WHEN CHRIST AND CULTURE COLLIDE (The Case for Equipping Capable Defenders of the Faith)

Dr. David R. Nicholas, President

Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

 

Just last week, I was informed of the home-going of one of our faithful prayer warriors, Bernice Gardner, who lived in Topeka, KS.  Bernice was a personal friend whom I had known for 54 years.  She was 95, and, along with my Mom and Dad, Bob and Pearl Nicholas who went to be with the Lord in 2000 and 2005, prayed for me, my family, my ministries and especially for Shasta Bible College and Graduate School.  Bernice’s mind was incredible.  She was a gifted, highly effective and much loved public school math teacher, who was comfortable teaching complex subjects like Calculus and Trigonometry.  She was also an astute student of politics, and as a Biblically knowledgeable conservative, she viewed life through the prism of Scriptural precepts and was increasingly concerned over the moral, educational and spiritual decline in America.  She was seldom fooled by the machinations of so-called “progressive” (liberal) politicians, and her Midwestern values coupled with plain common sense enabled her to see through the “spin” and mount a Biblical and logical defense. 

 

As I penned a tribute to Bernice along with a letter of condolence to her family, I was impressed anew with the need for today’s Christian college-age students to be as aware and insightful as Bernice.  They need to think not just critically, but Biblically. As the cultural attacks against Christians and their Biblical values intensify, students MUST be equipped to refute and see through the outright lies and misrepresentations of God’s Word by so called “religious” and even compromising “evangelical” scholars who have caved to the morally crumbling culture and allowed themselves to be “shaped into the world’s mold” (something we are warned NOT to do in Rom. 12:2).    For example, a  June 6, 2013 Huffington Post (AOL) news article “Biblical Marriage Not Simply Defined as One Man, One Woman,”  cites three “religious scholars” from three Iowa Universities, Hector Avalos, Robert R. Cargill and Kenneth Atkinson,  who say “. . . despite popular opinion, the Bible does not simply define marriage as between one man and one woman.”  These scholars ridicule those who appeal to Biblical precepts in opposing “marriage equality” (same-sex marriage), and pedantically conclude that “. . . such appeals often reflect a lack of biblical literacy” on the part of those who use that “complex collection of texts as an authority to enact modern social policy.”  Can the average college student repudiate that kind of interpretive bias and twisted logic?  Most cannot, because their knowledge of Scripture is usually inadequate and they have never been taught the principles of Biblical interpretation. 

 

But thankfully, our students at Shasta Bible College & Graduate School can!  Why?  Because in addition to studying the Bible, they learn to “accurately handle the Word of truth.”  They learn what the Bible actually teaches from a literal, historical, grammatical perspective; as well as the context in which it is taught.   They understand that marriage is rooted in God’s purposes at creation.  That purpose is revealed to us in Genesis 1:28:  “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” They know the fulfillment of this God-given directive requires the union of a man and a woman:  In Biblical terms, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, or Eve and Genevieve.    They understand that prior to the entrance of sin in the Fall, Genesis 2:18-24 clearly reveals that woman was created to be a “suitable helper” for Adam.  They are aware that this Gen. 2 passage, which was cited by Jesus Christ in Matt. 19:5, tells us, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Common sense tells them that anatomically, it is impossible to become “one flesh” in a homosexual or lesbian relationship or a same-sex marriage. Not only do the reproductive parts not fit, the alternative same-sex practices facilitate the spread of STD’s including HPV and HIV.   They understand that the explanation given by Christ, Himself, in answering the Pharisees who tested him with the question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” was based upon this historical Genesis passage,  giving it Divine legitimacy.  Furthermore, Christ concluded his answer with the command, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6).  Then, in further attempting to trap Jesus, the Pharisees asked, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away (vs. 7)?”  Jesus’ answer in vs.8-9 says it all:  “Because of the hardness of your heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery.”

 

 In their attempt to legitimatize same-sex marriage, the Iowa “religious scholars” say that the Bible’s definition of marriage can be confusing and contradictory based upon “the religious book’s stance on Polygamy.”  But Shasta Bible College & Graduate School students learn that coupled with Christ’s statement:  “. . . but from the beginning it was not this way,” God’s original plan for marriage (prior to the entrance of sin) was a permanent, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman.  Polygamy was never God’s plan and the “religious scholars” appeal to polygamy is simply a straw-man argument to make room for other alternative forms of marriage, specifically same-sex marriage.  God’s design for marriage as a permanent, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman is clearly reinforced in 1 Cor. 7:2 “But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.”  It is worthy of note that both “wife” and “husband” in this passage are singular, not plural.  Additionally, the Apostle Paul clarifies the permanent, nature of the marriage relationship in vs. 10-11:  “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”  Eph. 5:22-33 further amplifies the husband’s responsibility to his wife and the wife’s responsibility to her husband.  The same is true of the Apostle Peter in 1 Pet. 3:1-7.  Never is there a hint or remote possibility that Apostles Paul and Peter are speaking of same-sex relationships.  That would be inconsistent with what both Paul and Peter say elsewhere because both Apostles decry the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (Rom. 9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6-10).  Also, the Apostle Paul graphically condemns same-sex relationships in Rom. 1:26-27:  “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

 

The deceptive, dishonest scholarship of the religious same-sex proponents is already impacting the evangelical church.  Jack Rogers, former Professor of Philosophical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary (now Prof. Emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA) advocates welcoming practicing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals as full and equal members in the church.  And he’s not the only one.   Emergent Church superstar, Former pastor of the Mars Hill Bible church, Rob Bell, whose book, Love Wins, challenges traditional teachings on a literal, eternal hell and belief in Jesus Christ being necessary for heaven, is now actively defending homosexuality and same-sex marriage, saying that he does not see same-sex relationships as destructive or evil.   Then British Evangelical leader, Steve Chalke, earlier this year, shocked evangelicals around the world when he openly endorsed gay marriage.  So there is a growing trend among some “so called” evangelicals to accommodate the message to fit the culture.  This is a far cry from what the late 20th Century apologist, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, advocated 35 years ago.  Schaeffer wisely proclaimed:  “Our task is not to bend the Bible to fit the culture, but to bend the culture to fit the Bible.”

