Category Archives: Church

The dangers of theistic water cyclism

What is the Water Cycle?

The water cycle is a atheist-scientific “theory” that rainfall is caused by a completely naturalistic process involving evaporation, condensation, heat, and air currents.

What did the ancients believe?

They believed the plain teaching of God’s Word in verses such as these:

Deuteronomy 11:14

“If you carefully observe the commands that I’m giving you today, to love the LORD your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send rain on the land in its season the early and latter rains then you’ll gather grain, new wine, and oil.”

Job 5:10

He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields…”

Matthew 5:45

“… so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Jeremiah 14:22

“Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O LORD our God?”

There are many others. They all clearly show that it is God who sends — and withholds — the rainfall, and not some impersonal, random, natural process. Nowhere in the Bible can you find any indication that rain comes anywhere from God Himself.

Reality Science vs. Water Cyclism

But wait, you say, can’t we reproduce evaporation and condensation in a lab? Yes, we can! That’s called experimental science. Even a child at home can see this demonstrated when boiling water, or seeing the drops of water on a cold window when it’s humid outside.

But has anyone actually seen a water molecule ascend to the heavens and descend again as rain? No. Because it can’t be repeated in the sky, it’s not experimental science.

Can the water cyclists (professionally known as Meteorologists) predict rain with any accuracy? If you’ve ever watched the weather forecasts, you will know that they cannot. They are never even close. This shows clearly the faulty thinking that comes from believing that simple evaporation/condensation can explain rainfall.

Yet still the water cyclists claim that God is not in control of the rain!

Theistic Water Cyclism and Christians

The essence of theistic water cyclism is “God started the water cycle and he is still watching over the rainfalls and storms.” Regardless of any good intentions, theistic water cyclists twist Scripture and weaken the fabric of biblical doctrine.

Theistic Water Cyclistic Assumptions

In theistic water cyclism, the Bible is regarded as a collection of documents which partially contains God’s Word. The Bible thus contains no authoritative, binding truths, but must be freshly interpreted and corrected for every era and in every situation.

God in the Water Cycle?

Christians who adopt water cyclism are inconsistent because they are accepting the foundation of the humanistic worldviews. Essentially, they are telling God that they believe Him when He told us about the Virgin Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ, but they do not trust Him when He tells us about how He sends rain to the world.

Compromise in Christian Leaders

Some respected Christian leaders, famous for defending the fundamentals of the faith against compromise, were guilty of their own compromise. None of us, including any particular scholar (no matter how respected he is), or even the majority of scholars or Christians, can be the final authority for determining truth. God’s Word must be the authority.

Thanks to Answers in Genesis and God of Evolution for the idea.

Helpful translation of global warming article

I recently ran across this fascinating article entitled Why Christians Can’t Believe in Man-Caused Global Warming. It’s was a bit long so I thought I’d take a few minutes summarize its contents for you.

The author seems to use “leftists,”  “liberals,” “socialists,” “Democrats” and “anti-Christians” interchangeably throughout the piece, so I will just use “Leftists” for clarity.

Here we go:

Christians believe humankind is God’s all-time favorite creation because He tells us so in the Bible. But leftist/socialists often known as Democrats think humans are an evil, toxic blight bent on destroying the planet through heinous activities like gassing up our cars. Boom. This is the war of the opposing worldviews going on today and it’s worldwide. It encompasses every important issue including man-caused global warming.

Translation: Leftists hate humanity and this caused them to make up global warming.

Leftists think homo sapiens started out as a random blob of cells zapped by electricity (no word on where the cells and electricity came from without a primal source such as God) that evolved into a greedy, evil animal with the magical ability to control the climate. Never mind that we can’t control or even predict tsunamis, earthquakes, or next week’s weather — all we need is a few computer models and a religious faith in our own brilliance to foretell the temperature 30 years from now.

Translation: Leftists and scientists can’t be trusted.

Arrogant leftists who think that by banning the earth’s homemade fuels like coal, oil and gas they can control the climate should heed God’s challenge to Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place…Have you entered the treasury of snow…By which way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’? Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God?” (Job Ch. 38: 4-5, 12, 22, 24-25, 34-35, Ch. 40: 8-9)

Translation: God controls the climate, period, and if anyone thinks otherwise, they are arrogant Leftists.

God uses some divine sarcasm to school us that He alone, not man, commands the weather, from the snow and frost to the wind, rain and lightning. Get over yourselves, measly humans; I’ve got this, He says. So Christians aren’t worried if the climate changes. It’s obvious to us that God set up natural elements that shift the climate over the eons from warmer to cooler and back again in historically well-known cycles. Just a few decades ago the big panic was global cooling that would freeze the planet in its tracks. The latest raving lefty bugaboo is global warming. Big whup.

