Friday, April 21, 2017

Hank Hanegraaff embraces Eastern Orthodoxy

I have heard Hank Hanegraaff speak twice in person and think his Scripture memory is commendable.  My earnest and urgent concern is over the Christian Research Institute's (CRI) trend towards Eastern Orthodoxy.  Walter Martin (d. 1989) founded CRI in 1960.  In Orthodoxy, salvation is based on rituals and there is no assurance at the time of death.  In contrast, the simple gospel is faith in Jesus and repentance of sin.  Paul says we can be sure, "since we have been justified through faith, we  have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).

Athanasius in his 39th Festal Letter (367 AD) contradicted Orthodoxy and supported Sola Scriptura:

These [OT & NT] are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me.’

In 2004 Hank wrote The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? with Paul Maier, a Lutheran!  Lutherans and the Orthodox do not agree on the gospel.  Hank worked for James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion soon after his conversion.  James Kennedy (d. 2007) would not have supported Hank's becoming Greek Orthodox.  Furthermore, Ken Ham has some keen insights into Hank's biblical interpretation.
I have a great admiration for Walter Martin (Kingdom of the Cults) and used his work last year in my blog post on Roy Masters.  Dr. Martin would not endorse switching to Eastern Orthodoxy.    

In 1988 I went to Hollywood.  Just around the corner from the famous Chinese theater is an Orthodox church where I visited.  The church has a huge dome and who's pictured on that dome?  Mary.  We should not worship her (1 Jn. 5:21).

We named our son after Francis Schaeffer (d. 1984).  I've heard Frank Schaeffer when he was Eastern Orthodox a couple of times.  Frank went from Evangelical to Orthodox to Quasi-Atheist (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in GOD).  Where will Hank go next?

Two attractions to become Orthodox is their apparent unity and long heritage. There are 16 Eastern Orthodox churches not in communion with others (Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian etc.).  Hank worked with James Kennedy in the 1980's.  The wide range of churches involved with Evangelism Explosion is clear testimony to the essential unity of evangelicals.  Born again believers who look to the Bible as their sole infallible authority have a long history.  I would recommend The Torch of the Testimony by John Kennedy.
In 2015, Robert Morey published Is Eastern Orthodoxy Christian?  Phil Johnson (Grace to You) has said, "This is a helpful and thought-provoking summary, showing how the beliefs and practices of Eastern Orthodoxy often depart from authentic biblical orthodoxy.  Dr. Morey explodes the fiction that true apostolic Christianity was preserved in the icons and mysticism of the Eastern Church."  According to one missionary to Russia, "This book is the most accurate and useful examination and refutation of Eastern Orthodoxy ever written."

Hard Questions for the Bible Answer Man by Jay Howard came out in 2009 and tackles a number of key topics:

• Was Hanegraaff really Walter Martin's handpicked-successor?
• Why does Hank make over $250,000 a year?
• Why did he fire so many key people after he took over in 1989?
• Why did CRI buy him a $66,000 Lexus sports car in 2004?
• Is his Personal Witness Training a plagiarism of Evangelism Explosion?

Who should replace Hank on the Bible Answer Man?  Let us know what you think =>

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Evolution and Depression

In a prior post we dealt with the dark side of Darwin.

Evo Emo
evolution eliminates optimism
materialism killed mother-love
Darwin cheers when the black rabbit died
Evolution favors the power of “no”

Darwin shades the “tree of life” in darkness
Morbid self reflection is simply evolution inaction
Cosmic Evolution makes us all little people
Darwin-Love evolves into evil

Evolution brainwashing hurts the planet
my pet rock says “I believe in evolution”
Who's your Universal Common Ancestor?
Naturalism is not nice (no never)

Darwin has optimally extensive melancholy
extinction documentaries make my day
I just can’t go on ... Darwin is everywhere
Evolution is depressing, Earth is young
  - ice-j (3-20-17)

The characeter Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey, on the show True Detective really brings the miserable conclusion home: If evolution is true, then life has no purpose.

Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.    For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. (Eccl. 1:17, 18)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Marriage is Good

Why get married?  What is the purpose of marriage?

Part of the plan of marriage is having kids.  When the Lord confirmed his covenant with Noah we read the following:
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. ... As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it" (Gen. 9:1,7). 
How did Rebekah's sisters bless her?
Our sister, may you increase    to thousands upon thousands;may your offspring possess    the cities of their enemies (Gen. 24:60).
When was the last time you read the book of Ruth, chapter four?  Have you considered the implications for marriage?  A wedding should have witnesses (Ruth 4:9. cf. Gen. 29:22).  It should be legal (Ruth 4:2, 11).  Marriage is between one man and one woman - in this case Ruth and Boaz.      

Sadly marriage is under attack from many corners in our world (music, TV, courts etc.).  The Lord called holy matrimony “very good” (Genesis 1:26-31).

Also, think about Paul's directive, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word" (Eph. 5:25, 26).  Is not being made holy a good thing?

How does spousal abuse arise?  "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them" (Col. 3:19).  Contrast this with what it says in the Qur'an (4:34):
Men are in charge of women by what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient ... But those from whom you fear arrogance - advise them; forsake them in bed; and, strike them.

Peter would never say such a thing but instead gives us this command, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers" (1 Pet. 3:7).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Is it Heretical to Deny Young Earth Science (YES)?

Justin Derby is the purveyor of the Truth: The Objective Reality (TTOR) blog.  We recently did a video with Justin on Christian leaders who take a compromising stand on the age of the earth.  But is it heresy?

Derby has written Another Inconvenient Truth - What Secular America Hates.   
He tackles a number of worldview issues:  atheism, same-sex controversy, church-state relations, the historicity of Christ and eschatology.
We should heed the warnings of Harold Lindsell (The Battle for The Bible) who told us that forsaking the authority of Scripture can lead to a slippery slope of compromise.  Where do Mike Licona and Frank Turek stand on the young earth?

When it comes to heresy, here are a few verses to consider:

1 Cor. 15:3,4
3)  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4)  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

Galatians 2:16, 21
16)  ... a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
21)  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Heb. 6:1,2
1)  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2)  and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

What is the basis for unity?
   Apostles Creed
   Nicene Creed
   Creed of Chalcedon
Early ecumenical councils focused on the Trinity and the nature of Christ: one person with two natures.  Jesus was fully human and fully divine.

The Slippery Slope is real!  Many in the BioLogos crowd deny the reality of Adam, this is surely dangerous ground (Rom. 5, 1 Cor. 15, 1 Chr. 1).
Let us know what you think:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Poetry Corner

Welcome!  We are sharing a few poems from the author of Not for Pew Warmers, Tom Green.

I’m Calling God

I’m calling God on 911
With an emergency
The church is filled with sleeping people
Who’ve chosen not to see
The world around is growing dark
The lights that shine are few
To a carnal voice we seem to hark
God, Your fire must renew
Oh burn Your love into our lives
And wash away my sin
Show us the power You can give
If we’ll just let You in
Let Jesus walk upon the land
Using your hands and feet
It’s time for you to take a stand
For soon the Lord you’ll meet
Revival time is coming
An earthquake is very near
Hear the beat of the Spirit’s drumming
The call to march is here
  - Tom Green
Copyright © September 2001
Originally written 6-8 years prior

America’s Shame

America’s Shame
Parades upon her streets
We seek to blame
Why we see such defeat
Of values that for long we held
Too easily thrown away
We think that it’s the way to meld
Society now more frayed
The glue that should be binding
The truth we once revered
We hide from its reminding
In darkness we now steer
Rushing not to offend
We offend who really matters
His grace we overspend
Soon peace He brings will shatter
He’ll let us have our way
Though it leads but to death
We’ll be our own self’s prey
To draw but bitter breath
In a land we think devoid of truth
Just opinions that we hold
To reject the God we knew in youth
Worth more than all our gold
  - Tom Green
Copyright © May 1995

