Category: Answers

Creation Study Part 1

Is there really any evidence for six 24-hour creation days? Was Noah’s flood worldwide, and what were the results? Who was Cain’s wife? What about dinosaurs? Are there problems with Darwin’s evolutionary theory? Read this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones Why it’s important… Explains where we came from, how we came into being, why we believe in marriage, why there is suffering and death in the world, etc. What happened in Genesis forms the foundation for the necessity of Christ’s death. Young Earth Creationists (Biblical Creationism)- Six literal 24-hour days of creation. Earth is 6,000 to 12,000 years old à much closer to 6,000 Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists- Six indefinite periods of time à millions of years, geologic time periods. God’s role varies a bit depending on who you talk to. Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, or Naturalism, taken as a whole, is not compatible with Christianity! *You don’t have to believe in 6 24-hour days of creation to be a Christian. Reasons for six 24-hour days of creation: This is how we would automatically read thisConsecutively numbered, with evening and morningDay in juxtaposition with nightRomans 5:12- animal death before sin if TE is true (Objection is that death does not refer to animal death- there is some possible evidence for this)Creation is finished. Gen. 2:1-3. Demands definite period of time when complete.Hebrew word for day- “yom” can mean ordinary day or indefinite period of time. Cannot mean a long period in a definite sense. (when used as indefiniteà ‘day of the Lord’, ‘day of the Judges,’ etc). It also can refer to the daylight in a 24-hour period.Used 2291 in OT, almost always referring to a literal “day.” When plural (845) always means literal day. When modified by numerals (359) always literal day. When used with evening and morning (38), always a literal day.Other words could have been used, but author used “yom,” which is the only word that can mean a solar day.Adam was created on Day Six, and lived through Day Six and at most natural reading of the text, lived through Day Seven, and died at 930 years old.Literary use: When “day” is first used in Genesis, it cannot be symbolic. A word can only be used symbolically when it first has a defined literal meaning (evening and morning).Gen. 1:14-19: Day Four à “Day” is used 5 times in relation to days, nights, seasons, and yearsEx. 20:8-11: This is the finger of God Himself on tablets. 4th Commandment: Instructs us to work a literal six days, and rest one day, because that’s what He did. The word “remember” in v. 8 always refers back to a real historical event. Real week = Real days of creation. Uses same word. Not millions, not indefinite period. Why did God take six days if He is omnipotent? To set a pattern for our work week.There are many theological problems if you don’t have a literal Adam and literal Eve- go through Romans 5Small evidence: Why would God take so long to create humans if we are the whole point of creation itself? (also explains all the supposed “empty space of the universe”) Objection with 2nd Peter 3:8: First of all, this uses a comparative article- “as” or “like,” which is not found in Genesis. The context is Christ’s Second Coming, and refers to the fact that God is not limited by time. Long or short periods is nothing to God.The second part of the verse cancels out the first part From a Young Earth View, first let’s start from the beginning- How did it all begin? Start at Gen. 1:1 (calculating human history, we can get back to 4004 BC) Heavens- “shamayin” -> entire creation constituting universe outside of earth.Between v. 1 & 2: Some believe in a gap here to allow for the expulsion of Satan which plunged the world into this void state of darkness. [New Age people between this was when the lost continent of Atlantis existed, about 10 million years ago. Spirit beings lived here, and after destruction, the spirits took up residence in Adam and Eve.] Day 1 Created light and dark; Notice that light came before sun and stars. This shows the idea of light itself; its essence. God is always seen as “light” in visions, etc. Light -> Day Dark -> Night You only need light and a rotating earth to achieve day/night, evening/morning. (Read Rev. 21:23-24) [illustration] Day 2 Heb. word for expanse is from root word meaning “to spread out, stamp, beat firmly” which suggests a dome in the rest of the Bible Expanse or firmament -> “raqiya” V. 8 heaven = atmosphere, refers to v. 20 [see illustration: now you have two ‘sections’ of water divided by atmosphere] Day 3 V. 9 → One ‘section’ of water was gathered into one place (like a ball of water, which was earth). Dry land appeared on this ball of water below the atmosphere. [illustration] 11 -> Didn’t actually sprout yet (2:5) Day 4 Lights -> lit. luminaries or light-bearers“Stars also”- differentiated from the Sun, even if made up of the same substance (why I don’t believe in aliens)God already had decided the length of days and nights. Sun, moon, and stars were signs to mark times (day, night, season, year), not astrological. By definition, a sign can only represent something that has already been established, a sign cannot establish the thing itself. Day 5 Flying creatures, sea creatures Day 6 Land animals, Humans Creation of human definitely separate from animalsLet Us (Trinity); polytheism doesn’t fit, even in next verse. The origin of vampires (fictional story) Story of Lilith: Lilith was created before Eve. She refused to submit to Adam, so she fled from the Garden. Eve was created. After expulsion, Adam reunited for a time with Lilith before returning to Eve. Lilith bore Adam children, who are the demons of the Bible. After Adam left, Lilith became the Queen of Demons (or Queen of the Damned) and became the murderer of infants and young boys who she turned into vampires. V. 31 “had formed” indicates something God had completed in pastState of Earth -> Explain of the effects of the water canopy (remember the ‘waters above the expanse/heavens/atmosphere’). No rain before flood, only light mist rising from the ground like Tropical Rain Forest (Gen. 2:5-6) Simply making each day equal millions of years does not make Genesis compatible with typical evolutionary theory, or necessarily even with Old Earth scenario. Wrong Order: Big BangStarsSunMolten EarthFirst Oceans15 Billion yrs/ago10 Billion5 Billion4.5 Billion3.8 BillionWater Covered EarthDry land and plantsSun, Moon, StarsSea and Flying CreaturesLand Animals and ManDay 1-2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6
Posted by Ben Jones

