Monday, December 28, 2009

Yahweh is Salvation

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

As Christmas day dawns, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the primary reason for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ: the salvation of sinners. Did you know that the very name—Jesus—embodies salvation. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Joshua, meaning “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” Indeed, the whole of Scripture is God’s unfolding plan of salvation from the fall in Paradise recorded in Genesis to the promise of Paradise restored in Revelation.
My prayer for you this Christmas—and indeed throughout the new year—is that you may be ever mindful of the reality that God has condescended to use you as the means through which the free gift of the water of life is dispensed to a parched and thirsty world.
Are you thirsty? If so, the concluding words of the last book of the Bible have direct application to your life—“Whoever is thirsty, let him come and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17, emphasis added). In essence, there are three steps to this fountain. They are encapsulated in the words realize, repent, and receive.
First, you need to realize that you are a sinner. If you do not realize you are a sinner, you will not recognize your need for a savior. The Bible says we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Furthermore, you must repent of your sins. Repentance is an old English word that describes a willingness to turn from our sin toward Jesus Christ. It literally means a complete U-turn on the road of life—a change of heart and a change of mind. It means that you are willing to follow Jesus and to receive Him as your Savior and Lord. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15).
Finally, to demonstrate true belief means to be willing to receive. To truly receive is to trust in and depend on Jesus Christ alone to be the Lord of our lives here and now and our Savior for all eternity. It takes more than knowledge (the devil knows about Jesus and trembles). It takes more than agreement that the knowledge we have is accurate (the devil agrees that Jesus is Lord). What it takes is knowledge, agreement, and trust in Jesus Christ alone. The requirements for eternal life are not based on what you can do, but on what Jesus Christ has done. He stands ready to exchange His perfection for your imperfection.
According to Jesus Christ, those who realize they are sinners, repent of their sins, and receive Him as Savior and Lord are “born again” (John 3:3)—not physically, but spiritually. The reality of our salvation is not dependant on our feelings, but rather on the promise of the Savior who says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
If you have just confessed your faith in Jesus Christ, you can rejoice in the angelic proclamation of salvation given to the shepherds on that very first Christmas: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). If on the other hand, you have already experienced salvation, you have the inestimable privilege of taking the message of salvation to the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:16–21)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Immanuel- God with Us

As we approach Christmas—we’re getting closer and closer every day—we are attempting to get people to prepare their hearts for Christmas, just as they so often prepare their homes.

Today, I want to spend just a few moments at the opening of the broadcast talking about the word “Immanuel”. In Christ, all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form. The reason we rejoice at Christmas is that the baby born to Mary and Joseph on that very first Advent was no ordinary child. As Matthew records, this baby was the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of Immanuel, which literally means, “God with us.” And so often that washes over us, but consider the fact that the one who spoke and the limitless universe leapt into existence, tabernacled among us in flesh. The ultimate self-revelation of God, Jesus the Christ, was and eternally is God incarnate, literally God in flesh.

Although John’s Gospel does not include a narrative of the birth and the infancy of Jesus, the doctrine of the incarnation is so aptly summed up in his introduction when he says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Word became flesh and the Word made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The clear testimony of Scripture is that in the incarnation, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. He existed as the perfect unity in one person of a divine and human nature.

And Paul so eloquently expressed the profundity of this truth when he said to the Philippian Christians, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” As the God-man, the spotless Lamb of God lived a perfectly sinless human life. He died a sinner’s death to sufficiently atone once for all for the sins of humanity. Of course, without both natures, Christ’s payment would have been insufficient. As God, his sacrifice was sufficient to provide redemption for the sins of humankind. As man, he did what the first Adam failed to do. That’s why Paul says “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous,” or as he explained to the Corinthians “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

This Christmas season as you think of the word “Immanuel”, remember that Christ came to be with us in human flesh. and we will regard Him that way for all eternity, because in the end, we’re going to have an experience that not even Adam and Eve had, the living resurrected Christ in our midst. As we learn and grow and develop without error and as forever, we will explore the glory and grandeur of the God who saved us by his grace.

Again, this Christmas season, don’t get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle, but prepare your heart, because I fear that so often we treat Christmas very much like we treat prayer. We get down on our hands and knees, and before those knees have ever touched the ground, we’re already thinking about rushing back into our frenzied lifestyle. In fact, we treat Jesus Christ, Immanuel, no different than we treat other cherished relationships. We want intimacy without the investment of quality time. Change that this Christmas season.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is There a Utopia Outside of Christ?

I was thinking the other day about the early 90’s, and being with Chuck Colson in Chicago when he was receiving The Templeton Award, and he talked about the enduring revolution of the cross. In his message and acceptance speech, he mentioned the myth of a coming Utopia. Of course, this is the myth that human nature can be perfected by government, that a New Jerusalem can be built using the tools of politics.

Chuck made it clear that from the birth of the twentieth century to the present age ruthless ideologies claimed history as their own. They’ve moved swiftly from nation to nation on the strength of a promised Utopia. They pledged to move the world but could only stain it with blood. Communism, Fascism, we’ve seen rulers who bear the Mark of Cain as a badge of honor. They pursue a savage virtue, a virtue devoid of humility and humanity.

We have seen more people killed in this century by their governments than all of histories wars combined. We have seen every Utopian experiment fail, exhausted from the pace of its own brutality. Utopian temptations, however, persist. Even in the world democracies, stripped of their terrors perhaps, but with none of their risks. The political allusion still deceives, whether it is called “The Great Society,” “The New Covenant,” or “The New World Order.” In each case, it promises government solutions to our deepest needs for security, peace, and meaning.

Now of course, we have the new socialism of our own age. The problem is that government has taken over for a failing church; a church today that labors under the allusion of a coming Utopia apart from the coming of Jesus Christ.

The false teachers continue to persist. They tell us that we are waiting for a great revival, because the leaders of that great revival have already emerged upon the scene. They are claiming to be greater than the Old Testament prophets. Moreover, should Old Testament or New Testament prophets appear today, then Moses, Abraham, and Paul would be standing in line to get the autographs of these new anointed leaders![1] We are told they will empty out hospitals and fill stadiums, that they will bring a healing Utopia to the land.[2]

We fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie. To recognize the lie would be wise? And the only way to do it is to become so familiar with truth that when falsehoods loom on the horizon, you will be able to identify them immediately.

It is true that only in Christ and His coming will we have Utopia. Communism will not give it to us. Communism works in heaven; however, you don’t need it in heaven because in heaven there will not be a fallen human nature. As has been well said, Communism would also work well in hell, but they already have it there.[3]

The flawed and fallen human nature prevents a coming Utopia. It also prevents government to be able to do what Christians ought to be able to do, and that is to love and labor in the midst of sorrows. To bind each other wounds, to be the balm of Gilead in the lives of other people. We cannot promise panaceas, but we can give people peace in the midst of the storm.

I pray—as we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas—that each and every one of you will think carefully and clearly about how you can be involved in meeting the needs of the down trodden and the poor. Most of all how you can communicate the Gospel, to give a cup of cold water, the water of life to a thirsting soul and the only way you can do that is to be equipped.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are You Ready to Reach the Masses?

Within my “Legacy Study Bible Reading Plan,” we are now in November and staring to read the book of Romans. You want to get into Romans, one of the great pieces of literature in general, but from the perspective of a Christian, this is the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.

You see in Romans chapter 1 Paul talks about the light of creation and demonstrates that all people everywhere have the light creation. Then in Romans chapter 2, he talks about the light of conscience, the fact that the knowledge of God is emblazoned on the tablet of our heart. So, on the one hand, in Romans chapter 1 we have an outer light, but on the other hand, in Romans chapter 2 we have an inner light.

If we respond to both the light from without and the light from within, we are assured by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 3 that we will receive the light of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul can say in the book of Acts, “From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (17:26-27).

I am often times comforted by those words from the Apostle Paul, for recently I was in Asia. I visited to Korea, Taiwan, and mainland China, and there I often times saw the teeming masses beguiled by ancestral worship or folk religions. I stood in Shanghai and watched the faces as they went by, and I wondered do they know the Lord? How can they come to know Christ? Again, I was comforted by the knowledge that they have the light of creation, and that God has placed within them the light of conscience, and if they love light as opposed to darkness, God will give them the light of Christ.

God can do this supernaturally, He doesn’t need human agency, but in God’s economy He is determined that we are the agents of Good News in a normative fashion of salvation. In other words, we have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit move through us in the process of communicating the grace, peace, and love that only Jesus Christ can bring to the human heart.

Now the question is “are we ready to seize the opportunity or are we consumed by apathy?” We stand in Western Christianity on the precipice of a great divide. Are we going to continue conforming our selves to the culture or are we going to conform ourselves to Christ, take up His cross and follow Him? If we are we can turn things around in Western Civilization, we need to get back to the basics that made Western Civilization great. Western Civilization became great because it was built on the DNA of Western Christianity.

