Tag Archives: witness

Why Him? Why Now? A Review of Messages by John Michael Hileman

Messages is described as a “fictional allegory,” similar to a parable. A parable uses physical elements to teach a spiritual lesson. David Chance develops a sudden “talent.” Words stand out in posters, newspapers, even movie titles, and give him “messages.” Some might object to these extrabiblical revelations. The story has plenty of Scripture and biblical teaching and the “messages” don’t teach doctrine. They really just push the adventure and mystery along.

Just one example, the $400 incident, is a brilliant detail. Don’t forget the $400. The full “Why Him? Why now?” mystery isn’t explained until almost the end of the book. He is an ordinary man but providentially placed for the “Why Now?” of terrorists, hidden bombs and presidential assassination. Revealing these story elements isn’t giving away the real surprises in the story. There are many, and they really keep the reader adrenalin-buzzed and zig-zagging right along with poor David.

“Why him?” It’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Or what you beg for, and pray for. When the response to his plea to understand God comes David learns how far from ready he is. Fortunately godly counsel is only a phone call away, even in the most extreme circumstances. The fact that part of David’s extraordinary quest involves keeping his godly counselor alive is another brilliant detail.

This story examines a favorite theme of mine, how a person can believe he’s “good enough,” or other people are, until reality jars that nonsense out of his head. Who can you trust? Who are the good guys and the bad guys? In the end, David realizes that goodness, and trustworthiness, and faith, are not things for which man alone has the answers.

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The Religion of Physics IV: What is “Scientific Evidence?”


All quotes, unless otherwise noted, are by Stephen Hawking from his book A Brief History of Time.

“A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.”

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works.”

“If they will not believe you (Moses) or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” Exodus 3: 8,9 NASB

In the Bible the word belief means intellectually examining the evidence, and accepting the evidence. The Bible uses the word belief the same way we think of a juror examining the evidence. The juror votes according to what he believes about the evidence. Actively following up on that evidence is faith and passively following up on the evidence is trust.

Anyone can examine evidence, come to certain conclusions about that evidence and believe that their conclusions are correct. Orville and Wilber Wright believed that a heavier than air machine could fly. Their faith in that belief built an airplane. After building the airplane, they trusted in what they built and flew it. Our beliefs can be incorrect. We can place our faith in things which are not true. We can trust in things which are not true and people who will let us down.

The difference between the religion of Stephen Hawking and the Bible is absolute truth. The Bible claims to be absolute truth. Though few people today believe that it is absolute truth, all honest people know that it claims to be absolute truth. The religion of Secular Humanism demands that there is no absolute truth.

A very tiny number of people ever gain access to the multimillion-dollar equipment necessary for modern physics experiments. Only a tiny number of that tiny number are privileged enough to set up and run their own experiments. Of these who run their own experiments, very few ever see the experiments of others. These physicists are trusting in the records of others. They believe that the total sum of the experiments performed worldwide will reduce or eliminate error. They have faith in the peer review process.

They also believe, with a dogmatic faith, that the records of the Bible are untrue, or at least unscientific. Yet the historic record of Moses meets every test for science. It has multiple, credible witnesses. It was repeated. It can be falsified. It accurately predicted the future. It is based on observation and reason, Men reject Moses, not because of science, but because their religion is opposed to Moses.

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life.” 1 John 1:1. NASB This is both scientific and legal testimony. John is either telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or he is lying.

The scientific information of the Bible records that the processes which govern the universe today are different from the processes which brought the universe and life on this planet into existence. These records are as scientific as the photographic plate which record the collision of antimatter with matter. As anyone can mistrust or disbelieve the photographic plate, or the interpretation of the information on that plate, so we can mistrust or disbelieve the scientific information recorded in the Bible.

Secular Humanists believe that the miracles of Moses were not scientific because they cannot duplicate them today. Yet these same men believe in peer-reviewed studies which they cannot duplicate, such as a supernova. The only difference is that they believe in the results of these studies, while they reject the historic accounts of Moses.

The scientific records of Moses have no less authority than the peer-reviewed studies produced today. The basic difference is the information. Modern peer-reviewed studied usually have false conclusions for the primary content. The actual scientific data is usually contained in footnotes, appendices and attachments. In the published articles the conclusions usually lead. I believe the reason for this common layout is the difficulty very educated men have understanding how the available data supports their conclusions.

By contrast, the scientific data in the Bible is clearly laid out. From the beginning of the Bible we must simply choose to believe or reject the clearly laid out evidence of the witnesses. The data in the Bible is scientific.

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Why I Am A Baptist

I believe in denominations. You actually believe in denominations too. You don’t? Then give me your $20 bill for my $1 bill. Not that kind of denomination? I believe that the word denomination is used the same way with money and with faith.

Both a $1 bill and a $100 bill are money. One is just more valuable than the other. In the same way, all believers are believers, whatever their denomination. They are all saved. Some denominations are more faithful and obedient to God’s Word than others. Some are $1 bills and others are $100 bills. And though it breaks God’s heart, there are many, many counterfeits.

Since the Word of God commands us to be faithful, we need to carefully examine the various denominations to be as faithful and obedient as possible. This is not about what is wrong with everybody else. This is why I am a Baptist.

The Baptist-Anabaptist goes back as far as New Testament/Church era written records. Many periods of Church History have witnessed the destruction of written records. A continuous, unbroken tradition is impossible. But Baptist beliefs are not a novelty.

Doctrinally, Baptists and Bible Churches have the same faith. The Bible Church movement began as a separation of practice when many Baptist Churches abandoned the historic Baptist Faith. To the grief of God’s Holy Spirit, many Bible Churches have now departed from that same faith. It is easy to point to Baptist and Bible Churches who no longer believe these distinctive Baptist doctrines.

Baptists believe in the Apostolic Confession of Faith. We believe in the absolute authority of Scripture. There are three levels of authority in every believer’s life. The inerrant Word of God, human laws, such as a stop sign, and some human laws with divine sanction, such as a pastor or a family.

Baptists believe in the priesthood of every believer. While someone who has walked by faith for years is a friend of God, the prayer of a small child has the same standing with God.

Baptists believe in justification by faith alone apart from works. Works are necessary to demonstrate that we are saved and we can examine the fruit of someone who claims salvation but shows no evidence of good works. Works are not part of justification, because all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. We are incapable of doing good works before we are justified.

All reformed Protestants believe these points. Baptists also believe in the autonomy of the local church. While there are often mission churches begun by other churches, eventually the new church must become self-sufficient.

The most import distinction, where the name Baptist comes from, is the nature of the Church. Catholic and Reformed Churches believe that the Church is grafted into Israel and at least for this present age, replaces Israel. Baptism replaces circumcision, Sunday replaces the Sabbath and communion replaces the temple sacrifices. Baptists believe that the Church is a New Covenant. Though we are grafted into God’s promises and God is working through the Church instead of Israel in this age, the Church in no way replaces Israel. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbolic only; they confer no grace in and of themselves. They are for believers only. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward act. Baptism is only for those who are old enough to understand what it is and are ready to join the Church.

 

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