The Bible is Not the Constitution

There has always been a debate about what God has told mankind. In fact, it started in the Garden of Eden. The serpent tried to confuse Adam and Eve about what God had told them. The words “did God really say” are still being uttered by believers and non-believers alike. Keep in mind that those words are what led the first people into sin. Deception and a muddled interpretation of God’s instructions to His creation are a formula for destruction. We need to consider the source of those things. The serpent is an image of Satan, the one opposed to God and everyone who claims allegiance to Him.

I teach US History and American Government at a local high school. I love the US Constitution. It’s one of the most incredible documents in World History. It was crafted in less than three months, in secret, by only 55 people. This small group engineered one of the longest lasting governments this world has ever seen. Have the people in that government always been good? Definitely not. But the system is more than sound. A few years after the document was ratified, amendments were added which became known as the Bill of Rights. Contained within those first 10 amendments are rights that we battle over and fight for to this day. Seventeen more have been added in the 227 years since. This amazing document, as flexible, enduring, and cherished as it may be, is still imperfect. That’s because it was created by imperfect people. They were great minds. No one would argue the contrary. But none of them were perfect.

An amendment is a change made to a legal document. Perfect things never require change. You can’t add to perfection, you can only detract from it. Our government has added 27 changes to the US Constitution because it needed to be changed. Our nation and any other for that matter are made up of imperfect people. We have a history of discrimination, war, and oppression. Each nation has a different story but they’re all fluid. No society is constant because no society bases it’s existence and guidance off of a constant source. The US Constitution of 1787 was not worthy of being left untouched and unaltered. Even with its 27 additions, this document is lightyears away from being the foundation of truth to anyone’s existence.

I see a frightening trend among certain sects of believers who prefer to treat the Bible as though it was the constitution. As though it was imperfect and in need of altering. I hear people claiming to be followers of Christ, second-guessing the very things Christ spoke and stands for. To question the Bible is to question Christ. To question the Bible is to question the Creator of all existence. We cannot approach the Bible as though it needs to be flexible and mold to the times. I have no problem in making God’s word relevant to our time. It does that all by itself. The Bible is a mirror into everyone’s soul. It doesn’t matter if you lived a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, or are alive today, the Bible speaks to your existence. It doesn’t need to be amended. To believe that it does means that you believe that God is imperfect. We do the society we live in no favors when we utter the same words as the serpent of the garden, “did God really say?” Those words only create an atmosphere ripe for sin to flourish.

We don’t mold the Bible to our worldview. The Bible is our constant, perfect document. We mold our worldview into what the Bible says. Just because the views on certain issues change in society does not mean that the Bible needs to change with them. What the world needs are followers of Jesus who are not ashamed of the truth. People who are willing to stand against deception and the love of sin that is so persistent in this world. The world does not need compromising souls but passionate disciples.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

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Which is really blind faith?

not-everyone-is-blindI really struggle with how much evolution is plugged into our society today. Not because I have a problem with science. I love science. God created science. Yet our public schools are presenting theories as truth which has either been disproved or has no factual evidence to justify it. I’m not going to pretend that I am an expert. I’m far from it. But it doesn’t take an expert to see the major gaps in what is being taught, not just in schools, but in media as well. Of course, I am biased. I am a Bible believing, Jesus loving, Christian. That’s because Jesus has changed my life, God has shown me my value as His child, and the Bible is the most reliable source I know. Even without that bias, I would find evolution wanting on so many levels. I have felt for some time now that I need to share what I’ve found in my journey to understand origins and meaning. I would like to think that I would never be opposed to something that is true. For that reason, I don’t believe things blindly. Here is a simple, not exhaustive, list of why the theory of evolution would require just that…blind faith.

Evolution does not provide for origins of the so-called single-celled organism that can, all of a sudden, know how to replicate and create new species.

There is no proof of macroevolution ever taking place at any point in history. Macroevolution is based on the “creation” and “introduction” of new novelties of biological chemistry which is impossible without outside involvement. Hence a designer.

There are zero “missing links” in the fossil record showing the transition from one species to another.

Evolution, by definition, is based on the creation of a new kind of species from genetic information that never existed beforehand. That has never happened, been observed, or reproduced.

