Apologetics

The Multifaceted Effects of Sin

I recently heard that when we do something wrong to another person, it is not only a sin against God but also a sin against the other person. Is this correct? Can we also sin against another man or woman?

That, I think, is a profound question. That is the kind of question I like to take on the Bible Answer Man broadcast. This is a profound question. When a man steals from another man in violation of the eighth Commandment (Exod. 20:15), we know from Scripture that he clearly sins against God. But, the answer to the question is he also sins against the individual in taking what does not belong to him. It is a sin against God. It is also a sin against humankind. This is why the Lord taught us to pray, “Forgive us of our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Matt. 6:12).

If you read Matthew 18 — the parable of the unforgiving servant — Peter comes to Jesus and asks, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Remember what Jesus said? “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21–22 NKJV). In other words, you always forgive. If you have been forgiven a debt that cannot be quantified, we should never consider withholding from those who sin against us. How many times shall I forgive? It implies that we do forgive our bother and our sister. Ephesians 4:32 is also, I think, a passage that underscores this point. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” There are many other passages.

We are told by the apostle Paul we ought to forgive because our sin is not only against humanity but also a sin against Christ. A sin against Christ is a sin against the body; a sin against the body is a sin against Christ. I think even more interesting in answer to a very interesting question is 1 Corinthians 6. You can sin against your own body. You think about humanity, it includes you. For example, “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit;” therefore, we are to “flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Cor. 6:17–20 NIV). This adds a whole new dimension to it. He who sins sexually sins against his own body.

The answer to your question is multifaceted. It is a great question. You also sin against a person when you sin against God. In short, you can sin against another man or another woman. You can sin against your body. You have the body of Christ, your own body, and you have Christ, who is the head of the body.

We daily ask God to forgive us of your sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). One of the reasons I think this is a particularly important question is that today we have all kinds of popular preachers who are telling you that when you sin, do not ever ask for forgiveness, because asking for forgiveness is tantamount to spitting in the face of God, so, please, please never ask for forgiveness. But, I have been absolutely astounded at how rapidly that perversion has become part of the ethic of the body of Christ, how quickly people have embraced that kind of spiritual cyanide. Well, what is the antidote? The antidote is to learn discernment skills. When someone says something like that, you do not look at the power of their radio or television platform; you test what they say in light of Scripture, and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; Acts 17:10–12).

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the July 20, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Abortion, Infanticide, and the Devolution of Western Civilization

When we say, “We do what we do because life and truth matter,” I use life in the sense of the experience of life and the knowledge of life. Experiencing Christ, not just knowing, but as it has been well said, knowing. There is a difference between cognitively apprehending something and having a real experience with the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. But, obviously we are also very interested in the foundational principle of all anthropology, and that is human life. We live in a culture today in which life is considered from a different perspective (as the culture becomes more and more materialistic) than the perspective that was viewed in Western Civilization by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I read something in a recent blog by Jerry Coyne, who is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. He is now not only defending abortion but he is indeed defending infanticide. This is all part of the slippery slope that we are now on as a culture. Coyne writes, “If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect…,then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born? I see no substantive difference that would make the former act moral and the latter immoral.” I can say that on one level he is absolutely right. In other words, if you can abort a late-term child, why not take the next step and abort a child a few days after the child is born? The problem here is a failure to recognize that child has personhood from the moment of conception.

But, Coyne is not alone. I think of Francis Crick, who was codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA. I bring him up because he had a partner, James Watson. In one of the most chilling quotes I have ever heard, Crick’s codiscoverer of the structure of DNA said that, “because of the limitations of present detection methods, most birth defects are not discovered until birth; however, if a child was not declared alive until three days after birth, the doctor could allow the child to die, if the parents so chose, and save a lot of misery and suffering.” Think about the chilling effect of those words. After all, everything becomes subjective when we live in a materialistic culture. You see the child now, and the child does not suit your fancy, well, you make a choice, and you let that child die. Well, not just let that child die; you take active steps in order that the child, in fact, dies.

This is precisely what Peter Singer was talking about. He is the famous Princeton ethicist. He said that “newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person….If a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life support…but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.” All of this arbitrary, depending on what you think the quality of a person’s life actually is.

Just last week in the New York Times, Gary Comstock said, “It seems the medical community has few options to offer parents of newborns likely to die.” The implication is you have to expand those options.

Going back to Coyne, the reason we can expand those options is because human beings after all are no different than bananas or dogs. Says, Coyne, “The reason we don’t allow euthanasia of newborns is because humans are seen as special, and I think this comes from religion — in particular, the view that humans, unlike animals, are endowed with a soul.” He is a materialist. He certainly does not hold to substance dualism. Everything for him is just a function of brain chemistry and genetics. Once you start teaching this philosophy, you become an instrument for the devolution of civilization, which is already essentially fragile.

Coyne is not just a guy on a street corner with a megaphone or a loud voice. He is a respectable professor in what is thought to be a respectable university, and he is telling people, the students that are impressionable, that there is no such thing as morals, there is no such thing as right or wrong, and there is no distinction between an animal and a human being.

