Do Christians Beg the Question? by Justin Day
October 30, 2008, 8:00 am
Filed under: Thought Initiative

by Justin Day

Why do you believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God? For centuries, Christians have been accused of committing one of the main logical fallacies when forming doctrine on scripture. Many non-believers have claimed that Christians beg the question when justifying our belief in Holy Scripture. Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proved is assumed in one of the premises.

The primary justification, for most Christians, for the belief in scripture’s infallibility is 2 Timothy 3:16 or the multitude of fulfilled prophecies within scripture. If scripture is God-breathed, as 2 Timothy says, then it is infallible and trustworthy. The claim against this reasoning, however, is that when we appeal to scripture to justify the proposition that scripture is true, we are assuming the very thing we are trying to justify. In other words, aren’t we begging the question by saying “I believe the Bible is Word of God, because the Bible says it’s the Word of God.”

If the Bible is the basis of our worldview, then this seems to present a problem for Christians. What do you guys think?

(1)Is our belief in the infallibility of the Bible and, thus, our entire worldview based on a logical fallacy? If it is, does it matter? Does a fallacy necessarily imply falsehood?

(2)Are any or all other worldviews also based on some sort of circular reasoning or is the Christian worldview alone on this?


Leadership.5 Some Particulars by Caleb H.
October 27, 2008, 6:06 am
Filed under: Devotions, Leadership

by Caleb Hancock

To be a good leader doesn’t just mean that you can make split-second decisions, or that you make wise, thought out ones either. At least, that’s not all it entails.
Certainly, last week we looked at two aspects of Adam’s failed leadership in not protecting and correcting his wife, as well as his (and our) all too familiar reaction to sin by blaming others. Well this week, let’s take a look at another aspect of leadership from another biblical example.

Take a minute before reading on (if you really want to benefit yourself) and read the passage here.

Nehemiah 1&2

Nehemiah was an Israelite in captivity under a foreign nation. He was grieved to hear about the state of his conquered hometown and received (miraculously) permission from the ruling king to go and rebuild it.

It would be all to easy to see how Nehemiah could easily have taken off in hurried excitement in order to get back to Jerusalem ASAP. However, we see an aspect of the spiritual gift of leadership at work in the following way. Nehemiah took time (v.6) to think out exactly what would be needed to successfully complete his task BEFORE he began it. He not only received permission to do his task, he got letters to prove this, to allow him safe passage, and even written orders that all of his supplies be furnished.

Men, if we want to lead well, and follow Nehemiah’s example, let’s not rush about willy-nilly seeking to begin growing and leading in every sphere around us. Rather, let us think through where the Lord has placed us, how we can lead effectively, and take the time to think through the details.

Points of Application:

  • Are you prone to start many projects at once and lax to finish them? Take this post as a loving exhortation to change, in order that you might better serve those that you lead.
  • Do you schedule and prioritize your time on a regular basis? (Thinking through your roles, and coming up with specific goals to accomplish that week in each) Doing so will only benefit you and those you serve.
  • See that, no matter where you are, even if you’re merely a cup-bearer, the Lord would have you be faithful even in the small tasks that you are responsible for, in order that her might mold you into a leader that can rebuild a city (or lead/serve on a particular ministry team, prepare for and lead a wife, raise and lead a family, etc.)

Satisfaction in Abundance by Tyler Thayer
October 23, 2008, 8:00 am
Filed under: Thought Initiative | Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Tyler Thayer

The previous post about the Bugatti Veyron (which by the way, I would love to drive one day) really got me thinking:  If we were to find total satisfaction in Christ, how much could you spend on a purchase before it became sinful and distracting, or after you achieve total satisfaction is everything free game?  God wants us to live life in abundance, right?

In 2006, ABC news did an article on The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006.  This list included some of the most wealthy and powerful people in the world; most of whom prized themselves on material possessions. One of the 10 most fascinating people was Joel Osteen, Senior Pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church.  In the interview with Barbra Walters this is one of the last things Osteen is quoted saying:

“I think the word rich is all relative,” Osteen said. “I think down and deep in our hearts, we believe that God does want us to live the abundant life that we can. To me, prosperity is health, good relationships … and money, of course, is part of it.”