 

I can assure you that we at Shasta Bible College & Graduate School are unequivocally committed to Schaeffer’s perspective.  While we know that the Holy Spirit must do His work of regeneration in individual hearts for the culture to be “bent,” accommodation of Biblical truth to science, sociology, psychology, contemporary morality, ethical relativism, philosophy or any other discipline that seeks to elevate itself above God’s inspired, inerrant Word does not and will not happen at SBC&GS.  Rather, our students will be equipped to understand what they believe and why they believe it.  They will be taught that Scriptural truth is relevant to every culture, every age, every academic discipline, and is sufficient for life and ministry.  They will be taught that Biblical absolutes are not just descriptive of the times in which they were written, but rather prescriptive for all time.  Psalm 119:89 confirms this:  “Forever O Lord Thy Word is settled in heaven.” Seeing through the ecclesiastical and cultural “spin” of heretical and apostate church leaders is not always easy, but essential.   However, it cannot be done without an adequate working knowledge of God’s Word.  And that is precisely what our students receive at Shasta Bible College & Graduate School.

 

Let me emphasize once again how critical it is that institutions holding uncompromisingly to God’s inspired Word be adequately supported so that the standard of Biblical truth will continue to be lifted high.  Especially in these days when so many are capitulating to the prevailing politically correct cultural trends.

 

 

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THE INCALCULABLE VALUE OF A BIBLE COLLEGE EDUCATION

David R. Nicholas, M.S., Th.D.

President, Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

 

Money is often a key factor in a student’s decision to pursue a Biblical college education.  But in reality, the value of such an education is incalculable because if our college-age Christians fail to understand why they believe what they believe, they are sitting ducks for satanic deception.  Today the winds of religious, theological and ecclesiological change are sweeping across our nation and the world.

 

One has only to log on to YouTube under the topic of Islam to find detailed testimonies like that of Joshua Evans, who claims to have grown up in a Greenville, SC Methodist church and even applied to Bob Jones University but now has converted to Islam based on his perception of Biblical inconsistencies and moral failures in the lives of Biblical heroes.  His deluded and deficient understanding of Scripture and the Godhead, not to mention his hermeneutical ineptitude, has been viewed over 58,547 times and is available to gullible, Biblically illiterate young people who may be curious about the difference between Islam and Christianity.

 

Another YouTube video attempts to portray the Koran as inerrant on the basis of its supposed scientific foreknowledge that the sex of a baby is determined by the man.  This video has had 1,054,168 views and is said to have convinced a self described Christian to convert to Islam after just one week. Islam’s campaign for converts has obviously descended upon America.  

 

And then there is what I call the “theology of uncertainty” being propagated by the Emergent Church. Over the past 20 years, as Dr. Albert Mohler puts it, “Emerging or Emergent Christianity has done its best to avoid speaking with specificity. . . . they have accused evangelical Christianity, variously, of being excessively concerned with doctrine, culturally tone-deaf, overly propositional, unnecessarily offensive, aesthetically malnourished and basically uncool.” 

 

While some of these criticisms may be justified relative to cultural concerns, their endeavors to transform orthodox Christian theology is dangerous and reflective of  last century’s theological liberalism in its avoidance of clear doctrinal assertions. Emergent leader, Brian McClaren, isn’t sure we’ve got the Gospel right yet, and Rob Bell, in his recent book, Love Wins, has a problem with the doctrine of hell.  The idea that eternal torment is the fate of those who reject Christ, according to Bell, is keeping people from coming to Jesus, even though Jesus, Himself, warned that such is the case (Matt. 10:28).  Bell laments the idea that the doctrine of hell has been so identified as a central truth of the Christian faith that to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus.  He argues that the gates that never shut in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:25) mean that the opportunity for salvation is never closed. In so doing, however, he avoids dealing with the previous chapter in which God’s judgment on the unsaved is carried out (Rev. 20:15) and misses the fact that only then are the gates of New Jerusalem eternally open. In 1 Tim. 4:1 Paul warns that “in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,”  In 2 Tim. 4:3 he warns “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”  What is our defense against such deception?  Paul tells us in Eph. 6.  He says take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  But to wield it, we must know it!  SBC & GS exists to help students do just that!  Yes, a Biblical education costs money, but Biblical ignorance is far more expensive.

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TEACHING TRUTH IN TROUBLING TIMES

 

David R. Nicholas, M.S., Th.M., Th.D.

President, Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

Redding, CA

It was the great Christian apologist/philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, who said:  “Our task is not to bend the Bible to fit the culture, but rather to bend the culture to fit the Bible.”  Although Dr. Schaeffer spoke those words over 30 years ago, they are even more relevant to Bible-believing Christians today than they were then.  The cultural pressure to conform to political correctness and the ideals of secular humanism is not only intensifying, but anti-Biblical laws supportive of these societal trends are literally being forced upon us by activist judges who have little or no regard for the will of the people.  They evidently disparage America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and the Biblical moral values that have made our nation great.

