upon as a form of chastisement - cf. He 12:4-6
            2) Their persecution for the cause of Christ was not because they were wicked
            3) But God allowed it, knowing that it would make them 
               stronger - cf. Ro 5:3-4; Jm 1:2-4; 1Pe 5:8-10
         -- Another way, then, that God chastens us is by allowing persecution for Christ's sake!

      1. When "instructive" discipline is not heeded, "corrective" discipline follows
      2. Note the example of Judah and Israel:
         a. Failure to heed God's word would bring judgment upon Judah - Am 2:4-5
         b. God made repeated efforts to bring Israel back to Him - Am 4:6-12
         c. Such efforts included famine, drought, pestilence, plague, war, earthquakes
            1) These were not miraculous or supernatural events
            2) But acts of nature brought on by the providential working of God!
         d. Some understood the value of such affliction - cf. Ps 119: 67,71
      3. What about "corrective" discipline today?
         a. If God would use Providence to encourage Israel to repent before it was too late...
            1) Would not the same God use Providence to chastise His erring children today?
            2) Does He love us any less?
         b. I know of no scriptural reason why God would not use His
            Providence to bring about events in our lives which serve to:
            1) Wake us up
            2) Cause us to reflect on our lives and our relationship to God
            3) Encourage us to repent and turn back to Him if we are straying
         c. There are several passages which suggest that God might 
            bring some form of "corrective" discipline if we do not heed His "instructive" discipline...
            1) Some of the Corinthians had already begun to experience
               God's chastisement, which they could have avoided if 
               they had "judged" themselves (by heeding His word) - 1Co 11:30-32
            2) Jesus spoke of some way in which He would punish some at
               Thyatira that would be evident to all - cf. Re 2:20-23
         -- I therefore have no problem with the idea that God may 
            choose to employ corrective discipline in the form of 
            national and even personal affliction

[My understanding of a loving God chastening His children is tempered 
by my understanding of "why" He does this...]


      1. God found it necessary to bring judgment upon Israel - Lam 1:3-5
      2. It was not something He wanted to do - Lam 3:31-33

      1. To correct us - He 12:9
         a. Our human fathers do so, and we respect them for it
         b. Should we not expect the same from the "Father of spirits",and submit to it?
      2. That we may be partakers of His Holiness - He 12:10
         a. Our human fathers do it for what seems best to them
         b. Our heavenly Father does it for a reason that far excels any earthly purpose!
      3.  That we may yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness - He 12:11
         a. In the short term, the experience is unpleasant
         b. But in the long term, we benefit by such "training"!


1. Whether "corrective" or "instructive" chastisement, it is always for our good!
   a. It may be grievous - He 12:11a
   b. But it will produce "the peaceable fruit of righteousness to 
      those who have been trained by it" - He 12:11b

2. "Corrective" chastisement can mostly be avoided...
   a. By correcting ourselves - cf. 1Co 11:31-32
   b. Which we can do by taking heed to God's Word - cf. Jn 15:2-3

3. But even when we heed the "instructive" chastisement through the 
   Word of God, we may still experience some form of tribulation...
   a. Such as persecution for the cause of Christ
   b. Brought on by Satan, working in and through the world - 1Pe 5: 8-9
   c. Not because we are wicked, but because we are righteous (like Job)
   -- Yet God can use even that to provide a form of "instructive" 
      discipline, in which the good are made even better!

May the prayer expressed by Peter help us to endure should we 
experience such tribulation...

   "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal 
   glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while,
   perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the
   glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1Pe 5:10-11)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Bible Contradictions—Are They Real? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Bible Contradictions—Are They Real?

