Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Story in Chronological Order - KJV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  (John 1:1-3)
 
 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
 
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
 
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)
 
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
 
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)
 
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David), To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)
 
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:8-20)
 
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
 
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (Matthew 2:1-12)
 
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
 
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.  (1 Timothy 3:16)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Love" Does Not Mean "Compromise."

Someone posted an article on Facebook about the Christian Bed and Breakfast owners in England who lost in court after they stood up for their convictions. They ended up having to sell their business.
 
The Facebook post brought a number of comments, and there was a very interesting one that criticized the Christian couple by using the text of 1 Corinthians 13, basically implying  that if we operate by love, we will be accepting of others, no matter what. Below is a combination of two comments I made to the post.
 
1 Corinthians 13 is generally considered "The Love Chapter," and it makes some great statements about love in general, but if that is all we see there, we are isolating it, using it out of context, and are missing the point. Chapter 13 is in the middle of a longer passage (Chapters 12-14) dealing with spiritual gifts within the Body of Christ. Chapter 13 teaches us that the use of spiritual gifts is only profitable and beneficial to the body if they are used in a context of love.
 
It is not possible to find anything in this chapter, or anywhere else in Scripture, that justifies giving tacit approval to things that God says are wrong. “Love” does not mean compromising with the world’s philosophies, lifestyles, or standards. There is a great deal said today about "tolerance" in our culture, and it is usually Christians who are told they need to be tolerant. We rarely hear about any necessity for people to be tolerant of Christians. In reality, the majority of Christians are the most tolerant of people.
 
The meaning of the word “tolerance” has been changed by many to mean "approval." In reality, the actual meaning of the word implies that we only tolerate that with which we disagree. I can tolerate people with whom I disagree without giving my approval of their lifestyle, doctrine, etc.  I can be tolerant of a person but be utterly in disagreement with their lifestyle or beliefs. If I approve of everything someone does, I am no longer tolerating them, I am agreeing with them.
 
To truly tolerate someone with whom we disagree means we do not try to destroy their property or to hurt or kill them. Instead, we recognize their freedom to do what they are doing, but we do not have to agree with them. If someone says, “You have to be tolerant and accept what I do,” that individual has no comprehension of the meaning of “tolerance.” If a believer accepts someone’s sinful lifestyle, then that believer is not loving the other individual in any way. That is no more a way to show love than an overindulgent parent is showing love when he allows his children to do things that are harmful to themselves. Overindulgence is not love. Approving of sin is not love. Real love is tied to the truth.
 
There are things taking place that I can do nothing about other than stand faithfully for the truth of the Gospel. I can tolerate people, who were made in God's image, without agreeing with their behavior. When government gives “hearty approval” to evil, it has stepped over a line. “...they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32, NASB). I cannot put a stop to behavior with which I disagree, but I do not have to give it my approval by allowing it in my house. Those who wish to do those things can go elsewhere.
 
From what I have read on the subject, the people involved in this situation did what they needed to do in order to be consistent with their convictions. That is a basic tenet of freedom. There used to be, and maybe there still are a few, signs displayed in places of business that say “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” In reality, that is consistent with biblical truth. In Matthew 20, Jesus told the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The owner of the vineyard made equal payments to all who worked that day, from those who had worked all day to those who had only worked one hour. Some of those he hired were saying things very similar to what people would be saying today. “Not fair! Not fair! I’ll call the union,” etc. But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’” (Matthew 20, 13-15, NASB). From the narrative, it is clear the Jesus approved of this man doing what he wished with what was his own. Private property, and the use of private property, is a biblical principle. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?” is a biblical way to express “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
 
It is not the responsibility of every business to provide services to everyone. For example, I don't go into shops that sell incense, candles, and other New Age paraphernalia, but I also don't try to deny their right to have a store just because they don't meet my needs. I go to other stores. The lawsuits that are allowed these days border on insanity. It is up to the customers to find a store or business that suits them rather than trying to force every business to change to meet their individual needs. We need to allow the free market to take care of such things. If there is a demand, someone will supply it. If a business doesn't have enough customers, it will be out of business. Government needs to stay out of such things.
 
If I were ever to go into a store that had a sign posted that said, “We don’t sell to or serve Christians,” I would politely take my business elsewhere. If they don’t want my money, that would be fine with me. It’s their loss. I would not raise a ruckus or sue them. Instead, I would pity them and pray for them, because being anti-Christian means being anti-Jesus Christ, which means they need Him as Savior. Not only would they lose out on a sale, they would also be losing out on salvation because of their unbelief. As Christians, there needs to be a difference between how we handle such matters and how unbelievers handle them.
 