These are serious times. Times in which we as Christians need to be ready to give an answer. This is not optional. The reason the culture is devolving is because we as Christians are not doing what we as Christians are called to do. You can repeat it over and over again, and hopefully it can become stuck in your memory trace — salt and light. We are called to be salt. We are called to be light. If we are not salt and light, culture devolves, and civilizations are lost. Right now, without any hyperbole, I can tell you that Western Civilization hangs in the balance, and that by a very thin thread. Ethics and morality are now a function of the size and strength of the latest lobby group. This is in direct opposition to being firmly rooted in scientific and spiritual standards. Thus, with no enduring reference points, societal norms have been reduced to mere matters of choice.

— Hank Hanegraaff

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be

(Psalm 139:13–16 NIV).

Blog is adapted from the July 20, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Eugene Peterson and the Imitation of Culture

I read an article by Jonathan Merritt, who happens to be controversial in his own right concerning moral issues, but he wrote an article on the bestselling author Eugene Peterson changing his mind about gay marriage.

In the article, Merritt quotes Eugene Peterson saying, “I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.” He goes on to say, “It’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” As far as performing same-sex weddings, he says, absolutely, “Yes,” that would be something that he would do.

Now, when I read this article, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Changed his mind? Are you kidding me?” More than twenty years ago, he published The Message (MSG). It has been a cottage industry within the evangelical Christian community. In that paraphrase of the Bible — I’ve said this many times over the years on the Bible Answer Man broadcast — Peterson attempts to squeeze the New Testament into the mode of today’s politically correct culture. In other words, instead of being a change agent, being an initiator, we become politically correct and imitators.

As cultural imitators, of course, we cannot correct or rebuke, for that would not be politically correct. We should not argue with anyone in the family of God who thinks hell is a myth. Think Peterson’s endorsement of Rob Bell and the book Love Wins, which denounces hell as little more than a fantasy or a myth.

Cultural imitators, above all, do not mention homosexuality. Better yet, they take it out of the biblical text, which is precisely what Peterson does in 1 Corinthians 6:9, where he refrains from mentioning homosexuality, as opposed to the Greek text. Here is how Peterson puts it: “Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex” (1 Cor. 6:9 MSG). Obviously, someone who is in the gay lifestyle, someone who is a homosexual, would not have a problem with Peterson’s text in the least in that they do not consider sodomy an abuse of sex. In their view, homosexuality is simply an alternative lifestyle.

As significantly, I think we should ask, “On what basis does Peterson have the temerity to replace a sin not mentioned in the biblical text ‘use and abuse the earth’”? (1 Cor. 6:9 MSG). That is gratuitously inserted into the text as a substitute for homosexuality. So, he replaces one sin with what he considers to be I guess a greater sin.

I find it strange that so many people are making a big deal out of this now. I find it ironic. Sixteen million copies later. Long ago, Peterson showed his colors and despite the fact that he has tampered with the text in a substantial way, the Message, continues to be popularized and glorified in the Christian world.

There are many examples of problems with the Message I can give. It is not just— as egregious as the example I just gave — it is not just that. Think about what he does with the Lord’s Prayer. Here is how Peterson renders it in the Message: “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best — as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.”

The Lord’s Prayer is a model prayer, and every word of that prayer has incredible significance. For example, did you notice in Peterson’s version, there is no “Hallowed be thy name”? When we pray “Hallowed be thy name,” it is an incredibly important part and petition of the prayer. It is to put emphasis on God first, exactly where the emphasis belongs. Our daily lives ought to radiate far greater commitment to God’s nature and holiness than to our own needs; therefore, to pray “Hallowed be thy name” is tantamount to praying that God be given the unique reverence that His holiness demands. That His Word be preached without corruption or without alteration. That our churches be led by faithful pastors who do not perform same-sex marriages because now that is the politically correct thing to do. That our churches be preserved from false prophets. That we would be kept from language that profanes the name of God. That our thought lives remain holy. That we cease from seeking honor for ourselves and seek instead that God’s name be glorified.

I loved what Augustine said about this, it is memorable: “And this is prayed for, not as if the name of God were not holy already, but that it may be held holy by men.” In other words, that God may so become known to them, that they shall reckon nothing more holy, and which they are more afraid of offending” (Augustine, Sermon on the Mount, 2.5.19). The glorious truth of this petition is that while we were once impotent to hallow His name, God has hallowed us through the sacrifice of the very one who taught us these words. Once His light shining into our darkness would have been terrifying, but thank God, for like Isaiah, He has touched our lips with a burning coal, and whispers through our pain, Your guilt is taken away, your sin atoned for.

I know what I am saying is not popular, probably not even with my audience. The politically correct thing is to laude a paraphrase of the Bible that has sold sixteen million copies. It is a cottage industry in the evangelical Christian world. But, I think these things ought to be said, and the reason they ought to be said is when we start to take God’s words and alter them not only in a slight way but in a dramatic way, we become our own pope. We start to pontificate to people what we think is right in an ever-changing culture. In other words, we want to keep up with the size and scope of the latest lobby group, and truth is, therefore, is in a constant state of flux. Politically correct or not, I feel that these things need to be said. I would be remiss with my platform, which is not a platform seeking popularity or to be politically correct, I would be remiss with this platform if I did not mention that, after reading an article like the one I just read.

I think it is homophobic in the extreme not to tell people the truth about the principles and precepts of Christ, about the teachings of the Bible in their unadulterated clarity. That is not the way to treat other people. It is not the way to love other people. It is not the way to be kind to people. My doctor has told me the truth about my condition. Had she not told me the truth about my condition, I would not be taking the chemotherapy that I am taking now. The drugs that I am taking now. She told me the truth because she wanted to cure.

