"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snake Handling: Bad Theology with Real-Life Consequences


Mark Wolford is in the news after having been bitten by a timber rattler in a snake handling service.  I want to say first that this is a sad story and prayer should be offered for the comfort of his family.  However, there is another side to this story that also needs to be pointed out; doctrine has consequences.

There is nothing admirable, honorable or excusable about this situation.  This was an unnecessary and avoidable death based on a fatally flawed interpretation of scripture (Mark 16:17-18).  He was not the first, and he will not be the last to unnecessarily die.  

Just because this misunderstanding of scripture is sincerely believed does not mean that it is a valid belief; it is not.  These sincere and good people need to be converted from this false teaching.  Even though they call themselves Apostolic, this is NOT apostolic doctrine or teaching.  This was not the practice or teaching of the apostles concerning snake handling.  The apostles would have most certainly rejected and rebuked this tradition for a number of different reasons.  

There is not a single example of the apostles purposely picking up actual snakes to prove they were believers.  The only time an apostle handled an actual snake in scripture it was an accident, and he killed it (Acts 28:3-6).  This is the apostolic, and the Texas way of handling a serpent. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anderson-Thrasher Debate

I am looking forward to the Anderson-Thrasher debate, which I am moderating.  It will be July 19-20.  I will share more details as we know them.  I have debated Thomas Thrasher twice, but this will be my first time to moderate in a debate against him.  It should be a great debate. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Eyes Are Closed, You Can't See Me

"My eyes are closed, you can't see me," said my little girl as she sat on my lap.  Of course I laughed at the thought of her thinking that my vision was limited to what she could see; because she was invisible to herself she thought that she was also invisible to me.

How often we think that if we close our eyes that somehow our Heavenly Father, and our brothers an sisters, become blinded by our closed eyes?  Surely if I close my eyes to my own failures and flaws then everyone else's eyes are also closed.

It is with God, as with me as I watched by little girls close her own eyes, He sees me with my own eyes willingly closed thinking that I have blinded Him to me as well.  God sees; God knows!  My prayer is that God will give me grace and courage to open my eyes to both see Him and myself as I ought.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Atheist Hypocrisy

I have been watching a lot of Atheism vs. Theism debates lately and I wanted to post some observations.  I am sure if any of my atheist friends find their way to my blog that they will engage in Dawkinian and Hitchinian insults about how ignorant and deluded that I am.  This is totally fine with me.

1. BURDEN OF PROOF DISCREPANCY:  While our atheists friends chide us incessantly about the lunacy of theism and its lack of evidence they are more than willing to be open minded about pure speculation and even laud it as intellectual if it denies God.  An example of this is the Multiverse Theory.  There is at this point no scientific evidence that there are billions of other universes outside of ours, yet for atheists to entertain this idea is intellectualism.  To even theorize about the Multiverse Theory one must immediately leave science behind. Yet, no matter what hypothesis the theist forwards or what evidence he gives for it, we are deluded.

2. UNDERSTANDING DISCREPANCY: In these debates with atheist, particularly Christopher Hitchens, they show not even a rudimentary understanding of what the bible actually teaches.  I point this out because atheists often insist that we don't understand science.  However, atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins do not even have a Sunday School grasp of Christian theology, much less the advanced knowledge they demand we have of science.  The only way that religion, and Christianity in particular, could be so misrepresented is for these guys to be ignorant of theology, or intentionally misrepresenting our view, neither of which are good options.  Frankly, it is hilarious to watch at times. The theists (Craig, D'souza, Lennox, Strobel, Wilson) that participate in these debates are much versed in philosophy and science than the atheist (Barker, Dawkins, Hitchins) are in theology.  If the theists only knew as much about philosophy and science as the atheists knew about theology (religion in general/Christianity specifically) they would not be given the time of day; no one would take them seriously.  The atheists need to do a much more serious job in their presentation of religion and Christianity in these debates. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Resurrection: Proof of Theism and Christianity

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 
1 Corinthians 15:1-4. 14 ESV

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2  until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1-3 ESV

The resurrection of Jesus is essential to Christianity and relevant to theism.  Theism (deism, Judaism, Islam, ect...) can be true if the resurrection is not true, but Christianity cannot be true apart from the resurrection of Christ.  The resurrection is relevant to theism in that if the resurrection is true, then so is theism, and consequently Christianity.  The resurrection, if true, is the ultimate proof of the existence of God.

The resurrection is central to the Christian claim.  If the resurrection is not true then Christianity is the largest hoax in the history of mankind.  This is why we as Christians must begin to reemphasize it as the central tenant of the faith.  I am writing this blog to encourage Christians of all creeds, especially young Christians, to focus on a defense of the historical resurrection of Jesus.  This is where the battle is.

I encourage all who read to make this the most important focus of your theological studies.  There are many other doctrines that the resurrection of Christ touches, but the resurrection is the most important. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who Is Raising Whom: Parents (us) or the Kid (Gia)?

This is the question that I was asking myself at supper tonight as my wife and I were trying to figure out if our 3 year old daughter was "playing us" or not.  My wife was attempting analyze her tactical maneuvering by asking me: is she (a) ?, (b) ? or (c)?  We had the funny feeling that we were out smarted by a 3 year old, never mind a 5th grader.

I feel so stupid having to have tactical planning sessions about a 3 year old kid.  Some days I feel like I need strategic and tactical response training; military grade, that is.  God have mercy on us as she becomes a teenager.

Example: At dinner tonight she did not like the particular form of family activities as they were not as child focused as she would have like.  We informed her she would just have to wait to do what she "really" wanted to do.  So she launched into a detailed and articulate argument about why she though our decision ought to be reversed: "...but one time I was doing some kid stuff and you guys wanted to do adult stuff and...."

We can't decide who is raising whom...the only thing I know for sure that was getting raised at supper was hades. :)