Saturday, September 20, 2014

Evolution is a Lie

I recently posted the following on Facebook as a response to someone’s post about the Ken Ham / Bill Nye debate.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
Bill Nye the alleged "science" guy has bought into the ridiculous idea of evolution, which immediately casts doubt on his “science.” There can be nothing scientific about evolution. The truth is that the data is the same for everyone, and those who believe in evolution approach the data with no less bias than those who believe in the creation model. Of course, the evolution model is absurd on many levels, and it requires a great leap of faith in the power of natural processes to produce new information as new species come into being over millions of years. Information cannot come from non-information, and intelligence cannot come from non-intelligence. The creation model requires faith in a miracle working God, while the evolution model requires faith in the ability of nothing and no one to do millions of accidental miracles in the right order and at the right time to produce all we see in the universe today.
 
If one just looks at reality – such as the complexity of the human body and all living things – the only sensible conclusion is that there is a Creator. Even if one doubts the Bible, which is not a wise position to take, good sense needs to come to the forefront. Several years ago, I wrote an article entitled “Some Common Sense Reasons to Believe in Creation and Reject Evolution,” which is found at http://buffalonoise.blogspot.com/2009/04/some-common-sense-reasons-to-believe-in.html.
 
Evolution is nothing more or less than a lie spoken by the father of lies, Satan himself, to turn people away from the true and living God. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, NKJV).
 
Satan (Lucifer) first spoke this lie when he said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14, NKJV). In other words, “I, a created being, will EVOLVE into God.” He has been telling this lie ever since, trying to convince mankind that becoming like God is a real possibility. The idea of evolution has “evolved” from his lie. Even though he has deceived many with his lie, he ultimately cannot even deceive himself, because God’s response to Lucifer’s rant is, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol (Hell), to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Satan hates the human race, at least partially because God has provided redemption for humans but not for fallen angels, and he wants to drag as many humans as possible to Hell with him.
 
Not everyone who teaches evolution is intentionally lying. I believe many, if not most, have simply been deceived. Either way, the impact of this lie is devastating to the human soul.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Luther on Christian Schools

“When schools prosper, the Church remains righteous and her doctrine pure…. Young pupils and students are the seed and source  of the Church.  If we were dead, whence would come our successors, if not from the schools?  For the sake of the Church, we must have and maintain Christian schools.” (Martin Luther)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ANOTHER LOOK AT CHRISTIANITY’S MOST CHERISHED PASSAGES (I):

By Ed Cardwell
 
John 3:3

What is fascinating and thrilling about delving into the original languages of the Bible is that it illuminates the Scriptures in a way and to a degree that any one translation is not able to do.  Being able to see the Scriptures in the environment of the original Greek and Hebrew is like being able to peer through and beyond the veil of the temple gazing, as it were, into the inner Holy of Holies.  There are precious nuggets of truth just lying there waiting for discovery.
 
Greek is the language of specificity.  Greek words are intended to convey a mental picture from the speaker to the hearer.  All language should have this innate ability, but as we can see, English is an agglomeration of languages with words whose meanings have been so obfuscated and diversified that clear communication is almost impossible.  The answer for the serious Bible student is to go to the numerous works available that elucidate the original words and their contextual meanings throughout Scripture.  There is even a better way – study and master the original languages.
 
There is however a supreme prerequisite for any serious Bible student, a tool absolutely necessary for deep inquiry into the mind and heart of the author: an unshakeable adherence to the immutable unchanging word of the living God.  It has to do with one’s understanding of Biblical inspiration.  Paul used this word ‘inspired’ when he wrote to Timothy, his fellow worker in the Gospel, in 2Tim 3:16:

“All Scripture is inspired by God.”

The Greek word for ‘inspired’ is qeo,pneustoj (theopneustos).  It means ‘God-breathed’ – in other words ‘straight from the heart and mouth of God’.  That is essentially the meaning of all the terms used to describe the orthodox view of inspiration: verbal, plenary, infallible, inerrant.

The following is an excellent working definition of Biblical inspiration that has served well when searching out the true meaning of the word of God:

Inspiration is a special act of the Holy Spirit in which He guided the writers of the Scriptures in such a way that what they wrote was exactly what He wanted and thus they are free of error of fact, doctrine, and judgment.  (This definition refers only to the original writings, not copies, translations, or commentaries.)

Only with the full confidence that every word in the original is the intent of the Holy Spirit is one able to mine the infinite treasures of the Scriptures.

Of course one might be accused of heresy if he were to alter revered translations.  Some might even consider it desecration of the highest order.  But I suggest that looking beyond the musty curtain of the ‘Authorized’ version(s) sometimes allows us to penetrate the limitations that these versions have proscribed to reconsider the intent of the author.

How much deeper our understanding of the Gospel might be if only we would lay aside the tradition of men (and the bias of the translators) and discover the intent of the true author of Scripture.  How much richer would be our appreciation for the heart and mind of the living God.

 *                    *                    *                    *                    *
So, let us look at one of the most quoted and revered passages of Scripture:  JOHN 3:3.  The KJV and NAS versions are listed first, followed by the original Greek.