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

The charge is made quite frequently that the Bible contains numerous contradictions. Is this charge correct?
“I cannot have confidence in the Bible, for it is a book filled with contradictions.” I could not estimate how many times I have heard this charge against the Holy Scriptures over the past quarter of a century. One thing, however, has been consistent about the allegation—the critic rarely can name even one alleged contradiction that the Bible is supposed to contain. He just “knows” that they are “in there” somewhere.
Those who allege that the Bible contains contradictions basically fall into two classes. First, there is the person who honestly believes this to be the case because he has heard the hackneyed charge repeated frequently; thus, he is sincerely misinformed about the facts. Second, there is that type of person who, from base motives, hates the Bible and so does not scruple to pervert its testimony in order to embarrass the Sacred Volume. In either case, the Word of God is not at fault!
Preliminary to a consideration of this important theme, it should be noted that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to the Bible as to any other book. Books, like people, ought to be considered truthful and consistent until it can be demonstrated that they are not. Great attempts have been made to absolve the Greek and Latin classics of contradictions under the presumption that the authors did not contradict themselves. Surely the Bible deserves at least an equally charitable approach.
It is fairly safe to say that most people have only a superficial understanding of what constitutes a genuine contradiction. An important truth that must repeatedly be hammered home is this: a mere difference does not a contradiction make!
What, then, is a contradiction? In logic, the Law of Contradiction is stated succinctly as follows: “Nothing can both be and not be” (Jevons, 1928, p. 117). That is a very abbreviated form of the rule. Aristotle, in a more amplified form, expressed it this way. “That the same thing should at the same time both be and not be for the same person and in the same respect is impossible.”
An analysis of the Law of Contradiction, therefore, would suggest the following: when one is confronted with an alleged contradiction, he must ask himself these questions: (1) Is the same thing or person under consideration? (2) Is the same time period in view? (3) Is the language that seems to be self-contradictory employed in the same sense? It is vitally important that these questions be answered correctly. For instance, let us analyze the following two statements: Robert is rich. Robert is poor. Do these statements contradict one another? The answer is—not necessarily! First, two different people named Robert could be under consideration. Second, two different time frames might be in view; Robert could have been rich but, due to financial disaster, he became poor. Third, the terms “rich” and “poor” might have been used in different senses; Robert could be spiritually rich but economically poor. The point is this: it never is proper to assume a contradiction exists until every possible means of harmonization has been fully exhausted. Now, let this principle be applied to the Bible.
Same Person or Thing
An infidel once announced that he had discovered a contradiction in the Bible. When challenged to produce it, he suggested that whereas Noah’s ark with all of its inmates must have weighed several tons (Genesis 6), the priests were said to have carried the ark across the Jordan River (Joshua 3). The poor fellow, in his profound simplicity, did not even know the difference between Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant! Slightly different arks—to say the least! Again, the Scriptures affirm that faith saves apart from works; on the other hand, the New Testament declares that faith apart form works cannot save. “Surely,” some contend, “this is a contradiction.” The fact is it is not, fordifferent types of works are addressed in the Scriptures. Salvation involves works of obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ (James 2:14ff.; Philippians 2:12), but it cannot be obtained by works of the Mosaic Law (Romans 3:28; 4:2ff.) or by boastful works of human merit (Ephesians 2:9). There is no contradiction in the Bible on this point.
Same Time Reference
The Bible records: “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). And then: “And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (6:6). The infidel cites both verses and claims that God simultaneously was satisfied and dissatisfied with His creation—neglecting to mention, of course, that the fall of man and hundreds of years of history separated the two statements! Judas, one of the Lord’s disciples, was empowered to perform miracles (cf. Matthew 10:1-18), yet he is called “the son of perdition” (John 17:12). Is there a contradiction here? No, for it was a couple of years after the time of the limited commission (Matthew 10) before Judas commenced to apostatize from the Lord (John 12:6; 13:2,27). The time element is vitally important in understanding some passages.
Some have charged the Bible with a mistake in connection with the time of Jesus’ trial and death. Mark writes that the Lord was crucified at the third hour (Mark 15:25), while John’s account has the Savior being tried at the sixth hour (John 19:14)—seemingly three hours after His death. John’s time reference, however, was based upon Romancivil days, while Mark computed according to Jewish time (cf. Westcott, 1981, 8:282). Again, the “contradiction” dissolves.
Same Sense
If the Bible is to be understood, it is imperative that recognition be given to the different senses in which words may be employed. Normally, words are used literally, but they can be employed figuratively as well.
In Matthew 11:14, John the Baptizer is identified as “Elijah,” yet, the forerunner of Christ, in John 1:21, plainly denied that he was Elijah. These verses are reconciled quite easily. Though John was not literally Elijah physically reincarnated, nevertheless he was the spiritual antitype of the great prophet; he prepared the way for the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).
Did the apostle Paul contradict himself when he affirmed on one occasion that he was “as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless” (Philippians 3:6), and yet, at another time, he acknowledged that he was “chief ” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)? Again, the answer must be “No.” In the former passage, Paul was describing the reputation he enjoyed among his Hebrew contemporaries as a Pharisee, while in the latter verse, he expressed the anguish he felt at having been a persecutor of the Christian Way. How sad that some are almost totally ignorant of the principles that resolve Bible difficulties.
One of the implications of the Law of Contradiction is the concept that “nothing can have at the same time and at the same place contradictory and inconsistent qualities” (Jevons, 1928, p. 118). A door may be open or shut, but the same door may not be both open and shut at the same time. Open and shut are opposites, yet they are not contradictory unless they are affirmed of the same object at the same time. Here is the principle: opposites are not necessarily contradictory. Let this principle be applied to certain biblical matters.
