I am not a prolific reader. In fact, as a child I really did not like to read unless it was a comic. Every once in a while I’d run into a book that I found interesting. It was quite rare for this to happen. One such book that I really enjoyed reading was Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps. I must say that the story was compelling and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it was one of the very rare occasions that I read a book in one sitting. This was truly unusual for me so it speaks volumes of the book.
However, for a book to be interesting does not really make it a good book. For a book to have a good story line does not make it a good book. I was recently reflecting on this book because my son was given a copy and the more I excogitate on the message of the book, the more I think the message of it is dangerous. Hopefully, you have read the book but if you haven’t you can read a synopsis of the plot here. Basically, the story boils down to a pastor challenging his congregation to ask the question, “what would Jesus do?” about every decision they make. It is a story about how this impacts so many people’s lives and business decisions. The result of people asking this question is fantastic and they reap great rewards from following in their decision making.
“What is wrong with that?” you might ask. “Don’t you remember the WWJD bracelets that were so popular?” you may be thinking. Yes, I do. The problem is not in asking the question. The problem is in the implications that flow out of the asking of the question. Here is why I think the theology taught by this book is so dangerous.
First, by asking the WWJD question we are implying to ourselves that we can do what Jesus would do. By asking the question WWJD we seem to be forgetting what the good news of the gospel is all about. We cannot do what Jesus would do. In fact it took Jesus coming to earth taking on human flesh to do for us the very thing that we cannot do on our own strength. The question should not be “what would Jesus do?” but “what has Jesus done?” We cannot begin to do what Jesus did. Jesus did it so we wouldn’t have to and because we couldn’t even if we wanted to.
Second, by asking the WWJD question I think we are unconsciously saying that by doing what Jesus would do we can be good moral people. While being good and moral is good for society, we are not called as Christians to be good and moral. If we speak to ourselves in this way we will be believing in a works based salvation because we are driven by doing good and being right. May it never be. We must cast ourselves on Christ because we cannot be good and do good. We should abide in Christ and continually confess our sins to Him knowing that even our best choices are stained by sin. We are not good people and asking the WWJD question reinforces to us that we are good by making Christlike choices.
Third, it dangerously leans in the direction of the prosperity gospel. It has been a while since I read it but what I got from it was that God will bless you for your obedience. While this is true, it is not true in the material sense. God will not necessarily bless me materially if I honor him. In fact, it may cost me my job, my family, or even my very life. I could be off base on this but these are my thoughts as I reflect on something I read years ago.
Let us forsake this question, “What would Jesus do?” Let us acknowledge that even when we ask ourselves that question and do what we think Jesus would do that our choices are still stained by sinful motivations. Let us acknowledge that we could never do what Jesus did. Let us ask the question “What did Jesus do?” and remind ourselves of the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is only through what Jesus already did that we can bear his name and call ourselves Christians. Let us not communicate to the society around us that we could ever be good enough for God. We are sinners who are totally and utterly unable to be good in the sight of God without what Jesus did.
So, if you read this book please read with caution. It is a nice story. But read with caution for the underlying theological message can be dangerous.
Posted in apologetics, Bad Theology, Books, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Faith, God, Gospel, Grace, Opinion | Leave a Comment »
Some people claim that Christians must have blind faith in the Bible. I agree with what the Bible says but I don’t know that I would call the faith or trust that I have in its veracity is blind. I think that my faith is reasonable. Without going into a long explanation as to why it is reasonable let me just say that everything I have read and learned from the Bible has been true. Therefore, I have no reason to question the portions that I have yet to verify or validate. I would say that the Bible is the rule of faith and is the benchmark of all truth. I approach life in this way. Scripture is right and where others disagree they are in error.
Others approach truth differently. Those with a materialist or naturalistic worldview place science as their locus of truth and anything that cannot be empirically verified is regarded as false. Now, this worldview has many problems but in the world of academia this is where you must start with people understanding that most people today in America come from this perspective.