Jesus Christ: Evidence Overview

Did Jesus really live? Did Jesus claim to be God? Is Jesus really the son of God? Read this article in PDF format. Page References are from “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell ·      Paul tells us in 1 Cor 15:12-19 that all of Christianity depends on the facts about Jesus and His resurrection Historicity of Jesus’ Existence Start at beginning- That Jesus Christ is not a legend, but an actual person who existed in history.Historicity of Christ is the foundation for all we believe!Quote from pg. 120Use of Bible- (background on Bible- 25,000 manuscripts, accurately passed down through history, books included in the Bible because they lived up to scrutiny, etc. People don’t believe because of the supernatural)But those few who believe Jesus never existed will not let us use the Bible, or even writings of any followers of Jesus, so let me give you some history of people who were not followers of Jesus, in fact, were anti-Christian, but still recognized Jesus’ existence.Will be a bit of a history lesson, but the most important history lesson you’ll ever get. ◦  Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD) Roman Historian, lived through 7-8 emporersHighly respected, wrote “Annals” and “Histories”Refers to death of Christ and existence of Christians ◦  Lucian of Samosata (150 AD) Greek Satirist, spoke scornfully about Christ/followers, but never assumed or argued He was unreal (pg. 121) ◦  Suetonius (70 AD) Roman Historian, annalist of Imperial House under Emporer HadrianTalked about Christ in “Life of Claudius” and “Lives of the Caesars” ◦  Pliny the Younger (112 AD) Gov. of Bithynia in Asia MinorHe wrote Emporer Trajan- the problem was that he had been killing so men, women and children who proclaimed Christ, should he continue to kill all of them or only some ◦  Thallus (52 AD) In “3rd Book of Histories” makes reference to an odd darkness that enveloped the land during the late afternoon when Jesus died on the cross.Did not doubt Christ crucified or that a strange occurrence happened.He needed to find a reason. Said it was possibly an eclipse of the sun (but is not possible at full moon) ◦  Phlegon (2nd Century) Referred to darkness on the day of Christ’s death. (“Chronicles”) ◦  Mara Bar-Serapion Non-Christian polytheist, Syrian Philosopher who wrote soon after 70AD to his son from prison about Jesus, and compared him to philosophers such as Socrates and Pythagoras Only the beginning- Trajan (punishment of Christians), Macrobius (slaughter of babies in Bethlehem), Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Juvenal, Seneca, HieroclesChristian and Jewish writers with major references to the historicity of Jesus Christ:Flavius Josephus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Quadratus, Epistle of Barnabus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, HegesippusNot until 18th century did ANYONE try to dispute Jesus’ existence! Jesus’ Claim to Diety “Almost everyone who has heard of Jesus has developed an opinion on Him. That is to be expected, for He is not only the most famous person in human history, but also the most controversial” ·      Mark 14:61-64 John 10:24-33John 8:58-59John 5:23-24John 8:19John 14:6-9John 1:1, 14References to people worshipping Jesus. Angels deferred to Him, Disciples deferred to Him- but Christ commanded and accepted worshipSaid “I say to You”Other references to Christ as GodMatt. 1:23, Christ is called “Immanuel” → “God with Us”John 20:28, Thomas refers to Jesus as “my Lord and God”Col. 2:9- “For in Christ all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” The Trilemma: Lord, Liar, or Lunatic Really lived, and his life radically altered human historyQuote from Jaroslav Pelikan: “Regardless of what anyone may personally believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western Culture for twenty centuries. [….] It is from his birth that most of the human race dates its calendars, it is by his name that millions curse, and in his name that millions pray.”Quote from Kennedy- pg. 157So who was Jesus really? Some people believe Jesus is God because they believe the Bible is inspired by God. Since the Bible teaches it, it must be true. But you don’t need this to arrive at the conclusion that Jesus is God.So we know that:Through accuracy/reliability of Scripture and secular sources, that he lived. No legend.Gospel accounts record things He did, places He went, words He saidJesus definitely claimed to be God.So is His claim to Diety true or false?COPY CHART- PG. 158Jesus’ claims must be either true or false. If they are false, then there are two options: ◦  He Knew His Claims were False He Did Not Know His Claims were FalseHe Knew His Claims were FalseThis means that Jesus Christ was a liar.He was also a hypocrite- He told others to be honest, whatever the cost, while He was teaching and living a colossal lieHe was demonic- He deliberately told people to trust Him for their eternal destiny; if He couldn’t back it up and He knew the claims were false, He was unspeakably evil.He was also a fool- It was His claims to diety that led to his death by crucifixion (Mark 14 and John 19:7- “The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be God.’”How could He have left the most profound moral instruction and powerful moral example ever? Ridiculous. How many have heard this? The simple record of these three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the philosophers and moralist who ever lived.Schaff. “How, in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an imposter, a deceitful, selfish, and depraved man, have invented and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? How could he have conceived and successfully carried out a plan of of unparalleled benficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrificed his own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudices of his people and ages?” ·      He Did Not Know His Claim were False You can be sincere and wrong.Think about it: This carpenter is telling a completely monotheistic (one God) culture that He is God and that all of your eternal destinies depends on belief in Him. This is no small flight of fantasy. He had to be a lunatic to the fullest extent.The extent of insanity (psychologists determine this based on the gap between what you think you are, and what you really are)If I said I was the best looking guy in America- “arrogant fool”If I said I was the first president of United States- “over the edge”If I said I was a butterfly, then we would all say I had completely embarked from the shores of sanity.But now, what if I said that I was the God of the entire universe- this is a whole new level insanity (infinite/finite)Lunatics- according to any psychology books and history, there are three main characteristics that are LACKING in someone who is crazy, insane, etc:1) Practical wisdom, ability to read human hearts2) Deep love, compassion (as opposed to self-loving), ability to attract people and make them feel at home3) Ability to astonish, creativity, unpredictability, calm authority“Is such an intellect as Jesus Christ, which was clear as the sky, sharp and penetrating as the sword, thoroughly healthy and vigorous, always ready, liable to a radical and most serious delusion concerning his own character and mission? No lunatic could be the source of such perceptive and effective psychological insight.The truth is, Jesus was not only sane, but He gave us the most accurate formula for peace of mind and heart!! ·      His Claims are True If He is not a liar or lunatic, then He is Lord! Other self-proclaimed god and saviors have come and gone, but Jesus stands head and shoulders above them all!C.S. Lewis Quote: “I am trying to here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic- on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Song of God: or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”You can’t put Jesus on the shelf as a great moral teacher. Not an option. You must decide. ◦  Two Options- Accept Him or Reject Him John 20:31- “But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. However, some will reject this clear evidence because of the moral implications involved. But is this a good reason to reject Truth? Because of consequences it may have on your life and how you live it?When people are presented with Truth, and evidence that backs up that Truth, you must accept it or deny it. So what will you do with Christ? And if you honestly believe He is Lord, then what will you do with it? What are the implications on your personal life? Now that we’ve seen evidence for who Jesus was, it’s time to show the evidence that died on the cross and was raised to life again three days later. The resurrection is the most important part of all of Christianity. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that if it didn’t happen, we are all fools for believing in Christianity, so we need good reasons to believe it.
Posted by Ben Jones
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why would a loving God allow so much suffering in the world? Read this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones Why do bad things happen to good people? That’s a simple version of the number one objection to God’s existence… How could a loving God allow so much evil and suffering in the world? Establishing the Problem This the number one objection to God/Christianity! “Objections to theism come and go. Arguments many philosophers thought cogent twenty-five years ago have disappeared from view. A few other problems continue to get a sympathetic hearing from one constituency or another. But every philosopher I know believes that the most serious challenge to theism was, is, and will continue to be the problem of evil.”—Ronald Nash: 1988, 177. “No! I will never say, ‘My son’s been murdered,’ and ‘God is good’ in the same sentence.”— Dianne Collard, after being reminded of the goodness of God by a friend at the funeral of her murdered son (“My Son Was Murdered,” Today’s Christian Woman: 2000, 42). [song, story of Zosia] Earthquake in Haiti, Earthquake in Japan, Tornadoes in Alabama The whole world asks the big question, not just you personally. From all faiths people ask: Where was God in this unimaginable suffering? Arch Bishop Canterbury (after Tsunamis killed nearly 300,000) stated that ‘this has made me question God’s existence.’ Some Christians, Jews, and Muslims said it is Divine Punishment. Reasons put forth for the great Tsunamis: Hindus- Suffering for misdeeds in a previous life (reincarnation) Some say that God cares and is just as heartbroken as we are, but he couldn’t stop it. Muslims- God caused it in order to kill non-Muslim vacationers on the beaches Buddhists- Nature is punishing people because they are not following the Lord Buddha Catholics- One priest said, “This is a punishment and sign to all of mankind for sin and to show He is boss. In other words, people are so bad, that God is like, ‘to heck with it, let’s do some damage’ And then the poor fisherman from a devastated village says, “The mother has butchered her own children. Either there is no God, or God must be cruel to do this.” Atheists- all the while, the atheist is saying, “Try to explain this one. Haven’t I said this all along? Let’s face reality- are you still gonna try to keep believing in an all-powerful, all-loving personal force who supposedly is in control and listens to your prayers? There is no God, and this only supports that fact.” [ask for examples] Or perhaps it’s not a devastating Tsunami on the other side of the world; perhaps it’s when you watch news about the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Or maybe it’s something in your own life that makes you ask, “What are you thinking, God?” “Why did you let that happen to her?” “Why did you let that happen to me?” “Are you punishing me?” “Are you punishing people around me, and I just happened to be there?” “Are you there?” “Do you care?” It will be personal. This question will come up in your life, and in most every life you will come in contact with; that’s why it’s such an important topic to tackle. Is there any way to still believe in a good, great God, and then look at current reality and somehow come up with an answer that makes sense? You’ll find that not only should evil and suffering not take the legs out from beneath your faith, but it will help substantiate what you have believed all along. Before answering this question I would find out why it is being asked. For someone going through suffering, the intellectual answer may seem dry, uncaring, and un- comforting. For someone contemplating it abstractly, the emotional answer may appear deficient as an explanation for evil. The intellectual answer would be concerned with a rational explanation. The emotional answer would be concerned with how to console those who are suffering and dissolve the emotional dislike of a God who would permit bad things to happen. Intellectual- realm of the Philosopher Emotional- realm of the Counselor For instance, if someone was asking ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ because they were personally suffering, then I would be a friend and sympathetic listener and give an explanation such as this: I would show how God is not a distant, impersonal Being, but a loving God who shares our sufferings and hurts with us. If Christ has endured incomprehensible suffering for us to bring us salvation, surely we can endure the suffering that He asks us to bear in this life, as we await eternal joy in heaven. Think of what He endured out of love for you, and you will more easily trust Him when you walk the path of pain yourself. For the intellectual questioner, here is the problem: God ExistsGod is all-knowing (omniscient)God is all-powerful (omnipotent)God is all-good, all-loving (omnibenevolent)Evil exists in the world They don’t believe all of these could be true at the same time. [Two assumptions are being made here: An all-powerful being can do absolutely everything.A good being would eliminate evil as as far as he can.] They say that God either doesn’t know about the suffering and evil in the world, or He does not have the power to stop it, or He is not a good God. Or He doesn’t exist at all. In many minds, one of these points must be false. Here are a few possible answers: We live in a fallen world. Let’s start at the beginning. Turn to Gen. 1:1. Here we find out what God is like, because He created the earth just the way He wanted it. Read Gen 1: 1-4, 9-10, 12, 21, 25, 27-28, 31. When God created this earth, He had it just the way He wanted it; it was all GOOD, and even VERY good when humans came into the picture. And it was exactly the way we know it ought to be now. So what happened?? How did evil creep into the world? Where did it come from? You know, none of your children are going to have to be taught how to lie. Why is that? Why can’t people just behave? Why can’t countries just get along?Ask yourself this question first: How do we know things aren’t as they should be? How do we know this is good and this is not good? Where did that knowledge come from? Why do we know that the wind blowing over all the new trees you worked so hard to plant is different than hundreds killed in tornadoes? I mean, it’s all just nature- just accept it and move on. How come one makes you question your faith, and one doesn’t? Let’s say your church plans a huge outdoor event. Lots of time, effort, and planning goes into it, but it’s rained out at the last minute. Let’s say the coordinator comes up to you and says, “I can no longer believe in God.” You ask, “Why?” She responds, “Because if God were good, He would not have allowed it to rain out this great, even worshipful, event that we planned for all these people.” You’d think she was being silly. But how come we just know this is different from the questioning that comes from devastation, suffering, and death around the world?This is huge. Why do all of us, no matter your background, religion, or faith, is able to reach outside ourselves to some general universal sense of right and wrong and say that the Japanese Earthquake and the raping of that little girl was BAD? Where did that standard come from? I didn’t make it up, you didn’t make it up. We just know intuitively that some things shouldn’t happen. You say, ‘I just know.’ But how do you know?This may not be emotionally satisfying, but as I said, it doesn’t take the legs out from beneath your faith if you are a Christian. Scripture gives a clear explanation for it. When God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He said ‘everything’s good.’ Sure, its good, everything is good, but of course, they had nothing to compare it to, but then God said, “But I have one rule.” He said, “Don’t eat from the fruit of that tree.” They asked, “Why?” And listen to the reason: He says, ‘on the day you eat of that tree, the day you choose to disobey me, you’ll gain something you’ll wish you never gained.’ ‘You will gain the knowledge of good and evil.’ On the day you eat of that fruit, you will have something that will drive you crazy for the rest of your life, the knowledge of good and evil.’ You know what that means? That’s why we are so aware of how things could be and should be, but it drives us crazy that they aren’t ever that way. Gen. 3:5. That’s the knowledge of good and evil.I know that people shouldn’t abuse children, but they abuse them anyway. If I didn’t know they shouldn’t, then it wouldn’t bother me that they do. It’s why everyone in the world knows that these horrific disasters of hurricanes and tsunamis are bad things, because we live with the knowledge of good and evil. And the way evil came into this world was through sin and with it the knowledge that frustrates us so much.We live in a fallen world. When God made man in His image, He gave him the ability to choose, or ‘free will.’ We see this throughout Scripture from beginning to end- man having the choice to obey or disobey God, to worship or blaspheme. We see this in how God treated the Israelites in the OT and how Jesus talked in the NT (Matt. 23:37) For love to be real and genuine, there must be a choice to reject God, or else we would simply be puppets or robots. What pleasure, glory, or satisfaction would the Lord receive from that?God cannot do logical impossibilities. You can’t have a married bachelor or a square circle- they are directly contradictory. It is a logical impossibility for God to make someone freely do something; it is not logically possible for God to create free creatures without the possibility of moral evil. In other words, some (not all) would argue that man has the free will to do bad things to people, and God cannot stop it directly unless He trumps man’s free will.However, man chose to disobey God. Satan is the ruler of this fallen world where man has chosen himself rather than God. Evil and suffering is in the world because of man, not God. Because of man’s sin. As a result, bad things happen… to everyone. Sin affects everyone, not just the person who commits it. In fact, in a world where man is in a state of rebellion against God the Creator, Christians should expect there to be evil and suffering in the world. · The notion of evil requires the existence of God. What are “bad” things? What is evil? Evil is defined as [ask]“The lack or corruption of goodness”: presupposes a standard of goodness (just as detecting an error is only possible if you know what is correct [me])“profound immorality” (Webster’s): presupposes a moral standard“a departure from the way things ought to be”: presupposes a design-plan. Under atheism, the world just is. Everything has happened due to forces beyond our control, and there cannot be a way things ought/should beAll definitions point us to God- the very standard of goodness, or morality, and the Designer of the universeThere can be no objective evil without a standard of what is good. The only possible standard of good is God Himself. The alternative view of God’s existence is atheism. How on atheism are certain things evil?Upon atheism, there’s nothing special about humans. We are simply accidental by-products of nature that have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust called planet Earth, lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe, and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. (quote from famous atheist, Richard Dawkins) “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference… we are simply machines for propagating DNA… it is every living object’s sole reason for being.”Address this false doctrine: God is the origin of evil. (This is a belief of some Calvinists. Calvinists who believe this think themselves normal Calvinists. Calvinists who don’t believe this particular doctrine normally call those who do, ‘hyper-Calvinists’)Evil stemmed from man’s free choice to disobey God (or in Satan’s case, and angel’s free choice)God cannot do anything against His nature- James 1:13Evil is the very thing that separated us from God and a relationship with Him, and also the reason we need to be saved by the redemptive blood of Christ. (To say evil originates with our perfectly holy and righteous God is not only blasphemous, but illogical)What about when verses that say things like “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”?God has set up certain natural rules, like gravity. Let’s say you are standing on the edge of a cliff and you decide to jump off the cliff for the thrill, and you break both your legs. Who is to blame? Let’s say someone pushes you off the cliff, who is to blame? [ask] [Yes, the force of gravity broke your legs, but obviously you would blame the person who pushed you and not gravity.]What about if you don’t wear any sunscreen at the beach on a hot, sunny day? When you get a terrible sunburn, is it the sun’s fault or yours? [ask]When you reject God, a heart can be hardened. Yes, God does it, but it’s because of a decision that person has made.Think of evil this way: Cold is simply the absence of heat, dark is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good. And good can exist without evil, but evil cannot exist without good. You don’t see just rust- you see rust on things. You must have clean things for there to be dirty things. In the Garden of Eden, everything was perfect before man’s choice to sin. Think about money: You can’t have counterfeit bills without there being genuine currency. But you can have genuine currency without counterfeit bills in circulation. You have to be able to compare the counterfeit bill to the real thing in order to recognize that it is counterfeit. Evil is simply the degradation, or corruption, of that which is perfect and pure.What can you think of that God created as good, but we corrupted? [ask] [i.e. sex]Premises:If objective moral values exist, God (most likely) exists.Evil exists.Evil is an objective (negative) moral value.God (most likely) exists. · Suffering can be a result of God’s discipline and judgment Many of us might think of an example such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, He did what any good and great God would do- He judged sin. We may think that He over-judged or overreacted, but to do anything less would not have shown Himself to be a good, just, and great God.Think about some wild children running around in a grocery store, screaming, pulling on your legs and being disruptive. Every now and then, the mother comes around to give them some more candy and then leaves. Would you say this is a good mother? What about a teenager that talks back and disrespects his father and the father does nothing? What would you think about a God whose prize creation disobeyed the ONE rule and He did not do anything about it. He cast them out of the Garden. Read Gen. 3:22-24 (This was also merciful, as had Adam and Eve stayed in the Garden, they would have continued to eat from the tree of life and live forever in a world now contaminated by sin………………………………………………….. living forever in a sinful and painful world of sickness, degeneration, suffering, and infirmity. God provided for them in the new environment, made salvation available through the promise of Christ, and went on to create a perfect environment for them in heaven) Judgment is in Gen. 3:16. For a woman, part of the curse is pain in childbirth. For man, part of the curse is the ground. You gonna curse the ground? God cursed everything under man’s authority- the earth, the ground, the weather. This is why you never have to plant, water, and fertilize a weed. This is one of the reasons we have natural disaster. See, we overestimate our ‘good.’ We ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But who are ‘good people’? Is anyone really ‘good’? All have sinned. All have selfish motives at some point. Is there any objective way of saying this person is ‘good’ and this person is ‘bad?’ We all have a sinful nature, and it could be argued that no one is actually ‘good.’ Isaiah says our good works, righteous deeds, are like filthy rags to God. (Isaiah 64:6) On the same token, we underestimate the significance of sin in the face of a perfectly holy and righteous God. A God who loved humanity enough to create a perfect environment, then the free will to mess it up, which we did.So when we shake our fist at God and say, ‘you didn’t handle this right’, we are actually saying, ‘I don’t fully trust you.’ But isn’t this the exact same thing that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden? Adam said, “I know you said not to, but I’m gonna do it anyway because I’m not sure you are telling me the whole story.” [Sunscreen analogy: The sun, a good thing in and of itself (as life on earth could not exist without it), bears down and burns all people on Earth. We are all subject to it. As sinners, we are all subject to a just God’s punishment for sin. A just and righteous God must punish all sin… just as the sun bears down on all people. ‘All have fallen short of the glory of God.’ ‘No man is righteous, no not one.’ (Rom. 3:10-12) But He loved us so much that He provided a shield for us, Someone to take the ‘heat’ of punishment for us. God provided us sunscreen, should we choose to use it. The sunscreen of salvation. So suffering can be righteous judgment; and hell is simply eternal separation from God. Sin automatically separates us from God, but hell is also part of the righteous judgment of God. Yes, God can bring suffering about, but it’s because of our choice to sin. And in the case of hell, people go there because they rejected the offer of salvation. They are burned by the sun because they rejected the sunscreen.][Note: Is God glorified by the people who are sent to Hell? Yes. God is glorified directly by those who choose to accept His grace and mercy and go on to serve and worship Him. Or He is also glorified more indirectly through His righteous and just wrath imposed on deserving sinners. But it is our choice how we will choose to glorify God.]Another example: The 10th plague of Egypt [ask]… the Angel of Death went throughout Egypt killing all the firstborn, but the Israelites who had blood on their doors were spared. Direct parallel to Christ’s blood sparing us from eternal punishment for our sins.We need to change our thinking. We are all deserving of judgment and hell. Our daily prayer should be: “God, thank you for one more day of allowing me to be the exception to the rule. You are a good and great God, and today you’ve reminded me that you are a merciful God because you gave me exactly what I don’t deserve.”God’s Discipline- Read Hebrews 12:5-11Moral is: God IS great. God IS good. If only we had been. So when we don’t understand some great suffering in the world or in our lives, its because we don’t understand just how good and how great He is. He could not turn a blind eye to sin. · God works good things OUT of bad things. Clarification! There is a difference between:God causes evil in order to produce a good result.God allows evil, and can work good from it.The primary way that we grow as Christians is to endure trials and suffering. God allowing pain is like a doctor using a needle. These things force us to rely on the only One who will never leave us and who will always see us through. (Ask for examples) Hardship builds character. Think of what a disaster it would be if only good things ever happened to good people. We would be immature, spoiled children instead of strong men and women of God. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Romans 5:3-4; James 1:2-4)What about Job? Everything and more was added back to him. His faith was tested and he was stronger for it. And do you think he appreciated what he had more afterwards or before he had it taken away?God may have good reason to allow evil and suffering.We can’t see the big picture. Sometimes God will allow seemingly terrible things to happen in our lives, but ends up working great things out of them. For instance, an aunt dies of cancer, but 20 people come to saving faith in Christ at the Christian funeral where the plan of salvation is told.Story of Joseph [ask]- sold into slavery, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned for 12 years, BUT was elevated to great authority, saved countless lives from starving in the famine, including his family! (Gen. 50:20) [Holocaust? Worst evil in recent history. What if it was the only way for the nations to freely choose to establish the modern state of Israel (which plays a central role in the End Times)]What is the greatest evil in all of history? [ask] How about the crucifixion of the Son of God? Jesus may have willingly gone to the cross, but men are still responsible for this greatest of evils. God did not crucify Christ; He allowed Jews and Romans to use free choice to condemn and crucify Christ. However, God used it for His purposes and brought out of it salvation for all mankind and a restored relationship to Him. The greatest good came out of the greatest evil.Choas Theory, Butterfly Effect (one small event may have a large and unforeseen effect)Knowing the past, present, and future, God’s perspective is far broader than ours as finite humans. How could we possibly presume to know if God has reasons to allow certain evils? Who are we to decide whether His reasons are valid? Isaiah 55:9; Romans 8:28God Can Use Evil and Suffering to Point People to HimThe Bible says that after Jesus died, there was an incredible earthquake and storm. And when it subsided, the centurion who had just crucified Christ stood there or knelt there, looked up, and said “Truly, this was the Son of God”Egyptian Plagues- ended with Pharaoh saying, “Who is your God?” “He is the One True God” ▪   John 9:1-7 Sometimes it’s up to us how we respond to suffering and whether or not ‘good’ comes out of it. After a tragic event happens, it causes one person to become bitter, hard, angry, and reject God, while someone else may choose to turn to God, trust Him, and become more loving, understanding, and compassionate towards others who are in pain. In some circumstances, the choice we make determines what good comes out of suffering. ▪   2 Corinthians 1:3-4 God is concerned with the state of our soul and whether we will spend eternity with Him, rather than making sure we are able to enjoy the pleasures of our earthly life. It is not God’s purpose to create a comfortable environment for His human pets. We are not God’s pets and our chief purpose in life is not happiness, but knowledge of God and salvation, which will bring ultimate happiness. Many evils may occur in life which seem pointless with respect to producing happiness, but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God. The goodness of salvation and an eternal relationship with Him so far outweighs the suffering of our short time on earth, that even the worst trial should seem insignificant in comparison. (Romans 8:18; 2 Cor 4:16-18) ·      Where would God draw the line? Would you ask him to stop part of the evil, or all of it? This would lead to God controlling everyone’s actions, including ours, in order to stop all suffering and evil. You say, well, he could stop MORE of it! How do you know he hasn’t? How do you know how many times God may have protected you or your loved ones from harm and you never knew about it?There is arguably still more good in the world than evil. Generally, people find life worth living. Otherwise, everyone would commit suicide. When things get bad, most people look to the future in the hopes that it will get better. God could very well have created a world which has the most ‘good’ possible, given human freedom. ·      What about contradictory prayers? This might be best shown in an example, though I recognize this is a little more extreme. Let’s say a group of people are praying for someone’s safety on the road. Another group of people are praying for a rare heart transplant for their son. If the first person dies in a car wreck, the heart will be used to save the dying son. If the person does not get in a wreck, the son dies because an appropriate heart is never found. In some circumstances, two peoples’ different prayers cannot both be answered, and inevitably something bad happens to a good person. ·      Some ask, If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, why doesn’t He do it? Just because He hasn’t yet, doesn’t mean He won’t. The Bible says that He will wipe every tear from our eyes, that there will be no more sickness and pain, and that all people will be held accountable for the evil they’ve committed. So why hasn’t He done it!? Because of them… those people out there who don’t believe yet. Maybe because of some of you. He is delaying His righteous wrath, judgment, and consummation of history in anticipation that some of them, some of you, may still put your trust in Him. He’s delaying everything out of His love for us. (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) What about suffering as a result of natural disaster? (hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes) Many of the points made above still apply to suffering as a result of natural disaster.There is a valid argument to be made that the earth reflects the fallen state of mankind. The state of the earth has grown more tumultuous as mankind has continued to disobey God and degenerate in sin. (The trend of more severe and more frequent natural disaster is blatantly stated in the Gospels and in Revelation as a sign we are nearing the End Times)From the young earth view, climatic natural disaster can be seen as an even more direct result of man’s sin. Under this view, there was a water canopy surrounding the earth at the beginning of time. This provided a stable, tropical climate for the entire earth. The water canopy precipitated upon the earth in Noah’s Flood, which was a punishment from God as a result of man’s sinfulness. Without this canopy which served as a sort of ‘hyperbaric chamber,’ not only did humans not live as long, but the earth was more susceptible to climatic natural disaster (hurricanes, tornados, etc). See Creation StudyIf it were not for mankind’s sin, the suffering from natural disaster would be drastically reduced. If they had built the levees better in New Orleans, there would not have been all the flooding. Consider the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunamis that have affected third-world countries in Asia. If their governments were not corrupt, or if every person on Earth was completely selfless, then the poor in these countries would not have been forced to live in unsafe housing. Their shelters may not have been so poorly built that they collapsed under the stress of an earthquake or monsoon. The money would have been there; the aid would have been more quickly available and in greater force. Can you imagine if the whole world (especially the USA) was focused on helping others rather than gaining power and living luxuriant lifestyles? A world where every person and business entity gave up all unnecessary dollars to help their fellow man? There is no doubt that there would be much less suffering in this world.The same natural event that is a curse for one may be a blessing for another. Some things are necessary for the ecosystem. Forest fires kill many forms of life, but also are essential for the continued survival of other species. End with one of my favorite verses: John 16:33
The Problem of Evil and Suffering

