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Biological Disconnect

Biological Disconnect.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in #BIBLE, #FAMILY, #HUMANISM, #LIVING

 

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ALL DRESSED UP AND NO ONE TO THANK

By John MacArthur

The atheists’ dilemma: whom do you thank when you think there’s no one to be grateful to?

Thankfulness is one of the distinguishing traits of the human spirit. We sense the need to say thanks, and we realize we ought to be more grateful than we are. We furthermore perceive that we are indebted to (and accountable to) a higher power than ourselves—the God who made us. According to Scripture, everyone has this knowledge, including those who refuse to honor God or thank Him (Romans 1:19–21).

Ingratitude is dishonorable by anyone’s reckoning, but to be willfully ungrateful toward the Creator in whose image we are made is to deny an essential aspect of our own humanity. The shame of such ingratitude is inscribed on the human conscience, and even the most dogmatic atheists are not immune from the knowledge that they ought to give thanks to God. Try as they might to suppress or deny the impulse, “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:19).

During a November 2009 debate in England sponsored by a rationalist group known as Intelligence Squared, Richard Dawkins admitted that when he looks at the Milky Way or the Grand Canyon, he is overcome by a profound feeling of thankfulness. “It’s a feeling of sort of an abstract gratitude that I am alive to appreciate these wonders,” he said. “When I look down a microscope it’s the same feeling. I am grateful to be alive to appreciate these wonders.”

But to whom does an atheist like Dawkins express such gratitude?

I’m by no means the first person to point out this conundrum. In fact, the Internet is peppered with failed attempts to justify an atheistic celebration of Thanksgiving. Atheists insist they are not ungrateful. They confess that they feel thankful, and they clearly sense a need to avoid the ignominy of brazen ingratitude on a cosmic scale—especially at Thanksgiving.

One atheist has practically made a hobby of writing articles to explain why atheists feel the need to be thankful. He tackles the question of whom an atheist is supposed to thank. His best answer? Atheists can be grateful to farmers for the food we eat, to doctors for the health we enjoy, to engineers for the advantages of modern technology, to city workers for keeping our environment clean and orderly—and so on.

Here’s the problem with that: Tipping the waitress or tipping one’s hat to sanitation workers doesn’t even come close to resolving the problem of whom Dawkins should thank when he looks at the stars, stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or studies the world of countless wonders his microscope reveals in a single drop of pond water.

Of course we ought to be thankful on a human level to people who help make our lives better. But if thanking people exhausts your sense of blessedness and satisfies that “sort of … abstract gratitude” you feel when pondering the vastness of the universe, you have already suppressed your own conscience to a frightening degree. Your worldview is spiritually bankrupt.
Another atheist writer, acknowledging this problem, says the answer is easy for her: she thanks her lucky stars. “What it comes down to,” she writes, “is that an atheist is generally thankful for good luck, serendipity.”
That’s an odd and ironic answer from a point of view that repudiates theism on the grounds that it is not “rational” to believe in God. (Not that atheism itself truly stands on solid rational grounds. After all, the starting point for atheistic materialism is the equation Nobody times nothing equals everything. What could possibly be more irrational?)

Chance, luck, fortune, happenstance, fate, kismet—whatever label you want to put on it—is not a force or intelligence. “Chance” has to do with mathematical probability. Flip a coin and there’s a 50-50 chance it will come up tails. But “chance” has no power to flip the coin, much less design an ordered universe.

Nevertheless, this is how atheistic materialists have trained themselves to think: chance is the ultimate creator.

In the words of one Nobel Prize-winning atheist, “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.” Fortune has thus been personified—imbued with the power to determine, order, and cause everything that happens.

That’s mythology, not science. At the end of the day the atheist is no more rational and no less superstitious than the astrologist (or the animist) who thinks impersonal “lucky stars” determine one’s fortune.

On some level, atheists themselves surely realize this. Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that so many of them are not content merely to disbelieve. They are militant in their opposition to God. They hate the very thought of God and would love to have every mention of Him removed from public discourse—as if that would somehow remove the burden of their own ingratitude and relieve the pangs of a guilty conscience.
Such hatred is as irrational as atheism itself, and it is further evidence that atheists have some awareness of God that they desperately want to bury. Who nurtures such hatred for someone they truly believe doesn’t even exist?

Indeed, as Scripture says, it is the ultimate folly to try to suppress our own innate sense of obligation to our Maker. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). In short, to deny God is to debase one’s own mind and dehumanize the whole person (Romans 1:28).

That’s why we remind ourselves to give thanks to God—specifically, the one true God who has revealed Himself in Scripture as a God of grace and forgiveness, who so loved the world that He gave His Son as an atonement for sin, so “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

He graciously compels us to thank Him, and He himself should top the list of things we are thankful for.