I do not believe in evolution. I am with Ronald Reagan who said it was just a theory. It is not a bad theory. In some ways it makes sense but I reject the Neo-Darwinian theory of general common descent because it flies in the face of the Bible which, as I already mentioned, is my measure of truth. However, not everyone comes from that perspective so I think that I also need to evaluate evolution as a theory from a scientific perspective as well. This is why I would like to share with you some scientific insights into evolution with you. This particular insight comes from Dr. Cornelius Hunter who has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Hunter demonstrates how unlikely or probabilistically impossible it would be for evolution to be true based on protein-protein interactions which are fundamental to life. He describes how difficult it is to get two proteins to interact with each other not to mention the fact that the correct amino acid would have to be used to get the interaction to have a meaningful result. Here is what he says about evolution and the random chance that such a “mutation” could occur:
But evolution does not have such resources. It cannot conduct millions of evolutionary experiments in order to luckily find amino acid sequences on protein surfaces that are required for important biological functions. And even if it could, that would only be the first step, because molecular machines are often comprised of multiple proteins, interacting with each other at multiple sites. So evolution would have to luckily find several sequences, in multiple proteins, and get them to arise in similar time frames, so the molecular machine would function.
I am an engineer, not a scientist. But this scientist has skillfully pointed out how such a basic but amazing building block of life on its own makes evolution almost certainly false. We are talking probabilities here which doesn’t prove or disprove anything but it does make evolution very unlikely and makes you wonder why the scientific community so readily and blindly accepts it. To read more from Dr. Hunter read his blog here. To read more about these protein-protein interactions pick up a copy of The Edge of Evolution by Michael Behe and study chapter 7.
Posted in Evolution, Materialism, Naturalism, Origins, Science | Tagged Cornelius Hunter, Darwinian Evolution, Evolution, Faith, Michael Behe, Protein-Protein Interaction, Reason | 4 Comments »
You may have recently read that the teaching of creationism is now banned in any school that receives government funding in Great Britain. It is interesting that the government there has taken a very narrow view of the theories of the origin of life. They seem to think that any idea that is not evolution is creationism. This is a very narrow view and misrepresents evolution and creationism. They make it sounds like evolution is the only scientific view and if you accept creationism you reject science and reason. Cornelius Hunter has pointed out that this is just a straw man. They misrepresent anyone who questions evolution and dismiss them as an anti-science creationists. Creationism is not anti-science, by the way, and is distinct from another theory known as intelligent design. This is just a way that they blackball their opponents because their view is weak and doesn’t stand up to scientific investigation. To read more about this visit Dr. Hunter’s blog here.
Posted in Creation, Evolution, Origins, Science | Leave a Comment »
If you are in the Orange County, California, area and have any youth aged people in your life this is something you don’t want to miss out on. It is called Rethink Apologetics and it is on September 26-27 at Crossline Community Church. Follow this link to get more information or to register. RETHINK APOLOGETICS
It looks like a great conference that you don’t want to miss. We need to teach the young people in our churches to defend their faith and to decide what they believe and why. It looks like this will be a great way to help equip them.
Posted in apologetics, Christian, Christianity | Tagged Apologetics, Christianity, Conference, Rethink Apologetics, Stand to Reason, Youth | 1 Comment »
The United States is home to some of the greatest universities but in many of them academic freedom is severely limited. I am speaking of their willingness to have professors and instructors teach anything besides Darwinian Evolution. I was recently reminded of this fact when I came across this sad article. In California, a group was forced to cancel an event because they were showing a film on Intelligent Design. In January, the University of Kentucky settled a lawsuit for refusing to hire an astronomer because he was skeptical toward evolution. The crazy thing about this case was that the astronomer is an evolutionist but the university refused to hire him because he was skeptical about it. Are our universities really this intolerant? Are universities not supposed to be a place where a variety of ideas can be discussed or does everyone have to be evolutionists in order to be included in the world of academia. Read the article on lack of academic freedom here.