Who Will Choose

There’ve been written many verses
About God’s best and what the worst is
Heaven’s doorway out of hell
To God’s eternal wealth
Never trust in what you do
But only in God’s grace toward you
Treasures come and then they go
When ill fated winds shall blow
Earthly gold can be so fleeting
A lesson yet that bears repeating
Sanctuaries built to us
In which we often put our trust
Built of bricks and cedar wood
In our suburban neighborhoods
On our recliners we’re enthroned
A compact kingdom of our own
We barely know who lives next door
What, we wonder, is love for
If not to serve our selfish need
Within our kingdom built on greed
If God should strip our wealth away
Who, my friend, would watch and pray
If ours becomes a humbled land
Who would choose to show love’s hand
  - Tom Green

Copyright © May 2000

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Deuteronomy 4 and the Age of the Earth

When did human history start?  A reasonable estimate by mainstream dating takes us to around 2500 BC. [1]  This only goes back to the post-Babel era.  Noah went into the Ark 1656 years after Creation Week.  Thus, a 6K year old world makes sense. 

Let's give thought to Deuteronomy 4: 32-35,

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other.  Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?  Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?  Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?  You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.

Because of the signs and wonders, the Israelites had assurance that the Lord was the true Guardian of the Universe.  How could the Jews verify this?  Look at history, "Ask now about the former days, long before your time."  Is seems most likely that Adam, Noah and the other patriarch's wrote Genesis and then Moses edited their writings.  That is, history goes back to Adam.      

The famous Library of Alexandria was founded around 300 BC and had 200K to 400K books by some estimates.  Did some of these works contain pre-Flood history?  If so, there may have been a number of ancient chronicles that went back to the first human generation.

Christians who hold to a long chronology sometimes put Adam as far back as 150K years ago.  Where is all that history?  According to a report in NewScientist, writing may go back 35K years.  What happened to the missing historical accounts?  Some propose that the Sumerian King List takes us back 7K years before the Global Flood - that's far short of 150K years! [2]

Another problem for old earth supporters is all the millions of years of death and suffering before the Fall.  In Genesis 3 we read of the curse of the Earth.  Death and thorns came after the Fall in a straightforward reading of the text.  And later, the planet itself was destroyed because the world was wicked (Gen. 6:13).  That man's sin can have negative consequences in nature is repeated in Deuteronomy 28:

... if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you ...  You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it.  You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.  You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off. (Deut. 28:15, 38-40)

1)  YES - Young Earth Science by Jay Hall (IDEAS, Big Spring, TX, 2014), pp. 30-33.
2)  Ibid., p. 33.

*illustration:  Sargon of Akkad & the tree of life

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Daddy was a Rock!

Evolutionists say life started from a warm little pond - the primordial goo.  Where did these chemicals come from?  The Earth ... and what is the earth?  The 3rd Rock from the Sun!

My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.  Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices.  You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.  Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water.  I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land.  I will give you a full life span. (Ex. 23:23-26, emphasis added).

In a NOVA episode this year (Life's Rocky Start) the earth of billions of years ago is depicted as a chaos of meteorite impacts, active volcanoes and wild weather.  Somehow life emerged, but how exactly?

Chemical evolution leading to the origin of life requires that amino acids link up to form long chains and possibly proteins.  According to the Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems (National Research Council), "Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water.  Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored."

In 2007, Harvard chemist George Whitesides was given the Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society.  Whitesides  frankly admits that the Origin Of Life (OOL) is an enigma:  "The Origin of Life.  This problem is one of the big ones in science. ... Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth.  How?  I have no idea."
Massimo Pigliucci (Philosophy Prof, CUNY) makes a bold confession regarding OOL: "... we really don't have a clue how life originated on Earth by natural means."

Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it.  I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 26:1)

My Daddy was a Rock?  Maybe not.  What do you think about OOL?  Let us know >>