Translation: Human’s couldn’t possibly cause climate problems because God is really powerful.

Leftist non-believers who call God a bearded sky-monkey ignore that ten years after Al Gore’s dark warnings, literally none of his predictions have come true: no islands have drowned; nor have the huge populations who were to die from rising seas or heat-blasted crops actually expired; the polar ice caps not only stubbornly refuse meltdown but ironically their ice is so thick it traps climate research ships. And the polar bears are just fine, in fact thriving.

Translation: Al Gore (and other Leftists) was wrong about some things.

Despite NASA scientists finding global temperatures have only increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, despite Al Gore and the UN’s serious errors in promising massive climate disasters, despite the fact (from the U.S. Geological Survey among others) that only .038 percent of earth’s atmosphere is actually carbon dioxide so to reduce it would be totally futile, liberals insist that carbon fuels must be eradicated to save the earth. Since those fuels drive economic prosperity both here and in desperately poor countries, the leftists who like to think they’re compassionate “progressives” are really in the most basic sense anti-progress and anti-poor people.

Translation: Al Gore and the UN (and other Leftists) were wrong about some things. Leftists want to us to stop using fossil fuels and they don’t care that poor countries would get hurt.

Christians aren’t worried about climate change because they hold the biblical view that God has a master plan that favors His human children: “’For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’”( Jeremiah 29:11- 13)

Translation: God will not let bad things happen to us.

The Lord God even considers His human creation so special He made us “in His own image…male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Shocking: a Supreme Being so politically incorrect he thinks there are only two genders!

Translation: I’m mentioning genders for some reason.

We are the only creatures God made as images of Himself, sharing with us some of His spirituality, His ability to love, to forgive, to reason, and to live creatively. Human consciousness is inarguably different from and far more advanced than that of animals. While God clearly thinks humans are very special, the left reviles us as just another animal but more irredeemable and deplorable; they think dolphins are a superior species.

Translation: God made human special, but Leftists hate humans.

Yet we’re so special that God entrusted us to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 This includes dolphins. Lefties’ heads explode in thunderous volleys over this one. “Dominion” is defined in the dictionary as “power or right of governing and controlling” — anti-Christians insist that God here gives evil man permission to despoil and demolish the planet.

Translation: Leftists think it’s okay with God to destroy the Earth.

But of course this is nonsense; why would a person bulldoze his own home? We are to be caretakers and good stewards of the planet. God meant we should care tenderly for his creation as a farmer tends his crops or a rancher her cattle, horses, and sheep. But because we are in charge of the animals we can also eat them.

Translation: Actually God wants us to take care of the Earth. This includes eating animals, which is relevant somehow.

When the Creator gave humans the duty to protect the animals he made, He gave Christians even more responsibility as environmentalists than non-believers can ever claim. Of course, humankind can, and sometimes has, been derelict in our duty and we must strive to do better.

Translation: Christians care way more about the Earth than Leftists.

But notice God never gives man dominion over the climate: over the skies or the rain or the thunderbolts, or the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases. God makes it clear He will take care of all that. In the beginning He very carefully calibrated earth’s atmosphere to support life. The atmosphere contains 99 percent oxygen and nitrogen. A bit more or less and earth would be uninhabitable. Carbon dioxide is only a trace element like about a dozen other gases.

Translation: God never gave Man dominion over the climate, therefore Man cannot possibly affect it.

Christians know that God makes generous provision for His creation, in ways unbelievers never grasp. Is it an accident of evolution that the earth provides a free, all-you-can-eat grass buffet for the herbivores that depend on it, while those animals in turn supply the carnivores with entrees? And could it be that God in his pre-planned genius placed the dinosaurs and plants here millions of years ago so their carbonized remains would eventually give us humans the carbon fuel we need to run civilization, thereby improving our lives?

What a crazy idea – that God actually wants the best for us.

God is likely very pro-carbon since the coal, oil, gas, and water power He gave us took His humans out of their caves and huts, transforming their meager camping-out-all-the-time existence into the miracle of modern prosperity. Carbon fuels have introduced us, via electricity, to the joys of cooking, heating, air conditioning, dishwashers, microwaves, flat screen TVs, computers, and car road trips, to name just a few.

Translation: God deliberately created neato fuel so would be able to use it for all kinda of stuff.

But I don’t think God is in favor of the “renewable energy” of wind and solar because turbines and solar collectors are murder machines for the precious birds that God wants us to protect. Millions of them have been sliced and diced by the turbines and scorched to death by solar panels. Big problem, greenies. Plus they need carbon fuel back-up.

Translation: God hates renewable energy because it kills birds!

