Monday, April 30, 2012

The Decay of Society: Rejecting the Ten Commandments

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

In 1980 in the case of Stone v. Gramm, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to hang the Ten Commandments on the wall of a school room.6

Think about that for a moment. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Western Civilization. Our entire legal system is rooted in them.

The reasoning of the Court was right out of the "Twilight Zone." The Court stated that "if the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments." The Court then proceeded to state that these were not "permissible objectives." Is it any wonder that so many of our schools have become jungles of drugs and violence?


Modernizing the Commandments

A man by the name of Ken Matto has revised the Ten Commandments to reflect current values. He calls his revision "The Ten Replacements."7

  1. Thou shalt create gods in man's image to confirm the deity of man and the evolution of intelligence. Your gods may be created according to self-revelation.

  2. Thou shalt make unto thyself images and symbols of your beliefs. If your image is a cow or a rock star or a pentagram, that is fine. All things are relative in the evolution of the species.

  3. Thou shalt take the name of God and Jesus in vain since Jesus was not God, and God is anything you care to make him — or her.

  4. Thou shalt profane the Sabbath Day because you get double time on Sunday, and your family need not be in church since it is full of hypocrites. And furthermore, isn't making money the important thing?

  5. Thou shalt dishonor thy father and mother because they are only good to bail you out of jail or put a roof over your head. Too bad they don't possess the wisdom and knowledge of the years like you do, being a 13 year old.

  6. Thou shalt kill since you will only be acting on pent up rage because your father disciplined you one time when you were 5.

  7. Thou shalt commit adultery. After all, we have a free thinking and open society, and since your faith is in science, you know they will soon come up with a cure for AIDS or Herpes Simplex II.

  8. Thou shalt steal, for isn't everybody doing it? When you get out into the workplace you can steal time, pencils, products, and anything else you deserve. After all, didn't you have a deprived childhood because daddy and mommy refused to buy you $90 attitude pants with the crotch down to your knees?

  9. Thou shalt bear false witness. After all, it really isn't false witness; it is just looking out for number one. If a good lie at the right time saves your hide, come on, why not?

  10. Thou shalt always covet your neighbor's things because if you outdo them, your self-esteem will skyrocket, and you will finally be someone special. Remember, your pride is the most important thing.

The amazing thing is that in the midst of all this moral depravity, we have the audacity to call ourselves a "Christian nation"! The fact of the matter is that we are a post-Christian nation that is now wallowing in secularism and paganism. The comedian Steve Allen summed it up well in a remark he often made about the American entertainment industry: "We have vulgarians entertaining barbarians."

Where did America get off course? How have we managed to move so quickly from a God-fearing nation to one that thumbs its nose at God?


In the next segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll look at how we as a society got on the road to depravity.


Notes

6) Stone v. Graham, 449, U.S. 39 (1980). For a good survey of court decisions that have impacted America's schools in a negative way, see David Barton's book, America: To Pray or Not to Pray, (Aledo, Texas: WallBuilder Press, 1991).

7) Mailed to the author in 1997 by Ken Matto. Ken lives in Edison, New Jersey where he works as a production planner in a coffee company. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Bethany Theological Seminary.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Decay of Society: Schools as a Mirror

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

The best way I can think of to summarize the decay of American society is to consider the results of a public school survey that was conducted in the mid-1940's and again in the mid-1980's. The survey was taken by the Fullerton, California Police Department in conjunction with the California Department of Education. The purpose was to determine the major disciplinary problems in the schools. The comparative results speak volumes (see the comparative chart below).3


Leading Public School Disciplinary Problems
Mid-1940's Mid-1980's
1) Talking 1) Drug abuse
2) Chewing Gum 2) Alcohol abuse
3) Making noise 3) Pregnancy
4) Running in the hallways 4) Suicide
5) Getting out of place in line 5) Rape
6) Wearing improper clothing 6) Robbery
7) Not putting paper in wastebaskets 7) Assault

In January 1993, Time magazine reported some sobering statistics from the National Education Association that affirm the deterioration of our schools. According to the NEA report, every school day:4

  • 100,000 students tote guns to school

  • 160,000 skip classes because they fear physical harm

  • 40 are hurt or killed by firearms

  • 6,250 teachers are threatened with bodily injury

  • 260 teachers are actually assaulted

That's every day!

An insightful commentary about what has happened to the children of America was posted on the Internet recently:5

"What a Concept!"

Whoa! What in the world is happening with our kids today? Let's see... I think it started when Madalyn Murray O'Hare complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said, "OK."

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school. After all, it says: "Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself." And we said, "OK."

Then the Supreme Court said that we could no longer post the Ten Commandments in our classrooms because they might influence our children, in violation of the concept called "separation of church and state." And we said, "OK."

Remember Dr. Benjamin Spock, who said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem? And we said, "OK."

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And our administrators said, "Whoa, no one in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued."

Then someone said, "Let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and we won't even tell their parents." And we said, "OK."

Then someone else said, "Let's give our sons all the condoms they want so they can have all the 'fun' they desire, and we won't tell their parents." And we said, "That's another great idea!"

And then some of our top officials said, "It doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs." And we said, "As long as I have a job and the economy is good, it doesn't matter to me what anyone does in private."

So now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "we reap what we sow."

Whoa! What a concept!


In the next segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll look at how the Ten Commandments have been removed and be shocked at what they've been replaced with.


Notes

3) Ezra Brown, "Getting Tough: New Jersey Principal Joe Clark kicks up a storm about discipline in city schools," Time, February 1, 1988, p. 54.

4) "The Week, January 10-16, 1993," Time, January 25, 1993, p. 23. Time cites the source of the statistics as the National Education Association.

5) An item taken from the Internet in the summer of 1999. Widely circulated, with no date or author indicated.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Decay of Society: A Swift Decent

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

An American sports legend, Magic Johnson, reveals that he has AIDS. Rumors begin to fly that he is bi-sexual. He is confronted on national television about the rumors. Instead of simply denying them, he begins to boast about how macho he is, claiming to have been to bed with as many as six women at one time! Is America outraged? No. President Bush appoints him to serve on a national AIDS commission.1

The actress, Suzanne Somers, appears on the TV program, Good Morning, America. She is trying to jump-start her flagging career. The appearance is prompted by her agreement to pose nude for Playboy magazine. The interviewer asks, "Why would you pose nude for Playboy now, when you sued them several years ago for publishing nude photos of you?"

Ms. Somers explains that the previous photos were taken by an amateur photographer and were published without her consent. "I decided that since there were bad nude photos of me that had already been published, I might as well get some good ones published."

She proceeds to explain that she laid down two conditions for the new photo spread in Playboy. "First, they had to let me select the photographer. And second, they had to let me select the photos to be used." She then makes the announcement that she decided to get her son (who was 19 at the time) involved in the project. "I spread out the photos on the floor and let him select the ones to be used in the magazine."

"Oh, that was so thoughtful of you," replies the interviewer.2


The Rapid Decay of Our Nation

What's the point? A nation that once honored God has plunged into a moral abyss. And the decay has reached the point where, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, the nation "does not even know how to blush" (Jeremiah 6:15).

