Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Richard Dawkin's Moral Relativism, can it work?


Frank Turek, the well known co-author of the book “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” says, “If there is no objective morality then love is no better than murder.” At first glance this statement appears to be quite extravagant to say the least. Any rational person knows that there is a stark contrast between love and murder, so isn’t it absurd to say that there is a world where these two things could be equal?

Surprisingly enough the world of moral relativism lays the groundwork for this kind of absurdity to exist in real-time. The fact that we all know innately that love and murder are opposite concepts on the moral spectrum is reason to believe that moral relativism is a bankrupt idealogy. In the world of relative morality we find that the definition of right and wrong is decided by popular opinion and human desire. This means, one society could consider murder as a grevious crime while at the same time a different society could consider murder as a utilitarian good, and neither could say the other is acting immorally.

The need for a transcendent and objective moral code is made obvious by the morally bankrupt nature of relativism. Unless absolute morality exists, morality itself is an illusion. Most people would see it as a self-evident truth that morality is much more than an illusion but rather something grasped innately by all rational people. To argue that morality is an illusion, is to argue against the fabric of human conscience itself. Moral relativism IS the argument that morality as an objective truth is nothing more than an illusion. Is this the kind of world we are meant to live in?

Even worse, if molecule to man evolution is true, our conception of morality is nothing more than a chemically constructed belief. Richard Dawkins said:

“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

I must say that I appreciate the frankness of Dawkins in this statement as many atheists try very hard to avoid the logical conclusion of moral relativism. Dawkins faces this absurdity right in the face and admits it. One must ask, “Is this the kind of world we want to live in?” A world in which love and murder could be considered equally moral? A world in which there is no higher morality available to humankind so that we may live in a way that is truly honorable? Thankfully the world of relative morals is the imaginary one.

The world of relative morals is the the world brought into existence by secularists who are bent on ridding society of God. Is it the only alternative to the reality that murder is objectively wrong and love is objectively good as confirmed by a Transcendent Creator who has the proper qualifications to define good and evil absolutely. Many Atheists are terrified at the reality that the only way to truly justify morals is if they come from and All-Knowing, All-Loving, Omnipresent, All-Powerful, Eternal Being. Namely the God of the Bible.

If the source of morality is not omnipresent or eternal then He would not be capable of true omniscience as there may be a time in the past or a place that He doesn’t know about. If the source of morality is not Omniscient, then there may be a better version of morality that He hasn’t learned of. If the source of morality is not All-Loving, then morality is destined to produce standards which fall short of real love. And finally, if the source of morality is not All-Powerful then perfect morality would be useless and unable to be implemented in such a way that the greatest good would ultimately result.

Moral relativism can only be considered objectively good if moral relativism is false. This renders it a logically incoherent worldview worthy of rejection from all reasonable people. Unless objective morality is embraced by humankind once again, we are destined to cannibalize ourselves with opinionated morals that have no foundation in a transcendent truth.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

View the video version of this article here:

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Resurrection of Jesus PROVEN in 5 Minutes



Gary Habermas an American Historian and New Testament Scholar puts forward 6 independent pieces of evidence that the vast majority of scholars, even skeptical scholars agree as being established facts regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These include:

1) that Jesus died by crucifixion; 

2) that very soon afterwards, his followers suddenly and sincerely came to believe Jesus resurrected from the dead; 

3) that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; 

4) that these things were taught very soon after the crucifixion; 

5) that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ.

6) that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience.

These 6 facts directly support the claim that Jesus did rise from the dead. But are their any feasible alternatives in explaining the rise of the world’s most influential religion? Christianity gives a straightforward explanation, that the bodily resurrection of Jesus gave the apostles and early Christians the motivation needed to carry forward their message even unto death. Unhinged and unrelenting skeptics have proposed a variety of alternative and untenable reasons that the early Christians would come to believe in the Resurrection. These proposals include the mass hallucination hypothesis, the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis, and what I call the “Jesus didn’t really die” hypothesis. Which even the early Roman historians rejected. The Romans were exquisite executioners and would’ve laughed at the idea that they would let someone survive their most gruelling punishment, the method of crucifixion.

But what shall we say to the other proposals? Regarding the mass hallucination hypothesis there are multiple problems. One is the diversity of resurrection appearances. To persuade someone that a mass hallucination occured it would be more tenable if the hallucination happened with one group, in one location, at one time. Jesus not only is recorded as having appeared to different individuals but also different groups in different geographical locations under different circumstances.