If we fail to do so, we may well watch a shift of power, not power in terms of military power (although that is possible as well) but in terms of an economic resurgence of power in Pacific Rim nations that is unprecedented, which something we are seeing today. We are also seeing a resurgence of authentic New Testament Christianity growing at such a rate that—quite frankly—the Communist Chinese government doesn’t know what to do with it. If you have a 1,000, 10,000, or even 100,000 Christians, you can imprison and persecute them, but when it comes to numbers like 100 million, perhaps now you have a force so great that it can turn an empire upside down, very much like what happened in the first century.

So we see a balance of powers that is shifting and changing in a very dynamic fashion before our eyes. The question the West faces is, “are we going to go back to the Cross or are we going to be consumed by the culture?”

The mission of the Christian Research Institute is to equip committed Christians to go back to authentic New Testament Christianity, to take up their cross, follow Christ, to become ambassadors for Christ, as opposed to secret agents who are unwilling or unable to communicate the Gospel but haven never blown their cover before an unregenerate world. So secularism, hedonism, and humanism are on the march and Christianity is on the decline. We can change things, if we will get back to basics. Again, our mission is to equip people, and we want to equip literally hundreds of millions to think Christianly and therefore not be conformed to the culture but rather be transforming agents in the culture.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Exposing Richard Dawkins

I was aware of and had even begun reading Richard Dawkins’ new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, but then I saw the promotional material around it and it’s absolutely shocking.

On the dust jacket inside cover it says, “The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is menacing as ever before. In American schools, and in schools around the world, insidious attempts are made to undermine the status of science in the classroom. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance”[1] In other words, as Dawkins has said elsewhere, if you don’t believe in evolution “that person is ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked.”[2]

The promotional piece also says,

“In 1859 Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke. But he surely would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question it’s veracity. Now the author of the iconic work The God Delusion takes them to task.”[3]

How does Dawkins take people to task in his latest work, The Greatest Show On Earth? His presupposition is that Darwinian evolution based on common descent is an established fact as reliable as the law of gravity. In other words, you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are the product of common descent that you came from monkeys. Well, even worse maybe you came from a turnip or a banana. Surely Dawkins would not go that far would he? Actually he does:

Evolution is a fact: beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt, evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eyewitnesses to the Holocaust. It is the plain truth that we are cousins of the chimpanzees, some what more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins still of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips…continue the list as long a desired.[4]
Let’s think about that for just a second…here’s Dawkins is suggesting that you and are the distant cousins of bananas the turnips if you don’t believe that your “ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked.”[5] He is saying Darwinian evolution is a fact. He is saying that inequality within in the races is an established fact. In other words, he is saying that there is a degradation of races.

Remember he’s not just touting evolution in general, he’s touting Darwinian evolution. He must be as aware as anyone else that Darwinian evolution postulates survival of favored races in the struggle for survival. This was the subtitle of Darwin’s magnum opus, The Origin of the Species. Dawkins must know that Darwinian evolution postulates that:

The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world. [6]

So Dawkins must understand that for evolution to succeed it is as crucial that the unfit die as that fittest survive! If the fittest give up survival for the sake of allowing the unfit to survive, the unfit would infect the fit with their unfit genes, rendering evolution inoperable. So Dawkins is the latest militant purveyor of inequality and to believe in the biblical Christian position of equality is “ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked.”[7]

No doubt since he is taunting Darwinian evolution, he is well aware of Darwin’s statement in his book The Descent of Man under the subheading “Difference in the Mental Powers of the Two Sexes,” he attempts to persuade his followers that “the chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn [sic] by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman.”[8] In this sense, he is well aware of sexism.

Yet, here we are in the twenty-first he’s touting Darwinian evolution and saying that any theologian who doesn’t buy it or believe it is ignorant. He saying that there is an insidious attempt afoot to undermine evolution and that fact of the matter is nobody is trying to destroy evolution.

Evolution is crumbling! We now, Mr. Dawkins, live in an age of scientific enlightenment. We now know that a fertilized human egg is not merely a microscopic blob of Jell-O. It is among the most complex, ordered structures in the entire known universe. So we’re no longer in 19th century science, Richard Dawkins, we’re in the twenty-first century and because we are evolution is crumbling under the weight of evidence.

There is no real evidence for Dawkins’s ape to man icon. That’s a dogmatic declaration not a defensible argument. The icon has become the argument. Again we should be able to question that which does not appear in the book of nature; which is the odd predilection of people like Charles Darwin and his new rottweiler Richard Dawkins.

You know of course that Darwin’s has had a lot of dogs. He’s had his bulldog Thomas Huxley who said,

No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still the less superior, of the white man…It is simply incredible [to think] that…he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites[9]

In other words, Huxley carried on the racist idea of inequality suggested by his mentor, Charles Darwin. Now in the twenty-first century, you could maybe give a pass to Thomas Huxley he was a 19th century guy, but Dawkins in the twenty-first century is carrying on the legacy and now wants to believe that nothing produced everything but that we evolved from turnips.

It’s simply amazing to me but I’ve said this numerous times pagan are going to exercise their job description, their going to march lock step unthinkingly into the abyss. That’s not the problem. The problem is Christians who do not have an answer to Richard Dawkins. They don’t have an answer when Richard Dawkins suggest that a woman reproduces the evolutionary process or that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This is basically the idea that the emerging embryo goes through all the evolutionary processes. Here’s how Dawkins’s puts it,
That irascible genius J.B.S. Haldane, who did so much else besides being one of the three leading architects of neo-Darwinianism, was once challenged by a lady after a public lecture. It’s a word-of-mouth anecdote, and John Maynard Smith is sadly not available to confirm the exact words, but this is approximately how the exchange went:
Professor Haldane, even given the billions of years that you say were available for evolution, I simply cannot believe it is possible to go from a single cell to a complicated human body, with its trillions of cells organized into bones and muscles and nerves, a heart that pumps without ceasing for decades, miles and miles of blood vessels and kidney tubules, and a brain capable of thinking and talking and feeling.
But madam, you did it yourself. And it only took you nine months.[10]

And he calls “that irascible genius”? I mean this is a plain old, simple category mistake. First, in Dawkins view life is not frontloaded to become all that life is it has to gain information along the way over billions of years. Conversely, a conceptus or zygote contains chemical instructions that fill more than 500, 000 printed pages. In other words, it is front loaded every aspect of the developing embryo from height to hair color is included in that genetic library.

So this is a plain old category mistake, but Dawkins brings this out and calls it “irascible genius” and the gullible buy it! And Dawkins gets millions of dollars, an advance on a book, puts it out, and he says there you have it an iron clad case for evolution against Intelligent Design.

Now if you watched the movie Expelled with Ben Stein, you see that Dawkins does possibly believe in Intelligent Design of some sort, to see this is priceless, first he sweats and then stumbles and there is this exchange between Ben Stein and Richard Dawkins

Ben Stein: What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in Darwinian evolution?
Richard Dawkins: It could come about in the following way: It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded on to, perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that, if you look at the details of bio-chemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.
Stein: Wait a second! Richard Dawkins thought that Intelligent Design might be a legitimate pursuit?
Dawkins: And that designer could very well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe. But that higher intelligence itself would have to had have come about by some explicable or ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously. That’s the point.[11]

Dawkins doesn’t have an answer for the most basic questions, yet he provides an iron clad case for evolution.

Well, again pagans are going to exercise their job description they’re going to be pagans. The question is: are you as a Christian going to exercise your job description? Can you take the very weak arguments that militantly portrayed, deceptively communicated, with great pomp and circumstance and use them as springboard or opportunity for sharing truth? Not the caricature of Christianity but truth and then do this with gentleness and respect. If you can, be on the vanguard of doing something totally significant in the twenty-first century. That is, you can be announcing the demise of evolution, and demonstrating that it is no longer tenable in an age of scientific enlightenment.

Then we can get back to the basics, and that is Richard Dawkins and all else who don’t believe in the design revolution are sitting in a very dark room. They may have very good eyesight, but the room is dark, and they can’t see.

We have many resources on this topic such my book, Fatal Flaws and the DVD I mentioned earlier Expelled and much, much more. Check these all out at our Website of or call us at 1-888-7000-0274.

