Mo·der·ni·ty

MODERNBy David Russell

 

Welcome back to the Union blog.  I have been absent for most the month of January and the beginning this month.  Life can sure keep you busy.  Since my last post my car has broken down twice, I got robbed, and lost my bank card.  My wife lost her wallet, but praise God, it was recovered with nothing stolen.  The guys that robbed my car got caught on my neighbors camera and my car broke down in non-hazardous areas.  So, God graced me with just having to deal with the fixes and replacements.  Although it has been busy, it could have been much worse.

As many know, I have been trying to get questions for an interactive blog.  To date, I have had three.  I thought, “What a disappointment.” Over the last month and a half,  I asked people numerous times, the more I asked, the more I got a sense of a new monster.  This monster is Apathy.

What is the cause? Why does it seem that people just don’t care about things that involve the purpose of life?

My findings led me to one thing…… Modernity!

In that one phrase we can some up so many things but I want to hone the edge upon distractions that often numb us, making us apathetic.  I think the trappings of these days really distract us from what is important.  We don’t sit and think anymore, or better yet, ponder and glean.  Technology has made us to comfortable. the television tells us what to think or just mindlessly entertains us.  We traded an escape through prayer, or a good book, to an escape in a virtual world.

We now socialize through our phones neglecting the beauty of developing physical relationships.  I have often times seen the phone take away too much family time.  We wonder what’s happening to this generation, look into the mirror and ask yourself how much time have you been investing in your kids.  I know there are times when I have been so into my phone that my kids tell me something and I totally miss it.  When I think back on it, It breaks my heart.  But they also follow that example.  Next thing you know, they are doing the same and the cycle continues.

Technology is definitely a good thing in moderation.  The problem is, we never  moderate. We are so easily distracted that you’d rather unwind watching your favorite show than to get quiet and read a book.  I have always told my kids that the brain is a muscle and needs exercise.  The issue is this problem has already spun out of control.  It is to the point that over fifty percent of Gen-Z people think the church isn’t important while another forty-eight think they can find God elsewhere.

This is a major blow to anyone involved in ministry.  Even among the apologist’s, there’s  absolutely nothing we can do when the distractions numb us beyond the scope of consideration.  This will be one of the greatest battles of our ages.  The only thing I can advise is to moderate.  Keep pressing on.  I have learned that if you get a person engaged the light bulbs start lighting up.  It won’t last if you move on though.  You have to invest. Investing in people is one of the greatest parts of discipleship.  Through that investment a relationship solidifies. Then just maybe you can pull them out of that apathetic state.

In conclusion, I will continue to battle on.  May God bless you all and keep you.

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Got Questions? Part 2

church-cartoon1By David Russell,

 

Welcome back for another installment of the Union blog.  Powering on we have two questions so related that we can answer them both in one blog.  These questions were given to me by a co-worker and display what things people deal with on a regular basis.  This gives us a unique opportunity to clear up areas of confusion and give insight into what goes on in the mind of every day believers.

Can you be a true Christian and not attend church?

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43)

This is a good question and can be very confusing.  The answer is yes and no.  There are those that go their whole life without going to church.  Death bed conversions are a real thing.  Like the verse above, the criminal was dying on the cross next to Jesus.  He asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus response changed the criminals eternal destiny.  The beauty of the Christian system is that it’s not a merit based system.  Your salvation isn’t about going to church, it’s about humbling yourself before Christ.

The minute you think you have to go to church to be saved is the same minute you get the gospel wrong. However, to be a Christian isn’t to be a soloist.  When we leave the hopelessness of individualism, the trappings of this world, and the slavery of free thought we enter into the everlasting Kingdom.  We leave what truly binds us from our true potential.  We experience true freedom by living for the purpose the ultimate Artist designed for us.  That is in relationship and service.

Think of a married couple.  You can be married but not live together, but to experience what it means to be married you have to live in relationship.  The Christian enters into this once he gives his life over to God.  Christianity is meant to be lived in community with fellow believers.  Paul describes it as a body. Each part of your body has a role.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1st Corinthians 12:27)

The Heart pumps the blood, the feet carry us, the brain directs us, and the lungs provide oxygen.  If one of these systems don’t function, the rest of the body is affected.  Attending church is what God commands us to do.  Also, being a christian not only puts us in relationship to one another, but also makes us servants to everyone.  Our lives are lives of service. God calls us to serve in some capacity and in this our lives are filled with purpose and meaning.

The question is, what issues are keeping you back from attending church?  In certain areas, the church has failed people.  At the end of the day though, it comes down to the heart.  This leads us into the second question about sin.

If all sin is equal, how does a child of God live life and be obedient? Do they have to live a perfect life?

In relationship and service we also learn from one another.  We discover new things while sharing ideas.  The word says “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17) and with that we hold one another accountable.  Each persons experience is different but we have this incredible capacity to relate and help each other through similar experiences.  In relationship we can truly become rounded individual’s and pass on a legacy that lasts.

This also helps us avoid sin.  That said, it doesn’t make us immune.  We will continue to struggle and strive but still, we try our best.  We live in a fallen world.  The only escape and hope is Christ.  We could never live a perfect life and by the way, what is perfection?  For us, its Christ.  Perfection is a person.  We can experience it in him only, for it’s his perfection and righteousness that covers us.

Finally, one must ask what does it mean to live life?  As the question eludes to, what can we do if there’s so many don’t’s? That comes with the presuppositions about how the Christian life should be lived. Often times, people have to many stereotypes about  how we live or should live.  The truth is, we are just like everyone else, just forgiven.  So, when asked about how we should live; live by faith.  My grandmother taught me to love this passage and apply it.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I remember it in light of another verse.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. (Matthew 6:33)

Through it all, do your best.  Love one another.  Look through others and not just at them.  Remember in life, we don’t just look from side to side, we look up and down too. Just like anything in life, we have to discipline ourselves and live in a perpetual state of learning.  When you love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul nothing can keep you back.