A lot of people will ask the question, and I think gratuitously in some cases, “Well, do you not think homosexuals are going to heaven?” That is a misplaced question. It is asking the wrong question. It is not a matter of whether a homosexual is going to go to heaven, it is a matter of whether or not a homosexual or a heterosexual or any person on the planet wants to follow Light — The Light of creation, the Light of Christ, the Light of conscious — and as they do, they will learn more and more about the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the parameters He sets around our lives and learn that He does so not because He is a cosmic killjoy but He does so that our joy might be complete.

Imagine now the person in a lifestyle that robs them of joy, encountering the text in an adulterated fashion. You have to ask, “Does that help or hurt?” It is sort of like if my doctor gave me a therapy that was not really a therapy for my particular disease. Again, the point is this: as we learn more and more about the principles and precepts of Christ, of our Father who is in heaven, we follow them. But, it is hard to follow them, when there are now all kinds of people who are pontificating different messages. That is the problem when you have a cottage industry that proliferates this stuff and when you have just about anybody being able to hang up a shingle today and then — think about the temerity of this — taking the text of Scripture and altering it in light of Deuteronomy 4:2, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (NIV84). If that is not enough, Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (NIV84). Or Revelation 22:18–19, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (NIV84). These are sobering words.

Dr. Adolph Saphir says this about the Lord’s Prayer, or what I call the Prayer of Jesus:

It is a model prayer and, as such, commends itself to the most superficial glance — approves itself at once to the conscience of man. It is beautiful and symmetrical, like the most finished work of art. The words are plain and unadorned, yet majestic; and so transparent and appropriate that, once fixed in the memory, no other expressions ever mix themselves up with them; the thought of substituting other words never enters the mind. Grave and solemn are the petitions, yet the serenity and tranquil confidence, the peace and joy which they breathe, prove attractive to every heart.
The Prayer is short, that it may be quickly learned, easily remembered, and frequently used; but it contains all things pertaining to life and godliness. In its simplicity, it seems adapted purposely for the weakness of the inexperienced and ignorant, and yet none can say that he is familiar with the heights and depths which it reveals, and with the treasures of wisdom it contains. It is calm, and suited to the even tenor of our daily life, and yet in times of trouble and conflict the church has felt its value and power more especially, has discovered anew that it anticipates every difficulty and danger, that it solves every problem, and comforts the disciples of Christ in every tribulation of the world.
It is the beloved and revered friend of our childhood, and it grows with our growth, a never-failing counselor and companion amid all the changing scenes of life. And as in our lifetime we must confess ourselves, with Luther, to be only learning the high and deep lessons of those petitions, so it will take eternity to give them their answer.

It is the model prayer, and Jesus made every word count. Words of the prayer He taught us to pray are treasures of incalculable value lying deep beneath the cobalt waters of a vast ocean. Like the siren call of the mermaids, His words beckon those snorkeling with burnt backs in shallow tide pools to dawn scuba gear to descend into the prayer’s glorious depths there await unfathomed resources and riches that can scarcely be described to those living on the surface. While the prayer of Jesus is not a prayer mantra, it is a prayer manner, as such it has been eloquently described and used by the church throughout its history. This is precisely why it is for me a very serious matter to tamper with the Word of God.

Someone brought to my attention the fact that Christianity Today produced an article entitled, “Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage,” with the subtitle, “In retraction, popular author affirms ‘a biblical view of everything’ — including marriage.” If he indeed retracts what he said, that would be wonderful. Retracts what he said twenty years ago in the Message. Retracts his tampering of the text in 1 Corinthians 6, starting with verse 9. Retracts his version of the model prayer or the elimination of “Hallowed be thy name.”

What Peterson said according to this article is that he was asked “a hypothetical question: if I were pastoring today and if a gay couple were Christians of good faith and if they asked me to perform their wedding ceremony — if, if, if. Pastors don’t have the luxury of indulging in hypotheticals….And to be honest, no is not a word I typically use.” The article notes that Peterson “went on to state, because of the biblical view of marriage, he would not marry a same-sex couple.” So, he said “yes” because “no” is not a word that he would typically use.

“When put on the spot by this particular interviewer,” says Peterson, “I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage. That said, I would still love such a couple as their pastor.” Good for him. “They’d be welcome at my table, along with everybody else.” I hope he does not mean the Communion table. This is a popular view now within evangelicalism, that regardless of a sin, a perpetual sin, a sin that is a clear violation of the principles and precepts of the King of kings and Lord of lords, you serve them Communion. “Gay or straight, there is no hate here” I think is the manta typically used for the occasion.

There is a further point to be made here. (I do not know if the article goes into this, I only scanned it; I do not think it does.) Peterson’s retraction, his ambiguity as it were about the words “yes” and “no” is not the salient point to begin with. What he said, he said within a context. In the Merritt interview, Peterson said, “I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over.” On the one hand, he is saying he is affirming the orthodox position, the historic position of the church, on the other hand, he is saying that he thinks that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. He goes on to say in context, “People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” It was not just the ambiguity of substituting a word that he typically does not use, the word “no,” with the word “yes”; there is a full-orbed explanation that precedes it.

