Child-like Faith in Creation Account

When I was just five, I made a conscious choice to become a Christian. My young mind and heart soaked in the moisture of spirituality. I was primed to bring out the water I drank.

At 8, a new pastor was installed at our little country Baptist church. He taught me to be a  ‘witness’ of the Gospel. That meant it was my duty as a born again Christian to persuade  others to believe what I believe. I was introduced, therefore, to my first measuring stick of  spirituality: possessing the courage to tell others the Truth of scripture.

Perhaps that scares you. It saddens me now, but it was all I knew. Yet in my maturity, I can glean from its good bits and allow the chaff to to dispersed in the wind.

My first four years of primary education were expended inside a little two-room schoolhouse of Berville. The locals call the village ‘Beer’-ville. It was smaller than a small town. Beside the school, there was one business, one dairy, a facility for the Lions Club, and a ‘hotel’, the local pub. Fifty or so houses still surround the afore mentioned buildings to house its community.

The  school no longer exists. The American Veterans now have the land, but tore down the two-storied school building. For a long time, I viewed its demise as a small reward for harbouring my initial persecution.

In my third year of Berville school, I began to practise ‘witnessing’. Out of 60 odd
students, I led 3 or 4 to Christ. I remember the names of two of them. John moved before the  year was out. He was my first ‘best friend’. I never did know to where he moved nor where he  is at today. Bob later became a Jehovah’s Witness and worked inside the Headquarters for the  Watchtower Society in New York. That’s a twist!

I was appointed the leader of a sect within the school. I was the teacher of ‘witnessing’. I led the troops into battle during recess. The playground was our battle ground. We set out to win the lot over to Christ! But we never got by Edgar. His rebuttal to our attack  led to my court-martial.

Our group had prayed together and believed it was of God that we  teach Edgar how to become a Christian. Edgar was Catholic. In those days, they didn’t like being called Christians.

Edgar believed in evolution—or more accurately in the authorities who espouse the philosophy. It is a philosophy, not a science. How do I know? Because after Edgar rejected our Gospel ‘witness’ and I parroted my pastor: ‘Evolutionists are out of their  skulls!’ recess was over and we began Social Studies.

The teacher began the class just after the aforementioned recess by having us read silently the next section in the textbook. After we read the section, she was going to expound its contents.

The reading was about Charles  Darwin and his theory of evolution.

It was introduced to me as a philosophy, not a science. I still believe it is such.

‘Psst. Tim—what are you going to do? Are you going to read it?’

That was one of my followers. I can’t disappoint him, but nor could I encourage rebellion.

‘Of course. It’ll be good for a laugh.’

The laugh was on me. After the appointed time to read was ended, the teacher asked if their were any questions. Edgar stood up. I went stiff.

‘Mrs Winnie, Tim Rose says evolutionists are out of their skulls’.

Silence.

My young world joined forces to smother me.

Mrs Winnie turned a bitter gaze in my direction. My classmates stared at me with curiosity. I don’t remember if I was asked to defend myself. I do remember my response. I stood trembling next to my desk. I lifted its top and pulled out my bible.

I read the Genesis account of Creation.

If only I would have realised that most of my classmates were happy with my response. I never knew until years later. I lost my confidence for many years after. It disappeared in the midst of the humiliation that followed.

Time for recess. Everyone got to go out and play but Tim Rose. Teacher pulled him into the back room. Many words were said. Most forgotten but the one stipulation to join his classmates on the playground were never forgotten:

‘Don’t let me EVER hear you read from that bible in my classroom again!’

Don’t Kill the Messenger

No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” (Sophocles)

Character assassination in politics has become a normal way to take out competition. Truthfulness of accusations are no longer a concern. The focus is on winning and winning alone. The end justifies the means. It also underscores the difference between so-called success and genuine success. True success is ethical.

Sophocles_pushkin

Thomas came to me absolutely shattered. He confided in me of a terrible situation where his career was about to be destroyed. As I listened to his story, identifying the elements of chaos, it was especially heartbreaking. You see, Thomas was a church elder. He was asked to deliver the results of a polling of church members. And the organization splintered after the message was delivered. 

The church was organized with a plurality of leadership responsibilities. Thomas was the “face” of the organization. He was the one who stood up before the congregation each week and delivered a sermon. Other leaders held different responsibilities. One was in charge of finances, another marketing, and so on. 

