Kingdom

Sitting at Tully’s Coffee, I’m fighting back tears as I listen to Matt Redman wail on about how the cross of Jesus makes us whole again, how Jesus is the one who wipes us clean of sin, how Jesus is the one who sets us free, heals our hearts, and makes us friends of God.

Thoughtful and thankful, I’m sort of ruminating on all sorts of concepts, having just finished Study, and preparing myself to tackle this week’s topic of Debt and God’s desire for us to live unburdened. I’m thinking about how there is always a tension between things…economic fear versus generosity. A tension between trusting God or shouldering my own burdens. A tension between longing for the “good old days,” and hoping for a “bright future.” A tension between remembering my sin, and remembering my forgiveness. At our recent EPIC Men’s Event, Mike Erre pretty much rocked me with this clarity…that God wants me Alive and Thirsty. Fully Alive and yet Thirsty for Him. Content-with-His-Love and yet Longing-for-More-of-His-Glory. On this side of eternity, there will always be a tension…stemming from the simultaneous Now/Not Yet nature of the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to announce.
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It's a Dead Man's Party: Charles Darwin at 200 (Part 4)

...continued from Part 3...

Where Does the Evidence Really Point?

In January of 2004, the atheist community was stunned by a major announcement.  Antony Flew, probably the world’s most influential atheist of the last 50 years, publicly acknowledged his move from atheism to belief in God’s existence (he hasn’t embraced Christianity just yet, though).  Let me give you some perspective. Flew’s announcement is equivalent to Billy Graham calling a press conference and telling the world he is leaving Christianity.  Can you imagine the shockwaves throughout the Christian world? 
So why did this life-long atheist ditch atheism?  Flew said he “had to go where the evidence leads.”   And what was that evidence?  “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries...I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”  

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It's a Dead Man's Party: Charles Darwin at 200 (Part 3)

...continued from Part 2...

Wait, the Fossil Record is Evidence of Macroevolution, Right?

Of course, scientists suggest there is evidence for macroevolution.  They point to the fossil record.  They argue we have transitional forms.  These are intermediate fossils that demonstrate gradual change from one type of species to another.  Scientists hold up examples like Archaeopteryx.  Maybe you’ve seen this lizard-like-bird fossil in your biology book (if not, google it).  Supposedly, it’s a transitional form between lizards and birds.  But there’s a major problem with transitional forms in general.

A few potential transitional examples here and there are not enough.  Evolutionists need a lot more.  Darwin said so himself in Origin of the Species.  “The number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great (emphasis mine).”  In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true we should find tons of transitional forms in the fossil record.  But we don’t.

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It's a Dead Man's Party: Charles Darwin at 200 (Part 2)

...continued from Part 1...

Definition #1:  Evolution is change over time. 

This definition is really general.  As we observe our world we see things changing day by day, month by month, year by year.  An oak changes as it goes from sapling to tree.  A baby changes as she grows into a toddler.  Your body changes.  Seasons change.  Clothing styles change.  Everything changes.  In this sense of evolution everything on earth evolves.  But is this a problem for Christians?  Of course not.  If this is what someone means when they say “evolution,” no problem.

Definition #2:  Evolution is the process where minor changes take place in an organism to produce new characteristics.

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It's a Dead Man's Party: Charles Darwin at 200 (Part 1)

I recently wrote an article on evolution for junior high and high school students that appeared in Clear Horizon magazine.  The article was entitled "It's a Dead Man's Party," in reference to the upcoming 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth this Thursday.  I will post excerpts of the article over the next few days. 

Introduction

When was the last time you went to a birthday party for a dead guy?

Here’s your chance.  On February 12, 2009, evolutionists everywhere will celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. Darwin can’t make it but that won’t stop the celebrations that are already planned worldwide.  Yes, worldwide.  That’s one killer party.

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Ancient Bible Found in Jesus' Tongue? I Doubt It.

Who doesn't love ancient manuscripts? And an Indiana-Jones like story following the discovery of one makes it all the better. "Authorities in northern Cyprus believe they have found an ancient version of the Bible written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus" (Ktisti and Bahceli Reuters’ article). This manuscript was apparently found in a Turkish Cypriot police raid on suspected antiquity smugglers—not quite Indiana Jones, but SWAT-like stories are almost as good.

As a bit of background: I use to work with ancient manuscripts and I know Syriac, so I was immediately interested in this discovery. But, a few things Ktisti and Bahceli said in their Reuters’ article about the discovery struck me as quite odd:
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Cruel Logic: The Logical Slippery Slope of Evolutionary Ethics

A powerful reductio ad absurdum from filmmaker Brian Godawa:  "A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic: His moral right to kill them."


Francis Schaeffer called this logical tactic "taking the roof off."  You simply adopt the other person's point of view for the sake of the argument and carry it out to its logical conclusion.  You demonstrate the absurd world one has to swallow given the practical outworking of their argument.  And it shows them they can't live in that world. 

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More Thoughts on the CatholicVote Abortion Video

My post on the CatholicVote video has generated some interesting discussion on the Stand to Reason blog.  Scott Klusendorf, pro-life master jedi, has weighed in with some wise thoughts that speak to the value of the video and its liabilities:

I must confess to thinking similar thoughts the first time I saw the clip. If that's the extent of our message--or even our primary one--we're not doing our job as communicators.

However, given the morally untutored culture we live in, the imagery and message of the clip may still prove helpful. It's hard to change how people think on abortion if you don't first change how they feel about it. On that level, the ad provides a valuable assist. For example, I've met many pro-lifers who initially joined our ranks because of a slogan I think suffers from the same problem Brett identifies above. The slogan reads: "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart." I dislike it, because elective abortion is wrong even if performed prior to the detection of fetal heart activity. Thankfully, many of those same pro-lifers have moved on to more sophisticated and intellectually credible arguments.
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The CatholicVote.org Video Sends the Wrong Pro-Life Message

Alright, since I'm on a pro-life blog kick, let me get out one or two more posts on the subject...

CatholicVote.org has put out a compelling pro-life video. 

Tools like this are a powerful way to put our pro-life arguments into narrative form.  Unfortunately, I think this video inadvertently gives the wrong justification for the pro-life message.  Watch it and then ask the following question:  "According to this video, what is the grounds for human value?"  The video mistakenly communicates that human life is valuable merely in virtue of its instrumental value. 

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Abortion: Only One Question

Last week I claimed abortion is the greatest social justice issue of our time.  That’s a bold claim so more must be said.  

I am a pro-lifer for very particular reasons.  I am not pro-life because "the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it."  I am not pro-life because I want to fit in with Christians at my church.  I am not pro-life because I hate women who have abortions.  I am not pro-life because it fits with a particular political party's platform.  I am not pro-life because you have to be if you're a real Christian.

I am a pro-lifer because of the answer to one simple question:  What is the unborn?  Let me illustrate.  If my teenage daughter asks me, “Dad, can I kill this?” what question must I answer first before I can answer that?  

“What is it?”

If I turn around and she’s holding a spider she found in the house, no problem.  If she’s holding the neighbor’s cat, I’ll look to see if my wife’s within earshot and then tell her, “Sure, I can’t stand that cat” (I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I’m not a cat-lover).  But if she’s holding her kid brother who’s been pestering her, I’d have to tell her, “Lexi, put your brother down and slowly walk away.”  You see, I must first answer, “What it is?” before I can answer, “Can I kill this?”

If the unborn is not a human being, no justification for abortion is necessary.  But if the unborn is a human being, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.  

So, is the unborn a human being?  Yes and here’s why:

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