Recently here in California the Los Angeles Second District Court of Appeal declared it illegal for parents without teaching credentials to home school their children.  Now, bear in mind that the idea of parents teaching children is irrefutably Biblical.  Moses was taught by his parents so well that he was able to resist all the false teaching he received in Pharaoh’s Court relative to God and creation.  As the author of Genesis, he included not one concept or idea that was commonly held by the Egyptians.  There is no mention of the Sun God, “Ra,” and his writings reflect none of the ideas about creation that were widely accepted throughout Pharaoh’s Court.  Also, Deut 6:7 indicates that parental instruction in the home was foundational to the Jewish family.  However, disregarding all the home-school success stories, three judges based this ruling on charges brought against a single family they considered to be dysfunctional and abusive, implying that the state’s 200,000 home-school students are being harmed by their parents.  The court conducted no investigation of home schools, nor did they evaluate home school students, many of whom are being actively pursued by even secular universities because of their respectful attitudes and superior academic abilities.  To these biased judges, the facts were apparently irrelevant!  When, in response to public outcry, the court decided a week later to review its hasty decision, it called upon six professional organizations and governmental agencies all identified with public school, to present position papers (amicus briefs) on the decision.  Neither the Home School Defense Association nor any other home-school organization was asked for an opinion.

Here at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School some of our brightest and most capable students come from home school backgrounds.  Most are respectful, mature, serious students who, more often than not, evidence leadership potential.   Why?  Because most escape the “peer group pressure” that so often causes young people to make decisions contrary to their parents’ wise advice.

A second legal decision requiring that the Bible be bent to fit the culture was handed down by the California Supreme Court.  By a vote of 4 to 3, the court overturned the will of 4,618,673 voters, who in 2000 passed Proposition 22 that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.  In fact, Prop. 22 was affirmed in favor of the traditional family by 61 to 39 percent.  Do the majority of these Supreme Court judges care what the Bible has to say on the subject?  Obviously not!  Nevertheless, our creator’s words to Adam and Eve in Gen. 2:24 are clearly echoed in Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees in Matt. 19:4,5  “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”  Nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality or same-sex marriage ever condoned.  In fact, in the Old Testament it is called “an abomination to God” and “a detestable act” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13).   In the New Testament the Apostle Paul warns that homosexuals, along with fornicators, adulterers, thieves and others in violation of God’s standards “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9).

Homosexual advocates often argue that statements from the Old Testament “Ceremonial” Law are not binding on us today.  However, while any competent Bible student recognizes the category of temporary ceremonial law in the Old Testament (see Heb. 10:1-18); homosexuality is clearly categorized as a violation of moral law because in Israel it was punishable by death.  Furthermore, the Bible never changes God’s revealed moral law, but rather strongly reinforces it in the New Testament.

Perhaps the most devastating of those reinforcing passages for practicing homosexuals is Rom. 1:24-32.   Here the Old Testament prohibition of homosexuality is incontrovertibly supported for the Apostle Paul reveals that men who refuse to acknowledge God are given up to wallow in the pits of moral pollution.  Verse 24 tells us that God gives them over to impure lusts and the dishonoring of their bodies.  Then in verses 26 and 27, he describes this moral perversion in detail: For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions:  for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of women and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men, committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error (NASB).  Verse 28 then reveals the catastrophic results:  “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”   Romans 1: 24-32 makes it clear that homosexuality is the cultural culmination of rebellion against God.  It is a symptom of God’s judgment on a society that has become inwardly corrupted to the point of collapse.

Again, the late Francis Schaeffer was prophetic when he spoke and wrote about the importance of thinking Christianly in a Godless culture.  He pointed out so often that we can’t do that without a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches on the subject.  Let’s look at the glimpse into the future he gave us 30 years ago as he expounded the truth of Hosea 4:13 in his book, The Church Before the Watching World (Intervarsity Press, 1971, pp. 50-51).   First he reminds us of the relationship between spiritual and physical adultery.  He says, “ . . . If God’s people turn away in spiritual adultery, it will not be long until the following generations are engaged in physical adultery, for the two things go hand in hand.  . . . Let there be spiritual adultery and it will not be long until physical adultery sprouts like toadstools in the land.”   He then explains that “In the 1930’s  liberalism took over almost all the churches in the United States and in the 1960’s our generation is [was] sick with promiscuous sex.  It is the same in Britain and other countries.  These things are not unrelated:  They are cause and effect.”

Now, let’s fast forward to Sept, 2013.  We are now witnessing the proliferation and magnification of this trend with the help of wealthy liberals and indefatigable homosexual activists in our judiciaries and legislatures.  While Schaeffer was primarily concerned about heterosexual promiscuity, the continued rejection of God’s precepts has resulted not only in the wide-spread cultural acceptance of promiscuous pre-marital and extramarital sex; it now has led to the acceptance of homosexuality as nothing more than an alternative lifestyle.  No longer is it categorized as “deviant behavior” as it was in the 1960’s.  Is it any wonder that we have come to the point of legalizing same-sex marriage?

To ancient Israel, the prophet Hosea thundered, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  That’s exactly why Shasta Bible College & Graduate School is so vitally important.  We must produce future Christian leaders who not only know the Word of God, but can accurately interpret and apply it to the cultural compromises of our time.  Our mission is to equip Christian culture warriors who can effectively love the sinner, but expose the sin.  They must be compassionate but capable of confronting the culture when it runs counter to the Word of God.  They must firmly believe with the Apostle Paul that it is more important to please God than men (Gal. 1:10).  Our entire faculty is thoroughly supportive and each of their lives exemplifies a commitment to think and act Christianly in a culture that is increasingly Biblically illiterate and victimized by the new “tolerance” which seeks to marginalize all who oppose the secular progressive mindset.  That won’t happen at Shasta Bible College & Graduate School because everything we teach or preach and all the positions we hold are sifted through the grid of God’s infallible, inerrant Word.  It you’re looking for a Christian College that stands firm of these issues, why not give serious consideration to Shasta Bible College & Graduate School?