This organization had a chairman of the elders. His primary function was to coordinate leadership meetings and ensure their decisions were executed. Yet as Thomas’ narrative unfolded, it became clear the chairman desired more than just coordinate. 

At that time the church did not have its own worship facility. They rented out venues and operated a successful outreach to its community. However, it was no secret the chairman believed it was time for a building program. 

Thomas had been delivering a series of sermons on responsibility to the community. He was approached by key lay persons and several of the other elders. They asked him if he would deliver a message to the chairman that they believed their monies would be better spent at that time on the community work. 

When Thomas delivered the message, the chairman began to blame Thomas for the people’s decision. He accused Thomas of using the public speaking platform to undermine his authority. He then warned Thomas, “You will see how you were wrong to tell me this.” 

Thomas didn’t fully appreciate the warning. By the time he was seeking my counsel, the chairman had released a smear campaign against my client. Unsubstantiated allegations of inappropriate funding were delivered in a letter addressed to leaders across that denomination. Even though Thomas had nothing to do with handling the finances and was only one vote on the executive committee, no outsider was made aware of those details. His character was slandered. 

The chairman soon resigned. It took several months for the organization to regain its momentum. However, it took several years to repair the relationship between the two men. 

When you reach a level of success that holds great responsibility, it will take ethics to sustain that success. 

Challenge: Ethics is an expression of respect for others. Do I view myself as above the rules for social order? 

Why God Created Evil

To many, my headline is offensive. Human Secularism has won the battle of Western thinking. There is no God.

The argument goes like this:

  1. If there was a God, God is good.
  2. Evil exists.
  3. Therefore, there is no God, for if there was a God, there would be no Evil.

The idea that creature can dictate the terms of his/her Creator’s existence is irrational. Nonetheless, the argument outlined above passes as “great thinking”.

Nietzsche God is Dead

Here are three reasons why God created Evil.

  1. Because there can be no Justice without Evil.

God claims to be the creator of Evil. God does not claim to create sin, but the judgment necessary for sin’s actions. If there is no such thing as Evil, there is no justice in life. Being Just is a part of being Good.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7

  1. Because there can be no Good without Evil.

What is Good? Without Evil, Good has no definition. Without Evil, there is no need for Good. Whatever Good is, it is not Evil. The two concepts cannot exist in a vacuum. They are interdependent on each other. Duality is reality:

  • Without the negative, there is no positive;
  • Without danger, there is no safety;
  • Without pessimism, there is no optimism;
  • Without Egoism there is no Altruism;
  • Without Chaos, there is no such thing as Order;
  • Without unconsciousness, consciousness does not exist;
  • Without slavery, freedom cannot be birthed.
  1. Because God’s goodness is what leads to Repentance.

Without Evil, there is no need to repent. To repent is change the direction of one’s path. To repent is to change the thinking of one’s mind. To repent is to change the attitude of one’s heart. If there is no God, no repentance is required. If there is a God, a change in one’s direction, thinking and attitude is required to align with God’s ways. Without Goodness, there is no means of repentance.

Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4

God’s Goodness is associated with forbearance and longsuffering. What makes God Good is the exists of Evil in our lives and God’s willingness to forgive.

To deny Evil is to despise God’s Goodness.

Is the Lord’s Supper A Meal?

There is a groundswell bubbling beneath the surface of contemporary Christianity. It is trying to burst forth freedom from “religion”.

My difficulty is, however, that this coming Reformation is CONTRARY to the original Reformation.

The Reformation of the Church popularized by Dr Martin Luther was a thirst to RETURN to a bible-based application of religious practices.

The new Reformation will make the same claim. The difficulty is that we now have a multiplicity of versions of the Bible that contradict each other. The contradictions are now leading to interpretations of ancient practices contrary to the original texts.

The Lord’s Supper is case in point.

There is a movement to refer to the Lord’s Supper as a “meal”.

The argument goes something like this:

  1. Jesus was observing the Passover with His Disciples.
  2. The Passover was a meal.
  3. The observance Jesus commanded was given at the Passover meal.
  4. Therefore, the observance is a meal.

Those that follow that logic and embrace its application are rejecting the Scripture as preserved in the Reformation Texts.

Paul the Apostle specifically instructs, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is NOT to eat the Lord’s supper” (I Cor 11:20, emphasis mine). “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God…” (I Cor 11:22).

