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Thoughts on #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear

posted Apr 21, 2017, 10:05 AM by Nathan Wheeler   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 4:15 PM by Nathanael Wheeler ]

So, it came to my attention this morning that someone came up with a lovely idea to have women vent all of their frustrations with their churches online via Twitter. Never mind what those frustrations look like, whether they're rooted in your humanism, or if there's a real problem. Because today, it's all about YOU. Hopefully, some women are still reading, and I'd like to address you first. In fairness, I've spent several hours following and interacting with those who are posting about #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear, and I know this is lengthy, but I'd appreciate it if you'd take just a few minutes to read my thoughts on it - at least the first 5-6 paragraphs.



Women: There's a Biblical prescription for dealing with errors in the church:

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." - Matthew 18:15-17 (NASB)

These are the words of Christ. They are prescriptive for solving all manners of problems in the church. The key here is that these issues should be taken up with your leadership privately, then get a couple more people if they won't listen. Don't make threats, don't whine, just present the facts, and back them up with evidence. If your leader still won't listen, take it up with the entire church. This part is key. If you can't get the church to agree with you that your brother is in error (even in majority, and not unanimously), you're going to fail right here. The vast majority of the Tweets I've read would end before they began with this simple step of addressing the issue with the church. Especially in America, churches are, for better or worse, a democracy. Anyone can get two or three people who share their faulty viewpoint, but convincing more than half of a church is a lot more tricky. And if more than half the church sides with you on the issue and your leadership still won't listen, then you should find a new church. If you can't get half the church to agree with you, then you're probably wrong in how you're viewing things, in one way or another.

Unfortunately, ladies, the vast majority of you have skipped over this entire process, and now you're bashing the faith that you claim as your own because your feelings were hurt. You were hurt, so, now you're shooting yourself in the foot. You were asking to preach, but you've proven unable to follow God's commands. You were asked to lead a Sunday school class, but now you're not really qualified to do that. You wanted to be a leader, but now you're just part of a mob. If you want to lead in Christian ministry, you have to follow the Christian manual. It's that simple. For the vast majority of you, any church you try to go to that checks your background will probably not really be interested in having you serve in any great capacity until you've proven you can serve with humility, the way that God commanded. You can now expect to be relegated to serving in the soup kitchen, greeting, or some various other important, but non-leadership-of-any-kind role. 

Now that that's been settled, let's move on to the kind of things that are being Tweeted. Christians for Biblical Equality took the time to "keep a record of the profound and heartbreaking stories women and male allies are sharing" and "collected some of the most powerful tweets so far in a list." I feel like it's important that we address four of the fifty-five tweets first. These four actually are meaningful, and heartbreaking:

19. “If the pastor fell into sin and raped you it was you who seduced and tempted him.” –Sierra White

22. “’The ultimate healing would be if you two were married’-- said by the mom of my rapist.” –Tracy

32. “If you stay with your abuser, you might bring him to the Lord.” –Sarah Bessey

37. "If [abuse] is not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, I think she endures being smacked 4 a season." –Angie Sanderson

I think these comments should have not been put on Twitter in this manner, as a lashing out against the supposed misogyny of the church, but nonetheless they do require special attention. I have personally witnessed two churches who have covered up (or attempted to cover up) spousal abuse and child molestation. I think that the leaders who stood by and did nothing, except to try to keep the victims of these tragedies with their abusers, should be tried as accomplices after the fact. I have never been a victim of abuse or sexual assault, but I have witnessed in my own extended family the damage caused by rape and child molestation. As Christians, we are called to protect the weak and innocent. Any time a person puts their hands on another person to harm them, no matter what the reason, there is no rational individual who would encourage them to stay with their abuser. I am all for reconciliation if it can be made, but I am positively against shaming the victim or protecting the perpetrator.

Sadly, those four Tweets are buried under a mountain of moaning. Thirty of the fifty-five "most powerful tweets so far" are essentially all the same, and all have to do with Federal Headship in one way or another. For those who don't know what "Federal Headship" is, it has to do with imputation - from how sin was imputed through Adam to how righteousness is imputed through Christ. See, Eve actually sinned first. The devil deceived Eve. However, the Bible clearly states that sin came through Adam (Romans 5:12). Why? Federal Headship. Adam was expected to be Eve's leader. He was expected to enjoy Creation with Eve, protect her, and lead her spiritually. She fell first, while away from Adam, but then she took the fruit to Adam, and he ate the fruit also. Humanity was not fallen until Adam sinned. Then God came, and He didn't call for Eve - He called for Adam (Genesis 3:9). Adam was the representative of the human race - the "Federal Head." Fast forward a few thousand years, and Christ dies on the cross for the remission of our sins. Christ becomes our new "Federal Head" (Romans 5:18-19).