John 3:3

KJV Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

NAS Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

GNT avpekri,qh VIhsou/j kai. ei=pen auvtw/|( VAmh.n avmh.n le,gw soi( eva.n mh, tij gennhqh/| a;nwqen( ouv du,natai ivdei/n th.n basilei,an tou/ qeou/Å

 The phrase translated ‘born again’ in both the KJV and the NAS are the English translation for the Greek words ‘gennhqh/| a;nwqen(gennêthêi anôthen) - in bold and underlined above.
 
A review of these two words in reverse order will prove useful:
 
a;nwqen
 
The word ‘again’ in John 3:3 is translated in the KJV and the NAS from the Greek word a;nwqen (anôthen).  a;nwqen is an adverb of location meaning specifically ‘from above’ – the basic stem is a;nw (ano) meaning ‘up’, or ‘above’ - and the adverb suffix –qen signifies ‘from where/whence’.   a;nwqen does not mean a repetition.
 
There is a common Greek word for ‘again’, meaning ‘repeated action’.  It is pa,lin (palin).   This word appears 141 times in 136 verses in the NT and is translated ‘again’ on every occasion.   However, pa,lin does not appear here in John 3:3.  But regrettably this is the meaning commonly accepted by the casual reader of many of the English translations.  Such a translation is unspecific and causes one’s mind to default to an English unspecific picture, one of simply a repeated action. But the word a;nwqen is very specific, emphasizing the source of this new life in our verse here.  Thankfully the NRS (New Revised Standard), the NAB (New American Bible), and the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) translate it correctly – ‘from above’. 
 
a;nwqen appears 13 times in the New Testament.  To visualize how improbable it is to translate a;nwqen as ‘again’, all of the following New Testament passages where it occurs appear below.  First are listed the verses from the KJV, then the verses from the NAS.  The translation of a;nwqen is given in bold, underlined, and italicized:

KJV Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

KJV Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

KJV Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

KJV John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

KJV John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

KJV Acts 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

KJV Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? *

KJV James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

KJV James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

*[Note:  Gal 4:9 needs some explanation.  The regular Greek word for ‘again’ (pa,lin) , meaning ‘repeated action’, is used twice in this verse.   The word  a;nwqen, meaning ‘from above’ appears here also but is not actually translated in the KJV by itself.  It has been incorporated with the 2nd  pa,lin to mean ‘all over again’, which is exactly the translation given in several other versions, including the NAS.]

Now we look at those 13 verses in the NAS (New American Standard):

NAS Matthew 27:51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,

NAS Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

NAS Luke 1:3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

NAS John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

31 "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

NAS John 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin."

23 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.*

NAS Acts 26:5 since they have known about me for a long time previously, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.

NAS Galatians 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

NAS James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

NAS James 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

*[Note:  For Gal 4:9 see note above.  For John 19.23 the NAS loosely translates the Greek phrase ‘evk tw/n a;nwqen u`fanto.j diV o[lou’ as ‘woven in one piece’, but it is literally ‘woven from the top throughout’.  The ESV translates it:  ‘woven in one piece from top to bottom.’]

To expand this visualization of the specificity of a;nwqen one can check the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) where this word appears 23 times.  In each case the English translation is ‘above’, ‘from above’, and is true to the context.  To save space those verses are omitted here.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *
 
In all of the NT only in John 3:3 and John 3:7, a companion and follow-up text, both of which are crucial in comprehending the nature of this new life of which Jesus speaks, is the word  a;nwqen translated ‘again’, as if a repeated action was the point of Jesus’ words.  The original language makes it clear that this new life comes ‘FROM ABOVE’.  The obvious distinction is that this is not a repeated action, but a whole new creation - the source of this new life is ‘out of this world’.   Based upon the clear meaning of the original, no other conclusion seems reasonable.
 
One wonders what bias the translators must have had to make such a departure.  Even Vine in his Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words mentions that the NRV makes the correction in translation.  He points out also the inconsistency of both the KJV and the NAS by their correct translation of   a;nwqen in verse 31 of the same chapter.
 
It must be emphasized that the word ‘again’ is misleading where a;nwqen is used.  Yes, ‘again’ does imply another event in this context, but if that had been all that was implied, pa,lin, meaning a repetition, would have sufficed.  But the Greek is specific.  This life comes not out of the flesh, but from heaven above.  The Greek says it clearly.  The translators have regrettably obscured the meaning and clear intent of the author.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

Now we look at the word gennhqh/| translated ‘born’ in both the KJV and NAS in the phrase gennhqh/| a;nwqen (‘born again’) in John 3:3:

gennhqh/|

There are several Greek words that in some way relate to conception, regeneration, birth, the birth process, the birth event, and the general concept of bringing a human being into the world.
 
1. ti,ktw  (tikto)  appears 19 times in the NT in 18 verses.  This word focuses on the actual event of birth, the delivery, and often includes the accompanying pain and sorrow.  It means ‘to produce fruit from the seed’, ‘to bring forth’, ‘to deliver’, specifically of women giving birth.  This word does not appear in our text.
 