Paleontologists have based much of their theory on “cavemen” from partial skeletons, teeth, bones, etc…and filled in assumptions.

Humans have 1400 novel genes that apes do not. There is no possible way we are related.

Evolution cannot explain the existence of two sexes.

Radioisotope dating cannot be accurate without knowing how much radioactive material was in the rock when it formed. Since none of us were around when the Earth was made, that is impossible to know. Carbon dating is based on faulty assumptions as well.

Ernst Haeckel’s drawings of embryos (which are still in public textbooks) have been proven as fake. They were doctored to look similar.

The universe must have a beginning but evolution makes no explanation of that.

Evolution is based on organisms propagating its own design, which is impossible with sexual reproduction due to the sharing of genes between mates and the existence of recessive genes.

All mutations known to man have had no positive effect. Therefore, evolutionary mutation cannot lead to any new or improved species. In fact, it has been proven that genetically, species regress not progress. That means, as things change over time, there is actually a loss, not a gain. (Yes, that means we are actually not as smart as the first humans. That’s another hit on the caveman theory.)

Bacteria mutate, and so do fruit flies. But never have they ever changed to anything but bacteria and fruit flies.

There has never been any shifting of shapes in the fossil record, therefore no evidence of change occurring.

Evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics which states that things start out concentrated and spread out over time. The natural process bends towards equilibrium and disorder, which is the opposite of what evolution presents.

Evolution also violates the law of Biogenesis which states that life only comes from life.

This is only a taste of the holes in the evolutionary theory, which has changed so many times to try and cover faulty science. Assumptions and theorizing aside, everything we know about science points to intelligent design. The natural world, space, our bodies, everything is screaming creation. In Luke 19 Jesus said that even if we stay silent, the very rocks will cry out in praise of Him. Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare the glory of God. In Romans one, it says that since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. I am not a Bible-believing Christian despite science. Science has only gone so far as to further the evidence that what the Bible teaches is the reality.

The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We aren’t accidents. We aren’t the product of mutations and biological improbabilities. And we certainly aren’t related to monkeys. You, dear reader, hold God’s affection. He made you for a purpose. You have a place in this story and your life matters. Evolution would tell you the exact opposite, without reason, and without proof. There is a God, and He loves you more than you could ever know.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Tough Questions #3: How can Christians claim that their religion is the only true one when there are so many in the world?

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…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…

1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)

I have been asked many really challenging questions, that also happen to be very good questions. I think at one time or another, most people have asked themselves, or others, tough questions about faith. We all have to resolve in our own hearts what we believe and why we believe it. Christianity is no different. Throughout my childhood years I was exposed to only the christian faith. That never stopped me from wondering. God made us to wonder, and explore, and to discover. That tendency is meant to draw us closer to Him. As I got older, I learned about other religions and world views. I thought many of them to be fascinating, mythical, but never reality. Many religions are full of really cool traditions and have good teachings, but when it came down to it, they were all missing what was most important.

I am a high school teacher. So I have about 130 inquisitive teens every day pass through my classroom. That means I hear questions similar to the one that this post is based on. I have the honor of sponsoring a Christian club at my High School and at times, I’ve had kids come in to ask us what makes us different. For anyone to cling to a faith or creed, they must believe it with such intensity that everything else in their world becomes subject to it. That draws questions, and sometimes ridicule. Especially in the world we live in today. So many cultures are about ‘open-mindedness’ and being ‘all-inclusive’. For anyone to claim that what they believes is true, makes everything contrary to that belief out to be false. I’ve heard many objectors use this as the foundation of their argument against the Christian faith. What many of them don’t realize is, that all religions are exclusive, and so is truth. In fact, atheists are exclusive too. They believe that no God exists. This means that they believe everyone who believes in God is wrong. Christians get a bad rap, but everyone, besides maybe agnostics (because they don’t know what to believe) are claiming that their reality is the only reality. However, only one can actually be right. People who claim opposing truths cannot simultaneously be correct.