It was rightly pointed out by another commenter that 1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Friday, November 8, 2013

2 Peter 3:9 - A Misused and Misapplied Verse

There are a number of Bible verses that are consistently misused. One of these verses is 2 Peter 3:9. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (NKJV).
 
This verse is often used as ammunition against what we have come to call “Calvinism,” specifically the doctrine of “unconditional election.” There are several facts that must be addressed.
 
First, when we read that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise,” we must ask, “What promise?” The context indicates that the promise being referred to is the return of the Lord. Jesus made it very clear that He will come back and that He will not ever “cast out” or “lose” any who are His own, because they are the ones His Father has given to Him. Each and every one of them will come to Him for salvation, and the seeming delay in His return will give all of them time to be saved. None of them will be left out. His redeemed ones are safe and secure. This is a promise.
 
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:37-40, NKJV).
 
Second, we must determine to whom He is writing. 2 Peter 1:1 answers this very clearly:  “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (NKJV). This letter, including Chapter 3, Verse 9, was written to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. When Peter says that “…the Lord…is longsuffering toward us,” it is very obvious that the “us” (NASB and ESV say “you”) in the passage refers to those to whom He is writing. Since he is writing to believers, he is saying that the Lord is longsuffering toward all believers, all of His own, or that term that so many fear, all of “the elect.” It violates the context to suddenly shift gears and claim the passage says He is longsuffering to all the world, even though God clearly is longsuffering, or He would likely have destroyed the world a long time ago. He certainly was longsuffering in the days of Noah as the ark was being built, but when the flood came, only Noah and his family were on board. My point is that we should not use this passage incorrectly to support doctrine that is not addressed here. We must base our doctrine on the Scriptures rather than selectively finding verses to support our doctrine.
 
Third, we must realize that when Peter says that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” he is not talking about the all-inclusive “all” that means every person who has ever lived or ever will live. I knew someone who was fond of saying, “All means all and that’s all all means.” There is a sense in which that is true, but in reality, it would be more accurate to say, “All means all and that’s all all means, except for when it doesn’t.” In the context of 2 Peter 3:9, this is the limited “all” that means “all of a specific group,” in this case, the group that is referred to as “us” or “…those who have obtained like precious faith with us.” God is not willing that any of that group should perish, but rather it is His will that they all come to repentance, and they all will. If the “all” in this passage means “everyone in the world,” then “everyone in the world” will be saved. That is the false doctrine of universalism. It is impossible to establish from Scripture that it is the sovereign will of God that all people will be saved, because we know that not all people will be saved. God is all-powerful, and His will is going to be done. What kind of an omnipotent God would be unable to perform His sovereign will?
 
Regardless of where someone stands on the issue of “Calvinism” vs. “Arminianism,” it is important to base doctrine on Scripture. I believe it is illegitimate to use 2 Peter 3:9 to say that God wants everyone to be saved, but He is somehow unable to accomplish His will. It is more accurate to let the verse say what it says:  The “all” that God determines to be saved will, in fact, be saved. “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing…” (John 6:39, NKJV).
 
Some would say that God's electing grace is unfair and unjust, but in reality, it is a glorious truth for all believers. Not one of us can ever be lost or tossed aside. We are safe for all eternity. The truth of the matter is that without His electing grace, we would all choose condemnation because of our sinful nature, but that is another topic for another time.
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Family Changes

I have not posted anything for a while. It has been an eventful past few weeks. In late September, it became evident that my mother-in-law, Vivian Bramblet, was nearing the end of her life due to leukemia. My wife Janet flew to Washington to be with her mom in Tacoma, and she was able to take care of her for the last week of her life. After she passed away, I drove to Tacoma for the funeral and to help take care of many details.
 
Janet's dad, James Bramblet, at first determined that he wanted to continue to live in the senior apartment they had enjoyed for the past year. However, it was not long before he realized that it would be better to live with family, and he has come to live with us in Colorado Springs. Jim and Vivian enjoyed 69 years of marriage and many years of service for the Lord in Christian school ministry and in various church ministries over the years. We are thankful for the privilege of having him with us as he approaches his 90th birthday in March of 2014.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

O Glorious Love!

This past Sunday, the pianist played an offertory which sounded very familiar, but I could not remember what it was at first. Then the words started coming back to me, and for a time, I almost lost it emotionally. That is because it was a song that my late wife Sue really loved, and I had an excellent soloist sing it at her memorial service back in 2001.
 
Before the service, the pastor found out I was having it sung, and he asked me not to have it right before the message, because he knew he would lose it if I did. Obviously, the song meant a great deal to him, as well.
 