Does the Bible contradict itself, as is often suggested, when it asserts that God both loves and hates? No, for though these terms are opposites, when used of God they do not express His disposition toward the same objects. God loves every sinner in the world (John 3:16), but He hates every false way (Psalm 119:104). He loves righteousness, but hates iniquity (Psalm 45:7), and hence responds toward such with either goodness or severity (Romans 11:22). No contradiction here.
Was Paul both “perfect” and “imperfect” at the same time? Some have charged that he so claimed. In Philippians 3:12, the apostle declared that he had not been “already made perfect,” while in the 15th verse he wrote: “Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded.” How is this problem resolved? A careful analysis of the language employed will solve this alleged discrepancy. When Paul claimed that he had not been “made perfect,” he used a perfect tense form of the Greek term which literally suggested that the apostle had not arrived at a permanent state of perfection. On the other hand, in the latter verse Paul used an adjective that actually means full-grown or mature (note how the same term is used in contrast to infantilism in 1 Corinthians 14:20 and Ephesians 4:13). And so, while Paul denied that he was already in possession of permanent perfection, he did claim to possess spiritual maturity. There is no conflict between these passages.
Another important point to be emphasized is this: one must not confuse supplementation with contradiction. In a contradiction, two facts are mutually exclusive; in supplementation, two facts merely complement one another. If one says, for example, that John doe is a husband, and then, of the same John Doe, that he is not a husband—this is contradiction. On the other hand, if one says that John Doe is a father—that is not a contradiction. It merely is supplementing statement number two. Many alleged Bible discrepancies can be answered by a recognition of this principle.
The case of the healing of the blind men of Jericho presents an interesting study in supplementation (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). Two prominent problems have been set forth. First, while both Mark and Luke mention the healing ofone blind man, Matthew records the healing of two blind men. Second, Matthew and Mark indicate that the blind men were healed as Jesus was leaving Jericho, whereas Luke seems to suggest that a blind man was healed as the Lord “drew nigh” to the city. As a discussion of these passages is begun, let this vital consideration be remembered—if there is any reasonable way of harmonizing these records, no legitimate contradiction can be charged to the accounts!
How, then, shall these narratives be reconciled? Several reasonable possibilities have been posed by scholarly writers.
In the first place, the fact that two of the accounts mention only one man, while the other mentions two, need not concern us. Had Mark and Luke stated that Christ healedonly one man, with Matthew affirming that more than one were healed, an error surely would be apparent, but such is not the case. If one says, “I have a son,” he does not contradict himself by stating further, “I have a son and a daughter.” The latter statement merely supplements the former. There is no discrepancy, therefore, with reference to the number of men involved.
But how shall the second problem be resolved? Several reasonable possibilities have been advanced.
  1. It is possible that three blind men were healed in the vicinity of Jericho on this occasion, and that the incident mentioned by Luke, as occurring when Jesus approached the city, might have represented a different miracle than that recorded by Matthew and Mark. This may not be the most likely explanation, but it cannot be disproved.
  2. Edward Robinson argued that the verb engizo, rendered “drew near” (Luke 18:35) also can mean “to be near.” He cited evidence from the Septuagint (1 Kings 21:2—“it is near unto my house” [cf. Deuteronomy 21:3, Jeremiah 23:23, Ruth 2:20, and 2 Samuel 19:42]) and from the New Testament (Luke 19:29; cf. Matthew 21:1 and Philippians 2:30). He thus translated Luke 18:35 as “while he was yet nigh unto Jericho” (1855, p. 200). This view implies that Luke simply locates the miracle near Jericho; hence such can be harmonized with the other records.
  3. Perhaps the most popular viewpoint among reputable writers is the fact that at the time of Christ there actually were two Jerichos. First, there was the Jericho of Old Testament history (Joshua 6:1ff.; 1 Kings 16:34) that was located at the sight of Elijah’s spring. In the first century, however, that city lay almost in ruins. About two miles south of that site was the new Jericho, built by Herod the Great. The Lord—traveling from the north toward Jerusalem—first would pass through the old Jericho, then some two miles to the southwest, would go through Herodian Jericho. The miracles under consideration, therefore may have been performedbetween two towns. Accordingly, the references in Matthew and Mark to leavingJericho would allude to the old city, whereas Luke’s observation to drawing nearto Jericho would refer to the newer community (see Robertson, 1930, 1:163).
In dealing with so-called “contradictions” in the Bible, let these principles be carefully remembered.
  • No contradiction exists between verses that refer to different persons or things.
  • No contradiction exists between passages that involve different time elements.
  • No contradiction exists between verses that employ phraseology in different senses.
  • Supplementation is not the same as contradiction.
  • One need show only the possibility of harmonization between two passage that appear to conflict in order to negate the force of an alleged discrepancy.
Finally, this point needs to be made: the differences in various Bible accounts of the same events actually demonstrate the independence of the divine writers and prove that they were not in collusion! God, although using human writers in the composition of the Bible, is nevertheless its ultimate Author. And since the perfect God cannot be the source of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) or contradiction (Hebrews 6:18), it must be acknowledged that the Bible is perfectly harmonious. This does not mean that men will not struggle with difficult passages. If seeming discrepancies are discovered, let us apply ourselves to a diligent study to resolve them; but let us never foolishly charge God with allowing His sacred writers to contradict one another.
Jevons, W. Stanley (1928), Elementary Lessons in Logic (London: Macmillan).
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Robinson, Edward (1855), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Harper Brothers).
Westcott, B.F. (1981 reprint), The Gospel of St. JohnThe Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Beware of Dawkins’ “Common Sense” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Beware of Dawkins’ “Common Sense”

