googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: August 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Matthew 12:36: Giving an Account

Christians rightly take great solace in passages like 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I've found that the closer I come to God and more I study His word, then the more I can see my own sin. I see myself as one of the debtors in Luke 7:41-43 – the one who is forgiven the most will be the one who loves the most. Sometimes, though, we are haunted by passages like Matthew 12:36: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” If our sins have been forgiven, do we still have to give an account?

For a long time, I saw this passage as a source of dread. For some people, I suppose it is. But in the context of the entire passage, Jesus talks about people who are justified and people who are condemned. When the unsaved are called to give an account, what will they say? They still owe a price for each idle word. How terrible it will be when they see how tremendous the cost will be for their sins.

For the saved, this will be an entirely different experience. As God accounts for each item, we can confidently say, “It is forgiven!” Every lie - “forgiven!” Every boast - “forgiven!” Every blasphemy, every lust, and every idle thought - “forgiven!” This will not be some divine “dressing down.” This will not be some cosmic humiliation that we must endure. Instead, it will be a realization of the tremendous price Christ has paid for our redemption. It will be a reminder of the preciousness of our salvation. We will not be forever ashamed but rather Christ will be forever glorified when we see exactly how large was our debt that was canceled!

Luke 7:46-48 tells us about the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus. Jesus praised her saying she loved much because she was forgiven much. How great will our love for Jesus be throughout eternity after we've seen exactly how much He forgave us!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dr. Laura Needs a Lesson on the First Amendment

Dr. Laura has always received a lot of flack from the leftist types, primarily because she's seen as “conservative.” She may be more conservative than most folks in her profession but she is nowhere near being a political pundit. She's Laura Schlessinger not Laura Ingram. Frankly, I never could stand listening to Dr. Laura for more than a few minutes. Maybe it's her callers that bother me; I just can't stand listening to people whine. Anyway, Dr. Laura's been in especially hot water lately after the “racially insensitive” remarks she made to a caller. It was that proverbial drop of blood in the water that now has the sharks of the political left worked into a frenzy. It seems it's Dr. Laura's turn to whine. I've heard her on news shows more than a few times apologizing for her comments but also lamenting that people have taken away her First Amendment rights by protesting her, writing/calling the stations that carry her, and threatening to boycott her sponsors.

A lot of people misunderstand the First Amendment but it's usually people on the left. In this case, though, Dr. Laura doesn't quite get it either. Regarding free speech, the First Amendment protects an individual's speech from infringement by the government. Private individuals are not obligated to guarantee another persons free speech. I'm not immune, for example, from the criticism of other people. If they want to rant, rave, protest, and attempt everything legal thing possible to silence me, they can try. Indeed, that is their First Amendment right! Free speech goes both ways. If I don't like something a radio or TV personality says (someone like Keith Olberman), I very well might contact his station or call his sponsors. Under what premise could he stop me? He could argue that it's his right to speak offensively but that same right allows me to tell his sponsors that I think he's a jerk. To suppose he's free to speak but I am not free to object is a characteristic trait of liberals – they're hypocrites. It's unfortunate that Dr. Laura would invoke the same argument.

By the way, liberals also seem to forget that free speech particularly includes political speech. We've seen a conspicuous omission of this obvious fact recently when Democrat leaders spoke out against protestors at Town Hall meetings. Our so-called “representatives” called it un-American, even Nazi-like, to raise our voice in protest. See my post, Oh the Irony!

Opposing view points and heated debate are the heartbeat of free speech. If there is ever any attempt by the government to “referee” or to insure “fairness” in the debate, it is only then that our free speech becomes jeopardized. Early on in the Obama administration there was some talk about imposing a “Fairness Doctrine” (see my blog here). Esentially, this would require radio stations (and only radio stations) which carry shows like Rush Limbaugh to devote equal time for liberals to express opposing views. Imagine if there were a law that required me to devote equal space on my blog to an atheist to write whatever he wanted to rebut me. Or worse yet, consider this analogy: imagine if, at the time before the American Revolution, King George III had required Thomas Paine to devote equal space in his pamphlet, Common Sense, to views sympathetic to England? It's absurd!

This is my blog and I have my right to express whatever views I wish. If someone else disagrees, let him have his own blog where he disagrees with me (trust me, they're out there). We will battle it out in the arena of ideas and hopefully I will be the more persuasive. That the way free speech works; ideas rise and fall on their merits. I wouldn't have it any other way. It doesn't have to be “fair.” Dr. Laura has already made her bed so it might be too late for advice but, for what it's worth, my advice would be to either stick by her guns or apologize and move on. Dr. Laura, stop whining about how shrill your dissenters are being and certainly stop whining that your First Amendment Rights are being violated. They're not!

Now that I've said that, let me make one other observation: Obama recently made a stir of his own by seeming to support the building of a mosque at Ground Zero. He's done a little back-peddling now but you can hear his comments yourself here. It seems to me that when these Muslims do something extremely offensive to a majority of Americans, the President is very careful to point out they have a First Amendment right to do it but when a conservative says something extremely offensive about a minority group, liberals aren't as quick point out the same? I think it's clear that liberals aren't as concerned as much about the First Amendment as they are about their own political ideology.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

John 1:1c: Is the Word “God” or “a god”?

I had a recent visitor who goes by the name, JohnOneOne. Gee, do you think he has an agenda? Anyway, John left a couple of comments concerning my treatment of John 1:1 in my last post. His first comment was little more than spam so I basically ignored it but his second had a little more substance. John 1:1 was really not the topic of my last post but I get so few comments on my posts dealing with Greek and John 1:1 is certainly worthy of discussion so I was inspired to write a more formal response.

When I write about Greek, I try to do it in such a way that non-Greek readers can still understand the gist of what I'm saying. This subject, though, gets a little complicated so it might be a little more technical than usual. I apologize in advance.

The debate is over the correct translation of John 1:1c, “καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.” Most modern translations render this as, “and the word was God.” John disagrees and defends the NWT translation of, “and the word was a god.” Now, in John's defense, I did characterize the NWT translation as “amateurish”, which was perhaps a bit hasty. Jehovah's Witnesses have gone to great lengths and much research to justify their translation. I still believe it is wrong, notwithstanding.