Oh, Glorious Love
 
In my darkness Jesus found me;
Touched my eyes and made me see;
Broke sin’s chains that long had bound me;
Gave me life and liberty!
 
Chorus:

Oh, glorious love of Christ my Lord divine,
 That made Him stoop to save a soul like mine.
Through all my days, and then in heaven above,
My song will silence never,
I'll worship Him forever,
And praise Him for His glorious love.

 
Oh, amazing truth to ponder;
He whom angel hosts attend,
Lord of Heaven, God’s Son, what wonder;
He became the sinner’s friend!
 
Words and Music by John W. Peterson, Copyright © 1970 
 
You can hear John W. Peterson's grandson, Scott Strader, sing this song by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11: Twelve Years Later

Today we as Americans enjoy a tremendous measure of freedom because of the price that has been paid by so many in the past. All through the history of our country, those who love freedom have been called on to defend it, often having to pay the supreme price.
 
Twelve years ago, we had the largest enemy attack on the US since Pearl Harbor. Actually, the death toll was even larger than Pearl Harbor. Following are the events of September 11, 2001, which has simply come to be known as 9/11:
 
  • Four commercial airliners were hijacked. These planes, fully loaded with fuel, basically became incendiary guided missiles. The hijackers reportedly took control of these aircraft by using box-cutter knives to kill flight attendants and at least one pilot or passenger.
  • American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) at 8:46 a.m.
  • United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., an event covered live by television broadcasters from around the world who had their cameras trained on the buildings after the earlier crash. Both towers collapsed within two hours.
  • American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 a.m.
  • United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in southwest Pennsylvania just outside of Shanksville, about 150 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., at 10:03 a.m. Black box recordings revealed that, after discovering on their phones that planes had been deliberately crashed into buildings, crew and passengers seized control of the plane from the hijackers. One of the passengers, Todd Beamer, had asked for the operator to pray with him before the passengers attempted to retake the aircraft. After praying, he simply said, "Let's roll." These brave passengers gave their lives so that others might live.
No one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived. There were 2,973 people killed, including 246 on the four planes, 2,602 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Among the fatalities were 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police officers. Numerous other victims were officially listed as missing, and over 6,000 were injured.
 
President George W. Bush addressed the nation and one of his key comments was "Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature."
 
Why do things like this happen? What can we learn from them? We can learn many things, but following are just three.
 
1.   Evil is real.
 
Genesis 6:3-8  And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (NKJV).
 
Those who did the dastardly deed of 9/11 were evil. That’s all that can be said. Satan is behind evil. We have to get past thinking that we are exempt from evil, pain, and suffering just because we are Americans. Evil is very real.
 
2.   Death is real.
 
Luke 13:1-5  There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (NKJV).
 
Did the people who died on 9/11 deserve to die any more than the rest of us? No. But the reality of their deaths can help us remember that we all must face death sometime, and we don’t know when.
 
3.   The price of freedom is very high. Many have died for our freedom.
 
  • Revolutionary War (25,324)
  • Civil War (625,000)
  • World War I (116,708)
  • World War II (407,316)
  • Korean War (36,516)
  • Vietnam War (58,655)
  • Gulf War (293)
  • War on Terror (9,700 – Counting those killed on 9/11 and those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.)
This is not even a complete listing of all of our wars, but all of these died so we can enjoy our freedom in this country. However, we have a far worse problem than not having political freedom. Human beings are enslaved to sin and are hopelessly lost and unable to do anything about the problem. Jesus Christ paid a tremendous price so we can be free from sin and death and enjoy eternal life.
 
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV).
 
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:14-17, NKJV).
 
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NKJV).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day IBC interview‏

Pastor and International Bible Conference founder, Jeff Anderson, describes what drives his life and ministry.

Check out the short videos here, here, and here.

If you are ever in Colorado Springs, come and visit us at Grace Bible Church and hear some Bible-based, sound preaching by Pastor Jeff Anderson.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Progressive Creationism

Progressive creationism is a form of old earth creationism which attempts to harmonize the Bible account of creation with the conclusions of modern science while still leaving God in the picture. A thorough description of progressive creationism is available at "Reasons to Believe," a website by Dr. Hugh Ross. Progressive creationists believe that their position on creation will help people over the “hurdle” of young earth creationism, which is believed and taught by most fundamentalist Christians. They also believe that progressive creationism will make it easier for people to come to salvation through Christ. Sadly, many of their arguments for progressive creationism are exactly the same arguments used for atheistic evolution, with the main difference being that they would say that God did it through new creative acts along the way.
 
