Monthly Archives: June 2014

With Every Head Bowed, Every Eye Closed, No One Looking Around

If Peter were around today his Pentecost sermon taken from Acts 2 would probably go something like this:

14You men Judea, and all you who dwell in Jerusalem, be it known to you and heed my words…  23This Jesus, a man of miracles, was taken by you with the foreknowledge of God and by wicked hands was crucified…32This Jesus, God the Father has resurrected, and we are all witnesses…36Therefore, let all of Israel know for certain, that God has made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Christ…38Now, therefore, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…40Now with every head bowed and every eye closed, no one looking around, I don’t want to embarrass you.  Who will raise his hand and say ‘I want to save myself from this crooked generation?'”

Ok, so I took a little liberty with Peter’s sermon.  My point is when did the “Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around” altar-call command first begin?  I did a quick internet search and the only thing I came up with is that a few people really despise Charles G. Finney and think he had something to do with it.  (My analysis on Finney will have to come later.)  In the short time I took to research I found that no one can pinpoint a time when that altar call staple began.

wimpy altar callWhat I do know is that nowhere in Scripture can that concept be found of hiding everyone else’s eyes in  order not to embarrass someone who is on the verge of a faith in God.  Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Jesus said “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32).  Confession that leads to salvation is not with every eye closed.  Confession is not with a hand in the air so only the pastor can see.  Confession is out loud with your mouth so everyone can hear you.

The cause may be noble.  The pastor may be sincere.  He simply wants to remove all the obstacles for someone to come to a saving faith.  The problem with “Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around” is that it starts off a “believer” in a timid faith.  If a person is too afraid to confess that Jesus is Lord to those in the Church, has he really made a confession with his mouth?  A person who cannot confess his faith before fellow believers will most likely be too timid to confess his faith before a hostile crowd.  In all honesty, the pastor has not really removed a barrier to salvation at all.  This type of altar call makes people into closet Christians.  When persecution begins this kind of believer will wilt.

A more cynical view is that a pastor uses “Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking every head bowedaround” in order to prevent the congregation from seeing the lack of takers to his invitation.  For preachers concerned with keeping a “harvest score” they may not want the congregation to see how ineffective they are.  These pastors are only concerned with numbers and not in any true conversions.

The common theme with both of these scenarios is pride.  Pride prevents a person from making an outward confession of his faith.  Pride also drives a pastor to try to hide his inadequacies.  In any case, I am not sure the cause of Christ is served with ” Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around.”

Confession that leads to salvation is open, unashamed, sold out, and out loud.  Any other profession is simply trying to hedge your bets.

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The Illusion of Moral Responsibility

1givethemfreewillCOLCPhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/free-will-could-be-the-result-of-background-noise-in-the-brain-study-suggests-9553678.html

In this article scientists conclude that free will is a product of electrical activity, “background noise,” in our brains.  Decisions, then, could be predicted based on this pattern of that activity.
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I guess if free will is an illusion these scientists didn’t have a choice but to say it. If that’s the case, then, I don’t have any choice but to say how utterly stupid they are.  If this is true (but it’s not) then punishing people for what they do is unjust, because they had no choice to commit the crime. But, how can we even determine what is “just” or “unjust” if free will is an illusion? Punishment of the innocent is simply what someone had to do. Killing the store clerk is simply something someone had to do.If free will is an illusion, so is moral responsibility._
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The ramifications of this “research” would be to place in doubt every law.  I‘d wager that each one of these scientists that signed off on this study would object to my punching them in the nose. Their objection is merely an illusion as I had no choice but to punch them.

fatalism_large1

The naturalist/materialist premise on which these scientists anchor their conclusion is that there is no reality beyond the physical world. Only matter and energy exist. They assume we are only a product of impersonal molecules in motion.

“The state of the brain right before presentation of the cue determines whether you will attend to the left or to the right,” Bengson said. “This random firing, or noise, may even be the carrier upon which our consciousness rides, in the same way that radio static is used to carry a radio station.”

So, consciousness is an illusion too.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.
-Romans 1:22-23

Separation of Church and Science

Separation of Church and Science

By Christopher S. Brownwell

President Barack Obama assured the scientific community that he has erected a wall of separation between Church and science.  “It is about ensuring . . . we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,” President Obama lectured in 2009 as he signed his executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.  He can’t have scientists constrained or manipulated by Christian ideologues.  Society, according to Obama, should be listening to scientists not limiting them. 

Funding embryonic stem cell research, said our president, will restore “scientific integrity to Stem 4government decision-making to ensure that in this new administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science….”  But, are we basing our scientific discoveries on the soundest policy? 

Is it wise policy to allow scientists to make ethical decisions without a robust moral debate?  As a person of faith, Obama insisted “we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering.”  I suppose in his Orwellian double-speak, Obama is trying to pacify those who have moral qualms about scientific experiments unfettered by moral restraints.  But, what exactly is this faith he believes? 