2.  avpokue,w (apokueo) appears 4 times in the NT in 2 verses.  This word means ‘to bring forth’, as in ‘produce’.  This word does not appear in our text.
 
3.  sullamba,nw (sullambano) appears 16 times in the NT in 16 verses.  Dr. Luke uses this word eleven out of the 16 times in the N.T.  He alone in the N.T. has it for conceiving offspring.  It is translated in the KJV as:  arrest(3), arrested(4), became pregnant(1), conceive(1), conceived(3), help(2), seized(1), taken(1).  This is a compound word meaning literally ‘to take or receive together.  This word does not appear in our text.
 
4.  genna,w  (gennao) appears 105 times in the NT in 65 verses.  On almost half of those occasions it is translated ‘begat’ and a third are translated ‘be born’.  It is also translated on few occasions as ‘bear’, ‘gender’, ‘bring forth’, ‘be delivered’.  This word is associated with our English words ‘gene’, ‘genetic’, ‘generate’, ‘generation’, ‘engender’, etc.  Its precise meaning in the NT is best determined by the context.  This is the word translated ‘born’ throughout the passage from John 3:3-8. 
 
As we know that life begins at the very time of conception, not at the time of the actual delivery of the child, we can understand why this word was used instead of ti,ktw, #1 above.  As has been stated before - that the Greek language is specific - it seems logical, therefore, that this word in John 3:3 through John 3:8 would be better translated as ‘begotten’, or ‘conceived’.
 
In John 3:4 Nicodemus, using the same word genna,w, interprets the ‘conception’ of which Jesus speaks as a repeated event – one involving the flesh - since he is ignorant of the spiritual birth.  Jesus then goes on to explain the true nature of this life ‘from above’ using somewhat cryptic language (to Nicodemus, at least) about ‘water’ and the ‘spirit’ and distinguishes between the life that is out of the flesh from the life that is from the Spirit.  Other Scriptures help to clarify His meaning:
 
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” NAS Titus 3:5
 
NAS Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
 
NAS John 15:3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
 
NAS Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again (avnagenna,w)[ avna + genna,w] {upwards + begotten} unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  KJV 1 Peter 1:3
 
*                    *                    *                    *                    *
 
It must be admitted that interpreting the words of Jesus in John 3:3,7 has always proved somewhat difficult, but the task would have been made far easier if the words had been translated more accurately.
 
The term ‘born again’ has been hijacked by an ignorant media and has come to be meaningless through the whims of overuse and misuse.  Perhaps it has served the godless community well through the vagueness of the translations.  If the translation had been accurate, at least the hearers would be directed toward the nature and source of this ‘rebirth’ – conceived from above.  It would be difficult to avoid the clarity of that truth.
 
ecardwells6@gmail.com

Ed Cardwell is my friend and former co-worker at Baptist Christian School in Hemet, CA.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Climate Change" and God's Promise

Global cooling? Global warming? Climate change? Over the past forty years, we have been hearing about these obviously contradictory ideas.
 
Without getting into the political and economic agendas involved, it is quite simple to conclude that this whole “man-caused” global cooling/global warming/climate change idea is a monument to the arrogance of man. There are at least three ways in which this is true.
 
1)  Somehow man, in his arrogance, has decided that he knows what is the perfect temperature for the earth at all times.
 
2)  Man has also decided that these things are “man-caused.” The logical outcome of this thinking is that man can also prevent these changes and control the weather. Is this arrogant? Just a bit. Little puny man thinks to somehow control what he calls “nature” by changing the fuels we use and destroying the economy in the process. Man can no more control the weather than he can control earthquakes and volcanoes.
 
3)  Finally, in the greatest show of arrogance concerning these issues, man has ignored the Word of God. Not only did God promise to never again destroy the earth by a global flood, He also promised the following:
 
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22, NKJV). His promises are sure. We who are Christians ought to put our confidence in the Word of God instead of the alleged wisdom of man.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TRUTH or "FALTH" (Heresy in the Upper Rooms)

by Ed Cardwell

Unbelief in the pulpit is something few of us can understand or even imagine. Men (or women) in powerful and influential positions who pretend to hold forth the Word of God but secretly deny the fundamental and sacred doctrines of the faith, are a most serious threat to the entire community of believers. To illustrate one extraordinary example of such leadership I would like to share the actual transcript of a radio conversation I had some time ago with the leader of the then 2 million member organization called ‘the Baptist World Alliance’:

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

‘POINT OF VIEW’ BROADCAST - 4/4/79

WBRI - INDIANAPOLIS, IN

PRINCIPALS INVOLVED IN THE RADIO CONVERSATION:

BOB TODD - WBRI INTERVIEWER/ANNOUNCER

DR. ROBERT DENNY - (GUEST) - GENERAL SECRETARY, BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE  (circa 2 million members in 1979)

DR. GREG DIXSON - (CALLER) - PASTOR, BAPTIST TEMPLE, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

ED CARDWELL - (NEXT CALLER)

UNKOWN LADY - (LAST CALLER)

The context of this broadcast is the following:  The Baptist World Alliance, headed by Dr. Robert Denny, was holding a world convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, for a few days in April 1979. The Bible radio station WBRI had a daily call-in program, often with a special guest, and this up-coming convention had been advertised for weeks. The station had heralded Dr. Denny’s personal appearance on the show as a leading headline for the week’s activities, both for the radio station and for the BWA.