  1. The purpose of Christian assembly is NOT to eat the Lord’s Supper.
  2. Eating belongs in your house.
  3. Confusing Christian assembly with household meals is DESPISING God’s Church.
  4. Therefore, the observance is SACRED.

That is why it is called a “sacrament”, not a “meal”. The reformation texts also used the term “ordinance”.

At the root of the issue is how to translate and/or apply the Greek word, paradosis.

I Corinthians 11:2 reads “keep the ordinances, as I have delivered them to you.” The revised traditional texts now translate pardosis as “tradition”. At least that is closer to paradosis than the application of it being a “meal”. “Tradition”, however, is still weaker than the original “ordinance”. The Orthodox Jewish Bible, instead of translating the term into English, preserves the Hebrew:

Now, I commend you that in all things you have remembered me and you hold fast to the masoret torat haShlichim just as I transmitted and handed them over to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2, emphasis mine).

The beauty of this is the concept of the observance being something “set apart” from the meal itself. The context of Paul’s teaching is that the Lord’s Supper is NOT to be observed as any other traditional meal (see I Corinthians 11:27-34).

The meaning of paradosis and the masoret torat haShlichim is passing on that which was taught before. It deals with the substance of the teaching and of the body of precepts, especially that of a ritual.

No matter how you translate the original language, the observance is meant to be special, not common. To treat the Lord’s Supper as a common meal is literally to PROFANE the ordinance.

What is being lost through all this confusion?

  1. The observance was post-meal.
  2. The observance was to supersede the Levitical tradition.
  3. The observance was to establish Jesus as the High Priest of a different priesthood.
  4. The Passover is Levitical; the observance is PRE-Moses!

The ritual performed by Jesus Christ established Himself as the new high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the priest of the most high God, not the high priest of Israel. He “brought forth bread and wine” and he “blessed” Abraham. Abraham gave of his tithes to Melchizedek (compare Genesis 14:17-20 and Hebrews 7).

Treating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal or even a part of the Passover Meal covers over the establishment of Jesus Christ as the High Priest of the most high God. As the high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus was able to go to the Cross and offer His life vicariously for humanity. If the Lord’s Supper was just a meal, His sacrifice was in vain.

The Prophetic Psalm of David (110)

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,
in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

He shall judge among the heathen,
he shall fill the places with the dead bodies;
he shall wound the heads over many countries.
He shall drink of the brook in the way:
therefore shall he lift up the head.

Morality as per Sylvester & Tweety

Years ago, I was asked to prepare teenagers for their university education. The assignment was part of a series to help those who grew up with a Christian faith. Public education has an inbuilt bias to preserve its Religion of Secularism.

I recently came upon these notes researching for a book I am writing about Ethics. I thought I would share these with you even though they are dated. Trying to reason with bright teenagers about morality was a seemingly impossible task! Nevertheless, the sessions were valuable for both teens and me. Hope they can add value to your journey.

aristotle.jpg

Note #3 – Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird.

Sylvester the cat wants to eat Tweety Bird. Just as he is about to put the little yellow morsel into his mouth, up pops two miniatures of Sylvester himself. One is angelic and the other a demonic image of himself. Each sits on the opposite shoulder and whispers their counsel into Sylvester’s ears.

Is this just a cartoon feature? How about neo-Platonic morality developed by Augustine and encouraged later by later thinkers known as absolutists!

You may be surprised to learn preaching what is moral has not been limited to the church pulpit. There are several systems of principles that have been developed over time. These systems are the practical application to particular beliefs. Your university education will expose you to diverse beliefs.

Man Angel on Shoulder

The science of moral philosophy is known as ethics. The terms ethics and morality are synonymous. They both are derived from words which mean customs and indicate how people are to behave within a given Society.

Ethics is derived from the Greek term, ethika, a derivative itself from ethos, emphasizing character with customs.

Morals is the equable derivative of the Latin term, mores. Mores has been transported into English to mean rules related to the conduct, manners and behavior of people to others.

Sylvester and Tweety as Food

As a branch of philosophy, ethics belongs to the normative sciences. Normative has to do with what is the norm of human conduct. This type of science differs from the formal sciences like mathematics and the empirical sciences such as social sciences. Normative science takes place when psychology scrutinizes the social conditions involved in developing moral principles.