This article is from the November 22, 2012, edition of The Washington Times. © 2012 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/21/the-atheists-thanksgiving-dilemma/).

 

THE SHAMEFUL SOCIAL GOSPEL

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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans:1:16
For various reasons, Christians of different sorts have tinkered with “the gospel of Christ” as though it needed adjustments. Not major alterations, most will tell you, but just some minor tweaking here and there. The changes often begin by one’s declaring that there is no real change involved, simply a shift in emphasis. Yet, no matter what the rationale may be, the end result is being “ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
To be “ashamed of the gospel” covers a number of attitudes from being totally embarrassed by it to thinking one can improve upon it a bit to make it more acceptable. One example of the former is the recent claim by an Emerging Church author that the teaching regarding Christ’s paying the full penalty for the sins of mankind through His substitutionary death on the Cross is irrelevant and viewed as “a form of cosmic child abuse.” More subtle examples include trying to make the gospel seem less exclusive, and the “softening” of the consequences from which the gospel saves mankind, such as the wrath of God and the Lake of Fire.
Prevalent among many religious leaders who profess to be evangelical Christians (i.e., Bible-believing Christians) is the promotion of a gospel that is acceptable to, and even admired by, people throughout the world. Today, the most popular form of this is the social gospel.
Although the social gospel is common to many new movements among evangelicals, it is not new to Christendom. It had its modern beginning in the late 1800s, when it developed as a way to address the various conditions in society that caused suffering among the populace. The belief was, and is, that Christianity will attract followers when it demonstrates its love for mankind. This could be best accomplished by helping to alleviate the suffering of humanity caused by poverty, disease, oppressive work conditions, society’s injustices, civil rights abuses, etc. Those who fostered this movement also believed that relief from their conditions of misery would improve the moral nature of those so deprived.
Another driving force behind the introduction of the social gospel was the eschatological, or end times, views of those involved. Nearly all were amillennialists or post-millennialists. The former believed that they were living in a (symbolic thousand-year) time period in which Christ was ruling from heaven, Satan was bound, and they were God’s workers appointed to bring about a kingdom on earth worthy of Christ. Post-millennialists also believed they were in the Millennium, and their goal was to restore the earth to its Eden-like state in order for Christ to return from Heaven to rule over His earthly kingdom.
The social gospel, in all of its assorted applications, helped to produce some achievements (child labor laws and women’s suffrage) that have contributed to the welfare of society. It became the primary gospel of liberal theologians and mainline denominations throughout the 20th century. Although its popularity alternately rose and fell as it ran its course, it was often energized by the combination of religion and liberal politics, e.g., Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Midway through the last century and later, the social gospel influenced developments such as the liberation theology of Roman Catholicism and the socialism of left-leaning evangelical Christians. It is in this present century, however, that the social gospel has gotten its most extensive promotion. Two men, both professing to be evangelicals, have led the way.
George W. Bush began his presidency by instituting the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. His objective was to provide government funding for local churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious ministries that were providing a social service to their community. Bush believed that programs run by “people of faith” could be at least as effective as secular organizations in helping the needy, and perhaps more so because of their moral commitment to “love and serve their neighbor.” As he prepares to leave office, he has declared that he considers his Faith-Based program to be one of the foremost achievements in his tenure as president. Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated that, should he win the election, he will continue the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Rick Warren, the mega-selling author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life , has taken the social gospel to where it’s never been before: not only worldwide but into the thinking and planning of world leaders. Warren credits business management genius Peter Drucker with the basic concept that he is executing. Drucker believed that the social problems of poverty, disease, hunger, and ignorance were beyond the capability of governments or multinational corporations to solve. To Drucker, the most hopeful solution would be found in the nonprofit sector of society, especially churches, with their hosts of volunteers dedicated to alleviating the social ills of those in their community.
Warren, acknowledging the late Drucker as his mentor for 20 years, certainly learned his lessons. His two Purpose-Driven books, translated into 57 languages and selling a combined 30 million copies, reveal the game plan for what Drucker had envisioned. Warren had local churches implement this vision from his books through his enormously popular 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community programs. To date, 500,000 churches in 162 nations have become part of his network. They form the basis for his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.
What is his P.E.A.C.E. plan? Warren’s presentation of the plan to the church is found at www.thepeaceplan.com. On video, he identifies the “giants” of humanity’s ills as spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy, which he hopes to eradicate by (P)lanting churches, (E)quipping leaders, (A)ssisting the poor, (C)aring for the sick, and (E)ducating the next generation.
Warren uses the analogy of a three-legged stool to illustrate the best way to slay these giants. Two of the legs are governments and business, which have thus far been ineffective, and, just like a two-legged stool, cannot stand. The third very necessary leg is the church. “There are thousands of villages in the world that have no school, no clinic, no business, no government—but they have a church. What would happen if we could mobilize churches to address those five global giants?” Warren reasons that since there are 2.3 billion Christians worldwide, they could potentially form what President Bush has termed a vast “army of compassion” of “people of faith” such as the world has not yet experienced.