It's difficult to discuss John 1:1 without Colwell's Rule coming up. Colwell basically said that when a predicate nominative precedes the copula, and which is apparently definite, it usually lacks an article. If θεὸς in John 1:1c is definite, then it certainly fits Colwell's rule. However, if we assume θεὸς is definite then we are assuming the very thing we are trying to determine! In this regard, Colwell's rule is often abused – especially in the case of John 1:1c. Colwell's rule deals with definite nouns being anarthrous yet people cite it as though it's evidence for anarthrous nouns being definite. In other words, they are arguing the inverse of the rule as though it's a rule. Let me give an analogy: suppose I make a rule that says, “all dogs are mammals.” This is absolutely true without any exception. However, the inverse of this rule, namely that “all mammals are dogs,” would not be true. Therefore, we cannot say that the anarthrous θεὸς in John 1;1c is definite according to Colwell's rule.

However, JohnOneOne seems to suggest something completely contrary to Colwell's rule. He would have us believe that since θεὸς is “a singular anarthrous predicate noun (meaning, without the Greek definite article), but one which is also *preceding the verb and subject noun (implied or stated)*” [which is a fairly close paraphrase to Colwell's rule] then it is necessarily indefinite. In my analogy above, this would be akin to arguing that no mammal is ever a dog!

John cited several verses where predicate, nominative, anarthrous nouns are translated in mainstream Bible versions with an indefinite article. I don't have time to discuss all of them but let us consider the first in his list (John 4:19). Here, the Samaritan woman (the woman at the well) says to Jesus:

Κύριε, θεωρῶ ὅτι προφήτης εἶ σύ., “Lord, I see that you are a prophet.”

Because the word for “prophet” (προφήτης) here is anarthrous, it seems to be indefinite and the English translation has been modified by the indefinite article, “a.” Some people might understand this to mean the woman intended to include Jesus in a class of prophets (i.e. he is another of any number of prophets). It would be in the same manner as saying Jesus is “a carpenter.” In this sense, the use of the indefinite article would include Him into a class of people. This isn't really the correct understanding. Rather, the word prophet here is a qualitative noun describing a characteristic of Jesus. She could perceive that He had the gift of prophecy. She could describe Him in this way even if there were no other prophets. This might be hard to grasp so let's look at a another verse from this same passage that might make it easier to understand.

John 4:24 states πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός. This has been translated as “God is a spirit” and also as “God is spirit.” Either way, the meaning is the same. Spirit is a qualitative noun that describes the nature of God. He is spirit or He is a spirit. He is not simply another in a class of spirits. Likewise, the woman saw that Jesus possessed the gift of prophecy. It was something qualitative about Him; not general.

Θεός in John 1:1c is a qualitative noun in the same category. Ironically, I could live with the translation “a god” if it is understood to be qualitative: that is, Jesus is divine. He is not one of a class of gods but instead has the very nature of God. What God is, the Word is also.

Mounce has described this more succinctly. He said concerning John 1:1:

In brief,[1] its emphatic position stresses its essence or quality: "What God was, the Word was" is how one translation brings out this force. Its lack of a definite article keeps us from identifying the PERSON of the Word (Jesus Christ) with the PERSON of "God" (the Father). That is to say, the word order tells us that Jesus Christ has all the divine attributes that the Father has; lack of the article tells us that Jesus Christ is not the Father. John's wording here is beautifully compact! It is, in fact, one of the most elegantly terse theological statements one could ever find. As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism; the word order is against Arianism.

To state this another way, look at how the different Greek constructions would be rendered:

καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν ὁ θεός
"and the Word was the God"
(i.e., the Father; Sabellianism)

καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν θεός
"and the Word was a god"

καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος
"and the Word was God"

What more can I say? Amen!!

Further reading:

Revelation 13:18: What is the Number of the Beast?

What is the Name of God? A Look at the Tetragrammaton

Friday, August 13, 2010

Revelation 13:18: What is the Number of the Beast?

“And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead; and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred and sixty and six.” Revelation 13:16-18

This passage has been an enigma to those who study the Bible. What is the number, 666? What does it represent? Who does it represent? I certainly would not be able to unravel what has confounded scholars for centuries nor will I try. Instead, I only hope to bring to your attention another point to be considered in the debate.

I wish to draw particular attention to v. 18b. In the KJV it reads, “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man;” Note the use of the indefinite article, “a man.” Most mainstream translations render this the same way.

One of the many differences between Greek and English is that Greek lacks an indefinite article. In English, the definite article is “the” and the indefinite article is “a”. In Greek, nouns will either have a definite article (ὁ, ἡ, or τό ) or it will have no article. Greek nouns lacking an article are called anarthrous nouns.

To our English thinking minds, nouns lacking a definite article should be indefinite by default. It's seems only common sense. However, in the following example we can see how this is not necessarily the case: “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). The word “Lord” in this sentence lacks any article but certainly Jesus is not “a Lord” of the Sabbath, as though there any others. He is THE Lord of the Sabbath. Even without an article we can be sure the word “Lord” is definite.

One reason the Greek language prospered so long without an indefinite article is that there wasn't much of a demand for one. Certainly indefinite nouns existed but it would be wrong to assume that anarthrous nouns are automatically indefinite. Quite the opposite is true. If a Greek noun lacks an article, it should assumed to be definite unless context absolutely demands it.

There are many cases where the Greek lacks the definite article and we are forced to insert one into our English translations. Consider John 1:1, “In [the] beginning was the Word.” The word “beginning” (ἀρχή) in this verse in anarthrous but certainly there aren't any other beginnings so it would not be appropriate to say “a beginning.” Neither does it make sense in English to omit the article: “In beginning...” Thus, we insert the word, “the”.

Sometimes, though, we insert the indefinite article when we ought not. In the New World Translation, which denies the deity of Christ, the indefinite article is inserted before the anarthrous word for “God” (θεός) in John 1:1c: “the word was a god.” They argue, amateurishly, that since it lacks an article then it is indefinite. We've already seen why that isn't necessarily so.

Keeping these things in mind, let us consider Revelation 13:18. In the latter part of the verse, the word “man” is anarthrous. The question must be asked: should we add the indefinite article? Perhaps instead of saying, “it is the number of a man” it should read, “it is the number of man.” In other words, perhaps the number 666 is not the number of a particular man but is the number representing mankind. What a difference a single letter can make.