The descent has been swift. When I was born in 1938 —

  • Abortionists were considered the scum of the earth and were sent to prison.

  • Homosexuals were still in the closet and were thought of as queer.

  • Pregnancy out of wedlock was thought of as scandalous, and "living together" was unthinkable.

  • Drugs were something you bought at a pharmacy (or "drug store").

  • Alcoholism was considered a sin, not a disease.

  • Popular music was free of demonic beats and words.

  • Movies were devoid of nudity, passionate love scenes, mindless violence, and filthy language.

  • Eastern religion was still in the East.

  • The corrupting influence of television was non-existent.

  • Pornography was something that circulated underground.

  • Public school students prayed in their classes and read the Bible, and creation could still be taught as an alternative to evolution.

  • High school graduates could read their diplomas.

  • The Ten Commandments were still legal.

  • AIDS was a gift of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28 refers to the gift of aids or helps, depending on the translation).

  • Our governments — local, state and national — still promoted Judeo-Christian values rather than lotteries, horse racing, and casino gambling.

  • Christian teaching focused on sacrificing for Christ rather than confessing materialistic success.

  • Governmental authority was respected. Police were held in high esteem.

  • Houses and cars were never locked.

  • Social security was a job. Living on welfare was considered a disgrace.

  • Language was civil. Manners still prevailed. Women were treated with dignity and respect.


Reaping What We Have Sown

Looking back over the last 60 years, the old Virginia Slims cigarette ad seems to sum it up best: "We've come a long way, baby!" Yes, we have, and it has been in the wrong direction.

  • Today, we are murdering 4,000 babies a day in the name of "freedom of choice" for women.

  • We spend more on gambling each year than we do on food.

  • We are assaulted by a glut of pornography in books and movies and on the Internet.

  • We are consuming 55% of all the illegal drugs in the world, even though we constitute only 5% of the world's population.

  • Our families are being destroyed by an epidemic of spousal violence, child abuse, and divorce.

  • Our prisons are overflowing because of a breakdown of law and order.

  • Our cities are jungles of violence where people dare not venture out at night.

  • Our homes are fortresses with bars on the windows, guns in the cabinets, and electronic security systems monitoring the doors and windows.
  • Our schools are filled with drugs, rebellion and violence.

  • Our governing bodies are shot full of corruption.

  • Our churches are apathetic and compromised by worldliness.

  • Our entertainment industry has become a purveyor of violence and immorality, and as we export its products abroad, we serve as the moral polluter of planet earth.


In the next segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll look at how the moral decay has affected our children and schools.


Notes

1) Interview of Magic Johnson by Roger Mudd on the program, 20/20, produced by ABC Television, 1992. Exact date of the broadcast is unknown. The interview was witnessed by the author.

2) Interview of Suzanne Somers on the program, Good Morning America, produced by ABC Television, 1984. Exact date of the broadcast is unknown. The interview was witnessed by the author. The Playboy spread of her photos was published in the December 1984 issue.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sad Days

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Jack Hibbs, the dynamic and outspoken pastor of the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, California, has perhaps summed up best the spiritual situation we face today in our nation: "It's a sad thing to watch a nation die on your watch."

There is no doubt that our nation is writhing in its death throes. America is caught up in a downward spiral into a black pit of immorality and violence. We are reaping what we have sown since the 1960's when we turned our back on God and decided to do our own thing. Since that time we have become obsessed with materialism and the pursuit of pleasure. In the process, the God who blessed us so richly has been shoved aside and treated with disdain as a nuisance.

Our nation's rapidly drifting into secular paganism. It is an essay I wrote in 2000 concerning the decay of society, I look back over it and see it's even more relevant today than when it was written.

You might wonder why I focus when speaking about the fall of our society on the sin of homosexuality, when our society is wracked by so many sins. There are several reasons I highlight this topic.

The first is the fact that our nation is currently in the process of trying to convert this sin into a virtue. It is a classic example of calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

Second, homosexuality is a sin that society is trying to justify by equating it with race and arguing that it is a violation of civil rights to put any kind of restraints on it.

Third, it is the first sin to be openly embraced and endorsed by churches in direct opposition to God's Word.

Fourth, it is a sin that the homosexual community claims is a lifestyle that is inescapable because it is "natural."

Fifth, the homosexual community, through demanding same-sex marriage and adoption rights, is determined to undermine the traditional biblical concept of the family, which is the basic building block of society.

Sixth, the Bible identifies an epidemic of homosexuality and its approval by society as a sign of a collapsing society.

The bottom line is that homosexuality is a sin, and as such, it represents rebellion against God. There are no excuses or explanations that can convert it into something good and acceptable, any more that can be the case with adultery, pedophilia, or bestiality.

The good news is that there is hope for homosexuals, and that hope is the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that comes when a person puts faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. And, as example, I personally am aware of several persons who have overcome the homosexual lifestyle through God's power. Such victories give us hope in these sad days.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Book on the Antichrist

Dr. David R. ReaganBy

Why my new book on the Antichrist?

For years I have taught that when studying or teaching Bible prophecy, the focus of attention should be on Jesus Christ and not on the Antichrist. Accordingly, I have produced several books that explore in detail what Bible prophecy has to say about the Messiah, and I have attempted to show how those prophecies were literally fulfilled in the life of Jesus.

I never expected to write a book about the Antichrist. But I felt compelled to do so when I began to notice a steady stream of books and articles being published about the Antichrist, most of which were very sensational in nature, and thus serving to divert attention away from Jesus Christ.

This book is an attempt to bring some balance to the subject. The Antichrist is a major topic of end time Bible prophecy, and as such, should not be ignored. But on the other hand, this nefarious character should not be an obsession. We must always keep in mind the words of Revelation 19:10 which say, "...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

The signs of the times clearly indicate that we are on the threshold of what is going to be the most terrible time in all of human history — a time of absolutely unparalleled horror, a time called the Tribulation. During this time a monster referred to in the Scriptures as 'the man of lawlessness" will be responsible for killing one-half of humanity during the first half of the Tribulation. And during the second half, he will murder two-thirds of the Jewish people.

But there is good news in the midst of all this carnage, for the message of the Bible is that we who are believers are going to win in the end. The Tribulation will be cut short at the end of seven years with the triumphant return of Jesus. He will destroy the Antichrist and will replace him as the ruler of this world, bringing peace, righteousness and justice.

And that's not all the good news. The Bible teaches that believers are going to be taken out of this world before the Tribulation begins. Christians will not have to face the Antichrist and his horrors.


Questions Answered

In this book, we are going to take a look at a lot of questions that people ask about the end times:

  • Why is there going to be a Great Tribulation?
  • What are the truths and misconceptions about the Tribulation?
  • Why would a God of love allow such devastation?
  • Where will the Antichrist come from?
  • What will the Antichrist be like?
  • Will the Antichrist be a Jew?
  • Is it possible that the Antichrist could be a Muslim?
  • Where will the Antichrist establish his headquarters?
  • Will the Jews accept the Antichrist as their Messiah?
  • Will the Antichrist be killed and resurrected from the dead?
  • What will be the ultimate destiny of the Antichrist?
  • Is the Antichrist alive today, and if so, can he be identified?
  • Is the Church really promised an escape from the Great Tribulation, and if so, when?