[1] Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc, 2009). Inside front cover of the dust jacket to the hardcover edition.
[2] Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9. This is also quoted by Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, (Downers Grove: IVP, 1993), p. 9.
[3] Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc, 2009). Inside front cover of the dust jacket to the hardcover edition.
[4] Ibid., 8.
[5] Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9. This is also quoted by Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, (Downers Grove: IVP, 1993), p. 9.
[6] Letter from Charles Darwin to W. Graham, 3 July 1881, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. 1, 316, quoted in Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (London: Chatto and Windus, 1959), 343, quoted in Henry M. Morris, Scientific Creationism, public school edition (San Diego: C.L.P. Publishers 1981), 179; emphasis added.
[7] Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9. This is also quoted by Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, (Downers Grove: IVP, 1993), p. 9.
[8] Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, in Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed., Great Books of the Western World, vol. 49, Darwin (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), 566.
[9] Thomas H. Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York, Appleton, 1871), 20, quoted in Henry Morris, The Long War Against God (Grand Rapids, Mich, Baker, 1989), 60.
[10] Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, 211.
[11] Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein (Vivendi Entertianment/Premise Media Corporation, 2008).

Is the Bible the Words of Men or God?

I was thinking the other day, just how significant it is for Christians to be able to demonstrate that the Bible is divine, rather than merely human in origin. More and more versions and translations of the Bible are out but few and fewer people are able to demonstrate that these are the words of God and not the words of men.

An article in USA Today on October 19, 2009 caught my attention. It’s about Robert Crumb, who is Underground Comic’s hero. He created his very own version of the Genesis in pen and ink for the very first time. This had a big spread in USA Today, and he is interviewed and said, “To take this as a sacred text, or the word of God or something to live by, is kind of crazy.”[1]

So here’s a guy who spent four years translating the book of Genesis, 50 chapters into comic book style, illustrated with pictures. When he gets all done with the process, he says; “I don’t believe a word of it. I don't believe it's the Word of God. I believe it's the words of men,” and by the way he also says; “So much of it makes no sense.”[2]

Now the problem is not with Robert Crumb saying what he said. The problem is that Christians have not been adept at demonstrating that the Bible demonstrates itself to be divine as opposed to merely human in origin.

I’ve written about this in various forums such as The Legacy Study Bible and Doctrines Flip Chart and for the cliff notes version you can go to The Complete Bible Answer Book. I’ve given them to you in such a way that you can memorize the information. All these resources give you what we believe and why we believe it.

Now one of things we believe is that these are the words of God, not because we have blind faith, but rather because we have faith in evidence. In other words, we can demonstrate this to be the case. So the Christian faith is never irrational. It’s based on revelation, but it’s not irrational. We say not that there is a victory of reason in Christianity, but rather a victory of revelation which informs reason.

If all you have is reason, you’re like a man with perfect 20/20 eyesight sitting in a dark room. Your eyesight is laser sharp, but if you’re in a room pervaded by darkness, no matter how good your eyesight is, you can’t see. Revelation informs reason and God has givens us revelation not only through nature but also through sixty-six books of knowledge. In others words the Bible, the first of which is the book of Genesis.

The problem is that if you’re illustrating the book of Genesis, and you start with the wrong presupposition instead of that God is condescending to speak to us in language that we can attain to you might very well get the wrong impression. Why would God say to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” If God knows everything, He would know where they are. Now if you don’t understand that the language of the Bible condescends to our corrupt fallen nature and speaks to us in language that we can attain to, then you’re going to get the wrong impression of what Genesis is communicating.

You have to know the art and science of Biblical interpretation. Again, these principles are available in various forums such as The Complete Bible Answer Book or Doctrines Flip Chart. Wherever you get the information, if you’re a believer make it your passion to reach not repel a Robert Crumb. Don’t say, “What a terrible guy he is, how could he say such things.” Pagans are going to exercise their job description in not believing the truth of God. A Christian’s job description is to be a well informed ambassador for Christ.


[1] Illustrator R. Crumb is Drawn to God with his latest Project” by David Cotton, USA Today, 10/19/09 (

[2] Ibid.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Discerning Myths that Abound

October 12, 2009 was Columbus Day, and its kind of ironic for me because just the other day, maybe about a week ago, my 10 year old daughter came up to me and told me the most incredible story. She told me the story of Christopher Columbus and his raw courage in the face of mutinous sailors who were in mortal terror of sailing over the edge of a flat earth. I thought to myself, my goodness, for a 10 year old, you’re waxing eloquent on Christopher Columbus. So I asked her; “Where in the world did you get that type of information?“ “Social studies,” she replied, “my teacher taught it to me.” And I thought, how incredibly bizarre that a teacher in an age of enlightenment would teach such a thing?

The truth of the matter is for the first 15 centuries of the Christian era, unanimous scholarly opinion pronounced the earth spherically. In other words, everybody knew that the earth was not flat. In fact, the whole notion of the flat earth was concocted as a way to discredit Christianity. They tried to point out even after Christopher Columbus had established the world to be round in 1492 that the church by its highest authority continued to erect theological barriers to this geographical truth. In other words, the church was bent on teaching flat earth even though Christopher Columbus had demonstrated that the earth was a sphere. So this is a story or myth concocted to discredit Christianity, and yet the irony of ironies is that even in Christian schools, Christian school teachers are teaching young Christian students this myth. Again, this is a complete myth, and the ancient Greek philosophers knew that the earth was spherical.[1]

So one of things that you as a Christian need to do, and this is one of the purpose of the Bible Answer Man show, is to learn to put on your bologna detector, because this ministry and the Bible Answer Man broadcast is all about discernment, learning how to exercise your God given discernment skills. You have to discern between wheat and chaff and heat and light. There are all kinds of myths circulating in the secular and spiritual world and you have to know the difference between truth and error. Why? Because we are told in the Word of God to put on the belt of truth (Eph. 6:14), it is the belt of truth that holds up the Christian’s armor. When that buckle breaks the cloak that protects you against the devil’s schemes simply falls from your shoulders and crumples to the ground.

We live in an age in which lies travel halfway around the world before truth has had a chance to put its boots on. An Internet lie flies around the world in micro seconds, so it is ever more important for you as the believer to distinguish truth from error because, if not we’re going to fall for all kinds of things.

We’ve got a guy coming to Charlotte; his name is Bishop John Shelby Spong. He is a former bishop in New Jersey and he’s writing all kinds of books, and in his books, he is making the following declarations:

• There is no supernatural God who lives above the sky or beyond the universe.

• There is no parental deity watching over us from whom we can expect help.

• The idea of Jesus in perpetual orbit doesn’t mean much to me.[2]

In other words, this guy is a sort of fundamentalist on the left. He thinks that when the Bible says, “Jesus ascended into Heaven” that He’s traveling out of our little universe now and struggling with oxygen deprivation. He doesn’t understand that Jesus as the God-Man transcends time and space. In other words, he’s not particularly sophisticated, but he’s writing and speaking under the guise of sophistication that we now live in a scientific world and there is no need or room for the supernatural. He goes on to say,

There are no record books, and no heavenly judge. Heaven and hell are human constructs designed to make fair in some ultimate way the unfairness of life. [3]

Well, if you look at his background you get some kind of an indication of where he’s coming from, and we can all commiserate with him. Spong tells the story that he lost his father—a man given to alcoholism, gambling, cigarette smoking and profanity—and yet “when callers coming to our home to express their regrets,” they told him “what a fine Christian man” his father was, and that he “should be comforted by the conviction that he was to receive his reward.” Spong says, “The words simply did not add up. If religion was designed to comfort me, it failed. It brought me, rather, into intense emotional conflict."[4]

So he uses this experience as a way of getting rid of the supernatural. There wasn’t any great relief in the story he was being told, therefore, the biblical story from his perspective can’t be true. He’s now going around the country asking disaffected Christians to consider his crucial questions such as “What will happen if our suspicions are validated and this defense shield called religion loses its credibility?” In other words, we live an age of scientific enlightenment, religion doesn’t work any more, it’s the belief of obscurantist. So can we still survive even though we have demonstrated that God does not exist? He goes on “What will happen if the external supernatural God of religion dies? Can the human psyche bear the experience of self-consciousness without the narcotic of supernaturalism?"[5]

This is the idea Spong has of God, who was a bishop in an Episcopal church by the way. Spong thinks that Christianity is crutch for weak minded people. It’s a narcotic that we take to feel good. But all of Spong thinking is a delusion and it’s in this age when God is said to be a delusion, which by the way Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion is also coming to Charlotte. That we have to demonstrate—not as an apologetic issue but as the apologetic issue—that the universe didn’t spring out of nothing, but that God created the universe. This should be obvious to every thinking person anywhere that a cause requires an effect equal to or greater than itself. You don’t have a cosmos without a cosmos creator. This wouldn’t make any sense. Spong and Dawkins are 19th century thinkers living in the 21st century—that’s the problem—and they act like the Christians are a 19th century thinkers living in the 21st century, nothing could be farther from the truth.