Got Questions?…… P1: Why was the Book of Enoch not included in the Bible?

imagesenoch.jpgBy David Russell.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.  Genesis 5:21-24

Welcome back and Happy New Year to all of you!  I figured, I would bring in the new year with a new series called “Got Questions” .  It is a stab at a new concept.  I am trying to make an interactive blog.  To engage with those around me and answer their deepest question about faith.  To begin with, I went to my work place and    I asked anyone that wanted to participate, to write down any question they wanted to about faith, religion, or anything that gave them a reason to doubt Christianity.

If you couldn’t guess by the title, the first question deals with the Book of Enoch.  Why wasn’t it included in the Bible?  The answer, Pseudepigrapha:  Pseudepigrapha are falsely-attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.

The book of Enoch is a tricky area for many folks.  On one hand, it seems we have many first century church fathers endorsing it, including, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.  On the other hand, there are no Jewish or Christian bibles that contain it in their cannon. Pseudepigrapha writings are like this because we don’t know the original author.  The Book of Enoch is believed to be written by different authors over different periods of time.  With this problem how could we know that Jude quotes from Enoch?  Could have one of the authors inserted Jude into Enoch to boost the story and make it seem more credible?

Again, we may never know.  It isn’t unlike Pseudepigraphical authors to do just that.  But, if so, why would some early church fathers endorse it? The Enochian tradition already must have existed. During the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran, the book of Enoch was found.  Scholars now date it to be written in the 160’s BC and some parts in the 200’s BC.  They also believe parts of it to be written post Christian, due to some references it makes.  But, at the heart of the issue is, why by the fourth century was it clearly rejected by the church at large?  Jews first then the Gentiles! LOL.

I think the answer is clear when you read the The Book of Enoch in concert with the scriptures.  It doesn’t hold up.  It contradicts, more than once. Scripture, confirms certain scientific discoveries, (not claiming that the bible is a science text book) like the universe having an absolute beginning. The book of Enoch has some very incoherent ideas about the earth and universe, for example:

 “1. And from thence I went to the south to the ends of the earth, and saw there three open portals  2. of the heaven: and thence there come dew, rain, and wind. And from thence I went to the east to the ends of the heaven, and saw here the three eastern portals of heaven open and small portals 3. above them. Through each of these small portals pass the stars of heaven and run their course 4. to the west on the path which is shown to them.” 1E 36:1-4

Our sky couldn’t even have one star pass through it, let alone all the stars of the heaven.

The worst would have to be the contradictions to the bible itself.  This is undeniable.

10. 1. Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, 2 and said to him: (‘Go to Noah and) tell him in my name ” Hide thyself!”   1E 10:1-2

 For starters, Enoch was taken by God sixty nine years before Noah was even born. In 10:9 it claims that an Angel named Azazel was responsible for all sin!  That is clearly in contradiction to both Testaments!  The list goes on and on.

It’s not unusual for many of us to use certain truths prevalent in other literature.  In my view, the certain parts of Enoch were popular. During the first century, it may have had certain truths found elsewhere in scripture that made its way into cultural tradition.  All in all, due to just the problems I have mentioned above, the church was right not to include it in the bible.  The book of Enoch maybe cool and is some great reading, but compared to the story of Jesus, I don’t see how anyone can hold it in contrast to it.

The reason for the season! The Christmas celebration. No

By David Russell

Luke 2:8-12

“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Welcome back for the second installation to “The reason for the season”. In this addition we will look at the Christmas celebration itself. I promise to be brief considering it is Christmas. As I write this, I am waiting to feast with my family.

During this time of year I often get the question or the accusation that Christmas is a pagan holiday. Everything we have, we stole from other cultures and traditions. But is this true!? Should we not celebrate this holiday? Is it a sin to do so?

I once gave a Pastor a gift during this holiday. He accepted it reluctantly and then told me he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He lectured me on all the pagan traditions infused in the holiday itself. He then showed me a scripture passage in Jeremiah (10:3-4) and told me that the Christmas tree is related to this pagan tradition. I walked out with my head hung low. Later in my walk, I would get told over and over thatwe stole the winter solstice from the pagans and that I should celebrate with out using the traditions I grew up with. That December twenty fifth should be called Yule.

I finally decided to look into this myself. I took to the internet and wound up with more questions than I started with. After months of looking into this I found that there is a general consensus on the celebration. We have early evidence that the early church celebrated the incarnation around the December 25th, Yale’s T.C. Schmidt is quoted in a recent article,

“When translating Hippolytus’ Commentary on Daniel, written just after AD 200, Schmidt notes that five of the seven manuscripts contain December 25 as the date for Jesus’ birth and another offers the 25th of either December or March.”

In Rome, we got the celebration of Sol Invictus on the 25th and Saturnalia on December 17-23. We have other cultures from all over the world celebrating some kind of solstice around this time of year. Some predate Christianity, some do not. What we do know is that the Feast of the Nativity was established by the Roman Catholic Church in the early fourth century.

It’s not a stretch to say Christians may have decided to celebrate around this time so that they weren’t tempted by the debauchery that went on during Saturnalia. Kind of like how some do a harvest festival instead of Halloween. It’s also possible that they used it to rival and try to convert their pagan counterparts. However, we will never know for sure.

After all is said and done, what I can conclude is, that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas during the month of December. The unbeliever doesn’t have any, real ground, to stand on. I also can conclude, when you read Jeremiah in context, you’ll see this was about the carving and adorning of idols and not a reference to a Christmas tree. It’s more a stab at scriptural illiteracy than anything else.

Christmas, as it currently stands, may have several other traditions incorporated in it and some maybe pagan. But this is true about several celebrations. It’s also true about several things we do in life. I am sure I can find something we do that comes from pagan origins. My question is, what are you celebrating now? Is Christmas a commercialized holiday with no real meaning?