A prominent local pastor of a large Baptist church in Indianapolis, Dr. Greg Dixon, who had at the time great political influence and had even been invited to speak at the Congressional Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., had called into the radio station several times during the previous Point Of View broadcasts to warn the Christian community about this Dr. Denny. Dr. Dixon alleged that Dr. Denny was nothing more than a Communist sympathizer, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who had managed to maneuver himself into a powerful religious position whereby he could influence world opinion that the Soviet brand of religious tolerance was genuine and that Soviet leadership was favorable to full religious expression. Dr. Dixon warned that it was all a lie, adding that Dr. Denny traveled around the world with 2 known Soviet KGB agents (Bichkof and Zitkof) posing as clerics who made sure that Dr. Denny proclaimed the ‘right’ message.

When Dr. Denny finally made his scheduled appearance on WBRI, Dr. Greg Dixon called into the ‘Point Of View’ program to challenge Dr. Denny as a fraud. I listened to the sparring confrontation while traveling and became exasperated because Dr. Dixon kept attacking in areas that were clearly secondary and Dr. Denny could easily elude discovery. When I finally arrived home I called WBRI and flipped on the station on my combination tape recorder/am-fm radio and waited my turn. The conversation begins where I turned on the radio and caught the two men in some rather heated discussion.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

DR DENNY:   …what is religious freedom is a relative term depending upon the way somebody defines it, so…

DR DIXON:  They say that in these articles that they know of no violation of human rights in Russia.

DR. DENNY:  Well, we discussed this just a moment ago with another caller. The definition of a violation of religious freedom by their terminology is a violation of a law pertaining to religion.

DR DIXON:  Do you believe these men when they come here to America and say that there is full religious freedom for Baptists in Russia – that there are no violations of human rights in Russia? Do you believe what these men are saying?

DR. DENNY:  I think that there are different standards for…

DR. DIXON:  Do you believe what these men are saying?

DR. DENNY:  Do you want me to answer the question?

DR. DIXON:  I don’t want you to give me the runaround. I’d like for you to answer my question.

DR. DENNY:  Well, I wish that life was just a simple black and white. But the definition of religious liberty is a matter of what you and I think by our terms. They do not have in the Soviet Union the amount of freedom that you and I have in the United States and many other parts. Liberty and freedom are defined by autonomous governments. I do not like and would not like to have to be restricted as much as people are in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, maybe Cuba, maybe Burma, and some other places. I like the freedom in the United States. These people have to operate within the confines of the law of their country. And then that way, you see, the definition of a violation of freedom is a violation of the law as it is on the books in that particular country. I don’t like some of those laws, no sir.

DR. DIXON:  Then what you’re saying is that Bichkof and Zitkof are not liars?

DR. DENNY:  I don’t think they’re liars, sir. I’ve known them a long time.

DR. DIXON:  Do you believe they’re liars when they say there’s full religious freedom for Baptists in Russia? Do you believe they’re telling the truth or telling a lie?

DR. DENNY:  I think they’re trying to tell the truth by the standards that I just tried to explain a few moments ago…

DR. DIXON:  In other words, by Communist propaganda standards?

DR. DENNY:  No, I’d like to say, I’d like to repeat, and I was trained in law, sir, a violation of law is a violation of the law in that particular place.

DR. DIXON:  They didn’t say anything in these articles about violation of law. They said there are no violations of human rights in Russia. That’s a flat statement. Do you believe they’re telling the truth?

DR. DENNY:  Well, uh, I don’t know, sir. Uh, it would be pretty hard to define that ‘full religious freedom’. I don’t know. I’d have to ask them particularly that. I have not heard them say that specifically, and I do not say they did not say it, sir. I just didn’t hear it.

ANNOUNCER:  And we have run past our time on that particular call. I am going to move to our next phone call. Line 2, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.

CARDWELL:  Well, I’ve listened to your guest, and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone who calls himself a believer, or a Christian, so conveniently disarm himself in almost every argument for the faith. I believe the Lord wants us to contend for the faith, not to disarm ourselves, and it seems like he does this so conveniently in almost every area.

I would like to ask three questions of your guest – 3 questions and they’re all related:  First of all, does he believe in the total infallible inspiration of the Scriptures – that it was God-breathed and that it is the authoritative and final rule of faith? I’m not talking about interpretation. Does he believe that the Scriptures are inspired by God? Number two:  Does he believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ as described in the Scriptures?  And number three:  Has he personally received the Lord Jesus Christ, as defined in Scripture, as his personal Lord and Savior?

DR. DENNY:  May I answer the question now?

ANNOUNCER:  Yes, and thank you for calling.