There is also the familial element to this matter. It is well known that the brothers of Jesus, two of which wrote letters in the New Testament, did not think that Jesus was anything special prior to His Resurrection. However, after the Resurrection they became highly involved leaders in the Christian movement facing great persecution ending with James the brother of Jesus being killed in Jerusalem. It’s one thing to propose that those who already believed in Jesus hallucinated, however strange that may be, but it’s an entirely different thing to propose that unbelievers such as the brothers of Jesus would come to a sudden and sincere belief in the resurrection of Christ through hallucinatory means.

As it pertains to the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis we also find many irreconcilable problems in addition to the fact that there was no material benefit to being an early Christian because you would be persecuted violently and in many instances have your property seized. Forensic experts such as Warner Wallace explain that real conspiracies rarely actually succeed. Wallace shows that you need 5 minimum requirements for a successful conspiracy which are:

1. A small number of conspirators

Preferably no more than 2. In the case of the New Testament we have a reported 513 witnesses.

2. A short conspiracy timespan

Keep in mind the apostles preached the resurrection without defecting for upwards of 40 years.

3. Excellent communication

In the New Testament the apostles spread to many different locations with only unreliable communication methods such as sending letter via horseback.

4. Strong familial relationships

The 513 New Testament resurrection witnesses including the apostles were from a variety of familial backgrounds.

5. Little to no pressure to confess

Early Christians were severely persecuted until 312 a.d. When Emperor Constantine converted to the Christian faith.

The claims of Christianity have none of these minimum requirements in terms of being able to make the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis tenable. Being that the main proposals from skeptics are found to be left wanting in every way we can arrive at the realization that even though these alternative explanations could be presented as “possible” they cannot be presented as “reasonable.” The infeasible nature of the alternative explanations to the resurrection count as additional proof for the credibility of the resurrection. Combine this with the 6 established facts that even skeptical scholars agree with and you have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Chuck Colson, the special counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal says:

“I know the resurrection is a fact and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

The rise of naturalism in modern times has produced a widespread disbelief in the supernatural. This is because naturalism as a worldview rejects any possibility of the supernatural as a core tenant of their belief system. This means that the naturalist cannot objectively evaluate evidence concerning the Resurrection of Jesus because they have already concluded that resurrections are impossible from the start. This prohibits the naturalist from “following the evidence wherever it leads.”

In the late 19th century and early 20th century a movement to try to compare Christianity to pagan myths that described dying a rising gods arose like Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and others. Scholars of that time wanted to explain away the resurrection of Jesus by trying to say that it was influenced by these ancient pagan myths. Soon after the movement fell apart within New Testament scholarship.

This mainly because the parallels were shown to be spurious because in reality these “dying and rising gods” were merely symbols of the seasonal cycles that ancient people experienced from summer to fall and so forth. In fact, these gods were not dying and rising at all when examined closely. Also, there has been no ability to show causal connection between these pagan myths and the early disciples who were Jewish. The Jewish disciples were part of a culture that rejected pagan myths, especially in the realm of the disciples in particular who are portrayed as devout, law observant Jews in the New Testament.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Calvinism vs Arminianism



Calvinism and Arminianism have come to represent two major themes over the years as it relates to the salvation of mankind with Calvinism placing an emphasis on God’s sovereignty and Arminianism placing an emphasis on human free will. Thus we have the popular disagreements that surface all across Christendom regarding free will vs the Sovereignty of God.

It became a major issue during the 15 and 1600’s after Martin Luther started the Great Reformation which birthed the Protestant church. John Calvin was a prominent protestant theologian of that era who wrote his thesis entitled “The Intitutes of the Christian religion.” Within Calvin's theology we find many teachings that later developed into what we know today as Calvinism.

Jacobus Arminius was a critic of John Calvin’s theology and after some time his disciples developed 5 counter points to John Calvin’s teachings on salvation and human free will. This was all brought to a formal organization of theology in 1610 in a document called the Remonstrance. About 9 years later at the Synod of Dort followers of John Calvin rejected the 5 points of Arminianism and developed their own five points which are widely used today in an acrostic spelled “TULIP.”

The T in tulip stands for total depravity. This means that humans are sinful in every component of their nature including mind, will, and emotions. So much so that they are unable to even respond positively to the gospel without the regeneration of their hearts by the Holy Spirit beforehand. Arminianism would argue that the flip side of this means that God leaves most human beings in a condition in which they are unable to be saved and this goes against His loving nature. They argue that human beings are depraved but everyone has a dose of Grace that gives them the ability to receive the Gospel freely if they choose.