Some have claimed that Christians turn off unbelievers by belief in literal Genesis, including a literal six-day creation and a young earth. The thought is that Christians believe too much “by faith” instead of considering “science” in their conclusions, and quite often the term “blind faith” is used. While it is true that unbelievers are basically repulsed by faith and spiritual truth because of their sinful nature, they fail to recognize that the claims of “science” are often not science at all and must be likewise accepted by faith. In this case, it is truly “blind faith,” because their faith has no object other than the words of men who have an agenda.
 
I have a friend who has a Ph.D. in biology from a major university. He used to be an evolutionist, but when he began to think for himself instead of swallowing without question what his college professors taught about evolution, he had his eyes opened to the truth of creation, and he now accepts a literal six-day creation and a young earth. He was a professor for many years and later worked with the Creation Research Society. I many times had him speak to my Sunday school class when he was in town visiting his son and daughter-in-law. He is extremely knowledgeable in the areas of his expertise, but he brings it down to a level where non-scientists can understand what he is talking about. He is living proof of the foolishness of so many evolutionists who say, “No scientists are creationists, and no creationists are scientists.” He said a very profound thing in class. While I cannot remember the exact words, it was something like the following:  “I am very glad that all of the evidence points to creation, but I don’t believe in creation just because of the evidence. I believe in creation because I believe the Word of God.” “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3, NKJV).
 
The Christian’s faith has an object – The Lord Jesus Christ. We know about Him through the Word of God. If we cannot trust the first book of the Bible, the first eleven chapters of that book, and the first verse of that book, then how can we trust the rest of it? That is what some try to do, but the inconsistency of such a view of Scripture soon undermines it all.
 
Even though it is quite possible that someone who is already entrenched in evolution might hear the arguments for progressive creationism and be convinced to move away from atheism, it is also true that progressive creationism has the potential to and sometimes does lead people astray through its teachings. Progressive creationism is one step away from theistic evolution, which can naturally lead to atheistic evolution, and ultimately to atheism. I have personal knowledge of someone who went that route. It does us well to heed Paul's warning to Timothy:  "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge —  by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith" (1 Timothy 6:19-20, NKJV).
 
It is not possible to write a complete answer to all of progressive creationism’s positions. That has been done in a number of books. My purpose is not to attempt to write a book, but to present just a few of those positions and give brief, biblical answers to them so as to write a brief, simple summary of the situation. This has been done by many others, and I have read a number of them. I am neither trying to come up with something new, nor am I simply repeating what others have said. Instead, I am making an effort to state the case in a clear and straightforward manner that is consistent with the Scriptures. Therefore, any similarity between my answers and those of other writers is due to the fact that answers based on a literal reading of Scripture tend to agree.
 
I should further point out that, if someone is a skeptic and does not believe the Bible, the arguments I present will have no impact until they come to the place of acceptance of the Bible as the infallible, inerrant, eternal Word of God. Of course, most progressive creationists will say that is true, so we have common ground other than the area of literal vs. figurative interpretation of Scripture.
 
Progressive creationists claim to be Christians, and I will not question that. I believe that most of them are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I will someday see them in Heaven. Further, I neither doubt their sincerity or their integrity nor do I question their motives. I believe they really believe the things they teach, and I believe they are trying to use their beliefs to lead people to Christ. However, I also believe they are wrong on the issue of creation and that their teaching in this area can be very detrimental. Many or even most of them claim to believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. This claim seems to be inconsistent with many of the things they believe and teach. Two contradictory things cannot both be true, regardless of how sincerely they are stated.
 
Following are a few of the positions of progressive creationists and brief answers to them:
 
Nature is the 67th book of Scripture and carries equal weight with the written Word.
 
There is an element of truth in this. Nature, the creation, speaks of the glory of the Creator.  Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (NKJV). Since God is not a deceiver, the “book of nature” must be consistent with His written book, the Bible. The problem comes when humans decide to place nature above the written Word. This inevitably leads to problems and to perceived contradictions. The Scriptures make it clear that unbelieving man does not come to the correct conclusion when he observes creation. Men look at the creation, and instead of saying, “There is obviously an all-powerful God who created all of this, and I want to know Him,” they instead ask, “Where did this all come from?” and then proceed to try and find a naturalistic explanation for what God already told us He did. They tend to leave God out of the equation and assume a naturalistic explanation is the only acceptable answer.
 
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 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 1:18-23, NKJV).
 
The big problem is that fallen, sinful man looks at a fallen universe, which is under the curse of sin, and comes to faulty conclusions about the original, perfect creation. If someone claims to believe the Bible is literally true and then buys into the faulty conclusions of fallen man, a terrible conflict occurs. All of creation is in complete harmony with the Bible, but attempts to harmonize the Bible to the conclusions of men, no matter how educated they may be, will only lead to disaster and ultimately to denial of God’s written Word.
 
