Ham vs Nye Creation Debate and What Does a Good Gospel Presentation Look Like?

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The gospel, and the many ways and opportunities in which it is presented:  Creation debates, evangelism, street preaching, etc.

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Watching social media discuss the Ken Ham vs Bill Nye creation debate, a word kept coming popping up all over the place:  the gospel.  Let’s first look at its use within the widely publicized creation debate.

To sum up my general views on yesterday’s debate:  I have a hunch that most people supported the guy on their side of the fence, and most likely were not swayed to jump to the other side of the fence after hearing the debate.

This 40-second video might accurately portray what a lot of people felt:

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While many people looked at this debate as an opportunity to discuss science vs creationism, many were focused on this venue as an important gospel opportunity:

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Here are comments from articles highlighting the gospel in the context of the debate from familiar names:

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“Ham was consistently bold in citing his confidence in God, in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the full authority and divine inspiration of the Bible.”  ~Albert Mohler

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“Ken Ham has an unwavering commitment to biblical authority and to the gospel. I admire that about him and do believe him to represent the most compelling position. I am grateful that he is out there fighting the good fight. He’s one of the good guys.” ~Denny Burk

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First, I thought Ken Ham did very well. He shared the Gospel multiple times (I think I counted 4 complete Gospel presentations, as well as numerous references to sin, the Fall, and redemption in Christ), and he stuck to his message that the true disagreement is at the presuppositional level. ~JD Hall 

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Here are other comments from around the net:

Then you were not listening carefully. Ken Ham did what he needed to say. The gospel true was preached and he stuck to the Bible rather then [sic] his own opinion. As for the debate, it will go on till the end of time because the unregenerate heart will not understand God and will always ask to see more signs. ~Guy

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How many times did Ken Ham share the gospel? ALOT… How many times did he direct everything to God & his word? ALOT… Bill Nye & the media is portraying that He won the debate… AHH, but you are wrong again world.. If one soul came to the Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ – It was ALL worth it. How many non-believers do you think watched? Praising God for using this debate and Ken Ham & AIG to further His kingdom & for His glory!! ~Jay

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1st Corinthians1:18 for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing……… ken ham wove the gospel message into his portion of the debate, that in itself is a great advance. Do you have any idea how many unsaved heard the Gospel last night because of that….. ~Glen

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More importantly last night, the Gospel was presented with Truth and grace. A seed was planted. It’s now up to the Holy Spirit to show Bill Nye the error of his ways. If the Lord can transform Saul of Tarsus, He can certainly transform Bill Nye, the Science Guy! Keep praying… ~Lee

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That’s a whole lot of gospel talk, right?

While some in the Christian camp were thrilled with Ham’s gospel presentation and made note of  how many times he included the gospel message in the debate, others (including Christians) were not so impressed:

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Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 9.58.25 AM

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There was a great debate on the topic of the gospel following the above tweet.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.  John 5:39-40

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I’ve been thinking about this gospel that so many talk about.  Obviously Ken Ham was being judged by Christians on how well and how many times he presented it.  It seems there must have been people on the sidelines with scorecards making tally marks when listening to Ken Ham’s words, judging whether or not he passed their gospel presentation test. 

Someone actually created a Facebook page on the same day of the debate to devote themselves to praying for Bill Nye:   Pray for Bill Nye:  “Let’s commit to praying that the Holy Spirit will prick the heart of Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”

I’m glad Ham touched on the important facets of Christianity – sin, death/resurrection of Christ.  However, I’m curious to know how many people were won over to Christ by Ham’s gospel-ese words?  Did anyone’s heart get stirred by hearing that gospel message four times in the debate?  I suspect not.  ::::Did I hear a collective gasp from a certain crowd? ::::

But this focus on the gospel message within the debate also reminds me of those who share the gospel recklessly.  I’m not talking about being a fool for Christ, but maybe that other F word:  Farisee, oops Pharisee.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are likewhitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  (Matthew 23:25-28, ESV)

Case in point, street evangelist Tony Miano doing his thing on Twitter yesterday – a smattering of spiritual words/verses in response to the recent announcement from Scotland that they now allow same-sex marriage.  Look at the behavior.  Look at the words in the hashtags.  This is a man whose ministry is to share the gospel.  The dude gets PAID to act like this.  Seriously! (Strong language warning!)

I’m afraid that the following particular passages are sometimes used as a license to be rude when sharing the Gospel.  The verses have been quoted by those who share their brand of the gospel on a whim, seemingly without a care in the world as to the responsibility of sharing it in a way that honors the Lord, or by looking at their life as a reflection of Christ and a witness to His saving grace.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17–18).