These and many other questions will be addressed in this book. I will personally respond to each question, but one of the unique aspects of this book is that I have invited 22 Bible prophecy experts to share their opinions about several of these questions. I think you will find their responses to be fascinating and illuminating.


Preparing the Way

I am thankful to the Lord for calling me to serve Him in these end times. When speaking in public forums, I am always delighted to tell people that I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. I am, instead, a Monarchist, because I have devoted my life to doing everything I can to help prepare the way for the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords who will reign in glory and majesty from Mount Zion in Jerusalem and whose reign will bring peace, righteousness and justice to all the world.

Maranatha!


Resource


The Man of Lawlessness: The Antichrist in the Tribulation Book

The Man of LawlessnessThis book contains a survey of everything the Bible has to say about the Antichrist, presented in a down-to-earth, easy-to-understand style. One of its special features is a prophecy forum where the opinions of 22 Bible prophecy experts are presented concerning key questions about the Antichrist. It also features a series of in-depth essays about the Tribulation and the Antichrist.

  1. Part 1: The Antichrist in Scripture
  2. Part 2: A Prophetic Forum About the Antichrist
  3. Part 3: An In-Depth Look at Four Issues
  4. Part 4: Good News for Christians
  5. Part 5: Are You Ready?

Order your copy for $15 today!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Challenge of Evolution: Three-Part Foundation

Watch MP3 PDF

What three beliefs are foundational to the Christian worldview?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2011 conference theme was Christianity Under Attack.

On of our speakers was Dr. John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research. He has a doctor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in geological engineering. He is the author of numerous books, including The Young Earth. He has also led numerous expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Dr. Morris' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Evolution" (watch).


The Challenge of Evolution


Three-Part Foundation

Today is a wonderful time to be a Bible-believing Christian because the evidence is on our side.

Evolution as a way of thinking... let me sum up the Evolutionary model from the point of the dangers of Evolution. Evolution has the idea that things got here by natural processes, and whatever those natural processes were they're continuing. Evolution is thought to be going on now, except it's going too slow to observe. Evolution believes in a continuing naturalistic origin of the basic type — that you go from amoeba to man. There's a net basic increase in the basic complexity of these systems. I think this is obviously what Evolutionists say. A man is more complex that an amoeba, that's true. Evolution happens by present, uniform processes. So, whatever is happening today, these processes are what formed everything in the past.

The Creation model is different. The Creation model says, no, whatever origin there was it was accomplished in the past and it was completed. God says He finished His creation at the end of six days. It's completed. But, then soon afterwards that creation rejected God's authority. Adam rebelled against God. Rebellion is sin, and the wages of sin is death. Since then we see a net basic decrease in the complexity of basic systems. We see mutations, not innovations. We see a downward slide, not an upward climb. Then we see that the rocks and fossils are the result of non-natural catastrophes, processes that are really not going on in a day-to-day basis.

God said He was through creating. At the Flood, God said there will never be another Flood like it. That leaves the Creation, the Flood, and the miracles of Christ and the other prophets and apostles. Those were non-natural interruptions to the natural law system. That is Creation's basic model.

You can recognize the Creation Model as really being the biblical model of the Creation expounded on by the Fall and Flood. These are the three big issues in history.

Where could you go on planet earth and not see stuff that was created? The Bible says God created all things in those six days — heaven and earth and the sea and everything that lives in them. What could you look at that's not a result of creation?

Then there's the Fall. The Fall caused the Curse that was issued on all of creation because of Adam's sin. Where can you go and not see a cursed object? The Bible in Romans 8 says that the whole of creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now because of the presence of sin and its penalty of death. Everything came under that curse.

Then there's the Flood. The Bible says the Flood covered the entire planet. Where could you go on this world and not see a flooded terrain. On the authority of the Word of God the Flood covered everything.

You want to go to Arizona and go to the Grand Canyon and you sit there and wonder how this got here? Well, I'll tell you on the authority of the Word of God a huge flood came through there. That flood would have eroded big ditches, so we can understand how the Grand Canyon was formed in light of what we know to be the true history of Arizona, because a big flood covered Arizona.

These three great worldwide events — the Creation, the Fall, and the Flood — form the basis of the biblical worldview. Once you've got those three big points into your mind, you'll truly understand how the world works.


Resource

Christianity Under Attack 2011 Conference DVD Album

Christianity Under Attack 2011 ConferenceThe Christianity Under Attack 2011 Bible Conference takes an in-depth look at some of the attacks on Christianity. Learn how to counter these attacks in this 6-part conference album!

  1. "The Challenge of Islam" - Kerby Anderson
  2. "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" - Ron Rhodes
  3. "The Challenge of Evolution" - John Morris
  4. "The Challenge of Apostasy" - James Walker
  5. "The Challenge of Government" - Frank Wright
  6. "The Promise of Victory" - David Reagan

Order your copy for $25 today!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Challenge of Evolution: Counterfeit Religion

Watch MP3 PDF

Is Evolution really a religion, and if so, why?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2011 conference theme was Christianity Under Attack.

On of our speakers was Dr. John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research. He has a doctor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in geological engineering. He is the author of numerous books, including The Young Earth. He has also led numerous expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Dr. Morris' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Evolution" (watch).


The Challenge of Evolution


The Religion of Evolution

When discussing Evolution we hear the phrase "Evolution by mutation and natural selection." That's an important word — "natural selection." That means Evolution by natural processes and by natural law. Evolution is just something that according to Evolutionists just naturally happened. It required nothing supernatural. Got it? We're talking natural here.

I really think Evolution is the religion of naturalism because it believes there is nothing supernatural at work on planet earth. This is a worldview. It's in its truest sense a religion. Therefore, Evolution is also an anti-Christian religion. It's the religion that believes natural processes have done it all, including natural selection, when it comes to everything existing that does so today.

Remember that science has to do with observation. That's what scientists do. They make their observations. They perform their experiments. They collect the data. They make observations. But, when we are talking Evolution and Creation, we can't observe them. If they happened at all they happened in the unobserved past when nobody was watching, because they are not happening today. We can't see Creation happen. I've got to tell you, no Evolutionist will claim that they've ever seen Evolution take place. They say it happened in the past when I wasn't watching. Well, Creationists say the same thing. Both of these are worldviews concerning unobserved history. This is not strict science here, rather it's a philosophy about the past. Evolution in truth is a worldview about the past, trying to explain the fact that you and I are here and are what we are without a supernatural God.

Darwin thought Evolution up because he had given up on God. He knew we had to have gotten here some way, and with only natural law to work with, natural selection became Darwin's best guess. But, Evolution doesn't fit the scientific evidence very well.

So, both views — Creation and Evolution — are about unobserved history.


Evolutionary Tenets

We don't observe Evolution or Creation happening in the present, but we do see mutation happening all the time. In fact, all of you have mutated while you've been reading this. You are all mutants. Thankfully, your cells are so well designed they find those mutations and fix them before they can do any damage. So, we do see mutations, but they're not innovative. They're not helpful.

We also do see survival of the fittest, but that's kind of a totalitist thing. I mean, the fittest survive therefore they survived? Yeah.