So, those thirty tweets about Federal Headship ranged from complaints that women couldn't be preachers to complaints that women aren't seen as heads of their households. Now the most commonly quoted verses saying that women can't be preachers or heads of their household are:

"I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." - 1 Timothy 2:12

and

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." - Colossians 3:18

While these verses are representative of Federal Headship, there are many arguments against them - things like: "Women were yelling out in church" and "That's not relevant to our culture." Bad news for those of you who hold to those arguments... Paul actually continues to explain his position:

"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." - 1 Timothy 2:11-14.

Paul links it all the way back to the Creation and fall of man - notice the phrasing of Genesis 2:18, where God "makes a helper for him", along with God's command to the woman in Genesis 3:16 that her "desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Was the curse lifted when Christ was crucified? Does the ground still bear thorns and is there still pain in childbirth? Then apparently not. Additionally, these verses don't exist in a vacuum - there are plenty more:

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." - 1 Peter 3:1

"The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says." - 1 Corinthians 14:34

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." - 1 Corinthians 11:3

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." - Ephesians 5:22-23

Now, yes, the entire context of these verses give commands to men as well, to love their wives. These verses also give commands to be compassionate toward one another. Women never historically took a back seat because of this - they simply had to live under their husband or father's leadership. Proverbs 31:10-31 even describes a woman who is trusted by her husband to buy and sell property, and to essentially run the entire household as she pleases. A Samaritan woman became the first soul-winner, inviting others to Christ (John 4:29-30).

The more recent battle cry has been heard shouted on the Twitter feeds of women hurt by this Biblical truth, "But what about Junia!?" Now, if you're not out battling mindlessly against the perceived injustices of the "oppressive, white males" who simply quote Scripture at you to back up their claims, then you may not know who Junia is in the Bible. She appears at the end of Romans as Paul gives his customary closing to specific individuals in the church:

"Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me." - Romans 16:7 (ESV)

Now, the problem with this verse is that some versions of the Bible say "of note among the apostles," rather than "They are well known to the apostles." This makes it sound like they're part of the apostles, right? Well, there's actually a Biblical outline for the requirements of an apostle when the eleven were looking for a replacement for Judas:

"Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection." - Acts 1:21-22.

So, the requirements are to have been with Jesus from His baptism until His ascension, and ordination by the other apostles. So, based on this verse, the "apostles" were limited to the twelve originals, and any replacements necessary, much like Paul took the place of Stephen. Translating this even loosely to say that apostleship belonged to all who met the criteria, and not only those who were ordained doesn't win you this case. Junia, then, was at best an apostle as a state of being, and not as an elected or selected role - an apostle was just anyone who met some requirements and not someone who was actually called or allowed to do anything specifically as a result.

The next big group of Tweets were on modesty. Oh, how we love to complain about men wanting women to look modest. I once did a poll, to see what women's reactions would be to their husband or a close male friend or relative informing them that their apparel was immodest. The very notion of it was met with hostility. Ladies, no matter what you may think, your body isn't yours:

"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife." - 1 Corinthians 7:4

If your husband tells you to cover it up, it's not yours, it's his, and you need to cover it up. And ladies, you have the right to tell your husband what he can and can't do with his body as well. Now remember, we are supposed to do everything in love, so we should be reasonable about this. My general rule on this would be that if I wouldn't want to be personally seen by Jesus wearing something, then I don't wear it. If you would wish you'd put on a long shirt over your yoga pants if you ran into Jesus at the grocery store, then you should have. If you would feel like covering up your bikini with a towel on the beach when Jesus showed up, then you shouldn't be wearing it. Modesty is absolutely taught throughout the Bible. You get some freedom in how to interpret this, but just because it's comfortable doesn't mean you get to wear it. Remember:

"But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience - I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved." - 1 Corinthians 10:28-33

"Why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?" Profound question, and profound answer. If you're doing something that someone has informed you causes them offence, stop. No, it isn't your fault that a man lusts - men lust because men are part of fallen humanity. But if a man is actually willing to admit that he has a problem and would like you to help him with it by wearing something different, why on earth would you shame him and refuse? You aren't showing humility. You aren't acting out of charity. You're saying that your freedom is more important than helping a brother out. You're being selfish, and a stumbling block. Trust me, it takes a lot of nerve to actually admit to a woman that you have a problem with lust. Men are not proud of this, and the general reaction to men when they tell someone is nothing short of revulsion - "Ew, I don't want him thinking of me like that! Pervert!" Then help him out! He's actually sharing a struggle that he has in his life with you!