I think the beast described here in Revelation is a real person who will rise to power sometime in the future. Instead of searching for some numerical value in his name which reveals his identity (as some have done with villains of the past such as Nero), the Bible is merely telling us that this character will be an iconic representative of mankind. He may seem powerful. Some may worship him like a god. He may even want to be God. But he isn't God. However impressive this person will be, his name is still numbered among men.

As I have said, I don't hope to unravel the mystery of who this person is. I merely want to give some more food for thought about the subject.

Further reading:

John 1:1c: "Is the Word "God" or "a god"?

Revelation 3:11: Taking Our Crown

Revelation 17: Is the Harlot of Babylon the Catholic Church?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Answering the Critics about the Five Lies of Evolution

When visitors leave feedback, I always try to be polite and respond. I appreciate all my visitors and especially welcome people who disagree with me. Two visitors had a lot to say about my recent blog, Five Lies Evolutionists Tell. One poster, who goes by the name Steven J (hereafter referred to as SJ), left seven comments. Another poster hosts his own blog (The Palaeobabbler (hereafter referred to as TP)) where he critiqued my post. Responding to them will be a challenge because I copied their comments into a Word document and it was 7 pages long. Certainly the comment section is not enough so I thought it would be best write another post that covers some of the key points they raise. Even then, I will have to greatly abbreviate my response.

Lie #1: “Evolution is a FACT”

SJ said, “That's not equivocation. Evolution is defined by biologists as "descent with modification" or "change in the frequency of inherited traits in a population over time." Neither definition species the amount of modification or how much traits have to change. Part of the problem creationists have in arguing against evolution (or is this a tactic?) is that they don't use scientific terms in their proper sense.”

I wrote a post a while back where I discussed how much of evolution occurs “by definition.” That's not the kind of evolution we're talking about. Remember that I was talking about lies evolutionists tell; it's clever that you try to pin this on creationists. When I hear evolutionists say, “evolution is a FACT,” they aren't careful to distinguish that they mean only changes in population. They are happy for the confusion between evolution (changes within a species) and evolution (the common ancestry of all species). This is why I say they are equivocating.

To his credit TP has noticed this as well. He said, “He [RKBentley] is not completely wrong as I have seen some debaters online make this claim. The proper claim, or rather that which is put forward by actual scientists, is that evolution is both theory and fact.” However, he goes on to say that I am, “completely unaware that most scientists consider common descent to be the fact of evolution.” I assure you that I am well aware of that. I said as much in my post. To quote, “A person who says, “Evolution is a FACT” is merely stating his conviction that “evolution” is true; that doesn't make it true regardless of his use of all capital letters!”

Lie #2: “Evolution and the Bible are compatible.”

SJ and TP are on the same page in their response to my second point. Just as I has accused proponents of the belief of doing, they both believe that evolution and the Bible could be compatible if the Bible doesn't mean what it says. I'm not sure of SJ's spiritual beliefs but he points out how (he assumes) I don't believe the Bible “literally” about things like “the windows of heaven” (Genesis 7:11). I have written before about the difference between believing the Bible “literally” and understanding its plain meaning. I would refer SJ to that article.

TP and I had a protracted discussion on Face Book about the genre of Genesis. Anyway, he asserts overtly that the creation account in Genesis is a “powerful creation myth and is not meant to be literal.” In other words, the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says.

TP did bring up one point that I should clarify. This “lie” is used by both atheists and theists. The atheists (such as those in groups like NCSE) who offer this are clearly lying. They are merely trying to make evolution more palatable to Christians; they don't believe the Bible personally so how can they sincerely claim that the Bible and evolution are compatible? Theistic evolutionists who make this claim may be wrong but are still being sincere.

Lie 3 - There is no evidence for Creation

TP and SJ had a field day with this one and devoted most of their comments to this point. It's tempting to address individual points they raise but there's simply not enough space. Many of their points are off topic anyway because I believe they both have missed the main thrust of my claim.

My point is that theories are attempts to explain the evidence while the evidence itself is neutral. SJ brings up a lot of individual items of evidence and says that creation doesn't explain them. He says for example, “there is no creationist theory that explains why, e.g. there are primitive whales... that have hind limbs.” Then he concludes his comments on this point by saying, “Then what is some of this evidence [for creation]? "Science can't explain this yet" is not really evidence;” Consider his comments very carefully: He suggests on one hand that since creation can't explain something, it is evidence for evolution; then on the other hand says that saying, “science can't explain this” isn't really evidence for creation. That's hilarious. I might have to add a hypocrite label on this post.

TP does a lot of the same thing as SJ except that he doesn't contradict himself at the conclusion of his remarks. He talks about how the evidence “shows” the age of the earth and how long evolution has been occurring. Again I say that the “evidence” doesn't “say” anything. Scientists have looked at the evidence and constructed their theory to explain their observations.

I spoke in generalities before but let me give a specific example. I believe that complexity is evidence for design and therefore is evidence for a Designer. Aldous Huxley once said, “Organisms are built as if purposefully designed, and work as if in purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim. But the truth lies in those two words 'as if.' As the genius of Darwin showed, the purpose is only an apparent one.” Francis Crick later said, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see is not designed, but rather evolved.”

I believe design is evidence for creation. Evolutionists go to great lengths to explain why they believe it isn't but the more they explain the more they prove my point. They know things look designed. The difference isn't the evidence but the theories that explain the evidence.

Both SJ & TP took different approaches to my assertion that the Bible itself is evidence for creation. SJ claims that, since the Bible isn't peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal, it can't be considered evidence. This doesn't mean it isn't evidence only that he disqualifies it as evidence. One might say he's ignoring the evidence. TP professes to believe the Bible but interprets it differently than I do concerning creation. Again, this goes back to my claim – same evidence, different explanations. Either way, their explanations as to why they don't accept the Bible don't make the Bible disappear. It is still on the table for people to consider as evidence.

Lie #4: “Evolution has been tested and proven even more than gravity.”

