Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Global Warming

I am looking at the snow covered yard and the snow continues to fall. It makes me think about "global warming." (Have you noticed that the news doesn't call it global warming anymore? Now it is called "climate change.")

Is there such a thing as global warming or not?

Certainly climates have changed over time. There was a time when the earth was covered with organic matter sufficient to produce all of the coal and oil that we are now using for fuel. There was a time when there was tremendous upheaval - causing continents to move, oceans to sink and mountains to raise. There was a time of when there were many active volcanoes - and a time (maybe due to so much volcanic ash in the atmosphere?) that there were glaciers flattening out huge swaths of ground in what are now pretty much temperate areas. For that matter - places like the grand canyon show that there was an awful lot of water running off of the ground and tearing things up.

True believers in global warming assure us that "most scientists" believe in it. Of course, most scientists don't study climate change - so how would they know anyway? Besides that, the same people assure us that "most scientists" believe that the most complex systems ever observed - DNA and bio-systems - happened completely by accident over time. (Can anyone say, "The second law of thermodynamics," or even the word "entropy?")

A person who buys into the naturalistic world-view has no choice but to accept the theory of evolution because it is not falsifiable even if it is incredibly unlikely. "These complex systems are here, we can only use naturalistic uniformitarian explanations, therefore they must have happened by small changes that can be imagined over long periods of time. We know natural selection works because here we are." (Talk about circular reasoning!) "You can't prove that it didn't happen, even if we can't show it happening today."

The evolutionists, because they are evolutionists, believe that there must have been billions of years (and even hundreds of billions of years is insufficient time to explain the complexity of our living world.) But what if the time-frame is much shorter - say about the length of recorded history - definitely less than 10,000 years and perhaps more like the 6,000 years or so that the Bible indicates?

Back to global warming. The shorter time frame means that all of the extreme conditions that we know existed (worldwide lush organic life - catastrophic volcanic and tectonic activity - widespread glaciation, tremendous water run-off) happened quickly. If the glaciers actually covered most of North America about 5,000 years ago instead of the millions of years suggested by evolutionists, then we might still be warming up from that.

Wouldn't that be global warming (AKA climate change?). So, who am I to say that there is no such thing as global warming? But if they prove it, they may be proving something they would rather not prove... that the world isn't nearly as old as they want it to be and their uniformitarianism will need to yield to a catastrophism that fits the biblical account of things.
(2Peter 3:2-7) that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,
6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Talk about global warming!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ordination Council

I was privileged to attend an ordination council today in Smithville, Ohio. Kevin Fath is to be commended for acquitting himself well in the face of sustained fire from the council members. I wish that every church member could attend a few of these councils to get an idea what a Regular Baptist pastor goes through on the way to ordination to the ministry.

The council consists of pastors and representatives from churches of "like faith and practice." The ordaining church can also invite special guests like former pastors, pastoral friends, professors, or fellowship representatives. Some - most will be fairly friendly - some not so friendly - and there will always be people with particular pet theological questions.

The candidate starts with an account of his conversion and call to ministry. Then the council begins to question him on this subject. What is a call to ministry? What is your personal devotional regimen? How does your life compare to 1Timothy 3? What is your most important qualification for ministry?

Typically the candidate has prepared a theological paper of his views on all the major topics of systematic theology. The doctrine of Scripture, God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, Angels, Man, Sin, Salvation, The Church, and Last Things. The council asks the candidate about the things he has written and about things he left out. They ask about his use of specific verses and about his view on verses he didn't use.

Pretty much everything is fair game - but of course the object is to thoroughly examine the man to see if we should recommend that the church proceed with his ordination.

Then there are the questions that are practical scenarios. Would you pastor a church that was set up in this way instead of our traditional Baptist way? Would you perform a marriage for someone who was divorced from their previous wife? How would you counsel someone who claims to be saved but doesn't give up their sinful lifestyle? How would you handle the funeral of someone you don't believe was saved?

Today's council meeting - the question and answer part - took from 10:00 a.m. to just after 1:00 p.m. (with one ten minute break at about noon.) Lots of questions and lots of answering. But there is a lot to be considered. Is this guy really called to ministry? Is he spiritually qualified? Is he adequately trained? Can he think theologically? Is he really a Baptist? How does he handle the pressure of a situation like this? What kind of spirit does he display? Are there any glaring theological errors that we should be concerned about?

These things are no picnic - they are serious business because pastoring a church is serious business. Ultimately ordination is the decision of the individual church, but "in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Flu

I have suffered with the flu over the past week, but I think I am past the worst of it now. Last Sunday night I knew it was coming and by Monday I was coughing and feverish. Tuesday and Wednesday I was seriously ill and I pretty much stayed in bed. Thursday I was finally able to work again and I've been improving ever since. I still have a cough, but at least I don't feel fevered.

Isn't it amazing that a microscopic virus can have such an effect? There I was a week and a half ago - complacent in my health and vigor. Then the little bug infected me and laid me low. I am glad that my immune system was in working order. I am also glad that I was blessed to recover fairly quickly without developing pneumonia, requiring hospitalization and/or dying.

Sorry if that sounds morbid, but the fact is that the flu still kills quite a few people. Geraldine Iversen used to tell about when she was a little girl during the 1918 flu pandemic. She said that every family was effected and many people in her small town died. It was one of the things that started her thinking about eternity. She saw, even at an early age, that people died fairly easily. She realized that she needed to know what would happen after she died.

We may live in post-modern times, but one of the relics of modernity is clinging to us. People are SURE that modern science will conquer death. It is hard to tell if people are tremendously confident or panic stricken in their assertions that cures for everything can be, should be or will be discovered in the next few years - certainly in not more than a decade.

Which leads me to my continuing belief that modern science still doesn't know what life IS. Scientists can describe the characteristics of living organisms - but they still can't tell what makes one organism alive and one next to it dead. Life itself is beyond science. The scientist can experiment on living organisms and find things that make them react, adapt, reproduce or perhaps die. But they can never catch the spark that IS life.

Life is a divine prerogative. The Living God is the source of all life. He lets His creatures play with the stuff He created, but He reserves the prerogative of life itself. Dr. Frankenstein can stitch his monsters together out of borrowed parts, but he still has no way to bring them to life. Life comes from God and is lent to us at God's pleasure. When Adam chose death to obedience, God graciously provided a second chance - eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Stay well!
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1John 5:10-12)

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Shake A Stick?

Where did the phrase "shake a stick" come from? (As in, "I have more X than you could shake a stick at.")

If you had a lot of something, why would you shake a stick at them anyway? Are you counting them?

Does this come from a time when people warded off the wolves by shaking a stick in their direction? Would that work on wolves? If you had too many to shake a stick at were you overwhelmed by wolves?

I suppose it could have been parents threatening to punish children. (That would have been before our "enlightened" era when shaking a stick at children would probably land you in jail.)

Maybe the stick was a fishing pole and there were more fish in the pond than you could shake your stick at.

Did older people commonly carry a walking stick? Did they motion with their stick for emphasis when they talked about the good old days? They had more stories than you could shake a stick at.

These are just my theories - certainly not authoritative. I have more theories... You can't swing a dead cat without... Theories are like ticks on a hound dog. There is certainly no lack of goofy theories.

Have a good night.