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Consistency and Creation

CONSISTENCY AND CREATION

Gen. 1:1-2

by

David R.  Nicholas, M.S., Th.M., Th.D., President

Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

Frequently I am asked, “What position does Shasta Bible College take on creation or origins?”  Some ask that question because so many Christian colleges are either hesitant to take a position, or for some reason believe that creation is no longer an issue.  Others are fearful of getting crosswise with secular accrediting agencies that often take a dim view of any institution that challenges this “sacred cow” of secularism.  Others, seeking to have it both ways, opt for theistic evolution or progressive creationism in an effort to maintain what they perceive as “academic respectability.” Shasta Bible College, however, stands without apology for both Biblical and Scientific Creationism.  Why?  Because such a position is logically consistent, and squares with both the scientific evidence and objective, critical thinking.

In Genesis 1:1-2, God has provided us with statements (givens or axioms if you will) that refute at least six heresies or misconceptions, all having to do with God and creation.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (KJV).  What the Bible tells us in Genesis 1:1-2:

1.  ANNIHILATES ATHEISM! “In the beginning God”

a. The Bible offers no philosophical argument here for God’s existence.

b. God’s existence is assumed (presuppositional) and everything is seen in the light of that assumption.

2.  PROHIBITS POLYTHEISM:  “In the beginning God created . . .”

a. The singular form of the verb (created) tells us that the Hebrews believed in one God and not many.

b. There is no evidence that Israel’s religion evolved from animism and moved on to polytheism and henotheism (belief in one God though not to the exclusion of other gods) before it morphed into ethical monotheism.

3.  REFUTES RADICAL MATERIALISM:  “In the beginning God created . . .”

a. The verb for “create” used by Moses was “bara,” which means “to create out of nothing.”

b. Radical materialism holds that matter has always existed. BUT, the Bible teaches that WITHOUT pre-existing material, God brought the earth—that is matter—into existence.

4.  PREVENTS PANTHEISM:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

  1. God, in this presuppositional statement, is clearly distinct from his creation.

  2. This continues to be true throughout the rest of the creation account.

5.  NULLIFIES NATURALISM:   “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

a. Since the origin of the earth and the universe is supernatural, any kind of naturalistic explanation is contrary to Scripture and is consequently inadequate.

b. God (through the divine agent of creation, Jesus Christ-Col. 1:15) the Bible tells us, is the architect and creator of all that exists.  Col. 1:16,17 tells us, “ For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth., visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or ruler or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

  1. HUMBLES HUMAN REASON:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form and void (unformed and unfilled), and darkness was over the surface of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was moving (hovering) over the surface of the waters.

a. Human reason and investigation, while valid, is seriously limited.

b. The question of origins, therefore, is best and most consistently answered in the light of Biblical truth.

Back in the early 1970’s I was organizing a debate between creationists and evolutionists at what was then the largest church in Los Angeles, The First Baptist Church of Van Nuys.  Dr. Henry M. Morris and Dr. Duane T. Gish were to represent the creationist position. In my search for their opponents, I went down to my alma mater, the University of Southern California, to find some evolutionists who might respond to the challenge.  I finally found the Chair of the Biology Department and invited him to defend evolution against the creationist position.  I’ll never forget his gracious but surprising response.  He said, “I wouldn’t recognize a creationist fact if it hit me on the side of the head.” He then proceeded to recommend two post-doctoral students who might be willing, Dr. Morafka and Dr. O’Day.  To my delight, they accepted, but later called to ask if I could help them find any books on creation because they could find nothing on creation in USC’s Dohenny Library. So, I suggested that they come to the church where we had some creationist materials in the small church library. The evening of the debate the 2,000 seat church was packed and although the two evolutionists, Dr. Morafka and Dr. O’Day were treated with the greatest respect, they had great difficulty coping with the abundance of scientific evidence from the fossil record and the consistently logical arguments presented by Drs. Morris and Gish.  In simple terms, their arguments were unsupported and inadequate.

Twenty years later after I was called to Shasta Bible College, I again organized a debate between Dr. John Morris and a biochemistry professor, Dr. Erpino, from University of California, Chico.  I still have recordings of both debates and the amazing thing is that those representing the evolutionary position presented almost identical arguments although there was 20 years between the debates.  It’s interesting that in most secular academic settings today it has become popular to disregard the evidence (especially evidence offered by creationists) and blindly advance the notion that because evolution is the accepted explanation for origins, it must be true. The scientific method for distinguishing fact from theory is ignored or deliberately dismissed, and objective, critical thinking along with logical consistency are lost in a vast sea of subjectivism.   After all, to entertain the idea that there might be an intelligent designer or worse still, a God who demands moral accountability is unthinkable.  Even Harvard University’s leading evolutionist, the late Stephen J. Gould, admitted as much on national television when he was asked why he was so committed to the idea of evolution.  But God has a sense of humor and sent Dr. Gould a graduate student, Kurt Wise, who somehow disguised his creationist views until he was well entrenched in his doctoral studies under Dr. Gould.  Wise managed to maintain his intellectual integrity, eventually completing his degree while winning the grudging respect of his evolutionary professor.   Even the most committed evolutionists, if they have any vestige of honesty, can’t help but be impressed by objective, critical thinking based upon the scientific evidence available to us.  Unfortunately, however, the intellectual bias against both creationism and intelligent design continues and could not be better exemplified than in the following editorial which appeared in the New York Times on June 21, 2008.