These are the most important questions. For the Christian, we celebrate the day heaven pierced the night. The day God became flesh. The one who spoke and created the universe, left his throne to dwell among us. We give gifts because the greatest gift has already been given. We put presents under a tree that symbolizes the tree of life in the garden. We put ornaments on it because we once merged, with the tree, a triangle shelf that had ornaments on it depicting the gospel.

In conclusion, I say enjoy the celebration. Don’t let anyone try to discourage you. Finally remember, HE is the reason for the season.

The Reason for the season! The virgin birth.

images mary

By David Russell,

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Welcome to the Union blog and a very happy upcoming Christmas.  Christmas is actually what I would like to talk about.  We concluded our apologetics series with the last post called “Jesus”. That series focused on good arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity.  This two part series is all about Christmas.

On the Union Facebook page I informed my audience that I was in the process of a new series I am titling “Questions”.  For this series I am making the blog more interactive.  I have gone around my workplace asking fellow coworkers to write down the most difficult questions they have about Christianity.  To make a long story short, this two part series is an intermediary as I gather the questions and compile my answers.  So, in the spirit of the holiday, sit back and enjoy the read as you eat your cookies and drink your milk.

One of the most famous stories during Christmas time is the virgin birth.  It is woven in almost every Christmas hymn.  I often think of the song “Silent Night”, especially when it rings “Round yon virgin, Mother and Child”.

As beautiful as it sounds and the actual effectual impact of the rest of the song, skeptics and atheists often ridicule believers for the belief that a virgin could actually give birth. I remember, while attending high school, the virgin birth was often sneered and snickered upon.  Students would ask, “Do you really think Mary was a virgin, come on, when have you ever seen that happen?” The student often leaves doubting the seriousness of it all, the wonder of Christmas washed over by the mere bleakness of dead trees in your living room. The lights lighting the streets become dim; the nativity scene in front of houses become as still as the material that it is made from.  The only fall back is the material gain of what is underneath the tree.

Not only that but when they visit the web the Memes litter the the bandwidth with tales of Christmas myth and theft.  The student, the parent, and many people have nowhere to turn.  The church, for a long time, answered this with “It takes faith” or “just believe”, my favorite, “the Bible says”.  No wonder we live in a post-Christian America. How can one deny, at a certain age when they no longer believe in Santa, that a virgin could give birth?

Is this the real problem though?  I claim that the problem is three fold.  In the chaos of consumerism, the trappings of modernity, and the reality of an apathetic culture the church has let its guard down, forgotten that we must love the Lord our God with not only our soul, heart, and strength. We also must love Him with all of OUR MIND. (Matthew 26:36-40)

The second problem is not that a virgin can give birth, it’s that people seem to have trouble with miracles.  What do you expect when the teachers pontificate that we are just animals and professors say were nothing more than glorified stardust?  What can you do when universities teach there is no moral compass and we are products of time, plus matter, plus chance?

Finally, there is another battle going on! A battle for the heart and of human volition!  Some people wouldn’t believe it even if it was written in the sky! They’d claim nothing more than a mere hallucination. These are the folks when asked, “If Christianity was the truth, would you accept it?”  The reply would be a resounding, “No!”   An old friend of mine would have said “Absolutely not!”

And the truth is, as the body of Christ and an Apologist, we can’t expect the pagans and unbelievers not to exercise their job description. But wait…………………

JOY TO THE WORLD, JOY OF THE WORLD!

There is an answer for the student, the seeker, and those in the pews!

For the church we have the incredible reliability of the gospels.  The early dating is like none other in ancient history.  Just due to the differences in accounts recorded in Matthew and Luke suggest a pre-Gospel tradition.  Prophecies recorded hundreds of years before the events suddenly come to pass.  For the one that asks “Why is it not mentioned in the other gospels or epistles?” this gives us the opportunity to explain the way in which the New Testament is written.  You can explain that John and Mark start after Christ’s baptism and dive into the Christology they were trying to portray.  You can then teach the relevance of why Matthew included it, which had much to do about prophetic fulfillment.  You can explain the fact that Luke gathered early eyewitness data which then launches you into a plethora of historically verifiable claims. “Why don’t the Epistles mention it?”  This gives us the opportunity to illuminate the problem specificity nature and purpose of the epistles which allows us to instruct the believer on how to live.

What you can’t do is out right deny it. This leads to our second contention.  The problem with the teachers and professors is they deny the evidence based on faulty presuppositions. Some are just plain ignorant of the historical data. They truly have a problem with miracles. Add to that their radical skepticism, which in turn violates the first principles of reason.  Radical Skepticism is self-referentially incoherent.  If one doubts everything doesn’t he actually doubt his own claim? Is he not certain that he doubts everything? No, the conclusion logically follows that he or she doesn’t.

Not only that if they want to stick to the theory that we are all animals, then we actually see virgin birth all through the animal kingdom.  We even have a word for it Parathenogenesis”.  I could never hold the belief that it could apply to this instance, I have never seen any evidence to suggest that it happened to a human, but given the reliability of the Gospels could it be possible, scientifically? I doubt it.

As I chuckle, the reality is the skeptick of miracles cannot wrap their mind around miracles.  It would shake their anti-supernatural foundation, no pull it, right from under them.  Yet, the have enough faith that something can come from nothing, that this something was so finely tuned and that by time, plus matter, plus chance, threw enough stardust around to form and create biologically complex organisms in a stew. They then evolved into deep thinking, space exploring monkey’s, or primates, if the previous offends.  I am sorry, I don’t have that much faith.

The truth is, we have great evidence for the existence of God and your average person believes in miracles.  Many report they have experienced them at one point in their life.  The brute fact is, if God exists, miracles are possible.