Now it's TP's turn to contradict himself. He claims I'm making a straw man then immediately says, “I have certainly seen the claim that gravity has been tested more, but this needs some qualification.” Indeed it does need some qualification but not from me. It is the equivocal people who he has seen make this claim that need to explain themselves. I say they are equivocating and intentionally conflate the theory of gravity with the phenomenon of gravity. What gravity is is uncertain. That gravity is is a fact. I did a simple Google search and uncovered this pithy example written by “free thinker”, Douglas Schrepel, “Evolution is just a theory... like gravity.” Doesn't it sound like Mr. Schrepel is calling gravity a theory? Is he qualifying his remark? I'll let my readers decide.

SJ waxed on and on about predictions made using evolution or gravity but, in my opinion, never really addressed the point. There is a theory of gravity but to say something like, “Well, gravity is a theory too” is terribly misleading.

Lie 5 - Microevolution over time leads to Macroevolution

Once again I believe both TP and SJ have missed the point. I'm aware that, according to their theory, novel traits are being added to the population. My point is that TIME is not the mechanism. We can witness changes in populations. They seem to suggest that time is a magic wand that turns small changes into big changes. But not all change is equal. You cannot add colors to a population by removing colors. It doesn't matter how long it happens.

Natural selection is a process by which traits not suitable to an environment are removed from a population. Contrary to TP's claims, it indeed does remove variation from a population. Have you noticed there is a lot of variety among bears but not as much variety among polar bears? Animals adapt to their environment and become more specialized and less diverse. That's natural selection. TP makes the unsubstantiated claim that, “variation does not run out.... With more variation entering the gene pool, natural selection can become more versatile.” So what is the mechanism that adds variation to the gene pool? I know what the mechanism supposedly is and it isn't time.

SJ hits the nail on the head. He says, “Why, I suppose it would take until a mutation produced an allele which coded for a new color.” Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Time doesn't add traits to a population – mutations do. At least, mutations are the only candidates that could possibly add traits to a population. I've blogged about supposed trait adding mutations one a few occasions but that isn't the point here now. The point is that time is not the agent that can turn a frog into a prince. It's true that populations change. It's true that populations change over time. But don't tell me that change and time are the only things we need. It's a lie.

Further reading: Five Lies Evolutionists Tell

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Which is the Best Translation of the Bible?

After people learn that I've studied Greek, a question that comes up fairly regularly is, “Which version of the Bible is the best translation?” The question is more involved than it seems. Over the years, I've tried to come up with a “short answer” but anymore, I simply tell them, “Well, it really depends on what you want in a translation.”

I quickly found out that learning a new language involves more than learning a new vocabulary. Different people have different languages, rules of grammar, expressions, and experiences. Translating is far more complicated than assigning each foreign word an English word. Following are some of the challenges we face in translating:

The first difficulty is the simple differences of grammar. In English, we place a heavy emphasis on word order. We typically place the subject before the verb, for example. Look at the following sentence: “John threw a ball to Jack.” This is an extremely simple sentence. However, if I were to say, “To Jack, John threw a ball,” we see that the sentence immediately starts to become awkward. To say, “A ball John threw to Jack,” is more awkward still. “A ball threw John to Jack” is nearly incomprehensible.

Greek, on the other hand, is a heavily inflected language where the form of the word (morphology) determines its use in a sentence. This gives the Greek writer more liberty in word placement. He may move words around to make the sentence sound more pleasing or to emphasize a certain word. If a Greek writer wanted to stress what was being thrown, he might put it in the front of the sentence. In English this would sound like, “John threw A BALL to Jack.” Or he might want to stress who caught the ball, “John threw a ball TO JACK.” As we translate this into English, one translator might attempt to leave the word order unchanged and render the more awkward English sentence. Another might use capital letters as I have to highlight the emphasis. Still another might simply render the sentence in correct English grammar and lose the emphasis. Which way is the best is somewhat subjective.

There's also sometimes a difficulty in rendering the semantic field of the original word. Just like in English, foreign words sometimes have a range of meanings. In most cases, context will determine the correct meaning but occasionally there is some ambiguity. The Greek word ἀρχη (archē) can mean “beginning” or “ruler.” In Revelation, Jesus is called the ἀρχη of the creation of God. Is Jesus the “ruler” of the creation or the “beginning” of the creation? Different translators will choose one or the other. Still other translators might use a compromise word like “chief” which could carry a dual meaning.

Along these same lines, some foreign words have a subtle meaning and we have to try to match the meaning with an English word. In these cases, one's knowledge of English is more important than one's knowledge of the language he is translating. For example, if I saw a pretty girl in a restaurant, I could say, “I saw her” or I might say, “I noticed her” or maybe I watched, stared at, admired, observed, gawked at, studied, or ogled her. To translate that, the translator would have to know a if there's a word that matches the subtle meaning of the word he's translating.

This problem is confounded by the fact that some words do not have an English equivalent. At the time of writing the New Testament, animal sacrifice was a common event. Greek has a word to describe things sacrificed to idols (εἰδωλόθυτον, (eidōlothuton)). Animal sacrifice is rare in the US and there is no English equivalent for this word. Instead, the translator will try to describe what the word means. Alternatively, he may choose to not translate the word at all but instead simply transliterate it. Christ, angel, baptize, and apostle are examples of untranslated words.

Our local customs also influence our understanding of certain expressions. I heard a story once about English speaking missionaries who were trying to evangelize an African tribe. The missionaries told the natives how the blood of Jesus could wash their sins white like snow (Isaiah 1:18). The natives didn't understand this at all. When these dark skinned people got dirt on them, or ash from the fire, they became white so to them, white meant “dirty”. Also, they had never seen snow but since it was white, it must be dirty too.

If we were to translate Isaiah 1:18 into their language, how would we do it? A word for word translation would not suffice. We would have to invent a way to convey the same English meaning in the natives' language. We might say something like, “your sins can be washed clean as with cold water.” The words I chose for the translation are not at all the English words but it conveys a meaning very close to the original in a way the hearers can understand.

We see an example of this in John 10:24: “ἐκύκλωσαν οὖν αὐτὸν οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ· ἕως πότε τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν αἴρεις;” Then the Jews encircled Him and began saying to Him, “Until when do you hold our soul?” If we read this sentence by itself, it makes little sense to an English reader. At first glance it seems like some spiritual question but it's not. It's an expression similar to the English expression, “How long will you keep us in suspense?” The KJV renders this as “How long dost thou make us doubt?” There are different ways this could be expressed and so different translation may not agree. If they convey a meaning similar to the original, it is sufficient.