Now, I do not want to cast dispersions on anyone when Peterson outright says in retraction that he now affirms the biblical view of everything. The problem here is this: what is the biblical view of everything that he is talking about? Because when I read his version of the Bible, it is not just the things that I have mentioned, it is many other things that he has said as well in terms of changing the biblical text to his particular version.

Think about John 14:28 where he says, “the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.” Where the Greek says, translated into common English, “the Father is greater than I.” Or, John 3:5, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit;” well, Peterson’s version says, “Unless a person submits to this original creation — the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life — it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.” Or Matthew 5, I can go on and on about this, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect;” Peterson changes to “Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” These are substantive changes. I understand this is not a translation but a paraphrase; yet, you still have to stay within the range of meaning that is being elucidated by the Spirit of God, you cannot add your own suppositions to the biblical text, “use and abuse the earth” as he does in 1 Corinthians 6, and you cannot eliminate.

I think it is critical that this issue is raised. If Eugene Peterson is confused, I do not know. Certainly, I want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but this is not a small issue; this is an issue on the front burner of civilization.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the July 13, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Quote of the day from

[The Lord’s Prayer] is a model prayer and, as such, commends itself to the most superficial glance — approves itself at once to the conscience of man. It is beautiful and symmetrical, like the most finished work of art. The words are plain and unadorned, yet majestic; and so transparent and appropriate that, once fixed in the memory, no other expressions ever mix themselves up with them; the thought of substituting other words never enters the mind. Grave and solemn are the petitions, yet the serenity and tranquil confidence, the peace and joy which they breathe, prove attractive to every heart.

The Prayer is short, that it may be quickly learned, easily remembered, and frequently used; but it contains all things pertaining to life and godliness. In its simplicity it seems adapted purposely for the weakness of the inexperienced and ignorant, and yet none can say that he is familiar with the heights and depths which it reveals, and with the treasures of wisdom it contains. It is calm, and suited to the even tenor of our daily life, and yet in times of trouble and conflict the church has felt its value and power more especially, has discovered anew that it anticipates every difficulty and danger, that it solves every problem, and comforts the disciples of Christ in every tribulation of the world.

It is the beloved and revered friend of our childhood, and it grows with our growth, a never-failing counselor and companion amid all the changing scenes of life. And as in our lifetime we must confess ourselves, with Luther, to be only learning the high and deep lessons of those petitions, so it will take eternity to give them their answer.

— Dr. Adolph Saphir

Apologetics

Forsaking Truth for Darwin’s Dogma

All this month we are featuring two resources that are revolutionary. One of them is actually called Revolutionary. It is the film, it is the DVD, and it is an absolute must-see. The star is the revolutionary himself, Michael Behe. He was somebody who did not want to start a revolution, but revolution came to him. He embraced it, and the revolution that he started is depicted in this film.

Think about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, for example. Many people are familiar with this case. The idea here is this: it is unthinkable to teach intelligent design in the public-school system. To do so would be to follow truth wherever it leads. That is thought to be anathema. One might think, “How absurd is that?” But, a judge watches Inherit the Wind, makes a ruling, as a result of cobbled-together statements from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), he does not even correct their mistakes in his cobbling together, and this judge becomes a folk hero with cult-like status. He even gets on the cover of Time magazine and written about in the New York Times. Why? Because we are no longer allowed to follow truth where it leads; rather, we are to walk lockstep together in the academy.

Do not confuse me with the facts. We have a dogma. That dogma may be illogical. It may fly in the face of the facts, but the dogma is the dogma — do not disturb me.

Well, Revolutionary upsets that whole house of cards. The film is available all this month along with the book entitled Darwin’s House of Cards written by Tom Bethell. He was the Washington editor for Harper’s; he was a contributing editor to Washington Monthly. If you ever read him, he is just fun to read. He is flat-out fun to read.

Let me say this: I think it is critical that people have this kind of information in their hands because the issue of origins is not an apologetic issue; it is the apologetic issue. How one views their origins will inevitably determine how they live their life. If you think you are a function of random chance, you arose from the primordial slime, you are going to live your life in a different way than if you know you are created in the image of God and therefore accountable to Him. This is an issue of transcendent importance.

Think about what “Darwin’s Bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) once boasted. He said that “in the evolutionary system of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural.” What did that do for us? Well, we had the sovereignty of self replacing the sovereignty of God. We now become autonomous. We decide what is true and what is untrue based on the size and scope of the latest lobby group.

Then we had the Sexual Revolution. I love the candor of those who are at the forefront of the Sexual Revolution, at least at the beginning. You get rid of God, and you can live according to your own sexual preferences. You can change human anthropology. You can have gender fluidity. I just saw an article the other day; you can now have females passing on the right of giving birth to males. We live in an upside-down world, but once we had the Sexual Revolution, this was the inevitable result when God is relegated to the faint, disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Everything becomes permissible.

Then, of course, we had survival of the fittest, which led to atrocities like eugenics. I often think that right now as I am speaking this state in which I reside, North Carolina, is paying reparations for eugenics. Eugenics postulated that the unfit were infecting the genepool with their unfit genes, and as a result of that evolution, was not progressing like it should. What is the solution? Well, we sterilize the unfit. Who decides who is unfit? Well, at that particular epic in time — this is in the shadow of the ghastly consequences of the Second World War and the death camps in Nazi Germany — who decides? Well, in America, we were deciding it was blacks, Jews, people with Down syndrome, and anyone who had a malady, because how can evolution progress with these unfit genes in the genepool? You say, “Well, this had to be pretty fringe.” No, it was not fringe. It was legislated in blue states from California to New York. It was propped up by prestigious universities: Stanford, Harvard, and the list goes on. It was funded by, think about this, the Rockefeller Foundation and many other foundations. Name brands in our culture. Hardly fringe.