According to this editorial, liberals and committed evolutionists are paranoid about a bill that has been overwhelmingly approved by the Louisiana State Legislature.  While the editors claim the bill seeks to undercut the teaching of evolution in public schools, they admit that the new bill doesn’t mention either creationism or its “close cousin,” intelligent design.  They further acknowledge that the bill explicitly disavows any intent to promote a religious doctrine, doesn’t attempt to ban Darwin from the classroom or order schools to do anything and, get this, “simply requires the state board of education, if asked by local school districts, to help create an environment that promotes ‘critical thinking’ and ‘objective discussion,’ not only about evolution and the origins of life, but also about global warming and human cloning.”  Teachers, they admit, would be required to teach the standard textbook, but could use supplementary materials to critique it.   Now to the average fair-minded, critical thinking person, that sounds pretty objective; but not to liberals, humanists, secular progressives and atheists who have zero tolerance for the teaching of anything that might question what they want to believe is the “scientific reality” of the theory evolution.  By their twisted logic, evolution is now a fact, despite the lack of any transitional forms in the fossil record, the absence of evidence that mutations result in beneficial rather than harmful changes in an organism, and the non-existence of any other conclusive data that might justify designating evolution as scientific fact rather than theory.

Thus, the blatant bias in their objection to Louisiana’s approval of this fairly crafted bill becomes crystal clear:   “That may seem harmless, but it would have the pernicious effect of implying that evolution is only weakly supported and that there are valid competing scientific theories when there are not.  In school districts foolish enough to head down this path, the students will likely emerge with a shakier understanding of science.”   Then, they proceed to make these presumptuous assumptions about both Gov. Bobby Jindal and the theory of evolution:  “As a biology major at Brown University, Mr. Jindal must know that evolution is the unchallenged central organizing principle for modern biology,  As a rising star on the conservative right, mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain, Mr. Jindal may have more than science on his mind.  In a television interview, he seemed to say that local school boards should decide what is taught and that it would be wrong to teach only evolution or only intelligent design.”

Well, so much for the value of objective, critical thinking based on the evidence.  Anyone ever read the classic creationist work by the late Duane T Gish (Ph.D., in biochemistry from UC Berkeley) Evolution, the Fossils Say No?  Or its sequel, Evolution, the Fossils Still Say No?   These and hundreds and other works by honest, clear-thinking scientists (most of whom have Ph.D.s from secular institutions) are packed with scientific evidence supporting creation and intelligent design.  For the New York Times to ignore such evidence is foolish and reprehensible.   Dr. Gish has debated the leading evolutionists of our time and a common element in these debates has been the unwillingness of evolutionists to deal with the evidence presented by Dr. Gish and his creationist colleagues.  Rather, the strategy has been to employ ad homonym arguments to paint creationists and even Intelligent Design advocates as “religious nuts.” These people are apparently not at all impressed by the incredible intricacy of design in living organisms and the immensity and magnitude of the universe.  Yeah, right . . . it all just happened by “chance.”   One has only to read the classic work, The Long War Against God, by Dr. Henry Morris, to understand that evolution did not originate with Darwin.  Rather, “it is basic in ancient and modern ethnic religions and in all forms of pantheism.”  Modern evolution is nothing more than Satan’s continuation of his long war against God.   To politically pressure Gov. Jindal to veto this legislation as a “Trojan Horse” merely demonstrates the blind, obsessive bias of the New York Times editors and the level to which so called “science” has fallen!

Try as they might, evolutionists have a major problem being consistent.  For example, when you ask them how they determine the age of fossils they say the dating of fossils is based on the age of the rocks or strata in which they are found.  When you ask them how they date the age of the rocks, they say the age of the rocks is based on the age of the fossils found in the rocks.  Of course, the ages of both the rocks and the fossils are based on radiometric dating which has its own problems as recently demonstrated by scientific research conducted by the RATE project sponsored by the Institute for Creation Research.  When you ask them, as I have, how reptiles (solid bone creatures) evolved into birds (hollow boned creatures), they will say that over millions of years, as reptiles jumped off rocks to get their prey, those that were lighter and could jump farther survived and eventually developed hollow bones and wings.   So much for evolutionary consistency!  How much better to take God at His Word and accept the Biblical account of creation as it is presented in Scripture.  What a concept to believe that since “all truth is God’s truth,” we can have the confidence that eventually when science acknowledges the evidence about creation; it will correspond to what God has already revealed in his infallible, inerrant Word.   After all, true science is nothing more than thinking God’s thoughts after him.   As Psalm 188:89 reminds us, “Forever O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.”

NOTES

[1] William Foxwell Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, (Garden City, New York:  Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957), pp. 271-72.

[1] John Davis, From Paradise to Prison, (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1975), pp. 39-42.

[1] Duane T. Gish, Evolution the Fossils Say No,  (San Diego:  Creation Life Publishers, 1973).

[1] Gish, Evolution the Fossils Still Say No,  (El Cajon:  Institute for Creation Research, 1995).

[1] Henry M. Morris,   The Long War Against God,  (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1989), p. 218.