Posted in Academic Freedom, Current Events | Tagged Academic Freedom, Astronomer, Darwinian Evolution, Evolution, ID, Intelligent Design, University of Kentucky | 5 Comments »
Did it happen by chance?
I have written a couple of times on the issue of biomimicry. That is, scientists and engineers are finding phenomenon in nature that they they wish to copy and ideas which they wish to harness for the good and benefit of humankind. I have said that this copying that we are doing through biomimicry shows that there is a designer behind our world. We find ideas or designs that are so complex in our world that the existence of such things point to a creator, not millions of years of evolving by chance. This particular article talks about how German engineers attempted make more energy efficient plane wings by making them flap like a bird. Take a look at the article and let me know what you think? Are these engineers copying the design of the Master Engineer, or Creator, or are they just copying what happened by chance or millions and millions of years of evolution?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Biomimicry, Bird, Creation, Creator, Design, Engineers, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Wings | Leave a Comment »
I really enjoy Kevin DeYoung’s blog over at the Gospel Coalition called DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. I usually agree with him theologically on most points. I even subscribe to his blog via email. However, he recently published a post entitled Are Christians in America Persecuted? He basically said that it happens all of the time but persecution happens to Christians in America “not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”
While I agree with the last statement, I do not agree with his assessment that it happens all of the time. I also do not agree with his reasons for making that statement. I really appreciate the fact that he brings in the Bible but I believe that his exegesis is fallacious. He equates the biblical word for persecution with “harassing someone because of beliefs.” He points out that Old Testament prophets were reviled and spoken against and Jesus calls this persecution in Matthew. The problems is that reviling and being spoken against is not equivalent to harassing someone. Harassing in our modern English is very subjective. You can consider someone calling you a “Right Wing Bible Thumping Radical” harassment or even being reviled. But this is not being persecuted. You don’t have to be killed or be tortured to be persecuted. I think we are going down the road towards persecution but it does not happen all of the time to all Christians.
DeYoung argues from Scripture that persecution is not something that happens only to a few Christians. The Bible says that it happens to all Christians. I wholeheartedly agree but we must read the Bible in its context. It was written to Christians in the first century who were persecuted for following Christ. In 21st century America, I don’t know that it applies. The context is totally different. I think we need to count to the cost and be willing to be persecuted but we live in a culture where persecution is not widespread.
He also brings in Acts 5:41 which says that it is a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus. This is true. However, that does not mean that all American Christians have this privilege. Our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face persecution and it is our privilege to pray for them and encourage them and work for their release as we are commanded in Hebrews 13:3. To equate what we face in America with what Christians face in places like Eritrea or North Korea is wrong. When they are placed on the same level, we minimize the significance of real persecution. It is like me saying to my wife about the pain she has in her back from a herniated disc, “I experience pain everyday and all the time. In fact, I experience pain when I burned my mouth on my coffee this morning.” To equate the two, minimizes the real pain that my wife faces.
Please, I understand people talk about you behind your back for being a Christian at work. You may even get passed up for a promotion because you don’t work on Sundays or you won’t lie to get ahead. Don’t equate this with someone being hung upside down and having boiling grease poured over his feet. Don’t equate it with Christians in Ethiopia who are put in sea containers in the desert heat and don’t even have a place to go to the bathroom. Don’t equate it with a man who is forced to watch prison guards rape his wife because they are Christians. They are very much different in nature and degree.
Let us not overstate what happens to Christians in America. Let’s pray for Christian brothers and sisters who face persecution. In fact, some in American face persecution also but this is the exception and not the norm. Let’s remember Hebrews 13:3 and “remember” those who are in prison and those who are mistreated for their faith. For more information on how you can learn how to pray or support our persecuted family visit the website of The Voice of the Martyrs.
Posted in Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Faith, Persecuted Brothers and Sisters, Persecution, Prayer, Suffering, Theology, Voice of the Martyrs, VOM | Tagged Hebrews 13:3, Kevin DeYoung, Persecuted Church, Persecution, Prayer, Suffering, VOM | 4 Comments »