This should and needs to be taught to your student before they even go into the classroom.  Then the tree will be known to represent the tree of life, the lights won’t dim, and giving will mean more than receiving for they will realize that the greatest gift of all was given on Christmas day.  It will be as alive in your home as the original nativity scene was over two thousand years ago.

Finally, to our last contention.  The one that refuses and takes a stand against the truth.  I can only say it will take an encounter with the incarnate One to change their heart, an illumination in the mind that heaven has come to earth, the One who spoke and pierced the realm of men and lived among us. They must begin a relationship with the son of Mary, whom saved our soul on Calvary and showed us strength by overcoming death and the grave.  That is what we mean when we sing.

“JOY TO THE WORLD THE LORD HAS COME”

Jesus…….

jesus-tomb-resurrection-778x485

By David Russell

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)

Welcome back the Union blog!! So far, we have come a long way from where we started.  We began talking about the cosmological argument in “cosmos-sense”, then moved to “Just chance” where we talked about the teleological argument.  I then went to the moral argument in, “Its all good, or is it?”.  Our last stop was, “reliable”, where I demonstrated that the Bible is a trustworthy source.  In this addition, we will continue on to our last stop in examining who Jesus is and if He really rose from the dead.  This is the linchpin on which Christianity stands or falls.  There is no Christianity without it!  This is, kind of, a part two for reliable.  In this article we will go more in depth and examine what the early church taught and believed about this.

“That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” (PhD. Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholar and Agnostic Atheist)

A recent lecture I heard, given by another leading New Testament scholar named Gary Habermas, stated that the early church was concerned, mainly, about three things concerning Christ.  The three things they emphasized emphatically, are, “Deity, Death, and Resurrection.” 

The first, “Deity” I will cover last because I think you can cover the first two together.   “Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”  (John Dominic Crossan, Skeptic)  Over the last few years there have been many internet MEME’s trying to compare the story of Jesus to that of ancient mystery religions.  These MEME’s are aimed at making the gospel of Jesus a myth.  But what the creators of these MEME’s forget is, the consensus of all scholarship rejects the myth view, and for good reason.  As demonstrated in the last article the New Testament stands up to scrutiny better than all the works of ancient history to date.

The four Gospels are followed by epistles and actually predate some of the gospels.  They aren’t set up as fictional pieces.  Paul didn’t get confused and spread the faith based on fiction. Famous Atheist turned Deist, Antony Flew, noted that Paul had a first class philosophical mind and said, “The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity.”

The Gospels are meant to be read as Graeco-Roman biographies.  We also can trace some creeds back to a time that is super early. Take, for example, the creed found in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.  First Corinthians is dated in the early fifties but contains an early creed that the majority of all New Testament scholars say is from AD 30-38.  This creed gives us a very early window in what the early church believed, the death and resurrection are there.  That said, we can take it that the early church taught the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus. All early source data (Gospels and epistles) declare it.  As stated above, Crossan attests to this because there are at least two other extra-biblical sources that confirm it.  But the beauty of it is there are more than two.

I have heard some try and refute this, but given the evidence and those that are refuting, because the way they write, asking questions like,”Jesus appeared “to the Twelve”? But they were Eleven after Judas was gone, and his replacement was elected after the ascension of Jesus.” (Patheos article, critique of Corinthians 15) truly indicates they are definitely not experts in the field, considering the original language uses the term, “the twelve” as the group and not the specific number. As a matter of fact, all the accounts and data pass the criteria for strong historical certainty.  We have independent sources, some in which are enemies.  We have early and eyewitness testimony.   So, what other explanation can there be given concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus?  What did the early church see that changed them so dramatically, holding on to it, when faced with enormous persecution and even death?  I think the best explanation is that he rose from the dead.

Over the years some counters have been made.  One in particular is “swoon theory” which states that Jesus never actually died on the cross.  But this has no explanatory power considering what we know, medically, about Roman crucifixion and flogging.  Its not something one survives! Not to mention, the fact that a half dead Messiah, needing recovery and rejuvenation, wouldn’t have passed muster for the already doubting disciples.

Finally we come to the other issue concerning his deity.  Given the fact that the best explanation is that he rose from the dead, the early sources claim he was divine.  The Talmud claimed he was crucified because of sorcery (Babylonian 33a).  So from history, we see that there is something more to this Jesus.  Again, we see the earliest sources from Paul and the Gospels.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.'” (John 8:58)

The Great “EGO EIMI” ( I even I AM) in comparison to exodus 3:14 which says ” “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” John didn’t have a glitch in his grammar when quoting here.  How do we know? Look at the reaction of the Jews.  The picked up stones to kill him!  They knew what he was claiming.  He claimed to be the “I AM”.  Lets look at Paul, (Philippians 2:5-6) 

“5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Need I say more?

We also see Jesus accepting worship after claiming that only God should be worshiped! Matthew 14:33 and 28:9. Then there is John 1:1, 14, with that the list goes on and on!

In conclusion, we come to the last stop on our reasons to believe the truth of Christianity.  We started with Nietzsche claiming God is dead.  We got on board a train and traveled through history, science, and philosophy to come to an all important question? Jesus doesn’t give but three options, liar, lunatic, or Lord.  Who do you say that He is?  I say he is Emmanuel (God with us).

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
– C.S. Lewis

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’ Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”

HYPER….What?

18382152_423792921319228_2911289585264754688_nBy David Russell

The new buzz that has been gaining much attention on the internet lately is Hyperianism.  I first noticed it about a month ago and saw the attention it was getting, I decided to investigate.  Founded or represented, because it doesn’t really tell you, by a guy named Morgue.  Morgue is a performer of wild tricks like swallowing swords or a huge metal ball without choking to death on it.  He also runs hooks through his nose and out his mouth, in which I got to say, Ouch!  Though a talented performer in his field, he then takes himself out of that field to make wildly outlandish videos.