And finally, we come to the last group of Tweets. Everybody hears these things - men, women, Christians, and non-Christians. "You just need to be patient and wait for a mate. Someone will come along.", "I felt like God wanted me to pray for you.", and oddly enough, "We need you to teach a Sunday school class." The first two, I've been told more times than I can count. I'm married now, so I don't hear the first one any more. The second one, fantastic! You're praying, which is good, and prayers are being said for me, which is also good. This is good for both of us! Now the third. I've been asked this multiple times, at nearly every church I've attended. Every church is looking for Sunday school teachers. Parents want a break from their kids, so they don't want to. People without kids don't want to deal with "other people's brats," and why should they, they don't have kids of their own...

Honestly, I'm always very honored to be asked to teach Sunday school, even if I have to decline at the time. To me, it's a higher honor than even that of "senior pastor." When you're asked to teach a Sunday school class, you are being asked to shape the very pliable minds of the youth of the church. You're teaching tomorrow's leaders. It's both fearful and wonderful at the same time - I have the opportunity to lead every one of these kids to Christ, but what if I teach them something wrong? How can you possibly be offended by that? Oh, you wanted the title and prestige of "pastor" or "elder." What if God had something bigger and better planned for you? And you're just stalling and delaying what God wants to do in your life because you're quibbling over a title. God said if you were faithful in the little things, you would be faithful with much (Luke 16:10), but instead you got offended and decided to go somewhere else to church because teaching Sunday school wasn't prestigious enough for you - you were more important than that. You wanted the honor. But that's not even a Christian attitude to have:

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going." - Ecclesiastes 9:10

I've been in ministries where I felt like I could just do so much more if more authority was handed to me. In some cases, I may actually have been able to do more, but the authority isn't mine to take. God gives the authority. If it isn't given to you, then it has not been granted by God. Period. As we so often tell children, "You get what you get, and don't throw a fit." You bring shame upon yourself, the group you represent, and the name of Christ with this sort of behavior. Stop it! 

What's Wrong: Holiness or Hell!

posted Jan 8, 2016, 2:16 AM by Nathan Wheeler   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 4:14 PM by Nathanael Wheeler ]

If you grew up like I did, you may have seen the bumper stickers and license plates plastered all over youth camps and camp meetings. You may have heard preachers shout this from the pulpit. It sounds good. It's catchy. Unfortunately, (and please don't just stop reading here...) it's wrong. 

Here's the deal - in logical argument, or philosophy, this is what we would call a "false dilemma." It's the illusion of two choices, borne of an inequality. Obviously, in this case, since you don't want Hell, you choose holiness. It's like asking, "Which is your favorite fruit, corn or oranges?" Since oranges are the only fruit on the list, you'll have to choose oranges. But what if, in fact, your favorite is bananas? In order to look at this logically then, we have to break this down into its component parts:

Hell:
Hell is a place. It's a bad place; a place where people generally don't want to go. I could quote a bunch of verses here about how bad Hell is, but you can probably think of a few right off the top of your head. This is where Christians believe non-Christians will go when they die.

Holiness:
This actually has (at least) two massively varied meanings, and I want to pay tribute to both for the purposes of this argument.

1. In my childhood, "Holiness" referred to a specific set of rules, regulations, beliefs, and practices. This "Holiness" had been around loosely in the early 19th century, but early in the 20th century, a new denomination was formed, taking upon itself the name "Holiness." It was a conglomerate of Pentecostalism, with some fairly heavy Charismatic influence. The people I grew up around referred to this "Holiness" - denomination, coupled with lifestyle - with their bumper stickers and license plates.

2. The other prevailing definition of "holiness" carried through from the 19th century in the form of Methodism, and this meaning is incorporated into many Wesleyan denominations today. This holiness is defined as the outward evidence of an internal change as a result of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. I imagine some of these people had the bumper stickers and license plates as well, but for them it held quite a different meaning.