While nature (“the creation”) can teach us a great deal about God if we view it through the lens of Scripture, we cannot give a fallen creation equal status with the 66 books of Scripture, nor can we consider it as reliable as Scripture. We must always interpret our observations and conclusions in light of Truth, not the other way around. God’s word never changes – science does.
 
The universe started with the “Big Bang.”
 
I once heard it said that the big bang is biblical. “God spoke, and BANG, it happened.” While that is true, this is obviously not what the “big bang” advocates are saying. This theory is an effort to explain how the universe began. Those who hold to this theory claim that all of the matter in the entire universe was once concentrated into a small area, and that area has been getting smaller all the time. At first it was thought to be many light years in diameter, but over the years scientists determined it was much smaller, deciding it was a few million miles across, then a few thousand miles, and finally it shrunk to a region as small as a period on this page, and in more recent times it has been theorized to be nothing at all. So in other words, nothing exploded, and the universe came out of that explosion. Some call it an “explosion,” while others call it an “expansion.”
 
The general consensus is that this event took place between ten and twenty billion years ago, settling in around fourteen billion years. No one offers an explanation of where the matter came from, except, of course, the progressive creationists would say that God made the matter. I would have to question why God, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, would use such an inefficient and random method to bring the universe into existence. Nothing in His nature indicates that He operates like that.
 
Some even say that eventually the expansion of the universe will reverse and there will be a “big crunch” or a “big squish.” All of the matter will again be concentrated into that little dot or that little nothing, and once it gets hot enough, there will be another big bang, and the whole thing will start over again. Some have even theorized that a new big bang happens every 80 billion years or so. This is all nothing but a big fantasy based on wishful thinking. Atheists desperately want it to be true in order to remove God from the picture. Progressive creationists are compromising with it because they actually believe that legitimate science has proven it to be true.
 
It is interesting to note that in recent years the big bang theory has begun to fall into disrepute. Should it someday become generally rejected by the scientific community, then progressive creationists will be forced to revise their ideas in order to stay current and to maintain the scientific credibility they believe they have. On the other hand, those who accept the literal account of Genesis will not have to change anything. “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides” (Psalm 119:89-90, NKJV).
 
The universe is billions of years old.
 
I watched a video in which a progressive creationist stated that God could not have possibly put life on an earth that is less than 14 billion years old. Limiting God like that is dangerous ground. The only limits on God are those placed on Him by his own nature. "But our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:3, NKJV). Someone recently challenged me on that by asking if that was really what he meant. It can sometimes be difficult to determine what someone means, but failing the ability to read minds, I tend to accept what someone says to be what they actually mean. See my post entitled "I Know What it Says, but What Does it Mean?"
 
Further research on this revealed the following from Tim Chaffey:
 
He said that a prominent progressive creationist “…repeatedly makes the claim that life COULD NOT exist unless the universe was about 14 billion years old. ... Those who believe in a young earth are often ridiculed for limiting God; however, the shoe is actually on the other foot.  We limit ourselves to taking God at His Word.”  He further said, “…it is impossible for God to have created everything in six days of approximately 24 hours each – even though His Word clearly teaches that He did.  Who is really placing limits on God?” (“The ‘God’ of the Big Bang is NOT the God of the Bible!” by Tim Chaffey).
 
The creation days were long periods of time, not 24-hour days.
 
A straightforward reading of Genesis leads one to believe that the writer (Moses) intended to convey that the universe and all that it contains was created in six literal 24-hour days. Exodus 20:9-11 certainly reinforces this. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day..." (NKJV). There is no reason to believe it means anything other than what it says, especially in light of the context of verses 9 and 10, unless there is some sort of agenda that demands a reinterpretation of the obvious meaning. What possible reason would there be to use two different meanings of the word "day" in the same passage of Scripture? If the days had indeed been eons of time, and if the universe is billions of years old, does it not seem extremely likely that God would have told us so?
 
It must be pointed out that Genesis was written in Hebrew, not in English. Some have looked to the original language to establish justification for long ages instead of literal days. However, it turns out that many if not most Hebrew scholars, even those who do not accept the Genesis account of creation as literal history, tend to agree that the plain meaning that the writer intended to convey is that the creation week consisted of seven literal 24-hour days and that the flood was worldwide. Those who choose to interpret it in another way almost always have accepted a very old earth ahead of time. We are all biased by our beliefs, and it is very easy to interpret things as we expect or hope for them to be.
 