One thing to avoid in translating would be to attempt to interpret or explain rather than translate. A good rule of thumb I've learned is that if something is ambiguous in Greek, it should be ambiguous in your translation. The need to explain or interpret is often driven by one's theology. We see this in translations like the NWT.

For example, Colossians 1:16 KJV says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

The NWT renders the same verse thusly, “because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.”

Note the addition of the word, “other.” To their credit, the NWT translators included brackets to indicate the word isn't in the original but why include it in the translation at all? It's because, according to Jehovah's Witness doctrine, Jesus was Himself a created being. The impression given by most mainstream translations is that Jesus created everything. Because of their doctrine, the NWT wants to be sure it's understood that He only created all “other” things. Now, sometimes it's impossible to divorce your theology from your translation. The word for Holy Spirit (πνεύματος ἁγίου) is a neuter noun; anytime a pronoun is used where the Holy Spirit is the antecedent, it should technically be translated as “it.” However, I refuse to call the Holy Spirit, “it” so I instead use “He.” Even so, where ever possible, keep your theology out of your translation.

Still other translations have a political agenda – or perhaps I should say, “politically correct”. Instead of “Sons of Abraham,” they might have, “Children of Abraham.” Instead of “brothers in Christ” they might have “brothers and sisters in Christ.” They deviate from the original not because English grammar demands it but to satisfy polite societal norms.

So how does any of this answer which is the best translation? I'm only attempting to show you why there are so many different translations of the Bible. Which is the “best” depends on what you think is the “best.” Is it best to have an English equivalent or a strict word for word translation? It's subjective. Your best bet is to read several different translation and, between all of them, you should have a fairly good grasp of what the original language was intending to say.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A thought about the Mosque at Ground Zero

At the risk of sounding contradictory, I think I have liberals figured out; yet on the other hand, I'll never really understand how they think. I mean, they are predictable in that they always loathe American, conservatives, and Christianity but the reason for their loathing escapes me. The mosque proposed to be built at Ground Zero is still another example of liberal hypocrisy and lunacy. I've seen no outrage from the left over a shrine being built in the shadow of the fallen Towers which is likely being funded by the same groups that toppled them! And what about the expected dedication date of 9/11/2011? Hello!! Instead of outrage we here calls for religious tolerance and constant harping on the fact that it's “legal.” Give me a break!

This is all strangely familiar to me. I lived in Cincinnati a few years back near where Answers in Genesis built their Creation Museum. In the years leading up to the building of the Museum, AiG scouted a couple of locations as potential sites for the build. This was covered fairly extensively by the local media and I followed the story pretty closely. On a couple of occasions, when a possible location was being considered, AiG would meet with the zoning committee to discuss zoning for the museum. Such meetings drew libs out of the woodwork in protest. There were complaints that the Museum would be a disruption to the community, over-burden the streets with traffic, attract protestors, and generally be a source of embarrassment to the Tri-state area. It didn't seem to bother them one bit that AiG is a religious organization which had a legal right to build such a museum. Indeed, many were outspoken about the fact that the objected to what AiG represented. At one meeting, a protestor went so far as to say that if the commission allowed this museum to be built, it would violate the separation of Church and state! Chew on that for a while! On at least one occasion, the board capitulated and refused zoning for the Museum before it was eventually built at its present site.

A lot of the arguments raised by liberals at the building of the Creation Museum are the same arguments being used by conservatives about the building of the mosque now. The mosque would certainly be a disruption to the community, a draw for protestors, a source of controversy, and most assuredly an embarrassment that we would allow a terrorist sympathizer to build a monument overlooking the hallowed grounds of the worst act of terrorism committed in America. Even like the Museum, much of the debate is around zoning. Why are the liberals suddenly so tolerant about the Muslim religion when they weren't nearly as tolerant when a Christian organization wanted to build a museum?

I ask rhetorically because we already know why: they are hypocrites who hate America and Christianity. To them, teaching children that Adam and Eve were real people is a worse crime than killing thousands of innocent Americans. They compare Christian fundamentalists to terrorists who shouldn't be allowed to build a museum but they excuse real terrorists and allow them to build a mosque to be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of September 11th!

Like I said, liberals are predictable but I'll never really understand them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You Don't Have to Teach Kids How to Lie

I have two kids. As I write this, my daughter is 17 and my son is 7. I've helped them learn to walk, talk, read, ride a bike, and many, many other things. One thing I've never taught them was how to lie; they seem to have figured it out all by themselves.

My daughter was on hand to witness one of my son's very early lies. I used it as a lesson for her how people have an inherent nature to sin. It happened when my son was only around 3 years old. I was off work one day and my wife had gone out leaving me with the kids. It was a usual practice when I was home with the kids to take them to eat at McDonald's. At lunchtime, I had fixed my son a sandwich but he didn't eat it. After not having eaten his sandwich, he kept following me around asking when we were going to McDonald's. I told him every time that we would go to McDonald's, “later.” My daughter and I sat watching TV while he persisted.

At one point he got right in my face and said, “Dad, take us to McDonald's.”

I looked him square in the eye and said, “Kyle, I just fixed you a sandwich and you didn't eat it.”

He thought I was punishing him for not eating his sandwich so he said, “I'm not hungry.”

To that I responded, “Then we'll go later when you're hungry.”

There was a sudden pause in the conversation. I could see the little gears turning in his head. He had misunderstood why it was significant that he hadn't eaten. I wasn't punishing him; I was waiting until he was hungry to go. After he figured this out, he looked at me again and said, “I am hungry.”

My daughter thought this was hilarious but I'm glad she saw this first hand. He had just lied to me. As cute and seemingly innocent as kids are, they are sinners too. The Bible says that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). People may think it's awful for me to say this but I believe babies don't lie only because they lack the ability to speak. Sin is like an instinct.

We don't need to teach our kids how to sin. Rather we need to help them understand what sin is. They need to understand that lying isn't just about violating polite social norms. When they lie, they've violated the law of the God who is the Judge of the universe. When they break God's law, it makes God very mad and very sad. No age is too young to begin teaching our kids the need for a Savior.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Five Lies Evolutionists Tell

It might be considered bad taste to call someone a liar but if the shoe fits one must wear it. Jesus certainly wasn't reserved in His harsh criticism of the Pharisees. In the evolution v. creation debate, there are some arguments used against creationists that are flat out lies. We need to recognize them as such.