Today, I want to offer a simple response to anyone who wonders how Christians can claim that what they believe is the only truth. Keep in mind, by being a Christian you are denying the reality and truthfulness of any other religion. Just on that basis, you are potentially insulting nearly 5 billion people (69%) around the world. It seems inevitable that you will come across someone wanting to know the answer to this question. If you are one of those 5 billion people, I hope this is helpful for you.

  1. Fulfilled Prophecy: For a claim to be true, it must be supported by evidence that can not be disputed. All religions have their stories and their proverbs, but only one has hundreds of prophetic statements that have come true. Not only have they come true, but they have come true in one person. There are over 350 specific prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled. Keep in mind that these prophecies came hundreds of years before His arrival on planet Earth. The odds against one person fulfilling just eight of those prophecies are astronomical. They equate to one in ten to the 21st power (1021). Here is an illustration that reflects that number. Cover the entire Earth’s land mass with silver dollar coins 120 feet high. Then, mark one of those dollars and randomly bury it. After that, ask a person to travel the Earth and find that marked dollar…while blindfolded. If that’s the probability for 8 prophecies, just imagine what it would be for over 350! Someone who did that has to be who they say they are. And Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.
  2. Confirmation: A lot of religions claim that their main figure was miraculous in some way. Buddhist believe that the words of Buddha were divine. Muslims believe that Muhammad was a messenger of Allah. Mormons believe in the divine nature of Joseph Smith and that he completed the gospel. The hang up for all of these religions is that none of them have any form of confirmation that their central figure was who they said they were. None of them proved, in a sense, that they were divine or following a divine calling. Jesus, on the other hand, confirmed His mission and identity with many miracles. Jesus literally raised people from the dead, gave blind people their sight, cleansed people of the nasty disease of leprosy, and even calmed a storm and sea. That’s just a few of His extensive resume. But not only does Jesus confirm Christianity, so does the authenticity of the Bible itself. The places, the people, the events, and so much more have been supported by archaeology and science. It was written by 40 men over a period of 1500 years and all subjects, prophecies, and evidence agree. It was written in three very different languages by people who lived on three different continents. The authors of the Bible lived in very different time periods, very different places, and had different occupations but all focused on the same story line: God’s redemption of mankind. For a book to be so congruent and so accurate with that background is nothing short of miraculous.
  3. Resurrection: The Bible and history gives us tons of evidence that Jesus was real, that He lived among us, and indeed, lived a miraculous life. Few things set Jesus apart like His resurrection from the dead. No other religion can claim this. And this isn’t some mythical belief among religious zealots. Jesus was seen alive by more than 500 people after He had been crucified and laid in a tomb. With that kind of evidence, it’s an impossible event to disprove. Most cases are resolved on the testimony of two or more witnesses, let alone 500 plus. And these weren’t all His followers either. So the witnesses can’t be designated as biased. Jesus lives, and none of the other religious figures do.

Then he (Jesus) said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:44 (ESV) [my emphasis]

Of all the religions in the world, only one has been confirmed by prophecy, miracles, and a resurrection from the dead. Only one religion in the world is about God reaching down to His creation out of love. Every other faith centers on humanity’s attempt to reach God, which is impossible. Only one religion defines humanity’s struggle and hurt and brokenness and simultaneously provides the solution. Only one religion in the world is so well documented and factually accurate.  If you’d like a more in depth look at this topic, I would suggest reading The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. He was an atheist who set out to disprove Christianity, and instead, found the overwhelming evidence for faith. I would also suggest Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias. This man will blow your mind!

Christianity is not blind faith. It’s real, and it’s powerful. And Jesus has been changing lives for thousands of years. Since the beginning of time actually. Just as He has in mine.

Peace brothers and sisters.

 

Truth vs. Tradition

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Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Matthew 15:1-9 (ESV)

We all have traditions whether they be cultural, national, family, or even personal. Traditions are generally passed down to us from those who have gone before us. I would even argue that many of the origins of our traditions are not even known by many of those practicing them. Does that matter? Well, I happen to think it does and I know I’m not alone.