The U in tulip stands for unconditional election. This means that those who are chosen by God are not chosen on the basis of their free decision to receive the Gospel but rather with no conditions at all in mind. That is God chooses them on the basis of his own private reasons and not any action that they chose to do. Arminianism would argue that this makes God's choosing arbitrary, rather than His Word teaching that he chooses to save all who humble themselves and receive the Gospel.

The L in tulip stands for limited atonement. This is often an element of Calvinism that is even rejected by some Calvinists. It essentially teaches that because God already chose beforehand whom He would save then it follows that the atonement of Christ was only specifically for those who would be redeemed and not for the whole world. Arminianism responds to this by arguing that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus died for the whole world.

The I in tulip stands for irresistible Grace. This is deeply connected with total depravity in that it teaches that because of our depravity God must irresistibly draw the people He has chosen, otherwise the calvinist argues, no one who is totally depraved would ever choose to receive the Gospel. The arminian responds to this by arguing but it goes against God's loving nature to essentially Force somebody to be saved and although human beings are depraved God still by his grace gives them an opportunity to choose salvation.

The P in tulip stands for perseverance of the Saints. This teaches that since God chose those who would be saved irresistibly then it makes no sense that they would not persevere in their righteousness until the very end. As a result no one who is truly saved can lose their salvation. Arminianism responds do this by arguing that God is so loving that if someone wants to walk away from their salvation He would let them.

It's important to understand that many theologians who do not identify with Calvinism or arminianism believe in what is called eternal security. This teaches that True Believers cannot lose their salvation however it's not related to the election of God but rather evidence found within the scriptures. Jesus said in John 10 verses 28 through 30- "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” This goes to show that Christians can believe that you can't lose your salvation without actually being a calvinist as a whole.

It's important to understand that Free Will and God's sovereignty may appear to be contradictory however if we understand the Transcendent nature of God it's reasonable to assume that these two things can be reconciled even if they are difficult to comprehend with our human mind. It is possible within the Transcendence of God for humans to be 100% free to choose to receive the Gospel and for God to be 100% Sovereign at the same time.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What is Mormonism?


Mormonism all began in 1820 in Manchester, New York when a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith became confused about all of the church denominations. He was wondering which one was the “true way to God.” He went into the woods to ask God which church he should join and allegedly God the Father and Jesus appeared to him stating that none of the modern denominations are true and that he was chosen to reestablish Jesus’ true church. 3 years later he was visited by the angel Moroni who told him where to find the “sacred golden plates” under a rock on a hill. Around the same time the angel supposedly gave him “seer stones” which helped him translate the golden tablets into the Book of Mormon which is the core sacred book for Mormons. The translation process was bizarre in that Smith hid behind a curtain while looking into a hat that contained the stones and as writing was illuminated on the stones he dictated it to his scribe on the other side of the curtain.

Joseph was a talented influencer and his followers were persecuted for polygamist activities and strange theological views. It’s reported that Joseph Smith married up to 40 women, some were already married. One of his wives was named “Helen Mar Kimball” and she was only 14 when they married. Its reported that Smith manipulated her into marriage by threatening that and angel with a flaming sword would bring destruction if she didn’t marry him. An angry mob eventually killed Joseph Smith in 1844.

Mormon theology is derived from the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, a book called the Pearl of Great Price, and the King James Bible. Mormons believe God the Father was once a man on a former planet who ascended to Godhood. They believe God the Father and Heavenly Mother produced Jesus as their first born spirit-son. According to Mormonism the Holy Spirit does not have a body but is a spirit. Some unique religious rules in Mormon theology are: no coffee, no rated R movies, no shopping on Sundays, attending church for 3 hours each Sunday, read the mormon holy books, believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet, complete the various “ordinances,” and also participate in “temple work.”

Mormon Temples are important because you can’t perform most ordinances outside of them. The ordinances include being baptized, and being endowed (which is when you are of age you visit the temple, are giving special holy underwear for protection, are given a new name to be called in heaven, learn a secret handshake and secret passwords to get into heaven, if you’re not a full tithe payer you can’t be endowed), other ordinances include temple marriage, as well as “receiving the priesthood” (a formal ceremony enabling males age 12 to 18 to act in the name of God). African Americans were not allowed to receive the priesthood until 1978, but Joseph Smith allegedly gave the priesthood to at least two African Americans, confusing right? Marriage is very important because in Mormon Heaven you and your eternal spouse can produce spirit children and create your own worlds for the spirit children to become humans on and potentially become gods themselves. Baptisms for the dead are common practice in which you can give a person the choice to be released from spirit prison by being baptized for them. Ordinances for the dead are done to attempt to give them entry to a better place in the afterlife.