Now, let's take a look at the opposites of these two items on the list:

Heaven:
Heaven is a place. It's a good place. It's the place that Christians believe they will go when they die. Again, I could quote verses about streets of gold and pearly gates, but you can probably spout off a handful of these as well. Heaven is the opposite of Hell.

Worldliness:
Worldliness is fairly self-defining - behaving like the world, or not behaving like Christ. Worldliness is the opposite for either definition of (H/h)oliness, although again, with varied definitions for each.

For the purposes of this argument, I will have to define one more term:

Salvation:
The redemptive work of Christ. This is the Christian's justification before a holy and righteous God. The Christian receives salvation only through the blood of Jesus Christ, who was fully God (Romans 1:4) and fully man (Romans 1:3), who died physically on the cross for their sins, and was resurrected physically on the third day (Luke 24:39). This sacrifice is what allows Christians to go to Heaven, and rejection of this sacrifice causes non-Christians to go to Hell.

After just reading the definitions you may have a good idea as to what the problem is with the statement "Holiness or Hell," but I'll complete the argument just to be sure you fully understand. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Romans 3:23-24 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

Later, Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Matthew 1:21 says of Jesus, "... for he shall save his people from their sins." Paul here was saying that a life of holiness should be the result of turning to God. We should be more Christ-like as a result of our salvation. 

James Henley Thornwell said, "Hence, it is perfectly ridiculous to represent works as conditions of salvation, since the ability and disposition to perform good works are blessings which we receive from our Savior in fulfillment of his office as Redeemer. Holiness is a benefit received, and not a price paid; it is our meetness for heaven, not our title to it." 

Whichever definition of holiness you may hold, it becomes obvious that Salvation is a necessary prerequisite to holiness, as well as the prerequisite for going to Heaven. Since salvation is the prerequisite for going to Heaven, then not-salvation, or rejection, is the prerequisite for going to Hell. Holiness is the eventual and progressive earthly outcome of salvation, but not a choice against which is the eventuality of Hell. Salvation is the opposite of Hell.

If you subscribe to definition 1 of holiness, you place all of the emphasis on denomination, behaviors, and appearances, with no mention of salvation. Thus, "Go to this church and appear like them or Hell." Alternately, if you subscribe to definition 2 of holiness, you place the emphasis on a requirement which, alone, cannot be met, again with no mention of the salvation. Thus, "Get sanctified or Hell." Salvation of the lost should always be the foremost goal of any form of evangelism. In either definition, "Holiness or Hell" fails to even mention salvation - neither as a prerequisite, nor to even imply its importance.

Unfortunately, "Salvation or Hell" just doesn't have the same ring to it. In light of this, I would like to propose a time-tested replacement, "Turn or Burn." (Just kidding!) Honestly, I'm not fond of any of these little catchy phrases. Either they end up sounding good, but are theologically and logically unsound, or they get a negative response because they typically end up plastered on the same cars that have all the wrong and hateful bumper stickers.

In my experience, the best way to reach out to the lost is to talk to them, and explain the Gospel to them. Tell them of your experience of salvation, and what a difference it has made in your life. We are the living, breathing testimony of God's love, mercy, and grace. We shouldn't need catchy phrases or bumper stickers to spread the Gospel.

Peace, Good Will Toward Men?

posted Dec 24, 2015, 11:34 PM by Nathan Wheeler   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 4:13 PM by Nathanael Wheeler ]

A couple years ago, I was sitting at work, listening to Spotify radio, as I so often do, and I heard something that I had never heard before. I heard Jeremy Camp reading Luke 2:8-14 on his album “Christmas: God With Us”. I believe almost everyone should be fairly familiar with the words of this passage:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" - Luke 2:8-14

I want to focus on this last verse, Luke 2:14. We all know the story here... Some shepherds are in this field, watching some sheep. An angel pops up out of nowhere, the glory of the Lord “shines around them” (which, I might add, few, if any, of us have ever really seen) and the shepherds are terrified. The angel starts talking to the shepherds, and tells them this Good News which will be told to the entire world, repeating the prophecy found in Matthew 24:14:

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." - Matthew 24:14

Then the angel tells what the Good News is, that the Savior was born, and the angel tells the shepherds how to find Him. Then all the sudden there’s a bunch more angels who are quoted in Luke 2:14 as saying:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Luke 2:14

We’ve all heard these words. Henry Longfellow wrote a song with them in 1864 that we still sing today -- “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”:

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

But what happened next? Sweet little baby Jesus who was born to bring peace to the whole world grew up into a man, preached for a few years, then was violently crucified. Then all but one of His first followers were martyred over the next few years. And over the next couple thousand years hundreds of thousands of people are killed either for being Christians, or by people claiming to be “Christians” -- through holy wars, crusades, hate crimes, etc.