To believe global warming will destroy the planet you have to believe that God placed a carbon poison pill in His creation that would lead to human prosperity and then to human annihilation. But God promises us good, not malevolence. So we answer: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1 And we’re good with that.

Translation: God wouldn’t have made this neato fuel for us if was going to cause a problem. Case closed.

So there we go. An airtight case with impeccable logic and intellectual honesty. Plus some verses from the Bible.

Enjoy!

The ambient spirit

Christians speak often about the “spirit of the age.” By this we generally mean materialism, relativism or a handful of other isms. It’s generally something easy to label and therefore easy to oppose. What we fail to recognize is that this “spirit” is often subtle, cultural, ambient. Like a color filter over a light source, it affects everything and everyone, including us. Continue reading The ambient spirit

Lenten thoughts

Verses

  • Psalm 119:145-172
  • Exodus 7:8-24
  • 2 Cor 2:14-3:6
  • Mark 10:1-16

God, so painfully bright and achingly pure. We bask for a split second then must mix in something else to dial down the sheer terror, or we must surely be undone. To convince ourselves that we are not so bankrupt, so small.

We add Guns. ‘Merica. Money. Tradition. Theology.

We re-create God in our image. We imagine that we deserve. That we can — and must — condemn. We find fulfillment in other things and people. A god that is not so Other.

But deep in our spirit, we wish to be laid bare again, to know we are nothing, yet of infinite value and worth because of that Great Someone.

Perhaps — just perhaps — there is no greater gift than to be undone. To be given the eyes of a child, able to see unclouded past the shadowing drapes of ourselves. To enter the furnace, knowing it means the end, yet to Be. The flame is in us, and we are in the flame. We are alight, and yet not consumed.

And after passing through the fire, let us live more lightly, more compassionately, more aware, more wise. And less for those things that obscure the light within us.

Random thoughts on small group values

My family has been without a small group for a while. But at our phase of life we are looking for something different than before. We desire a small group based on these values:

Community

  • Doing life together
  • Building deep relationships

Encouraging

  • Being about God’s Kingdom work
  • Addressing brokenness in order to find purpose
  • Not sin management

Thinking deeply

  • Engaging the culture
  • Not intellectual pride

Feeling deeply

  • Knowing God is more than theology
  • Embracing emotion and mystery
  • Not emotionalism

Syncretism

Syncretism is “the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.”

We tend to think of syncretism as something that happens in Africa, where ignorant natives may combine Christian beliefs with local religions. Or perhaps a religion that accepts Jesus as another of many gods in a pantheon.

But the Religious Right in America has created a syncretism that is just as dangerous. It has combined Christianity with politics, social ideology and pseudo-science.

The resulting religion holds to precepts like these:

  • Fox News broadcasts only the truth.
  • Democrats are servants of Satan.
  • The world is 6000 years old and scientists are covering up the truth.
  • People choose to be gay.
  • If you don’t believe in Jesus, God will send you to hell.

Instead of having a clear message of God’s love, this sincretism puts a number of barriers for people to stumble over. Before I can have faith in God, I have to become a Republican? I have to believe that the entire scientific community is nothing but a huge conspiracy to suppress the truth about the age of the earth and evolution?

By preaching this syncretism, we have played right into Satan’s hands. Long before they are confronted with the Cross, most people have already decided that this is a crackpot religion.

And they are right.

Random thoughts on productive discourse

I have a lot of issues with the way we “do church” in America. I think we do a few things right, but I think we’ve done off the rails spectacularly in many other ways.

But the biggest problem is that we don’t seem to be able to talk about it constructively. It is difficult to be opinionated and yet gracious. Be non-judgmental and you’ll be accused of being “soft on sin.” Try to think deeply about topics and you’ll be accused of doing too much fancy thinking.

I am dedicated to learning the truth, and I believe that all truth is God’s truth. I also believe that truth is found in Scripture and in the cosmos that He created. When those come into apparent conflict, how can we resolve it productively — or at least disagree with respect?

Many people strong hold to an ideology without even realizing it. Or they insist it’s Just the Way Things Are. Most young-earth creationists are this way, and it makes any discourse very difficult.

What can we do to improve?

  • Have respect for other points of view.
  • Be aware that you hold to an interpretation of Scripture, and it may not be correct.
  • Separate major issues from minor issues.
  • Argue respectfully.
  • Respond to an argument on its merits and don’t just dismiss it because “you clearly don’t know the Scripture well enough.”
  • Love.

A tale of four congregations

This is a comparison of four churches we have attended. I want to stress that all four are specific churches (which I am not going to name) and are not intended to be archetypes. All four are truly seeking God’s path, but have very different ways of going about it.