Mutations and survival of the fittest are impotent to bring about true evolutionary change. To go from a frog to a prince you need a lot of really helpful mutations. But, again, mutations are overwhelmingly harmful and not helpful or innovative. They are what we call birth defects when they get into the reproductive cells. That's what a birth defect is — a mutation. Evolutionists claim that trillions of helpful birth defects have turned that frog into a prince. You know we've never observed one helpful birth defect. You could count them on the fingers of one hand, even if you are a mutant and don't have any fingers. Beneficial mutations — that's a contradiction in terms. It doesn't happen. These are harmful, not helpful.

Evolution goes uphill, but what we see naturally is going downhill. We do see survival of the fittest, but that's not really natural selection.

Did you know that Evolutionist don't even claim to have seen natural selection take place? They ascribe everything to natural selection. Natural selection is almost a god to them. It can do everything like turn a frog into a prince, but we don't see it really working. There's nothing selecting about natural selection. Selection means you've got to think through it and make your choice.

Biblically, what's really happening is that the organism itself was created with these marvelous powers to adapt and vary so that it can survive. God has built that into the organisms, not into nature doing the selection. The organism itself varies in order to survive.

Evolution's just the wrong way of thinking about things. We don't observe vertical change. Evolution is vertical change, but we don't observe it. What we do observe is stasis. We do observe things staying the same. Evolution is all about changes, but what we observe as scientists is stasis. We have never seen anything other than stasis. We have seen some downhill slides. We have seen some extinctions, but we've never seen anything new come into existence. We've never seen anything natural climb a hill. It always goes downhill. So, observation concludes that Evolution didn't happen.

Christians ought not to believe in Evolution because it just didn't happen. Christians ought to believe in true things.

For one, Evolution doesn't happen in the present. Evolutionists will say, "Oh, well maybe it happened in the past when we weren't watching." Well, we do have a record of life in the past and that is in the fossil record.

For example, let me show you a little bit about the fossil record using the trilobite. Trilobite fossils can be found in one of the lowest levels of the geologic strata, the oldest levels, say 500 million years ago according to Evolution. I don't buy the number, but don't get hung up about the number. I think that's a wrong number. Anyway, according to them 500 million to 550 million years ago this creature lived. The trilobite is a very common fossil. Evolution says you go from simple to complex, or ameba to man, right? Simple to complex. But, I've got to tell you, these trilobites down here at the bottom which are supposed to be the oldest, well they are quite complex. This creature is as complex as any creature around today.


Trilobite Fossil

Life started out complex, and it's still complex. There's no such thing as simple life. If it's living, its complex. If it's simple, it can't live. There's really no such thing as simple life. Life has always been complex. For example, the trilobite, sometimes in the fossils you can even see the eyeball which contains a complex lens. This, supposedly the most ancient of creatures, is as complex as any eyeball that's around today.

Things started out complex. They stayed complex. They are still complex. There's no such thing in the fossil record as simple to complex.


In the final part of Dr. Morris' presentation on the challenge of Evolution, he'll explain what three beliefs are foundational to the Christian worldview.


Resource

Christianity Under Attack 2011 Conference DVD Album

Christianity Under Attack 2011 ConferenceThe Christianity Under Attack 2011 Bible Conference takes an in-depth look at some of the attacks on Christianity. Learn how to counter these attacks in this 6-part conference album!

  1. "The Challenge of Islam" - Kerby Anderson
  2. "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" - Ron Rhodes
  3. "The Challenge of Evolution" - John Morris
  4. "The Challenge of Apostasy" - James Walker
  5. "The Challenge of Government" - Frank Wright
  6. "The Promise of Victory" - David Reagan

Order your copy for $25 today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Challenge of Evolution: Melded With Creationism

Watch MP3 PDF

Can Evolution be melded with Creationism?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2011 conference theme was Christianity Under Attack.

On of our speakers was Dr. John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research. He has a doctor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in geological engineering. He is the author of numerous books, including The Young Earth. He has also led numerous expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Dr. Morris' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Evolution" (watch).


The Challenge of Evolution


Attempts to Meld Evolution With Creationism

Some people will make the wild claim, "That word 'day' might mean an 'indefinite period of time.'" Millions and billions of years of geologic time they'll equate then with a single day creating the Day-Age Theory.

Well, I don't think so. Right there in Genesis 1:3-5 the first time the word day is used, and the Hebrew word for day is "yom," can sometimes be translated as an indefinite period, but it normally is translated as a day like today. Still, the first time God uses "yom" He defines it. On Day One God creates light and defines the light from the darkness and the light He called day. There's our word. The darkness God calls night. God defined His term and then he uses it throughout the rest of the chapter: Did this on Day One, created this on Day Two, made that on Day Three. He defined His term so that we couldn't get it wrong.

Unfortunately, a lot of lay Christians, Christian leaders, and even a lot of seminary and Bible college professors, along with a lot of preachers get God's use of the word "yom" wrong. They say, "Oh, no, Carl Sagan has proven that the earth is billions of years old. Therefore, I've got to fit that into Scripture. Maybe the days were billions of years long." I'm sick and tired of having Carl Sagan tell Christians how to interpret Scripture. Let Scripture interpret itself!

That word "yom" is quiet common in the Old Testament. It's the word day and in almost every case it's used in the Old Testament outside of Genesis 1 a couple thousand times. In almost every case it means a day like today. There are a few places where it says "the day of the Lord." There's once where it says "in the days of Abraham." That's obviously a period of time. But, in the great majority of cases it is a day like today.

In the Bible, whenever the word day is used in the plural like three days, or forty days, or forty day fast, or three days journey — it always means without exception a literal day. Genesis 1 is not the exception. It too means a literal day.

In Genesis 1, day as a literal 24-hour day is described even in further detail by adding the terms evening and morning. Evening and morning are included with the description of the first day and the second day and the third day. That word is modified by "evening and morning" quiet a number of times in the Old Testament. In every case it's always a real day. You can tell from the context. Whenever day is modified by a number like first day, second day, third day, or forty days, it always means a literal day. There's no exception.

I think Scripture is clear that God is saying He created everything in six days, with a day being just like today. That's what He says and that's what we need to believe.

I think the lid is nailed on the coffin of the Day-Age Theory in the book of Exodus which is the very next book in the Bible after Genesis. Exodus is about the people of Israel who were held in captivity and then God led them out of Egypt. They went to Mount Sinai where God gave them some information that He really wanted them to have. It was so important to God that He wrote it in stone. Now, I'm a geologist so I like stone. So, I like this passage. He wrote it on stone. That's where we get our expression "written in stone."

In that stony passage one of the 10 Commandments has to do with worship on the Sabbath day, and there again is our Hebrew word "yom." The Fourth Commandment then goes on to describe that you will work six days and rest one day. There in verse 11 God gives the reason right there on the rock. It says you work six days and rest one day because in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything that lives in them, and He rested on the seventh day. How could anything be more plain? I work six days and rest one day. You work six days and rest one day. In those literal six days God then created everything.

If we are going to call ourselves Bible believers I think we've got to believe especially what is written in stone.


In the next part of Dr. Morris' presentation on the challenge of Evolution, he'll explain why Evolution is really a religion.