Here’s another verse along the same lines:

 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

In conclusion, I have a hunch that God is not counting how many gospel presentations at creation debates or how many people are acting foolish for Christ while street evangelizing or on evangelizing on Twitter:

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He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.  

Luke 16:15

Related articles:

Bill Nye vs Ken Ham: Witnessing a Train Wreck

235 comments on “Ham vs Nye Creation Debate and What Does a Good Gospel Presentation Look Like?

  1. Ham’s gospel according to JA: “Christ came to the earth without sin, we in our sin were in need of a Savior, He paid the price for our sin by His death on the cross so we can have eternal life.”

    Setting aside the question whether “eternal life” has a quantitative meaning (as in living forever and ever) or a qualitative meaning (as in being a reference to the kind of life characterizing to the age to come), this is at best a truncated gospel. It may (or may not) convey the bare minimum required for entry into the Kingdom, but it is without power for actual transformation. According to the so called great commission, Jesus was not seeking mere believers. He was seeking disciples. To be a disciple of Jesus, one must spend time with Jesus, becoming increasingly like Jesus. (Tip of the hat to Dallas Willard.)

    My own testimony is that my wholehearted embracing of this truncated sort of “gospel” left me utterly defeated, for about 3 decades, when it came to being transformed into the image of the Son of God. To tell the truth, I am still seeking that fullness of that Gospel which is sufficient for transformation.

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  2. “Jesus was not seeking mere believers. He was seeking disciples. To be a disciple of Jesus, one must spend time with Jesus, becoming increasingly like Jesus.”

    BINGO! Thanks Gary for that reminder. Disciples live the “kingdom” now……” On ‘earth’ as it is in heaven”.

    And never mistake a stage persona for the real thing. Too many people don’t really know their so called pastors, personally.

    ( I think the institutional church has totally redefined the concept of pastor for most of its history)

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  3. Getting in there and investing in people is a very messy and often disappointing business. It requires tons of humility and grace.

    Oh, please, Lydia – -it’s not as messy as getting arrested twice in 2 countries, having your local city open an investigation into your practices that leave women entering a women’s health clinic feeling intimidated. No, that’s persecution. These humble men are saints.

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  4. Julie Anne,

    Whether or not Ham used the words “eternal life,” they appear in John 3:16. I have come to understand that these words, being based on the Greek for “age,” would be better translated as something like “life of the age to come.” But I’m stealing this insight from NT Wright, which no doubt discredits me in the eyes of many. Well, never mind. NT Wright is a better scholar than, say, John Piper, whose underlying authority is Johnathan Edwards. Wright actually starts with Paul (strange concept), as seen within the context of the intellectual climate of Paul’s own time.

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  5. JA, yeah, flashback. I heard that so many times even in the seeker world. It is a great way to make sure we do not think for ourselves, trust our senses or be led by the Holy Spirit. it never occurs to them there might be a problem with their preaching.

    And as to Miano’s messes. Hey that rhymes! Well, his donors pay for the messes(including his wife who works to support him) and he gets all the attention. Which is what it is all really about.

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  6. So Christians are saying Ham won the debate because he presented the gospel and Nye didn’t? In other words, Ham won because Ham agrees with himself and Nye doesn’t.

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  7. David: I wonder about this. Let’s say Nye, as an unbeliever, mentioned/presented the gospel 5 times during the debate while Ham mentioned it 4 times.

    These guys are all saying it’s about the gospel, right? So, it wouldn’t matter who the gospel came from just as long as the gospel was mentioned – – again, it’s that magic gospel formula.

    So . . . . . . . if Nye happened to have presented the gospel more times than Ham, would they agree that Nye won the debate (as an unbeliever)? I wonder how that would work?

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  8. JA, regarding what you link to at 10:12, it appears to me to be what we could call flagellation by sermon, flagellation typically being associated with achieving merit by suffering–often self imposed. Flagellation is defined as the act or process of flagellating, not to be confused with flatulating (well, unless you are thinking in terms of what is coming out of the mouths of . . . , Well, never mind.

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  9. Because Nye isn’t even a Christian, judging by how effectively each man presented the gospel would be wrong. Beyond wrong and stupid. But they are doing it anyway.

    You are wrong because I am me and you are not!