According to Mormonism everyone comes from a “premortal life” where they were spirit babies with God on a distant planet next to a star call Kolab. God came up with a plan to send us all to earth where we become mortal and have free-will so that we can be tested. God’s first born spirit son Jesus agreed to be sent as a redeemer to us so that we can possibly ascend to godhood like God the Father through becoming Mormons. Satan proposed a different plan in which no one on earth gets free will and would be forced to follow God’s commandments and be saved. God didn’t like this plan but he let everyone in premortal existence choose whose plan they would follow. Thus ⅓ of the pre mortal spirits chose satan's plan and were cast out of heaven with satan and now tempt those who live on the Earth.

According to Mormonism when we are born we cross over from premortal into a mortal existence where we have a choice to do good or bad. The Mormon afterlife has multiple phases but begins with 2 places that you can go. You can go to spirit paradise or spirit prison- spirit prison is similar to a school where those who didn’t become Mormons are taught the mormon gospel and given an opportunity to choose to exit spirit prison. Members of spirit paradise are Mormons who teach the students in spirit prison. After this there is a resurrection and final judgment and then God sends people to one of 4 different options in the afterlife based upon their deeds and whether or not they are a Mormon. The celestial kingdom is for outstanding Mormons who completed their ordinances- full of bliss. The terrestrial kingdom is for people who did not complete their ordinances and non-members, a very nice place. The telestial kingdom, mainly for bad people- still pretty nice. The last option is outer darkness which is reserved for those who have a full knowledge of the truth and deny it in the face of God- they are completely cut off from God.

The governmental structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints consists of a headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The top leader is a Prophet who has two counselors, under them are the quorum of the twelve, and under them are the quorum of the seventy elders. The prophet can supposedly receive revelation and is the mouthpiece of God. The apostles go around preaching in LDS churches throughout the year. When a prophet dies, the longest serving apostle becomes the prophet and the former prophets two counselors return to the quorum of the 12 apostles, then the prophet chooses through revelation his two counselors from among the 12 apostles. Therefore 1 person from the 70 is chosen to be an apostle and fill the vacancy. The senior most apostle is the leader of the apostles. Under the 70 elders are stake leaders and under the stake leaders are local bishops and under the bishops there the local church leaders.

By now you know that Mormonism is certainly strange compared to traditional Christian beliefs. The biggest point of contention is who the person of Jesus is for Mormons. In Mormonism, Jesus is a spirit child of God the Father and heavenly mother and the spirit brother of satan, in Christianity Jesus is the co-eternal, co-equal Son of God the Father who has always existed as God. 

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Friday, November 1, 2019

What is the Gospel?




Galatians chapter 1 verse 8 says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!”

This scripture helps us understand how critical it is for us to know what the Biblical Gospel is. The word Gospel comes from a Greek word meaning “Good News.” In order for us to truly appreciate the good news we have to better understand the story of the Bible as a whole. It’s not often that we hear good news in this broken world that we're living in. The headlines are full of death, turmoil, division, and despair. The story of the Bible begins with helping us understand how the world became this way.

In the beginning of the Biblical narrative we find God presented as the Creator of the Universe, but something very different about the world is emphasized in the Biblical narrative. The world was good! In the early chapters of Genesis we find God repeatedly saying that His created world was full of goodness. That is, there was no evil, sin, sickness or death present within the world.

The Garden of Eden reflected a time in the distant past when Heaven and Earth were connected and God and Humanity were in a beautiful relationship with one another. But as the story continues something sinister takes place. We find the demonic appearance of satan in humanity’s habitat tempting them to rebel against God. Yes, the famous story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve yielded to the temptation and thus triggered a cascade of disorder and dysfunction that has plagued mankind ever since. We were plunged into a world characterized by corruption in our hearts.