Resource

Christianity Under Attack 2011 Conference DVD Album

Christianity Under Attack 2011 ConferenceThe Christianity Under Attack 2011 Bible Conference takes an in-depth look at some of the attacks on Christianity. Learn how to counter these attacks in this 6-part conference album!

  1. "The Challenge of Islam" - Kerby Anderson
  2. "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" - Ron Rhodes
  3. "The Challenge of Evolution" - John Morris
  4. "The Challenge of Apostasy" - James Walker
  5. "The Challenge of Government" - Frank Wright
  6. "The Promise of Victory" - David Reagan

Order your copy for $25 today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Challenge of Evolution: Christian Worldview

Watch MP3 PDF

What beliefs constitute the Christian worldview?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2011 conference theme was Christianity Under Attack.

On of our speakers was Dr. John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research. He has a doctor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in geological engineering. He is the author of numerous books, including The Young Earth. He has also led numerous expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Dr. Morris' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Evolution," (watch).


The Challenge of Evolution


The Christian Worldview

Let me encourage you to adopt and to uphold the Christian worldview. Apply it in your world in every decision you make and every thought you think, and the truth will set you free.

The Creation worldview teaches that God created things after their own kind. He didn't take some other kind and morph it into another kind. God created each basic category of plant or animal after their own kind. They started out as that kind. For example, there are dogs and there are frogs, but dogs and frogs did not come from a common ancestor. There are roses and there are people, but people didn't descend from roses. Instead, the Bible teaches that only people were created in the image of God.

Animals when they were created in their own kind started out in their own kind. Dogs started out as dogs. There is certainly much variety among dogs. I mean, we even call them species sometimes like with wolves, foxes, coyotes and domestic dogs. They're all inter-fertile. They're all part of the dog kind. So, variety is possible. Adaptation is possible. But, changing into a different kind doesn't happen and has never been seen. What we see is that Macro-Evolution doesn't happen. Sometimes change is dramatic, but two totally different looking dogs are still part of the dog kind because they are inter-fertile because they are dogs. Dogs are dogs and cats are cats, but no cat could ever mate successfully with a dog because dogs and cats are different.

When we're thinking about the Biblical Creation Model we can summarize it in two main scientific points. Another name, the Scientific Creation Model, really depends on two points:

1) Sudden Appearance — Dogs got here suddenly without having descended from a non-dog ancestor. There was a sudden appearance of that animal.

2) Stasis — That's a Greek word for staying the same, like stationary and static. This means dogs stayed dogs once they got here. They might have varied, but they're still dogs. They're either still dogs or they're extinct. They didn't evolve into something else.

So, the two main points for the Creationist scientific worldview are sudden appearance and stasis.

The Biblical Creation Model also rests on the six days of Creation. On Day One God creates the heavens and the earth, and then forms light. On Day Two God creates the oceans and the atmosphere. On Day Three the continents were formed with plants growing on the continents.

On Day Four the sun and moon and the stars were made. Notice that the stars came along three days after the earth and not 15 billion years before the earth.

On Day Five the animal life in the oceans are made. The oceans are just teaming with life. Also, the animals that fly are created.

Finally, on Day Six the land based creatures are created. God on that day also created in the image of God male and female.

And so, that's everything that was ever made in those six days of Creation.


In the next part of Dr. Morris' presentation on the challenge of Evolution, he'll debunk attempts to meld Evolution into the Creation.


Resource

Christianity Under Attack 2011 Conference DVD Album

Christianity Under Attack 2011 ConferenceThe Christianity Under Attack 2011 Bible Conference takes an in-depth look at some of the attacks on Christianity. Learn how to counter these attacks in this 6-part conference album!

  1. "The Challenge of Islam" - Kerby Anderson
  2. "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" - Ron Rhodes
  3. "The Challenge of Evolution" - John Morris
  4. "The Challenge of Apostasy" - James Walker
  5. "The Challenge of Government" - Frank Wright
  6. "The Promise of Victory" - David Reagan

Order your copy for $25 today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Challenge of Evolution: Evolutionary Worldview

Watch MP3 PDF

What beliefs constitute the Evolutionary worldview?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2011 conference theme was Christianity Under Attack.

On of our speakers was Dr. John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research. He has a doctor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in geological engineering. He is the author of numerous books, including The Young Earth. He has also led numerous expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Dr. Morris' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Evolution," (watch).


The Challenge of Evolution


The Evolutionary Worldview

Since childhood you've all seen the Tree of Life from an evolutionary textbook. Evolutionists view life in that all life goes back to a common ancestor. Before that we all came through intermediate forms up to that common ancestor. And, before that, some 3-4 billion years ago non-living chemicals got together and made a cell that could move about and do its thing, taking in its own food and reproducing. In that reproduction process there were mutations that sprung up and through mistakes like birth defects we now have this vast array of plants and animals that we see alive today. To an Evolutionist, in the fossil record all of life goes back to a common ancestor.


Evolutionary Tree of Life

So, Evolution is much more than we just descended from the apes. The apes came from the other mammals, and they came from the rodents, and the rodents came from reptiles, and they came from amphibians, and amphibians came from fish, and they came from invertebrates, and they came from slime. We came from the slime — ameba to man — is the whole big evolutionary idea. They also believe that if Evolution keeps going we'll end up with Superman.

Another way of thinking about Evolution is another illustration also in all the textbooks called the Geologic Column. The idea behind it is a column of time from long-ago past up to the present. The creatures down at the bottom of the column evolved first and they evolved up until we finally have Man. The Geologic Column is presented as if it were a true statement of the fossil record and it's presented as if it were proof of Evolution. But, the fossils don't look anything at all like they do in the Geologic Column. The fossils are very, very different from this. In truth, the Geologic Column is a statement of evolutionary dogma. It is not true, and there's a better way to think about fossils.


Geologic Column

Evolution with a vengeance declares that we are animals. An evolutionary textbook will say something like, "You, little Johnny, sitting there in the classroom, you are an animal. You share a common heritage with earthworms." I've got to ask, does little Johnny benefit by knowing this? Does this do him any good?

Here's another example of an evolutionary textbook's claim,"We, little Johnny, belong to a highly specialized group of boney fishes. We are fishes whether we like it or not." Did you hear about that book that came out about ten years ago which talked about searching for your inner fish? It's an evolutionary book claiming that we come from fishes. Search for your inner fish and you will find the meaning in life.

Evolution is a vicious worldview and it is the antithesis of the Christian worldview. Christians ought not to even tamper with that wrong, anti-Christian worldview. It's also a wrong scientific view which doesn't deserve our attention. Christians believing in a supernatural God ought not to tamper with Evolution.

If Evolution is true that means we came from a fish. And, if Evolution is true and we did indeed descend from a fish, you've got to ask just what is the value of life? There are implications. Ideas have consequences. If we came from a fish, what's the basis for any kind of morality? Evolution applied is an ugly worldview with evil fruits.

There is little Johnny in the classroom and he asks, "What about Evolution? Wasn't that just a theory?" His teacher will say, "No, I grant you that to begin with Evolution was just a theory, but it evolved into a fact a long time ago. Little Johnny, Evolution is a fact, and you came from Evolution. Your ancestors were fish. And, by the way, you are an animal." With those statements the Evolutionist teacher trains the students in their classroom as Pavlov trained his dogs.