Easing human suffering sounds like a Christian tenet.  In fact, Jesus said if you feed the hungry, clothe the naked or visit the sick it’s as if you are doing those things for him.  But, would Jesus have advocated starving your children to feed the hungry, or stripping your neighbor to clothe to the naked, or killing human embryos to research a cure for paralysis?  His example was about sacrificing himself for an unfit world, not about sacrificing some for the benefit of others.

Secular humanism, on the other hand, does promote such a self-serving approach.  Secular Humanism is the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason without regard to religion or the supernatural.  This ethical theory and practice embraces scientific inquiry and human fulfillment in the natural world and repudiates the importance of a belief in God.  There are no rewards or punishments in a “next life.”  In other words, what we do in life will not echo in eternity.  This humanist “truth” does not provide an internal moral restraint.

Humanism, however, borrows some Christian moral values.  Humanists see easing human suffering as a goal of its faith.  This laudable humanitarianism (concern for human welfare) should not be confused with self-serving humanism.  The trouble with humanistic humanitarianism is its utilitarian ethos– the ends justify the means.  A person’s value, to a humanist, is wrapped up in his utility.  A person who is aware of his own existence is more valuable than an infant or embryo.  That paralyzed people will walk one day is an end that justifies the killing of embryonic humans today.

Stem Cells 1Obama didn’t divorce ideology from the embryonic stem cell debate as he claims.  He merely replaced the Bush administration’s Judeo-Christian ideology with a secular humanist one.  In order for him to protect his policy choice from criticism, President Obama has erected this wall between Church and science.  Using platitudes and the moral authority of a “consensus,”  Obama has insisted science should be free from ideology.  But what he means is science should be free from a Judeo-Christian ideology.  He wants to use science in a utilitarian manner without the shackles of Christian conscience.

Like bricklayers, humanist ideologues reinforce this wall.  When liberals want to ramrod a morally repugnant policy while appearing to have weighed the moral consequences, they parade liberal theologians who parrot the liberal positions.  Reverend Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, said federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is “good policy for a religiously pluralistic society that cares about . . . the relief of human suffering.”  A humanist utilitarian, not a Christian, can believe it to be good policy to relieve human suffering by making other less useful humans suffer.

White House advisor Rev. Joel Hunter believes that it is “moral to use embryonic stem cells that are destined for destruction for research for helping people.”  According to his logic, it would be “moral” to experiment on death-row inmates because they are scheduled to die anyway.  We might as well glean some value out of their lives before we execute them.  Also, Rev. Hunter’s view would encourage the production of more embryos to be “destined for destruction.”  It’s morally imperative that we produce more death-row embryos to “research for helping people.” 

The late Francis Schaeffer, a Christian theologian, stated in A Christian Manifesto that liberal theology is nothing more than secular humanism in religious terms.  Schaeffer affirmed that liberal theologians will invariably come down on the side of the secular humanist.  Liberal theologians have done so with abortion, social welfare, homosexual “marriage” and now, embryonic stem cell research. 

Taking the humanist philosophy logically further, what utility is there in handicapped people?  Right now, humanists use the handicapped as a useful propaganda tool to further a liberal agenda.  “Under President John F. Kennedy we were the first to walk on the moon. Under President Barack Obama the paralyzed will be the first to walk on earth.”  Roman Reed, a paraplegic, pronounced that vision from his wheelchair while on hand to see President Obama reverse the Bush administration’s ban on federal stem cell funding. 

Now, despite that Mr. Reed misspoke, since Nixon was president when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and Jesus has already made the lame to walk on earth, we can understand his expression of hope in the supposed miracles to be harnessed from embryonic stem cell research.  The president, however, shamelessly uses the emotions that envelop this issue to make us believe his new stem cell policy will heal the sick. 

What happens when people like Roman Reed are no longer considered useful to humanist con-stem-cell-researchpropagandists?  History gives us examples of science under the influence of secular humanism.  The early 20th century science of eugenics forcibly sterilized undesirables.  The science of Social Darwinism’s euthanasia eliminated the handicapped in “mercy killings.”  Margaret Sanger, who gave birth to Planned Parenthood, aimed the science of abortion and birth control at the unfit poor and racial minorities.  Millions of people worldwide have been the victims of such “scientific integrity” for the benefit of humanity.  Science without moral restraint is in reality the Frankenstein monster come to life.  

Obama hasn’t prevented science from being influenced by ideology.  He just erected a wall of separation to protect it from certain ideologies.  Obama’s wall of separation between Church and science leaves science vulnerable to the whims of the humanists who have no internal moral restraints.  In the end, his wall of separation will harm those whom he claims it helps.