Directly afterwards God in His mercy predicts in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 that a descendant of Adam and Eve would suffer and defeat the works of satan, this person is known by the Biblical phrase “Messiah.” This is the beginning of the Gospel or “good news.” From here we find a long lineage of descendants who do great things for God but ultimately succumb to temptation and corruption in one way or another. This cyclical pattern emphasizes that a merely natural descendant of Adam and Eve does not have the capacity to defeat the works of satan in and of themselves. Thus the story of the Bible culminates brilliantly in the person of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the initial part of the Biblical story we find the identity of the Messiah becoming more and more specified as a total of 315 prophecies about him were written. By the time that Jesus Christ arrives on the scene the Jewish nation was eagerly awaiting the appearance of the Biblical Messiah. The works of satan were ravaging humanity and the people were yearning for the announcement of good news. At the birth of Jesus we find the angel proclaim:

Luke 2:11- “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Jesus’ entire ministry was characterized by good news for those whom He encountered. He healed the sick, cleansed the leper, made blind eyes see, caused the lame to walk, and raised people from the dead. When Jesus would arrive in villages thousands of people would show up to see him and hear him teach. In John chapter 7 verse 46 it says

“Never has anyone spoken like this man!”

Even with the incredible miracles done during Jesus' ministry and the many prophecies fulfilled by him there was still a deeper issue within humanity that needed to be addressed. The issue of slavery to sin. In order for our bonds to be broken someone has to pay the price for our redemption. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from sin with His life’s blood. He died on the cross in our place, for our sin, so that we can be forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit.

There couldn’t be any better news than this! But that's not the end of the story. After 3 days Jesus resurrected from the dead with an immortal, glorified body. The Bible teaches that through faith in Him we get to experience the same kind of resurrection at the end of the age. The gospel is good news about the free gift of eternal life offered to humanity through Jesus Christ.

We cannot save ourselves from the bondage of sin. God became flesh and He alone paid the full price for our redemption through His blood. The good news is, you can know that you have eternal life. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” and Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D. Min.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Explaining the Holy Trinity


One of the most popular questions about the Christian faith is "what is the trinity?" The concept of God being three and one at the same time is nothing short of mind-boggling. For those who are considering Christianity it often can cause them to walk away confused. Before we talk about what the Trinity IS, we need to dispel some common myths and bad teachings that float around about the trinity.

Some people in a well-meaning attempt to help others understand the trinity in a simple manner will often use the following analogy. I'm a father, I'm a son, and I am a brother all at the same time ... It's the same way with God he's the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all at the same time. However this is not the Biblical teaching of the Trinity... This is actually connected with a heretical teaching called trinitarian modalism. Essentially it teaches that there is one God who operates in three different modes, which is not taught anywhere in the Bible.

So what is the Trinity? Biblically speaking the word Trinity is not used in the Bible however it is a word that has been formulated within theological circles throughout church history in order to describe a clear teaching about God that is found in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity states plainly that there is one God in three separate persons, and they are in complete unity with one another in purpose, nature, and essence. Confusing right? Many people respond to this teaching saying, isn't this polytheism not monotheism?

Well let's take a look at the history of the word "one" in the Bible. Biblical monotheism is founded upon Deuteronomy 6:4- ““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” But was this the first place that this word "one" is used in the Bible?Taking a closer look we find the word “one” used in the Bible is in Genesis 1:5- “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day (yom echad)”. It describes two separate things, in this case evening and morning, coming together as one. The second time this word is used in the Bible is to describe the union of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24- “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” So, simular to Genesis 1:5 we see the Hebrew word “Echad” used to describe two persons becoming “one.”

So biblically speaking the word used to describe God as "one" in the Bible is a word used in its first occurrences in Scripture to describe two things or persons coming together in Union. So as far as we describe God as "one" this is what we mean when describing the father Son and the Holy Spirit as One God. Although there are three separate persons they are in complete Union, Unity, and perfect harmony with one another, they are, as a whole, the God of the Bible. Some theologians like to describe this mystery as God being “complex” in his Unity.



Take a look at the above chart for a visual reference. The Father is not the Son, but the Father is God, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, but the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, but the Holy Spirit is God. A proper teaching of the Biblical Trinity is meant to cause one to walk away scratching their head. However shouldn’t we should expect such phenomenons when studying and learning about a God who created the universe with the word of his mouth and sustains the entire universe by the power of His might? A proper approach to Biblical learning is one that realizes there will be many things that we cannot fully comprehend about our great God who created this incredibly complex universe that we live in.

Some will say "isn't that Trinity stuff simply a New testament Teaching?" Doesn't the Old Testament teach strict monotheism? Well, if we go back to the beginning of Genesis as God Was preparing to create mankind is says in Genesis 1:26- “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” Some have proposed that this was God speaking to the angels, however mankind is not created in the image of angels nor is there any evidence of angels having creative power like God. So as early as we see in the Biblical narrative we find the God-head which is ultimately revealed as the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit having a conversation with one another about creating mankind. We also, as mentioned earlier, know that the word for “one” can be used in a plural sense. As well as we find what are called theophanies in the Old Testament in which God appears in human form to characters like Abraham and Jacob in Genesis chapter 18 and 32. This is consistent with the reality of the Trinity in which God the Son can appear in human form to characters in the Old Testament while God the Father remained enthroned in heaven, at the same time God the Holy Spirit filled the universe with His presence.

