Monday, May 24, 2010

We Have To Know Who Our Enemy Is

“many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” 1

When I was in seminary my Old Testament Prof, Eliyah Mohol, said one day, “We have to know who our enemy is.” He was referring to 19th century theologians who doubted the truth of the Bible. For some reason, that statement was very profound to me.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) exists as an enemy of the cross of Christ. You take nearly any case they are involved in, and they will be diametrically opposed to a Christian perspective.

Their website says “The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
These rights include… freedom of religion”2

Sounds good, right?

“We have to know who our enemy is.”

In Texas, for example, the ACLU has objected to a revised Social Studies curriculum being formulated by the Texas Department of Education. The ACLU claims that the new Social Studies curriculum is ideology driven and not factual. To some extent, they might be right. Shall we suppose the Social Studies curriculum of the previous 10 years in Texas, that the ACLU supported, was not ideological? That curriculum placed Cesar Chavez alongside Benjamin Franklin in importance. Fact or ideology?

Four of the ACLU’s objections3 to the Social Studies Curriculum include:

1. Objection that individual school districts in Texas should determine the content for elective courses on the Bible offered in Public Schools. These are electives! The ACLU claim this will violate the rights of students and parents under the clause, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”4 Why the fear of local school board members?

2. The ACLU objects that Texas’ 4.7 million students will have to critically evaluate “well-established” scientific principles such as the Big Bang and cell formation. I wasn’t aware that the current theory of how cells evolved was a well-established fact?

3. The ACLU complains the curriculum portrays the U.S. and its allies in history as acting with good intentions nationally and internationally. Words like “expansion” will replace “imperialism” in the textbooks to describe U.S. actions abroad. We have plenty of faults as a nation, but surely it wasn’t all imperialism?

4. The ACLU feels Islam is being portrayed falsely by being singled out with regard to terrorism and fundamentalism. They contend that these “acts and doctrinal beliefs” are a part of many of the world’s religions. Can you name one for me?

The worlds religions are not the same. Ravi Zecharias writes, “One of India’s leading “saints,” Sri Ramakrishna, is said to have been for a little while a Muslim, for a little while a Christian, and then finally, a Hindu again, because he came to the conclusion that they are all the same. If they are all the same, why did he revert to Hinduism?”5

To be fair, some issues raised by the ACLU are valid. They felt it was unfair to highlight Republican Ronald Reagan and to minimize Democrat Ted Kennedy. Why not emphasize both? Seldom is one side right on every point. Why not let students decide? Is it possible to be factual and not ideological?

On May 21st the Texas Board voted after 3 stormy days of debate. To the consternation of the ACLU, the more conservative curriculum passed 9-5. That has determined the content of Texas Social Studies books for the next 10 years. Hooray! Victory! Or is it?

Will the ACLU go away? No. They are committed to minimizing Christianity, regardless of what their web site says.

“We have to know who our enemy is.”

Now that we know, we need to pray for the ACLU. Pray for it’s leaders like Susan Herman and Anthony Romero. After all, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”6

This is a challenge to me. To disagree and not hate. That’s what I need to work on. God help me. It’s not enough just to know who my enemy is!

1 Philippians 3:18 New International Version
3 “The Texas State Board of Education: A Case of Abuse of Power”
4 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
5 Ravi Zacharias, “Jesus Among Other Gods,” (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 2000) p. P 158
6 Luke 6:27-28 New International Version

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

"The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.”

This is the Biblical account of the origin of water on earth. First water is made, then within that canvas, God creates.

“God … separated the waters which were below the expanse (the oceans) from the waters which were above the expanse…” The expanse was “heaven.” The Hebrew word means the “visible arch of the sky.”[2] Some have called ‘the waters’ a vapor canopy… eerily almost like a womb, in which God created.

“Evidence of water ice on 24 Themis asteroid’s surface” read the headline in the Chennai, India newspaper a few days ago. Two scientific teams have found evidence for “a thin film of ice”[3] on the surface of this 120-mile wide asteroid. Measuring the spectrum of infrared light reflected by the asteroid revealed this ice. For the first time water ice was discovered on an asteroid. This is an exciting breakthrough.

The article continued,“This evidence supports the idea that asteroids could be responsible for bringing water and organic material to Earth.”[4] Scientists had previously classified asteroids as cold lifeless rocks. Comets were credited with bringing water. Comets are now ruled out because the isotopes for hydrogen in the comet's water do not match up with Earth’s.[5]

How did we get water on the Earth? Have asteroids continued to hit the Earth forming oceans? Seventy percent of our planet is water. If it was a random process, why wasn’t the entire earth covered with water? Or just 10% covered? Scientists Ward and Brownlee recognize our good fortune in having just the right balance of land and sea. “The critical question is why, on Earth, the volume of water was sufficiently large to buffer global temperatures, but small enough so that shallow seas could be formed by the uplifting of continents.”[6] The existence of some shallow seas, essential for marine life, provide the perfect environmental balance.

Filling the seas must have taken a lot of asteroids. A lot of big, big asteroids… almost like intergalactic water tankers. We only count the ones that hit us. Could 329 million cubic miles of water have been delivered from asteroids like 24 Themis? It puts a whole new meaning to "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." A blogger commenting on this theory said, “It's certainly very likely that some water and organics arrived via asteroids, frankly the ridiculous improbability that ALL of it arrived via asteroids is too stupid for words.”[7]

If we take God out of the picture, we have to stretch to find a reasonable cause for Earth's abundant water. The Biblical version states, "You alone are the LORD. You have made …the seas and all that is in them.”[8] Friends, God did it. It wasn’t by asteroids pelting the Earth over billions of years.

[1] Genesis 1:2, 6,7 (NAS)
[2] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Book House, 1985)
[3] “Evidence of water ice on 24 Themis asteroid’s surface,” The Hindu, Thursday, April 29, 2010
[4] Ibid.
[6] Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth (New York: Copernicus Books, 2000) 264
[8] Nehemiah 9:6 (NAS)

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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