DR. DENNY:  Number one:  the answer to that is yes, I do believe in the infallible Word of God. Number two:  Uh, not being a trained theologian, uh, I do not know about the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Uh, I wish I could do this, could believe one way or the other, but I don’t know how to answer that question, sir. On the third one:  I have had an experience of salvation with the Lord Jesus Christ and I believe that He is my Savior and my best friend and look forward to meeting Him.

ANNOUNCER:  We have another call waiting…and we’ll try to get this next call in…  Good afternoon, Point of View, you’re on the air, and I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to ask your question so that Dr. Denny has time to respond before we go off.

UNKOWN LADY:  Well, I have a document here called ‘Soviet Justice – Showplace – Prisons versus Real Slave Labor Camps’ and this is from the Committee on Un-American Activities from the United States Government, and I believe you can trust a Communist to be a Communist. And when you are associating with them and cloaking yourself with these Communists, I don’t know how you feel that this is the right thing to do. And IF CHRIST DID NOT RISE BODILY THEN WE HAVE NO FAITH AND OUR FAITH IS DEAD. Thank you.

ANNOUNCER:  Thank you. Dr Denny? Any comments?

DR. DENNY:  No, I just respect the lady’s statement there, and I simply said that I don’t know. It’s not a case of not believing. It’s just a matter of I do not know about the bodily resurrection. I think only the future will reveal that and I would respect anybody’s opinion on that, sir.

ANNOUNCER:  (Closes the broadcast, thanking Dr. Denny for his appearance on the program.)

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

Dr. Denny’s answers pose some interesting questions. How difficult is it to answer this question:  ‘Do you believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ as described in the Scriptures?’? Since his answer to the first question about his belief in the total inspiration of Scripture was in the affirmative, and since question #1 is probably a more difficult question, why does he not know about the bodily resurrection of Christ, as described in the Scriptures? In actuality, his denial (or ignorance, or both) of the Scriptural account of the bodily resurrection of Christ (Question #2) contradicts his affirmation of Question #1. If he believes that the Word is God-breathed and totally infallible, how can he not accept the Biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus? It is a simple question requiring a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. He wasn’t asked to give a scientific explanation of the resurrection. He was only asked about his belief in its reality – as described in the Scriptures. So, he has denied the Scriptures that he claimed to believe and uphold.

Saying that ‘not knowing’ and ‘wishing he could believe’ does not equate to ‘not disbelieving’. His answer is simply and plainly one of unbelief.

Furthermore, if someone says he has had an experience of salvation with the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet he is unable to believe what the Scriptures clearly teach - that He has risen from the dead - is that a valid experience of salvation? And could that experience be with the Jesus of the Bible? Solemn questions indeed arise.

It is possible that Dr. Denny had been thoroughly trained to answer mundane questions often posed by religious media and reporters, but he obviously was caught off guard by questions that target more penetrating and fundamental doctrinal issues. If he had been coached by Bichkof and Zitkof, he obviously missed some serious areas of doctrine in his repertoire.

It is possible also that Dr. Denny was simply not a Bible student. Perhaps he had never read the many accounts of the physical/bodily resurrection of Jesus recorded by New Testament authors. At any rate, as a ‘trained lawyer’ he should have discovered that the evidence is incontrovertible - the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is an undeniable fact. One marvels at how such a person, so ignorant of the most fundamental doctrine of Christianity, could become the leader of an organization of two million Christians

One cannot teach what one does not know, and one cannot lead the church who does not have the faith of the Church. No one can judge Dr. Denny’s true spiritual condition. That is not our purpose. But unbelief here is a problem, not of the intellect, but of the will. One who professes faith in the infallibility of Scripture yet cannot bring himself to accept what that infallible Word says is trapped in his own inconsistency and his choice to disbelieve leads to a serious spiritual dilemma. And there are many such Dr. Dennys in very important positions of leadership throughout Christendom – churches, missions, schools, and universities. And because of such the church has become weak and impotent, with few notable exceptions, in the face of our archenemy who seeks to create doubt, deny truth, and destroy faith.

It is no wonder that Satan in these latter days is tightening his stranglehold on the Church as he seeks to diminish its power and influence in the world. One very effective means to accomplish this is by denying that Jesus rose bodily from the grave. The authority of Christ is predicated on His resurrection as a fact of history. And the power of that resurrection, God’s great power on display, is available to all true believers whose hearts have been enlightened to the knowledge of its surpassing greatness:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” Eph 1:18 (NAS)

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The convention was thrown into disarray as members were surprised and bewildered by Dr. Denny’s weak appearance on the program, especially his denial of the Biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection. But his surrogates calmed the uproar by assuring them he had been misunderstood - a common, but useful political strategy. Nevertheless Dr. Denny’s position was tainted and his tenure as General Secretary of the BWA ended shortly thereafter. A leader more adept at handling doctrinal scrutiny would be needed for future growth of the BWA.

Today the Baptist World Alliance boasts of 42 million members in 177,000 churches in 121 countries. 60 percent of the BWA is associated with the World Council of Churches. We can be confident that the Devil is more determined today than when the BWA membership was limited to 2 million.