Backed by a worldview called Hyperianism, Morgue takes to the Internet, blasting religion, telling us we are brainwashed, and promoting his new religion.  He claims he is taking humanity to the next level, whatever that really is?  But at the end of the day its just the same old self worshiping, postmodernist, new age jargon we’ve all heard before.

Welcome back to the Union blog! We are in the process of wrapping up our series on apologetic arguments for the existence of God.  But before we do, I felt, I had to speak on this.  I rarely write about these things but I felt that this was needed.  Lewis told us to answer bad philosophy with good philosophy, so that is what I am going to do.  We will examine Hyperianism and write a refutation to this entire worldview.  So buckle up, your in for a ride!

Human or Hyperian, that is the question?  Hyperianism claims to be “Not a belief system, a knowledge system”.  To be a member, you must reject all mainstream western religions, embrace your shadow, and sign a pledge.  For that you get access to the secret library, if your awake,  and hidden videos.  You get to learn about mental sex and all the other big questions of life.  The first question Hyperianism tries to answer is, Why are you alive?  It sets up a presupposition that all we do is live in a static pattern or that we live in some unsatisfying way and are born into a slave system.  We have no Will of our own and that a certain cast of people put this in place to blind us from the truth of reality. Whatever that actually means?  It then offers its answer, just like most other faith based worldviews, it offers you hope, by shattering the illusion of this presupposed reality.  That it is the only one that has this understanding and with it, can help you maximize your power, understand your purpose, and transform the universe.

This is where my first contention lies.  Hyperianism does the same thing all other belief systems do.  By claiming that we live in this static pattern of routine or an unsatisfied hamster wheel, it derives a truth claim about reality.  But how could Morgue possibly know this, has he interviewed every person?  I know some people that have incredibly fulfilling lives and live in a state of perpetual joy. So my contention comes in the way of belief.  The contradiction lies in the belief that there is something wrong with the world.  That a slave system is better than a free system.  That a mundane existence is not how we ought to live.  Morgue has to believe these things to be actually true in order for his worldview to get off the ground and to believe it makes his system a system of belief.   Now, this is also where we have some agreement.  I disagree with Morgues approach and his conclusions, but I do agree that there is something wrong with the world. Which leads to my second contention.

Hyperianism claims to reject traditional morality but is opened to a evolving morality.  Rejecting the notion of good and evil, right and wrong.   Doing this though makes Hyperianism a relativistic system.  Relativism in itself is self contradictory.  It has no ground to stand on.  If right and wrong do not exist, how can Morgue say that mainstream religion is part of the problem? What problem? Problems are inherent to something actually being wrong. If he is imposing ethical relativism then he runs into the problem of saying that slavery in America 200 years ago, because it was ethically accepted, was okay.  Now, since morality evolves, it is not okay.  If it is acceptable again in 200 years, will it be okay?  Does truth contradict itself?  There is another problem with ethical relativism pointed out by Matt Slick, he says,

“Within ethical relativism, right and wrong are not absolute and must be determined in society by a combination of observation, logic, social preferences and patterns, experience, emotions, and “rules” that seem to bring the most benefit.  Of course, it goes without saying that a society involved in constant moral conflict would not be able to survive for very long.  Morality is the glue that holds a society together.  There must be a consensus of right and wrong for a society to function well.  Ethical relativism undermines that glue.”

Rejecting some of the universal truths objective morality brings, plunges society in even more of a conundrum that retreats from the line of logic and into the abyss of irrational decay.  Theism offers such a better view.  We claim that there is an objective standard of good and that this standard leads to discovering values that require of us certain duties to enact toward one another.  All this on the basis of being human.  For many years this was what was called Natural Law.  It is self-evident and many of these laws you’ll find in every society today.  Even Hyperianism can’t stray from these values in which it promotes.  Ones like equality and freedom.  For all the religious bashing Hyperianism does, it also does well in stealing its values from the Judeo-Christian value system.  This leads to my third contention, rejection of mainstream religion.

Hyperianism rejects mainstream religion and falls into the same trap as all other anti-religious pundits.  Instead of judging a religion on its abuses, Hyperianism should do the logical thing and judge it on its merits.  But the hyperian gets cought begging the question frequently when they assess Christian belief. For example, saying Christianity is oppressive toward women, because you read a verse you think you understood, couldn’t be further from the truth.  Christianity gave woman stature and equality with men. Christianity has long held the notion of freedom, equality, mercy, courage, justice, love for one another, grace, and knowledge.  It has inspired documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  It inspired Wilberforce to fight and end the Dutch slave trade.  Why? Because Christianity believes that we are all made in the image of God and, because of that, we have intrinsic value given to us by the One who is ultimate value itself.  But again, none of  this matters.  Why? Because all reality is an illusion to the Hyperian.  Unless its mathematical reality…..?

This brings me to my last real contention.  Besides the logical fallacies we’ve already gone over, this is the worst.  To claim that reality is an illusion, makes the Hyperian belief system illusory.  The Hyperian claims you can’t trust your senses because they have evolved to survive and deceive you.  But, if I cannot trust my senses how can anyone trust that Hyperianism is the truth.  You need your senses to observe that what you claim is true.  Its like needing the self to tell the self that there is no self.  It’s incoherent jargon.  Then it goes further.  Claiming that Mathematics is alive, we are mathematical beings.  I am no mathematical philosopher but I do know that whether your a realist or an anti-realist, both claim that mathematics is causally inert.  Even more so, Mathematics can’t be the ontic referent.  Hyperians don’t claim anything about the beginning of the universe, but everything I gather suggest they believe it is eternal.  But the universe can’t be eternal. Logic dictates there can be no such thing as an infinite regress.  All evidence and reason point to a COSMIC BEGINNING.  Mathematics can only exist within the universe, and many say it’s a human invention or a useful fiction.  But this idea has been debated for years, never proven.  Morgue never mentions the limitations of Mathematics and its bearing on the physical world or its failures in predictions. He assumes everything he is preaching, which speak volumes about his faith in mathematics.  I kind of take the anti-realist view on this, but defer to the ancient philosopher Philo’s position, he maintained, as William Lane Craig points out, “That God created the physical world on the mental model in His mind.”  That’s the reason math can be done.