We have all the evidence and support we could possibly want for a biblical worldview, and John Shelby Spong is headed in the wrong direction. Should I feel sorry for him? Well of course, he’s 78 years old and he’s facing his own mortality. Of course I feel sorry for him. But what I don’t feel sorry for is the fact that he is a man with premeditation leading all kinds of people into a ditch.

It was Spong who said all of the following: no biblical scholar thinks that John wrote the fourth gospel;[6] John’s Gospel does not contain “a single word…actually spoken by the historic Jesus;”[7] the Gospels presented a Jesus who is sometimes as “narrow minded, vindictive and even hypocritical;”[8] no reputable scholar accepts the virgin birth;[9] the miraculous works of Jesus were myths;[10] Paul was a “self loathing” “rigidly controlled gay male;”[11] the Bible is full of errors and contradictions;[12] and anyone who holds that the Bible is without error is ignorant, culturally backwards[13], fearful and insecure people who are not serious Christians who don’t even read the Bible they pretend to defend.[14] Now I’ll give him that last point that he is generally right that Bibles are gathering dust, but what is not gathering dust is those that discredit the Bible.

We live in an age of professors gone wild: Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens, Bart Ehrman, Richard Dawkins, and Bishop John Shelby Spong. They are touring the country, they are on television shows, and radio shows.

Our local newspaper talks about Spong’s venues as being overpopulated by people, and that everyone wants to come hear him talk, and they so intrigued. They don’t know that he’s talking nonsense. Why? They don’t know truth.

At CRI and the Bible Answer Man we have a tag line, “Because Truth Matters.” We do what we do “Because Truth Matters.” We defend the reliability of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus Christ “Because Truth Matters.” We demonstrate that the universe is not eternal and that it did not spring out of nothing “Because Truth Matters.” We say how one views their origins will ultimately determine how they live their life, that evolution is the great cosmogenic myth of the twenty-first century, and we ask people to live with eternity in mind “Because Truth Matters.”

John Shelby Spong is dead wrong when he says, “Heaven and hell are human constructs”[15]. The ancients knew better. Without a Heaven and Hell, Hitler dies in the comforting arms of his mistress without any eternal consequences. The ancients knew better than to think such rubbish. Ideas have life and death consequences; consequences not just for time but for eternity.

I’ve addressed a lot here on history and John Shelby Spong. I would recommend three resources, first on the Bible and theology I recommend my Complete Bible Answer Book. On history I recommend the book Truth and Transformation by Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi and his CD series Must the Sun Set on the West. All available at our Website of or by calling us at 1-888-7000-0274.


[1] See Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Burton Russell (Praeger Paperback 1997)
[2] “Controversial Bishop Returning Home,” by Miriam Durkin, The Charlotte Observer, 10/9/09, More Information Section of Web article, under What Spong Thinks (

[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid. Main article

[5] Ibid. Main article
[6] Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, John Shelby Spong (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 193.

[7] Ibid. 191.
[8] Ibid. 21.

[9] Ibid. 215.

[10] Ibid. 129-33, 143-44
[11] Ibid. 109-126.

[12] Ibid, 16-23.

[13] Ibid.9.

[14] Ibid., 3-5, 79, 133, 217

[15] “Controversial Bishop Returning Home,” by Miriam Durkin, The Charlotte Observer, 10/9/09, More Information Section of Web article, under What Spong Thinks (

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If you are not healed, do you lack faith?

A social media question via Facebook from Frieda recently got my attention. She wrote, “How do you answer people when they tell you, you are lacking faith? My brother is a paraplegic since he was three years old and has prayed all his life to walk. He knows he will walk one day with the Lord but people in the church feel it necessary to comment to him that he doesn’t have enough faith. It has caused him at times to question God on why he cannot get his healing but he does understand that God uses him because of his disability. So what should his answer be to these people?” So imagine this scene you have a paraplegic in the church, and people are telling the paraplegic he doesn’t have enough faith because if he had enough faith he wouldn’t be a paraplegic.

If you look at the reasoning that is used, you hear the echoes of the prosperity teachers. You hear T.D. Jakes saying, “The devil is a liar. Healing is the children's bread. It's promised to us in the word of God…God can do things that medicine cannot do.”[1] So if God has promised us healing and someone is still a paraplegic it means that you don’t have faith in their view.

This of course begs the question: What is faith? Faith teachers have a ready answer for you. They look at Hebrews 11:1 and they say faith is a force, words are the containers of the force, and through the force of faith you create your own reality. So if you learn to access the proper vocabulary, use the right words, you’re not going to be a paraplegic because Hebrew 11:1 says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” So—say the Faith teachers—you have right it there, faith is the substance—the stuff—and words the containers of the stuff.

Of course that’s not what Hebrew 11:1 really has in mind. A proper reading of Hebrew 11:1 in context demonstrates that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Which is to say; true biblical faith is not stuff contained in your words, it’s not a substance a tangible reality, it’s living assurance, a channel of living trust between an individual and their God.

Faith is only as good, therefore, as the object in whom it is placed. We place our faith in God and we say with Job, “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (13:15). The reason for that is that God has given us enough evidence to trust in Him despite the difficulties of life. He had demonstrated to us that in this life we are going to have trouble because we live in a fallen world. So if you’re a paraplegic, it’s not because you don’t have enough faith, it’s because you live in a fallen world. We are called in this fallen world to put our trust in God and ultimately that trust in God is going too eventuate in a new heaven and new earth in which there will be no more paraplegics. Like Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “They will pole vault the pearly gates,”[2] because then the old order of things will pass away, and everything will become new.

In the meantime, do not follow the Faith teachers or swallow their formulas, they are dead ends and deceptions. The last thing you want to tell a paraplegic is that he doesn’t have enough faith. Some of greatest faith bearers and exemplars of faith that I have met in my life are blind people. Joni Eareckson Tade, a quadriplegic, is my hero of faith and she taught me the true meaning of faith. Through the overflow of a life spent in a wheelchair, she has blessed the lives through her faithful service of literally millions of people around the globe. So encourage those that are hurting that they will one day walk with the Lord and have pity for people in the church who find it necessary to tell people that they don’t have enough faith.

For further information on this topic, please check out my book Resurrection and Christianity in Crisis 21st Century both available at our Website or by calling us at 1-888-700-0274.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Foundation Are You Laying for Christ?

One of the resources that we have available for those that make a donation to the Christian Research Institute is a booklet on rewards. Rewards are not commonly talked about in contemporary sermons but they were common fare in the sermons of Jesus Christ. We see this in the Olivet Discourse, in the Book of Revelation, and the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus Christ is not alone, the apostles spoke about rewards. Whether we’re talking about the apostles Peter, James, or Paul, rewards are a common theme in the Bible. Therefore, we should be familiar with the concept of rewards.

I love what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15,
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

This illustrates the sober reality that some Christians will be resurrected with precious little to show for the time they spent on earth. They “will be saved, but only as one escaping the flames.” This conjures up images of people escaping burning buildings with little more than the charred clothes upon their backs. Christ whose eyes are “like blazing fire” (Rev. 1:14) will incinerate the work of those whose built monuments to themselves, monuments build of “wood, hay or straw.” That will be the lot of even the most visible Christian leaders whose motives were selfish rather than selfless. They were there not for the love of the Master but for the love of what was on the Master’s table.

On the other hand, those who build selflessly upon the foundation of Christ using, “gold, silver, and costly stones” will receive enduring rewards.
For further information on this topic, I recommend getting the whole booklet entitled Rewards! You can get this on our Website at or by calling us at 1-888-700-0274.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is Benny Hinn Right About End Times Prophecy?

Before I went into the studio to do the Bible Answer Man broadcast the other day, I picked up the most recent issue of Charisma Magazine. Sometimes I wonder if these “Christian” magazines are for real. The cover story has a picture of America and the Statue of Liberty drowning in the ocean waves. It says on the front-cover, “Some Christians say the world is coming to an end. Others reject that fear. What can we know for sure about the end times?”[1]

So I opened it to the center spread and here is an article by a leading voice in dispensational thought—Dr. Benny Hinn. And he writes an article titled, “The Fig Tree is in Bloom: What God has Through the Modern Creation of Israel is Nothing Short of a Miracle of Bible Prophecy.” So through his special insight, usual unbridled speculation, and subjective flights of fancy, Hinn looks at the Bible and interprets it for us in the article. He notes that there are three specific prophecies with respect to 1948. He says, “I have been told that for centuries Jewish rabbis have been waiting for the fulfillment of three Old Testament passes they believe point to the Messiah’s coming. The first two have already occurred, and the third is taking place right before our eyes.”[2] So you have Jewish Rabbi’s looking at three passages and—in agreement with Benny Hinn—they think that the passages say what Benny Hinn thinks they say.

