Evolution –Not A Salvation Issue?

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Please consider the following quote from John Clayton. “Help your child realize that religious issues surrounding evolution are not generally salvation issues.  I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ralph Gilmore who is a professor at Freed-Hardeman College (sic) in Henderson, Tennessee.  Both he and I have had a long history with the school.  We disagree on questions about the age of the earth, and both of us are animated about this issue.  At the same time, we agree that the age of the earth is not a salvation issue.  We can support each other and work together without our opinions causing division or diluting our message” (Does God Exist? vol. 44, no. 1, First Quarter, 2017, pp. 12-13).
I would like to make the following observations concerning this quotation.  First, macro-evolution –the notion that human beings evolved from  lower life forms –is a false theory because it contradicts plain biblical teaching that human beings are the result of the creative power and work of God.  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26-27).  Any theory that contradicts a plain passage of scripture is false!  Truth saves, but lies damn.  Paul states, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:10-12).  Liars will not be in heaven! (Rev. 21:8)
Second, the theory of evolution including the false notion that the universe and the earth are billions of years old is a contradiction of the doctrine of Christ.  Jesus said, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6).  The creation of man occurs “at the beginning of the creation.”  According to Genesis one, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day after God created the heaven and the earth.  “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11).  Jesus was present at the time of the creation (Col. 1:16).  He tells us exactly what He did.  Why can’t we believe the Lord Jesus Christ regarding what He did to create all things?  This rejection of Jesus’ words amounts to unbelief.  Unbelief will cause one to be lost (Heb. 3:12; John 3:18).
Third, God’s word is truth (John 17:17).  We can know the truth about the beginning of the universe, the earth, biological life and human life by studying God’s Word (John 8:32).  To say that one cannot know with certainty the truth about these things is the equivalent of being an agnostic.  There is no neutral position regarding the false theory of macro-evolution.  Consider this plain statement from God’s Word, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11).  The evolutionists and the Bible cannot both be right because each affirms what the other denies.  There is no middle ground.  Every precisely stated proposition is either true or false!  God’s truth is not man’s opinion!
The statement made by John Clayton, that evolution is not a salvation issue is a man-made doctrine that sets aside the Word of God and makes it of no effect (see Mark 7:9-13).  Who will you believe–God or John Clayton?

Truth Has Fallen in the Streets

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In Isaiah 58, God tells Israel the virtues which would prepare them to be covenant-keepers and to carry out His Messianic plans.  But, in chapter 59, Isaiah reveals that these people are so entrenched in sin and rebellion against God’s program of righteousness that they must be constantly warned of the judgment of God to come upon those who despise God’s covenant laws.  The time is 687 B.C.  Manasseh, a very wicked king, sits upon the throne in Judah.  Manasseh outstripped his predecessors in wickedness.  He reintroduced idolatry.  He persecuted God’s prophets.  The pathway of rebellion now chosen would eventually lead to Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C.
Significantly, Isaiah describes the times with the phrase, “truth has fallen in the streets” (Isa. 59:9-15).  The prophet declares, “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them.  In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.  And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
What are the consequences of the practical aspect of the death of truth?
First, iniquity abounds.  When there is no respect for truth, there is no righteousness.  Isaiah states that sin interrupted relationship with God (Isa. 59:1-2).  God is not weakened by man’s sin.  He still retains fullness of all powers of His perfections.  The sins of the people separated them from God and stayed God’s blessings while inviting God’s wrath.  Isaiah names several sins:  hands defiled with blood (murder); fingers with iniquity; lips speak lies, tongue murmurs wickedness (59:3); no justice, no faithfulness, men trust in vanity (destitute of truth); men speak with deception, they conceive trouble and bring forth ruin, feet run to evil (make haste to shed blood); and thoughts of iniquity.  If you look closely, you will see that every part of their being was tainted by sin: hands, fingers, lips, tongue, feet and thoughts.  When truth dies, iniquity abounds!
Second,  when truth dies, chaos results.  Where there is no truth there can be no peace.  Isaiah states, “the way of peace they know not” (Isa. 59:8).  Ignorance of the truth obscures the pathway of peace.  Where there is no peace, there is violence and the land is marred by the shedding of blood.  Where there is no truth, there is no judgment or spiritual discernment.  The distinction between good and evil,  truth and error is lost.  Individuals begin to call evil good and good evil (Isa. 5:20).  If there is no truth, there is no light.  Isaiah describes this condition, “We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men” (Isa. 59:10).  When there is no truth, there is no safety (Isa. 59:7).  Finally, if there is no truth, there is no hope.  God is cast off.  His word is no longer heeded. Hope vanishes when truth dies.
Third, God’s judgment comes.  In Isaiah 59:18, the prophet says, “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies, to the islands he will repay recompence.”   You reap what you sow (Gal. 6:8-9).  God sees all and will recompense evil.  Ultimately, God’s truth will vindicate the righteous and punish the unrighteous.  God’s justice will prevail and His truth will go marching on!
Fourth, where there is truth, there is redemption.  Isaiah foretells of future salvation through the promised Messiah. “And the redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD” (Isa. 59:20).  Truth holds forth hope again.  Redemption comes to those who turn from their transgressions and honor God’s Word–the truth.  God’s truth will endure forever.  When people reject God’s truth, then, for them it dies.  Its power is lost to them because of their unbelief.  Where there is truth, there is a foundation for faith and where there is faith, there is hope in the sure word of the LORD.