How do men of heretical theology arise to such prominence? Are they not thoroughly vetted by trustworthy elders or brethren of the church?  Or are they just cunning enough to steal their way into the hearts of the faithful through subtlety and subterfuge?

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Pe 2:1-3(NAS)

The call for vigilance is more compelling today than ever. Under the Mosaic law the enticement to apostasy was a capital crime(Dt 13:1-5)- most certainly because the corrupting influence of false teaching is incalculable, interminable, and always progressive. Paul warns Timothy to “examine everything carefully”1Th 5:20(NAS)/”prove all things”(KJV), “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”Rom 12:9(NAS)  

The exhortation of John the Apostle seems more urgent and relevant to us now than in any time in our recent history:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” 1 Jo 4:1-3(NAS)



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Ed Cardwell is my friend and long-time co-worker in the ministry of Christian school education. He spent several years as principal while I was head administrator. He was an excellent and very popular Bible and foreign language teacher. We were of one mind, and it was very natural to work together since we thought so much alike.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It Evolved (Of Course!)

I think it is quite obvious that my computer evolved. There is no evidence that it had a creator. Every single thing it does is clearly a product of natural selection. How can anyone actually believe there is intelligence behind it? Don’t they know that complexity doesn’t equate with design? Don’t they understand that the appearance of design does not mean there was a designer? How can people be so foolish? Why don’t they just keep their opinions to themselves and leave matters like this to the experts who wear white lab coats and use the scientific method?
 
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:22-23, NKJV).

STAR HAZING

by Ed Cardwell

It should be obvious to the discerning eye that Satan, as some authors have aptly written, is very much ‘alive and well’ today in our culture. Anyone surveying the broad landscape of religious life in the U.S., examining both the health of the church and the influence of Christianity overall, will most likely conclude that the Adversary of Truth is intensifying his efforts perhaps as never before, and he is winning converts in staggering numbers propelling toward the total collapse of our very foundation.
 
When Paul the Apostle referred to this arch enemy in 2 Corinthians 2:11 he asserted; “We are not ignorant of his devices”.  Paul surely was using the editorial ‘we’. It seems clear from the evidence that much of modern Christendom has left its spiritual weaponry back in the temple. Much of its authority to examine, challenge, and expel the works of darkness, even within its own confines, seems to have been surrendered. But Paul encouraged that struggling church in Corinth, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2Cor 10:4)  We are called to engage, to contend for the faith (Jude 3), not surrender, not capitulate, not even agree to a cease-fire.
 
The first principle in waging war against a determined foe is:  know your enemy! Can it be said that we even partially realize the nature of this great adversary? I recall a conversation years ago with a young Christian convert who had recently arrived in the U.S. from Nigeria. He marveled at the ignorance of Americans about the awesome power of Satan. He related how his family, even entire surrounding villages, were brutally dominated by demonic spirits. He found it disappointing that Christians on this side of the Atlantic were totally unaware of their suffering from such daily oppression. The events he described are quite extraordinary and, as many would find them incredible, any retelling would seem pointless.
 
Have we not lost the true significance and magnitude of Jesus’ description of Satan’s basic character? He spoke explicitly in John 8:44: He was a murderer from the beginning… there is no truth in him… he is a liar, and the father of lies.” Joh 8:44(NAS)
 
No more powerful statement could be given. It defines the essence of our enemy in absolute terms.
 
Even a cursory review of Bible verses that refers to this arch enemy reveals an impressive but frightening summation of his strategies and abilities. Besides being able to confer on his earthly representative all power, and signs, and false wonders 2Th 2:9(NAS), we can learn from the following:

            He disguises himself as an angel of light – 2Cor 11:14

            He prowls like a lion and seeks to devour – 1Pet 58

            He takes away (steals) the Word from the heart – Mar 4:15

            He takes advantage for evil wherever possible – 2Cor 2:11

            He thwarts (hinders) godly efforts– 1Th 2:18           

            He tempts man to sin – 1Cor 7:5

            He captures (binds, chains) his prey to do his will – Luk 13:16; 2Tim 2:26

            He oppresses, buffets (strikes) his victims – Acts 10:38; 2Cor 12:7

            He weakens the nations – Isa 14:12

            He deceives the whole world – Rev 12:9

His earthly vassals take their cue from him. In the comfort and serenity of the church they are in disguise - as soldiers of the cross, as bond servants to the saints, as counselors and advisors to the distressed and needy. They speak the holy language, they wear the uniform of Christian piety, offer themselves as willing bond servants, often sacrificing much to do what they believe to be the Master’s work. In time they often rise to positions of leadership, influence and authority. Some work quietly in the background and without any notoriety. But wittingly or unwittingly, their work among the saints results in a weakening of the church and a dilution of faith in the very words of God. Ultimately they wreak havoc and destroy the work of God.
 