Benny then lays out these prophecies for us. Number one, according to Hinn

Traffic in the streets of Jerusalem. Nahum wrote of a time after Israel would be scattered and persecuted, when “the emptiers have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches.” (Nah. 2:2). He saw a day when “the chariots come with flaming torches in the day of His preparation…they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, the run like lightening” (vv. 3-4).

The prophet saw cars in Jerusalem and did not know how to properly describe them––vehicles speeding in the streets of the city he called “broad roads.” These wide roads didn’t exist in the prophet’s day, but they certainly do now![3]

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. Now, obviously, all Nahum is taking about is broad places, and I suppose broad places existed in Old Testament times just as they today.

When you read something like this in a Christian magazine or by a Christian teacher, I think the first thing you better do is put on your bologna detector. What can you know for sure? That Benny Hinn does not know how to interpret the Word of God and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who are following him into a ditch. So we have to learn discernment skills, test what these people are saying with scripture really says.

The second thing to do is look at the context, this passage in context is a prophecy concerning the destruction of Nineveh. It has nothing to do with cars in the streets of Jerusalem in the twenty-first century. Nahum didn’t see cars in Jerusalem as Hinn claims, he saw chariots in Nineveh.

We need to look through the subterfuge and deceptive reasoning of men like Benny Hinn, go back to the passage, and realize that Old Testament prophets were not using poor analogies, like saying chariots with flaming torches because they didn’t know how to say cars were fast and had headlights. This is nonsense, this is dealing with prophetic language and hyperbole with what is going to happen to Nineveh.

All one needs to do is pick up the book of Nahum and see that’s what Nahum is writing about. However, people don’t do that they read this and say, “Oh my goodness, the most significant of the prophecies that Jewish rabbi’s believe, we should believe this as well.”

After all the anointed man of God, Benny Hinn, has spoken. Of course this is the same guy who is telling is that faith is a force and words the containers of the force. He’s the same guy who is distorting the nature of God and talking about thousands and thousands of miracles in his venues, but yet cannot produce a single authentic miracle.

The point is simply this, test all things in light of Scripture, hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess. 5:21). Don’t fall for last days fever and don’t read Charisma magazine to get your end times fix. It’s sensationalism, sophistry, sloppy journalism, and it’s seducing people. Quite frankly, it’s like a freak show and it drags Christ’s name through the mud.

For further information on how to interpret the Bible regarding the end times and the Word of Faith Movement check out my books, The Apocalypse Code and Christianity in Crisis 21st Century at our website


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is God Non-Existent Since We Have Evolution?

On some recent speaking engagements in California I spoke regarding the subject of evolution. I used an article from the Wall Street Journal as “show and tell.” It’s titled “Man vs. God” and has a picture of Darwin just about the same size as its picture of God.

I thought it was a particularly poignant because James Watson, who is a Nobel Prize winner and also well known as co-discover of the structure of DNA, made a statement that shows us that we are in a war of ideas. He said, “Charles Darwin will eventually be seen as a far more significant figure in the history of human thought than either Jesus Christ or Mohammed.”[1] This isn’t by some wild eyed liberal that everyone writes off as crazy, this is someone who has won the prestigious Nobel Prize and was co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

It shouldn’t surprise us that pagan intellectual’s write or think like this, they’re pagans exercising their job descriptions. The problem is that their message is heard by multitudes because we as Christians haven’t given a reasonable answer. In other words, we haven’t exercised our job description, which is to be ambassadors for Christ. Some Christians are secret agents who have never blown their cover before the unregenerate world.

In the article in the Wall Street Journal, on one side you have Richard Dawkins, and if Thomas Huxley was Darwin’s “bulldog,” Richard Dawkins has been aptly described by some as Darwin’s “rottweiler.” Dawkins makes various statements that are of great concern. He says, “Evolution is the creator of life… the greatest show on earth, the only game in town.” “Evolution is God's redundancy notice, his pink slip.” “God is not dead. He was never alive in the first place.”[2] This is the Darwinian evolutionary point of view.

This is set up as a Pro/Con, on the one side, you have the Darwinian evolutionists and on the other hand you have someone who supports the notion of a creator. In that particular corner stands Karen Armstrong. What does she say? She asks, “But what of the pain and waste that Darwin unveiled?” What of the “death and racial extinction”? What of the callously cruelty and evolutionary waste? Her answer is that the notion of God like any “good myth showed you how to cope with mortality, discover an inner source of strength, and endure pain and sorrow with serenity”[3] in an arbitrary world controlled by natural selection. Her point is not that God is real; the idea is that a belief in God can help you deal with the pain and waste that Darwin unveiled. In this view, the Bible is no more than psychology book that can help you cope with the evolutionary process.

All of this is being said in an age of scientific enlightenment in which the fossil record is saying no to evolution. It’s being communicated in an epoch of time, in which ape-men, fiction, fraud, and fantasy abound. It’s being communicated in a time when design without a designer is ever more untenable. In an epoch of time in which empirical science explodes the myth of Darwinian evolution. If you’ll notice I’m very careful with my words because we as Christians certainly believe in microevolution or changes within kinds, but the notion that a lizard becomes a bird is singularly untenable in an age of scientific enlightenment.

My point in saying all this is to note that we are in a war, a battle, and it is crucial that you as a believer are equipped to give a reason for the hope that lies within you with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). We somehow have this notion that science is the child of secularism, that is false. Science could have only arisen within a Christian worldview. A secularist could have come up with alchemy but not chemistry, with astrology but not astronomy. The notion that secularism birthed science is completely false and as Christians we are commanded to know how to answer those who are leading our children and our children’s children astray. This should not be done by bolviating but with gentleness and respect, using our well reasoned answers as springboards or opportunities to share the grace, truth and love of the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence.

[1] As quoted by Alister McGrath ( and quoted by Tom Frame in his book, Evolution in The Antipodes: Charles Darwin and Australia (University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney, Australia, 2009) 2. ( . All websites accessed 9/22/09.

[2] “Man Vs God” with Essays by Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong, The Wall Street Journal 9/12/09 (
[3] Ibid.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

English Bible Over The Past 500 Years

I would like give a small perspective from where we’ve come from since the 16th century. The English Bible had it’s genesis in the writings of Oxford theologian John Wycliffe. He was remembered as the Morningstar of the Reformation and his translation from the 1380’s remained the only English Bible until the invention of moveable type in the 16th century. He held that the Bible was the exemplar of Christianity and the sole authority for faith and practice. So his writings were condemned as heresy. To put the Bible into the hands of the laity was an outrage against the authority of the church. In fact forty-four years after Wycliffe died Pope Martin V had his bones unearthed, incinerated, and then the ashes unceremoniously thrown to the wind.

Perhaps no single person made a greater contribution to the legacy of the English Bible than Oxford and Cambridge scholar William Tyndale. Like Wycliffe, Tyndale purposed to make the Bible available to the commoner so that a boy who drives the plough would be as familiar with the Bible as the Pope. After a lengthy imprisonment, Tyndale—like Wycliffe before him—was tried for translating the Bible into the English language and was martyred. In fact, October 6th, 1536, his was body ablaze and he cried out "Oh Lord, open the eyes of England's king!" His prayer found an answer, ironically enough, in King Henry VIII, who authorized an English translation of the greatest volume to be chained to every church pulpit in the land. The popularity was so great that parishioners gathered in parishes to experience formal readings from its pages. Thus was in 3 years of his death, the translation work of Tyndale became virtually ubiquitous.

This legacy of a common English Bible from Wycliffe to the New King James Version however, is just one part of the story. The even greater legacy, to my mind, is God's faithfulness in preserving His Word from the time of the original writings to the present. You can be absolutely certain that the Bible is a faithful representation of the original writings. It’s not a copy of copy, of a copy, with fresh errors cropping up in each stage of the process. It is divine as opposed to merely human in origin.

Think with me for just a moment. From the 16th century and the invention of moveable type to the twenty-first century, we have had the Bible, and today I fear that we have Bibles of every color, shape and size but few people are familiar with what’s encapsulated in it’s pages. The reason is that we have so many things that capture our attention: television, movies, sports, video games but the Word of God has been gathering dust.

In light of wanting to get you to get into the Word of God like never before, we are offering a new product that is unprecedented. This is a Bible for the 21st century. It’s audio theatre that could produce a surge of faith and Bible literacy. It’s the Word of Promise Complete Audio Bible that has over 500 actors and sound effects for each book of the Bible. I encourage you to check it out at our Website of

Confronting the Influence of Darwin

I would say that evolution is one of the most spectacular examples of how a speculative idea, for which there is no hard evidence, can come and overtake the thinking of a whole society––in fact dominate a civilization. In light of the tragic consequences of the evolutionary dogma, it is incredible to think that evolution is still being touted today as truth.