The Meaning of Evolution

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John Morris wrote The Young Earth.  In this book, Morris gives ten geochronological arguments from different features of the earth that point to a young earth rather than an earth that is billions of years old.  On page 137, Morris quotes from G. Richard Bozarth’s article, “The Meaning of Evolution” published in the American Atheist on February, 1978, p. 30, “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science (by this, he means naturalism-Morris) to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary.  Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god.  Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”
In light of this quotation, how could any Christian attempt to harmonize what the Bible teaches with what evolutionists teach? The meaning of evolution is that Jesus is not our redeemer and Christianity is nothing!
Another interesting quotation comes from Phil Sanders.  Sanders wrote an article on the rise of religious skepticism titled, “Religious Skepticism on the Rise”, Spiritual Sword, January, 2016, pp. 16-20.  The article revealed that 22.8 percent of Americans now identify themselves as unaffiliated with any religious group.  Sanders states, “This segment of society has grown from 16.1 percent in 2007 to 22.8 percent in 2014 and is growing faster than any religious group in America. Sanders lists the characteristics of a skeptic:
1.  Skeptics question the validity or authenticity of something claiming to be true.
2.  They doubt the truth of Christianity and dismiss the important elements of it.
3.  They have no use for the “organized church” and consider the Bible to be full of ancient and dubious myths.
4.  Skeptics of biblical Christianity doubt whether there is a knowable God who intervenes in the world, whether miracles are possible, whether the soul is immortal, whether there will be a resurrection, and whether there is an afterlife.
5.  Many skeptics are empiricists, who only believe what they can perceive through their five senses.
6.  Others simply deny our ability to know anything for certain.
7.  Skeptics are not sure God even exists, so they see no reason to give him any place of authority or relevance to their lives.
The Barna Group found the three primary components that lead to disbelief in God’s existence are: (1) rejection of the Bible; (2) a lack of trust in the local church and (3) cultural reinforcement of a secular worldview.
Sanders identifies one of the influences of the secular worldview to be the common perception in public education, in the media, and at most museums that the universe is billions of years old and humanity evolved from lower forms of life.  Most theistic evolutionists hold to these views (see my book review on John Otis’ book, Theistic Evolution A Sinful Compromise).  “This constant emphasis on an ancient earth and evolution from so many “credible” sources of the world does not escape the attention of our young people who may not know how to answer this faith destroying theory” (Sanders, p. 17).
The theory of evolution means that Jesus is not our redeemer and Christianity is nothing!  The theory of evolution is a faith destroying theory.  Any person who attempts to harmonize the theory of evolution with the Bible is being irrational.  Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).

Elements of Worship

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What is worship? Wiliam Temple makes the following comments, “Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to His purpose. All this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of all expressions of which we are capable” (quoted in Cries of the Heart by Ravi Zacharias, 207).
Worship is adoration of deity. There is only one God and worship is to be directed to Him. God is a spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
What are the Elements of Worship?
In Malachi chapters one and two, the prophet addresses the sins of the people of God who had perverted worship. Perverted worship is a sign of perverted hearts. He calls God’s people back to pure devotion and adoration of God. He calls them back to holiness. Adoration of God in the spirit of holiness is needed today.
It is impossible to worship God without love. God loved His own people, but they failed to love Him back. Malachi 1:2. Love for God is manifested by keeping His commandments (John 14:15). Disobedience to God is iniquity. Love rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in truth (I Cor. 13:6).
It is impossible to worship God without reverence. Malachi states, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name…” (Mal. 1:6). The priests corrupted worship and so despised God’s name (authority). Reverence for God involves listening to God’s authority in Scripture.
It is impossible to worship God without sacrifice. Malachi continues his rebuke of the priests. “Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts? (Mal. 1:7-8). God deserves the very best that we can offer. Our sacrifices must reflect our love and reverence for Him.
It is impossible to worship God acceptably with the wrong motive. Malachi chastises the people because they had profaned the sacred (Mal. 1:12). They were more intent on pleasing themselves than pleasing God. Worship demands God pleasers.
It is impossible to worship God without instruction in truth. Malachi offers some strong words in 2:7, “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.” Honorable worship is guided by truth. Pure hearts are guided by truth. Vain worship is defined by teaching the doctrines of men rather than of God (Matt. 15:9).
It is impossible to worship God without obedience. Malachi addresses the desparity between the everyday lives of the people and their approach to God. They mistreated the wives of their youth by divorcing them (Mal. 2:13-16). What they did in their family life had an impact on their worship. They failed to honor God in their daily lives. Corruption has a way of permeating all of life. They failed to maintain the sanctity of marriage as God had commanded. Their corrupted hearts led to perverted judgment (Mal. 2:17).
Malachi cries out against the sins of the priests and the people. He calls for repentance that will lead to a renewal of the love of the sacred. Pure hearts will lead to pure worship. Corrupt hearts find worship wearisome. The pure in heart delight in the presence of God. Don’t measure your worship experience by externals. Measure it by your own heart.

