Charlottesville

Unless you are a hermit with no access to news media you cannot have missed the turmoil that occurred his past August 12, a Saturday in a small town. Some white nationalists had planned to hold a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to show their disapproval of the removing of a Robert E. Lee statue. Some white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups showed up and from what I can tell commandeered the rally, which sparked anti-racial protests in response.

The two groups began to exchange expletives, name-calling and throwing things at one another. One group yelled racial epithets, someone reportedly hollered on the other side, “black lives matter.” One thing led to another so that the rally turned protest degenerated into what can be described as a riot.

As the melee erupted the local police stood on the sidelines making little effort, the small town police force possibly unable to control the crowds, to stop the violence seemingly content to witness and contain it.

A young man that reports claim was a white supremacy sympathizer drove his car into the counter-protestors killing a woman and seriously injuring several more. Dozens more were injured in the many fistfights that broke out.

President Trump accused both sides of contributing to the violence, and there seems to be some evidence of that, and Michael Signer, Charlottesville’s mayor, accused the President of promoting the racial divide that led to the rioting. Democrats and Republicans both condemned the violence.

What should believers make of all this?

I am in favor of a strong sense of nationalism that supports our government’s efforts to provide for the wellbeing and protection of all its citizens equally. I am not entirely sure what “white” nationalism is but when one qualifies nationalism with a color it already sounds racist to me. I believe black lives matter, but that is because I believe all lives matter.

If anyone thinks racism is on the wane in this country, Charlottesville will make him think again. Sadly, it is alive and well and it may very well be that the racism we are reaping now is from the slavery we sowed years ago.

It is difficult to imagine that the brutality and cruel practice of slavery in this country’s past could be sanctioned as anything akin to the description of it in Scripture. And racism, slavery’s illegitimate child, has absolutely no biblical support. No man, whatever the color of his skin, can claim any superiority when Paul writes, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.

Paul also tells us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men,” Romans 12:18. But when people cease being God–centered, they quickly become self-centered, and when they turn away from God, it is not long before they turn on one another.

Unless our nation experiences a mighty repentance and revival we can expect to see the things we witnessed in Charlottesville again.

Is Evolution v. Creationism just a war of words?

I read an article recently that suggested those of us who believe in creation are merely quibbling over the meaning of the word theory and ignoring reality. Really?

To be honest, there are two very different senses of the word theory that conflict. Evolutionists use theory as “a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.”

Creationists on the other hand see the word theory as “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”

The conflict between the two definitions is clear. There are several underlying hypotheses that must be true for the general theory of evolution to be true. Let’s look into the scientific reality of those hypotheses.

Evolutionists discount the creationist claim that God created life and counter that life began spontaneously on its own. The reality is the whole scientific community is not in possession of a single observable fact about the beginning of life. The National Academy of Science said in one of their publications they have been unable to produce life in the laboratory, and even if they had, they admit they cannot say that is the way life began. The question of how life began has only two possible answers; either God created it, or it began on its own.

Evolutionists claim the diversity of life is the result of billions of beneficial germinal mutations occurring over billions of years. We know malevolent germinal mutations exist, e.g., albinism, but there is not one example of a known beneficial germinal mutation. Current claims of evolution can be laid at the feet of dominant/recessive gene action based on inherent DNA data. There has not been any new genetic information produced by beneficial germinal mutations.

Evolutionists say humans share a strong genetic resemblance in their DNA with our simian cousins suggesting a common ancestor. While all the ape species share genetic similarities they evidently are not reproductively compatible. If we are so strongly related to suggest common ancestry would that not suggest reproductive compatibility to ensure continued evolution? Where is that body of evidence?

Evolutionists tells us comparative anatomy, the idea most creatures share common anatomical similarities such as a skeletal system, and embryonics, the idea that all creatures share similarities in their formative stages, are evidence we share common ancestry. Those are assumptions that prove nothing about evolution.

It is these kinds of leaps in logic that make me feel comfortable taking a leap in faith. If all evolutionists have are theories about the facts, then evolution is more a matter of faith than it is science. And when it comes to faith I will stick with the Scriptures.

Paul warned Timothy “keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding…oppositions of science falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith,” 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV). That sounds reasonable.

Rob Bell and Hell

Rob Bell was speaking in Atlanta recently and a CNN writer wrote about it in an article titled Outlaw pastor Rob Bell shakes up the Bible belt. Rob is the author of several books that question Christian beliefs on a number of doctrines. The one he is most known for is his teaching that hell is not an everlasting place of torment.

There were some detractors outside preaching and passing out tracts to warn those arriving not to listen to him. And Rob made no attempt to placate his detractors when he said that white evangelicals had elected a man who had “no moral compass.”

He did not explain how that distinguished Donald Trump from Hillary Clinton, but if he thinks the last election was about which of the two moral midgets was the tallest, I can understand why he has difficulty interpreting the Scriptures.

There are a couple of things that need to be considered when talking about the afterlife in Scripture. While we have as complete a description as we are going to get of what is popularly termed “heaven and hell,” what we have is actually a composite picture gleaned from several scattered accounts taken from both the Old and New Testaments.

While we have been given enough information about the two destinations to know how to gain the one and shun the other, and while we do not have all the details about either place , we do have some undeniable facts, both places are eternal.

The next thing to be considered is the terminology. There are two words in the Greek New Testament that are translated as “hell” in the King James Version, Gehenna and Hades. In the New American Standard and other modern translations Gehenna is translated as “hell” and Hades is transliterated.

Both terms were borrowed from the popular culture then and mean something quite different in the context of Scripture than their etymology would suggest. There is no interpretive license to assign a meaning of these words apart from their biblical context.

But Rob Bell is right on one point, hell or Hades, is not eternal; it is to be cast into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:14-15, and the Lake of Fire is a place of eternal torment, Revelation 20:10, et alia. You do not need to take Rob Bell’s word for it, or even mine, it is all right there in the Bible for anyone to read.

Paul warned “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires,” 2 Timothy 4:3.

To those who want to believe there is no eternal torment awaiting disbelievers there will always be a teacher who will accommodate them. The only ones who will be deceived about hell are those who want to be, because they do not care enough to read the Bible for themselves.