This is the problem. This is precisely the problem when you cannot think critically. When you are not allowed to have discussion in the university setting, these kinds of atrocities become inevitable consequences. What do we do? Curse the darkness or light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm? I say what we must do is light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm. How do we do that? We equip people. We have to think about these things.

— Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from the July 5, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

The Legacy of Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989)


Hank Hanegraaff: A little quick story here, after I did the broadcast last night (June 26, 2017), I did a Bible Answer Man Facebook live broadcast with my daughter Christina. That broadcast went on for about an hour and a half. I was sitting there thinking about the fact that I am doing a broadcast with my daughter and it reminded me — well, I should say probably most correctly, it reminded my wife — of Cindee Martin Morgan, one of the daughters of Walter Martin, who was the founder of this organization. When we got home, we began talking the legacy that Water Martin had left. He has been coronated, he has received many crowns, but his work continues on. He has laid up for himself treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:19–21). Twenty-eight years ago, yesterday, June 26, Walter Martin went home to be with the Lord, and I thought it would only be appropriate to have his dear daughter on the broadcast today. She is someone who, by the way, carries on his legacy in so many different ways. She has been one of the staunchest supporters of the pro-life movement through her talent, through her tenacity, and through her commitment. She is a true daughter of Walter Martin. The characteristics that I saw in Walter Martin that attracted me to him are the characteristics that I see in Cindee Martin Morgan, and I am delighted to welcome her to this segment of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. Hi, Cindee.

Cindee Martin Morgan: Hi, Hank. Nice to be with you.

Hank: It is wonderful to have you on the broadcast. Again, I think you hear from the prologue to this broadcast what your dad meant in founding a ministry in 1960. He had a vision. He had a vision of technology, the use of technology, and it is absolutely incredible to see today how his vision has become a reality.

Cindee: It really is. He was not a computer kind of guy, he never really had those skills or abilities, but he sought out those who did, and he informed himself because he had that vision to incorporate it into what would be tools that he would need to spread the gospel using CRI [the Christian Research Institute] all over the world, which was his goal.

Hank: My daughter said on the broadcast yesterday that she was so proud of me as her father, and I can imagine how proud you are to this day of the legacy of your father.

Cindee: Yes. I am very proud of him. In fact, one of the last times I had with him, he had taken us over to that big building that he had gotten for CRI, it was in California, but I cannot remember the town, it might have been Irvine, but he was showing us through this building that they were beginning to set up for CRI over there, and he was just remarking to me, “Cindee, this was my dream, this is my dream, and God has blessed it, and I am just so excited and so thankful to see all that He is doing through me.” You know, not taking the glory for himself, but just recognizing the hand of God on his life, and recognizing that all of this was being raised up through the mighty hand of God, whom he loved so much as his Father, and he was just so excited. To experience that joy with him was something that I would never forget.

Hank: Here we are, twenty-eight years later, and there have been so many people who have joined with us as support team members, as we said on yesterday’s broadcast, they are, as it were, our Special Forces, our Green Berets. Without them, nobody would be hearing our broadcast, our podcasts, or receiving the Christian Research Journal. Talk about how important it is for people to honor your dad’s legacy and the legacy of the ministry of the Christian Research Institute now for fifty-seven years by supporting the ministry prayerfully and financially.

Cindee: Well, I feel that my dad’s calling was of course to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he did it with all his heart, soul, and mind. He wanted to follow the admonition of 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (NIV). I really think it was his vision to get the gospel in the hands of those who needed it and to get answers in the hands of those who have not been able to find their way that were in the darkness. I think that we all have to support and do what God puts in our hearts, where the gospel is concerned. That is really critical that we do that and that we rely on the Lord’s direction in our churches, in our lives, and however God guides us and directs us. There is nothing more important than the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more important than the souls of men that are lost. We are to be light, and we are to be salt. The gospel should always be on our lips. It should not be an afterthought.

Hank: You have had such an instrumental role not only through prose but also through the lyrics that you have written with respect to the pro-life movement. This is a passion for you, and this needs to remain a passion for Christians. Some Christians suffer from what has often been described as “fetus fatigue.” In other words, we have heard the warnings against abortion, we have heard that abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being, but it has been said so many times in so many different ways we often become anesthetized to one of the greatest, if not the greatest, holocaust that one could possibly imagine in human history.