Jud Davis of “Answers in Genesis states the following:  “Hugh Williamson is the current Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University. Oxford is perhaps the most prestigious university in the world, and Williamson is one of the top Hebraists anywhere. In an email he responded, 'So far as the days of Genesis 1 are concerned … I have not met any Hebrew professors who had the slightest doubt about this unless they were already committed to some alternative by other considerations that do not arise from a straightforward reading of the Hebrew text as it stands.' ... Nobody has provided me with answers that point to anything but a traditional view of the original meaning. Anyone who says that a closer study of the Hebrew leads elsewhere is simply incorrect. The original intent is plain — a day was a day, from the very first miraculous day." (Answers in Genesis. “24 Hours – Plain as Day,” March 16, 2012).
 
If God created a world that appears to be old when it isn’t, then He is a deceiver.
 
The appearance of age is an obvious interpretation of the evidence for those who desire for the world to be old. For example, evolutionary scientists look at things such as the Grand Canyon and think it is obvious that it took millions of years to form. They willingly ignore the after effects of Noah’s flood.
 
“…knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:3-7).
 
If we didn’t have pictures and eyewitness accounts of the aftermath of Mount St. Helens, it is quite conceivable that in a few hundred years, some “scientist” would look down on the canyon that was formed in a very short time and say, “Look – it’s obvious – this took millions of years to form.” Wishful thinking, “willfully forgetting,” being “willingly ignorant,” or, as one creationist speaker said, being “dumb on purpose,” should never be a replacement for real science, common sense, and belief in the Truth.
 
Other things are not really appearance of age but are just how God did things. For example, Adam was created as a man, not as a baby. When he was one minute old, he was a fully-grown man. God brought Eve to Adam as a woman, not as a baby. For God to have done otherwise would have been an absurdity, and while God can do the impossible, He does not deal in absurdity. People like to fight over such questions as “Did newly-created trees have rings?” “Did Adam and Eve have navels?” I plead guilty in this case to the two big problems in our culture – ignorance and apathy – I don’t know, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter, and we have no way to know.
 
In reality, what would be deceptive of God would be to take billions of years to bring the universe as we know it into existence but then to tell us in His Word that He did it in six days. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11, NKJV). God is not a deceiver. We must understand natural revelation (the creation) in light of special revelation (the Bible).
 
There were man-like animals long before Adam and Eve. They did not have spirits.
 
This is used to explain the fossil evidence for so-called “ape men” (“hominids”). Of course, the vast majority of such “evidence” is of little or no value because of its fragmentary nature and its agenda-driven interpretation. Some evolutionists even say it is important to have imagination when thinking about our evolutionary past. Imagination seems to be a big part of it. Remember Nebraska Man – nothing but the tooth of a pig. And then there is Piltdown Man – a total, intentional hoax. It only fooled the scientific community for about 40 years. Why? Because they were so desperate to find a “missing link” that they were blinded by their bias. The truth is that both creationists and evolutionists have the exact same evidence, and all of the evidence can be interpreted either in light of God’s Word or in light of man’s bias. Real wisdom would dictate the former.
 
Christians should never fear that any evidence will ever be discovered that will undermine God’s Word, and they should also remember that their inability to explain every new idea brought up by skeptics does not mean there is not an explanation that will yet be found. Truth is not determined on the basis of winning or losing a debate. Faith is not a matter of knowing everything there is to know. Rather, it is trust in the One who does know everything there is to know. The most clever of man’s ideas are foolishness in His sight.
 
I don’t know specifically where this idea among progressive creationists of pre-Adam humans or human-like animals came from, but it is obvious that  someone simply made it up. This is a fantasy which has no purpose other than to meet an agenda. There is no evidence in Scripture for such an idea. The Scriptures make it very clear that Adam was the first man and Eve was the mother of all the living.
 
“…it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being” (I Corinthians 15:45, NKJV). “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20, NKJV). Neither of these statements could be true if there were “spiritless men” living before the creation of Adam and Eve.
 
Of even greater concern is the fact that this idea puts the entrance of death in the world before the creation of Adam and Eve and before the fall of man into sin. The Scripture is very clear that death came by sin by one man, Adam. Death before sin destroys the penalty for sin and also destroys the gospel message. If sin did not result in death, then there is no conceivable reason for Christ to come and deal with sin and its penalty. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12, NKJV). When sin entered, death followed.
 
It is also important to note that, not only man, but also all of creation, was made subject to the fall of man into sin and the resultant curse. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:20-22, NKJV). This is why we must not and cannot rely on the conclusions of sinful man based on his observations of a sin-cursed universe. All such observations must be interpreted in light of the fallen nature of the entire creation and in light of the truth of God’s Word.
 