So can the Christian find satisfaction in the abundant life that God wants us to live?  And does that abundant life refer to prosperity?  And prosperity to money?

In discussing 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, John Piper points out that as Christians we are involved with the market place and that we do buy things, but we do it as if we are not.

4. “Let those who buy [do so] as though they had no goods.Let Christians keep on buying while this age lasts. Christianity is not withdrawal from business. We are involved, but as though not involved. Business simply does not have the weight in our hearts that it has for many. All our getting and all our having in this world is getting and having things that are not ultimately important. Our car, our house, our books, our computers, our heirlooms-we possess them with a loose grip. If they are taken away, we say that in a sense we did not have them. We are not here to possess. We are here to lay up treasures in heaven.

“This world matters. But it is not ultimate. It is the stage for living in such a way to show that this world is not our God, but that Christ is our God. It is the stage for using the world to show that Christ is more precious than the world.”

If we truly believe and preach that Christ and him crucified is our source of total satisfaction, does buying a big house and an expensive car point to Christ?  Is there a difference between a worldly man who desires these things and a Christian man who desires these things?

Can I Has Speedster? by Travis Evans
October 22, 2008, 11:28 am
Filed under: Culture

By: Travis Evans

Men, this* is why we go to school and get a good job, right? This* is the proverbial carrot at the end of the proverbial stick for guys everywhere. What else could a man want or aim all of his efforts toward than a $1.4 million; 253 mph-reaching; 1001 HP-churning; 922 ft-lbs-cranking; 7 speed, dual clutch, quad-turbo W 16 engine-carrying; fire-breathing monster machine. Ok, so it doesn’t breath fire.

You may be asking, “What’s wrong with going 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (two average heart beats) and achieving 250 mph in just over 40 seconds?” My answer to that is, “Sign me up!” As men, we love adventure, thrills and going really, really fast. The problem is not the car or the desire for speed. However, a car like this displays a problem that lies within us. That’s why manufacturers build cars like this. Men are searching for satisfaction. We can never go fast enough, never have the most expensive car. We want more, and we want it now. We want to be satisfied. We want to find joy. Yet, the problem is we are (apart from Christ) unsatisfied, joyless people. We can only be satisfied and have true joy in knowing God, and we can only know God by having faith in Christ’s substitutionary death for us and our sins on the cross. Therefore, the Gospel is where (eternal!) satisfaction and joy are found.

You can spend all that you have and are on this*, but at the end of it all, you won’t be satisfied and you will be left with no joy.

What are your thoughts? Do you like to go fast? Would you like a ride in a car like this? How fast have you ever gone? If you had 10 billion dollars, would you own a car like this?

*a Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Leadership.4 The Presursor by Caleb H.
October 20, 2008, 6:22 am
Filed under: Devotions, Leadership

by Caleb Hancock

After discussing the purpose, possibility, and power to lead in a God-honoring way, I thought that it would be helpful to take the next few weeks and see biblical examples of leadership, both good and bad.

This week, let’s take a look at our ancient (and I mean a way long time ago!) relative: Adam.

Genesis 3 gives the whole account. Take a moment to read through this, recognizing that this isn’t a myth, but is an actual account of what transpired.

There were two specific points that we need to look at.

First, in verse 6, we see that Eve took the fruit, ate some, and then gave it to her husband, Adam.

So…what’s the big deal, right? How does this have anything to do with leadership?

Well, it is the vacuum left by the absence of Adam’s leadership that should draw our attention. Here he is, apparently observing his wife do exactly what God had instructed them not to do (Gen. 2:17, and 3:2), and yet he is sitting on the sidelines, merely observing.

If Adam was to be the head of his wife, if his heart was to lead her in a way that honored God, would that not have mandated that he warn his wife and put himself between her and the object of her sinful desire? That he plead with her not to sin and do everything in his power to protect her from Satan’s influence? But did he do that? No. He watched, and then, to seal the deal, ate the fruit along with her when she gave it to him.

Let’s continue on in Genesis 3 and note another incidence of Adam’s leadership.

We find in the next few verses, after Adam and Eve are aware of their nakedness and have hidden from God in the garden, when God finds them, he asks them how it is that they have become aware of this.

Many of you can see it coming.

