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 (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~mcgrath/Shewsbury%20Darwin%20Festival%202007.pdf) 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. (http://books.google.com/books?id=VdbZB2yCcsIC&pg=PT9&lpg=PT9&dq=James+Watson+Charles+Darwin+will+eventually+be+seen+as+a+far+more+significant+figure+in+the+history+of+human+thought&source=bl&ots=2Ypm4-doG1&sig=eu8qluxBcvYTZo5NyOO_ioweZ2Y&hl=en&ei=tgy5Srv3FMS_tgeQrcX0Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=James%20Watson&f=false) . 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 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574405030643556324.html#U10156404922R1E)
[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 www.equip.org

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 www.equip.org 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(egwdatabase.whiteestate.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm$vid=default); Ellen White, Early Writings (1882), from “Experience and Views,” from “Mark of the Beast,” from page 64 (egwdatabase.whiteestate.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm$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 egwdatabase.whitestate.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm$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. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.iii.ix.html?highlight=if,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 (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvii.html?highlight=on,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.