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  10. Gary, I understand flagellation very well. I lived in the Philippines where this is a practice that some Catholics do (not approved by the Catholic church) on Good Friday. The parade down the road holding a rope filled with shards of glass and swing it at themselves on their bear upper torso. As they walk down the street, blood is dripping from them. It’s nasty looking. Some even will be crucified on crosses – – nails driven into their hands.

    Yes, that is a good descriptor of what it felt like to sit under Chuck O’Neal’s messages.

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  11. chris

    “Never claim to see the heart of a person. You DONT KNOW how many hearts were planted with biblical truth.

    1 cor 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

    Indeed!

    Think I’ll put an R on my username for clarity 😉

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  12. David C –

    Yes, and the debate wasn’t even about the Gospel. It was supposed to be about the age of the earth. It’s mind numbing how easily some people lose track of what the event was “supposed” to be about. It’s equally disturbing to see the astounding lack of integrity by some who now pronounce a winner (yuk) based on what the debate “wasn’t” about.

    sigh . . .

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  13. No, Bridget – – but it’s a Christian’s responsibility to be ready in season and out of season to present the Gospel and if he failed to do that, I wonder what all of “them” would have said. This gospel presentation is so important – – seemingly more important than living godly lives showing Christ through your behavior and character.

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  14. Bridget, you are spot on. It wasn’t about the gospel.

    When Christians debate issues with non-Christians, it would be nice if they would be thoughtful enough to bring to the table verifiable facts. In other words, present statements of fact, not of faith. Faith makes sense only to the faithful, not not to those outside of the faith.

    This is frustrating. To think that I once held onto every word uttered by men like Mohler out of deference for their spiritual authority. Now I admire their ability to pack so many logical fallacies whenever they open their mouths.

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  15. Ok. Many thanks.

    Isn’t Ham’s Gospel-presenting in the context of a debate on origins strikingly similar to the fraudulent sales practice of ‘Bait-and-switch’?

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  16. Julie Anne @ 1:00p –

    I fear that the words have become empty of meaning when spoke out of turn and by those whose lives don’t witness to the words.

    BTDT –

    I view the investment of $55m in this project a waste of money. There are real people with real needs that could benefit dramatically from such monies. To raise and spend it on this project is frivolous IMO. Sound more like someone is trying to make a name for himself and leave a ‘legacy.’

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  17. Julie Anne, I finally got to read Mohler’s piece to see if the quote you cite oversimplifies his take on the debate. It only gets worse.

    (emphasis mine)

    As it turns out, the reality and authority of divine revelation, more than any other issue, was what the debate last night was all about. As the closing statements made very clear, Ken Ham understood that fact, but Bill Nye did not.

    As Bridget says above, it is disturbing to see the astounding lack of integrity by some who now pronounce a winner (yuk) based on what the debate “wasn’t” about. Now that the debate is over and Ken Ham got thoroughly trounced in every aspect, let’s just change the rules and the topic of debate to “divine revelation” after the fact. Science? What science? Nobody said it was going to be science.

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  18. As it turns out, the reality and authority of divine revelation, more than any other issue, was what the debate last night was all about. As the closing statements made very clear, Ken Ham understood that fact, but Bill Nye did not.

    Wow, David, I must have skimmed over that paragraph. So, it really was a contest to see who would present the gospel message the most times and they put a Christian against an unbeliever – go figure. LOL – why didn’t they tell us? I wouldn’t have bothered to waste my time.

    Bridget and BTDT – Good point about the $$ involved to put this on or also the Noah’s Ark exhibit.

    Things are becoming more clear now. And it’s it’s not pretty.

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  19. David C quotes Mohler as saying, “As it turns out, the reality and authority of divine revelation, more than any other issue, was what the debate last night was all about.” Bait-and-switch-indeed, as Chris R points out. Really, all this after-the-fact re-framing of the issues is just an admission that these people lost the science debate.

    Plus, to frame any discussion of origins in terms of “the reality and authority of divine revelation” utterly bypasses the foundational question whether the creation account is to be viewed as a literal or as some sort of non-literal literary device. Certainly there is the possibility that the creation account can be the revealed word of God in non-literal form. Jesus Himself spoke in figures of speech, to the point the disciples appear to have experienced no small amount of frustration. Surely the parables are not to be taken as literal accounts of actual events. Surely Jesus wasn’t to be taken literally when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood.

    Yes, we have clear examples of God speaking non-literally.