Lie #1: “Evolution is a FACT.”

Evolutionists are notoriously equivocal over the term “evolution.” To them, any change in an animal population is called “evolution.” The belief that all the various species are descended from a common ancestor is also called “evolution.” The deception arises when evolutionists use the two terms interchangeably. Imagine this hypothetical conversation:

CREATIONIST: “I don't believe in evolution.”

EVOLUTIONIST: “Then you're an idiot. We see evolution occurring every day.”

CREATIONIST: “Oh really? We see thing like dinosaurs changing into birds?”

EVOLUTIONIST: “No, you idiot, that kind of change takes millions of years. We obviously don't see that.”

CREATIONIST: “Then we really don't see evolution occurring.”

EVOLUTIONIST: “Of course we do. You're an idiot.”

Conversations like this highlight the abuse of the term by evolutionists. They make the tenuous argument that evolution is “change”, we see change, therefore all animals have a common ancestor. Since they call both things “evolution” (change and common descent), they hold one up as evidence for the other. If a creationist claims to not believe in “evolution” (common descent), he's accused of not believing the other (that things change).

In ordinary conversation, most people understand evolution to mean one kind of animal evolving to become another, such as apes evolving into humans. Militant evolutionists are hyper-technical to identify evolution as “change.” Certainly it's a fact that animal populations change; it's not a fact that one kind of animal can change into another or that all species have a common ancestor. A person who says, “Evolution is a FACT” is merely stating his conviction that “evolution” is true; that doesn't make it true regardless of his use of all capital letters! This very deceptive practice occurs daily. I'm not sure if it is the most often used lie, but it certainly ranks in the top five.

Lie #2: “Evolution and the Bible are compatible.”

Evolution cannot be reconciled with the Bible without one or the other being compromised (usually it's the Bible). The Bible clearly says that God created the heaven, earth, and everything in them in “six days” (Exodus 20:11). Evolutionists claim that the universe and earth were created over billions of years. The only way these can be reconciled is to assume the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says (that is, six days means billions of years). But if the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says, then the Bible could be reconciled with any belief, no matter how bizarre.

Remember also that the events of creation are ordered differently than the events according to evolution. Consider the following:

BIBLE : Earth before the sun (Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:14-15)

EVOLUTION: Sun before the earth

BIBLE: Plants before marine life (Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24)

EVOLUTION: Marine life before plants

BIBLE: Birds before land animals (Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24-25)

EVOLUTION: Land animals before birds

BIBLE: Man created at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6)

EVOLUTION: Man appears near the end of creation

There are many other examples along these lines but one other is of considerable theological significance:

BIBLE: Sin before death (Romans 5:12)

EVOLUTION: Death before sin

We can see there is truly no way to reconcile the Bible with the theory of evolution except to completely disregard the plain meaning of the words of the Bible.

Lie #3: “There is no evidence for Creation.”

People who say there is no evidence for creation are either lying or speaking from gross ignorance. “Evidence” is neutral; it's not necessarily “for” any theory. Rather, theories are used to explain the evidence. Yet evolutionists try to argue that all the evidence is “for” evolution and there is no evidence “for” creation. Creationists and evolutionists live in the same world. We have the same fossils, rocks, oceans, and animals to study. Evolutionists do not have any more evidence than creationists; we just use different theories to explain the same evidence.

As we watch the sun move across the sky, one might say that is “evidence” for the sun revolving around the earth. Indeed, people had believed in a geocentric model of the universe for centuries but, of course, no one believes this anymore. Over time, we gathered more information and now we have a better theory – the heliocentric model. Even though the model has changed, some “evidence” hasn't changed: the sun still appears to move across the sky. The difference is now we have a better explanation about why it appears to do so. The sun itself never told us which theory is correct. Similarly, when we find a fossil, the fossil doesn't “tell” us anything. The fossil isn't evidence “for” evolution any more than it's evidence “for” creation. It's just a dumb rock (dumb as in not speaking). We just have different theories about how the fossil came to be.

I'm also curious as to how evolutionists decide on what evidence to consider. What about the Bible? Here is a book which claims to have a record of the creation as revealed by the Creator. This evidence even speaks to us, unlike the dumb rocks. Aren't we allowed to consider the Bible's account as evidence? Alas, no. Evolutionists won't consider the Bible as “scientific” evidence. What they have done is summarily reject the most powerful evidence that speaks for creation and claim instead that the dumb rocks endorse their theory.

On could argue honestly (not correctly but honestly) that evolution explains the evidence better than does creation. I don't necessarily even object to someone saying that “X” is evidence for a theory because some evidence indeed seems better explained by one theory over the other. Even so, it's a lie to say there is no evidence for creation.

Lie #4: “Evolution has been tested and proven even more than gravity.”

This lie is often employed in response to the weak argument that “evolution is just a theory.” When hearing this, evolutionists will sometimes respond, “Well, gravity is just a theory too and evolution has been much more tested and is better established.”

This is a more subtle use of equivocation. The phenomenon of gravity is well understood. We can easily observe it effects, measure its force, and even predict the movement of planets based on what we know about gravity. That gravity exists is without doubt. What causes gravity, however, is still the subject of much speculation. That is the theoretical part about gravity.

The phenomenon of natural selection is also observed. It is certainly not as predictable as gravity but we don't doubt that it exists. As natural selection occurs, animal populations change, and some call this “evolution.” The theory is that, over time, these small changes lead to big changes, which leads to more biodiversity, which culminates is “bigger evolution” (pardon the crude term). See lie #5.

The equivocal implication in this lie is that the theory of evolution (common descent) is more tested and proved than the phenomenon of gravity. This is absurd. It's a joke to believe that we can trace the lineage of modern animals back to a common ancestor with more certainty than we can trace the movement of planets.