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Apostasia by Dr. David R. Nicholas, Th.D., President of Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

The Greek word apostasia is used twice in the New Testament, and is variously translated “forsake,” “turn away,” “turn the back on,” (Ac 21:21), and “falling away,” “apostasy,” “rebellion,” “final rebellion” (2Th 2:3). The word is also found a number of times in the Septuagint (Josh 22:22; 2Ch 29:19; Jer 2:19; 1Esd 2:14,17; Ezr 4:12,15; 1Mc 2:15). In Attic Greek the word meant “rebellion” or “defection,” and is also used in the papyri to refer to political rebels, but most of the biblical and apocryphal references are to religious apostasy. Based on etymology (Gk. apo “away from” + stasis “standing”) and the meaning of some cognate forms (aphistemi, apostasios), some scholars (notably E. Schuyler English, K. Wuest, and more recently H. Wayne House) have postulated a sense of physical departure from.” The most theologically significant passage is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 where the apostasia is mentioned as one of two events which must precede the Day of the Lord. In that passage there are at least four views on the meaning of apostasia: (1) a designation for the Man of Sin (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Augustine, Alford, Moffatt); (2) the religious apostasy that will precede the second coming of Christ (Calvin, Chafer, Walvoord, Ryrie, Gundry); (3) the religio-political rebellion against Christ that will culminate in the Battle of Armageddon (Hogg and Vine, Moore, Morris, Bruce); and (4) the rapture of the Church, in the sense of physical departure from the earth (English, Wuest, House).

Bibliography:

Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich,Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, University of Chicago Press; E. Schuyler English, Re-Thinking the Rapture, South Carolina: Southern Bible Book House, 1954; H. Wayne House, unpublished paper presented to the Pre-Trib. Study Group at Dallas, TX, 1994; Liddell & Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon, 1940.

Day of the Lord
by Dr. David R. Nicholas, Th.D., President of Shasta Bible College & Graduate School. The phrase “Day of the Lord,” is used throughout Scripture and is vital to the believer’s understanding of future events. A review of its use in the Old Testament reveals that it was often employed by the prophets to designate both near historical and future eschatological events. Also, the New Testament writers use of the phrase, “Day of the Lord,” was based on their understanding of the Old Testament prophets. Mayhue points out, “The New Testament writers picked up on the eschatological use and applied the phrase both to the judgment which will climax the Tribulation period and the judgment which will usher in the new earth.” Thus, a clear understanding of “Day of the Lord” is necessary for a proper perspective on God’s plan for the future. The phrase appears nineteen times in the Old Testament and is used by six minor (Joel, Amos, Obad., Zeph., Zech. and Mal.) and two major prophets (Ezek. and Isa.). In the New Testament, “Day of the Lord” appears in four uncontested passages (Acts 2:20, 1 Thess. 5:2, 2 Thess. 2:2, and 2 Peter 3:10).

According to Walvoord, “the Day of the Lord refers to any special period where God intervenes supernaturally, bringing judgment on the world.” Benware defines the “Day of the Lord” as “A phrase used in the Bible to emphasize special interventions of God in human history, including the future time when He will intervene to judge the nations, discipline Israel, and establish His rule in the Messianic Kingdom.” The Book of Joel provides a fascinating perspective on “the Day of the Lord”. Joel employs the term five times (1:15, 2:1, 2:11,2:31 and 3:14), and while he used the phrase to describe a crisis involving an infestation of locusts that ruined crops and resulted in starvation and destruction (Joel 1:15-20), he appears also to include the coming invasion by the Assyrian armies as part and parcel of this day of judgment (Joel 2:1-11). The immediate aspect of Joel’s prophetic warning was an appeal to Israel to return to the Lord. (2:12-14). However, he telescopes his description of “the Day of the Lord” to include a universal, eschatological application (3:14-16) which climaxes his prophecy with a description of international judgment in the presence of God (3:2, 3:14) and appears to anticipate a number of New Testament passages including Matt. 13:41-43, 49-50; 24:37-41; 25:31-46; 2Thess. 1:9 and Rev. 14:17-20.

“Day of the Lord,” then, can refer to several events in God’s prophetic plan, depending on the context in which it is used. Walvoord, for example, in his eschatological application of “Day of the Lord” holds that it “will begin as a time period at the Rapture, but its major events will not begin immediately. The ten-nation kingdom must be formed in the final seven years before the Second Coming will begin. . . . Once the Day of the Lord begins . . . there will be obvious signs that they are in the Day of the Lord and in the period leading up to the Second Coming just as there will be obvious evidences that the millennial kingdom has begun after the Second Coming.”

The question of when the Day of the Lord begins is a watershed issue which impacts whether the Rapture occurs before or after the Tribulation.. For example, in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 Paul attempted to alleviate the concern of the Thessalonians who feared that deceased believers might not share in the Kingdom. He addresses the issue as something about which they were uninformed in contrast to how he discusses the Day of the Lord in 5:1-11. Obviously Paul’s readers were well informed concerning the Day of the Lord, partly from his own teaching, but also from their acquaintance with the Old Testament usage of the phrase. Posttribulationalists view the ease with which Paul moves from his discussion of the Rapture in 4:13-18 to the discussion of parousia in 5:1-11 as evidence that the events occur simultaneously and are not separated by a seven year tribulation period. They see Paul’s use of de (the first Greek word in 5:1), a simple connective with only a slight contrastive sense, as indication of a close connection between the two passages. They reason that since the Day of the Lord will not begin until the Second Coming, the Rapture will take place then as well.