  • Startup
  • MiniMegachurch
  • Organic
  • Liturgical

The Startup church was wonderful; its distinctives and culture resonated with us. It stressed dynamic and semi-autonomous small groups. It stressed discipleship. It stressed growth by church planting. It put a lot of importance on child ministry. We enjoyed true fellowship and found people which whom we could do life together.

The MiniMegachurch has succumbed to the “businessification” of the American church. Its early distinctives and culture have been mostly swallowed up by a cult of personality. The senior pastor is now the CEO, and his vision and priorities are what set the culture and tone. He is the Authority. The sermon is now the pinnacle of every service. The services are very tech-heavy and performance-oriented. Worship is no longer an end in itself; it must now support the sermon, so it has turned into mere manipulation. Small groups, while encouraged, are important only in serving the overall agenda. The church has grown quickly, and there are many new or immature believers. Therefore, the sermon is generally about what the individual must to do improve. Guilt seems to be the prime motivator. Growing at any cost has replaced discipleship.

The Organic church is very small and seems to be made up mostly of people who have been injured elsewhere.  They do things in a fairly non-traditional way; but they have not yet decided who they are. They don’t seem to have clear principles,  distinctives or culture.

The Liturgical church is surprisingly warm and inviting. The service is fairly formal, yet has a balance of reverence and playfulness. At the end of the service, all of the children join in the final songs. Their dancing and simply joy brings a wonderful reminder that we all must approach God as children.  The messages are clearly to the community as a whole. The priests are there to serve the community as we all do the liturgy together. At the end, one of the priests holds the Scriptures in the air, walking down the aisle — again, the image being that are all focused on God, our Savior, and the Scriptures; and not the priest himself.

As you can probably tell, I am finding myself consistently drawn to the Liturgical church. There are a few reasons: They have clear principles, distinctives and culture. They clearly delineate what are core Christian beliefs and what are their own traditions. The priests see themselves as servants of the community, and not as Authority. Therefore they are not threatened by differences. They do not feel the need to micromanage individuals or groups within the church. They know where they have been, and they know where they are going. The people there seem to be going somewhere deliberately rather than running from something else.

What is an ideology ?

Ideologies are at the heart of our deepest debates: political and religious. But we rarely face them head on; we dance around them and often pretend they don’t exist. Many of us don’t know what they are or that we have one.

Whether we realize it or not, everyone has an ideology; they are not necessarily bad things. According to Merriam-Webster, here are the applicable definitions of this word.

ideology, noun

  1. a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
  2. a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
  3. the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program

We all have a systematic body of concepts (number 1) and a manner of thinking (number 2). When I say “ideology” for the rest of this post I am referring to number 3.

The dangers of this type of ideology are

  • collectivist thinking
  • traditionalist thinking
  • grab-bag of unthinking

Collectivist thinking

Here I am defining collectivism as “emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity.” This type of thinking is at the core of racism, bigotry, and stereotypes in general. Since certain attributes are generally true of a group, we assume that all attributes are true of all members of that group.

For example: Many black youth wear hoodies. Some black youth are violent. Therefore, a black youth wearing a hoodie is probably violent. This type of thinking conveniently ignores other facts such as: Many youth in general wear hoodies. Marc Zuckerberg wears a hoodie.

Traditionalist thinking

I define traditionalist thinking as “we’ve thought this way for a long time; how could so many past generations have been wrong?”

I see this argument a lot in the gay rights debate — How could the church have been wrong for 2000+ years? This nicely insulates us from having to think too deeply about the issue. However, this begs the question: How long is it okay to be wrong? 1000 years? 500? If we are wrong, it shouldn’t matter how long we were wrong.

Grab-bag of unthinking

Our ideologies tend to be a grab-bag of beliefs, assumptions, and assertions that often go unexamined.

A tool that has helped me in sorting through the grab-bag that an ideology represents is to separate out its elements into:

  • Principles
  • Practices
  • Tools

Principles are core beliefs, laws, doctrines or assumptions. They underlie everything and should change very seldom. For example, Yeshua said: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” These are clearly principles.

Practices are the way we interpret and apply those principles. These will change periodically, but should always be consistent with the principles. Change may occur because of new information that we learn, cultural shifts, and so on. Paul’s letters in the New Testament contain a lot of discussion of practices, which is why we try to categorize them into descriptive and prescriptive — that is, how things were done then vs. how we should do them now.

Tools are even more subject to change; we use them or discard them based strictly on their usefulness. I would put Bible translations in this category. (At the risk of antagonizing the “KJV only” crowd, I would posit that their error is in turning a tool (the KJV translation) into a principle.)

What are our ideologies?

In my next post I will try to separate out the ideologies that America is struggling with, especially the Christian Church in America.