Monday, June 29, 2009

Perspective

I just published my first post on another blog I am part of! It is for the John Brown University summer reading program and is about "perspective" as pictured in the first book of Chaim Potok's The Chosen. Check it out if you want!
http://jbureads.blogspot.com/2009/06/perspective.html
P.S. we were asked not to do plot analysis...so if you haven't read the book it may not make a lot of sense. But it is an interesting book to read if you have the time :D

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Truth Project: Lesson Three

Lesson 3 - Anthropology: Who is Man?
What is Evil? The question should be referred back to the world because we have an answer and the world does not.
Man has a huge propensity for good, yet he does so much evil. He longs for relationships, yet he is so alone. WHY?
In the Cosmic Battle (Truth/reality vs. Lie/illusion), the most pernicious lie concerns Who Is Man? What is his essence, his moral state, and his need?

The states of man are like the modes of a watch (time/alarm/stopwatch/etc).
These are the modes of man:
1. Created – Innocent Genesis 1:27
The Fall (no way to get back)
2. Fallen – Sinful Romans 5:12, Genesis 6:5 Death--->2a. Hell Revelations 20:15, Hebrews 9:17
Fallen Man: Evil, Dead, Blind, Deaf, Lost
“You can’t slander Human nature – it is worse than words can paint it”---C.H. Spurgeon
Salvation
3. Redemption – Redeemed Revelations 5:9 Death--->3a. Glorified 1 Corinthians 15:42
Saved Man: Saints, Priests, Called Out, People of God

Sanctity of Human Life – even fallen man still bears God’s image, just as redeemed man still carries the sinful nature. Galations 5:16-17

There has been a deep rooted atheism in Human Psychology ever since the fall.---R.C. Sproul
The Cosmic Battle does not absolve us from responsibility for our actions [ie. we can not excuse our actions by saying that ‘the devil made me’ or ‘it isn’t my fault, I have a sin nature!’ etc.]

Man’s Essence: made in God’s image, dualistic (having flesh and a spirit).
Man’s Morality: Fallen
Man’s Need: Redemption

According to Humanism’s viewpoint, the non-reality of the supernatural means that man does not have a spirit. Humanism leads to absolutely NO differentiation between animals and humans: “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” This degrades man rather than promoting him. It also leads to the radical environmentalism that we see today.

The culture also says that man is not evil, despite all the evil things that he does. Therefore, since we are not evil, we should encourage our nature because that will make us happy – we should do whatever we want to do. (According to Abraham Maslow) NO!!! Colossians 3:5-10
Culture says that man must reach a point of self-actualization, while Christianity says that man is evil.

The Christian view of Man VS. The Cultural view of Man.
Created in God’s image – Goo to Man through Evolution
Created perfect, now fallen – basically good, just get in touch with himself
Needs grace – needs to be oriented around and focused on himself

Rousseau: Man is natureally good, as long as nothing foreign to him corrupts him.
He believed that Christianity was just such a foreign corruption.
Carl Rogers: Man isn’t evil, the culture makes him evil [And just where did the culture come from????]
Ask a humanist: Why does evil bother you? You look around the world, and you badger us for an explanation of evil, but why does evil bug you? Isn’t it a part of Natural Selection? Isn’t it men getting in touch with their inner selves?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where to go to Church.....

I am researching churches for next fall while I am at college...here is a short part of the beliefs of one church I found......
"We say that God was uniquely present in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. One word we use to describe this belief is that God was 'incarnate' in Jesus, that is, God’s own self was present in Jesus’ very body. Following his death, his disciples found that Christ still lived in their midst. Thus, they found themselves connected to God as they discovered themselves to be part of Christ’s resurrected body. And that is still the case today. We [name of group] say that we human beings are united to God through Christ."
On the surface (if one isn't thinking very much) it sounds okay....but when I start thinking about what they are REALLY saying (and what they DON'T say), it give me the creeps!

I don't think I'll go there..........................

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Truth Project: Lesson Two

Lesson 2 – Philosophy and Ethics: Says Who?
We can be taken captive!!! Colossians 2:8
Assumptions are the most dangerous form of knowledge because we tend to buy concepts without examining their fundamental assumptions.

The Cosmic Cube: a philosophy trying to take over the world. Pushed by Carl Sagan and others secular humanists/naturalists.
It claims that the universe is all there is, ever was, or ever will be. It begins with the assumption that God is NOT. When one accepts this philosophy, the cosmos is all one has to use in attempting to answer life’s questions, and it is woefully inadequate.
Implications: There is NOTHING outside the box (the visible universe). No God, no matter, no energy, NOTHING.
The Biblical View: God DOES exist, He created the box (the universe), and He works inside the box. This view is built on the fundamental presupposition that God IS and has revealed Himself in Creation and in the Bible.
---Do we really live that way?? Do we really LIVE OUT our belief that God IS and relates to us?? If we were to truly live that out 24/7, our lives would be dramatically different.

Philosophy: love of wisdom, a scientific quest to discover ultimate reality – Reality = TRUTH!!!! So philosophy is pretty important!
Webster’s 1828 dictionary: “true religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle;” philosophy’s goal is “to enlarge our understanding of God.”
As time went on, Philosophy switched to searching for the Universals…the big stuff. When you understand the universals, the particulars tend to fall into place. In ancient Greek there was a battle between emphasizing the universals and emphasizing the particulars. This philosophical dilemma is pictured in Raphael’s painting The School of Athens. [I won’t post it here, but here is a picture of friends posing as a representation of it :D] Plato, on the left, is arguing for the Universals; Aristotle, on the right, is arguing for the Particulars. Man has tried for centuries to start with the particulars and get back up to the universals, but it never works. Until you understand the universals, you really can not get the particulars. God is the only source for accurately understanding those universals.

Postmodernism claims that there is no truth – but no one can really live like that.
You can’t really live in an unreal world…there is always a point at which such a person will be inconsistent.

How do you answer what is right and what is wrong if you are only in the box and all that you have to look at is in the box?? In such a situation, MIGHT is what make right: whoever can most forcefully convince others of their view will win. This also leads to ethics determined by 51% percent of a pure democracy. This type of system leads only to oppression and crushed people.
In reality, ethics are based, not on fallible men, but on the infallible God. For example, lying is wrong because it is counter to God’s character, not for any other reason. The Ten Commandments can thus never change, because God does not change.

When people believe in evolution, these are the implications that they knowingly or unknowingly espouse (according to Dr. William Provine [who can also be seen in Expelled]): NO God/god, NO ultimate foundation for ethics, NO life after death, NO free will, NO meaning for life. Watch out what you swallow with your science classes!!!!!!

The difference between morality and ethics: so often we use them interchangeably, but they really are separate things.
Morality looks at what IS.
Ethics looks at what OUGHT to be.
Ethics therefore must be the foundation, not morality.

One of the major problems in our country is a failure to see Christianity as a system that governs EVERY area of our lives.
If you buy the world’s lies, you will end up conforming to the world.
Life changes when the mind changes.
We must be transformed by God’s Spirit. The Greek word translated ‘transformed’ in 2 Corinthians 3:18 is the same word as in Romans 12:2 and it is also the same word describing Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17, Mark 9, or Luke 9). It is the word metamorphoo. Think about that next time you talk about becoming like Christ…it is to be like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, completely and entirely changing your whole being.

If we don’t believe God’s truth claims and act on them, the truth will not survive until the next generation. It will die, because that is exactly what the world, the flesh and the devil want. [That’s what he said, but I think that God Himself also has a lot to do with the preservation of the truth….He does, however, use people who are willing to be radically different than the world around them.]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Truth Project: Introduction and Lesson One

This summer my church’s young adults group is going through “The Truth Project,” a world view tour video series put out by Focus on the Family, featuring Dr. Del Tackett. It is VERY well done and every week I find it enlightening and convicting. In an effort to not just walk away and forget about it, I am going to put a summary/outline of the lessons here. Last night we watched the third lesson, so I have a little catching up to do! Here is Lesson 1:

Lesson 1 – Veritology: What is Truth?
What happens when we look on God (Isaiah 6)?
It exposes us (6:5a)
It exposes our culture (6:5b)
It turns us into a messenger (6:8-10)
This series is a systematic World View tour. Its goal is to lay a foundation, then to provide hooks and shelves for organizing information. The main point is to gaze upon the face of God in order to be fundamentally changed. We are interested in personal transformation, not completion of the material.

[Dr. Tackett teaches by asking his live-audience students important questions and then expanding on the correct answer]

Why did Jesus come into the world (John 18:33-38)?
To testify to the truth: Jesus is on the witness stand at the trial for the truth.

How does man react to the truth (2 Timothy 4:3-4)?
The Cosmic Battle: two sides, the side of truth and the side of fables.
Our culture doesn’t like the idea of “sides” because it is so “tolerant,” but there are most definitely sides. The Spirit of Truth VS. the spirit of falsehood.

Salvation is closely linked to the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), so truth is pretty important!!!
The devil’s lies are not really that cleaver, but because of our sinful nature and propensity to believe him, we think that they are.
2 Timothy 2:26 – Unregenerate man is captive to the devil’s will. This tells us how to deal with those on the other side of the Cosmic Battle: they are prisoners of war taken by the enemy that must be treated (by us) with love and care, not with arrogance.

The Antitheses between God and the devil: for every Biblical concept, the devil has an opposite idea:
God says v.s. Devil says:
Unity v.s. Division (as between man and wife)
Diversity v.s. Unification (as with homosexuality)
Roles v.s. Jealousy
Responsibility v.s. Blame
Authority v.s. Rebellion
Delegation v.s. Tyranny

“Postmodernism” really isn’t anything new. It is just the same old lies repackaged for a new generation.

What is truth? This is the most important truth for us and for our culture. Truth is:
That which propositionally affirms the reality of nature – Ravi Zacharias
Not just about philosophy…Fundamentally, truth is about who God is – Os Guinness
God’s perfect perception of reality…God is the fountainhead of truth – R.C. Sproul
Conformity to fact or reality….reliance on Scripture – Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Isaiah 44:14-20 – an idol is any lie which we believe, and any idol is a lie.

What is insanity? Loss of the proper contact with reality – believing that the lie is real and acting upon that false reality.

The ultimate source of truth is God Himself (Colossians 2:2-4)

Culture’s reference to “people of faith” – faith in WHAT? Our faith is not faith in faith or hope in hope. We are to have faith like a child, but what does that mean? It means that their trust in their mother or father overcomes their feelings and inclinations. They don’t want to jump off that diving board into that deep water; but the faith that their daddy will catch them is what conquers their fear.

Dr. Tackett’s convicting question: Do your really believe that what you believe is really real? If we really truly believed in what we say we believe, we would change the world. As it is, we go along with the culture and end up actively disbelieving (by our actions) what we passively believe [the Bible] (by our words).

Discussion Questions (from Focus on the Family):
How does one's concept of truth affect or determine one's concept of faith?
What is the key point of distinction between the biblical concept of truth and popular cultural ideas about truth?
How does our understanding of the Cosmic Battle affect the way we relate to non-believers?
How can we know what we really believe?