Lie #5: “Microevolution over time leads to Macroevolution”

Here is a very interesting quote from Wikipedia regarding the most famous example of “evolution” - the peppered moth:

Critics have argued that the "peppered moth story" showed only microevolution, rather than speciation or other changes at the larger macroevolutionary scale. Biologists agree that this example shows natural selection causing evolution within a species, demonstrating rapid and obvious adaptiveness with such change, and accept that it is not proof of the theory of evolution as a whole. However, though creationists accept "microevolution" of varieties within a "kind", they claim that "macroevolution" does not happen. To biologists there is no dividing line between the two, and in the modern evolutionary synthesis the same mechanisms are seen operating at various scales to cause both evolution within species and speciation at a macroevolution level or wider changes, the only difference being of time and scale.” [emphasis added]

There's no “implication” here. Wiki states outright that microevolution plus time equals macroevolution. No consideration is given to the type of change required. If I continuously removed one colored moth from the population, how long would it take until new colors began appearing? The answer is obvious: you cannot add new colors to a population by continuously removing colors. It doesn't matter how long you do it. Likewise, I can't turn a molehill into a mountain by continuously removing dirt. It doesn't matter how long I dig. I can't grow a company by continuously losing money. It doesn't matter how long I work at it.

“Change” plus time isn't a magic formula; it must be a certain kind of change. It must be a change that adds new traits to the population. The peppered moth example occurred more than a century ago. In the last 100 years, what macroevolution has occurred? Some will argue that 100 years isn't long enough. OK, but let me ask you this: what microevolution has occurred? Over time, the population returned to normal. The microevolution over time led to a net change of ZERO!

Time is not the hero of evolution.

Further reading: Answering the Critics about the Five Lies of Evolution

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is there a “Right” to be Gay?

The recent federal court ruling which overturned California's prop-8 came as no surprise. Never mind that a majority of people in CA want to define marriage as being the union of one man to one woman; this one judge believes the law deprives gays of their “rights.” I've always been curious, where do these liberal judges believe “rights” come from? Please show me where it is written that there is a “right” for gays to marry. Is there some holy script somewhere that reveals this to us? One thing I've noticed about liberals is that they are very noble-sounding and puffed-up when talking about protecting people's right but they are rather vague on explaining how these people came to have these rights.

It's not discussed as often anymore but our Founding Fathers believed that our rights are given to us by God. This fundamental principle is expressed overtly in our Declaration of Independence. To quote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Note carefully that they are not trying to defend this idea but rather believe it is “self-evident” and needed no further explanation.

Liberals, on the other hand, scoff at such a notion. They're all about “separation of church and state” so to say that rights come from God is an affront to their sensibilities. So I ask again, where do rights come from if not from God? Some might answer that rights are determined by society. OK, if that's true then why should gays have the right to marry when a majority of people have already voted against it? Others will say that our rights are given to us by the government. Well, the government is not really a sentient being by itself but is merely just a body of people. Government officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elected them so this is simply another case of rights determined by society. Finally, some people will appeal to some cosmic sense of “fairness.” Rights are somehow universal and simply belong to humanity. This is a very subjective standard. Are these cosmic rules absolute? Where can I go to find them? Show me this universal right to be gay because I don't believe it exists. I suggest that these enigmatic human rights that are supposed to exist are really the ideals of the few liberal elitists that hold them. They “know” what these rights are even though there is truly nowhere we can turn to compare their opinions to an absolute standard. Whatever constitutes a “right” is exactly what a liberal believes is a right and they are appalled when anyone else wants to violate these imagined rights.

If any absolute standard exists, then I say it must be the standard of the Bible. If our rights are endowed by our Creator, it seems fairly certain that something specifically prohibited by God in the Bible could never be considered a God given right. When asked about marriage, Jesus specifically defined marriage as being between one man and one woman (Mark 10:6-9). This sounds strikingly similar to the definition voted on in Prop 8 – the same definition the federal judge says violates the un-enumerated rights of gays.

Let's suppose for a moment that rights aren't given by God. The only remaining objective standard is that rights are defined by society. We need not even appeal to the Bible. I've already pointed out how the law being struck down was already endorsed by a majority of voters. Doesn't a society have the “right” to decide for itself what constitutes marriage? How does the unidentified rights of a minority of gays trump the right of society as a whole?

Marriage is a centuries long tradition practiced everywhere in the world. Some cultures have allowed polygamy but, to my knowledge, no culture has ever recognized gay marriage prior to the last decade or so. In other words, heterosexual marriage is the assumed model. We are not trying to upset the applecart and suddenly ban gay marriage. We are trying to protect the centuries old tradition. It's the gay marriage crowd that wants to change the laws and allow the thing that has never existed in history past. On what grounds do they ask this? Is it only on the shifting grounds that there is a “human right” to be gay? How strange it is that knowledge of this right has eluded all the nations of the world for the entire history of civilization. I say instead that the opposite is true. There is no right to be gay.

Further reading: Is there a Religious Case for Gay Marriage?

Is Young Earth Creationism a Modern Invention?

A very clever criticism being offered lately against creationist arguments is that young-earth-creationism (YEC) is a relatively modern invention. That is, never before in Church history has there been such an emphasis or hyper-literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. When I first began to encounter this argument, I must admit I was a little taken aback. It was not so much that I thought the argument had substance but rather that I was unsure how anyone could have such an opinion. I quickly realized that this argument is really nothing more than clever spin.

When we read through the writings of the early Church fathers, there is little doubt that the overwhelming majority of them accepted the creation account in Genesis as a historical fact. Only a very small handful looked at Genesis as anything but non-literal. One notable exception to the literal understanding of Genesis was Augustine who is no doubt one of the most cited example offered by modern proponents of this argument. What they fail to mention, though, is that Augustine believed in an instantaneous creation – certainly not a billions years long one.

Curiously absent from the writings of the Church fathers are long, expository apologies defending a literal Genesis. In most references to creation, even in lengthy discussions of the creation, the author already assumes the account is historical. He doesn't spend time explaining why he believes the account is literal. The critics then ask why groups like Answers in Genesis (AiG) seem to focus their entire ministry on promoting a literal Genesis when none of the Church fathers have done the same? There are certain Churches that overemphasize certain parts of the Bible (like Revelation or passages discussing demons) and this seems to become the entire focus of their ministry. Some Churches see a demon behind every corner and every sickness while other Churches see every headline as a sign of the end times. This behavior is especially prevalent among cults like the Branch Davidians. The implication, then, is that ministries like AiG or people like myself who seem to “overemphasize” a literal creation are exhibiting cult-like behavior. Like I said, this is a very clever argument.