Evolution applied is in every area of life. As you search you will find Evolution under every rock because it's a worldview. But, I believe there is a better worldview, and that's the biblical worldview.

Out of grade school now, Little Johnny has grown up and goes to college. Here's a quote from Dr. E. O. Wilson who's a Harvard Professor. He's a major professor in the biology department there and he considers it his job to make sure that any student that comes through his class will lose any memory of a Christian worldview. His job is to train them out of Christianity into an evolutionary worldview. He's a good scientist, and I love his science articles, but I read his sad testimony recently in the Journal of the Humanist. He reveals, "As were many persons from Texas, I was a born-again Christian. When I was 15 I entered the Southern Baptist Church with great fervor and interest in the fundamentalist religion. But, I left at 17 when I got to the University of Texas and heard about the Evolution theory."

This is who is teaching our kids — ex-Christians who have given up on God! They're anti-God. They're Christian haters and Christian baiters. They challenge an Evolutionary worldview against a Christian worldview.


In the next part of Dr. Morris' presentation on the challenge of Evolution, he'll define just what is the Christian worldview.


Resource


Christianity Under Attack 2011 Conference DVD Album

Christianity Under Attack 2011 ConferenceThe Christianity Under Attack 2011 Bible Conference takes an in-depth look at some of the attacks on Christianity. Learn how to counter these attacks in this 6-part conference album!

  1. "The Challenge of Islam" - Kerby Anderson
  2. "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" - Ron Rhodes
  3. "The Challenge of Evolution" - John Morris
  4. "The Challenge of Apostasy" - James Walker
  5. "The Challenge of Government" - Frank Wright
  6. "The Promise of Victory" - David Reagan

Order your copy for $25 today!

Monday, April 16, 2012

United States in Bible Prophecy: Final Fate

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

In the first half of this study into the United States in Bible prophecy, I looked into the possible biblical references to our nation's involvement and concluded we are not specifically addressed. In this second half, I'll speculate as to why most likely the country is absent.


A Speculation

I personally believe that the reason the U.S. is not mentioned in end time prophecy is because we will suddenly cease to be a world power and will therefore play no significant role in end time events.

The destruction of American power is most likely to occur in two stages. The first could be an economic catastrophe that will result from our out of control debt situation. Our god is the dollar, and the Lord is going to destroy that god when the weight of our debt collapses our economy.

The second stage could occur when Russia launches its invasion of Israel (prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39). I believe it is very likely that they will launch a preemptive nuclear attack against our nation, since we are the only country in the world that might possibly come to Israel's defense. This attack may be hinted at in Ezekiel 39:6 where it says that fire will fall on "those who inhabit the coastlands in safety."

The Russian attack will probably come from submarines deployed off our East and West coasts. Each Russian sub carries more fire power than all the bombs dropped in World War II. Such an attack would give us only seven minutes warning, not even enough time to launch a counter attack.

With the U.S. immobilized, the Russians will then attack Israel and, according to Ezekiel, their army will be wiped out supernaturally by God on the hills of Israel (Ezekiel 39:1-4). The greatest power vacuum in the history of mankind will be created almost overnight. The world will be gripped by panic.

Into that vacuum will step a dynamic, charismatic European political personality who will be energized by Satan. He will begin to rally the world to his support through his brilliant proposals for world peace. The world will be mesmerized by him (Revelation 13:8).


An Objection

Some argue that since the collapse of the Soviet government, Russia is now too weak to launch any attack against Israel or the United States. But the economy of Russia has rebounded due to the nation's vast oil reserves, and its military power is intact, including thousands of nuclear warheads!

In fact, Russia is far more dangerous to the world today than before the Soviet collapse. The increased danger is rooted in the instability of the government.

There is no hope for democracy in Russia because the societal values that are essential for the working of a democratic system do not exist. Nor is there any historical experience with democracy. Before the Commissars were the Czars.

As I predicted from the outset, the experiment with democracy did not last long. Vladimir Putin has created a new tyranny that is obsessed with territorial expansion. Putin will most likely resort to one of the oldest techniques of government — namely, stirring up trouble abroad to divert people's attention away from their domestic problems. That foreign trouble will ultimately be the invasion of Israel.


The Parallel of Habakkuk

I admit that I do not like this speculative scenario. But it seems the most likely chain of events to me. When it first occurred to me, I was particularly repelled by the idea of God using Russia to judge our nation. I asked, "How can a holy God punish those who are evil with those who are more evil?"

My quest for an answer to that question led me to the book of Habakkuk. I discovered that Habakkuk asked God the same question when God revealed to him that Judah would be judged by an invasion of the Chaldeans.

God never answered Habakkuk's question. He just called on Habakkuk to proceed in faith, believing that God knew best (Habakkuk 2:4). After a difficult spiritual struggle, Habakkuk stepped out in faith and said, "Lord, even if the Chaldeans completely destroy us, I will continue to exalt Your name" (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The Chaldeans came. They destroyed the nation of Judah and the Temple of God. But where are the Chaldeans today? In the dust bin of history. Where are the Jews? Regathered to their land.

The point is that God has the wisdom and power to orchestrate the evil of Man to the triumph of His holy will in history. It is not for us to question His ways. Rather, it is for us to trust Him.


A Sobering Conclusion

But there is another point to consider. Are we really more righteous than the Russians? I think not.

In fact, I believe we are far more dangerous to the world spiritually than the Russians have ever been, for we are the world's moral polluter through the export of our sleazy television programs, our filthy movies, our satanic music, and our degrading pornography.

We are a people who have turned our back on God. The day of judgment for us will be far more severe than for the Russians, for "to those to whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48).


Another Possibility

There is another possible fate for the United States. If the Rapture were to occur today, we would be devastated because our nation contains more born again Christians than any other nation in the world — more than all of Western Europe combined. Further, we have many born again Christians in high positions of commerce and government. The Rapture would reduce our nation to chaos, removing us from the international scene as the world's dominant power.

We can hope and pray that this will be the destiny of our nation, because if it is not, we are headed toward outright destruction due to our rebellion against a gracious God who has blessed us more than any other nation that has ever existed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

United States in Bible Prophecy: Biblical Possibilities

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? It is a question I am asked wherever I go. It is only natural that we should wonder. Since the United States is not mentioned specifically by name in Bible prophecy, people have resorted to their imaginations to find our nation in the Scriptures.


A "tall and smooth people"?

Some have pointed to Isaiah 18 which speaks of a people "tall and smooth" who are "feared far and wide." The passage further states that this is a "powerful nation whose land the rivers divide." The chapter ends by stating that the people of this nation will bring "a gift of homage" to the Lord when He returns to reign from Mt. Zion.

Because these verses speak of a powerful nation whose land is divided by a great river, some have jumped to the conclusion that the nation is the United States since it is divided by the Mississippi River.

But the opening verses of this chapter indicate it is speaking of "Cush," the ancient name of Ethiopia. At the time Isaiah wrote this passage, Ethiopia was a part of the Egyptian empire and the river referred to is undoubtedly the Nile.


A "village" of Tarshish?