Abortion: Biology and the Baby

When does human life begin? What about a mother’s rights versus her baby’s rights? What does the bible say? Read this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones Where is the most dangerous place on earth for humans? This is not just a play on words; the most dangerous place on earth is the womb. If you can just make it those 9 months, you have a real shot at having a full life. In the United States, 1 out of every 5 babies are killed in the womb. In black communities, the number is far higher. In New York, 37% of all pregnancies end in abortion. In China, the number is far higher. These statistics are from the two most reliable sources on abortion… the CDC and the Guttmacher Institute. What should be the safest, most secure and comfortable place on earth for a human being has literally become the most dangerous. Let me give you one more statistic that is most eye-opening. 30% of aborting women identify themselves as Protestant Christian. The need to understand this issue and give a caring, intelligent apologetic response to this issue is vital in our church today. And why we need to do whatever we can to be Christians who make a stand and invoke change in regard to the recognition, celebration, and protection of life at all stages. Remember, we are up against a multi-billion dollar industry. Planned Parenthood, which accounts for less than 20% of abortions in the US, has received billions of dollars in government grants and contracts, approaches a billion dollars in revenue each year, and profits around $100 million each year. This isn’t an argument against abortion; it just shows that the industry has a strong incentive for abortions to continue and increase. Appeal to Logic: Logic should make it readily apparent that a baby in the womb is simply a person at an earlier stage of development. “Fetus” is simply Latin for “little one.” When a couple goes through the tragedy of having a miscarriage, their loved ones grieve along with them, recognizing that this couple lost a baby. They didn’t lose a ‘blob of tissue’, or just a ‘product of conception;’ the couple is devastated because they fully recognize that their child died. At the same time, in many cases, both the couple and their loved ones also believe that if the child was unwanted, the couple should be able to kill the child. (See, there is no physiological difference between the unborn child in each case, thus the real argument pertains to the rights of the mother, not the personhood of the unborn, which we will discuss later). Racism and Abortion… the two most illogical issues in our society. Why would someone of a different color be of less inherent value, and why would a person at an earlier age be of less inherent value? [In Presentation, show Photo of me and Norma] History (1973): Roe v. Wade (TX) and Doe v. Bolton (GA) Roe v. Wade legalized abortion itself (until viability), or rather, disallowed states from being able to ban abortions. Doe v. Bolton allowed it for any reason at any point in pregnancy, including partial-birth abortion. Since then, over 60 million children have been killed by abortion (surgical abortions). This does not include chemical abortion or abortifacient contraceptives.Jane Roe = Norma McCorvey. Norma dropped out of school when she was 14, and married into a very abusive relationship. After she got pregnant, she left him, and moved back in with her mother. Soon after, she admitted to her mother that she was sexually attracted to other women; her mother then disowned her and took custody of her child. In 1969, Norma discovered she was pregnant with her third child and wanted to abort the baby. She came home to Dallas, TX where she was convinced by friends to falsely claim that she had been raped so that she could legally obtain an abortion (rape and incest were only exceptions). The scheme failed because there was no police report documenting alleged rape, and later she officially admitted to lying about the rape. She tried to get an illegal abortion, but the site had been closed down by police. She was then referred to some attorneys. (The baby was born before the case was decided). The case went to Supreme Court without her permission.Three basic rulings… 1) A woman’s right to privacy included the right to determine the outcome of her pregnancy, 2) An unborn child is not considered a “person” within the meaning of the Constitution, 3) States could only ban abortions in cases where child had reached viability and there is no health threat to the mother.Norma also came out soon after about a long-term lesbian relationship with her steady partner. In 1994, she converted to Christianity, and was a pro-life activist until her death. She also stated decades before her death that she was no longer a lesbian. From her second book, “Won by Love”: I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week- old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby! I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear. Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and Sandra Cano (Mary Doe) say they were lied to by attorneys and both were pro-life Christians advocating against abortion until their recent deaths. McCorvey never gave permission for the case to go to the Supreme Court, and never had an abortion. Sandra Cano claims she had no idea she was even the plaintiff in her case- having never had an abortion, never wanted an abortion, and never believed in abortion (see book Supreme Deception). Sandra Cano- Extremely poor and uneducated woman. She was living in poverty and became pregnant with her 4th child. At the same time, she was going through a divorce, and wanted full custody of her child. She was referred to an attorney Margie Pitts Hames. Little did Cano know, Hames was fighting for the pro-choice cause, and Cano was the perfect candidate. Hames then tricked Cano, and knowing that she wouldn’t know better, got her to sign an affidavit about wanting an abortion amid a plethora of other signed documents. This is one of the most deceitful cases ever to hit our court system… Cano never stepped foot into the court room even though she was technically the plaintiff in the case. In fact, Cano never even knew she was the plaintiff in the case until much later. This case allowed abortion for basically any reason at any time: Part of her Supreme Court decision was redefining the “health” of the mother: “Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, “an abortion is necessary” is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” Because of the very broad definition of “health,” abortions could now be legally performed at any point during a pregnancy. — The basic pro-life argument is clear and to the point: Premise #1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Premise #2: Abortion intentionally kills innocent humans beings. Therefore, Conclusion: Abortion is morally wrong. It’s important to always come back to this, because most pro-choice objections and arguments do not refute the two premises and therefore are irrelevant in refuting the conclusion. Three Pro-Life Fallacies Most anti-abortionists argue the wrong point. They immediately claim “Abortion is wrong because murder is wrong.” They then go on to quote contemporary and biblical law against murder. However, this argument does not help us. Many pro- choice advocates argue that the fetus is not a person, so laws against murder do not apply.Shock Tactics: Many pro-lifers use explicit or gruesome pictures and language to get their point across. To a certain extent, this is unavoidable, as the procedure is quite brutal no matter how it is described. This is one of my greatest internal debates, as to whether to use some of these photos in my presentation. People intentionally turn a blind eye to the horror of abortion. And it probably should be used with a woman as a last resort in order to save the life of her baby. However, if this is the primary tactic used, many will refuse to look or listen to you at all.Confusing human value with human function. Some pro-lifers will argue that abortion is bad because we might abort someone who could benefit us. Surely we have aborted babies who would have been the next Einstein or Mother Teresa, or countless other intelligent and talented people who could have made the world a better place. Don’t get me wrong; this is a true statement! However, this is not the reason abortion is wrong. Humans are valuable because of what they are, not what they can do. The homeless man’s life is just as valuable in God’s eyes as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, as we are all made in God’s image. This argument is also easily countered by abortion advocates who could say we may have aborted the next Hitler, terrorist, serial killer, or rapist. Defenders of abortion actively use a version of this by giving value to a child based on what they have achieved (consciousness, self-awareness, viability, etc), instead of cherishing the unborn because of the kind of thing they are- living humans! Also, when a pro-lifer uses this, it focuses on what the killing of the unborn costs us, not what it costs those who are aborted! It is wrong because it unjustly ends the life of an innocent human being. You can imagine the world systems, made clear in world history and many a movie, when people are valued only by what they can do and not who they are. There are so many GOOD arguments against abortion, we don’t want to steal this defective worldview to defend ours. First, what is at the heart of the issue? The heart of the issue is the value of life. When God breathed life into Adam and Eve, he gave them something indescribably valuable and precious. He gave life to humans made in the image of God. Your life is inherently valuable to God. At your worst and at your best. No matter your race, your status, your size, your level of development… no matter what you do or say in your life, and no matter what anyone ever tells you, every single person’s life is priceless to God. Because we were made in the image of God. We find this throughout Scripture. In fact, look at the first law given to Noah when he came off the ark in Genesis (Gen. 9:6): “Whoever sheds man’s (in Hebrew- “a adam”) blood, By man (in Hebrew- “adam”) his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” The Hebrew phrase, “a adam” refers to an “individual man or person”; “adam” refers to “corporate man or government.” This is God’s law regarding capital punishment for those who take a life unjustifiably. God’s Word from beginning to end makes no distinction between the child in the womb and the child outside the womb. We’ll look at examples of this later. On the same token, the minute mankind starts to place value on someone’s life for a reason other than the inherent value God has given every person, the greatest atrocities known to man will occur (and have occurred). “Quality of Life” Ethic- “human beings are valued only to the extent that they experience a certain level of quality of life and are productive to the rest of society” What road does this mentality lead us down? The greatest atrocities ever committed in human history were due to a disregard for human life. Many times, this disregard is founded in the de-humanization of another person. Racism and slavery were based on the concept that African- Americans were less evolved or “less human” than other races, thus white people could treat them as they wished. With the Holocaust, we wonder how the Nazis could have ever killed so many Jews in cold blood. But they were able to do so because it had been ingrained in their minds that Jews were less than human, calling them ‘rats’ and ‘roaches.’ Once Jews were de-humanized, the Nazis could do anything they pleased without a shred of conscious. This is what is happening with abortion… We have de-humanized the unborn child. It’s the only reason we feel as a society that we can do anything to them that we wish. But even then, we have all kinds of contradictory laws surrounding unborn children because instinctually, we know there’s value in that life. Physician story- A pharmacist once told me that he could be sued for malpractice and his license revoked if he prescribed any medication that could harm a child in utero, even if the mother wanted it knowing the risks; however, if he recommends that the mother kill the child through abortion, he is suddenly a great purveyor of womens’ rights.Some laws condemn the killing of a fetus as murder, while other laws condone the killing of that same fetus through abortion!At the Federal level, the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” (known as “Laci and Conner’s Law”) recognizes that any ‘child in utero’ who is injured or killed during a federal crime of violence is considered a legal victim.Under the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” every infant born alive, regardless of developmental stage is considered a ‘person’ under federal law with legal rights.The majority of states give some degree of protection for unborn victims of violence through fetal homicide laws. Most states allow for civil penalties, state intervention, and even criminal prosecution for women who use drugs/alcohol or otherwise harm their unborn babies in utero! This leads us to the first faulty way pro-choice advocates argue, and you’ll find this in most of their arguments. They will “assume” that unborn children are not human. In celebrating Roe v. Wade, President Obama said we need abortion because “this is a nation where everyone has a right to pursue their own dreams.” But who is ‘everyone’? He just assumed this didn’t include the unborn. Take the ‘back-alley argument’… “We can’t outlaw abortions because women will be forced to get dangerous illegal ones.” This assumes the unborn are not humans. Otherwise they are saying, ‘because some people can be hurt or die when killing other people, the states should make it legal and safe to do so.’ Arguing that we should keep abortion legal, simply because people will do it anyway, except in less safe ways (in back alleys, etc), makes no sense! If something is wrong, then you criminalize it, just like murder or rape. Besides, the vast majority of women said they would not have had abortions if it was illegal. They attack: Many times pro-choicers will attack you personally rather than responding to your arguments or points. Example: “Men can’t get pregnant, so they shouldn’t be able to weigh in on the issue”: Pro-life women have the same arguments; arguments aren’t gender-specific. And if that’s true, Roe v. Wade should be overturned since it was decided by nine men. Or you’ll hear that you don’t have a right to oppose abortion unless you adopt unwanted children: This is just an attempt to change the subject or make the pro-life advocate seem cold and incompassionate. But how does my alleged unwillingness to adopt a child justify an abortionist intentionally killing one? They assert: Let’s say you lay out your pro-life position using science and philosophy, and they simply respond: “Well, women have a right to choose.” Is this an argument or an assertion? It’s an assertion because no argument and no evidence is offered to support the claim. Response: ‘Choose what? Where does that right to choose come from? Why do you believe that?’ A more intellectual example: A professor responds to your case with “The embryo is not self-aware and has no desires, so abortion should be okay.” The hidden premise here is that self-awareness and desires give us the right to life, and he presents no evidence or argument for this. Response: “Why does self-awareness or having desires matter? What would having these attributes determine who lives and who dies?” If the humanity of the unborn is a foundational issue, understanding development can be helpful. Development of the Unborn Child (not a blob of tissue) Week 1: Conception, the embryo is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the instructions (DNA) are present for all that the person will ever become. Week 2: The embyro attaches and burrows securely into the wall of his mother’s womb. The fastest growth happens during first 2 weeks, then slows. If he continued at that rate, the child would be born the size of 2 elephants (28,000 lbs). Week 3: The baby’s blood vessels and sex cells form. Foundations of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are laid. Week 4: The baby’s heart has begun to beat, pumping the baby’s own blood through his circulatory system. Arms, legs, eyes, ears, and lungs begin to form. (find out pregnant) Show 4-week baby heartbeat video… (Endowment for Human Development) Week 5: Arms and legs are more easily visible, as well as the baby’s face. The baby’s blood is now separated from the mother’s. Week 6: Tiny fingers and toes develop. The baby’s brain is divided into three parts for emotion and language, hearing and seeing. Brain begins functioning enough to generate EEG impulses (brain waves). Week 7: Buds of the baby’s milk teeth appear. Ninety-nine percent of the muscles are present, and brain activity is detectable. Responds to some touch sensations. Week 8: The baby begins spontaneous movement and is now well proportioned, about the size of a thumb. Every organ is present, but immature. The skull, elbows and knees are forming. Show 8-week old photo… Week 9: If prodded, hands and eyelids close. Genitalia becomes visible, indicating whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Muscle movement begins. Thyroid and adrenal glands are functioning. Week 10: The baby’s fingerprints begin to form. Nerve and muscle connections have tripled. Eyelids fuse together temporarily to protect the baby’s delicate developing eyes. Week 11: The baby “practices” breathing and facial expressions, even smiling. The baby can also urinate and stomach muscles can also contract. Week 12: The baby is now 3 inches in length and weighs 1-2 oz. with fine hair on the face. The baby is able to swallow and responds to skin stimulation. He has fingernails, and can suck his thumb. The child will often struggle for life two or three hours if removed from the mother at this point. This all happens in just the first trimester!! Show 12-week old model… Show our 16-week ultrasound… SO, “If it looks and acts like baby, it is a baby”- this may be cause enough for the average person to believe we should not kill the child, but it is not enough for the pro-choice advocate… we still need to make a scientific case based on biology. What is abortion? Primary Methods Suction Curettage: The force of suction pulls the limbs and body apart, tearing the placenta from the uterine wall, and is then vacuumed out (most common). Dilation and Evacuation: The fetus’ skull is crushed, and then typically decapitated and dismembered before being pulled out with forceps. Other- Manual Vacuum Aspiration, Dilation and Curettage Partial-Birth Abortion is when a child in the 2nd or 3rd trimester is partially removed from the uterus and killed by crushing the skull or puncturing the skull in order to suck the brains out. Many are even brought to term. Official Definition: “any abortion in which the baby is delivered past the navel… outside the body of the mother or in the case of head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother… before being killed” (President Bush banned partial-birth abortions in 2003, but there are a lot of loopholes). [Think about this for a second: What is the most immoral and horrific act that you can possibly imagine? Probably ripping the arms and legs off of an infant baby and crushing his skull. We can’t even imagine this ever being done to a baby. Yet a week or two earlier, while that same baby was living inside his mother, it’s completely legal to do the exact same thing for any reason we see fit.] Since abortionists stress the health risk associated with having a baby, we must also be sure not to overlook the documented effects that abortion has on a mother. Abortion harms women in so many ways- physically and emotionally. Just as with giving birth, there is also a great amount of physical pain accompanying an abortion.There are a number of potential physical complications resulting from an abortion, including: hemorrhaging, perforation of the uterus (explain), cardiac arrest, endotoxic shock, infection requiring hospitalization, convulsions, future ectopic pregnancies, cervical laceration, permanent sterility, uterine rupture and death. These are all documented complications.Potential damage to the uterus and reproductive organs decreases chance of being able to have children later. (i.e. vacuum suction closes Fallopian tubes)Multiple medical studies have shown a significant link between women who have first trimester abortions and the development of breast cancer (as high as 50% increase). The requirement of placing “increased risk of breast cancer” on abortion consent forms is still in legislation.PAS, or Post Abortion Syndrome, or Post-Abortion Trauma, is a well- documented clinical condition observed in women following elective abortions. It has been likened to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and symptoms most frequently are shame, heartache, and a deep regret that most women deal with the rest of their lives. Other symptoms are depression, guilt, anger, emotional numbness, sexual problems, eating disorders, low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, nightmares, thoughts of suicide, panic attacks and flashbacks. The abortion industry still refuses to acknowledge the existence of PAS. These conditions do not help us in the argument of the personhood of the fetus, but cannot go unmentioned. There is forgiveness, cleansing, and healing for those who have had abortions. A healing that can only come through Jesus Christ. (Resources: The Women’s Clinic of John’s Creek, Abortion recovery hotline, etc) Fetal Pain Can the fetus/child feel the pain of abortion? Pain receptors are one of the first developments of a fetus. The fetal pain system is fully developed at 20 weeks. This is an extremely modest timetable, as neuropeptides such as Substance P and Enkephalin (chemical pain messengers), are present many weeks prior to this. Distorted pain can be felt at 15-20 weeks as the pain system develops (like a beta- version of pain system). Microphone analogy: If you are testing a microphone, it may be too loud or too soft before it’s balanced just right. The fact is, at 20-35 weeks (5-7 months), the unborn child has more pain receptors per square inch than at any other time in their lives, before or after birth. Pain inhibitors do not start to develop until 30-32 weeks! This makes the pain experience of an unborn child far greater than any that could be experienced by an older child or adult. This is why parents cannot touch the skin of a preemie. Of course, fetuses get no anesthesia. Even livestock are protected from undue pain by the Humane Slaughter Act. Pain-Capable Child Protection Act- Passed in Georgia but stopped by the ACLU. The unborn are protected after 24 weeks, or second trimester in GA. But, this does not help us in our case. The fact that the child/fetus can feel pain does not answer the necessary question… The questions we must answer are… What is the unborn? and Is the unborn fetus a person with the right to life? If we can answer this ‘yes’, then the rest is easy. Again, we needn’t argue whether murder is wrong (Many abortionists will agree with this), but what makes abortion murder. From the moment of fertilization/conception, is the fetus… Alive?    