Paul had warned the saints of this eventual invasion: 
 
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Act 20:29(NAS)

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”  1Tim 4:1(NAS)

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”  2Tim 4:3(NAS)

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On a rare occasion there is bold confrontation. Some people love the thrill of combat. Frankly, I try to avoid it like the plague. But I experienced a very extraordinary one several years ago that is worth the retelling. It  illustrates, I believe, the degree to which the enemy is embedded in our camp. It occurred in, of all places, the church. What I eventually discovered from that encounter may help to explain to some degree why we have been witnessing the very rapid and steep decline of our Christian-based culture for more than a half-century.
 
While attending seminary several years ago, I had been asked to fill the pulpit at a local church (The pastor had run off with his secretary - Ahem!). After the preaching service one Sunday morning I was pressured by an elderly lady to fill in for her Bible class – presumably because their regular teacher had phoned earlier that he could not be in attendance. Unable to find a legitimate excuse to dodge this invitation, I finally succumbed to her persistence. But little did I know I was going to square off against a most unlikely adversary.
 
The class consisted of about 30 adults between the ages of 60 and 85. The atmosphere was warm and friendly and, though my throat was sore from preaching, I felt quite at ease with this group, all at least 30 years my senior.
 
Since I had not prepared a lesson, I decided to relate some of my observations about our country after my recent return from Vietnam. When you leave a place, I told them, you remember it as it was. And when you return you naturally notice any glaring changes from what you knew before. I thought it would be instructive to share with them some of those significant changes that I thought had spiritual implications and bode ill for our country.
 
One of the first things I mentioned was that in the 12 months that I was overseas there had been a national proliferation of the gaming industry, especially notable was the lottery. I added that it had always been widely accepted that one of the defining characteristics of a third-world country was its lottery system – a shrewd device by a weak government to gain revenue from ignorant people who hoped in vain for a chance to leave their life of poverty. And here in the U.S. we were now imitating the third-world!
 
This group seemed to agree. No problem. Preach on, Brother!
 
The next example I offered was that of the seemingly headlong rush of our society to the cult and the occult. Why, you couldn’t walk past the check-out line anywhere without a rack full of astrology and occult books staring you in the face. Hollywood and the media had popularized it and it seemed people couldn’t get enough. I mentioned to the folks that it was a marvel to me why we as an advanced and enlightened culture would want to invite the Devil and his minions into our daily lives.
 
Well, apparently that lit the fuse.
 
Toward my left out of the corner of my eye I noticed an elderly woman struggling to her feet and with a hostile, snarling voice demanded, “Young man, did you say that astrology is from the Devil?” Without hesitation I replied, “No ma’am, I didn’t say that.” I paused to let the rising tension settle – then continued politely but assertively:  God did.
 
At that moment I became painfully aware that I had been led into a lion’s den. And what does one do who is about to be devoured? Only one thing to do under the circumstances – open the Bible.
 
Since I had recently read and studied this subject at length, I had made several cross references and notes in my Bible. As I opened to Deuteronomy 18 and began to read my challenger hesitated and reluctantly took her seat.  Adding some relevant commentary along the way, I read the text of approximately 20 different passages that spoke of any practice of the occult, including astrology, being detestable to the Lord. I concluded with the summary oath in Isaiah 8:20: 
 
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.(KJV)
 
The atmosphere had become tense and the class was riveted. It may have been because of the excitement of this unexpected challenge to an obviously revered member of their church, and they were spell-bound to see how it would all play out. At least I felt some satisfaction that I had given ample evidence to support the Biblical point of view. (Ignorance can be bliss for the moment…)   
 
Having finished my reading I paused to assess the impact this oral delivery had on the entire class. They looked stunned, as if I had thrown a grenade into their midst. Stone silence.
 
Then the elderly lady, taking her cue  and quivering as she struggled to her feet again, blurted out in a very forceful tone, “WELL, I DON’T BELIEVE THAT BOOK!
 
Whew! Well, that made it all quite clear to everybody! You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone sat motionless obviously awaiting the next volley.
 
Finding herself on the defensive for perhaps the first time her face was flush with anger and her body language became hostile. She attempted to justify her position by proclaiming to be an ordained astrologist, boasting that she had signed with her name in blood (I never did get that one!) that she would not predict the future but only that she would write horoscopes for the newborns in the church. If that wasn’t enough to convince us of her legitimacy, she then proceeded to excoriate Paul the Apostle for his writings about women and summarized her whole theology by affirming that the Bible was written only by ordinary men and therefore quite subject to misstatements, misinterpretation, and error. She proudly insisted that most modern theologians were of the same mind.
 
I suspected that the class had never witnessed anything quite like this. After all, she was a prominent member of the church; yet they had never thought to question her devices, her ‘ministry’, as it were. They all sat thunderstruck at the realization of her admission and this naked exposure of their beloved ‘friend’.
 
At the close of the hour I was sapped of all my energy. I felt the physical and emotional strain as if I had been in the presence of a very powerful and influential personage. It had been quite an ‘alien encounter’, to put it mildly.
 