The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible is meant to inspire reverence toward God in our hearts. Often times in our desire to achieve complete logical conclusions to every pursuit of learning we miss the point that the Bible is often trying to emphasize... That the God Who created the Universe is a God who in many ways is incomprehensible. Any God that can be reduced to be fully understood by the human mind is a God who is no God at all. The God of the Bible is worthy of all worship and truly fits what one should expect from a transcendent, all-knowing, all-powerful Being who spoke the entire universe into existence.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Creation vs Evolution



Back in 2014 Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham the Ark Encounter guy debated the popular topic of Creation vs Evolution with Bill Nye defending evolution and Ken Ham defending creation. But was this really what happened?

Neither of these gentlemen were uniquely qualified to fully hash out these issues being that Bill Nye is simply an entertainer and engineer without a degree in science and Ken Ham represents only one of the variety of Creation views in Christianity, namely, Young Earth Creationism (we’ll talk about that more later). Even so the debate has been viewed worldwide almost 7 and a half million times on the Answers in Genesis Youtube channel since it aired.

But what is this debate really about? Is evolution a scientific fact? Is Young Earth Creationism the only option for Christian theists to believe? Let’s find out...

What is evolution? It’s important to understand is that there are two different kinds of evolution when it comes to biological life. Micro-evolution and Macro-evolution. Micro-evolution is better known as adaptation, this kind of evolution is an observed fact affirmed by both creationists and evolutionists. It describes the process of how different organisms can make slight biological changes over short periods of time in order to adapt to and survive within changing conditions of environment. This however does not cause the organism to develop new organs and therefore become an entirely different kind of creature. That is, we have many kinds of frogs but they are all frogs… Many kinds of dogs but they are all dogs, and so on and so on.

Macro-evolution is what most people are more familiar with as it relates to Darwin’s theory. This kind of evolution posits that all of biological life came from single-cell organisms to it’s current state of complexity through millions of years of life gaining new organs, and functions over long periods of time through natural selection. That is, it assumes that if adaptation occurs many different times over millions of years it can actually take biological life from its original simple form to its current complex form. The problem with this is, nobody has ever or can ever observe a process that supposedly happens over such a long length of time. And the scientific method requires observable, testable, and repeatable experimentation to prove a theory.

Some schools of theological thought posit that God may have used evolution to bring life into existence, a theory called theistic evolution. But many Christians reject this on the grounds that evolution is a process in which “ the survival of the fittest,” which is driven by the death of weaker members of a species could not be a process that a loving God would use to bring life into existence. This also puts death before the fall of Adam which is not consistent with what the Bible teaches.

Let’s talk about all of the Creation theories related to Christian history. There are three major creation theories that theologians and Christians have relied upon when interpreting the Creation story of Genesis throughout church history. Young Earth Creationism, The Gap theory, and the Day-Age theory.

Ken Ham defended Young Earth Creationism in his debate against Bill Nye. This led many to believe that this is the primary way that Christians have interpreted the Biblical Creation narrative throughout history. This is not the case. Young Earth Creationism takes a strict literalist view of the Bible positing that God created the world in 6 literal days and that the Biblical genealogies can be used to mathematically calculate the age of the Earth, which when added up amount to anywhere between 6 to 10 thousand years. It also posits that the flood of Noah was a worldwide flood and is responsible for all fossil evidence that we find in the geologic column. Young Earth Creationism is appealing to many due to it’s apparent ease to fit within the plain text of the Genesis story, this is assuming that the Genesis was written with the intention to be taken literally. The challenges that this theory faces are primarily found within the modern scientific community having a consensus that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old.

The Gap theory takes a somewhat literalist approach to the Genesis Creation narrative however it posits that between Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 and 2 there was a long period of time prior to Adam and Eve in which biological life existed on the Earth. This life was eventually destroyed by a flood and then the Earth was reconstructed in 6 days leading up to the creation of Adam and Eve. This theory allows for an Old Age of the Earth but many Christians reject it because it posits something that the Bible does not specifically teach.

The Day Age Theory takes a non-literal approach to the Genesis creation narrative positing that each of the six days of Creation represent a long period of time. This theory relies upon the idea that the Hebrew word for day (yom) can be used to refer to both a literal day and a period of time. This theory also allows for an Old Age of the Earth but many Christians object to this approach because they believe it will create a precedent it which people can reinterpret scripture to be metaphorical on demand when it does fit their personal biases.