YES. Yes, by scientific definition, it is a biological mechanism that converts nutrients and oxygen into energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply, and grow. Abortion advocates must agree with this, but state that plants and amoebas are also alive. What is the difference? Some pro-choice advocates claim that the embryo is only a “potential person,” however, all that is needed is time and nutrition for that embryo to grow into everything it will ever be. Note: This alone allows us to be able to use the word “kill” when talking about abortion. We are causing something (or someone) to go from being ‘alive’ to ‘not alive’ which by definition is ‘killing.’ Human? YES Yes, The DNA is that of a human. A full set of DNA needed to grow into an adult human person is there. It is genetically complete. It is unique and distinct from both parents. Pro- choicers agree, but state that something such as a single hair follicle also has a full set of human DNA. Another question… Can we properly refer to the embryo from the moment of fertilization as male or female? Yes. We each get 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 from our father. One of the chromosomes is the XX or XY pair, which dictates gender and is determined by the father. In the very early stage after fertilization, the TDF (testes determining factor) along with associated hormones can play a role, and the gender may change, but the fertilized egg is never gender-neutral. Law of Biogenesis- “Living things reproduce after their own kind only.” Humans can’t get together and produce anything less than a human being. When else would a fetus become a human? Each of these facts alone do not create a case for the personhood of the unborn. Being human without being alive means nothing, and being alive without being human does not warrant the right to life. However… The most logical explanation of when a child becomes a person with the right to life: ALIVE + Gender-specific Human DNA The KEY is the combination of the two. If this does not constitute being a person, what does? At this point, the burden of proof should land squarely on the pro-choice person because this is as objective and scientific as it gets. What does the pro-choice advocate believe the unborn needs to acquire before becoming a person whose life we value? Before we even look at some of these attributes, remember that we are already entering dangerous territory… the notion that human beings are valued only based on their function rather than their nature. We talked about the Quality of Life ethic earlier. Giving value based on function results in gross inequality in our society. Functions, like self- awareness, desires, etc, come in degrees, so this would result in a graded system of how much worth or value each human has. Which again leads to some of the worst atrocities against mankind in our history. Nevertheless, let’s look at some of the functional qualities that pro-choice advocates put forth… Consciousness: Some will point to consciousness as being the determining factor, but this falls apart from the very beginning. What is consciousness? One definition is the ability of being self- aware and able to ‘think about themselves.’ The problem they face is that people who believe this also know that this type of consciousness doesn’t occur until months, even years, after a baby is born. Also, there are problems regarding a person who is in a coma. Is a person still a person with a right to life when the lose the ability to be self-aware while in a coma? Another definition of consciousness: the cognitive ability to recognize and react to something or someone outside himself There is a strong argument that unborn fetuses have this ability. We could look to a Biblical story for an example: Luke 1:36-57 Mary is in her 1st trimester, Elizabeth is in her 3rd The baby shows awareness and cognition when he recognizes and reacts to Jesus’ presence. The small miracle here is not that the baby was given the ability to recognize and react in general, but that nothing but the presence of another being was able to be recognized by John. But we needn’t refer to a biblical story for this. We see this all the time with pregnant women!! Pregnant women regularly report that their babies in the womb react to certain voices or music or movement or light. This type of cognition or consciousness is certainly there. What we do know is: Whether “consciousness” is obtained before birth or months/years after birth, certainly there is no argument that consciousness is attained at the moment the child passes through the birth canal. If consciousness is obtained sometime after birth,this supports neither the pro-life nor pro-choice view. If consciousness is obtained before birth, this supports the pro-life view. Since most pro-choice advocates don’t have a response to this, they fall back onto the next point… Viability: For many years, viability was the defining point of when a fetus had a right to life. Viability is the ability of a fetus to survive outside the uterus (see chart). There is no definitive time at which the unborn acquires viability. There is ~50% chance of survival if the child is removed from his mother at Week 24 (Month 6). If after, the chance goes up. If before, the chance of survival goes down. It’s a moving scale! Viability is a game of percentages and certainly cannot be used as the defining factor in allowing abortion. Even if there is a 2% chance that we might be committing murder via abortion, we couldn’t do it. In fact, using viability as a means to determine whether a child can be killed means that the value of life and the determination of someone being a ‘person’ is based on our advances in technology, not in anything inherent to the fetus itself. As our technology improves, hospitals will be able to keep a fetus alive outside the womb at earlier stages of pregnancy, which means the stage at which a child can be killed will always be changing if based on viability. This makes no logical sense. This brings us to our next question… From the moment of fertilization/conception, is the fetus… Physically Independent?      NO Both views agree that a small child is dependent upon another for his existence both before and after birth. No one argues that it is okay to kill someone because they are completely dependent on something (i.e. medical device, pacemaker) or someone (i.e. a caretaker, spouse), thus some pro-choice advocates try to make a distinction between two types of dependence: 1) Social Dependence and 2) Physical dependence Social Dependence- a child’s dependence on others to meet physical needs, such as feeding him, clothing him, etc Physical Dependence- a situation where one life form depends solely on the physical body of another life form for its existence Pro-lifers will agree that this type of “physical dependence” is true for fetuses only while inside the womb. Can the transition from physical to social dependence adequately draw the line on abortion’s morality? Why does the abortion-choice advocate think this should this be the distinction that makes abortion okay? [Abortionists sometimes use a popular illustration by Judith Jarvis in 1971: A woman is kidnapped and wakes up to find she’s surgically attached to a world-famous violinist who, for nine months, needs her body to survive. After nine months, he is fine on his own: Is the woman morally obliged to stay connected to the violinist living off her body? (Note that this particular example precludes that the violinist is a person)] To support this argument, the pro-choice advocate always turns to the rights of the mother. It’s not fair. She has a right! They will argue that it’s not fair for a woman to be forced to carry a baby she does not want. Notice they have changed the question! No longer is the question, ‘What is the unborn?’ or ‘When does the fetus become a person?’ The question of personhood is swept under the rug and it now becomes, “Is a woman morally obligated to keep the fetus alive? Does she have the right to terminate him or her?” This is so important! This is the primary factor and issue when it comes to the abortion debate now, politically or otherwise. As medical knowledge increases, fighting for abortion rights from a biological perspective (i.e. the unborn is simply a ‘blob of tissue’ or less than a person) has become more futile. As this is a battle they cannot win, the pro- choice advocate will begin to argue on behalf of female rights as opposed to the nature of the unborn, and they simply ‘assume’ the non-humanity of the unborn in the process. Remember, this is not so much a pro-choice argument concerning the personhood of the baby in the womb, but rather the moral obligation to keep the baby alive. Side Issue: If the primary argument is that a woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her body (“my body, my choice”), why is prostitution illegal? Prostitution doesn’t even inherently involve the potential killing of an innocent child. Before addressing the “rights” issue, we must see if it applies by seeing how pregnancies/abortions come about: Reason for Having an Abortion (These are undisputed stats given by both leading secular and faith-based organizations alike, such as the Guttmacher Institute): 93%- Convenience (unwanted child, financial hardship, etc) 3%- Mother’s Physical Health 3%- Child’s Health (potential deformities, etc) <1%- Rape or Incest (0.5%) Here we see that over 99% of abortions (and about the same for pregnancies in general) are the result of a choice: Conception is either a direct choice (someone who wants to get pregnant) or an indirect choice (someone who has sex knowing that there is always a possibility that conception could result). Quote from Melissa Brunner’s Abortion essay: “The choice of the mother begins and ends with the choice to have sexual intercourse. If a woman is in control of her own body, she has the “choice” to choose abstinence if she is so opposed to carrying a separate human being to term. For every cause there is an effect, and if a woman engages in sexual intercourse and becomes pregnant with life, she has made her “choice” willingly, knowing the effect. A woman’s body may be her own, but the body of the child that grows within her is not her own body.” I teach sex ed and the benefit of waiting to have sex until marriage to middle/high school students through the SWAT Program (Speaking Words of Absolute Truth). I always ask if they know where babies come from, and almost everyone is aware by this age. One thing I tell them is that there is no safe sex. 1 in 3 sexually active people will get pregnant or get a girl pregnant by the time they are 20. And almost every single one of those people are shocked and surprised when it happens. However, if you have sexual intercourse and get pregnant, no one has a right to be shocked or surprised, regardless of whatever preventative methods you tried to take, because that’s where babies come from. Ultimately, the argument about a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body is an argument for sexual freedom. This quote by David Kupelian is one of the best I’ve ever read regarding this. “The deception-based world of abortion is rooted in our devotion to what has become a near-sacred belief – total sexual freedom. We have determined as a modern, secular, post-Christian society that we have the absolute right to engage in sexual relations with whomever we want and whenever and wherever we want, and we repudiate the notion that we have to take responsibility for the natural result of sex – which is children. Having committed so deeply to this proposition, it matters not how barbaric and inhuman abortion is, how many gorgeous children we see with their throats cut, heads cut off, chemically burned alive, brains sucked [out], or spinal cord “snipped” with scissors. We must allow for abortion on demand or our sacred right to sexual freedom ceases to exist.” -David Kupelian When someone says a woman shouldn’t be forced to carry an unwanted child and that she is not being allowed her choice, in actuality, a woman can guarantee prevention of pregnancy by not having sex. What about when conception is not the result of the mother’s choice? The fact that she is ‘forced’ to carry the child does apply to the 0.5% who get pregnant due to rape… so let’s look at this. Even though it accounts for less than 0.5% of abortions, it is the argument used 90% of the time by the pro-choice advocate. 1) Understand the Playing Field (Who is asking?): Two types of people bring up rape: the inquirer and the crusader. The former can be a person who has experienced rape or knows someone who has, or they could be an honest inquirer who is trying to think through the emotional and philosophical difficulty of the issue. But more often the rape question is used by ‘crusaders’ to make pro-lifers look insensitive by pitting them against rape victims. Remember, if we grant the rape exception, we undercut the foundational principle of our position, that all human beings matter and should be valued. If we deny the rape exception, we appear calloused toward women. This alone has single-handedly neutralized countless pro-life advocates, including pro-life politicians who don’t know how to handle the issue. I’ll handle the ‘crusader’ more in a moment. 2) Respond with Sensitivity and Compassion: We cannot underestimate the emotional turmoil and physical pain of a pregnancy caused by rape. We need to acknowledge this. If you are talking to someone with whom the rape issue is very personal, it requires we respond with love, not just a sound argument. The assumption made by most is that the child will be a persistent and hurtful reminder to the woman who has been raped, and this may be true in many circumstances. The brutality of rape is one of the greatest evils imaginable. Women understand this better than men, but as a man, we still can’t imagine the horror of our wife or daughter being victimized in this way. Compassion for women in these circumstances should and does come naturally for us. Express that. 3) Clarify the Moral Issue: We then need to refocus the discussion on the nature of the unborn. When a woman is raped and conceives a child, the question is not “How was one conceived?”, but “What was conceived?” The circumstance under which any human comes into being does not alter his or her nature or intrinsic value; it has no bearing on their worth. Pro-lifers are perceived as insensitive for recognizing the humanity of her child, but by allowing the mother to kill her child perpetuates the idea that hardship justifies violence. The tragic violence of rape does not justify the tragic violence of abortion. Abortion is wrong for the same reason rape is wrong: both are unjust acts of brutality against innocent human beings. Both rape and abortion take something that is not theirs to take: the woman’s body and the child’s life. Should an innocent child die because of the sins of the father? If an unborn child has a right to life, can we justify killing him because of the horrific circumstance under which he was conceived? How is that fair to the child? Should we be able to kill a 6-month-old baby who was conceived due to rape because of the hurtful memories that he represents? If not, the question remains… what is the difference between killing in the womb and after birth? According to countless affidavits collected by the Justice Foundation, many women even report that their abortion was more traumatic than the rape itself. 4) Be Confident in the Pro-life Position: When one accepts the consensus of human embryology… that a distinct, living, and whole human being comes into existence at conception, it becomes clear that pro-lifers are not the insensitive ones. The insensitive people are those who propose the death penalty for an innocent human being because of the sin of a rapist. The pro-life position is rooted in love. It recognizes the unimaginable pain of rape, but is also rooted in truth, insisting that an innocent little girl or boy should not be killed because they are hurtful reminders of a tragic crime. Also, be aware that many people who believe in abortion on demand choose to argue the rape situation because it’s easier. They hide behind the hard cases, and want to paint the pro-lifer as an extremist. You can ask them… “If I granted abortion in the case of rape, would you join me in opposing all other abortions?” They won’t, because they want abortion to be legal for any reason. Thus, that is the position that they need to defend, rather than using rape victims. Unless they are arguing that abortion is only okay in the situation of rape, then they haven’t defended their position. Francis Beckwith says, “Arguing for the abolition of all abortion [restriction] laws because of rape is like arguing we should get rid of all traffic laws because you might need to run a red light rushing a loved one to the hospital.” What about when the pregnancy causes a health risk to the mother? Some abortionists claim that physical dependence always presents a risk to the health or life of the mother. However, if you delve more deeply into this statement, one can see that in order to say this is true in 100% of cases, they must be referring to pain associated with pregnancy and childbirth. But this was part of the curse put on the woman in Genesis (Gen. 3:16) and certainly not cause to kill the child in the womb. Giving birth is a natural function of a woman. Abortion is an unnatural procedure done within a woman’s womb and generally has far higher physical complications and risks than does giving birth. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible in most cases to know whether a woman will live or die if she gives birth, regardless of the potential risk. In the rare case where the mother will die if the baby is brought to term, both mother and child can usually be saved through surgery (i.e. C-Section). In the extremely rare circumstance in which having an abortion truly is the only way to save the life of the mother, abortion may be a legitimate and moral option, seeing as a valuable life is lost either way. What about the notion that some put forth that abortion is “safer” than giving birth? It is completely debunked here:
Is Abortion 14 Times Safer Than Childbirth?
Remember, all these cases account for only 3% of abortions. What about the 3% that are done due to potential deformities or the baby’s health? To abort a deformed child in the womb rather than to allow him to live is an affront to the thousands of people born with severe handicaps who live happy and productive lives, and the families that care for them. There are numerous examples that could be given of people who made a huge difference in the world despite handicaps. There are plenty of mentally and physically handicapped children who bring great joy to others’ lives despite their dependency, and have a part to play in this world. Nevertheless, these are not the reasons they are valuable. A human life holds value because of his or her very nature, and not what he or she can offer us. The key here is: In the majority of cases, deformities and handicaps are possibilities, or probabilities, but almost never definite. Countless parents are told their child will have some sort of physical or mental handicap, but the child is completely normal upon birth. Is it right to abort a child because of a possibility, or even a probability? Some argue that abortion would be better for some children than living the life they would live if born. But how can we know? How is it our prerogative to decide that? How is it our right to kill a child because of our determination of the life we think he will live? What about all the people who made so much of their lives coming out of a poor or broken home? Again, we could kill the toddler or homeless man using this same argument. (And once again, the “Quality of Life” Ethic is a very dangerous precedent for determining whether someone has a right to continue living.) Human Rights? Most pro-choice advocates believe that the fetus has rights of some sort based on the fact that he is (1) Alive and (2) Human, but that his rights are trumped by the rights of the mother. What are these basic rights? The rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The basic pro-choice argument is as follows: Two entities with equal rights cannot occupy one body, therefore one has veto power over the other. In other words, a baby in the womb has no rights to ‘life’ before birth because they would interfere with, and thus are trumped by, the mother’s rights to ‘liberty’ and ‘happiness.’ Here’s the major flaw in the argument: For them, priority of rights is based on who is more developed, whereas priority should be placed on which right is more important. Consider a scenario where I am a single dad, and my 6-month-old son cries uncontrollably every single night. Let’s say that suffocating my baby would make me happy by giving me a good night’s sleep. No matter who is older or more developed, that baby’s ‘right to life’ trumps my ‘right to the pursuit of happiness.’ Clearly the child’s right to life is foremost. Many pro-choice advocates claim that the “right to life” of the child automatically cancels out the mother’s right to Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. To the contrary, in the majority of cases, the act of having a child brings incredible happiness to most mothers, thus this blanket statement is false. IMPORTANT: Again, the issue of “rights vs. rights” tells us nothing of the physiological question of when a fetus has rights. I am simply arguing that it is a logical fallacy to say that a fetus only has a ‘right to life’ outside the womb solely because those rights are trumped by the mother’s while inside the womb. Certainly the most logical and objective point at which to bestow human rights upon someone is when they are… 1) Alive (by scientific definition) 2) Human (having a complete and unique set of gender-specific human DNA) And these characteristics are all present at the moment of conception (defined as fertilization). A living human being exists at conception, and EVERY life has inherent value. Think about this: What if the general public recognized the personhood of the pre- born? I mean, truly saw the baby in the womb as no different from the infant or toddler. How utterly horrified would we be that we allowed over 60 million of these innocent be brutally killed for any reason we saw fit over the last 45 years? Can you imagine the shame we would feel as a nation? A civilized, developed nation! Our view of the Holocaust would pale in comparison… we can’t imagine how we used to think slavery and racism were okay, but can you imagine looking back on a time when we thought there was no moral problem with the murder of tens of millions in their mother’s womb? This is the reality we live in, and it’s up to our generation to stand up for the unborn who have no voice. As Christians, or even just human beings, we should be up in arms over this! And I do want you to know, if you are in a tough situation with a pregnancy, there are resources that you can use that will guide you every step of the way. I work with the Women’s Clinic of John’s Creek, among other crisis pregnancy centers. We talk to countless women who had considered abortion, but decided to carry the baby to term. They look back and can’t imagine if they’d made a different decision. A lifetime of experiences and joys that were almost not made possible. At the same time, countless girls who decide to abort their babies live with that decision the rest of the lives, with all its physical and emotional consequences. Even though there is healing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, I don’t want this to be you, or any of your friends. No matter how small, no matter how developed, no matter how dependent, no matter what age, no matter what race, no matter what status, ALL humans have inherent value given to them by God Himself having been made in his image, and should be protected and defended. We should treat others with this mentality, and we should see the unborn the same way. Though I believe the argument against abortion can stand on its own without any reference to faith or Christianity, let’s look at what the Bible has to say… The Bible Sometimes Christians are criticized for being “one-sided” on the issue of abortion. However, with the exception of one or two potentially difficult verses, Christians are typically one-sided because the Bible is one-sided. The personhood of the unborn is assumed throughout Scripture. First, let’s look at a couple of verses that I personally choose not to focus on, but are popular among pro-lifers: Ex. 20:13, and similar verses- As explained earlier, these verses against murder are not very helpful in a debate concerning abortion because most pro-choice advocates don’t believe abortion is murder, for one reason or another. Ps. 139:13-16, These beautiful verses describe how God formed us in the womb and played the largest role in our creation. However, these verses do not necessarily prove our personhood during that development, and thus aren’t especially helpful when making a case for the unborn. We can glean some evidence here when we read how King David refers to his earlier stage in the womb as “I,” making no distinction between his identity in the womb and his current adulthood. Jeremiah 1:5- This refers to a time before Jeremiah was conceived, so this is not helpful. Let’s look at verses that are helpful: [Many references can be made to verses that talk about the sanctity of life given by God, and God hating the shed of innocent blood.] Overarching Point: The Bible makes no distinction between the born and unborn. Luke 1:39-44 We’ve already shown cognition of the fetus in this passageCompare Luke 1:36 (“conceived a son”) vs. 1:57 (“gave birth to a son”). The same Greek word is used in both passages for ‘son.’Compare Luke 1:41 (“the baby leaped in the womb”) vs. 2:12,16; 18:15 (other references to ‘baby’). The same Greek word (brephos) is used in all passagesIn Luke 1:43, Mary is addressed as ‘mother’ before Jesus was born. Numbers 12:12- Even if a baby dies before birth, the woman who conceived is still considered a “mother.” The word “mother” (in Hebrew- EM; in Greek- METER), in context, refers to physical human reproduction, or one who has procreated a separate and distinct individual from the mother. Luke 1:15- John the Baptist will be “filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” Throughout Luke 1, an angel speaks to Mary about her unborn child, and to Elizabeth about the child in her womb. Ruth 1:11- Refers to “sons in the womb” Gen. 25:21-22, Refers to Esau and Jacob interacting in the womb 2 Kings 19:3- Refers to “children in the womb” Romans 9:11- Refers to “the twins” or “children” not yet born In reference to pregnant women, “with child” occurs 26 times in the Bible (not ‘what will become a child’) Throughout Scripture, the same word is used for a child inside and outside the womb, also referencing the unborn as “man, woman, child, son, daughter, or baby.” Gen. 5:3-4, 28-30; Acts 7:29, Refers to parents who “begat sons and daughters;” the Hebrew and Greek words for “begat” refers to conception. Job 3:3- Refers to a “man-child” being conceived (Heb. GEBER). This word always strongly denotes a person, usually a fully mature man. Compare with Job 10:5, Ps. 127:5, 128:4, where the same word is used for an adult. It is used 66 times in OT. Job 10:8-12, The child in the womb was not something that might become Job, but someone who was Job already. According to Scripture, the baby is not just a part of a woman’s body, but a separate human individual. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 says our body is not our own; it is a temple. Some Christians make an argument that, biblically, “Blood = Life.” They argue that a fetus is a person once it has its own bloodstream, which occurs approximately 17 days after conception. They base this on verses such as Lev. 17:11 and Deut. 12:23. Let us now deal with a few potentially difficult passages that some pro-choice advocates attempt to use in justifying abortion. Ex. 21:22-23 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she [‘gives birth prematurely’ or ‘has a miscarriage’], yet there is no [further] injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23But if there is [any further] injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.” The pro-choice argument here is that if only the unborn child is injured or killed, there is a lesser penalty, but if there is further injury to the mother, then the death penalty is mandated. This argument reflects a serious misunderstanding of this passage on several levels. In the first verse, most translations say either one phrase or the other, referring to the bold phrases above. For instance, older NASB translations say the latter, whereas newer editions of the NASB say the former. The Hebrew word used here is “yalad,” which means literally “her children have come out” or “cause her offspring to be brought forth.” This Hebrew word refers to a live birth 11 other times in the OT. It never refers to a miscarriage, although it is once referred to as a stillborn. The bracketed word “further” was added by later translators. There’s a few possible answers to the pro-choice argument regarding this passage: The most simple way to understand this is that the baby was ‘brought forth’ prematurely. If there is no injury, the punishment is a fine, but if there is injury, either to the mother or if the baby dies, then the death penalty is mandated.Some pro-choice advocates will claim that the reference to ‘further injury’ only applies to the mother. Though their argument is faulty that the phrase should definitely refer to a miscarriage, it is true that the vast majority of preemies would die as they did not have the modern technology to keep them alive. So, for the sake of the pro-choice argument, let’s assume that this passage refers to the death of the child. Look at the case at hand. This is a struggle between two men, and implies that the striking of the woman was an accident. Accident or not, if the woman dies as a result, the death penalty is required. However, the death of the baby would be considered “involuntary manslaughter,” which deserves a lesser punishment than “pre-meditated murder.” In both cases, a human life was lost. The man who accidentally struck the woman may or may not have known that she was with child, and in this case, certainly didn’t have the pre-meditated intention of killing the unborn child. The whole conflict was between two grown men in the first place.No matter how you understand this passage, certainly abortion is the intentional killing of a living human child whereas this situation describes at most, involuntary manslaughter, making this passage nearly impossible to use as evidence in the defense of abortion. Eccl 6:3-5 …Then I say, “better the miscarriage than he…” This verse is sometimes used as a pro-choice argument to show that abortion should be allowable in light of a potentially futile or poor quality of life. First of all, a miscarriage is not intentional. There is certainly no argument that killing a baby is morally acceptable because upon retrospect it would have been better for him to have died in the womb. Secondly, this is the author’s soliloquy on the futility of life if he did not know anything about God and his purpose in life. This is not God speaking, which is made even more clear by the words “then I say.” So in actuality, the author knows that what he is saying is not true. Eccl. 4:1-3 “So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.” This passage has nothing to do with abortion. It refers to “never having existed” whereas fetuses do exist. Also, as mentioned earlier, these are the author’s words of how he would feel if he knew nothing about God. Job 3:2-4, 11-19; 10:18-19 These verses talk about the hopelessness Job felt when he had everything taken away from him. Job cries “why did I not die?” not “why was I not killed?” There’s a big difference. A miscarriage is unavoidable death, very different from someone making the arbitrary decision to kill the baby/fetus. Job has a right to regret his own life, but this does not imply a right for someone to have killed him before his birth.If Job’s wish had come true, we would not have the powerful story of Job’s faith. Job said this in the depths of despair, not knowing that in the near future God would restore everything and more to him. In fact, he could only appreciate this newfound joy and blessing because of the season of despair he had to endure. This is Job talking out of depression, and is not to be taken literally, whether for him personally or especially as a practice on the whole.Is these passages, there is a reference to a “boy” being conceived. Lev. 27:6, Numbers 3:15 These verses refer to the fact that a child did not have a monetary value placed upon him until they reach the age of one month. Unless a person is arguing that killing any child under the age of one month is acceptable, these verses are useless for the pro-choice advocate. Gen. 2:7, Ezekiel 37:8-10 These verses refer to God creating Adam from inanimate dirt, which was a once-in-history event. A fetus is not an inanimate thing. Adam was never a fetus, so of course, he came alive when God made him and breathed life into him. In Ezekiel, God is doing the same thing out of inanimate bones, not to mention this is only a vision. If one wants to argue that “breathing” is what gives life, then we know that the process of respiration (i.e. transfer of oxygen) begins at conception. Gen. 38:24 This verse refers to a woman being condemned to death despite being pregnant; however, this was not a law of any sort and certainly does not refer to God’s approval of such a decision. Hosea 13:16 This text says that the judgment upon the Samaritans will include ‘their little ones being dashed to pieces’ and ‘their pregnant women ripped open.’ Somehow, some pro-choice advocates believe it follows that this condones or even mandates abortion to correct errors of an undesirable conception. How does this possibly follow? Some questions may arise regarding God’s willingness to allow these unborn to die, but certainly it doesn’t follow that this gives us the mandate or right to allow abortions. Keep in mind that God alone has a right to give and take life as He sees fit. One person’s sin has unfairly affected the innocent throughout history. SO…if biologically and biblically, we can show that the fetus is a separate, distinct individual person with the right to life from the moment of conception (fertilization), then the laws and commands in Scripture against murder should apply. Thus we can say that abortion is indeed murder. APPENDICES: ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS CONCERNING THE ABORTION ISSUE Abortifacients or Chemical Abortions RU-486 (Mifepristone) or “The Abortion Pill”: This is used 4-7 weeks after last menstrual period. The pill is given to block the hormone progesterone, preventing the embryo from staying implanted and growing. Two days later, misprostol is given to contract the uterus and expel the embryo. Methotrexate: Approved by the FDA for cancer treatment, it is also used to end pregnancies by attacking the growing cells of the newly formed human and stops embryonic cell division. Emergency Contraceptive or “Morning-After Pill”: Taken within 72 hours of having sexual intercourse, this prevents the implantation of an already-fertilized egg. [Abortifacients have come to the forefront with ObamaCare which mandates that businesses must offer these in their health coverage, such as with Hobby Lobby who refuse to include abortifacients as part of their coverage.] RESPONDING TO OBJECTIONS: “Abortion is legal, so it must be morally acceptable” What is legal does not equal what is morally correct. If that were true, then there can and could have never been reformation, such as the outlawing of slavery. And it was certainly legal to kill Jews during the Holocaust, so under that thinking, it was also right.Even our own laws are not consistent… (see beginning of notes) “If re-criminalized, how should women be punished if they have an abortion?” Pro-choice advocates always think they can stump pro-life advocates by asking how women should be punished if they obtain the procedure after abortion is re-criminalized. This is worth examining. First we must frame the question correctly. What penalty should be prescribed by law if a mother deliberately murders her 2-year-old child? What if her child is 7 years old? What if she pays someone else to murder her children? We know that this would be considered, at the very least in our liberal society, as manslaughter, which is punishable by a jail sentence. If we know that the child in the womb at the time of conception is just as much a child as the child of 2 years old, we must not allow mis-directed compassion for the mother to suggest that she and the person she hires to kill her baby be above the law and receive no jail time. Once it’s illegal, women could no longer claim that they were un-informed and did not know it was wrong. Without permission based on the mother’s health, doctors would be sued for medical malpractice for performing abortions and serve jail time. “Penalties in law are designed to discourage criminals from carrying out actions that are illegal. Laws do not change hearts, but they control the heartless. The desire for justice demands that severe penalties be given for crimes against the lives of defenseless people. Our society has denied justice for unborn children who are killed daily in their mothers’ wombs at the request of the mother. We need to correct this and return that protection to the unborn. It then follows that jail time for those who commit the crime of abortion is not only just, but absolutely necessary.” One of the greatest saints of our time, Mother Teresa, who is known for her kindness and compassion to everyone she met, was asked the question regarding jail time for women who sought abortions and she answered unequivocally that a jail term would be necessary, because the life of a human being had been deliberately taken. Note: Of course, punishment should not be retroactive. A woman/doctor could not be punished for having/performing an abortion while it was legal.
Posted by Ben Jones

Resurrection of Jesus

Is there real evidence to support this historic event? Why does it matter? Read this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones Page References are from “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell Jesus’ Credentials that He was and is the Messiah, the Son of God: impact of life, through miracles & teachingfulfilled prophecy in liferesurrectionProof of Jesus’ DeathLook at previous Secular and Christian documentary evidence from earlier studies that mention and verify Jesus’ death Pilate required certification of Christ’s death before giving body to Joseph of Arimethea (Mark 15:42-45). The punishment for the Roman soldiers being mistaken in thinking Christ was dead would be execution. Roman soldiers had lots of experience in knowing whether someone was dead or not- this was their job. ·      John 19:32-35: Soldiers pierced Jesus’ side because He was already deadThe separation of “blood and water” flowing from Jesus’ side is a medical condition that could only have been present in someone who had already died. Importance of Resurrection All but four major world religions are simply ways of thinking (philosophical propositions). Christianity relies on historical fact. None claim resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:1-22 (hangs Christianity by a thread, a titanium thread)If resurrection is not a historic fact, the power of death remains unbroken, and we are still in our sins.How does the resurrection prove that Jesus was the Son of God? (i.e. Lazarus, little girl rose from the dead) Difference is He rose by His own power. He had power to lay down His life and power to take it up again.Jesus referred to rising again 16 times in the NT. When He told His disciples that He would be crucified and on the third day rise again… he said something only fool would say if He expected longer the devotion of the disciples—unless He was sure He was going to rise.quote, Craig (pg. 205): “Without the belief in the resurrection the Christian faith would not have come into being. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. Even had they continued to remember Jesus as their beloved teacher, his crucifixion would have forever silenced any hope of his being the Messiah. The cross would have remained the sad and shameful end of his career. The origin of Christianity therefore hinges on the belief of the early disciples that God raised Jesus from the dead.”quote, Green (pg. 208): “Christianity does not hold the resurrection to be one among many tenets of belief. Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all. The Christian church would have never begun; the Jesus- movement would have fizzled out with His execution. Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once disprove it, and you have disposed of Christianity. Christianity is a historical religion. It claims that God has taken the risk of involving Himself in human history, and the facts are there for you to examine with the utmost rigor. They will stand any amount of critical investigation.” We know more specifics about the death of Jesus than any man in the ancient world, and the nature of his burial: Quote, Wilber (pg. 229) Acts 1:3 – “To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the Kingdom of God (“tekmerion” = “demonstrable proof”) -quotes: pg. 216, Thomas Arnold, “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead” “When an event takes place in history and there are enough people alive who were eyewitnesses of it or participated in event, and when information has been published, one is able to verify the validity of an historical event” [Circumstantial Evidences Frank Morison (started anti-Christian)- “Who Moved the Stone?” Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853)- famous Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University, Dane Professor of Law. Wrote “An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice” Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton- “Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1747) Ignatius’ Gospel Epistle to the Corinthians (Clement of Rome) Justin Martyr Apostles’ Creed Polycarp- “Epistle of S. Polycarp to the Phillipians” (quote, pg. 220 bottom) Long quote? Pg. 217] Specific Evidences Matt. 27:62-66 Lengths to which people went to stop resurrection serves to help prove resurrection The Stone (Golel): Large, heavy disc of rock; used for protection against men and beasts (this one probably larger). Takes many men to move it. Codex Bezae in Cambridge Library- addition in margin of Mark 16:4 (20 men could not roll stone away) All gospels refer to greatness of stone {see illustration} The Seal: Cord stretched across stone, sealed on each end and had Roman Stamp/Seal. Seal made in the presence of 10-30 Roman Guard. This was an Imperial Seal of Rome, it affixed in wax the official stamp of the procurator himself. A Roman seal must be broken before writing could be inspected- same with tomb. To open tomb, one must break seal, incurring the wrath of Roman Law {see illustration} [Roman Guard or Temple Police? Indicative- “Ye already have…” (Temple Police)Imperative- “Take a guard” (Roman Guard) Reasons for Roman Guard: “echete koustodian”- “have a guard”- present imperativeRomans probably would not have allowed Jewish Temple Police to discharge duties outside precincts, especially to guard a Roman Imperial SealWhy would they have gone to Pilate if they had a guard already?“koustodia”- “a guard composed of soldiers”If Pilate had told them to use temple police, they would have been responsible only to chief priests; but if Roman Guard, then responsible to Pilate. Look at Matt. 28:11, 14. They came to chief priests for protection. They knew that they would be immediately executed if they went straight to Pilate, and they knew chief priests held sway over Pilate (as had been evidenced in crucifixion)] The Roman Guard: Quote, Roper (pg. 235) Punishment for quitting post was death. Roman Antiquities, Polybius VI (prestigious author of time). This makes for faultless attention to duty.18 individual offenses punishable by deathà leaving night watch was one, or falling asleep on duty. (Dig. Justinian Digest)Power of Rome was built upon strict discipline of soldiers.4 People in a Roman GuardThey would have guarded the tomb just as strictly and faithfully as they had executed the crucifixion. Their sole purpose was to rigidly perform their duties as soldiers of the empire of Rome. The Roman seal affixed to the tomb was the most sacred thing in the world to them. These cold-blooded soldiers with full armor and weapons are not ones to be taken down by a few timid disciples from Galilee. And they certainly aren’t going to risk execution by sleeping at their posts! Grave Clothes: Bound, cemented together with myrrh- would have been very difficult for someone to have unwrapped Him Women’s Testimonies: If this was made up, would not have used women’s testimonies. At this time, a woman’s testimony was virtually worthless. A woman was not allowed to give testimony in a court of law. No one would have invented a story and made women the first witnesses to the empty tomb. In fact, the presence of the women was more of an embarrassment (that’s why Paul didn’t mention the women in 1 Corinthian and Acts), but the gospels wanted to tell it like it actually happened. No other explanation for this fact. Non-biblical Sources: Many refer to a ‘curious mystery/rumor’ Change in disciples: Disciples were running scared, hiding in upper room, disheartened, all of them deserted their savior when He was arrested, Peter denied Him three times à confident saints, world-changing missionaries, courageous martyrs, traveling ambassadors for ChristFirst of all, the disciples had nothing to gain by lying and starting a new religion. Why would these defeated men suddenly decide to perform this massive hoax. By doing it, they faced hardship, ridicule, hostility, and martyr’s deaths. In light of this, they could have never sustained such unwavering motivation if they KNEW what they were preaching was a lie… Now, you could say, well, people die for their faith all the time. We see that when the terrorists flew into the Twin Towers. No, this is different. They died for what they believed to be true. If the resurrection didn’t happen, the disciples would have been tortured and died for something they KNEW to be a lie that they have made up! Not only this, but the disciples took convincing that the resurrection had even taken place. In Luke 24:21, a couple of disciples are talking and they say “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” Some didn’t believe the women at first, so they ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Thomas wouldn’t believe until he saw Jesus for himself. We see Jesus going out of His way to convince the disciples that He was the real risen Jesus. Jews silence concerning the empty tomb: Disciples belief in resurrection would have been easily discredited since the location of tomb was close and well-known. Jerusalem was the starting place of Christianity. The Jews would have easily produced the body to suppress Christianity and stop its spread before it even started.In fact, they never once argued against the empty tomb. They actually acknowledged it by trying to give reasons why the body was not thereMany hostiles believed in Jerusalem after resurrection, who didn’t believe before it. (Paul, James, others)Empty tomb never mentioned in Acts because it was never disputed or even an issue. The importance was placed on the meaning behind the resurrection. The Appearances: The empty tomb itself does not tell of the resurrection. Over 500 people personally witnessed Jesus alive after the resurrection, and before the ascension. (1 Cor. 15:6). That’s what Paul was saying… “if you don’t believe me, ask one of the 500 other people who saw Him over a 40-day period.” “People don’t reject the resurrection because of the lack of evidence; they deny it in spite of the evidence!” Alternative Theories The Swoon Theory- Christ never died, only swooned. When placed in the tomb, he was actually alive. After several hours, he was revived by the cool air, arose, and departed. Refutation: Witness of everyone that He was dead, including soldiers whose life depended on itAll corresponding contemporary documents tell of Christ’s death (Christian and secular)Spear in the side instead of breaking bones because He was already deadWith no medical attention, he revived? And survived for three days in that condition with no food or warmth?He had to unwrap Himself from the tightly-bound grave clothes which were cemented around HimHe had to roll away the huge stone covering the tomb, and in His conditionHe had to roll away the stone without disturbing the guards. OR He had to fight off the whole Roman guard in His state (and naked.)Blood and water could not have flowed (medical condition in only dead people)No one saw Him dragging out of the tomb, there were no signs of physical weakness, then walk seven miles to Emmaus.Jesus would have to be a liar The Theft Theory- The disciples came during the night and stole body (Matt. 28:11-15). Most popular of the time. Actually helps because it asserts the empty tomb. Matt. 28:13- See a problem?If they were asleep, how did they know it was the disciples?The disciples had to have rolled the massive stone away without waking up the guardsGuards would have never admitted this unless given protection/impunity by the chief priestsEvery measure was taken so disciples couldn’t steal the body -> guard, seal, and stoneGrave clothes still there. Disciples would have had to take the time to unwrap the body which would have been difficult and steal the body naked? Why would they do that?Disciples’ depression and cowardice! 3 days earlier they fled from Jesus and were running scared. Now they are going against a Roman Guard?Disciples took convincing that Christ was aliveDisciples willing to face arrest, prison, beatings, and death for something they knew to be a lie- hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuffThe Roman guards story was never questioned, it was accepted as being entirely true, they knew the guard had no reason to lieCould someone else have taken the body?Disciples- no power!Jews- What motive?? And when the resurrection started to spread, why didn’t they produce the body?Romans- The whole reason Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified was to create peace! The guard certainly had no motive. They would had to break their own Roman seal which went against everything they stood for.What is left? It was a divine work. Simply the most logical. Hallucination Theory- Christ’s post-resurrection appearances were only supposed, they were actually hallucinations Does not explain the empty tombThe entire church is built upon the credentials of the apostles having seen Jesus and been eyewitnesses to the fact. This would mean that the entire Christian church is founded on a hallucination experience of a few people in the 1st century!500 people of average soundness of mind, at all times, in different places should experience audio, visual, and even physical interaction with a hallucinationGroups of people saw Him at once- Visions or hallucinations are very individualistic and subjective. Even 2 at a time is unlikely.Certain mental/psychological states must be present in every person, which is not soExperiences were prolonged- road to Emmaus. Hallucinations are short or at least in one sitting.Disciples took convincing. It was forced upon their minds from without rather than from withinThe hallucination, on 3 separate occasions, wasn’t recognized as JesusReaction of women and disciples because unexpectedVision suddenly came to an end for everyone Women and Everyone Else Went to the Wrong Tomb- There were lots of rock tombs, and they went to the wrong tomb. A young man guessed what they were doing and pointed them to the correct tomb. Embarrassed at their mistake, they fled. In the actual story, an angel tells the women, Mark 16:6- “He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.” Visit to the tomb is well-documented.Matt. 27:61- “sitting opposite tomb”Mark 15:47- “observed where He was laid”Luke 23:55- “observed tomb and how He was laid”Would they forget where they laid their son and loved one only 72 hours before?Peter and John made the same mistake?No one suggested that it was a gardener instead of an angel until the 20th centuryJews would have gone to the correct tomb to produce the bodyJoseph of Arimethea would have cleared up the misunderstanding- it was his tomb!If young man, what was he doing? Suggest a gardener, but it would have been too dark for a gardener. The theory that the women were approaching the wrong tomb has no evidence, it only arise from a disbelief in the possibility of the supernatural emptying of the Lord’s tomb. “Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in the court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to rigorous cross- examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth. I hope you’ve seen how much evidence there is to back up Christianity, who Jesus was, and who He is. But when you are presented with Truth, you have to personally decide what you will do with it. If you are a Christian, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Thinking about your faith, and being able to defend why you believe it. But some of you haven’t yet accepted Christ as your Savior. And for you, I could give you all the evidence in the world, but you have to step out on faith to put your whole life in God’s hands. He’s given us every reason to believe in Him, and He wants so badly to save you, to give you security that you will find nowhere else, to give you a joy and fulfillment that nothing else can provide, and to give you a spot in heaven. John 3:16. When Jesus died on that cross, he died for you. And if you were the only person on the planet, He still would have died for you. And if you place your trust in Him, then all your sins are put on Him and they are paid for. He took your place. Then when He rose from the dead, He showed us that He has conquered death itself. All God asks is for us to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, that He died for our sins and rose again, to trust Him as the Lord of our lives, and to live for Him rather than for ourselves. It will be the most important and best decision of your life. Jesus says that “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
Posted by Ben Jones

What About Those Who Never Hear Of Christ?

What are some possible explanations or solutions to this issue? Is Jesus really the only way to God? View this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones (Note: Much of this material is adapted from Hard Questions, Real Answers by Dr. William Lane Craig) This can create problems for believers because they see only 3 main possibilities: They are lost because they never heard and therefore never believed on Christ, and will spend eternity in hell. God is depicted as saying, ‘You didn’t accept Jesus, so you can go to hell!’ whilst multitudes of poor unfortunates reply ‘Who? We never heard of this guy. You can’t do that!’ This makes God seem unfair and even cruel. But no, we serve a fair and just God.They can be saved through faith and obedience to their own religion or version of God. This takes away the exclusivity of Christ being the Only Way.They are saved because they are not held accountable for what they do not know, like small babies who die. This takes away all rationale and urgency of missions, and no motivation for evangelism at all. Almost better off not telling them if the point is to have as many people go to heaven as possible. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. The following are points of support from proponents of this belief:God has called us to mission work and we should obey: This supplies no rationale as to why God would have issued such an apparently pointless command. It would just be blind obedience to a command with no rationale.Missions is broader than just securing peoples’ eternal destiny: This brings us back to the idea of the Christian peace corps.Missions should be positive, not an ultimatum: Yes, but why would there be any urgency to world missions then. Why would I drag my wife and children to a foreign country to struggle as missionaries for 15 of the best years of our lives?Option: Christ is revealed to every person and given a choice sometime before their death. There is little to no evidence to support this belief; it also takes away the need, and especially the urgency of mission work, among other problems. General Revelation Although many people do not know the full revelation of the gospel, none of us are totally ignorant of him. Romans 1:19-20 Psalm 19:1 → “The heavens declare the glory of God” The created universe speaks so clearly of a Creator. Hard to take a walk in the country or gaze at the night sky and not see something of God’s creative flair reflected there. And I don’t buy the whole “science has killed God” idea. Science is simply understanding better how God designed things, and if anything, should make us more in awe of Him. Then there is the witness of our consciences. Romans 2:14-15 Though defective since the fall, they still function and give us a sense of a moral order, a morality that we generally know to be correct, even though we fail to live up to it. Hence there is no one that is totally ignorant of God. According to Paul, all mankind can know through nature that a Creator God exists, and through their own conscience God’s moral law and their failure to live up to it. Romans 1 and 2 indicates that God doesn’t judge people who haven’t heard about Christ by the same standard as those who have. He judges them based on the info he does have, as God has revealed it to all mankind in nature and conscience. But the truth is that most ignore the Creator and morals and worship gods of their own making and immerse themselves in immorality (see this throughout Scripture). It is conceivable that a few might recognize God and His moral law, and turn to Him in repentance and faith and that God might accordingly apply to them the benefits of Christ’s blood so that they might be saved without the conscious knowledge of Christ. This is what happened with OT figures like Job. He had no conscious knowledge of Christ, but still enjoyed a saving relationship with God in virtue of Christ’s atoning death. If their lack of knowledge before Christ’s first coming was not an absolute barrier to salvation, is there any reason why sheer lack of knowledge after this time should be an absolute barrier? Those who have really never heard the gospel today are in a similar position to those who lived before Christ. Is it not possible for them to respond to the knowledge of God they do have in the way those OT heroes did? So I think salvation is universally accessible to anyone at any time through a faith response to God’s general revelation through nature and conscience. But if we take Scripture seriously, and are honest with ourselves, these are the extreme exceptions. We know that very few people actually access salvation in this way. Most people freely ignore a revelation of only nature and conscience, as opposed to most people coming to Christ after they hear the gospel. So we still have a problem. How could God be all-powerful, and all-loving, yet for some people never to hear the gospel and therefore be lost? More specifically, why didn’t God bring the gospel to people who reject the light of general revelation that they have, but who would have believed had they only heard the gospel? Answer: How do we know there are such people? We know that not everyone believes the gospel and is saved when missionaries finally succeed in bringing the Good News to some previously unreached people group. So we know that some people who never hear the gospel and are lost would not have believed in it even if they had heard. What if God has providentially ordered the world that ALL persons who never hear the gospel are precisely such people. In other words, everyone who never hears the gospel and is lost would have rejected the gospel and been lost even if he had heard it. No one could stand before God on Judgment Day and say “Sure, God, I didn’t respond to your revelation in nature and conscience, but if only I had the gospel, I would have believed! God would say, “No, I knew that even if you had heard the gospel, you wouldn’t have believed it. Therefore, my judgment of you on the basis of nature and conscience is neither unfair or unloving.” What about missionary work? Why do it if all the people who are unreached would not receive Christ even if they heard of Him? We are talking about people who NEVER hear the gospel. God in His providence can so arrange the world that as the gospel spreads out from first century Palestine, he places people in its path who would believe it if they heard it. In His love and mercy, God ensures that no one who would believe the gospel if they heard it remains ultimately unreached. What about Acts 17:24-28a! Read this! Paul describes God’s providential arrangement of the world’s peoples with a view toward reaching out and finding God. Ok, sum up with a couple other questions that are raised when talking about this: Why didn’t God create a world in which He knew everyone would freely receive Christ and be saved? It may not be within God’s power to create such a world. It’s a logical impossibility to make someone freely do something. Given His will to create free creatures, God had to accept that some would reject Him and be lost. Why did God create the world, if He knew that so many people would not receive Christ and therefore be lost? God wanted to share His love and fellowship with created persons. This is an immeasurable ‘good.’ He knew that this meant some would freely reject Him, but the blessedness and happiness of those who would accept Him should not be precluded by those who would freely reject Him. Those who willingly forfeit salvation should not have a ‘veto power’ over worlds God could create. Why didn’t God bring the gospel to people who reject the light of general revelation that they have, but who would have believed had they only heard the gospel? There are no such people. God has so arranged the world that those would respond to the gospel if they heard it are born at a time and place in history where they do hear it. Those who do not respond to God’s revelation in nature and conscience and never hear the gospel would not have responded to it even if they had heard it. Hence, no one is lost because of a lack of information or due to historical or geographical accident. Anyone who wants, or even would want to be saved will be saved. Is this true?? Only God knows. But even if it’s a possibility, then you don’t have to settle on one of the options we talked about before. Just remember, Isaiah 30:18 Trust in that.
Posted by Ben Jones

Why I Don’t Drink

Why I don’t do it. Does the Bible really address it? View this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones Let me begin by saying that I am not sure at all that I consider the act of drinking in moderation (otherwise known as social drinking) to be a sin in and of itself; I would never condemn or sit in judgment of those who participate in such social activity. Having said that, I want to share the reasons why I personally have decided not to make, drinking, or even social drinking, any part of my lifestyle. I believe my decision not to drink at all is a personal conviction that each individual has to make as they are so led by the Holy Spirit. It is also important to mention that I do not isolate, and would never isolate myself from those that drink. I feel I can support my conviction in this area both in conjunction with and separate from my Christian perspective. First, I’ll mention the primary reasons why I do not drink, which have little to do with my faith and beliefs. In the second part, I’ll talk briefly about the Scripture that deals with alcohol and “strong drink” and implications therein. I simply do not like the taste of alcohol. Granted, the very brief sips that I have accepted from my friends does not give me a strong opinion on the taste of all types of alcohol. But those few sips tasted quite terrible to me, and was enough for me to have no desire to try it again. Drinking is expensive. Alcoholic beverages are almost always more expensive than their non-alcoholic versions. I have been amazed at the amount of money that my friends and acquaintances have spent on alcohol. On a larger scale, alcoholism is cited as one of the biggest reasons for homelessness. When there are bills to be paid, many times the needed money goes to the local bartender. I don’t like the smell. Why would I want to drink something that I don’t even like to be around because of the scent? Though wine has little scent, the smell of strong liquor, and especially beer, have a terrible smell to me. I have no desire to experience the after-effects of drinking. I have seen the way a night of drinking has ended for so many of my drinking friends. The vomiting and the morning hang-overs I have witnessed certainly does not make me want to participate in what caused all this discomfort and pain, even in moderation. I don’t like the way drinking affects the body physiologically. Whenever any person consumes alcohol, it ALWAYS affects them to some extent. Actually, the way alcohol distributes itself throughout your entire body is unlike any other food or beverage, and quite frankly, creeps me out. An excerpt from the encyclopedia might explain more easily: “Alcohol is not digested like other foods. Instead of being converted and transported to cells and tissues, it avoids the normal digestive process and goes directly to the blood stream. About 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood through the stomach walls and 80 percent is absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine. Because it is distributed so quickly and thoroughly, the alcohol affects the central nervous system even in small concentrations. The brain, liver, heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, and every other organ and tissue system are infiltrated by alcohol within minutes after it passes into the blood stream. ” Effects of alcohol on a few body systems: Liver- Imbalances can be created which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperuricemia (as in arthritis or gout), fatty liver (which may lead to hepatitis or cirrhosis), and hyperlipemia (build-up of fats sent to the bloodstream which leads to heart problems). Central Nervous System- When alcohol acts on the CNS, intoxication occurs, affecting emotional and sensory function, judgment, memory and learning ability. Smell and taste are dulled. The brain is the organ that is most affected by alcohol, and proves that it is being damaged through the drinker’s behavior changes and emotional distress. Three noticeable effects of alcohol injury to the brain: memory loss, confusion, and augmentation. (Augmentation is a physiological response to alcohol which results in hyper-alertness to normal situations, perceiving light as brighter or sounds as louder than usual, or the drinker’s becoming extremely sad or angry for no apparent reason.) Blackouts, or loss of memory for a period during drinking, are a physical effect of alcohol on the brain. They occur as alcohol cuts off the supply of oxygen to the brain. Lack of oxygen supply to the brain can kill tens of thousands of brain cells every time a person becomes intoxicated. Blood- One effect of drinking alcohol is “blood-sludging” where the red blood cells clump together causing the small blood vessels to plug up, starve the tissues of oxygen, and cause cell death. With this increased pressure, capillaries break, creating red eyes in the morning. Other effects of alcohol on the blood include: anemia; sedation of the bone marrow (which reduces the red and white blood count, and weakens the bone structure); lowered resistance to infection; and a decrease in the ability to fight off infections. The Gastrointestinal Tract- Alcohol increases acid in the stomach. That can result in gastritis or stomach or intestinal ulcers. Drinking causes a steep rise in the blood sugar; the pancreas responds by producing insulin which causes a fast drop in blood sugar and the symptom of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, lack of ability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, light- headedness, tremors, cold sweats, heart palpitations, loss of coordination, and upset stomach. In time, the drinker’s overworked pancreas may stop producing insulin and diabetes can result. The Muscles- Alcohol reduces blood flow to the muscles, including the heart, causing muscle weakness and deterioration. One outcome is cardiomyopathy (sluggish heart). Another outcome, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The Endocrine System- This system controls the body’s hormones and includes the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, and the ovaries or testes. Alcohol sedates these glands, resulting in under- production of hormones; effects include increased susceptibility to allergies. In higher doses, it can decrease sexual functioning: in men, by decreasing the frequency of erections, decreasing the maintenance of erections, decreasing penile size during erection, and increasing the amount of time between erections, in women by interfering with normal processes of sexual stimulation, and blocking orgasmic response. Prolonged use of alcohol can cause infertility in both men and women. — Alcohol affects practically everything in your entire body! Probably the most disturbing effect to me is the change in synaptic response within the brain which occurs with the consumption of any alcohol whatsoever. This results in at least SOME level of impaired judgment, lack of alertness, slower response time, impaired motor skills, and the list goes on. I hope we all would want to be in control of our actions. The consequences of not being in control, even only once, could prove to be life-changing – for us as well as others. I don’t want a foreign substance in my system to be making decisions for me. I want to be completely in control of myself at all times, and I think it irresponsible to have it otherwise. Also, I always think of a situation where I am with a female and someone attacks her. Any alcohol in my system would affect my ability to defend or protect her, as is the nature and instinct of most men. It also has been proven that an affinity for alcoholism is passed down in your genes. Most of the worst situations, problems, and tragedies in our society are directly linked to alcohol. There is no denying the damage and social ills that alcohol has had on our generation. Alcohol is the PRIMARY catalyst in child abuse, spouse abuse, and car accidents. 6000 babies are born deformed every year because of alcohol. A pregnant mother who drinks 2 ounces of wine a day has a 74% higher chance of having a deformed baby. This is not to mention the part it has played in prostitution, marriage problems, divorce, medical conditions, anger problems, poor job performance, and suicide, which are just a few more on a long list of problems that can be directly or indirectly attributed to the part alcohol has played in our society. I recognize that most would say that these things come about from the misuse of alcohol, but why would I want to have anything to do with something that leads to so much pain and suffering in so many lives? Is something that has caused so much death and sorrow really a part of the Christian life? I have never spoken to a social drinker that intended on becoming an alcoholic, but every alcoholic I have known first drank socially. Do I believe that a person can be a social drinker all their life and it never lead to anything more than that? Yes, I do. But what about their children? That leads me to my next point: I don’t want to be responsible for increasing the chance of my children developing a drinking problem. What I might be able to handle in moderation, my children may handle in excess; if it’s in my home, it’s available. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism gave a revealing statistic. Statistically, 1 in 3 people that drink any alcohol at all will become hooked to some degree and be considered as having a drinking problem. People who have a family history of alcoholism have 3x the risk of becoming alcoholics. In a home where where mom or dad drink at all, the chances of their child developing a drinking problem is quite high. Is it worth the risk? Let me use my extended family as an example for why I will have an alcohol-free household. There are eight specific cases in my extended family where the parents drank socially and only in moderation, but their children developed a major drinking problem. In three of these cases, it led to the child committing suicide under the influence of alcohol. The lives of the other five children consist of failed marriages, jail time, rehab, wife and child abuse, drug use, and children out of wedlock. Does having an alcohol-free home guarantee my children will never develop a drinking problem? No, but it certainly decreases the chances, and that’s enough for me. I would never want to contribute to the possibility of bringing such a destructive habit into the lives of the ones I love the most. At the very least, if they do choose to drink, and later develop a problem, I know that they did not get it out of my refrigerator. They didn’t see drinking modeled in front of them at home. I also don’t drink because of personal experience with drunk drivers. When I was seven years old, my dad and I were blind-sided by a drunk driver. I temporarily lost my eyesight and both of us could have died. This is not to mention many other cases where personal friends have lost babies, wives, and loved ones to a reckless drunk driver. My dad works with college students as a campus minister, and has had to sit at numerous bedsides where parents have lost their children to accidents due to drunk driving. Alcohol is to blame for so much heartache. My dad’s story is eye-opening to me. Finding nothing in the Bible clearly stating that drinking in moderation was wrong, he continued to drink after his salvation experience. After going away to college, and desperately trying to win his drinking track buddies to the Lord with no success at all, he decided to do something different. He felt the Lord leading him to give up drinking beer for a while. Dad LOVED the taste of beer, so this was not an easy commitment to make. Nevertheless, he was willing to go the extra mile and at least try and see what would happen. Before that semester was over, two of his track buddies made professions of faith in Dad’s dorm room. Dad decided then and there: If Christ would lay down His life for him, then he could lay down his beer for Him. He’s never had a drink since. My parents decided to raise me and my sister in an alcohol- free household and we both have chosen to do the same when we have families. Both of us have friends that drink A LOT, but we love them all the same. It is a personal conviction and decision of mine. With the exception of a few of my experiences within a Christian fraternity, I should add that I have never been put down, made fun of, or excluded from anything because I don’t drink. The only other person that I would want to hold a similar personal conviction is my future wife. I don’t think that God would place that strong of conviction on one life partner without it being the conviction of the other. So though it’s quite rare to find these days, even in the church community, I trust that God will send me a mate that shares this conviction, or eventually decides to. All of these factors are reason enough for me to choose to abstain from drinking, even without consideration of religious conviction. But what about the Christian for whom none of the above reasons are a factor? Let’s say they love the smell and taste of alcohol; they can afford it, and they aren’t concerned with the small physiological effects or morning hangovers since they don’t plan on getting really drunk in the first place. For them, the role alcohol has played in society is simply gross abuse of an otherwise good thing, and they have every intention of teaching their children proper limits of alcohol consumption when they are of age. Is there any other reason for them to reconsider the issue of drinking? At this point, its worth turning to Scripture to see what it has to say. Most Christians would agree that the Bible is quite clear on the fact that becoming drunk is a sin. Here are a few examples: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Holy Spirit” -Eph. 5:18 “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness…” -Rom. 13:13 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise” -Prov. 20:1 “Drunkards… shall [not] inherit the kingdom of God” -1 Cor. 6:10 “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine. Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper, Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of mast. They struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it, When shall I awake? I will seek another drink” Prov. 23:29-35 I feel like I know lots of people like the person described in Proverbs. There are 627 scripture verses referencing drinking wine or strong drink. All but a few are warnings about the dangers of alcohol. In fact, there is more said about alcohol consumption than adultery, lying, cheating, idolatry, or blaspheming. There’s also plenty of verses about the sinfulness of any kind of addiction. Christians are commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol in excess is undeniably addictive. So again, yes, drunkenness is a sin and addiction is a sin, but what about drinking in moderation? Alcoholism in our country is a serious problem, a growing epidemic worsening every year. I am regularly told that it’s all about responsibility and moderation, but where do we draw the line on moderation? Is it when we feel light-headed? Is it after just one beer, or maybe one beer and one glass of wine? Should we not stay as far from the line as possible? This principle indeed applies to other issues in the Christian life, beyond that of alcohol, some of which may be an even greater personal struggle for me, but for now, the topic is alcohol. At what point should you be considered drunk? This is only to say that ‘social drinking’ or ‘drinking in moderation’ seems to be a very subjective matter. I am often quoted the Scripture verses in which Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. As His first miracle, this is frequently used as justification for social drinking. The story can be found in John 2:1-11. Jesus attended a large wedding in which the wine had run out. Jesus ordered six waterpots containing 20 or 30 gallons each to be filled with water. When the headwaiter tasted the water turned wine he stated, “Every man serves the good wine first and when men have become drunk, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.” Think of the contradictory implications that seem to rise if this was indeed alcoholic wine. First, the headwaiter’s statement implies that most of the people were already drunk, and now Jesus was going to provide 120 to 180 more gallons of wine to allow them to become even more drunk (which we’ve already seen to be a sin)? Second, pregnant women would certainly have been present at the wedding and should not drink alcohol due to the increased chance of child deformities. Third, any kind of priest (Leviticus 10:9) or king (Prov. 31:4) was not supposed to partake in wine at all. Would Jesus have held himself to a lower standard than these? Fourth, you will see there is strong evidence that the finest wine in the land was not alcoholic- it was the purest, freshest form of “the fruit of the vine” or grape juice. Remember that there was no refrigeration in these times, so grape juice standing in the heat of the Middle East would ferment very quickly. The finest wine was wine so new and fresh that it had not begun to ferment. Samuel Lee from Cambridge University wrote, “The root of the Greek word in Hebrew is ‘yow-when’. The word does not only refer to intoxicating drink made by fermentation, but more so to a thick unintoxicating syrup or jam produced by boiling to make it suitable. They stored it in skin bottles, this grape syrup was stored in new wine skins to prevent fermentation. It was referred to as ‘the best wine’ and as ‘new wine.’” Classical writer, Horace, in 65BC, wrote of “unintoxicating wine being the best wine.” Aristotle wrote that “at the time of Christ, during Roman times, of sweet wine, called glucus, it would not intoxicate, and that the wine of Arcadia was so thick that it was necessary to serve it from the skin bottle, in which it was absorbed, or stored, and dissolved in scrapings which would water it down and serve it and it would be a delicious grape drink.” These are just a few pieces of evidence that show that the best wine may not have been intoxicating. But just for argument’s sake, let’s say that the wine was fermented and alcoholic to some extent. We know that in New Testament times, the water was not very clean. Without modern sanitation efforts, the water was often filled with bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of contaminants. The same is true in many third-world countries today. As a result, people often drank wine (or grape juice) because it was far less likely to be contaminated. In that day, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not to the degree it is today. It is incorrect to say that it was simply always grape juice, but it is also incorrect to say that it was the same as the wine commonly used today. In fact, most wine in those times was 8 parts water and 1 part wine; wine was basically used to disinfect the water. This meant that it took a great deal of wine to become drunk. Some people cite 1 Timothy 5:23 as justification for drinking. Here, Paul was instructing Timothy to stop drinking the water (which was probably causing his stomach problems) and instead drink wine. We’ve already seen the reason for this, and to use this logically, you would also have to stop drinking water, which is nonsense. If one studies the scriptures closely and takes the time to research the context, time period, situation, alcohol content, and the lack of alternatives, these scripture references fail as a convincing argument for drinking. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or might encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9- 13). Here we see verses about not causing another brother to stumble. A perfect example of this lies in the situation with one of my closest friends. He was dealing with depression and also attending a discipleship group for support and encouragement. But the group would regularly get together and go to a bar to drink. They may have been able to drink ‘in moderation,’ but in my friend’s state of mind, he was very susceptible to the effects of the alcohol. He had never drunk alcohol before, but due to the influence of his Christian discipleship group, he has turned to alcohol to deal with his issues and currently has a serious drinking problem. Let’s say you are a baseball coach, or youth pastor, or history teacher and you are out with the boys having a drink. If you happen to run into one of your students or players, how can they know how much you’ve had to drink? How do they know it’s your first and only beer? By your example, they may formulate in their minds that ‘if it’s ok for him and he turned out pretty good, then it must be ok for me.’ But what if they can’t handle it the way you can? Is it worth that kind of risk? I would hope the answer to that is an easy ‘no.’ Some may argue, “If I stop everything that might cause a weaker brother to stumble, then I guess I can’t dance at clubs, wear make-up, pierce my belly button, get a tattoo, etc.” My response would be that none of these carry the consequences and have the potential of destroying a life like alcohol addiction. So with the extra cost and all the alternatives, why do people drink in the first place? For the vast majority of them, it is because they like the “feeling” alcohol gives them. It livens up their life for a short time. It soothes their mind; it helps them relax and forget their troubles if only for a short time. Even for those who say they just like the taste, it is a fact that the most conservative of social drinkers will more than likely turn to it when they are in trouble, depressed, in pain, broken hearted, stressed, over-whelmed, angry, treated unfairly, in a crisis, or just have that overall feeling of hopelessness. In other words, in many cases, they are looking for something else to fill the void that only Jesus can fill. The relief that alcohol can provide is only temporary; the problem is still there in the morning. What Jesus has to offer will get us through the next day, and the next day, and the next. God made us with a hole in our soul that only He can fill. Until we truly find Jesus, that hole produces emptiness – something alcohol can only fill for a short time. Alcohol does not heal the heart; it only makes it numb. It doesn’t bring joy, fulfillment, or peace – all of which every individual hungers for in one way or another. These are all things Jesus can and wants to give us if we give Him the opportunity. What an awesome way to be a witness about what God can do in a person’s life! In summary, I would say that the Bible does not explicitly forbid the consumption of alcohol altogether. Alcohol, consumed in small quantities can be neither harmful or addictive. However, though it is a personal decision, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to over-consume alcohol, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is my opinion that it is usually best for a Christian to abstain entirely from drinking alcohol. Sometimes the question is not “Is it right or wrong?” but the question is “Is it wise?” Sometimes it is hard for me to see how the Christian life of seeking a growing relationship with God mixes with drinking alcohol. I think it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). I freely admit that I don’t live up to this standard in some other areas of my life. Some would say I’m very ‘conservative’ in this area, and less so in others, which may be true. The point still stands on its own however. Today the topic of social drinking is very controversial among Christians, so much so that I felt led to write about my own conviction in this area and why. I hope it gives the reader better insight into the perspective of those who choose not to drink. The more you pray and earnestly seek after Him, the more He will reveal His will for you, not only in this area, but in every area of your life.
Posted by Ben Jones