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Due to Richard Dawkins’ atheistic assumptions, he has the impossible task of trying to arrive at a legitimate set of ethical judgments. He robustly denies that the idea of God offers any real morality, but as he attempts to contrive morality without a divine standard, he quickly loses his way and makes self-contradictory statements.
For instance, in chapter 9 of his book The God Delusion, Dawkins argues that teaching a child to be religious is a form of mental child abuse. Of course, he lumps all religious practices together (which is a logical fallacy in the first place; e.g., Butt, 2007) and chooses an example that is inconsistent with truth. He correctly states that it is wrong to think that sprinkling a little water on an infant has any ability to “totally change a child’s life” (e.g., Colley, 2004). But, to arrive at his conclusion, Dawkins says that the implications of infant baptism fly in the face of “everything that ordinary common senseand human feeling see as important” (2006, p. 213, emp. added).
Notice one of Dawkins’ reasons for claiming that the practice is wrong—because it goes against “common sense.” Of course, the next question to be asked is, “How reliable of a guide is common sense?” Should we always trust our “common sense” when making moral decisions? Dawkins answers that question himself, although probably unwittingly. In his discussion of tiny quantum particles, Dawkins claims that the human brain has not really evolved the ability to understand many physical realities on a quantum scale. He states that much that we have learned about quantum mechanics goes against our “common-sense” notions. Thus, he concluded: “Common sense lets us down, because common sense evolved in a world where nothing moves very fast, and nothing is very small or very large” (2006, p. 364).
Putting the pieces together, then, Dawkins believes that moral decisions should be based on what the general population determines to be moral (Dawkins, 2006, pp. 237-278). Basically, he states that the combined “common sense” of humanity serves as a good indicator of morally correct behavior. But then he suggests that “common sense” is nothing more than an evolved entity that can “let us down.” If common sense can “let us down” in our judgments about the physical world, does it not also follow that it can do the same in moral determinations?
With such inconsistent statements, Dawkins forces himself and his fellow atheists back to the drawing board to concoct some facsimile of moral oughtness. In the end, all he can really conclude is that there are no moral absolutes and we cannot be certain that anything is really right or wrong. He said as much himself when he stated: “Fortunately, however, morals do not have to be absolute” (2006, p. 232). And, whereas one could easily argue that Dawkins’ idea of constant moral fluctuation goes against “common sense,” that is not why his idea is wrong. It is wrong because it violates the self-evident rules of logic, dismisses the powerful and irrefutable evidence that a divine Creator exists, and contradicts the Truth revealed by that Creator.


Butt, Kyle (2007), “All Religion Is Bad Because Some Is?,” [On-line], URL:http://apologeticspress.org/articles/3546.
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Did Jesus Command Infant Baptism?,” [On-line], URL:http://apologeticspress.org/articles/2638.
Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin).