Creation & Science with Dr. David Bonner

Slide1Please consider the evidence David M. Bonner presents to establish the existence of God, the Bible as the Word of God, and to expose the numerous scientific and Biblical problems with the popular theory of macro evolution. Dr. Bonner is  a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a double major in chemistry and biology, with a special emphasis in evolutionary biology studies. In addition, Dr. Bonner holds a doctorate degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas, as well as two post doctorate degrees. Please join us as this man of faith reveals and refutes the errors of evolutionary science, and shares the positive evidence for God and the Bible.

What does heart look like?

Hebrews 12:1 [fullscreen]

We recently had the privilege to spend time with family and friends in Texas. I’m not sure if everyone knows this or not, but it is often pretty warm in a Texas summer, and pretty humid. So, what would you think about getting out and plugging in some miles to build yourself into a stronger runner while there? Pretty crazy if you ask me. But that’s just what James (age 10) asked me to help him do. Sure, it was hot and running is hard, but he got out and did the work. (about 2.5 miles 2x while there.)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24–25 (ESV)

What about us? The work our Lord wants us to be busy at isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to endure heartache unplanned, survive the pain of growth and reach new heights (and valleys, but the work is worth it. The journey is worth it. Heaven is worth it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” ~ Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

The Public Worship Of God, by Robert Turner

Early in this century some preachers in the midwest advocated an “order of worship” based upon Acts 2:42. Public worship had to begin with “the apostles’ doctrine” followed in strict order by “fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.” Perhaps they got “Singing” into that order, by considering it a part of “apostles’ doctrine.” I remember “fellowship” was said to cover the giving of our means, by virtue of koinoneo in Philippians 4:15. Although they probably did not think of it this way, they advocated a liturgical concept of worship – as Webster puts it, “a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship,” something unknown in the New Testament.

This strict order of worship is not common among brethren, although traditional patterns (three songs and a prayer) may seem to have gained the status of law. Perhaps worse, some seem to regard public worship (with its “five items”) as the exclusive means and place for worship. We can believe (as does this writer) that brethren are directed by divine precept and example to assemble; and when assembled to sing, pray, edify, lay by in store, and partake of the memorial supper. But we should not conclude that this is the whole of “worship.” We must praise and give glory to God in every aspect of our life. W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says, “The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture. A consideration of the above verbs shows that it is not confined to praise; broadly it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment of God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deeds done in such acknowledgment.”

Ever so often some “reformer” or iconoclast uses such definitions to ridicule our practice of orderly public worship. It is said there is no indication in Scripture that saints “gathered to worship.” There are therefore no “acts of worship.” One writer argued such acts as breaking bread or reading Scripture are worship only in the sense that talking, feeding the dog, and all the rest of daily activities are worship. No doubt some have a limited concept of worship, but this does not warrant “throwing out the baby with the wash water.” If we must live a “worshipful life” (and I believe it), our public worship is a part of the whole. A general life does not negate its parts. Further, as a funeral service is a part of general mourning, a special period of worship and praise has its place in a life of service to God.

Abuses in conduct do not negate the practice of public worship. The iconoclast pounces upon any indication of “perfunctory” singing, prayer, etc., as reason to question our very concept of worship. We certainly are less than perfect in our praise of God, and our failures furnish ammunition for the malcontents, but there are much higher motives for changing our conduct. We want to improve our service to God because it is “to God,” and we want to be acceptable in his sight. The Lord said some draw nigh, and honor him with their mouth and lips, “but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them” (Isa. 29:13). The A.S. footnote says, “learned by rote.” Our reverence for God must be more than quietness in an assembly, learned as a courtesy. We must truly bow our hearts before God when we engage in public worship. Our spirits must “fall at his feet.”

Tainted lives may also invalidate our worship. Israel’s multitude of sacrifices were “vain oblations” before Jehovah because “your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean . . . seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:11- 17). Jesus said, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift . . . first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:23-24). If our Monday-Saturday life is corrupt, our Sunday life will not be acceptable to God.

The very mechanics of a large number of assembled saints pose certain problems. Two families assembled in a living room may feel closer ties in their worship than four hundred assembled in an auditorium, but the problems are not insurmountable. One critic wrote, “We must look at the backs of each other’s heads because our facilities are set up for a ceremonial performance.” It seems to me any large number of attentive worshipers might face in the same direction, but this does not warrant a “ceremonial performance.” The saints who come for the purpose of truly worshiping will do so, regardless of externals. I have seen brethren so wrapped in their prayers they were unmindful of their surroundings. But carpers may be too busy looking for faults to worship God.

We are told “the primary focus of our assembly should be horizontal, not vertical.” Public worship does indeed have a saint-to-saint aspect (Heb. 10:24-25), and the saints are benefited by all things done (Col. 3:16); but the throne of grace is in heaven (Heb. 4,16) and the prayers of saints are “golden vials full of odors” presented before the throne of God (Rev. 5:8). If we are truly worshipping God the “primary focus” must be upon God (Heb. 13:15).

There are genuine problems in public worship, but they need something more than artificial corrections. We do not help the situation by ridicule or by denying “public worship.” When “unstructured” service becomes spontaneous breaking forth with song, prayer, or exhortation the “decently and in order” of 1 Corinthians 14:40 gives way to emotional disorder. In a few years the unstructured service becomes a “structured unstructured” arrangement, with emotional opinions taking the place of authorized praise (Matt. 15:9). Scriptural “mutual edification” can be practiced without expecting ever male saint to be a qualified public teacher. Walter Scott once characterized a church which tried to practice this as “all mouth.” Traditional procedure is neither right nor wrong of itself. Sometimes experience teaches us a good and useful way of doing things. Finally, “mere formality” in worship can not be corrected by the equally artificial dim lights, holding hands, mood music, and the like.

There are a growing number of attacks being made on public worship as taught and practiced by the church, and this article is only a brief notice and reply to such. We have cited excerpts from many sources rather than review one critic, but be assured the attacks are genuine. We know that our teaching and practice is not the standard of right (2 Cor. 10:12f), and we have tried to avoid “taking a stand” for our traditions. Far better, we believe, to acknowledge that some brethren have wrong concepts of public worship. False concepts and attitudes toward worship need correction; and we should not try to answer even ridiculous charges with anything less than Bible truth. But “three songs and a prayer” are not wrong because of a long history, and the public worship of God must continue if we are to follow Bible precedent.

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 16, pp. 487, 490
August 18, 1988
via: http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume32/GOT032230.html

“Jesus’ Wife” Fragment: A Continuing Puzzle

Interesting continuance of similar thoughts from another article I read yesterday @

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2013/12/plagiarism-personality-driven-leadership-and-the-problem-with-evangelicalism/

Larry Hurtado's Blog

A few weeks ago I asked here what further news there was about the so-called “Jesus’ wife” fragment announced to the world in late summer 2012.  Since then, despite direct inquiry to Prof. King (the email address listed for her no longer valid) and asking several scholars who were in various ways directly involved in the analysis of the item last year, it has proven impossible to get anything further than the last notice about it given in early 2013, that it was undergoing further “tests”.  (How long does it take to conduct such tests, after all?)

We do know that the article on the fragment by Prof. King on the fragment announced as forthcoming in Harvard Theological Review was put on hold, and, so far as one can tell, seems now likely permanently so (i.e., it isn’t going to appear).  It also seems that the TV programme in preparation…

View original post 550 more words

Authority: Are We Worshipping the Bible? By: Doy Moyer

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Sometimes, in discussions of biblical authority, we hear the derogatory charge that those of us who push so hard for authority are guilty of “bibliolatry,” idolizing or worshipping the Bible in particular. Since we put so much stress on the authority of Scripture, are we guilty of promoting Scripture over God Himself? Perhaps the better question is this: what is the relationship of God to Scripture?

Scripture is not simply words in black and white (and red) on a material page. There is nothing authoritative about simple words on a page by themselves. The issue is the source of the message that is written down. If we just coldly isolate the words and demand adherence to them without understanding their true relationship to God, then those who make the charge may have a point. On the other hand, making the charge could also be a subtle way of trying to distance oneself from Scripture. If Scripture really is authoritative because of its relationship to God, then there are restrictions to the way that we may acceptably serve God. If we can remove the restrictions by minimizing authority, then we will feel free to serve God as we please. In this sense, then, this issue may be more about self-will (or self-idolatry) versus God’s will. Who gets to decide how God should be served and worship?

The reason for believing that Scripture is authoritative is because of its relationship to God, not because it is someone’s creed from long ago written on paper. While this article is not about proving inspiration, the point should be understood: if Scripture comes ultimately from God, then it bears His authority. To the extent that Scripture is God’s word, then it is authoritative; if it isn’t His word, then it is no more authoritative than what any of us may come up with and put down on paper. That Scripture is from God is the very point reflected in Paul’s statement about the Hebrew Scriptures:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

If it falls into that category of “Scripture,” then it is authoritative because it is God-breathed. This is not the worship of the Bible, but rather the worship and service of the God from whom the Scriptures come. Now the question would be this: can we truly serve and worship God when we ignore or minimize the message that He has given? God is directly tied to His own word, and Scripture recognizes this:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two- edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:12-13)

Notice in this text how the writer moves from “the word of God” to God Himself. There is really no way to separate the authority of God from the authority of His word. “Then God said” are some of the first powerful words of Scripture (Gen 1), and from this point, “Thus says the Lord” is a continual appeal of the prophets. If the Lord said it, it is authoritative and is not to be ignored. “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking” (Heb 12:25).

The word of God is not to be restricted only to written form, of course. The word of God has been much more than that which is recorded, and not every word God ever spoke (or everything He ever did) is recorded in our Scriptures (cf. John 21:25). Jesus Himself is the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14). He is God’s message and communication in the greatest sense. But God’s message has been put down in writing, and that message is to be respected as much as anything the prophets, apostles, or even Jesus orally spoke.

The connection of Jesus to His words is vital: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). If His “sayings” are written down on paper, does that make them any less authoritative and connected to Jesus? The words spoken by Jesus “are spirit and are life,” and He has the “words of eternal life” (John 6:63, 68). Whether these are heard orally or read from a book, they are still His words, His message, and His authority. “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Indeed, where else shall we go for our authority? Shall we consider our own words more authoritative? Are our writings better than the first century New Testament documents? Where shall we go for the words of eternal life?  Is it worshipping the Bible if we give due respect to these words?

The reality is that if we don’t give Scripture its proper due when it comes to authority (as it is God’s authority), then we aren’t truly worshipping or serving God. To ignore God’s word is to ignore God Himself and give ourselves the authority that only belongs to Him. This isn’t about worshipping the Bible. It is about giving God the proper reverence and respect that only He deserves. We cannot give that respect to Him if we do not pay attention to the message that He inspired to be inscribed with ink on the pages of a material book. The material certainly won’t last, but the word of God will endure forever. If the word of the Lord uses the material for a time, then we are amenable to it and we will be held accountable. The word He spoke will judge us in the last day. Herein is the essence of the need for paying attention to His authority.

via: http://www.mindyourfaith.com/6/post/2013/11/authority-are-we-worshipping-the-bible.html

Worship, Equivocation, and the “Argument of the Beard”, by Doy Moyer

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In discussions about worship, I am finding at least two fallacies that are being floated (and are related). I want to spell them out in order to be clear about the nature of the problem I want to address.

1. The reductive fallacy sometimes called the “argument of the beard” is a failure to properly distinguish degrees of concepts and terms (“degree” is the key term here).(1) When is a beard a beard? After one day? Two days? Five days? How exactly do we tell? If we cannot tell with any certainty, then there must be no difference. If the distinction isn’t clear, then no distinction is to be made. For example, one might say that since there is a little good and a little evil in everyone, then there is no real difference between someone who is good and someone who is truly evil.

2. The fallacy of equivocation is one of the most common ones and occurs when the same term is used in two or more senses, but without recognizing it. When in the course of an argument a word shifts in meaning, but the argument proceeds as if the original definition is still in use, then this fallacy is committed. For example, one might argue that since evolution means change over time, then evolution (macro) must be true. “Evolution” is equivocated because the meaning shifted.

It is important to understand that making distinctions in terminology is not “verbalism” or “getting hung up on words.” In fact, it is just the opposite; it avoids “being victimized by words.” As Kreeft says, “The reason we make distinctions is because we insist on going beyond unclear words to clear concepts.”(2)

The issue I am raising is that we hear these kind of fallacies made in some discussions about biblical worship. Either the lines are blurred in the terminology or the term is equivocated (worship as sacrifice in general or worship as specified actions when assembled). Here I am not talking so much about technical definitions (as if a strict definition of the Greek terms will settle the issue). I’m talking more about how the term “worship” is actually used in different contexts (“all of life” or a particular, purposed assembly).

We have heard the argument that “all of life is worship,” based on passages like Romans 12:1 (which uses latreia, service). I won’t quibble over the question of whether a sacrifice is a form of worship, and so I would agree that there is a sense in which this point is true. All that we do is to be to God’s glory, reflecting a self-sacrificial mentality that seeks God’s praise. Our lives are to be lived in adoration to God as we proclaim His excellencies (1 Pet 2:9). Worship certainly is not confined to four walls one day of the week (cf. Jas 5:13). How, then, are the above fallacies made? Please note the following statements that express the sentiment of arguments I’ve seen and heard in my experience:

1. Since “all of life” is worship, then there is no real difference between the rest of life and the so-called worship assemblies.

2. Since “all of life” is worship, then worship is not something for a set time and place with any kind of pattern attached to it.

The first example is a form of the “argument of the beard”; the second is equivocation. Is there a difference between “all of life” in the broad sense, and specific actions at a certain time and place that are called worship? Here is where the mistake is made. If all of life is worship, then, it might be reasoned by some, there is really no difference to be made in coming together in an assembly for worship other than just being a part of life. Worship in an assembly, then, is not based on any patterns, so we can do in our assemblies what we would do in any other context. There is no real difference. The distinctions are blurred. There is nothing particularly special about worship in an assembly context. In fact, it’s not really worship as much as it is encouragement for each other.

Concepts of “worship” are distinguished in Scripture, which shows that worship can be a purposeful act aside from “all of life.” Paul went up to Jerusalem “to worship” (Acts 24:11, which uses proskuneo, to bow down, show reverence). Abraham went up the mountain to worship (Gen 22:5). Worship, in this sense, is something that has a starting and stopping point, a time and place. We can go “to worship” (which is active). As such, it is distinguished from normal activities of life—the same activities that are part of our daily self-sacrifice to God. If no distinction is to be made, then why do the Scriptures make one? Wasn’t Paul already worshipping with his life when he went up to Jerusalem to worship?

The question is, do we, in our assemblies, have specified actions God wants us to do together that may be called worship? Can we not call singing praises to God worship (Eph 5:19-20)? Or giving thanks and praise in prayer together? Even an unbeliever, if convicted in an assembly, might “fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (1 Cor 14:25). Yes, worship can take place in a special way, distinguished from the idea that “all of life is worship.” No, the exact Greek term for “worship” need not be used to recognize this is what it is (“praise,” for example, would make the same point).

Some of the talk about worship seems to be a reaction to what many have, through the years, called “the five acts of worship” in assemblies. I’ve never been a fan of that terminology, and I feel no need to try to put all of this in a neat little box just for rhetorical purposes. Some of what we do in assemblies is meant for edification of each other (preaching, teaching), and so one might question whether or not such is “worship” in a strict sense. The question is, what do we see Christians doing together in the context of a purposefully assembled congregation? 1 Corinthians 14 is sufficient to show that they did worship God together in song and prayer. They did teach and edify. They did partake of the Lord’s Supper (cf. 1 Cor 11:18ff). These were purposeful, specific actions they performed in assemblies as a congregation meeting for that purpose, and abuses were chastised. Not everything was acceptable to God in those assemblies.

What’s the reason of all this? Even if one wants to argue that “all of life is worship” based on the need to be living sacrifices, such does not negate the need to assemble with saints on the first day of the week for purposeful actions of worship and edification together, as authorized by God and according to His grace. We cannot excuse ourselves from being part of a group on the basis that “all of life is worship,” nor can we use our purposed assembly times to just do whatever we wish based on a failure to distinguish concepts of worship. God is always in charge of His worship, and we are still responsible for following His will when we come together in those purposed assemblies.

Make your life a life of worship, but also make the assemblies with the saints a special time of worship and edification. Never neglect one for the other, but strive to keep your life and worship in harmony. If our lives really are worshipful, then our assemblies together will truly be special as we raise our voices as one in praise and seek to teach and edify each other for deeper growth in knowledge and spirituality.

1. Geisler, Norman, and Ronald M. Books. Come, Let us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1990.

2. Kreeft, Peter. Socratic Logic. 3rd ed. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine, 2008.

Doy Moyer

Going “to Worship”, by Doy Moyer

The phrase is biblical. The basic idea of worship is to do reverence or bow down and pay homage to another. From this general concept, some have argued that worship is just everything we do as Christians rather than particular “acts of worship” (a phrase that has been disparaged). Instead, it is supposed to be our lifestyles as worship (“lifestyle” is one of those loaded terms). While it is vital that we sacrifice ourselves for the Lord (Rom 12:1-2), and we recognize that all of life is to be lived in reverence to God (and in that sense worship), the concept of worship in Scripture is used in an even more specific sense as intended actions. Paul speaks of going up to Jerusalem “to worship” (24:11). Worship is said to have an “object” (Acts 17:23; 2 Thess 2:4), who is supposed to be God only. Worship can be in ignorance if not directed specifically to the right One (Acts 17:23), and it can be “in vain” if merely on the lips but not in the heart (Matt 15:8-9). But if worship is just life in general, then wasn’t Paul already worshipping went he went up to Jerusalem “to worship”? Why would he want to go to Jerusalem “to worship” if it was just his lifestyle as worship? Unless there was some intended action he had in mind, this would make no sense.

It is true that any worship of God is to be an extension of who we are (i.e., not out of character for us), but it is still something we do with specific actions in addition to how we generally live. This is not about worship being confined to a church building. It is about intended and specified actions as worship, whether individually or together.

The Hebrew writer said, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb 13:15). Singing praise to God is worship as it renders special homage to God, whether done individually or with others (Jas 5:13; Eph 5:19-20; Col 3:16). Surely this also may be said about our prayers of praise (e.g., Acts 4:24ff). The praise Psalms should be sufficient to see that. If we speak of going “to worship,” do we not have in mind these very actions?

So, yes we can go “to worship” God as our divine object (an object with whom we share a fellowship), rendering praise to Him in a special way through songs and prayers. Our lives are to be consistent with this, but living our “lives as worship” does not entail foregoing the specific actions. Rather, those actions, especially when we are together, are only enhanced when done by those whose very lives are given as living sacrifices.

Doy Moyer

 

Via: http://www.mindyourfaith.com/6/post/2013/10/going-to-worship.html