The Biblical Roles of Men and Women

How do we understand the Biblical roles of men, women, husbands, and wives? Were the roles cultural, or are they still applicable today? View this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones The gender roles described in Scripture can be somewhat controversial. A misunderstanding of these passages can be detrimental to both sexes. Upon a misinterpretation, men could develop an overly dominant spirit, or worse, use them to take advantage of women. Likewise, women could inappropriately choose to disregard these Scriptural passages altogether due to their nature. It is also important to differentiate between the roles laid out for a husband and wife as opposed to those of men and women in general. The roles of men and women (and more accurately, husbands and wives) exemplify the relationship between Christ and His Church. The direct correlation is made obvious in Eph. 5:22-33, and 1 Cor 11:3. The church is subject to Christ, but Christ gave His life for the church. The two are one. Eph. 5:22-33 22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Col. 3:18-19 18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 1 Tim. 3- Some responsibilities of man 1 Tim. 2:9-15 9Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. Women are active members of the church as is stated in numerous locations in the Bible. Paul wrote that there are not distinctions between genders in Christ. Gal. 3:28- “neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Equality must be emphasized, but no gender should be mistaken for the opposite gender- God has appointed different tasks and roles for each, which must be respected because God put them in place. No differentiation was made on the importance of a man and woman in Kingdom work (i.e. Priscilla and Aquila) The key to the beginning of this passage is a necessity to uphold any customs that show distinction between men and women. Instruction due to this is based on specific customs of the day that did just that. As seen in 1 Cor. 11, having short hair or a shaved head is not the sin; the sin is having a characteristic of ones who are known to be immoral. A key to understanding v. 11 is what is translated as “discreetly” in v. 9. It is the word sophrosune, which basically signifies a voluntary limitation of one’s freedom of thought and behavior. Since women became equal to men in Christ, the danger was that this newfound freedom would be misused and taken beyond the limitations that God had placed in appointing man as head over woman in the marital relationship. Paul is simply warning women not to try to look or act like men and usurp their position so as to maintain the parallel of the Church as the bride of Christ. This does not imply male superiority- it simply means that to function properly, every unit needs a ‘head,’ including a family. This is exemplified best in the Trinity. John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one” 1 Cor 11:3 – “God is the head of Christ” In marriage, two people are a single unit, but two personalities. They must have a headship and that head is man according to God’s creation and ordinance. Big distinction here! 1 Tim 2:11 does not mean “women”, but “a woman” which should be translated as “a wife.” The Greek word is gune and when it stands in opposition to the word Andros (meaning “husband”), it must be translated as such. In these verses, as well as verses we will look at in a moment, it is important to note that this does not refer to “subjection of women to men,” but “subjection of wives to their own husbands.” The word translated as “quietly” is the word hesuchia which means “peaceable” or “tranquil, not disturbed.” The word “submissiveness” is hupotage, a combination of the preposition hupo (“under”) and the verb tasso (“to place in proper order”). The real translation of 1 Tim. 2:11 should be “Let the wife learn in tranquility in her positioning under” At this time, only men had the privilege of education- how could a wife learn (which was encouraged by Paul) if she could not ask questions? “To be in subjection of” is simply to recognize one’s position in relationship to one’s husband. The first part of v. 12 should be translated as “I do not want a wife to constantly teach” when translated directly from the Greek words (in home, assembly, etc). If she did, it would undermine her husband’s position as head of the household. A wife should place limits on her liberty in Christ in both dress and speech. The second part “exercise authority over” is the word authentia which means “absolute sway or authority.” In other classical Greek, this is the most extreme form of authority. Obviously this type of authority would usurp the role of the husband. V. 13 is again just stated so as to exemplify the order of things as God created it, not that one is more intelligent or more worthy. “Self-restraint” in v. 15 is again the word sophrosune (limitation of one’s personal freedom). Titus 2:2-8 – Responsibilities of older and younger men and women [3-5] 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Here is an example of when a woman should teach, so we know that the previous verse doesn’t mean that women cannot teach at all. One of the reasons for these instructions is so that men will not be placed in a position of temptation by teaching or counseling women in private. 1 Pet. 3:1-7 1In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. 7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. The word in Vs.4 translated as “quiet spirit” is the same word in its adjectival form, hesuchiou, which is translated in its substantive form, hesuchia in 1 Tim. 2:12 as “quiet.” Peter certainly did not mean by a “quiet spirit” that a woman must be silent; he simply meant a tranquil, gentle spirit. 1 Cor. 11:3-16, 14:33-35 (notes) (“woman” means “wife”) 3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. 13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God. This was written to the Corinthian Christians living in Greece. The Greek tradition here was for men to have heads uncovered, and for women to cover theirs. This was against Jewish custom. Paul’s advice is to examine the symbolism of the custom, and if it is not contrary to God’s word, accept it (v. 16). He goes on to show that the custom also demonstrates God’s “order of creation.” Why oppose something that demonstrates this? But Paul left it up to the believers- v. 13 literally means “decide in regard to it your own selves.” In v. 10, “because of the angels” is literally “on account of the angels,” which probably refers to ‘heaven’s approval.’ Another reason for women to cover their heads was to differentiate them from the priestesses, who were prostitutes, at the nearby Temple of Aphrodite in Acrocorinth. These women never covered their heads and had short hair. Due to the culture, Paul wanted to be sure Christian women did nothing that resembled those of low moral character, even if the custom in and of itself was not a sin. Verses 14 and 15 reemphasize the necessity of men and women to be distinguished from one another and not attempt to look like the opposite sex. 33for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Obviously, this does not mean a woman should always be silent in all churches. 1 Cor. 11:5 makes reference to women praying and prophesying in church. Compare with previous verses à 1 Cor. 14:27-30 In these verses, anyone speaking in a tongue was commanded to keep silent in the church if there was no interpreter or if another person was prophesying. This was to prevent confusion within the church, as v. 33 states. Immediately afterward is the command for women to be silent in the church, and this was given for the same reason. Notice that this was not a rule given in any other church. This was because of the cultural context: Across the bay from Corinth was Delphi, Greece’s most famous center of oracles and commerce. What happened in Delphi directly influenced Corinth. One of the primary practices in Delphi was consulting the Delphic priestesses. The practice was this: A person who had questions would wait their turn in the inner shrine and hand over their questions written on tablets. The priestess would sit on a tripod over a great chasm and become intoxicated. She would then utter incoherent sounds which were interpreted by waiting poets. The interpretation was usually obscure and only served to confuse the inquirer. Just as the widespread practice of sacrificing to idols probably caused Paul to focus on that sin in 1 Cor. 8, the predominant participation of women in this Delphic practice may very well have influenced these verses. Paul would have addressed a practice, such as speaking in tongues, that seemed closely related to such paganism, just as the practices of the Aphrodite priestesses influenced proper customs (head coverings, etc). The key verse is v. 33. It is a shame for a woman to bring confusion into the church, even as it is for any man to do so. It is not an issue of men vs. women, but of confusion vs. order. Again, “women” in v. 34 is the word gunaikes, which should be translated as “wives.” Just as with the submissiveness of a wife to her husband (not a woman to a man), a husband also has the responsibility to guide and teach his own wife so she does not cause confusion or disturbance in the church. Paul expects the same of himself: he says he would rather speak five understandable words than 10,000 which were not understood, not only for the sake of fellow believers, but for sake of strangers who may see him and believe that he and others are mad or maniacs (1 Cor 14:19). Another aspect is the usage of two separate words. In this discussion, when Paul says the word “speak,” he uses the word lalein, the infinitive of laleo, instead of lego. Laleo is exclusively used because it refers to the mere utterance of sounds without the speaker necessarily knowing what he is saying or others understanding. Lego refers to saying something that is a product of one’s thought. Lalein is the word used for “speak” in v. 34. So basically there are three circumstances in which a person should be quiet in the church given here, the first two deal with men and the third with women: 1) If a man speaks in an unknown language without interpreter, 2) A man speaks and someone else gets up to speak, and 3) A woman begins to act like a Delphic priestess speaking in an unknown tongue. It is very important to differentiate between God’s intended role for all men and women for all time, and the gender roles due to the culture and time period. — 1 Cor. 7:1-6 [4-5] 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. This is just a great verse to use when married!
Posted by Ben Jones

Evidence For The Trinity

Are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit really three in one? What does the Bible teach? View this article in PDF format. By Ben Jones Just because we can’t comprehend it, doesn’t mean it’s not true. (Is. 55:8-9) It is the very height of egoism to say that because an idea in the Bible doesn’t make sense, it is false.Heretical groups denied the deity of Christ early on- this caused the church to crystallize and formalize the idea of the Trinity.Claiming to be God, or equal w/ God was the whole reason the Pharisees wanted Jesus crucified! (John 5:18)Trinity is diversity in operation. There is a degree of subordination involved- in relation, not in nature. The Father works through the Son by the Spirit. Son sent by the Father, Holy Spirit sent by the Son. (same with marriage- husband is the head of the wife, but they are equal in value and importance!) Old Testament Elohim à plural word in Hebrew used for God. No other God than Yahweh.God uses the plural pronoun to describe Himself: Gen. 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, Is. 6:8God created heavens and earth, Spirit of God moved over the waters.Prophecy of Messiah by Isaiah calls Him “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” etc. Is. 9:6Messianic Prophecy in Is. 7:14 -> His name shall be called Immanuel, which means “God With Us.” Matt. 1:23Is. 48:16 New Testament Col. 1:17 – in Him all things hold togetherJohn 1:1-3, 14 -> “monogenes” which means “only one of family”, “alone, only”, “unique” (‘teknon’ is child, ‘gennao’ is beget, generate)Matt 28:20 – omnipresence of Jesus: “I am with you always”Heb. 1:3 – exact representation, omnipotenceJohn 20:28 – “My Lord and my God”Heb. 1:6 – Let all the angels worship Him; He accepted worshipTitus 2:13 – “our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”Holy SpiritActs 5:3-4 “lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God” 1 Cor 2:10; 6:11, 19Col 2:9 – “For in Him, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form” (deity is ‘theotetos’ which is the essence of God)Matt. 28:18-19 – states all three, but unites them into one singular name. ‘in His name’Acts 2:32-33 – early church Trinity idea1 Cor 12:4-6 – varieties of service for the same Lord1 Peter 1:2 – all three2 Cor 13:14 – all threeJohn 1:18 – Jesus has explained GodFirst-born: “prototokos”, can mean 1) First in Time, 2) First in priority- Ps. 89:27John 8:58 à Ex. 3:14John 14:7-11Role of Spirit in John 14:18-20Jesus limited Himself in time and space, and also knowledge
Posted by Ben Jones

The Bible and Homosexuality

Is the Bible condemning, supportive, or silent on the subject? View this article in PDF format. by Ben Jones The Question: Is the Bible silent, condemning, or supportive of engaging in homosexual activity? Clarification: This is not an argument concerned with having homosexual tendencies, feelings, or desires towards a member of the same sex. We are only concerned with what the Bible says about actually living a homosexual lifestyle or engaging in homosexual activity. We all have desires that we don’t act on. A heterosexual person may want to have sex before marriage, but even if that person never gets married, it will always be wrong to act on those desires and have sex before marriage. First, it’s undeniable that males and females are physiologically designed for one another. The male genitalia is made to fit into the female genitalia. Also, this combination is also how God created the ability for human reproduction. When it comes to sexuality, logically, same sex organs do not fit or function together. Does this mean homosexual practice is necessarily wrong? Not necessarily. So let’s look at the biblical evidence: Gen. 2:24- “for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” Certainly it seems that from the beginning of time, God commanded man and woman to live together and become one flesh. Jesus Himself quotes these verses again in Matthew and Mark. Multiple times the Bible and Jesus explicitly state that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that only within marriage is sex acceptable. This already eliminates the possibility of same sex marriage and behavior. Gen. 19:4-9 Before they [the angels visiting Lot to judge the wickedness of Sodom and determine whether or not to spare it] had gone to bed, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them [lit., ‘have intercourse’ or ‘have relations’ or ‘so we my know them’].” Lot went outside to meet them… and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men… .” …And they said, “We’ll treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. Traditional Position: The men of Sodom were attempting homosexual contact with Lot’s visitors. Sodom was subsequently destroyed for its great wickedness, homosexuality playing a major role in its destruction. Pro-gay Objection #1: Sodom was destroyed because of the inhospitality of its citizens, not because of homosexuality. This is based upon two assumptions: 1) Lot was violating Sodom’s custom by entertaining guests without the permission of the city’s elders, thus prompting the demand to bring the men out “so we may know them.” 2) The word used yada, “to know” does not necessarily have a sexual connotation, so the men of Sodom had no sexual intentions towards Lot’s visitors. Response: This doesn’t make sense in light of Lot’s response. He responds, “Don’t do this wicked thing” which could hardly apply to a simple request to get to know his guests. His second response is even more telling: He answered their demands by offering his two virgin daughters- another senseless gesture if the men wanted only social knowledge of his guests. Also, why, if these men had innocent intentions, was the city destroyed for inhospitality? Also, pretty harsh response and punishment if it was just inhospitality. Pro-gay Objection #2: Sodom was destroyed for attempted rape, not homosexuality. This is more common and makes more sense than the inhospitality theory. This means violence, not homosexuality, was being punished when Sodom fell. Response: Partially true, the men of Sodom were proposing rape, but for such an event to include all the men from every part of the city of Sodom- both young and old, homosexuality must have been commonly practiced. Also, extra-Biblical evidence connects Sodom with homosexual practices: The second-century BC Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs labels the Sodomites ‘sexually promiscuous’ (Testimony of Benjamin 9:1) and refers to ‘Sodom, which departed from the order of nature’ (Testament of Nephtali 3:4). From the same time period, Jubilees specifies that the Sodomites were ‘polluting themselves and fornicating in their flesh’ (16:5, compare 20:5-6). Both Philo and Josephus plainly name same-sex relations as the characteristic view of Sodom. “Lot was oppressed by the sensual conduct of lawless men” In light of the number of men willing to join the rape, and the many other references to Sodom’s sexual sins, it is likely that the homosexual practice for which they were known was one of the many reasons judgment finally fell upon them. Leviticus 18:22-23 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.” Leviticus 20:13 “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.” Pro-gay Objection: Leviticus contains outdated ritual laws that we, as freed Christians, no longer need to abide by. Response: The prohibitions against same-sex intercourse occur in the context of other types of sexual activity that we all agree is wrong, like incest, adultery, and bestiality. Not only this, but the indictment of same-sex intercourse is particularly severe, as suggested by the Hebrew term “to’evah” which means ‘detestable’ and ‘abominable,’ and is considered a capital offense. There are at least 6 more points that I won’t go into here that explain why these commands from God’s law apply to us today. Romans 1:18-32 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. In this passage, Paul uses homosexuality as indicative of man’s deep seated rebellion against God and God’s proper condemnation of man. This text is a crystal clear condemnation of homosexuality in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul right in the middle of his most brilliant discourse on general revelation. Paul is saying that homosexuality is worse because it’s an immoral act based on the perversion of a natural function. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. It is clear here that un-repentant practicing homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God (i.e. go to heaven). But I also think that it’s important that we don’t single out homosexuality here and shrug off the other sins listed in these passages. For instance, how many of us have never coveted? We are all guilty of sin, and no sin is worse than another, even if the consequences may be different. The point of this study is to call out sin when we see it, and concerning homosexual behavior, to see it for the sin that the Bible clearer states it is. And don’t forget the next verse… 1 Cor. 6:11 which says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” This shows that God is willing to forgive sinners, including homosexuals, but they must turn from (repent of) their rebellious ways and place faith in Christ alone. 1 Timothy 1:10 “and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching…” Again, this is talking about how God’s Law points out these sins to people and how they are against sound teaching. There are also a reasonably large number of other texts that explicitly or implicitly indicate opposition to same-sex intercourse, leaving little doubt that such opposition was the consensus position of both Testaments, as well as of the historical communities out of which these texts arose. This doesn’t even include all the Scripture which talks about God’s proper parameters for Christian marriage, all of which pertains to one male with one female. The Bible is extremely clear on the subject of homosexual practice. Again, you can even say that having homosexual desires is not wrong. What is wrong is giving in to these desires and acting on them. This makes the issue of genetics totally irrelevant. Whether you were born that way or whether you changed, the issue of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’ doesn’t matter. A tendency toward alcoholism has been linked to genes, but that doesn’t mean becoming an alcoholic is okay. Yes, God loves us all, and Christians are to love everyone, and do not have the right to condemn others. However, it is akin to blasphemy to say that God and the Bible actually support engaging in homosexual behavior, or even to say that God doesn’t care if you engage in it. To believe this is to be in obvious denial of Truth. If a person wants to live a homosexual lifestyle, knowing it is wrong, then he will have to live with the consequences of his actions. It is no different for anyone else. Anyone who knowingly engages in sin will have to live with the consequences of those choices, myself included. However, a Christian should not dare try to justify his actions or fool himself into believing that God or the Bible actually supports or is even silent on the issue of homosexual practice. — Thanks to Joe Mulvihill for source material used in this study.
Posted by Ben Jones