It’s like watching a horror movie unfold before you on your TV screen and no matter how much you yell at it and beg the main character to not go into the dark basement alone, they do it anyway! It is a similar story here with Adam.

After God questions him, what is his first response? BLAME! He blames his wife! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Men, if we are to be God-fearing leaders, we must recognize that failure in our lives is not due to others’ failures, but our own. Unless we see our need for help, we will never receive it. Adam, and the rest of us who have inherited his nature (that’s everybody, for those of you keeping track), are infused with pride. We are quick to take credit for success, but even quicker to pass the buck for failure. If we are to be biblical leaders, it must not be so.

Thankfully, guys, although God IS opposed (actively) to the proud, he gives grace to the humble. So, we can expect that as we humble ourselves before Him and others when we fail, we will receive grace! This is what godly leadership looks like.

Aren’t you thankful that, although death came to all men through the one man’s (Adam’s) sin, and then death came to all of us, because we all have sinned (Romans 5:12), the story doesn’t end at Genesis 3:12?!

Rather, all of scripture, and all of history, point to the fact that God has had mercy on sinners who turn from their sins and trust in His Son, the Saviour, the Lamb of God who takes away sins through his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross in our place. Men, although like our precursor, we have all sinned, there is hope in Christ for all who are united to Him through faith.

We are not left to remain as proud, lazy, blame-shifting wimps, but are called to, out of joy in our salvation, lay down our lives to serve others by pointing them to the gospel of Jesus with our lives and mouths.

Points of Application:

  • Pray that God would give you a cross-centered view of life, that you would be filled with hope knowing that, if you have repented and turned in faith to Christ, God has washed away every sin!
  • Lead others with your example to fear God, to not indulge sinful desires, but to walk in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4)
  • If you are aware of folks who are currently involved in active sin, plead with them to fear God and repent and turn to Christ

Galatians 6:1-2

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”

  • When things fail, and they will, humbly accept responsibility where appropriate, confess any sin, and seek to walk in holiness and honor.

Top 5 – Biographies by Travis Evans
October 18, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Books, Top 5

Biographies capture the life and character of an individual: what they said, who they were and what they stood for. Some biographies are commendable because the people that the biographies are about lived lives that we can exemplify. Plus, some people lived exciting lives, lives worth reading about.

What are your Top 5 biographies?

Voting on Religious Beliefs by Justin Day
October 16, 2008, 8:01 am
Filed under: Philosophy, Thought Initiative

by Justin Day

Imagine this scenario: Let’s suppose that radical Muslims have had mass conversions in the United States. With their numbers, they have managed to run enough effective political campaigns to gain control of the government of Michigan. They are the dominant party in the legislature, hold the governor’s seat and four of the seven seats in the State Supreme Court. They have passed legislation, similar to Sharia (Islamic Law), that all females in Michigan must wear Burkas at all times in public. Citing a violation of their First Amendment rights, the state was sued by a female citizen and the case wound up in the US Supreme Court.

When the case was heard before the Supreme Court, the plaintiff argued that Islamic beliefs were being forced upon her and that by passing the legislation the state of Michigan was breaking the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, establishing an official religion. Although everyone knew that the real reason for the legislation was Muslim religious beliefs, the state argued their reasoning for the legislation in purely secular terms; they made no appeal to religion whatsoever. The Supreme Court, taking a very strict originalist stance, ruled in favor of the state.

Would this be acceptable?

Americans United for Separation of Church and State says no. They say, “When the government or government officials get behind one religious message, it sends the message to adherents that they are more valuable, and all others are less valuable, members of the political community.” For the government to treat part of its citizens unequally, in this respect, violates their rights because they cannot appeal to the religious beliefs of Islam unless they are believers themselves.

The American Center for Law and Justice says yes. Citing many historic Supreme Court rulings, they state: “The Nation’s history is replete with examples of acknowledgment of religious belief in the public sector. Our religious heritage is manifested in many ways that openly reflect government sponsorship and yet do not create an “establishment” problem.” If the Supreme Court was right when it ruled on Zorach v. Clauson (1952) stating that “”[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being,” do we not have the right to rule based on those presuppositions?

(1)Considering the given problem, do you think people should legislate based on their religious beliefs?

(2)Are we doing the same thing as the Muslims in the scenario above when we legislate against gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, etc? If no, what is the difference?