Ethics as a disciple is a collection of “doctrines” which govern social manners. The use of the term “doctrine” is very familiar to you as a Christian. It is the same term used by non-Christians in philosophical discussions. In Western Civilization, these doctrines have been debated since the 6th century BC. Philosophers still strive to articulate what is good and right.

When you begin your university training, you will find yourself inside the chambers where morals are still under debate. That is why it is important you understand ethical principles and how they relate to your Christian values.

Posts in this series:

Morality is Virtue

Years ago, I was asked to prepare teenagers for their university education. The assignment was part of a series to help those who grew up with a Christian faith. Public education has an inbuilt bias to preserve its Religion of Secularism.

I recently came upon these notes researching for a book I am writing about Ethics. I thought I would share these with you even though they are dated. Trying to reason with bright teenagers about morality was a seemingly impossible task! Nevertheless, the sessions were valuable for both teens and me. Hope they can add value to your journey.

aristotle.jpg

Note #2 – Laws serve to represent Society’s morals. They are given with the assumption citizens are capable of obeying and upholding them.

When morality is viewed as a code of behavior, it implies each person is virtuous or, in the least, capable of exercising virtue. That means behavior codes assume you can respect the rules of “right” in relation to social customs.

As a Christian, you may view moral codes as divine law and not human law. You need to recognize that both divine and human law agree that a person who follows the rules of the school; obeys the law of the land; adheres to the creed of a church, et al; such behavior is classified as virtuous.

In plainer language: there are just some actions you know are right thing to do whether or not they come from the Church, the University or your future Employer.

doorhold

Previously, it was considered right and proper for a man to hold the door open for a lady. Today no such social expectation is preached. What was virtuous in Western Civilization previously many not be regarded as such today.

So, how does a Christian know what to do when? Is it proper to conform Society’s standards of morality?

Morality is a code of behavior. What does that mean?

  • Certain actions are accepted as “good”
  • Performing those actions are “virtuous”
  • Virtuous behavior is acceptable “deportment”
  • Right deportment are actions that conform to Divine Law.

At the end of the day, no matter the standards of Society, the Divine Code propagates a superior virtue. Exercise the “mores” of Society only when there is no clear contradiction to the Divine Code.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29

What is the Divine Code? Traditionally, it is known as the 10 Commandments. They form the basis of 603 additional laws issued through Moses. However, Jesus summarized them into 3 (Matthew 22:36-40):

  • Love your Self
  • Love your Neighbor
  • Love your Creator

Morality Is A Behavior Code

Years ago, I was asked to prepare teenagers for their university education. The assignment was part of a series to help those who grew up with a Christian faith. Public education has an inbuilt bias to preserve its Religion of Secularism.

I recently came upon these notes researching for a book I am writing about Ethics. I thought I would share these with you even though they are dated. Trying to reason with bright teenagers about morality was a seemingly impossible task! Nevertheless, the sessions were valuable for both teens and me. Hope they can add value to your journey.

aristotle.jpg

Note #1 – Morality has become associated as a code of behavior. The philosophers believed a certain conduct would lead to happiness.

The early church taught, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). The pursuit of happiness is not the deportment of Christianity; but rather the pursuit of godly living—living in a way that is God-like. It is not the arrogant pursuit of being gods as Adam and Eve erred (Genesis 3:5) but a contentment to live as God directs in accordance to His word.

From the very beginning, God has been interested in His creation doing what He says to bring them the greater benefit (Genesis 3:11). Philosophy can rob you of God’s blessings if you are not careful (Colossians 2:8). Nonetheless, there is an agreed precept between philosophy and Biblical Christianity: your contentment in life can be found when following a code of behavior.

The Bible assumes you are capable of moral actions. There are certain actions which you are bound to perform. The obligations performed as a social duty are, definition, acts of morality. Each Society adjust the rules, but one fact remains: morality is associated with you keeping accepted rules.

Waiter

For instance, most people do not tip in a restaurant here in New Zealand. It is considered immoral for an employer to not provide servers with full wages. With the provision, tipping is not a necessary part of the server’s wages. However, in the United States, it is customary to tip a server regardless of any wages being received. The respective customs reflect differing moral standards for its Society.

At university, you will be given guide-lines and expectations for your behavior. Jump up and down all you want about your individual rights! It won’t make a difference. Whenever individuals join together, there must be agreement on a set of rules. Otherwise, chaos results and there will be no order for your educational environment.