Time Will Tell?

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In Acts 5:33-40, the Sanhedrin convenes to attempt to stop the apostles from preaching in the name of Jesus.  Earlier, they had imprisoned the apostels and forbade them from teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:3,18).  However, the apostles were let go and continued their work and ministry.  The apostles were imprisoned again (Acts 5:18), but, they were miraculously delivered by an angel of the Lord (Acts 5:19).  They went to the temple and continued preaching the gospel.
The Sanhedrin met and sent for the apostles to appear before them.  They found out that the apostles had been freed from prison (Acts 5:25) and were teaching in the temple.  The captain of the temple with his officers went to the temple and brought the apostles to the council (Acts 5:27).  An exchange of words occurred between Peter and the high priest.  Peter resisted the authority of the council and boldly declared that the apostles would obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  The council was infuritated and took counsel to kill the apostles (Acts 5:28-32).
At this time, Gamaliel stood up to give his advice to the council.  Gamaliel was a Pharisee.  The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that insisted on the strictest observance of legal regulations and, also, the traditions that added a mass of regulations to the Mosaic Law.  Gamaliel was a teacher of the law of  Moses and was held in honor by all the people.  Saul (Paul) studied under him in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3).  Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish court comprised of 70 members who belonged to the Sadducees (another Jewish sect that denied the existence of angels and  the resurrection) and Pharisees.
Gamaliel addressed the court without the apostles being present.  First, he related two historical incidents of uprisings and, then, he made an application to the present situation.
The two historical cases of uprisings that Gamaliel mentioned involved men by the name of Theudas and Judas.  Theudas was a man of self-proclaimed importance.  He had a following of 400 men.  But, they were all dispersed and came to naught following his death.  Judas (Acts 5:37) was a Galilean who made an uprising in the days of the enrollment for taxation (Luke 2:1-2).  His rebellion was greater than that of Theudas, but, he, too, perished and his followers dispersed.
Gamaliel made an application to the present circumstances involving the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:38).  He said, “And as to now…”  His application is faulty for the primary reason that neither Theudas nor Judas arose from the dead.  But, Jesus did!  The historical incidents are not parallel to the present circumstances.
Gamaliel made two conditional statements.  The first statement was, “If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought.”  This is a third class conditional statement and indicates that Gamaliel felt it was very unlikely.  The second statement was, “If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”  This statement is a first class conditional statement and is the more likely to be true.
Every religion built by men will be overthrown.  This is true, but when?  It may be that it would not be overthrown in their lifetimes and so the truthfulness or falsity of the religion would be undecided.  Can we sit down in indecision until this final proof is produced?  Is there a better way to detemine whether a religion is true or false?  The second alternative also is flawed.  If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it.  If they wait until the final proof is made according to time, then, they may miss the blessings of believing.  The waiting game puts their own souls in jeopardy.  The implication of Gamaliel’s counsel is that God has not provided enough information to determine the truth about Christianity.  We must wait and see the fate of any religion before we can determine whether or not it is of God.  Gamaliel belongs to that class of men where the most convincing evidence is unconvincing.  He belongs to the class of unbelievers.  He knows Jesus was resurrected from the dead!  Yet, he is still in denial.
Gamaliel’s counsel is the counsel of indecision because it is based on unbelief.
Time will tell or truth will tellTruth is a better basis upon which to decide the legitimacy of any religion.  Deciding for Jesus is evidence of an authentic faith rooted and grounded in truth.  Have you decided?