In addition to the Christian version , Warren has an expanded inclusive version of the P.E.A.C.E. plan that has drawn support and praise from political and religious leaders and celebrities worldwide. At the 2008 World Economic Forum, he declared, “The future of the world is not secularism, but religious pluralism….” Referring to the ills besetting the world, he declared, “We cannot solve these problems without involving people of faith and their religious institutions. It isn’t going to happen any other way. On this planet there are about 20 million Jews, there are about 600 million Buddhists, there are about 800 million Hindus, there are over 1 billion Muslims, and there are 2.3 billion Christians. If you take people of faith out of the equation, you have ruled out five-sixths of the world. And if we only leave it up to secular people to solve these major problems, it isn’t going to happen” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGytW4yh0C8 ).
To accommodate working with people of all faiths Warren has revised the “P” in his P.E.A.C.E. from “planting evangelical churches” to “(P)romoting reconciliation” and the “E” from “equipping [church] leaders” to “(E)quipping ethical leaders.” Warren has elsewhere acknowledged his practical shift to pluralism: “Who’s the man of peace in any village—or it might be a woman of peace—who has the most respect?…They don’t have to be Christian. In fact, they could be Muslim, but they’re open and they’re influential, and you work with them to attack the five giants [to which he has added global warming].” He quotes a secular leader who affirms what he’s doing: “I get it, Rick. Houses of worship are the distribution centers for all we need to do.”
Warren has joined the advisory board of Faith Foundation, established by former British prime minister and recent Roman Catholic convert Tony Blair. The Foundation’s goal is to further understanding and cooperation among the six leading faiths: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jewish. How does the Cross fit into this ecumenical gathering? It doesn’t. Critical to achieving that ecumenical goal is the elimination of the problem of exclusive religions, a concern articulated by one of the World Economic Forum panelists: “There are some religious leaders in different religious faiths who, in seeking to affirm their own faith and its authenticity and legitimacy…deny other people their faith with its legitimacy and authenticity. I don’t think we can keep going like this without…spawning the kind of hatred we are all here to try and solve. I think it’s up to us to hold the clergy’s feet to the fire of whatever faith. That we insist that we affirm what is beautiful in our own traditions while at the same time refusing to denigrate other faith traditions by suggesting that they are illegitimate, or consigned to some kind of evil end.”
The Bible declares all the religions of the world to be “illegitimate” and “consigned” not to “some kind of evil end” but to their just end. Only belief in the biblical gospel saves humanity: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [Jesus Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved;…He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (Acts:4:12John:3:36).
The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working out of “benefiting humanity” has compromised biblical faith and dishonored God. Why is that? God’s Word gives no commission to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to do so are starting out under a false premise, “…a way which seemeth right unto a man ,” not God’s way. So where can it go from there? “The end thereof are the ways of death,” i.e., destruction (Proverbs:14:12). Furthermore, the problems of the world are all symptoms . The root cause is sin.
What percentage of the “people of faith,” who comprise all religions and make up five-sixths of the world’s population, understand and accept the gospel—the only cure for sin? Or how many of the 2.3 billion “Christians” in the world believe the biblical gospel? The numbers tumble down exponentially. “Yes, but…they are a massive volunteer force and distribution outlet of resources for slaying the giants of world suffering!” What does it profit the billions of “people of faith” who may alleviate some of the world’s symptoms yet lose their very souls?
The social gospel is a deadly disease for “people of faith.” It reinforces the belief that salvation can be attained by doing good works, putting aside differences for the common good, treating others the way we want to be treated, acting morally, ethically, and sacrificially—and that doing so will endear humans to God. No. These are self-deceptive strivings that spurn God’s salvation, deny His perfect standard, and reject His perfect justice. Salvation is “not of works, lest any man should boast.” In fact, it is “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians:2:8-9). Jesus declared Himself to be condemned humanity’s only hope for reconciliation with God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John:14:6). There is no other way, because God’s perfect justice demanded that the penalty for sin for every human (“for all have sinned”-Romans:3:23) be paid. Only the perfect, sinless God-Man could and did pay that infinite penalty in full by His death upon the Cross. Only faith in Him reconciles a person with God.
The shameful social gospel today not only promotes “another gospel,” it helps prepare a kingdom contrary to the teachings of Scripture. “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). He will return from heaven (John:14:3) to “rapture,” or catch, those who believe in Him (His bride) up into the clouds and take them to heaven (1 Thessalonians:4:17). The kingdom that remains on the earth will be the kingdom of the Antichrist.
Consistent with its amillennial/postmillennial beginnings, the efforts of the social gospel are earthbound in their attempted restoration of the kingdom of God. Eugene Peterson has infiltrated that heresy into his Message Bible: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (a perversion ofJohn:3:17).
Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis , reflects the “fix the earth” eschatology of nearly all Emerging Church leaders: “Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker. This has huge implications for how people present the message of Jesus. Yes, Jesus can come into our hearts. But we can join a movement that is as wide and as big as the universe itself. Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems. God’s desire is to restore all of it….The goal isn’t escaping this world but making this world the kind of place God can come to. And God is remaking us into the kind of people who can do this kind of work.”
For Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren, this is the future way of life for the Christian. In an interview July 28, 2008, on ChristianPost.com , he said: “I think our future will also require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths—Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, secularists, and others—in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship, and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God.” No, what matters to the “heart of God” is “that all should come to repentance” and believe the gospel.
Anyone who puts his hope in this social gospel, which employs “people of faith” to make “this world the kind of place God can come to,” needs to heed the words of Jesus in Luke:18:8: “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” People of all faiths , yes, but certainly not “ the faith,” for which Jude exhorts true believers to earnestly contend. Lord, help us all not to be ashamed of Your gospel!    TBC
 