As I’ve noted in my book Fatal Flaws, outside of Scripture, Darwin’s magnum opus, The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, could well be the most significant literary work in the annals of recorded history. In other words, this is not some minor issue. Sir Julian Huxley called the evolutionary dogma it spawned “the most powerful and most comprehensive idea that has ever arisen on earth.”[1]

It is the most fundamental of all intellectual revolutions. The twentieth century cannot be understood apart from this intellectual revolution. The far-reaching consequences of can be felt in “virtually every field—every discipline of study, every level of education, and every area of practice.”[2] The most significant consequence, however, is that it undermines the very foundation of Christianity. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Darwinian Centennial Convention, which celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. With great pomp and ceremony Sir Julian Huxley proudly boasted,

“In the evolutionary system of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created; it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul, as well as brain and body. So did religion. Evolutionary man can no longer take refuge from his loneliness by creeping fro shelter into the arms of a divinized father figure whom he himself has created.”[2]

Of course humanity’s newfound autonomy ended up sacrificing truth on the altar of subjectivism. Ethics and morals no longer determined on the basis of objective standards, but rather by the size and strength of the latest lobby group. With no enduring reference point, societal norms were quickly reduced to mere matters of preference.

The responsibility for demonstrating that it is not truth but in reality is a farce should no longer be left in the hands of a few hired guns in the bastions of higher learning. It is crucial that all thinking human beings are involved in the process of battling for truth. In this line of thinking, we recently featured a new DVD on the Bible Answer Man to help in this matter.


[1] Sir Julian Huxley, Essay’s of a Humanist, (New York: Harper & Row, 1964, 125, quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Darwin’s Leap of Faith (Eugene, Ore: Harvest House, 1998), 39.

[2] Julian Huxley, Associated Press dispatch, Address at Darwin Centennial Convocation, Chicago University, 27, November, 1959. See Sol Tax, ed. Issues in Evolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 252, quoted in Henry M. Morris, That Their Words May Be Used Against Them (El Cajon, Calif.: Institute for Creation Research, 1997), 111.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Was Moses Resurrected Before Christ?

I recently received a question in the mail from Ernie in St Louis, MO. He asked, “If Moses was raised before Christ, doesn’t this conflict with the concept that Jesus is the first fruits of those who are have fallen asleep? In other words, how could Moses have been resurrected before Jesus Christ?”

The answer to that question is the operative word “if,” because in truth it was Jesus not Moses who was the only person in history to have received a glorified, resurrected body. Others like Lazarus in John 11 was resuscitated and then died again. Only Jesus Christ was resurrected immortal, imperishable and incorruptible.

Moses—like all those who died during the Old Testament era—experienced the presence of the Lord in Abraham’s bosom or in paradise, but still awaits the bodily resurrection, which will occur at the second appearing of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel accounts of the transfiguration of Christ, we see appearances of Moses and Elijah, but there is no reason to think that they had yet received permanent resurrected bodies.

In fact, the object of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to demonstrate that He is the Lord of Glory, and the transfiguration reveals to the disciples something of the pre-incarnate glory of Jesus Christ, and then to anticipate His coming exaltation. The disciples were called not to marvel at a resurrected Moses but rather to come to grips with the greater reality in the presence of Jesus Christ that the soon to be crucified Messiah was going to be vindicated in resurrection and ascension in glory.

This why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the first fruits; then when he comes, those who belong to Him.” Paul is of course echoing what Christ had already said in John 5:28-29, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear this voice and come out––those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

We can take this question and relate it to ourselves because when we die, we are going to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. Then we will await a time in which Jesus returns and then our soul will return to our body and our body will be resurrected immortal, imperishable and incorruptible. So Christ is the first fruits and then we too will have what we long for: a new paradise, no longer will the earth groan in travail, it will be liberated from decay, and no longer will we groan in our mortal bodies because then they will be immortal bodies.

In the meantime, Abraham, Moses, everyone who died in the Old Testament, my father who died in 1997 and all those who die prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will await the glorious transformation of their mortal bodies, and we have the first fruits in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and because He lives, we know we too will live.

A Question about Seventh Day Adventists

It seems more and more these days as I open the mail, I’m getting letters from some Seventh-day Adventists that say that since I worship on Sunday I’m taking the mark of the beast. They’re Seventh-day Adventists traditionalists and they often major on the aberrant doctrines like soul sleep, sabbatarianism, and the seer status of Ellen G. White.

I recently received a letter from one of these Adventists, they said, “As you (Hank Hanegraaff) know, you have never responded with a coherent thought. It’s apparent that you are either unable or unwilling or both to acknowledge scriptural truth. Over 150 years ago, Ellen White predicated you and your type as elements of Protestantism reaching across the sea to join the Roman power in advocating for the counterfeit sabbath. You are setting the stage for the mark of the beast.”

Those are particularly sharp words and they raise a number of issues. Let me attempt to counter with some semblance of coherent thought.

I would say that the traditionalist wing of the Seventh-say Adventist church has denounced Sunday worship as the end time mark of the beast but not correctly or biblically because there are good reasons why millions of Christians gather on the first day of the week and worship. It’s a result of the resurrection. It was because of the resurrection that we celebrate the rest we have in Christ, who delivers us from sin and the grave (Heb. 4:1-11). For the emerging Christian church, the most dangerous snare was a failure to recognize that Jesus is the substance that fulfills the symbol of the Sabbath.

If we insist on being slavishly bound to the laws of the Old Testament be forewarned, it could be hazardous to your health. You could be put death because according to the Mosaic law anyone who does work on the Sabbath “must be put to death” (Ex. 35:2). The Sabbath was “a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col. 2:17).

Just as it would be an abomination and trampling of Christ’s blood under foot (Heb 10:29) to go back to temple priest and sacrifices, it would be wrong to go backwards and worship the shadow rather than the Savior in whom we have our Sabbath rest. Religious rights must bow to redemptive realities.

In respect to the contention that I’ve taken on the mark of the beast because I worship on Sunday. I’ve explained this consistently in my writings and on The Bible Answer Man broadcast that biblically the mark of the beast is parody of the mark of the Lamb. The mark on the foreheads of the 144,000 in Revelation 14 symbolized something. It symbolizes identity with the Lamb. So it’s not a stretch to say in Revelation 13, the chapter preceding Revelation 14, the mark of the beast would symbolize identity with the beast. Jesus says that He will write “the name of my God, the name of the city of my God.” (Rev. 3:12). Jesus is not talking about scribbling on your forehead.

The notion that the mark of the beast is Sunday worship simply has not biblical basis. It might be sensationalistic and it might sell well, but the question is: Are we as Christians going to be tethered to the text of Scripture, or are we going to go off on subjective flights of fancy as a result of the latest prophet who hits the scene?

Ellen G White claimed divine authority for her prophecies[1] and she was obviously wrong when she prophesied that she would be alive at the Second Coming of Christ.[2] The prophetic words of Scripture always expose the pretenders. They fail the biblical test given in the Old and New Testaments, and often times—as Peter put it—they end up using boastful words that appeal to the desires of human nature, then entice people, many times people who are just escaping those that live in error, and they promise freedom but they enslave you to depravity. (2 Peter 2:1-22). The bondage of tradition should always give way to the text.

I also recently took a call on The Bible Answer Man broadcast from David in Portland, OR who grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church. He left the Seventh-day Adventist church but still had questions on the Sabbath, like: Since the Saturday Sabbath was ordained before sin entered the world, how does Christ’s sacrifice on the cross change this?

In response to David’s question I noted the following: In the Old Testament you have a pattern and the emphasis for the symbol of the Sabbath. So going back to Gen 2, you have a Sabbath as a celebration of God’s work in creation by resting on the Sabbath day. This is a hierarchy in creation that is given from separation of light from dark, the water above from the water below, the sun, moon, and stars, the dry land and so forth all the way to man. Then the creator Himself, God, who rests on the Seventh Day, which of course He doesn’t need to rest because He’s tired, but we have a picture that God is giving us a pattern and that’s the point. After the Exodus, the Sabbath expands to a celebration of God’s deliverance from oppression in Egypt.

When you go to the New Testament you have the ultimate shift in emphasis. It’s not saying you shouldn’t work six days and rest on the seventh as a pattern. It’s saying that pattern culminates in the substance of Jesus Christ who fulfills the symbol. That’s why Hebrew 4:1-11 says that in Christ we have our Sabbath rest.

I think it’s also particularly important to realize we’re not bound to Sabbath laws, and that’s why I mentioned earlier that if you want to keep Sabbatarian laws in the way that their given in the Old Testament, why not keep them in total? If you’re going to do that, then you have to put people to death who do any work on the Sabbath. In fact, driving your car would be a lethal penalty.

