Saturday, October 27, 2007

Absolute Truth, Facts and Opinions

What could it mean to say that there is no absolute truth? It is absurd to assert this as a truth statement. What I see in people's web conversations is the idea that all truth claims are equally muddled by the claimant's perspective (or lack thereof.)

One person claims something to be true. Another claims the same something to be false. The relativist moderates by saying that from the first person's perspective the something is true and from the other person's perspective it is false. This is not too hard to swallow since people's opinions are certainly not infallible.

The problem comes when EVERYTHING is considered to be opinion and nothing is a fact. The relativist doesn't necessarily say there are no facts - he just claims that we don't have access to the facts. We only have our perception of the facts and our description of the facts are opinions.

It seems odd to me that modern science has contributed to the confusion. Science has claimed not only the physical universe but the metaphysical as its domain. Much of what science asserts as true truth about the universe is no more than a projection of naturalistic, materialistic and uniformitarian presuppositions. For example macro evolution has never been observed in nature, is not supported in the fossil record and is completely counter-intuitive in a world that is elegantly interwoven in overlapping systems that suggest design. But the secular scientists affirm that macro evolution is true truth 1) because it is the only explanation for how such a world could come to be that is thoroughly naturalistic and materialistic and 2) because most secular scientists believe it must be true and 3) because no matter how counter-intuitive it seems, some "scientist" somewhere has a "just so" story about how such systems might have progressed from one stage to another to form the incredibly complex organs, organisms and ecosystems we find today.

Science would like to be the arbiter of truth. Scientists consider themselves to be those who interact with the facts and who are unbiased in their testing and reporting of those facts. But since they refuse to acknowledge that their atheistic presuppositions shape their studies they cannot see that their application of the scientific method is fatally flawed so that their pronouncements are suspect to every thinking person.

Only an infinite personal God can be above the fray. He is the basic fact and every other factual reality comes from Him. He alone can speak with absolute authority about true truth > what exists, how it came to exist and why it exists > what is good and what is evil > what is life and how should we live? God knows, but is He saying?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

OARBC Conference Report

Yesterday I returned home from the annual conference of the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches that met in Toledo. You CAN get here from Toledo, BUT it isn't easy! I was tired from the drive, but still invigorated from the fellowship.

It is interesting to me that some pastors avoid these conferences. I personally find them to be a blessing. Let me work through some thoughts:

  1. We get to sit under the preaching of God's Word! Not only that, but it isn't just generic preaching, but preaching to a congregation mostly comprised of pastors. The applications are tailored for us. If you can open your heart to the preaching of the Word, God will richly bless you at the conference.
  2. At these conferences you see people that you only get to see once or twice a year. You swap stories from your ministries. You inquire about their family and your mutual friends. You care for them. They care for you. You pray for each other. You have lunch together. You realize that you are not all by yourself - that there are other people who know what you are going through and who CARE.
  3. You meet with your peers - other pastors and missionaries. It is a great place to ask questions and get advice. This can be dangerous ground! It is possible for me to feel like there is a competition running - who has the biggest church, etc. But I find that I am blessed if I put my pride away and make the most of finding out what good ideas God has given to my brothers in Christ. This year in particular, as I anticipate moving from rural ministry to urban ministry, I need all the ideas and inputs I can get!
  4. The conference is sort of a mini ministry retreat. It is not a vacation - far from it. Leave the TV off. Be careful not to overeat. Use your time alone for prayer and reflection. Think of questions you need to ask and people you want to be sure to talk to. Apply the messages to your own life and ministry. Go to workshops that will stimulate your thinking about your own situation. Talk to people without pretense. Lick your wounds, accept people's encouragement. Encourage some others with the encouragement God has given you.

When I was younger and more insecure, I was nervous about conferences. Sometimes I felt irritated rather than blessed. Now I realize that it was all my own fault. My immaturity and pride were at the heart of it and they were robbing me of the blessings. It wasn't other people who were comparing themselves to me - it was me, comparing myself to them. It wasn't other people criticizing me - it was me being critical of others that left such a bitter taste in my mouth.

God has made us to need fellowship. Conferences like the OARBC conference are great for helping to satisfy that need. Praise God for His wonderful provision!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Evolution & Racism

Another interesting news item today.
LONDON - London's Science Museum canceled a Friday talk by Nobel Prize-winning geneticist James Watson after the co-discoverer of DNA's structure told a newspaper that Africans and Europeans had different levels of intelligence.
Here is another example of the hypocrisy of evolutionists. If we evolved from lower life forms it logically follows that some of us might be more evolved than others. That would mean that some people are, as a group, less evolved and so "lower."

Of course civil rights groups are up in arms - and rightly so. But they don't realize that the basis for "human rights" and the notion of equality is derived from the Biblical account of creation. The reason we are equal is that we were "created equal." The reason we have "rights" is that God invested His own image in us and defined our rights.

If evolution is correct there is no special reason that one human should not kill another. If I can kill you and take your stuff, then I have improved my chances of reproducing. (Reproducing is the main point in the evolutionary world. What lives today is what has managed to successfully reproduce. Survival of the fittest - Law of the jungle and all that.) Why should I value human life - my own or the life of another? Life is just an accidental and meaningless occurrence. What value could it have?

If evolution is correct it would be surprising to find that humans everywhere are essentially the same. Somewhere there should be more advanced humans and in other places there should be less advanced humans (don't call them sub-humans).

According to the Bible, however, there are no sub-humans - just humans. All humans are descended from the original humans, Adam and Eve, created by God. Isolation of populations has resulted in inbreeding that has resulted in what are largely cosmetic differences in people groups, but they are all humans under the skin.

So they cancel Dr. Watson's lecture because he is more true to their beliefs than they are themselves. How interesting!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Starting Over

When you are about to hit the button that says, "Do you really want to delete this blog and all of it's posts?" you should check to make sure that you are on the right blog.

Oh, well! On to new blogs, I guess.

Starting over is good too.

I've accepted the call of Whipple Avenue Baptist Church of Canton Ohio. My last Sunday at New Harmony will be November 25th. I am excited by the new opportunities I will have. I am frightened by the new challenges. I am nostalgic about the years of ministry and life here in Noble County. I am sad about leaving people I love behind again.

But God will use it for good, I'm sure. He will stir me up and make me more what He wants me to be. He will work in the church here and make it more what He wants it to be. I certainly hope He plans to bless Whipple Ave. through my ministry there.

Onward and forward.

May God richly bless you.