Cindee: Yes, that is what we are facing, and we do get kind of dulled. Our senses do get kind of dulled because you are always up against the issue and it is like we get human fatigue. You know, we just put it on the back burner. I think that happens to all of us in every area. This area in particular is one that is quite serious. What we always have to remember that there are people that are depending on us being a voice for them and speaking when they cannot speak. Speaking up for them when they cannot speak for themselves. Their very lives do hang in the balance. I think that it is filling yourselves with the Word of God daily, like you do as a Christian, and it is coming before the Lord and it is just asking Him to give you remembrance of what is the most pressing and most important thing that He wants you to do that day and then doing those things that He puts your heart and hand to. It is also remembering that there are constants out there, like the unborn, where God constantly wants us to be praying for their good, to be seeking their good, to be speaking up and helping others to realize that these are people that deserve life just as much you and I do. God is the giver and taker of life  — not us. I think that we just have to just keep renewing our minds; I think that’s what it comes down to. You know, we do not fortunately all get fatigued at the same time, and I think that when we notice each other is getting kind of away from an issue you know that is really critical like this one, that we can nudge one another, encourage one another, and build and lift one another up in this area so that it spurs. We can spur each other on to those good works for the unborn little by little and help each other along the way to make a difference for time and for all eternity.

Hank: Talking to Cindee Martin Morgan. She is the daughter of Walter Martin, who of course is the founder of the Christian Research Institute, who had a vision for this ministry, a discernment ministry. He was oftentimes referred to as father of the counter-cult movement, and the impact that he made while he was alive was monumental. That impact continues on today. Cindee, if you were someone that was passing Walter’s car while he was driving the streets of Southern California, you would have seen a license plate that said Jude 3. That verse, of course: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (NASB). That was his life verse. He displayed it everywhere, even as I said on his license plate, but that is the verse he lived by.

Cindee: It is. It is the verse he lived by. You know my dad was a mentor for me. We often took walks together, and he would talk to me about what God was doing in his life, and he would be so excited about it. That just really rubbed off on me because it made God real to me in every step that I took, and I will be forever grateful to my dad for bringing the Lord into my presence, in a sense you know, just making God seen as He really is. One thing he said when we would take walks is he would remind me, “Look, you need to keep a journal, and you need to keep track of God. Write down what your prayer request are to the Lord, and remember to come back in and fill in those answers,” and he said when you get discouraged, you take out that book, and you remind yourself about the goodness of God. Read through what you have asked Him, and read through what He told you, and be refreshed and remember that He is with you. I will tell you that has really stayed with me my whole life, just that idea of Yes, God loves me, God cares about every detail of my life, God is with me, and to keep track of God in such a way that I never forget His goodness to me.

Hank: This is, as I mentioned at the outset, this is the twenty-eighth year that we remember your dad’s coronation. We know that he is in the presence of God. Anything that you can add to the discussion as we think about your dad, his legacy, and how his legacy might be an encouragement for us to order our life around the divine to work not for the city of man but, as it were, for the city of God.

Cindee: Well, I would encourage people. A hymn comes to mind when you were talking. I love hymns, and my father did too. The hymn [In the Garden]: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own.” Those words were going through my mind as you were speaking, and I just think that we all need to cry out to God, to give us a vision, you give to us a vision of what He wants, not a real vision, but you know what I mean, give us that heartfelt purpose and show us what our calling is and show us what our gifts are so that we can use them the most for His glory. I think that was so interesting about my dad, because not everybody seems as driven as that, I have not really known people like him, quite frankly. Now, he was so driven, but he knew his purpose. He knew what God had put in his hands to do, and he knew he could do nothing else. He was driven to serve the Lord with all of his heart and to raise up a ministry that God had put on his heart to reach those around him for His kingdom that needed answers to the questions that they were not necessarily finding in churches. A lot of times the cults like Mormonism were a really big issue during his lifetime, and he just wanted to give, he wanted to kind of pull the lid off of these cults and help the church to understand and know this is not the same Jesus we are talking about. They may have all the same terms, but we are not talking about the same Jesus. It was really important to my dad to help people understand the true Jesus, the true gospel.

Hank: Cindee Martin Morgan, thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the Bible Answer Man broadcast remembering your dad, his legacy, and I can tell you just as you are proud of your dad, I am quite certain that he is proud of you.

Cindee: Thank you so much, Hank, for those kind words. God bless you, dear brother.

Hank: Thank you, Cindee, for spending this time with our audience right here on the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Adapted from the June 27, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Finding a Healthy, Well-Balanced Church – WOW is that Possible?

We at the Christian Research Institute realize this difficulty and the criticality of knowing exactly what to look for in order to find it. Hank Hanegraaff has come up with a video series outlining a three-step process called WOW, which will help you find a healthy, well-balanced church in three easy steps.

Our WOW video series is posted on YouTube. Here is what you will get:

WOW – How To Find a Healthy, Well-Balanced Church in 3 Steps – Introduction

Hank gives an overview of the WOW Hankronym for finding a healthy, well-balanced church.

WOW – How To Find a Healthy, Well-Balanced Church in 3 Steps – Part 1 Worship

The first “W” in WOW stands for worship. Hank explains why we need to find a church to worship God in prayer, praise, and proclamation of God’s Word.

WOW – How To Find a Healthy, Well-Balanced Church in 3 Steps – Part 2 Oneness

The “O” in WOW stands for oneness. Hank explains why we need to be a part of a community of Christians because God has made us in such a way that we have something to contribute to the body of Christ and the rest of the body of Christ has something to contribute to us.

WOW – How To Find a Healthy, Well-Balanced Church in 3 Steps – Part 3 Witness

The second “W” in WOW stands for witness. Every healthy, well-balanced church equips their members to go out and impact the world. It is more than just evangelism; it is also equipping people to evangelize.

Hank’s memorable three-step method to finding a healthy, well-balanced church will help you make a well-reasoned decision that will benefit you for now as well as for eternity.