Traditions generally seem harmless and often center on some sort of celebrations. Family and personal traditions are far less likely to have drifted far from their original purpose and meaning, but how about cultural and national ones? Do you know why we have candles on birthday cakes or a best man in a wedding ceremony? The candles originated from the ancient Greeks as a sign of sacrifice and dedication to Artemis, goddess of the moon. The Best Man position dates back centuries to when a marriage was more of a financial arrangement. He was considered the Groom’s best swordsman and his job was to prevent anything or anyone from interjecting in the ceremony. Of course, many cultures have adapted these practices, and many others, to new meanings. I would even venture to predict that the majority of cultural and national traditions held today have ancient roots that are either sinister or revolve around the worship of a false deity.

I know what some people who read this are already thinking. So what? Who cares where traditions come from? I am not saying that you shouldn’t light up pretty candles for your child’s birthday cake because thousands of years ago ancient Greeks worshiped a false deity with the same practice. Nor do I want to dissect our way of life and call us to abandon it all. What I am saying is that it’s not a bad idea to know where our traditions come from, most importantly, when it comes to the traditions within our Christian life of worship. Traditions for fun are one thing. Traditions for worship are a whole other world. The ‘new’ information I alluded to at the beginning of this chapter revolved around that exact topic…ways we worship and honor God.

Holiday: Old English hāligdæg, translated ‘holy day’.

 New Oxford American Dictionary

Many of our nation’s traditions are highly laden with pagan and spiritual undertones that were designed at worshiping false gods thousands of years ago. Our two most beloved holidays are no exception. This may be a shock but Christmas and Easter are both riddled with paganism. I’m not talking about how they’ve been polluted over time, but rather they originated as pagan rituals. That was a very hard discovery for me to make. For most of my life my year revolved around Christmas, Easter, and my birthday. No one was a bigger fan of those days than me. But when the veil was removed from my eyes about where those days came from, I was wrecked. This post isn’t a place to reveal the many proofs behind what i’m saying. Chapter four of my book goes into a lot of detail on the subject. I’m sure that you may have even been exposed to some of the information already. Just to give you an idea though, nearly ever single tradition connected to the two days were designed to admonish a false god in the past. Yikes!

So why do I make a point in telling you all of this? For one reason: Jesus is a big deal. He’s the biggest deal, and worshipping Him is never a light or unimportant matter. Neither are His commands. In verse three of Matthew 15, Jesus presents two waring objects: the commands of God and the traditions of men. Keep in mind, the Pharisees and Scribes whom He’s addressing were the religious people of the day in Israel. They were the ones who believed that they worshipped God properly and were the most knowledgeable about God’s written word to date. The scribe’s main job was to write and rewrite the Torah and other scrolls over and over. So you better believe they knew what it said. For us today, we could easily, and rightly should, put those who proclaim allegiance to Christ in the same figurative boat with the Pharisees and Scribes of old. What I mean is, Christians claim they worship the one true God correctly as did the Pharisees and Scribes. So by default, when Christian tradition is adverse to Jesus and His commands, it is opposed to everything our life is meant to be about as Christians.

Any time our traditions come under fire we can easily feel insulted or accused even. However, the idea for every person who confesses Christ, is to live a life of worship and praise to His glory. Right? Sometimes that means taking a good hard look at our most cherished traditions. So why am I picking on tradition so much? Well, perhaps it’s because it so often distracts us from the pure worship of God. Traditions are man-made, usually with the purpose of making us comfortable in the pursuit of God. Traditions have also been used by a small minority to have a sense of control over the masses.

Churches have been inundated by false man-made traditions and teachings. For example, in some churches you can’t take part in communion unless you are a member of their church. Some places hold to the teaching that you have to confess to a priest and he can absolve you of your sins. Some people actually believe, and teach, that if you’re not speaking in tongues you’re not saved. Traditions are empty in comparison to the life God has called us to live, and most dangerous of all, traditions can contradict the word of God. Scary!

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

John 4:23-24 (ESV)

Man-made doctrines and traditions of worship are vanity. God doesn’t say to worship me as you please but worship me in Spirit and in truth.  This is the truth of the bible, not of churches, or of human tradition, or of worldly knowledge. If we are not careful or watchful we can easily be taken captive to empty traditions and false teachings and practices that tickle our fancy and play to our desires and comforts.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirit of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8 (ESV)