Jesus Christ taught that the world was created and he affirmed many characters in the early Genesis narrative to be historical people, but He did not specifically address the method of interpretation as it relates to the 6 days of creation and the age of the earth.

There are four things that all Christian must affirm as it relates to the Doctrine of Creation.

1. God created the universe in the beginning.

2. God created mankind in His own image.

3. Mankind sinned and is in need of redemption.

4. The atonement of Christ alone can redeem us from our sins.

If we can agree on these four things then we can have liberty to debate and explore the particulars as it relates to how to interpret Genesis as a whole. The key is having unity of the core issues and respectful discussion on the peripheral ones.

Written By: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Announcing our new format 5 minute theologian!


Biblicalquestions.net will continue to be your resource for theological questions of every kind. With the tweet centered, news bite world we are now living in we have decided to reformat this page into a new effort called 5 Minute Theologian. The video clips will be posted on our YouTube channel CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE and the transcripts will be reformatted into an article form here on the website. Let us know what kinds of questions you want us to answer in the coming months! God bless!

Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What does the Bible say about immigration?

Over the past few years the topic of immigration has been front and center in the United States. This has left many people to wonder, especially Christians, what the Bible has to say about immigration. Is it bad to be a Christian who supports building a wall at the border of Mexico and the United States? Does the Bible encourage us to let people immigrate without any restraints? Hopefully this conversation will help us to find a balanced approach that takes all of the biblical data into consideration.

A primary instance of immigration control in the Bible is found in the story of Nehemiah. This story is about God using the man Nehemiah to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem that was destroyed by Babylon. It was standard practice in those days to build fortified structures around cities in order to prevent malicious individuals and armies from being able to enter the city and create havoc. The fact that God inspired Nehemiah to rebuild this wall provides support to the idea that God is not against a government controlling it's borders and preventing high risk individuals from entering the country. 

A primary passage that is often used to support a more lenient immigration policy is in Leviticus 19:33-34 and reads, "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." It is agreed upon by the large majority of Biblical scholars that this passage provides principle support for the fair treatment of immigrants, the issue of applying this passage to government policy on people who live outside our country is that it seems to deal primarily with an immigrant that has already been allowed entry into the country. It references the Jews residency in Egypt as an example, which was an instance in which Pharaoh allowed Joseph's family to legally move to the land of Goshen and occupy it. In other words, this passage contains little content that addresses "the process of admittance" that God recommends for immigration, and if any inferences are made they would actually point to the legal allowance of the Jews into Egypt by the government in honor of Joseph's upstanding reputation. 

So, two of the conclusions that we can come to from the Bible on the issue of immigration is that God is not opposed to controlling who is allowed to immigrate permanently to the country, but God is opposed to treating those who do legally immigrate unfairly. One of the major issues that Society needs to begin to Iron Out is how do we create an immigration process that incentivizes people to pursue legal immigration versus simply entering the country illegally. And how do we have real safeguards in place that would keep dangerous people   being able to enter the country?

If we look to the Bible as our guide for immigration policy we must remember that it was written during a time when immigrating from one country to another without the consent of that country was a very dangerous thing. On the issue of immigration we must advocate for a fair legal process of immigration. We must advocate for fair treatment of people who do legally immigrate to our country. And, we must also advocate for respect for the laws of the land and discourage illegal immigration. We need to be careful not to demonize one another over a political issue that has a lot of moving parts. At the end of the day we are called to "go into all of the Nations and preach the gospel" so as much as we would like more people to immigrate to our country we should be willing to go to them and share the gospel even more fervently.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Should Christians participate in Halloween?


Ghouls, goblins, witches and candy... This is what many Christians associate with the yearly Halloween festivities in America. There has been a historic divide between Christians about if and how we may participate in Halloween.. So much so that it has led to friends arguing harshly, churches issuing mandates, and most Christians left feeling confused about the matter. In this article I intend to review the history of Halloween, look at some of the Christian objections to participating in Halloween, and offer what I believe to be a Biblical approach to this issue that all Christians can unite on through Christ's love.