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  20. I forgot about the Ark. Yeah, the creation museum. A big money pit and for what? It reminds me of the mega’s and their constant building projects. For what? To house as many people as possible so a few guys can be on stage in front of thousands and make bank off Jesus. That glorifies God much more than smaller church plants. (sarcasm)

    I did meet some prospective vendors who put bids in on some exhibits back when it was being designed. They were glad they did not win the bids as payment was a problem.

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  21. “An “easy poll” taken at Christianity Today shows that people voted 92% to 8% (as of now) that Nye won the debate.”

    Wow!!! Even if you take into consideration internet poll voting problems, 45 thousand votes on a “Christian” website with that result is not something to ignore. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

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  22. “Things are becoming more clear now. And it’s it’s not pretty.”

    Seems like there is a never ending need for money for these ministries and projects. Why does God make it so hard?…I wonder. Could it be it’s really not His plan, but theirs? Yes.

    “Tony Miano ‏@TonyMiano · 15h
    We find ourselves $600 short of covering our living expenses for the rest of the month. If you would like to help…”

    Short again?….what a shock. Most people work when they are short. Two jobs even. It’s as if he is above that now that God has supposedly called him to yell at women and insult people on twitter. Actual work is just for the donors to do.

    “Tony Miano ‏@TonyMiano · 14h
    The Lord has met the need. Thank you so very much to those of you who contributed.”

    Oh good. More enabling.

    “Tony Miano ‏@TonyMiano · 14h
    . @PastorSJCamp @JoyceMeyer @jtoddmullins When will these pastors begin 2 take James 3:1 seriously. They presume God will give them tomorrow”

    Now THAT tweet was funny. Why does Miano presume to have tomorrow?…or worse yet- the entire month of February as evidenced by his asking for money to get him through to the end of the month? I cannot believe people give money to this man. Living expenses? Like what?

    And Miano needs to stay far, far away from James chapter 3. The first verse applies to him. The entire chapter is about him.

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  23. “Seems like there is a never ending need for money for these ministries and projects. Why does God make it so hard?…I wonder. Could it be it’s really not His plan, but theirs?”

    Not according to Ken Ham. In an email quoted in this article http://fatlip.leoweekly.com/2014/01/06/ken-ham-ark-encounter-close-to-failure-because-of-atheists-secular-media-and-possibly-the-devil-himself/ he says:
    “As I’ve written to you before, the attacks we have seen on the Ark bond offering have just confirmed for me that the Enemy does not want this project to go ahead. Actually, though, the opposition just encourages me. You see, if we weren’t involved in a vital Bible-proclaiming outreach that should have a massive impact on the hearts and lives of countless people, I don’t believe we would see this sort of opposition.”

    In the words of the immortal SNL Church Lady, it’s SATAN. Never mind that there are many believers who do not embrace either Bill Nye or Ken Ham’s pov. Ken Ham’s vision is the “Will of God.”

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  24. ‘In the words of the immortal SNL Church Lady, it’s SATAN. Never mind that there are many believers who do not embrace either Bill Nye or Ken Ham’s pov. Ken Ham’s vision is the “Will of God.”’

    So “the enemy does not want this project to go forward”, yet they will say God is in control. Again, why does God make it so hard? lol

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  25. The response of course is
    1) The Christianity Astray poll is not scientific. A lot of atheists are trolling the site (Oh, all of a sudden, you care about science?)

    2) Even if the poll is scientific, Ken Ham has Mohler’s God’s vote because he preached the gospel! That is all that matters.

    Using that logic, we can conclude that Tim Tebow should be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame cuz he preaches the gospelz!

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  26. “So “the enemy does not want this project to go forward”, yet they will say God is in control. Again, why does God make it so hard? lol”

    Once again, they do not practice their doctrinal beliefs. How convenient. If God is controlling every molecule perhaps He does not want the Ark completed? LOL.

    Of course it is hard to be consistent in that doctrine when it is about money. See: Miano.

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  27. lydiasellerofpuple,

    You had said: ” In other words sanctification is not really possible because we continue to be “sinners” after salvation. We cannot really be new creatures in Christ. (more Plato, just different methods) In easy believism you can sin all you want and be saved. It is cheap grace. In fact, a lot of it is usually not even considered sin because it was for Jesus if the leaders are doing it. This approach makes Christians some of the most unsafe people around.”

    If this is what “easy believism” is defined as, then yes, this is the problem. 

    I have never seen a dictionary definition of easy believism before. 

    But that word, “easy”…it’s opposite is the word “hard” or “difficult”.