Probably one of the most popular passages where people claim to have found the U.S. is in Ezekiel 38 where the prophet describes an invasion of Israel that will be launched in the end times by a nation "from the remote parts of the north." The descriptive verses about the northern power make it clear that this nation is Russia. What is not so clear is where the U.S. fits into this invasion.

Those who find us in the passage point to Ezekiel 38:13 which says that "the merchants of Tarshish and all its villages" (or "young lions" depending on translation) will speak out against the invasion. The argument is that Tarshish is Britain and the "villages" or "young lions" are the English speaking nations like the U.S. and Australia that were founded by British immigrants.

To say the least, this is a highly imaginative interpretation. Its validity is seriously questioned by the fact that no one knows for certain the true identity of "Tarshish." Furthermore, recent archaeological developments indicate that Tarshish was most likely Spain, not Britain.


A "great eagle"?

Another favorite passage for applied imagination is Revelation 12:13-17. These verses state that in the middle of the Tribulation God will provide a means of escape for the Jewish remnant in Israel. They will be carried into the wilderness to a hiding place on the "wings of a great eagle."

Some people have seized on this imagery to teach that the U.S., whose national symbol is the eagle, will supply the end time air lift that will save the Jewish remnant.

But the Bible is its own best interpreter. And when you look up the phrase, "wings of an eagle," you will find that it is the same one that God used in Exodus 19:4 to describe how He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. God is the eagle, not the United States (see Deuteronomy 32:11).


"Babylon the great?"

This brings us to the final and most widely used passage for identifying the U.S. in Bible prophecy. It is Revelation 18 where the destruction of "Babylon the great" is described.

There is no doubt that the United States shares many similarities with the corrupt commercial empire described in this chapter. But the U.S. is not a fulfillment of Revelation 18. That chapter is describing the last Gentile world empire that will dominate the earth at the time of the Lord's Second Coming. It is the empire of the Antichrist.


A Conclusion

So, where is the United States in Bible prophecy? The answer is that we are not mentioned directly and specifically. We are covered by general prophecies that relate to all nations, but beyond that, our end time destiny must be a matter of speculation.

General prophecies that apply to the U.S. include those that say all nations will be judged (Isaiah 34:2-3) and all nations will cease to exist except the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28).


I do have a speculation as to why the U.S. is not mentioned in end time prophecy, though, which I'll post in the second half of this study into the United States in Bible prophecy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Randy Alcorn's Book Heaven Reviewed: The Not So Good

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

In the first half of this book review of Randy Alcorn's book Heaven, I pointed out how well the author dispelled some misconceptions about Heaven. In this second half, I'll point out some doctrinal areas of contention I have with this book.

The thing that amazed me was how anyone could write 476 pages about Heaven when the Bible says so little about it. I discovered four keys to the author's in-depth coverage.


Heaven by Randy Alcorn


Imagination

The first is the author's imagination. He can derive more hints from a verse than anyone I have ever encountered. A good example can be found on pages 65-67 where he derives 21 conclusions from Revelation 6:9-11. That's a total of three verses! Many of these conclusions, though not unbiblical, are nonetheless quite a stretch and need to be recognized as such.


Misapplications

The second key to the author's in-depth writing on a topic so scantily covered by Scripture is that he misapplies many passages about the Millennium to the Eternal State. For example, every time the Scriptures mention "new heavens and a new earth," as in Isaiah 65:17, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that the passage pertains to the Eternal State. But this is not always the case, and it certainly is not in the Isaiah 65 passage where death and child bearing are both mentioned.

The fact the author seems to overlook is that there are two new earths that lie ahead of us. One is the Millennial earth which will be this earth radically changed by earthquakes and supernatural phenomena in the heavens. The second will be the eternal earth which will be the Millennial earth renovated by fire.


Common Sense

The third factor that has enabled Mr. Alcorn to write in such depth is what I would characterize as his extraordinary common sense. Many of his conclusions are derived from what I would call common sense reasoning. For example, in dealing with the often asked question, "Will I maintain my identity in Heaven?" Mr. Alcorn writes (page 278):

You will be you in Heaven. Who else would you be? If Bob, a man on earth, is no longer Bob when he goes to Heaven, then, in fact, Bob did not go to Heaven. If when I arrive in Heaven, I'm not the same person with the same identity, history, and memory, then I didn't go to Heaven.


Continuity

The fourth and most important factor that has produced Mr. Alcorn's in-depth thinking about Heaven is what he calls "the principle of redemptive continuity." By this he means that eternal life will be as life is now — except that it will be perfected. So, if you want to imagine what Heaven will be like, look around you and imagine what this world would be like without disease, suffering, crime, and natural calamities. Here's how Mr. Alcorn puts it (page 112):

Conversion does not mean eliminating the old but transforming it. Despite the radical changes that occur through salvation, death, and resurrection, we remain who we are. We have the same history, appearance, memory, interests, and skills. This is the principle of redemptive continuity. God will not scrap His original creation and start over. Instead, He will take His fallen, corrupted children and restore, refresh, and renew us to our original design.

Applying this principle to the Eternal State, Mr. Alcorn titles one of his chapters, "What will our daily lives be like?" (pages 317-324). He asks: "Will we rest? Will we sleep? Will we work? Will we have our own homes? Will we open our homes to guests?"

To all these questions he applies the principle of redemptive continuity and concludes by answering them with a resounding "Yes!"


Exceptions to Continuity

He does, however, point out that there will be some exceptions to the principle of continuity. One of the most important being marriage and sex. The only marriage that will exist in Heaven will be that of the Redeemed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 22:30 that in our glorified, immortal bodies we will not marry.

Mr. Alcorn reasons that since there will be no marriage in Heaven as we know it today, there will also be no sex, since it was designed by God to be a part of the marriage relationship. But he speculates that it may be replaced by something even better (page 338):

There may... be some way in which the intimacy and pleasure we now know as sex will be fulfilled in some higher form. I don't know what that would be, but I do know that sex was designed by God, and I don't expect Him to discard it without replacing it with something better.


Another Disappointing Feature

In addition to his misapplication of some Millennial passages to the Eternal State, there is one other thing I found disappointing about Mr. Alcorn's book. It was his ambivalence about the Millennium. He states point-blank that he believes there will be a literal thousand year reign of Jesus on this present earth, but he hastens to add that he is not "dogmatic" about it because "I also understand and respect the strong interpretive arguments that have been made in support of Amillennialism" (page 140).

It is amazing to me that a man who demands that all scriptures about Heaven be taken literally would turn around and say he can understand why some people might want to spiritualize the passages concerning the Millennium. I suspect that this sentence was due to pressure from the publisher (Tyndale House) in order to give the book a wider appeal.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend the book. It is thorough, carefully reasoned, biblical, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining. Mr. Alcorn is obviously a person who has spent innumerable hours thinking about Heaven. Also, his fundamental thesis about the nature of Heaven is one that Christendom needs to hear because it is directly related to the strength and quality of our hope.

The Relationship of Prophecy to Hope

Many Christians, because they know so little about the world to come, cling tenaciously to this world, living with little hope. Mr. Alcorn's outstanding book will convince you that "the best is yet to come."