Mathematics, because I am more of an anti-realist (meaning mathematical objects don’t exist in the ether), is at the end of the day, information.  Information always implies intelligence. If there is no universe, then there is no math.  But because there is a universe there is a blueprint, an expression of the grand architect.  Also, because it is causally inert, it cannot provide meaning, eternal destiny, or purpose. Theism has way more explanatory power when solving the big questions.  Origin, purpose, morality, and destiny can all be answered coherently by the Christian faith.  It answers the reason for the structure we find in nature.  It answers what is wrong with the world.  It gives us a better hope than any other worldview available.  And at last, it has the evidence to back it all up without pointing to secret libraries or videos.

In conclusion, Hyperianism is another faith, taking on more of a cultist/occultist type of behavior and view.  It is not a knowledge based system but, as I have demonstrated, a belief system that contradicts itself over and over again unto incoherence. Says much for a system that claims to be of logic and reason.  At the end of the day, to answer the question, Hyperian or Human?  I would stick with human all day long.  Don’t drink the Kool-aid folks.

 

Reliable?

imagesBy David Russell

 

“I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends.” -C.S. Lewis

Almost every objection I deal with comes down to this.  Is the bible reliable?  Besides the common objections and errors due to lack of reading the bible correctly, I deal with defending the historicity and authenticity of the bible.  Welcome back to the blog.  In this article I will deal with common objections to the bible.  I will also give the argument on why I think the bible is reliable and that God is the best explanation for the resurrection of Jesus.  As we have made the case for the existence of God, we will now narrow the scope to the Christian God.  This argument held the most weight for me in my quest.  I hope it does the same for you.

It was a cold day in October.  I was walking home from elementary school.  I was in second grade and my teachers name was Mrs. Legget.  As I made my journey home, I began to hear the typical teasing I got from a boy named John.  He would ridicule me on any number of issues, but on this special day he got close enough that when I turned, I grabbed his hair and flung him around.  Now, the joke was on him.  Needless to say he was embarrassed.  As I moved on, all I could think about is the trouble I could get into from the school, and after, Momma!  As I continued, I suddenly felt a hard shove to my back and soon realized I was looking up from a puddle of mud.  John had recovered and I had turned around to quickly.  After that day, me and John became best friends in the second grade. This happened twenty eight years ago, as I write this, my memory of that event are as clear as if it just happened.  One objection I often get is the “telephone game” objection.  That the bible isn’t authentic because it was written down to late for it to be credible. That what we have now is a case of passed down legend, the truth has been lost etc.  But is this true?

I usually answer this question with a question.  So, your familiar with the translation process? This usually opens up the conversation and we hit specifics.  Ninety nine percent, just got the info from a meme on the internet.  But the truth of the matter is, we have copies (Gospel of Mark) circulating in the first century.  This means, it was written during the life of those that could verify its authenticity.  Many historians place the completion of the entire New Testament before 70 AD.  To dampen the skeptics claim further, we have the early creed tradition expressed in 1st Corinthians 15:3-5 in which most historians place around 33 CE.  Even Atheist historians agree:

“Gerd Lüdemann (Atheist NT professor at Göttingen): “…the elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus…not later than three years… the formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in I Cor.15.3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 CE.” [The Resurrection of Jesus, trans. by Bowden (Fortress, 1994), 171-72.]”

This evidence alone suggests no time for legendary corruption or a simple game of telephone.  Moving on, I constantly hear the New Testament authors where just making it up.  That they where biased.  To the first statement, it is a fact that people don’t die for what they “know” to be a lie.  They will die for what they believe, even if a lie, but not in what they know to be a lie.  The early Christians had everything to lose and nothing to gain by spreading this known lie.  I often ask those who claim bias this, “And that matters why?”  Just because someone has a bias doesn’t mean they are wrong.  Maybe their bias gave us a more detailed account.  Not to mention, they converted.  I also have a hard time casting the earliest source documents out, that’s doing bad history.  Like me describing my first fight at school, I remember, in detail that day and what transpired.  This also goes far in disproving the telephone game objection.  Big events that take place in your life, like seeing somebody you love coming back from the dead, will burn itself into your memory.  I have known many people that knew exactly where they where when the twin towers fell on 9-11.  Some describe the entire mood, emotion, and even what they were smelling the moment the first tower fell.

Another objection I often get is, “what about all the errors?”  This is another misunderstanding, by errors, we mean that there contains simple grammatical errors, punctuation, things like that.  Nothing changes the context or any doctrinal truth.  Upon reflection, there is a simple way one can study whether or not the bible is reliable. I have covered mainly the New Testament here and will continue, but it applies for the rest of the bible.

First, Manuscript evidence.  We covered this briefly above.  Dan Wallace calls what we have historically, from the New Testament alone, “An embarrassment of riches”.    Meaning, what we have of other historical ancient writings, the bible, has an embarrassing amount more. Kind of silly to think,  that those claiming the bible to be untrue, don’t realize that it is supported by more manuscript data than those they accept with no problem or take as absolute.  But to compare, we can just take a look, Pliny wrote from 61-113 CE, the earliest copy we have comes from around 850 CE.  This is a span of 750 years from the original, and all we have is about two hundred copies according to updated sources*.  Take Caesar, written 100-44 BCE. with the earliest copy dated at 900 CE.  That span is 1000 years from origin with about 251 copies. Most copies are way later than the earliest copy as well.  Homer, 900 BCE. earliest copy 400 BCE.  Spanning 500 years from the original writing with 643-1,800 copies.  The New Testament, written first century 50-100 CE.  earliest copy from 70 CE., less than 100 years, with 5,838 Greek manuscripts, 18,524 early New Testament translations, and 42,000 Old Testament scrolls and codices.  This combined manuscript evidence for the bible is 66,362.  WOW!