The Bible makes it clear that, before the fall of man, the creation was perfect. There was no sin. There was no death and suffering. This includes both humans and the animals. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31, NKJV). It makes no sense that God would say this if Adam and Eve were standing on top of fossils from millions of years of death and suffering. Such a scenario would mean that the Garden of Eden was not a paradise, and that death came before sin.
 
“Answers in Genesis” offers the following concerning the idea of death before sin: “This is perhaps the biggest problem created by each of the compromising views. The Bible makes it very clear that there was absolutely no death before Adam sinned … it is also clear from Romans 8 that sin affected all of creation. Scripture is clear that animal death was instituted when Adam sinned ... Each of the old-earth views places death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering before Adam’s sin. However, the Bible teaches that all was “very good” (Gen. 1:31) when God made it. Would God have called everything that He had made “very good” if it were full of death and suffering? Absolutely not!”
 
“Besides the fact that it contradicts the Bible, the reason that this problem is so severe is because it undermines the very meaning of the atonement. When Adam sinned, the Bible states that God made coats of skins for Adam and Eve … God killed an animal … to make these coats … Adam would have seen blood being shed for the first time in atonement for sin … if the world were already full of death and bloodshed … then this action would be meaningless. Adam would certainly not infer that the wages of sin is death. If death and suffering were already in the world, then sin did virtually nothing. If the foundations for the gospel are undermined, then why did Jesus Christ come to earth to die on the cross for our sins? He was the ultimate sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But if there was death before sin, what did sin do? If it was part of the original creation, then why did Jesus need to shed His blood?" (Answers in Genesis, "Old Earth Creationism on Trial: The Verdict is In." Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle). There is a great deal of additional important information on this page and throughout the "Answers in Genesis" website.
 
The flood was “universal” (meaning “local”) but not global.
 
The claim is that Noah built an ark that carried him, his family, and the animals on an inland lake that was big enough to drown all of the humans who lived at that time. This is what is meant by a “universal” flood – it was just as widespread as humanity had migrated by that time, and there was no necessity for it to be any larger, since its purpose was to wipe out the human race other than Noah and his family.
 
There are several flaws in this thinking. I will address those with a series of questions and brief answers.
 
If the flood was local, why did Noah need to build an ark? Could he not have just moved elsewhere? God is neither stupid nor is He inefficient. He knows what He is doing. There would have been no reason for God to tell Noah to spend 120 years building an ark when he could have simply taken his family to another area of the earth away from the flood.
 
Why take animals on the ark when there would have been large numbers of most, if not all, of the same species of animals outside the area of the flood? But God had said He was going to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life. Are we to believe that not only all humans but also all animals lived in the area where this supposed local flood took place?
 
“And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.” (Genesis 7:21-23, NKJV).
 
How could a local flood cover the tops of all the mountains? Even though it appears that the mountains were not as high before the flood as they are now (Psalm 104), it would still be impossible for a local flood to cover all of the mountains by 15 cubits (22½ feet, assuming an 18-inch cubit). “And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered” (Genesis 7:19-20, NKJV).
 
Would not a local flood make God a liar when He said he would never again flood the entire earth as He had done? There have been many local floods since Noah’s time, and each and every one of them would underscore God’s dishonesty if they were like Noah’s flood.
 
“Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease’” (Genesis 8:21-22, NKJV).
 
"And God said: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth’” (Genesis 9:12-17, NKJV).
 
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you” (Isaiah 54:9, NKJV).
 
If Noah’s flood was only a local flood, every time we see a rainbow, we should consider that to be a sign of God’s dishonesty. Clearly, that is absurd. God gave that sign to humans and to the animals as a token of His promise that He would never again destroy the world in the same way He already did, and that promise is just as valid today as it was in the days of Noah.
 
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19, NKJV).
 
“…it is impossible for God to lie…” (Hebrews 6:18, NKJV).
 
“…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…” (Titus 1:2, NKJV).
 
The bottom line is that both evolutionists and progressive creationists need a local flood, because a truly global flood explains the many fossil-containing rock layers without any need for millions or billions of years. A global flood would certainly change the topography of the earth. It is interesting to note that some scientists who have observed Mars have concluded that the only possible cause of its topography would be a global flood. Of course, the fact that Mars has little or no water does not seem to be an issue for them. On the other hand, when the topography of the earth is observed, there is immediate rejection of a global flood and the question, “If there was a global flood, where did all the water go?” Why do they ask this? The answer is obvious – a global flood would make the Bible true, and we obviously can’t have that because it would destroy evolution and progressive creationism. So “scientists” who are willing to accept a global flood on a planet with little or no water are not willing to accept the possibility of a global flood on a planet that is covered 70% by water.