Even if you make a differentiation between the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath of the Feast Days, you still have to grapple with the notion of pattern and that Jesus is culmination of that pattern. Also that we celebrate on Sunday because we’re celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The early Christian church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. Within weeks, thousands of Jews willingly gave up their theological tradition that had given them their national identity. This is because God gives the early church a new pattern, the operative word being pattern, because Christ rose on the first day of the week and that’s what we’re celebrating. This is the apex of the Christian worldview, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul says that if we don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have no hope because we are still dead in our sins, and our preaching and faith is useless (1 Cor. 15: 15-19). So Christ appeared to his disciples on the first day, as well as the Holy Spirit descending on Pentecost (Sunday); therefore, the Jews gave up a tradition seeing the culmination in Christ.

The Christian church did not arbitrarily make this decision. This is not a new decision. This was the pattern of the early Church because it was based in the resurrection of Christ in whom we have our Sabbath rest. We rest on Sunday because we’re remembering the resurrection of Christ. In Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2, and Colossians 2:16 we see this pattern.

Also church history tells us that early Christians worshipped on Sunday. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch around the turn of the 1st century said, “If therefore, those who are brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope. No longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day on which also our life has sprung up again by Him, by His death, whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith and therefore endure that we might be found disciples of Christ our only master.”[3] Or Justin Martyr, writing less than a 150 years after the death of Christ, said “On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long at time permits…but Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day on which God having wrought a change in the darkness and matter made the world and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.” [4]

You can worship on Saturday or on Sunday the point is not the day. The point is what you are remembering and that Jesus fulfills all the types and shadows. Therefore, the pattern changes and we worship collectively in honor and remembrance of the resurrection. It’s not sin to worship on Saturday. If you want to worship on Sunday, I won’t tell you you’ve taken the mark of the beast. The point is that you recognize that Jesus is the substance that fulfills the shadow and that apex of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the resurrection, Jesus demonstrates that He doesn’t stand in a line of peers, but that He is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all that came before.

For more information on the Sabbath please check our Website at for articles and also check out my entry on it in The Complete Bible Answer Book.


1. Ellen White, Selected Messages, Book 1, from Ellen White and Her Writings, chapter 2, from section entitled “No Boastful Claims” found on page 34; chapter 2 from section entitled “The Work of A Prophet and More,” from page 36.

2. Ellen White, Early Writings (1882), from “Experience and Views,” from “Duty in View of the Time of Trouble,” from page 58($fn=default.htm$vid=default); Ellen White, Early Writings (1882), from “Experience and Views,” from “Mark of the Beast,” from page 64 ($fn=default.htm$vid=default) page 67. Please note for this and all references, CRI utilized the search function through the Ellen White Estate that can be accessed through$fn=default.htm$vid=default, “Table of Contents,” “Complete Writings of Ellen G. White.” Please note that information quoted that is in brackets, as well as numbers and other notations (not including ellipses), were included in original text.

3. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, Chapter IX.—Let us live with Christ. (,therefore,those,who,are,brought,up,in,the,ancient,order,of,things,have,come,to,possession,a,new,hope#highlight).

4. Justin Martyr, The First Apology of Justin, Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christians (,the,day,called,sunday,all,who,live,in,cities,or,country,gather,together,to,one,place#highlight).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Is it necessary to speak in tongues in order to be a Christian?

I recently received another social media question via Facebook from Donica. She writes, “I was recently part of a Word of Faith church in Houston and speaking in tongues were a must in order to have the Holy Spirit. My question is this, is it necessary to speak in tongues in order to be a Christian?”

I address this at length in The Complete Bible Answer Book; here’s a portion of that answer.

It has become increasingly common for Christians to suppose that the full gospel includes the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues but that is not what the Bible teaches. The apostle Paul makes this plain, believers are “all baptized by one Spirit in one body (1 Cor. 12:13) yet not all who believe speak in tongues (vv. 10, 30). I don’t know if you can get any clearer. So tongues can be a manifestation it can’t be the only manifestation.

Furthermore, even if one does speak in tongues it is not a guarantee that they been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging symbol.”

Also, Scripture makes this point clear, the normative sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit isn’t speaking in tongues, it’s the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, repentance from sin, and obedience to God. (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 John 4:12-16; cf. Eph 1:13-15). In sum righteousness, not tongues, is the core of Christianity compressed in a single word.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Should Christians Use Birth Control?

I recently got a social media question via Facebook from Robert, he said, “Studies have shown that a birth control pill can cause an abortion, that the pill makes the uterus inhospitable to a pre-born infant. It seems that protests against abortion should also be against the pill. This potential side effect seems to me to make the pill off limits if indeed you’re a strong pro-life advocate. With this in mind, here’s my question, Should Christians use birth control?”

My answer would be that with recent advances in biotechnology it is crucial to consider the issue of birth control through the lens of a biblical worldview.

While there is much debate among Christians on the question of whether birth control is appropriate in any form, there is no question that birth control methods designed to destroy or prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg or embryo should be avoided at all costs. Here’s why: from a biblical worldview we hold that from the moment of conception, an embryo is a living, growing person made in the image of God. Thus the “abortion pill” (RU486) must never be used! In similar fashion, the “morning after pill” and birth control pills should not be used, not only because they are designed to prevent fertilization but also because their designed to prevent implantation if fertilization should occur.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Are the Contents of Islam?

A recent survey of world religions states that Islam is the worlds’ fastest growing religion with over one billion followers.[1] In others words, Islam is the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population. We’ve developed a new resource that answers all types of questions on Islam such as: Is the Islam that we hear about and their God Allah, the same God you find in the Bible? Is the Qur’an Credible? Who are the Shia? What about the Sufis? What connection does Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have with regular Islam? What is Sikhism? How do you witness to Muslims?

Have you ever heard the words, “There is no deity except God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” “These the first words that every Muslim baby hears and they are often the last words that a Muslim utters upon his death bed.” For over 1 billion “this is not merely a doctrinal creed––it is the foundation for every facet of their lives. The Islamic faith is not simply an exotic Arabic religion…over the last 100 years it has awakened and is spreading worldwide at an almost unprecedented rate. If then Lord’s “Great Commission” is to be fulfilled, it is essential that we, as active, concerned Christians, understand what Islam is. We must both know how to relate to the Muslim, and how to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ (Jude 3), ‘with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15).”[2]

Some quick fast facts for you about Islam[3]:

· Muhammad was born in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) in AD 570

· At age 25, he married a rich 40 year-old widow. This gave him “rank among the notables Mecca” but perhaps more importantly gave him the time he needed to devote to spiritual matters.

· Allegedly one night during the month of Ramadan (which incidentally started on August 22, 2009) he heard a voice which said, “Thou Art the messenger of God, and I am Gabriel.” It was at this point that Muhammad said “he realized his calling and prophetic mission.”

· “In AD 630 Muhammad marched on Mecca with a force of 10,000 men…the inhabitants of Mecca swore allegiance to the prophet and for the first time the ‘Muslim call to prayer’ was heard…two years later Muhammad died.”

· “The Qur’an is believed to be God’s final and complete revelation to man.”

· “The Qur’an has much to say about Jesus, but the one thing that it emphasizes more than anything else is that He was only a man, a messenger of God, not the Son of God, or God in the human flesh.”

· Orthodox Muslims maintain that Jesus did not die on a cross; they maintain that God made someone look like Jesus and the look-a-like was crucified in place of Jesus.

· Most Muslims believe the Jesus “was bodily taken up into Heaven by God. Most Muslims also believe that He will ‘come again at the last day, slay anti-Christ, kill all the swine, break the cross… He will then reign as a just King for 45 years, marry and leave children, then die and be buried near Mohammad at Medina.’ ”

· “All Muslims believe that Muhammad was the greatest apostle and prophet of all.”

· All Orthodox Muslims believe in a heaven, where true believers will exist forever in a garden of beauty and joy. In this Garden the Qur’an in Sura 55:56-57 and 52:20 says there will be “In them will be (Maidens), Chaste, restraining their glances, Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched” and they will have “beautiful, Big and Lustrous eyes.”

· Salvation is based on good works, “there is no need for a Savior, and in any case God Most High alone can save.”

Islam then has the universally know “five pillars.” This is I think one of the charms of Islam. They are easy to remember and very easily implemented. It starts out, “There is no deity except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. The second pray five times a day facing Mecca The third fast. The fourth give alms. And the final pillar is the pilgrimage to Mecca.

For all this information and much, much more I encourage you check out this great new resource on Islam, entitled Islam: What You Must Know. You can get at our Website of or by calling us at 1-888-700-0274.


[1] The List, The World’s Fastest Growing Religions, Foreign Policy (

[2] From Joseph Gudel’s article “Islam’s Worldwide Revival” in Islam: What You Must Know The Best of the Christian Research Journal (Published by CRI, Charlotte, NC, 2009), p. 30-31.