With the Manuscript evidence overwhelming, it’s hard to add that we have extra biblical sources confirming the scriptures, in that piecing every early church father quotation we can construct New Testament belief.  Then we have plenty of Roman sources that confirm Jesus existence as well as Jewish ones.  But lets move on to archaeology.   One of my favorite conversion stories is that of archaeologist, Sir William Ramsay, who set out to debunk the books of Luke, (Luke and Acts).  He converted after confirming over and over again, the statements of Luke which has over 84 evidences, alone, in the second half of his writings (Acts). This lead Ramsay to conclude,  “(There are) reasons for placing the author of Acts among the historians of the first rank”   This is only two books.

If the Archaeological evidence doesn’t do, then continue to some of the predictive prophecies, regarding Christ, made in the Old Testament.  His Abrahamic lineage, (Genesis 12:3 and 17:19),  Birth in Bethlehem, (Mich 5:2), Crucifixion next to criminals, (Isa 53:12),  the piercing on the cross, (Psalms 22:16) and the list goes on and on.

Finally there is the statistical probability of it all, Hank Hanegraaff sums it up well, “The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, noncontradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind. Clearly, Statistical probability is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture.”

So if the Bible is reliable, and we have only scratched the surface, we are faced with the ultimate question.  Who is Jesus and did he rise from the dead?  Most all historical New Testament scholarship agrees with the minimum facts, an approach made famous by Gary Habermas.  “1) that Jesus died by crucifixion; 2) that very soon afterwards, his followers had real experiences that they thought were actual appearances of the risen Jesus; 3) that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; 4) that these things were taught very early, soon after the crucifixion; 5) that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ; and 6) that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience. ”  That is one big cumulative case, considering the bible is reliable, there is this approach dealing just with the resurrection.  We all have to do something when it comes to Jesus. The question is, What are you going to do?

 

For a look at updated sources:  (https://www.josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Bibliographical-Test-Update-08.13.14.pdf)

Its all good, or is it?

2013web_moral-compass-finding-true-north_1920x1080By David Russell

“Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.”~ Chesterton

Over the last number of weeks we have been reviewing apologetic arguments for the existence of God.  In the last article, we discovered that there is a central theme to these arguments centralized around, origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. These arguments are some of the reasons I am a Christian.  In this article we are going to cover the “Moral Argument” for the existence of God. We will answer the question, “Is it all good?”, but more importantly, we will discuss whether good exists at all.

We have all been inundated by the media with stories about various political scandals, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and social injustices.  We often sit glued to the latest demonstration, where those crying out against injustice are committing injustice on their neighbors by vandalizing their personal property or assaulting those they disagree with.  We have all felt the pain of someone wronging us, or felt the hurt of betrayal.  In our day and age we have the ability to see true evil funnel itself across the air waves.

As of now, we see a society in a massive amount of turmoil.  But is it? Or, is it all good?  How can any of us know?  We all have a standard by which we measure these things, but the issue isn’t the way in which we measure, its the fact there is a ruler. C.S. Lewis describes it like this:

“The standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others”.

We all have this Moral intuition, or sense, built into us. Through out history we have called it Natural Law.  For most, it’s self evident, but if you come at it from a non-theistic worldview, you’ll find your feet planted in mid air.  This is not to say a non-theist can’t live a life of moral virtue.  It is simply stating they have no justification, objectively, for it.  For the atheist, morality, is merely subjective, a random opinion.  Like cookies, pick and choose the one you like, until you take their cookie.  Objective morality, is illusory to them.  It may have an impact on them, but at the end of the day, as Dawkins observes, “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”.  If not Illusory, then it is based on human flourishing.  It blows my mind that they still insert an objective good in the assumption that human flourishing, is, in fact an objective good.

The very idea that we are wired with this moral intuition is very telling.  The Christian worldview is the only worldview, that I have heard, to answer this adequately.  Christianity tells us that God writes it on our hearts.  That Gods nature is the highest standard of good, and from that, he commands, constituting our moral duties.  Again, the non-theist doesn’t believe they exist, the pantheist agrees that they are illusory, everyone experiences it, but only one justifies it.

If you doubt this, just ask yourself, “Is cruelty on the same level as non-cruelty”? “Is it truly evil to commit mass murder upon, an otherwise, innocent population”? “Is it okay to rape”?   “Was the holocaust truly evil, or was it not evil at all”? All you need is one objective value for theism to be true.  If you are an atheist your stuck with the admission that it is just mere opinion.  No good or bad,  pertaining to the questions above.  Something inside me cringes at that thought.  It is self evident that these are true evils.  This is where the culture really comes in.  In my experience, most people will tell me that morality is subjective.  The issue is, they never live up to it.  The moment they see something like the recent Vegas shooting, they condemn it.  They respond to police brutality, thinking they have “actual rights”.  But if objective morality doesn’t exist, then there are no natural rights, just social contract and mere opinion. Is that enough? No, because no one persons opinion is more valid then the other.  The non-theist can be outraged, yet can’t really condemn someone for doing something they think is wrong, they have no point of reference to say it is wrong.  It’s a very inconsistent view of reality.  We call it relativism and nihilism, as I explained in a previous article.  Relativism is summed up as reality subjective in nature, while nihilism is summed up as no morality, all goes.

C.S. Lewis says something that sticks with me everyday, he said, “One can regard the moral law as an illusion, and so cut himself off from the common ground of humanity” .  Without objective morality we have no north star to guide us and hold us accountable to one another, the beauty of love becomes a cheap trick of the mind, virtue is the same as as vice, and value is rendered void.