Christian Answers.net in an article entitled "Where did the Flood Waters Go?" offers the following: 
 
“If the waters are still here, why are the highest mountains not still covered with water, as they were in Noah’s day? Psalm 104 suggests an answer. After the waters covered the mountains (verse 6), God rebuked them and they fled (verse 7); the mountains rose, the valleys sank down (verse 8) and God set a boundary so that they will never again cover the Earth (verse 9). They are the same waters!”
 
“Isaiah gives this same statement that the waters of Noah would never again cover the Earth (Isaiah 54:9). Clearly, what the Bible is telling us is that God acted to alter the Earth's topography. New continental landmasses bearing new mountain chains of folded rock strata were uplifted from below the globe-encircling waters that had eroded and leveled the pre-Flood topography, while large deep ocean basins were formed to receive and accommodate the Flood waters that then drained off the emerging continents.”
 
“That is why the oceans are so deep, and why there are folded mountain ranges. Indeed, if the entire Earth's surface were leveled by smoothing out the topography of not only the land surface but also the rock surface on the ocean floor, the waters of the ocean would cover the Earth's surface to a depth of 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers). We need to remember that nearly 70 percent of the Earth's surface is still covered by water. Quite clearly, then, the waters of Noah's Flood are in today's ocean basins.” 
 
We are still in Day 7 of creation week. God is still “resting.”
 
This idea is primarily used to demonstrate that the days of creation week were not 24-hour days, since the seventh day is already thousands of years old. As with much of this belief system, conclusions are made to support the premise. There is no reason to believe this idea except that it is necessary to support long periods of time for the creation days. That makes this nothing more than a convenient assumption.
 
When the Scripture says that God “rested” on the seventh day, it has nothing to do with His being tired and needing to take a break from all of His hard work. It simply means that He ceased from His creative activity after the sixth day, which would obviously be on the seventh day. Newton’s First Law of Motion is summarized as follows:  “A body in motion tends to remain in motion, and a body at rest tends to remain at rest.” A body at rest is a body that has ceased its motion or activity. God was at rest. He had ceased his creative activity. There is no reason to assume that God is still resting. As a matter of fact, we see God working throughout history. There are many examples in Scripture. Following are just a few:
 
God “prepared” a fish to swallow Jonah. Did He motivate an already existing sea creature into the area so it would be there to swallow Jonah? Was it a sperm whale? That is possible, because even though a whale is a mammal and not a fish, it is certainly part of the large category of a “sea monster,” “whale,” or “huge fish.” Was it a great white shark? Who knows? Did He create that “fish” specifically for the task at hand? It is very possible that He did. If this fish (“sea monster”) was a special creation, was it one of a kind, or was it one of an already existing species? These questions cannot be answered, but one thing is certain – God was “working” throughout this event to make it happen just as He determined.

Jesus made water into wine. This was clearly a creative act.

Jesus had fish cooking on a fire when His disciples came ashore. Where did He get the fish? Did he create them? Did he net them? Did He command them to jump out of the water? We don’t know, but He certainly did something to get them.
 
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working’” (John 5:17, NKJV).
 
The Scriptures are full of accounts of God’s “working” throughout history to bring about His purpose. He has never ceased being God and doing what God does. The idea that we are in the seventh day and that God is still “resting” is a very flimsy argument, at best.
 
Conclusion
 
I have only scratched the surface of all the things believed and taught by progressive creationists. There is much information available online if you wish to pursue it further. The bottom line on all of this is that we must place our faith in the Truth as God has revealed it in His Word rather than trusting in fallen men who observe a sin-cursed universe through eyes that have been tainted by sin. We will never come to a knowledge of the truth through human reason. Such is not possible. The Scripture makes it very clear where faith comes from:  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV).
 
Ken Ham of “Answers in Genesis” sends out regular emails under the heading, “Around the World with Ken Ham.” Following is a timely excerpt from one of them.
 
“Many of us would love to have the final proof that evolution is a lie — the right scientific evidence that will silence those opposed to biblical creation forever, right? Well, no. You see, Romans chapter 1 tells us that God has revealed Himself to man in nature, so there’s no excuse for denying the witness of creation. In fact, we have solid proof in our hands that evolution is a lie:  the Bible. We can’t depend solely on our reasoning ability to convince skeptics. We present the evidence — and do the best we can — to convince people of the truth of God by always pointing them to the Bible. After all, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ Are you trusting in Jesus Christ for your faith?”