Pretribulationists respond by pointing out that while Paul uses de, it is coupled with peri forming the phrase peri de, used elsewhere in Paul’s writings to denote a new and contrasting subject (e.g. 1 Cor. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12; and I Thess. 4:9 and 5:1). Thus, the pretribulational perspective on the passage is strongly supported exegetically, separating the Rapture from the Day of the Lord. Most Pretribulationists, then, hold that the Day of the Lord begins at the start of the Tribulation. Ryrie holds that if such is not the case, Posttribulationalists must deal with the following questions:

How can the Day of the Lord not begin with the Tribulation or any part of it and yet begin with the judgments of Armageddon?
How can the final conflict at the end of the Tribulation be condensed into a single battle of short enough duration that the church can be raptured before it starts (in order to escape the wrath) and yet turn around and immediately accompany Christ on His return to earth at the conclusion of what would have to be a very brief battle?
Does protection from the wrath poured out on unbelievers really include exemption from the fallout effects of the actions of those unbelievers on whom the wrath is poured out? It does not today. Why should it in the future?
How does compacting the wrath judgments at the end of the Tribulation solve the problem that equally severe judgments seem to take place earlier in the Tribulation and fall on believers as well as unbelievers?
What is the normal interpretation of the aorist in Rev. 6:17? Does it not indicate that the wrath has already been poured out and did not begin with the sixth seal?
Does not the use of the phrase peri de in 1 Thess. 5:1 indicate that the Rapture is really not a part of the Day of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation?
He concludes that only Pretribulationism harmoniously fits the Scriptural evidence and answers these questions satisfactorily.

While most premillennial dispensationalists see the Day of the Lord as beginning at the pretributional rapture and extending on through the millennium, others, such as Mayhue, see two periods of the Day of the Lord yet to be fulfilled on earth: (1) the judgment which climaxes the tribulation period (2 Thess. 2:2; Rev. 16-18); and the consummating judgment of this earth which ushers in the new earth (2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 20:7-21:1). The suggestion is that the Day of the Lord will occur only at the end of the Tribulation and at the end of the millennium rather than throughout the duration of these end-time periods.

Various Judgements
by Dr. David R. Nicholas, Th.D., President of Shasta Bible College & Graduate  one general judgment into which several other judgments are merged is often assumed by Christian theologians whose Biblical interpretation is influenced by amillennial presuppositions, a thoughtful, inductive study of Scripture reveals a minimum of seven major divine judgments and up to 12 well-defined judgments, depending on where one begins.

Postmillennialism, for example, holds to a general judgment of all people while Historic Premillennialism (nondispensational premillennialism) generally splits the general judgment into two phases, the second coming judgment and the judgment at the end of the tribulation.1 Two passages of Scripture have been cited to support this position (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15), and it is often concluded that the judgment of the nations, for example, is synonymous with the Great White Throne judgment.

Expressing his doubts as to the legitimacy of this assumption, Chafer cites the account of a young man who when he was asked the identity of the sheep in the judgment of the nations, replied, “the saved people, of course.” In response to the question, “and who are the goats?”–he answered, the unsaved people.” Then, when asked to identify those called “my brethren,” he was speechless. According to Chafer, the young man undertook a more careful study of Scripture and became a “most exceptional and useful Christian.”2 Thus, the task of identifying and hermeneutically supporting the validity of these well-defined judgments has fallen to dispensational premillennialists. Walvoord, for example, lists seven major divine judgments.3 Hoyt lists twelve categories of final judgment.4 Chafer holds that there are eight “well-defined judgments presented by the Word of God.”5 And Ryrie lists seven future judgments.6 However one chooses to describe or enumerate the various judgments God has revealed in His Word, a responsible, literal interpretation of Scripture unequivocally teaches multiple judgment events which take place at different times in God’s eschatological program. The following is a breakdown of various judgments generally acknowledged by dispensational premillennialists:

The Judgment at the Cross: According to John 12:31-33, the judgment of the cross qualifies as a final judgment. It resolved the matter of sin (John 19:30); it took place at the end of the ages (Heb. 9:26-28); and it sealed both the doom of Satan and the world. As Chafer puts it, “the believer has been in court, condemned, sentenced, and executed in the Person of his Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:24; Rom. 5:9, 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 10:10, 14-17; 1 Pet. 2:24).7 The cross, therefore, stands as the supreme foreshadowing of all final judgment, for it reveals the righteous judgment of God (Rom. 3:25) and sorts humanity into two categories (Jn.3:14-18).
The Judgment at the Rapture: Immediately following the Rapture (the snatching of the saints from the earth), the Church (composed of all true believers) will stand in heaven before what is described in Rom. 14:10 and 2 Cor. 5:10 as the “judgment seat of Christ.” The fact that Rev. 19:8 pictures Christ’s bride, the Church, as already rewarded when He returns to earth at His second coming indicates that this event will be subsequent to the Rapture but before the Second Coming. The Greek term bema, used to describe this judgment, portrays a seat or raised platform where a judge sits to adjudicate a case (e.g. Matt. 27:19; Jn. 19:13; Acts 18:12). The Greeks employed the same term to describe the platform on which a judge or referee sat during the Isthmian or Olympic games at Corinth. Here the winners of the various athletic events received their rewards. No doubt the Apostle Paul had such a scene in mind when he used the phrase, “judgment seat of Christ.” Thus, the contexts and the historical background of the term imply that the bema is for believers a place and time of rewarding rather than punishing. Both Rom. 14:10-12 and 1 Cor. 3:10-4:5 support this view. It is those who have built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ (the Church Age believers) who will participate in the “judgment seat.” No unsaved people or Old Testament saints will be present.8
The Judgments at the Second Coming: a. The judgment of Israel (Jewish people) at the end of the Tribulation, described in Ezek. 20:34-38 and illustrated in Matt. 25:1-30, concerns Jewish survivors who have been regathered from all over the earth to the land of Israel following Christ’s victory over His enemies at Armageddon. The parables of the Ten Virgins and the Talents (Matt. 25:1-13; 14-30) illustrate this event 9 This judgment will determine who is eligible to enter the Messianic kingdom. The righteous of Israel (those evidencing faith in Christ) will enter the Kingdom to experience God’s covenant commitments to the nation.10 Those who are proven unfaithful to Christ (rebels) will be purged and cast into outer darkness (Matt. 25:30). Because Israel failed in her appointed role as God’s light to the Gentile world, God promised that another Light would light the Gentiles (Isa. 60:1-3). While Christ came as the “true light” (Jn. 1:9;8:12) in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, God will set Israel apart once again during the Tribulation as His light to the world (Rev. 7:1-8). Thus, at Christ’s Second Coming, Israel’s individual faithfulness to that appointment will be judged.11 These Jewish believers will enter the Kingdom in their earthly bodies and will be among the first to repopulate the earth during the millennial reign of Christ.12 b. The judgment of the Gentiles will also take place at the end of the Tribulation (Joel 3:1-2; Matt. 25:31-46) at a place near Jerusalem (the Valley of Jehoshaphat). These are the Gentile survivors of the Tribulation who will be judged for their treatment of Israel (probably the 144,000 of Rev. 7) during that terrible period. These may be the “brothers” referenced in Matt. 25:40. The Gentile righteous will be revealed because anyone treating a Jew with kindness, especially during the final 3 ½ years of the Tribulation will do so only out of a redeemed heart.13 Since Messiah’s Kingdom rule will be over both Israel and the Gentile nations, and since none who are unsaved will enter the Kingdom, there will be a separating of the saved (“sheep”) from the unsaved Gentiles (“goats”), who will be assigned to everlasting punishment. This judgment will be subsequent to Israel’s judgment, and will be a judgment of individuals from the nations (Matt. 25:32) not a judgment of national entities.14 c. The judgment of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Dan. 12:2-3; Matt. 16:27; Rev. 20:4-6) will take place as well at the conclusion of the Tribulation period. Both will be raised from the dead and rewarded. Rev. 20:4-6 describes this as the “first resurrection.”15 Some have found this confusing since many believers will have already been resurrected at the time of the Rapture seven years previous. However, “first resurrection” is a reference to a category of resurrected believers rather than a chronological order.16 “The idea makes the resurrection of the wicked, which does not occur until after the millennium, the second resurrection, corresponding in name to the ‘second death,’ as noted in Revelation 20:6,14.”17 Here again, the numerical term is a reference to kind rather than sequence. The “first resurrection,” includes those who are raised to life eternal (cf. Jn.5:29). “There are several points in time when believers are raised to life eternal, but all would be considered the ‘first resurrection’.”18
The Judgments Following the Millennial Kingdom: a. The judgment of Satan was sealed eternally at the Cross. However, it is not until after he is loosed for a season at the end of the Christ’s millennial reign for a final fling at deception and rebellion that he will be cast into the lake of fire with the beast and the false prophet to suffer eternal torment (Rev. 20:7-10). Although this is Satan’s last judgment, other stages of judgment precede his final fate. Midway through the Tribulation he is cast out of heaven and confined to earth (Rev. 12:7-12). Then, at the outset of Christ’s Millennial reign he is to be bound and thrown into the Abyss (Rev. 20:1-3).19 b. The judgment of fallen angels will be finalized when they, along with Satan, are judged by both believers (I Cor. 6:3) and Christ (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10) and cast into the Lake of Fire. Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4 reveal that prior to this time many of the angels who initially joined Satan in his insurrection (Rev. 12:3,4) were cast into the abyss (Tartarus) for confinement until their final judgment. Others have been at large under the direction of Satan serving as his evil emissaries or demons who war against Christ and His servants (Matt. 12:24-27; Eph. 2:2-3; 6:11-12).20 c. The judgment of the unsaved dead will take place at the conclusion of Christ’s millennial reign but before the eternal state begins. At this time the unbelievers of every age will be resurrected to face what is called the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) when they will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ ( Jn. 5:22, 26-29). In contrast to believers who are called the “dead in Christ,” these individuals are referred to as “the dead.” There will be no need to separate believers from unbelievers because all who stand in judgment here will have chosen during their lifetimes to reject God and His Christ.21 While The Book of Life will be opened at the Great White Throne Judgment, it will not list the names of those being judged. Those judged at this time will be judged from the books of works containing incontrovertible evidence that they justly deserve eternal condemnation because of their inability to meet God’s standard of holiness. These books may also be used to establish degrees of punishment. The ultimate fate of the unsaved is to be thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is referred to as the “second death.”22 d. The judgment of the present heavens and earth is anticipated in several Scripture passages (e.g. Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11), while it is specifically described in 2 Pet. 3:10. This destruction is necessary for two reasons: the presence of sin in the universe and the residual effects of the curse placed on creation.23 While some theologians hold to a renovation of the heavens and earth and others to a recreation, it is clear that the “new” heaven and earth will be a glorious contrast to the first heaven and earth which are to pass away (Rev. 21:1-4).
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995); Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, VII (Dallas Seminary Press, l948); Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology ( Chicago: Moody Press, 1989); Herman A. Hoyt, The End Times (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969); J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990); Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986); John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990); Leon Wood, The Bible and Future Events (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973).

End Notes

1 Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p. 383.

2 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, VII (Dallas Seminary Press, l948), p. 214.

3 John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990), p. 468.

4 Herman A. Hoyt, The End Times (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), pp. 217-22.

5 Chafer, p. 214-17.

6 Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986), pp. 512-16.

7 Chafer, p. 214.

8 Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), p. 271.

9 J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990), p. 259.

10 Benware, p. 274.

11 Pentecost, p. 259.

12 Ryrie, p. 514.

13 Benware, pp. 273-4.

14 Pentecost, p. 259.

15 Hoyt, p. 219.

16 Benware, p. 275.

17 Leon Wood, The Bible and Future Events (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), p. 153.

18 Benware, p. 275.

19 Hoyt, p. 221.

20 Hoyt, p. 221.

21 Ryrie, p. 515.

22 Benware, p. 276.

23 Benware, p. 276.

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