Why? Why has there been nothing but violence on the Earth since this announcement of peace? Why have so many followers of Christ been slain? Why have so many “followers of Christ” slain others? Peace? Good will toward men? Where is this peace, and where is this good will?

Going back to when I first started writing, I said I heard Jeremy Camp read this passage, but I wrote the words with which you’ll likely be most familiar. What Jeremy Camp read was actually slightly different. It was from a different version of the Bible, rather than the King James Version, and it went like this:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
- Luke 2:14

That’s a little different. When I first heard this, I had a bit of a knee jerk reaction. My first thought was that this peace was for all men, and where did the good will go? I thought they had omitted the good will, and I was a little offended. So I looked it up, and I researched the verse a while. What I came up with was interesting.

In 12 out of 19 versions of the Bible I compared, while the wording may be slightly different, the thought was close. The “good will” wasn’t toward men. The “good will” described the men. The peace is toward the men. The men are men of good will. The word that is translated as “good will” in this place is can also be translated as “desire” or “of pleasure”.

The only people who God finds desirable, the only people with whom God is pleased, and the only people in whom is found any truly “good will”, are men who follow Christ. True believers in Christ are the only ones who receive any peace from the Good News. This theme is echoed throughout the New Testament: Paul and Silas singing in a jail cell, Stephen falling asleep in Christ as an angry mob stoned him, the list goes on and on.

We, especially in America, have come to expect peace. So, we mistake a “peaceful life” for the peace of God. Because of this false belief, when trouble comes our way, we mistakenly believe that our peace has been taken away, shattered. When we look at the peace that the great men in the Bible had, we should realize that the peace isn’t in what’s going on around us. The peace that they had was found in the Good News that their Savior had come to Earth and died for their sins. Their peace was found in the fact that, whether alive here on Earth or dead through various means, they would live on, they were forgiven - they were chosen of God to be His children.

We look for peace in material things, in an easy life. We talk about how blessed we are to live in this great country and how easy we have it. We talk about how God has blessed us by meeting our needs with abundance. Could we still say the same thing if we were locked up in a jail cell for spreading His Word? Would we still praise God and show His love, forgiving others as they stoned us for telling the Good News?

I’ve often heard people say things like, “Well, I know I must be doing the right thing because God is just blessing what I’m doing and life is great.” I’ve never heard anyone say, “This must be exactly what I’m supposed to be doing because I have a peace about it and everyone around me hates me and wants to kill me.” I’m guilty of it. If you’re honest, you’ll admit to being guilty of it as well. Jesus even told us that things here in the world weren’t going to be easy. He promised us a life of trouble.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

We don’t have peace with the world. We don’t have peace with unbelievers or people of other religions. This doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to pick fights with them, or go to war with them, we’re required to love them. They, however, won’t love us, and that’s ok, because we know God loves us. Romans 5:1 tells us what the peace that we have is:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
- Romans 5:1

We have peace with God. The Good News that the angels brought the shepherds in the field is just that simple - men on Earth can have peace with God! The war between God and man is over, no more sacrifices, no more death - we have eternal life and peace with God. Hallelujah, and amen!

What's Wrong? - Evolution Vs. God Movie

posted Jul 23, 2014, 9:42 PM by Nathan Wheeler   [ updated Apr 11, 2018, 4:12 PM by Nathanael Wheeler ]

I've seen this movie making the rounds on Facebook by my various Christian friends. First, I want to point out that it certainly is an intriguing movie, and I'm not slighting any of my friends who have shared it. What I want to do here is analyze the means of "proof" that it is using and maybe invoke some deeper thought about the argument. Here's the movie:

Evolution Vs. God Movie


The movie is comprised of several distinct sections, and I'll go over each one in chronological order as they appear in the video. Please read all the way through this, or at least read the last section. In the description of each section, I'm only describing the argument used, and the manner in which it is presented. I'm describing what's wrong with that particular section of the video. In those sections, I'm fairly harsh when it comes to dealing with the logic of their argument. In the last section, I'll explain why.