I could go on, but I want to bring this to a close.  I think God best explains why there is a moral realm.  Why there is objective morality that we all confront and face daily in our experiences.  There is an “ought” to the “is” as we look at what we should do and how we should treat one another.  God’s nature provides the objective referent point for moral value, without it we couldn’t possibly know that anything is good or evil.  So with that, here is a little argument so famously argued by William Lane Craig.

1. If God does not exist then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore God exists.

 

A Culture UNAWARE!

unawareBy David Russell

Welcome back to the “Virginia Apologetics Union” blog.  In this addition, I will be talking about the divide I see around the country.  It’s time to talk about what we can do as disciples of the living God. We live in a chaotic time. We have political turmoil like I haven’t experienced in my lifetime. We have new age philosophies running around the track of contradiction. We have nations threatening nuclear war, and a bunch of people protesting a flag by kneeling at a sports venue. We also have, people protesting the protesters, liking their free speech but intolerant of others, the list goes on and on.

What do we do? What is the Christian response?  How does the apologist engage?  The first thing we have to do is not get caught on one side!  With this I mean, we can’t allow our disagreement or our political bias to cloud us from the great commission.  I can disagree with those that kneel to the anthem,  I can’t condemn them.  I can stand up for any position I want and vote my conscious and try to affect change!  What I can’t do, is alienate and isolate those with whom I am trying to spread the good news. I think there is a Christian response to all of this.  I think the time is right with a fruit so ripe that we can jump in the fault line that divides and change the world! How? Is it impossible? No.  It was done a little over two thousand years ago.  Will it require a personal cost? You bet!  The answer resides in the ultimate truth, a life changing truth.

People have been railing over these issues for centuries! There is always an injustice to overcome, an appeal to theological and philosophical absurdities, a desire to be free without the constraints that grant them.  All this to say, the only fight we are actually having is the one addressing who we really are, why we are here, entailing meaning, where is it leading, and what is good and right.

The first among these struggles is the struggle of who we are.  We see this abroad, in a large spectrum, of individuality.  It is in every home and on every street corner. People may mar their bodies or litter them with art in the great quest to express who they think they are.  They seek careers that they think best define them.  They invent terms like, “I need to find myself” or “I am a…..”.  The truth is, there is nothing new under the sun.  Someone else has the same art tattooed on them as you, they end up fading.  One day the muscles sag, the career ends, and you wake up to find you’ve always been stuck with yourself, and the times you questioned it, were just because you didn’t like the choices you made or the outcome thereof.  But still you’re left with a question.  Who am I?  We live in a culture unaware of who they really are.  Where does one go to find the truth?  I have always believed truth is what best conforms to reality.

There is such a thing as truth and truth can be known.  In my personal journey, I have found that there are four major questions we all face. These questions are centralized around the concepts of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. I won’t list the exact questions for purposes of keeping things brief but I have found that Christianity best describes this reality and its counters do not.  It answers theses questions and so much more. It also answers questions like “what is wrong with this world?” From this basis we have options when it comes to these worldviews. Naturalism and atheism along with other non theistic worldviews say we are just molecules in motion.  The other theistic beliefs offer worldviews not much better. For instance, Buddhism claims that the “self” is an illusion, that ultimate meaning lies in the tranquility of nirvana or nothingness. Yet, for the Buddhist, he needs the self to be able to deny the self or meaning in which nothingness can’t possibly provide. How can nothing be the ultimate meaning?  Take the naturalist that has to rely on theism to proclaim that there is a such thing as social injustice yet claims there is no such thing as objective morality. Can’t have an objective moral law without a moral law giver.

Can we truly say with a clear mind and conscience that these inconsistent world views are correct? Is there something more to the grand jigsaw puzzle of life? We know this intuitively. We live lives of purpose and meaning everyday. We get up and go to work. We set goals. We try to better ourselves. We naturally fight for our intuitive rights. The ones that are self evident.  Why?

Because we know deep down there is a right and wrong, a good and evil. The problem is we have a culture that is unaware of the truth.  We have allowed bad philosophy and bad theology, centered in sensationalism and emotion, to dominate our culture and the churches. We have isolated ourselves  and allowed many to fall on bad ground. But in this culture that is unaware we can make a difference.

How?  By way of example, let me give you a story. I was at work listening to my coworker born and in raised in another culture. We couldn’t be more different. His childhood was shadowed by the notion that he could be killed and dumped somewhere and no justice would be done. Through the talk though we found a common thread. No matter what our experience was, or how different, there was common ground. An appeal to that image placed deep down inside, that notion that there is something that has been placed inside and written on our hearts. That piece, as American founders  claimed, was placed there by natures God.  Who better to describe this than Jesus Christ. You’ll only find this same appeal in the Christian worldview.

Man was made for purpose, endowed by our creator with intrinsic value. The reason we know the “is” from the “ought.” We are made in his image. But we must be able to make sense of this. Our misuse and misunderstanding of freedom has caused us to fall so hard it’s no wonder the culture doesn’t know where things come from or why injustice is so vial.

The reason, Christ describes it best.  “Matthew 22:17-22

Tell us, therefore, what You think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But perceiving their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought Him a denarius. “Whose image and inscription is this?” He asked them.

“Caesar’s,” they said to Him.

Then He said to them, “Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away.”

The follow up is left to the imagination. The follow up, “because his image is on you, what things are you to give over to God?”   Yes, the culture is unaware, the church hasn’t given themselves completely to God.  But now that we know how to effect change, are we willing to give God the things that are God’s. Remember, Jesus knew that his kingdom would come and be established forever, not by conquest and the failed ways of man but by appealing to that part of us that was made in his Image, that with his grace and mercy would change the human heart and usher in an era of mercy and love. Mending the relational tear and gluing the broken heart of all people. So whether you take a knee or stand, protest or counter protest, remember only the Christian worldview provides the justification. Those who are unaware can be made aware if we are willing to give to God what is his and do what he asks in his commission. Let’s mend this divide, let’s change the culture and the world forever.