The reality is that, prior to 100 years or so ago, there was never a need for ministries like AiG. A literal 6-day, recent creation had been the default position of the Church for nearly 2,000 years. A lengthy treaty defending a literal understanding of Genesis would have been as unnecessary as defending the position that the sky is blue! It was not until the 19th century, after the writings of Lyell and Darwin, that serious challenges to Genesis started becoming popular. Looking back, I believe the Church handled the new ideas rather poorly. Rather than trust the word of God over the flawed opinions of flawed men, many Christian leaders of that day capitulated without a struggle. Some began to invent new interpretations of Genesis that were “compatible” with the new theories of science. These new interpretations included absurd notions like theistic evolution, the gap theory, the day-age theory, the framework hypothesis, and the simple “Genesis-is-allegory” interpretation. More liberal theologians have even adopted the alarming idea that most of the OT (particularly Genesis 1-11) is merely myth written down by bronze-age shepherds. Even some conservative, evangelical Churches have taken the position that our understanding of origins is not relevant to the message of the Church today.

The effects of early compromise on Genesis has been devastating to the Church. We live in a society today that sees fit to compartmentalize “religion” and the “real world.” To them, the Bible is just a book about God and science tells us about everything else. However, such a position is untenable. Jesus Himself said that if we do not believe His words about earthly things, how can we believe Him about Heavenly things (John 3:12)?

It was in response to the compromises of the 19th & 20th century Churches that Dr. Henry Morris co-authored his ground-breaking book, The Genesis Flood and ushered in what has become the modern creationist movement. Modern YEC is not an attempt to introduce a new Church doctrine. It seeks to defend centuries old Church doctrine against more modern heresies. It also continues that centuries old tradition of preaching the absolute truth of God to a secular and lost world.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Romans 10:14: How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Are people who never heard of Jesus saved?

The question has been often asked, “Why would a just God condemn people in other countries who live and die without ever having heard of Jesus?” This has been asked by both the critic and the believer. Opponents of Christianity sometimes raise this argument as though it is somehow evidence against the existence of God. Such a position is absurd; if something is an affront to our sense of “fairness”, that is hardly evidence that the thing doesn't exist. At the very least, unbelievers use it to argue that God is certainly not good nor worthy of worship. As believers, we ponder this question so that we might better understand the nature of God.

Before we address the question directly, it must be understood that God is under no obligation to save anyone. We are given a sobering analogy in Jeremiah 18:3-6. There, God compares Israel to a clay vessel in the potter's hand. If the vessel is marred, the potter may simply chose to destroy it and create another. As the Creator of the universe, God can exercise this same right over everything and everyone. At the very moment Adam sinned, God would have been perfectly just to discard His entire creation then and there. The Bible says that there are none who are righteous (Romans 3:10). We are all guilty before God. And since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), we each deserve death at any moment. The fact that God doesn't condemn us the very instant we sin demonstrates that He is loving and long-suffering.

Not only does God not blot everything out of existence but, even before the creation of the world, He already had a plan to redeem His creation. He could have laid upon us a tremendous burden where we must earn our own salvation. If God had said we must perform a million good works in order to be saved, it would be fair because, again, He has no obligation to save us at all. But rather than placing any burden on us, God Himself provided the means for our salvation. At great cost and sacrifice to Himself, He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believed in Him would be saved (John 3:16). The same God who is slow to judge is also loving and merciful. Salvation is a precious gift given at a great cost to Him. It is completely undeserved and unearned. It is grace!

As we turn now to the question at hand, we can see how it might already be answered. No one deserves salvation yet God has provided it anyway at a great personal cost to Himself. How then can we say that He is being “unfair” unless He gives everyone an equal opportunity to hear the gospel? Under what premise can one argue that God is somehow obligated to give the gospel to everyone when the truth is that He is not obligated to show mercy to anyone? It is vanity on our part to pretend to tell God what He must do in order to be just.

Remember too that the various peoples in all the world are all descended from the three sons of Noah. They also are descended from those rebellious people who conspired against God at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). They at one time were fully aware of God's wrath and His mercy but now many have fallen into false religions. Satan works to perpetuate the ignorance of these lost people. He is that crafty bird in Matthew 13:19 who snatches up any seed that might have fallen by the way lest any take root. His desire to thwart any effort to evangelize the world should not be underestimated. Raising up a communist regime that imprisons Christian missionaries is not beyond his purpose nor ability. Political entanglements are as real a challenge as geographic remoteness. Do not forget also that missionaries have often been met with strong resistance by the very people they have come with hopes to save - sometimes even costing the missionary his life. Certainly none of this is God's fault.

Of course, it cannot be said that God doesn't care about people in remote areas who have not heard the good news. Quite the opposite is true. God has commissioned His people with the task of preaching the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Knowing that there are millions, or perhaps billions, of people in the world who have not heard of Jesus should create within us a dire sense of urgency.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:13-15)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

An Apology

To those people who visit my blog regularly, you've probably noticed that the posts have been very infrequent as of late. I know that when blogs are not updated people stop reading them. Judging from my stat-counter, I fear this may be the case already. On one particular day recently, not a single person visited my blog. This is something that I cannot recall happening even once since I installed the counter. To any regular readers I still have remaining, I offer my sincere apologies. There have been more demands on my time than usual, lately, and what free time I've had, I've given over to more casual pursuits.

I don't think I'm an especially important person but I do believe this blog in an important work. God gives each of His children a ministry. Like the servants in Matthew 25:14-30, we are each given a task commensurate with our abilities and we can be sure there will come a time when we give an account on what we've done with what God has given us. God may have other plans for me in the future but for now I believe this blog is my calling and I should be more diligent about how I handle it. Four posts in two months is inexcusable.

It's my earnest prayer that this blog be used to bring God's word to every part of the world. I pray that God continuously gives me the messages He desires to be heard and that He lets those who need to hear it find their way here. I pray that He gives me strength to remain dedicated to this task and put aside the distractions that have kept me away. I also ask that you keep me in your prayers as well. And please keep visiting, leaving feedback, and sharing this blog with others.

God bless!!