The Video - Breakdown

Atheistic/Agnostic Affirmation - 0:00-1:08

In the first 1:08 of the video, there's a careful pointing out that most/all of the interviewees are atheists or agnostics. This portion of the video seems extraneous - it doesn't really serve much purpose since atheists and agnostics comprise only around 18% of the world's population. According to these statistics, even 50% of "Mainline Protestant" and 23% of "Evangelistic Protestant" believe "that evolution is the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth."

Therefore, since atheism and agnosticism is such a significant minority in the world view, this section seems to be only intended to discredit the views of the interviewees. It leads anyone who believes that there is a god (of any kind) to view their input as warped from the beginning of the video. If you were to watch from 1:09, and skip this nonsense, you might come off with a more open mind about the topic of conversation - having no predisposition to discrediting the interviewees' statements.

Belief in Evolution - 1:09-2:47

This portion of the video seems harmless enough. All the interviewees believe in evolution. There's some other little stuff thrown in this section though that, in an overview seems fairly insignificant. Mostly there is the pointing out that many of the interviewees are either educated men and women or college students (becoming educated). However, this is a little deceptive trick similar to the previous section. Now, because you believe that these are educated men and women, you simply expect them to be able to provide answers to questions. Specifically, since many were science majors, you expect them to be able to answer questions about science.

The problem with this generated presupposition that the interviewees should be able to answer the questions presented is that it's actually an unreasonable assumption. For example, if you randomly walk up to a math professor and ask him to recite pi to the 50th significant digit, he will be highly unlikely to do so. It doesn't mean that pi can't be calculated to 50 significant digits. It doesn't mean the math professor is a moron. It means that the math professor has simply never found it necessary to memorize pi to that precision. In fact, if you were to give the math professor a little bit of time (or a 15 minute warning) he could probably either calculate it for you or find it somewhere to show you.

Observable Evidence - 2:48-13:48

Now this is where the video stops with the presuppositions and building the interviewees up for looking baffled. Here, we finally come to the meat of the argument presented in this video - "observable evidence." Here again is some deception from the very start though - "A scientific method is based on 'the collection of data through observation and experimentation...' ~ Science Daily." This is a misquote. I'm not sure if the producers of the video simply didn't understand the scientific method, or if they intentionally misquoted Science Daily. The actual statement on Science Daily is that the evidence gathered is "subject to specific principles of reasoning, the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."

While observable evidence is one type of evidence which can be gathered and subjected to this scrutiny, it is by no means the only type. The statement is made that all this stuff happened a long time ago, and over a long period of time, and so "it can't be observed." The question of observable evidence is only significant when it can not be answered. In return, I can ask a similar question - "Can you provide observable evidence that you were born, and not hatched in a lab?" Suddenly, this question bears a lot less weight. Cuddly baby pictures, like the fossil record, are not "observable" - your birth also "cannot be observed." Since the event isn't specifically repeatable, i.e. you can't be born physically another time from inside your mother, then even those who corroborate the story aren't enough to truly prove to anyone that you aren't a test tube baby from this warped scientific viewpoint.

Intelligent Design - 13:49-16:05

"Something from nothing" is the prevailing theme of this section. No successful model of the Big Bang shows anything other than an initial singularity in which something came from nothing. In other words, the vast majority of modern scientists today believe that the universe as we know it did, in fact, come from nothing. No other model of the origins of the universe have proven successful. Apparently, the interviewer is unaware of this "new" development in the theory of evolution. In fact, scientists originally fought very hard against the Big Bang theory, because "not only did the Big Bang model seem to give in to the Judeo-Christian idea of a beginning of the world, but it also seemed to call for an act of supernatural creation" (J. M. Wersinger, qtd. in Zacharias 58). 

Vestigial Structures - 16:06-17:31

This section deals with parts of the body which are sometimes considered to be leftover parts from evolution, such as the tailbone or the appendix. This part is another extraneous portion of the video. Had scientists not discovered that there was, in fact, a purpose for the coccyx and the appendix, this section would have been left out and nobody would have been the wiser. Since scientists haven't learned of any purpose for the plica luminaris or the arrector pili, those were left out of this video. Thus the use of vestigial structures to prove or disprove evolution is, at best, 50-50.

Famous Atheists - 17:32-20:55

What's the point of this - that people often mistake others to be atheists? People often claim to be Christians, but that doesn't make it so. Quite frankly, very few people are aware to any significant degree what the religious (or anti-religious) views of others are with whom they are not intimately acquainted. There are a significant number of famous atheists - Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking... I could go on. Again, there's not really any point to this - see "Atheist/Agnostic Affirmation." Showing a poster that someone made with errors, and then point out that the only confirmed atheist in the image committed suicide is really irrelevant to the argument of evolution. Professing Christians have also committed suicide. The famous atheists I pointed out have not committed suicide. 