Exactly one week later after returning home from services I sat down to read the Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star. (Whose masthead incidentally included a quote from 2 Cor 3:17: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”)  When I took out the society section I was stunned and amazed to see a large photograph of this same self-proclaimed astrologist on the front page along with a full half page story about her being honored for her renowned expertise in growing garlic! (Those who are familiar with the occult will understand the connection.)  I still have that newspaper in my files today.
 
It goes without saying that I was never invited into that classroom again. In fact, a week later and before a Sunday evening service I was warned by the wife of the head elder who whispered as she brushed past me: “You leave that woman alone!” I was startled by this ominous threat since I had no intention of renewing the confrontation.

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A few short weeks passed and I was still in the pulpit as a substitute until a pastor could be found. I felt that under the circumstances it would be useful to begin a Bible study before each evening service to introduce the nature of the occult and acquaint the members with its origins and its consequences. In the absence of ordained leadership no one seemed to object.

The attendance in this evening class was surprisingly high and the interest was fever pitch since the revelations of that first Sunday morning spread throughout the church.

But there was some skepticism as well.

On the 2nd or 3rd evening class one of the men in attendance jumped up in the middle of the lecture and yelled at me as he left the room, ‘I don’t believe any of this!

A week later he was back and sat through the entire class without any disruption. After the class he and his wife came up to me very apologetic about his previous outburst. He admitted that he had become emotional because he and his wife had been playing with the ouja board. For amusement, they said, he had asked the board if his son would graduate from college. The answer was, ‘No.’ Then he asked the board why his son would not graduate. As he began to explain the board’s answer he walked up to the chalkboard in the classroom and wrote the answer. He spelled aloud as he wrote:  ‘M…U…R…D…”, and then he said he was stricken with uncontrollable fear as to what letters might come next, and he overturned the card table scattering everything on it and ran out of the house.

He explained his earlier outburst in the class as an irrepressible emotional reaction to what he was hearing regarding the enslaving and tyrannical power of the occult. He apologized profusely and asked for immediate prayer and forgiveness for entering Satan’s playground.

During the weeks that followed after that first Sunday morning encounter many came to me privately to tell of other mysterious things going on in the church, in group meetings, and in private lives, to include séances held by esteemed church leaders. I learned of a chilling chronology of obscure events including suicides of former pastors and elders, several committed to mental institutions, and strange and bizarre behavior of members during worship services and during meetings in private homes.

After about 10 weeks a pastor was finally called to be the permanent spiritual leader of the church and my short ministry had mercifully come to a close. I had given all I had and it was high time to move on, but I was most thankful for the experience, stressful as it was.

Three months later I heard that the newly called pastor had died. A sad addendum to the dubious history of an already polluted and crippled church.

[For those who might be interested and who might wish to explore the vast consequences of the occult I recommend Christian Counseling and Occultism by Kurt Koch,, especially Parts 3 & 4: ‘Critical Assessment’ and ‘The Way of Liberation From Occult Subjection’.]

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I had shared all these issues and events with my seminary colleagues as they unfolded on a weekly basis. They were about 25 men and all current pastors at the time from various denominations. I was quite surprised to find that every one of them, without exception, had discovered some similar occurrences in their own churches.
 
Over the years I have often referred to the survey published in 1961 by Redbook Magazine and quoted by Hal Lindsey in his book The Late Great Planet Earth. The top pollsters in the nation were hired to survey a ‘full representation of our seminaries’ which were supposedly preparing men for the ministry in Protestant churches. Their results: 

            Of those surveyed: 

            56 percent rejected the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

            71 percent rejected that there was life after death.

            54 percent rejected the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            98 percent rejected that there would be a personal return of Jesus Christ to this earth.

Several national denominational surveys have followed through the years, including a few of my own, with the same telling results.
 
One might be curious to know where such skeptics have spent the last few decades. We can’t be sure, but I’ve crossed paths with several of them through the years – Bible teachers, pastors, college professors, even presidents of church councils, and they have been constant in their respective pulpits instilling doubt and unbelief in untold millions in the churches. They have created a climate of disrespect, disregard, and denial of the Word of God. They have replaced a Christian worldview with the philosophies of humanism, atheistic evolution, and a religious position that is Christian in name only.
 
And one might also wonder how welcome and pervasive occultic practices might be in such a climate. Who can say? But surely we can conclude that wherever there is abandonment of the Word of God as the final authority for faith and practice, then a spiritual vacuum is created, which the Adversary is only too willing to fill with his treacherous lies and deadly devices.
 
Apostasy begins in the temple. As the church goes, so goes the nation. Can there be any doubt that our disgraceful plight as a once vibrant and proud nation is the result of the Devil and his sycophants having been welcomed into the church and having helped to destroy her life and power?
 
The words of the prophet Jeremiah ring as true to us today as they did to an apostate people over 2500 years ago: 

                                   An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so!
But what will you do at the end of it?” Jer 5:30-31(NAS)
 
ecardwells6@gmail.com

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Ed Cardwell is my friend and long-time co-worker in the ministry of Christian school education. He spent several years as principal while I was head administrator. He was an excellent and very popular Bible and foreign language teacher. We were of one mind, and it was very natural to work together since we thought so much alike.