So what is Halloween? Where did this all get started? First of all the word "Halloween" comes from the Scottish term for "holy evening" or "hallowed eve." The day known as Halloween by modern American culture finds its origination in the Catholic Church which established the holiday as an evening of observance before "all saints day" on November 1st. All saints day is a day set aside for Catholics to celebrate all of the saints of church history whether known or unknown. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"In the 7th century CE Pope Boniface IV established All Saints’ Day, originally on May 13, and in the following century, perhaps in an effort to supplant the pagan holiday (the festival of Samhain) with a Christian observance, it was moved to November 1st. The evening before All Saints’ Day became a holy, or hallowed, eve and thus Halloween."

Many historians have assumed that the choice of November 1st for All Saints Day by Pope Boniface IV (thus creating Halloween on October 31st) was an attempt to supplant a widely celebrated pagan holiday called Samhain. Samhain was a Celtic holiday which was thought to initiate the spirits of those who died that year into an annual transition into the afterlife, as well as give spirits who died in previous years the opportunity to visit earth for a day. The Romans later incorporated large aspects of this into their holiday calendar thus making it widely practiced by non-believers. 

Many Christians who object to participating in Halloween festivities point to this ancient holiday that was supplanted by Halloween in the 7th century. The argument basically says that because October 31st was once a pagan holiday we must not participate in Halloween festivities or we are committing a form of idolatry. However, this does not stand to reason. Most Christians who take their children trick or treating on Halloween are not doing so in honor of a pagan holiday from ancient Celtic times. They are simply letting their kids dress up like different characters and collect candy with their friends. There is nothing inherently sinful about this activity if done simply as an exciting family outing. 

Another objection raised within the Christian community points to the increase in occultic activities on October 31st by people who follow occultic beliefs. This arguments basically says that because people who are involved in the occult do more occultic activities on October 31st Christians should not participate in any Halloween festivities. However, this does not stand to reason either. Most Christians who take their children trick or treating on Halloween are not doing so as a form of participating in the occult, nor is it an occultic practice. One suggested parameter that I advise is to make sure that the costumes your children wear are not promoting the occult (witches, ghouls, goblins, and other dark creatures). If your children wear superhero costumes or a costume of their favorite tv character there is nothing inherently sinful with this practice if done simply as an exciting family outing. 

Now that I have addressed the two most common arguments against Halloween I will now provide some suggested parameters for Christians who do participate in trick or treating. In addition to the costume element I mentioned, I would suggest teaching your children about the true history of Halloween and how it is rooted in Church History. You may also share with your kids about Reformation Day which is also on October 31st commemorating the 95 theses of Martin Luther being nailed to the door of the Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Take time to frame the evening as a family outing and not the "pursuit of pleasure." To often we promote a hedonistic version of Christianity. I also encourage churches not to surrender Halloween to secular society and consider fall festival outreaches around Halloween time.

Finally, I want to speak to my Christian brothers and sisters who try to stop other Christians from participating in Halloween in any way. I understand that you want Christians to separate themselves from anything that appears to have ungodly origins, however we must remember what scripture says in Psalm 118:24:"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." We as the people of God are to be in the world but not of the world. If you feel uncomfortable with Halloween then I affirm your choice to not participate in any way, but I also encourage you to make the issue more about Christians redeeming each day we are given rather than becoming reclusive on days that we perceive to be ungodly. Yes, there are godly parameters that must be set on any day of the year, as well as Halloween (as mentioned earlier). But let's remember that society would never have a chance to meet Christians and hear about our Lord if we all remain hidden in our homes. Just something to think about... I hope this article is a blessing! 

Written by: Dr. Kyle Bailey 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Do we need to ask for forgiveness after we are saved?





1 John 1:9- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

The Bible teaches two distinct applications of forgiveness. The first is that of our positional forgiveness in Christ through what is called the Doctrine of Justification. This forgiveness applies to our eternal standing with God and is reckoned to our past, present, and future sins as a free gift from God. 

The second is that of relational forgiveness. This is the application of forgiveness that the Apostle John is describing in 1 John 1:9 and it does not interfere with the free gift of salvation that we receive in our positional forgiveness. The purpose of relational forgiveness is to "purify us from all unrighteousness." The idea is that as we walk out our relationship with God we regularly collect residue in our soul from sin that we commit daily, and through confession we are able to be purified of this residue and enabled to draw closer to God in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. 

Confession is simple, it means to agree. When we confess our sins we are saying to God "I agree with your word that what I did was wrong." When we do this the Bible promises that God will accept our confession, forgive us, and cleanse us. This is described as the Doctrine of Expiation. Jesus said to pray "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." We need to confess our sin, especially the sin of unforgiveness. When we do this we are able to experience the awesome cleansing that God's Spirit provides through the promise of His Word.

Written by: Rev. Kyle Bailey M. Th.

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