[3] Ibid., 32-43

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can a Christian Believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution?

There was a recent article in USA Today in the Forum section entitled, “We Believe in Evolution and God”. It also has the subtitle, “Nearly half of Americans still dispute the indisputable: that humans evolved to our current form over millions of years. We’re scientists and Christians. Our message to the faithful: Fear not.” It’s written by Karl Giberson and Darrel Falk. They write, “Like most scientists who believe in God, we find no contradiction between the scientific understanding of the world, and the belief that God created that world. And that includes Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.”[1]

What I find difficult to believe is these men are lending credibility as Christians, as believers in God, to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Charles Darwin was a racist and sexist. Darwin said, “Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”[2] Darwin had a bulldog that popularized his notions, Thomas Huxley. Huxley had the temerity to say that Negro stock would not “be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.”[3]

As far as sexism is concerned, Charles Darwin was clear, just read his works. He once said in his book The Descent of Man under the subheading “Difference in the Mental Powers of the Two Sexes,” that “the chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn [sic] by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman.”[4]

It’s one thing for Giberson and Falk to say that they believe in evolution, as believer in God, it’s another thing to say that they believe in Darwin and want to save Darwin. Why save the racism and the sexism? My goodness we live in an age of scientific enlightenment.

They go on to say, “Darwin proposed the theory of evolution in 1859 in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. This controversial text presented evidence that present-day life forms have descended from common ancestors via natural selection…Christians hoped the advance of science would undermine Darwin's novel theory, which threatened their understanding of traditional biblical stories such as Adam and Eve, and the six-days of creation. In the years since, Darwin argued natural selection was the agent of creation, the evidence for evolution has become overwhelming.” Earlier in the article he had said that “evolution is as well-established within biology as heliocentricity”[5]

What do they give as this overwhelming evidence? They say, “The fossil record has provided evidence of compelling transitional species such as whales with feet.” This is his overwhelming evidence. Now of course the Bible says that living creatures produce according to their kinds (Gen. 1:24). This doesn’t take anything but reading the Bible for all it’s worth, that’s clear and consistent. It’s incontrovertible, that’s what the Bible teaches. This is in stark contrast to the evolutionary hypothesis. Where is the evidence in the book of nature for common descent? Scant fossil evidence is around for the notion of common descent or for one kind evolving into another kind, a hippo evolving into a whale.

Furthermore, in an age of Scientific Enlightenment there is molecular evidence that contradicts fossil evidence. To go from a hippo to a whale requires the stretching of credulity beyond the breaking point. It means that it would require: changes in the skin to make it impermeable to water; an eye protective system that would require massive alterations of brain; diving/emerging mechanisms and a respiratory system so that the whale doesn’t contract the bends; the lactation system; not to mention the existence of sonar. In other words, to believe that hippos became whales takes a lot of a faith. Not faith in evidence—faith in blind faith—not at all faith in reason! This isn’t reasonable faith.

In the article, they continually make a false dichotomy between faith and reason. As though the scientist has reason, the Christian has faith, so let’s all get along and dance and be happy and sing. The truth is that the Christian believes in faith founded in a reputable fact.

I’m still amazed, quite frankly, that USA Today in the Forum would publish an article like this. Again, it’s one thing to believe in evolution, it’s another thing to blame God for it. But in the worse of all cases, you have these guys not only believing in evolution, blaming God for it, but then defending Darwin 19th century view of evolution as if it is now have been proven to be true. If you going to laud Darwin, don’t forget what I said earlier, he was a racist and a sexist.

If you don’t think that ideas have consequences, just think back to eugenics. For eugenics to succeed, it is crucial that the unfit die, as the fittest survive. If the unfit continue to survive indefinitely, they would infect the fit with their unfit genes, and evolution wouldn’t take place. So eugenics took Darwin’s theory of evolution to its logical conclusion. That’s why they took the unfit and sterilized them, or as it unfolded in the Nazi’s death camps, they exterminated them. All done in the name of Darwinian evolution! I think it’s about time we woke up in this age of scientific enlightenment and realized that Darwin was anything but enlightened, and the Bible is anything but obscurantist. This doesn’t mean that we have to allegorize the Bible, it means we have to read the Bible for all it’s worth.

In this article, they set up straw-man after straw-man. The straw-man is always you people that don’t believe in theistic evolution, you try to shoehorn humans and all of human history into only having been around 10,000 years. They attack this straw-man as if this were the only option provided in the Christian community.


[1] “We Believe in Evolution and God” by Karl Giberson and Darrel Falk, USA Today, 8/10/09 (

[2] Letter from Charles Darwin to W. Graham, 3 July 1881, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. 1, 316, quoted in Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (London: Chatto and Windus, 1959), 343, quoted in Henry M. Morris, Scientific Creationism, public school edition (San Diego: C.L.P. Publishers 1981), 179; emphasis added.

[3] Thomas H. Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York, Appleton, 1871), 20, quoted in Henry Morris, The Long War Against God (Grand Rapids, Mich, Baker, 1989), 60.

[4] Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, in Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed., Great Books of the Western World, vol. 49, Darwin (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), 566.

[5] “We Believe in Evolution and God” by Karl Giberson and Darrel Falk, USA Today, 8/10/09 (

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Does 2 Samuel 12 approve of Polygamy?

A recent caller to the Bible Answer Man broadcast asked for further clarification as to whether 2 Samuel 12:8 might well suggest that God approves of the practice of polygamy. I promised to provide additional perspective to this very significant question, and I say “significant” in that one may legitimately question a God who approves the practice of polygamy.

In 2 Samuel 12, the Lord, speaking through Nathan the prophet, says to King David, “I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added you many more things like these.”

At face value, this seems to suggest that God gave David multiple wives, and then stood ready to add to his harem with divine sanction. Of course, that’s precisely the problem with pressing Scripture into a wooden literal labyrinth, because—in truth—if Nathan’s words are anything at all, they are ironic. David had just murdered a man in order to have another woman appended to his harem. Despite the generosity of the very God who had made him sovereign ruler of the land, the king had stolen the wife of a servant and that to satisfy his carnal lust. Thus, in language that dripped with irony, Nathan the prophet pronounces judgment against Israel’s king. As such, 2 Samuel 12 hardly constitutes divine approval for the practice of polygamy.

And this is not a singular case. As with David, Solomon, David’s son, had extravagances in multiplying not only horses, but multiplying wives, and that was a significant factor in the unraveling of a kingdom. Who can forget the explicit admonition of Moses in Deuteronomy 17:17: Do not multiply wives or your heart will be led astray! If this applied to the great kings of Israel, how much more the subjects of the kingdom. Moreover, monogamous marriage is clearly taught in Genesis (2:22-24), and then reiterated by Christ himself. Indeed, Jesus went on to say that, “Anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). Not only so, but marriage is an analogy for the relationship that God has with his people, with the Church His one and only bride.

Furthermore, reading the Bible for all its worth involves recognition that the narratives of Scripture are often descriptive as opposed to prescriptive. The fact that Scripture reveals the patriarchs with all their warts and moles and wrinkles is to warn us of their failures, it’s not to teach us to emulate their practices. Far from blinking at David’s polygamous behavior, the Bible reveals that as a result of his sin, the sword never left his home.

Finally, let me say this, as God permitted divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts, so too He put up with polygamy because of humankind’s insolent stubbornness. Indeed, God causes even the wrath of man to please Him. Thus, in His sovereign purposes, He might well have tolerated the practice of polygamy for the very purpose of providing economic stability and security for women trapped within the confines of a patriarchal society. Yet, as redemptive history reveals, God does not simply leave His people where they are—He moves to sanctify them. In the effulgence of Scripture, women are elevated from the confines of a patriarchal society to the status of complete ontological equality with men. As such, the apostle Paul in definitive fashion says just as there are no slaves but only free in the economy of God, so too there is no male or female but all are one in Christ. Indeed, one might well say that the words of Paul in Ephesians 5 have ennobled and empowered women in the West such that far from being chattel, their considered co-laborers in Christ with the very men who are instructed to give up their rights for them.

While Islam abides polygamy, it certainly plays no part in the Christian ethic. Speaking of Islam, we have a brand new book out on Islam, entitled, Islam: What You Must Know. It equips you now how to correctly think about Islam. Unfortunately, we have all sorts of pre-texts about Islam, sophistry, sloppy journalism, and sensationalism has won the day even in the Christian church. We put together this book to help you determine questions such as, “Is Islam a maniacal monolith or is it multifaceted?” “What’s the difference between Shiite and Sunni?” Islam is a mission field on our own doorstep, and I encourage you to get a copy of this book at our website of or by calling us at 1-888-700-0274.