    Christianity IS easy.  It really is.  Really.  So, I have a problem with the terminology of “easy believism” as being something bad.  I think that it really needs to be defined properly.  Maybe you have.  I haven’t researched it enough to know.

    If we are discussing sanctification, then many church’s have that wrong, beginning with the Catholics in regards to their teaching of purgatory, and works.

    Sanctification needs to be thoroughly discussed.  As I see it, it’s a process of the Holy Spirit TRANSFORMING us.

    Ed

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  28. Gary W,

    This is exactly what I was talking about.  The MIX UP in the difference between Romans 4 works, and James works.

    Dude, there is a HUGE difference.  HUGE.  I think you really need to see what works is.

    Romans 4 discusses works of the law, which is the same as saying “deeds of the flesh”, etc.  That is ALL ABOUT the Law of Moses. 

    Keep in mind Romans 4…Abraham was Long before The Law of Moses. 

    What is the LAW under Christ?  Love God and Love People.  It’s the Law of Liberty, the Law of Faith.  What is our works?  LOVE is an action word. 

    To summarize: 1.  Romans 4 works = OBEDIENCE to the Law of God, AKA Law of Moses, AKA Deeds of the Flesh (and a few other AKA’s).

    2.  James works = OBEDIENCE to the Law of Christ, AKA LAW OF LIBERTY, AKA Law of Faith, AKA LOVE God and Love People as yourself.

    NOTE:  So many are hung up on that word “obedience” that it really makes me sick to my stomach.  They twist that word so as to make obedience to Christ a bigger yoke than that of what Jesus carried on that cross.

    To me, that is difficult believism.  Following Jesus is EASY.  Easy I say.  Religion makes it difficult.  Religion has a problem with “easy believism”.

    Ed

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  29. lydiasellerofpurple,

    You had said: “Now, perhaps we need to define “works”. :o) I am BIG on definitions.”

    My response:

    In a nutshell works is another word for “do”, and a worker is a doer.

    Otherwise, I defined it with Gary, that Roman 4 works is different than James works.

    Romans 4:  Obedience to the Law of Moses James:  Obedience to LOVE.  Love is an action word…WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE was a phrased question that I really like.  Love is the works James discusses.  Love to God, and Love to people as yourself. 

    Abraham is our example.  People seem to forget that.  HENCE, Romans 4.

    Ed

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  30. Julie Anne said: “Ham presented the gospel 4 times, which means that he said that magic formula that went something like this: – Christ came to the earth without sin, we in our sin were in need of a Savior, He paid the price for our sin by His death on the cross so we can have eternal life.”

    Just a question, however…Did anyone ask Ham to present the Gospel?  Did Nye show an interest in God, or science, let alone a message about him being a sinner, and let alone the resolution of that sin.  Or did If one does not believe in God to begin with, then there would be no interest in hearing about sin or salvation.

    As far as I am concerned, Ham was deceptive, not bringing glory to God, but to himself, to pat himself on the back for “giving them the gospel”.  To me, it was self serving.

    Ed

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  31. Gary W said: “But I’m stealing this insight from NT Wright, which no doubt discredits me in the eyes of many.”

    My response: Who did the Bereans consult?  Just a question.  I look forward to the day that you can say, “insight from my own mind, based on a book that God wrote, called the Word of God.”

    I think that is what people need to focus on.  Too many in religion are writing books, and then people conform to the author of the book, instead of the author of our faith.  Just saying.

    Ed

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  32. Free gifts are cheaper.  It is free.  I like that better.  Free is my favorite four letter word.  Jesus paid the price so I don’t have to.

    Ed

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  33. Christianity IS easy. It really is. Really. So, I have a problem with the terminology of “easy believism” as being something bad. I think that it really needs to be defined properly. Maybe you have. I haven’t researched it enough to know.

    CON was hot on this topic. It’s taught at MacArthur’s church, too. What they are referring to is the gospel message and having an easy salvation message where the sin part is left out or minimized. I can guarantee you that people like CON and Miano were focusing on Ham’s gospel messages to see if he really touched on the weightiness of sin. If he hadn’t focused on the magnitude of our sin and the necessity of Christ’s death for our weighty sin, then Ham would have been judged to have given an “easy gospel message.” Well, maybe not – – they probably would have let it go because he has the right doctrinal beliefs.

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  34. As far as I am concerned, Ham was deceptive, not bringing glory to God, but to himself, to pat himself on the back for “giving them the gospel”. To me, it was self serving.

    Gaining credibility with his friends? Was that the goal?