WHAT ARE THE FAITHS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ?

Founder & Director, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Over the past few months we have been inundated with inquiries about the presidential election. All of these have expressed a great sense of frustration about the choice we are faced with. And that is understandable when you consider the fact that neither of the two main candidates is a Christian.
Election 2012
Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney certainly is not a Christian. He has been spiritually deceived into giving his heart to a false religion that masquerades as Christian.

Since its founding back in the 1830’s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) has taken the position that it is the one and only true church and that all the rest of Christendom, both Catholic and Protestant, is apostate.

The Mormons teach and preach a false Jesus who is not God in the flesh. Instead, He is portrayed as one of thousands of subordinate gods who were created by the super god of this planet, who is an exalted man.

The Mormons thus deny the trinitarian concept of God that is revealed in the Scriptures. They reject the truth that Jesus was God in the flesh, and they view the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force.

The Mormons teach salvation by good works, in direct contradiction to the Bible’s teaching that salvation is by grace through faith, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-10). And the Mormons teach that their most faithful followers will become gods themselves with their own planets to populate and rule. In short, Mormons are polytheists.

Mormonism thus presents “another gospel” that is foreign to the gospel of the Bible. And the Apostle Paul declared that all non-biblical gospels are an anathema and that those who proclaim them are to be “accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is also not a Christian,despite his claims to be one. I proved this conclusively in the third edition of my book, America the Beautiful?(2009).

In an interview he gave in 2004, Obama stated point-blank, “I believe there are many paths to the same place [Heaven].” To the contrary, Jesus said there was only one, and He was it (John 14:6).

When Obama was asked, “Who’s Jesus to you?” he responded that Jesus was an “historical figure,” “a bridge between God and Man,” and a “wonderful teacher.” There was no expression of Jesus as God in the flesh, the Savior who died for our sins.

Obama shocked his interviewer by saying that there was one thing in particular about Christianity that he had difficulty dealing with — and that is the tendency of many Christians to engage in evangelism! He said he believed the desire to proselytize was based on a belief that if “people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, that they’re going to Hell.” Obama has obviously never heard of Jesus’ Great Commandment to preach the Gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15-16).

Because of highly unorthodox comments like these about Christianity, and because of his obvious enthusiasm for Islam, many have concluded that Obama is a closet Muslim. I don’t think so. Based on his statements and his policies, I have concluded that Obama is a classic Humanist, meaning that he is a person who believes in the essential goodness of Man and his ability to achieve fulfillment on his own through the power of reason.

Remedial Judgments

One of the main points I made in my book, America the Beautiful?, is that when a nation blessed by God turns its back on its Benefactor, God will place remedial judgments upon the nation in order to call it to repentance. And one of those judgments can be that of giving the nation the kind of leaders it deserves.

That was certainly the case in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president.

The continuing judgment of God upon our nation can be seen in the choice for President we are now presented with. For the first time in U.S. history, neither candidate is a Christian.

A Clear Choice

But despite that fact, we are confronted with a real choice. It is not a matter of Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

On one hand, we have a candidate who is a non-Christian Mormon. He believes in traditional family and moral values, he respects the heritage of America, he supports Israel, he recognizes Islam as our nation’s enemy, and he believes in Capitalism.

On the other hand, we have a candidate who is a non-Christian Humanist. He rejects traditional family and moral values, he despises our nation’s heritage, he holds Israel in contempt, he loves Islam, and he believes in Socialism.

The choice is not an ideal one. But there is a clear choice.

May God have mercy on our nation.

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