— Warren Nozaki

Apologetics

Catching the Joy of Contagious Giving

I want to say a little bit about a biblical view of wealth. The first thing I want to mention is that I am persuaded — by the way, I am not just talking to you, but I am talking to myself — I am persuaded that the Bible teaches responsibility associated with wealth. I suppose from the standpoint of the broader globe — all of us, or the vast majority of those I am speaking to right now — are wealthy. God’s Word encourages us to use money for the sake of the Kingdom (Matt. 6:19–21; Luke 16:1–13).

It is not just money. I do not mean to trivialize everything to what you actually give, because the giving of your time and the giving of your talent are very significant for kingdom purposes. But, obviously, we ask that people would support this ministry financially as well. It is a very practical way in which you can continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us in the battle for life and truth. Why? It is crucial to realize that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1). The bottom line here, according to the text, is that God is the landlord, and we are just tenants.

We did not arrive with anything, and we will not take anything with us when we leave (1 Tim. 6:7). You know, I was thinking about that when I was in the hospital room the other day. I had a complication as a result of the Rituxan that I was taking — one of the chemo drugs. I went from uncontrollable shaking until I finally reached equilibrium to finally having the amount being pumped into me and the speed being pumped into me bumped up a little bit, and then I had a fever of 101o until it calmed down again. I had some complications. But, when you are lying there, you recognize this statement is very, very true. Every single breath is held in the hollow of the Lord’s hand. We did not come with anything, we are not going to leave with anything, so in those moments, you think, “When I stand before you, Lord, are you going to be pleased with how I used my time and my talent and my treasure?”

It is important to view wealth with eternity in mind and to lead our lives here down below as responsible stewards, whether we have a little or a lot, so that one day at the judgment, God Himself will reward us (Matt. 25:14–30; Luke 19:12–27). Ultimately, it is not a bank statement on Earth that counts; it is the one in heaven.

I want to share just one verse with you in closing, and that is this: the Bible chronicles the prayer of David. I love this prayer because David here is thanking God for the very privilege of being able to give to the work of the Lord. So, this is what David says, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand…now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you” (1 Chron. 29:14, 17 NIV). I think about that verse because as a result of the giving, that temple is built, and that temple contained the glory of God. That temple remained significant to the children of Israel because through that temple, the priest gave sacrifices pointing to an ultimate sacrificial lamb. So there was immense significance to the temple. It had a huge, huge impact on the world. In fact, only from the perspective of eternity will we fully know how huge that impact was. When Christ came, of course, there is no need for the temple, but that temple was the way-shower, as it were, to Christ. So, Christ comes, and that temple has made a huge difference in the meantime.

What I am saying here is that there is no telling what could be accomplished in our generation if we too catch the joy of contagious giving. We would be empowered to spread the gospel around the globe. We would be enabled to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick. Like our forefathers, our generation might yet leave an indelible mark on this world. As Solomon says in Proverbs, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9–10). In other words, the arm of the Lord is longer than yours, and He will supply to you as you supply to ministries. God ordains the ends as well as the means. He does not need our money, but He is teaching us something through giving. Give as you can give, and give generously.

If you love this ministry, if this ministry has made a difference in your life, if you are seeing the difference it is making in the lives of others, in this last week, we are asking people to give and give generously.

For further related reading, please see the following:

Is the tithe for today? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What is the Biblical View of Wealth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Does the Bible Teach about Debt? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Tithing: Is it in the New Testament? (Revisited) (Elliot Miller)

Short-Term Recession of the Long Winter? Rethinking the Theology of Money (William F. High)

To make a donation to CRI or join the CRI Support Team, click here.

This blog is adapted from the June 23, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Am I a Speck, Stardust, or Created in the Image of God?

I remember not that long ago Bill Nye the Science Guy saying, “I’m a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, among other specks, among still other specks, in the middle of specklessness;” therefore, “I suck.” Now Bill Nye the Science Guy has become enormously popular. These kinds of statements have made science cool.

Now we have astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He was in Charlotte the other night. He was communicating something exactly the opposite and it was still cool. In other words, it does not matter what your premise is. You can say, “I suck because I’m just a speck orbiting a speck,” or you can say, as Tyson argued, that we are not insignificant, and the reason we are not insignificant is that our bodies are literally made of stardust. (The same idea about stardust is conveyed in “Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Ten Favorite Facts about the Universe.”) Tyson thinks that we are one with the universe, that we share the same DNA as the bacteria that infest our intestines. The same bacteria that may cause infectious diseases. So, Neil deGrasse Tyson is now turning the tables on Bill Nye, and saying, “No, I do not suck, I am significant because I have the same DNA that a bacterium has, and therefore I am very, very special.”

Now what is interesting is you can have Bill Nye with his perspective and the crowds roar, or Tyson with his perspective and maybe they roar even louder. I still remember when evolutionists like Richard Dawkins argued that a boy had no more intrinsic worth than a banana because we all descended from a common ancestor and share the same DNA. He had more of the Bill Nye vibe; in other words, we are not special at all. We are utterly insignificant. But again, Tyson is turning the tables, yet either way, it is all sheer nonsense.

The reason we are special is not the composition of our DNA. We are special because we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27). It is this fact that ensures that a Down Syndrome baby is afforded the same dignity given a distinguished scientist. In any case, Tyson has long ago made the departure from knowledge into the dangerous world of antiknowledge, and people applaud. He has departed the world of science and waded into an illusory world of science fiction all under the guise of making science cool.

Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because it is high time that we learn discernment skills, which is precisely what this ministry is all about. Teaching you to discern between wheat and chaff, heat and light, so that when you hear these kinds of statements, and the roar of the crowd dies down, you do not just go on as though you got new information. You process, you think, you discern. Then you become always ready to give an answer for the reason for the hope that lies within you, with gentleness and with respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

There is another article in USA Today, and this article I was very, very pleased to read. The title of the article was “Womb with a View: Fetuses Can Recognize Faces While Still inside Mom.” This is an example of how fearfully and wonderfully we are made (Ps. 139:13–14). The findings come from the journal Current Biology, and they demonstrate “it’s possible to explore sight and cognition in babies before birth.” Kristy Dunn of Lancaster University says, “It turned out that [the preborn] responded in a way that was very similar to infants.” Think about this. You can take the picture of a mom and the baby is going to react to it differently if it is right side up or upside down. In other words, they are responding the image with cognition. They also discovered that the baby’s eyes are not tightly closed, there are times when the baby’s eyes are open and blinking. So, there is a lot we are finding out about human embryology. The more we find out, the more horrendous the crime is the sin of aborting those made in the image and likeness of God.

We must remember that embryos are not potential persons. They are actual persons with potential, as written in a fantastic article in the Christian Research Journal entitled “The Human Embryo: Potential Person or Person with Great Potential?” written by Clinton Wilcox. It is an article that took me a couple of times to completely process. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth mastering. The reason for this is because human embryology becomes more and more plain, average, and out of the ivory tower and into the everyday vernacular. We are learning that human beings made in the image of God in the womb are sacred, they are special, just like infants and just like old people. Just remember that embryos are not potential persons; they are actual persons with potential. “I am the same individual I was when I was an embryo and, as such, if it is wrong to kill me now, it was wrong to kill me then.”

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the June 13, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Authentic Christianity in a Post-Christian Culture

I want to talk about something really quickly, and then to our callers, which is the reality that we live in a post-Christian culture. As Rod Dreher says in the Benedict Option, this is not sheer hyperbole; it is sheer reality. He talks about the “deep cultural forces” that are disintegrating Christianity in the West, forces that have created a spiritual crisis that we have not seen — think about this — since the fall of the Roman Empire. Christian conservatives must read the signs of the times. This is not about losing the culture wars, or potentially losing the culture wars. The game is over, as far as the culture wars are concerned. That does not mean this is a defeatist message, because the real solution is in finding your all in the Triadic One. In other words, being brought into the life of the Trinity.

The reason I bring all of this up is that yesterday (June 7, 2017), I could not believe this, I was listening to this conversation between Bernie Sanders, who came very, very close to becoming President of the United States, and he was grilling Russell Vought, who of course is Donald Trump’s nominee to the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget position. Vought had expressed his belief that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. He did so in a very nonthreatening fashion. Yet, Sanders was quite literally excoriated. I mean, the transcript is one thing, but you’ve got to hear it. I mean, he is screaming at some point in the conversation. He was really, really upset. Sanders asked,

Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. And that is in the piece that I referred to that you wrote for the publication called Resurgent. You wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?

During the same exchange, Sanders refrains the same question in various ways: “Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?” “I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that all those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned, too?” “In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?” “You think your statement that you put into that publication, ‘They do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned,’ do you think that’s respectful of other religions?”

The line of questioning bears a veiled accusation. You’re saying Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life! That’s Islamophobic! That’s anti-Semitic! Well, he did not use the word “anti-Semitic,” but that is what he implied, and he did use the word “Islamophobic.” He was being very Chistophobic, by the way, in his tirade. Then he said, “This nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” There is no room in his worldview for a Christian in an official government position in the United States who believes Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Now, I bring this up in light of what Russell Moore said. In other words, he commented on this episode. (Of course, we are promoting his book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel. That is a book I want everybody to get as a way to support the ministry.) Here is what Russell Moore said. Moore, of course, is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said,

Senator Sanders’s comments are breathtakingly audacious and shockingly ignorant — both of the Constitution and of basic Christian doctrine. Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office in defiance of the United States Constitution. No religious test shall ever be required of those seeking public office. While no one expects Senator Sanders to be a theologian, we should expect far more from an elected official who has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

All of this is to simply underscore the fact that we have lost the culture wars, and with that, we have lost human anthropology. In other words, there is a distorted notion of what we are as human beings created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27–28). Now, this is a point that Russell Vought made very, very clear and calm as he was addressing Bernie Sanders. So, a lot going on in this country.

This is not the time to give up. This is the time to embrace authentic Christianity. Not a Christianity that is consumeristic, but a Christianity that is transformational. If we have that, we are not living in some kind of a mythological world where things are not what they used to be, and they probably never will. It is not about whining and pining. No! This is about recognizing that God and a human being are a majority. Think about what William Wilberforce did or Martin Luther King Jr. or Martin Luther or Athanasius. Remember contra mundum? He was saying, “Athanasius against the world.” I am going to stand no matter what. All of these kinds of stands produced great, great revolutions in society. This is not about defeatism. It is recognizing what is going on, why we lost the culture wars, and how the church itself has to change in the process.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the June 8, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.