And that, in turn, reminds me of the story of the dying woman who told her pastor she wanted to be buried with a fork in her right hand. When he asked why, she said: "Every time we have a pot-luck meal at church, we are told to keep our forks when the plates are picked up, because, referring to the desserts, we are told, 'The best is yet to come!'"

Yes, the best is yet to come, and because of that Randy Alcorn ends his book with an interesting thought (page 415):

We have redefined eternal life to mean an off-Earth existence stripped of the defining properties of what we know life to be. Eternal life will be enjoying forever what life on Earth is at its finest moments, what it was intended to be. Since in Heaven we'll finally experience life at its best, it would be more accurate to call our present experience the beforelife rather than what follows the afterlife.

And all I can add to that is Maranatha!


Another Recommended Book on Heaven

Eternity: Heaven or Hell?Eternity: Heaven or Hell?
Item ID: P-16

What will happen when you die? This and many other questions about death and its aftermath are dealt with in this book, based upon biblical answers.

In addition, Dr. David Reagan deals with questions pertaining to salvation: Are there many roads to God? Can salvation be earned through good works? Can salvation be lost? He also takes an in-depth look at the resurrection of Jesus, examining the evidence for it and discussing its essentiality to the Christian faith.

197 pages.

Order your copy today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Randy Alcorn's Book Heaven Reviewed: The Good

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

An Outstanding Book About Heaven

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries located in Gresham, Oregon.

He served as a pastor for 14 years before forming EPM in 1990. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Multnomah Bible College and Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Alcorn is the author of over 20 theological books and several novels. He is married and is the father of two married daughters. He enjoys spending time with his family, biking, playing tennis, doing research, and reading.

Randy Alcorn's book that is simply entitled, Heaven, is must reading for all Christians. It dispels many long-held myths while underlining some overlooked and misunderstood biblical truths.


Heaven by Randy Alcorn

The author starts making his point on the dedication page where he dedicates the book to a long list of departed saints "and countless others who departed 'prematurely' (yet in God's good time) to a world far greater than this one but far less than the one to come, which all of us who know King Jesus will behold together, slack-jawed, on the New Earth's first morning." Now, that's what I call a mouthful of a dedication!


His Basic Thesis

In this amazing dedicatory sentence, Mr. Alcorn makes one of the major points of his book — namely, that the current Heaven where God resides will not be the Heaven where the Redeemed will live eternally. The current Heaven is located in "the third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2), an undisclosed spot somewhere in our universe or an adjacent universe. But the eternal Heaven, where the Redeemed will live forever with God will be located on a new earth — this earth renovated, refreshed and perfected by fire.

Needless to say, this fundamental biblical truth comes as a shock to most Christians. That's because most of us have grown up under preaching that has been "Christoplatonized," as Mr. Alcorn would put it (page 52). What he means by this term is that Christian theologians from the time of St. Augustine in the 5th Century have interpreted end time prophecies concerning Heaven as if they were written by Greek philosophers instead of Hebrew prophets.


The Impact of Greek Philosophy

Plato believed that material things, including the human body and the earth are inherently evil, while immaterial things such as the soul are good. This viewpoint is thoroughly unbiblical. The Bible teaches that the creation was originally perfect, that it was corrupted by the sin of Man, but that it will one day be redeemed to its original perfection. God loves His creation, and He intends to refresh it by "making all things new" (Revelation 21:5).

Being heavily influenced by Greek philosophy, Augustine spiritualized the biblical concept of a new earth to mean a nonliteral, spiritual Heaven. Subsequently, the Church came to embrace this "spiritual view" that human spirits are better off without bodies and that Heaven is a disembodied spiritual state.

Mr. Alcorn summarizes the impact of Christoplatonism by saying it "has had a devastating effect on our ability to understand what Scripture says about Heaven, particularly about the eternal Heaven, the New Earth... If we believe, even subconsciously, that bodies and the earth and material things are unspiritual, even evil, then we will inevitably reject or spiritualize any biblical revelation about our bodily resurrection or the physical characteristics of the New Earth" (page 52).


How to Grasp Heaven

Mr. Alcorn emphasizes over and over again that the eternal Heaven is going to be a tangible, material world located on this earth after it is renovated. He points out that when the Eternal State begins, the Bible says God will "make all things new" (Revelation 21:5). It does not say that He will make new things.

Therefore, if you want to get a feel of what Heaven will be like, the author urges you to look around and observe your environment. He argues that you must understand "that in order to get a picture of Heaven... you don't need to look up at the clouds; you simply need to look around you and imagine what all this [world] would be like without sin and death and suffering and corruption" (page 17).


The Necessity of the Earth's Redemption

In fact, the author argues that God must redeem the current earth to keep it from being remembered "as a graveyard of sin and failure" (page 137). The restoration of this earth, producing the New Earth of eternity, will "justify the old earth's disaster," making good out of it, "putting it in perspective" (page 137). In short, "it will preserve and perpetuate earth's original design and heritage" (page 137). These conclusions prompt Mr. Alcorn to declare: "God is the ultimate salvage artist. He loves to restore things to their original condition" (page 89).


Quotes from Randy Alcorn's Book

"The predominant belief that the ultimate Heaven God prepares for us will be unearthly could not be more unbiblical. Earth was made for people to live on, and people were made to live on Earth" (page 91).

"The idea of Earth and Heaven becoming one is explicitly biblical. Christ will make Earth into Heaven and Heaven into Earth. Just as the wall that separates God and Mankind is torn down in Jesus, so too the wall that separates Heaven and Earth will be forever demolished" (page 101).

"We must distinguish the biblical promise of seeing God from the beliefs of Buddhism, Hinduism, or New Age mysticism, in which individuality is obliterated or assimilated into Nirvana. Though God will be absorbing, we will not be absorbed by Him. Though we may feel lost in God's immensity, we will not lose our identity when we see Him. Instead, we will find it" (p. 192).

"If Heaven is truly our home, we should expect it to have the qualities we associate with home. Home as a term for Heaven isn't simply a metaphor. It describes an actual, physical place... a place we'll share with loved ones; a place of fond familiarity and comfort and refuge; a place of marvelous smells and tastes, fine food, and great conversation; a place of contemplation and interaction and expressing the gifts and passions that God has given us. It will be a place of unprecedented freedom and adventure" (pages 440-441).


An Effective Format

One of the most appealing things about this book is its question and answer format. The author deals in detail with over 200 question about Heaven that cover every aspect of the topic. Here are some representative samples:

  • What is the nature of the intermediate Heaven? (The current Heaven)
  • What is life like in the intermediate Heaven?
  • Why is earth's redemption essential to God's plan?
  • What will it mean to see God?
  • What will the New Jerusalem be like?
  • Will there be space and time in Heaven?
  • Will we be ourselves?
  • Will we eat and drink?
  • Will we engage in sexual relations?
  • Will we be capable of sinning?
  • Will we be reunited with our pets?
  • Will there be arts, entertainment, and sports?

These down-to-earth questions about the life to come on the New Earth are so fascinating that you will find it hard to put the book down once you start reading it.


In this first half of my book review of Randy Alcorn's book Heaven, I pointed out how well the author dispelled some misconceptions about Heaven. In the coming second half, I'll point out some doctrinal areas of contention I have with this book.