Moral Absolutes - 20:56-22:19

This is really the first section that presents a good argument. Not a great argument. Just a good argument. However, because this argument actually requires significant leading and building time, it isn't given very much space in this video. It's also misrepresented quite horribly by suggesting that Hitler may have been practicing evolution.

Who Would You Save? - 22:20-23:42

This is really just a modified version of a standard "who would you save if" question, of which the most well-known is the Trolley Problem - and this is a pretty bad example of that problem. The only thing that this section shows is the lack of the value of human life within a handful of individuals. Quite honestly, I have had neighbors that I probably would have said I would let drown even without having to make a choice to save my pet - if they had been the only drowning being in the vicinity, I might not have acted on their behalf. Being presented with the reality of someone drowning, however, I'm pretty sure that I would have acted quite differently than my attitude may have appeared had someone asked me that question at the time. I have little doubt that the interviewees in this video would likely respond the same.

Good Person (Liar, Thief, Blasphemer, and Adulterer) - 23:43-32:59

There's a couple second lead-in to this one that seems to have been about dying and going to Heaven or Hell, but it's a little vague... After that, there's another standard question string which is often used by street evangelists. This argument has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. This argument also requires that you believe the Bible to be true. If you don't believe in God, or if you disbelieve the Bible, then this argument is rendered virtually ineffective. If one does not believe in God, they will not believe God will judge them for those sins, so why do they care if they are a liar, thief, blasphemer, or adulterer? 

This section ends with a presentation of a rather simplified version of the plan of salvation, with another couple of little street evangelism "tricks." Again, nothing to do with evolution, and more tricks and guided questions to make the people being interviewed look unbalanced or foolish.

Blooper Reel? - 33:00-33:56

This section really doesn't make a lot of sense. There's a handful of some of the more silly statements, that people made when confronted with particularly outlandish questions, intermixed with a handful of articles with bold headlines about evolution that sound rather silly or outlandish. 

Director's Commentary - 33:57-34:42

A short "Bible vs. Richard Dawkins" statement. Nothing more.

Producer's Commentary - 34:43-36:55

This is really just an ad space. Buy our stuff, visit our web page, and help us spread our materials to other people. Ends with a long plug for the Creation Museum.

Credits/Watch More - 36:56-38:26

Exactly what you expect at the end of a YouTube video. Although a minute and a half is pretty extravagant.

The Video - Summary

Now, whether or not I believe in evolution or the Big Bang theory completely aside, many people whom I firmly believe are Christians do believe in one or both of these theories. I want to very carefully point out that this is not an issue of salvation - you can believe in evolution or the Big Bang theory and still be saved. Salvation has to do with Christ dying for your sins, not what means God employed to create the universe. The Big Bang theory actually gives credibility to an act of creation, rather than doing completely away with the notion of a Creator, as stated in my section on "Intelligent Design."

This video seems to have been put together by one or more street evangelists who believe that they have come up with a way to beat scientists at their own game. These guys at least seem to be well-intentioned, but they are quite far off on a handful of their facts and their presentations of philosophical ideas are really just awful. I don't see this video doing anything positive for building up the Kingdom of God, and in fact, I think it only serves to make Christians who are fooled by this nonsense thump their chests, while non-Christians laugh at the silly Christians thinking they've outwitted the scientists. In other words, it makes Christians more proud, and non-Christians more resistant to the Gospel - it increases the gulf between the lost and the saved.

I realize that there are going to be those who are going to seriously not like my breakdown of this video, but I would like anyone who read this far to seriously consider what good this video actually does in bringing anyone closer to God. In this video, despite all their tricks and confusing the interviewees, not a single person is recorded as becoming a Christian. In fact, I've seen many individuals employ these tricks and the same sorts of questions many times, and it has been extremely rare to see any effect from them, and worse - those who do seemingly convert are in it for the "fire insurance" and there is no real change in their lives, and they are gone as quickly and easily as they were persuaded to come. These reasons are why I am fundamentally opposed to this video, and why I am so harsh against their arguments. 

Works Cited

Zacharias, Ravi. Who Made God? : and answers to over 100 other tough questions of faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Print.

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