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  35. Julie Anne,

    In regards to Con and Miano, Acts 19 shows that the people of Ephesus were in an uproar, and highly upset that Paul and his disciples were in town to “Give them the gospel”. End result…Paul left. He never stayed where he wasn’t wanted. He didn’t force his beliefs on anyone who didn’t want to hear it. So, he moved on. He could not even proclaim to the world that he presented the gospel to them. There is a lesson for Con and Miano here. Do not go where you are not wanted. Do not give the gospel to those who have no desire to hear it, just so you can pat yourself on the back for giving them the gospel, somehow equating the end result as persecution. The Apostle Paul did not mention one thing about the people, good or bad. He just left.

    Well, in regards to what you are saying about easy believism…who are we to blame? In a nutshell, the teachers have a weird teaching in regards to sanctification, and how that effects a Christian that sins. What it boils down to, is that discipleship is missing. It’s missing from the top dog at the pulpit to the elders to the newest of new Christians, and those top dogs are so hot on that word “obedience” that not even the Jews could be obedient to.

    I think that if a person is so focused on not sinning, that they will end up sinning. That is what I get from the words of the Bible.

    Hence, comes the question in regards to Abraham. He was before the law. How did he live his life without all of those do’s and don’t’s?

    It’s easy for those at the pulpit to point fingers and tell Christians “Stop Sinning”, when there is no one guiding. No elder who really cares, but just plays the “yes man” to the guy on the pulpit. They wear the nice suits, sit in the front…wait…isn’t that what the book of James discusses? How do these people LOVE THY NEIGHBOR?

    More importantly, why is there absolutely no teaching on Abraham before the law? Why is the only teaching of Moses with the law? We are to focus on Abraham, hence Romans Chapter 4.

    Ed

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  36. Diane quoted and responded: ”

    ‘In the words of the immortal SNL Church Lady, it’s SATAN. Never mind that there are many believers who do not embrace either Bill Nye or Ken Ham’s pov. Ken Ham’s vision is the “Will of God.”’ So “the enemy does not want this project to go forward”, yet they will say God is in control. Again, why does God make it so hard? lol”

    My response: 

    Yes, the ole talking out of both sides of their mouth routine.  Therefore, since they believe that “God is in control”, then they should be asking God why God doesn’t want them to do the project, instead of blaming it on the enemy, Satan.  This double speak is so evident, I can’t see how they don’t see or acknowledge it.  They can’t blame Satan if God is in control, can they?

    Ed

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  37. I think so, Julie Anne. It was all about pandering to his own audience, and judging from the pieces you cite in the blog, I think they are very pleased to have heard their particular brand of the gospel.

    I really doubt that years and months from now we will hear about new converts from Ken Ham’s gospel presentation. But the important thing is, Ham’s allies got to hear their particular brand of the gospel preached and affirmed and had their ears tickled.

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  38. @ Lydia~

    “So “the enemy does not want this project to go forward”, yet they will say God is in control. Again, why does God make it so hard? lol”

    Once again, they do not practice their doctrinal beliefs. How convenient. If God is controlling every molecule perhaps He does not want the Ark completed? LOL.

    Of course it is hard to be consistent in that doctrine when it is about money. See: Miano

    Well…that’s how I see, it but I am sure there is some spin on it I am just not spiritual enough to see…lol.

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  39. That video is very funny and a bit creepy when you think of dumb sheep following their pastor/guru leader blindly.

    I took that sheep picture on the way to my physical therapist (about 1-1/2 hrs away) – – it was taken from my car and through a fence and all, but I kind of like it because of my Twitter handle: @DefendTheSheep. Funny thing — I’ve been going there for over 8 months and that’s the first time there have been sheep outside this barn. So I had to pull over for a shot. 🙂

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  40. Ed, First of all, I totally agree about the free gift. What I am saying is many make it “cheap”.

    One of the problems is that in the 1st Century the focus was more on “renewal” than “pardon”.

    John the Baptist preached “repent” and Jesus’ very first teaching was “repent”. That teaching is all through the Gospels.

    The word is “metanoia”. We think of it as “repent” and miss the bigger meaning. Meta in common Greek is preposition: “From…..To”. The second part is related to the Greek “nous” which communicates the inner core of man’s being. So the word would have communicated in the 1st Century a “From…To movement in the core of our being”. A metamorphosis. Fruits worthy of repentance is a change of heart that comes to expression by a contrasting way of life. It is a lifestyle. Walking in the light. Not sinless perfection but you know it when you see it.

    This was a requirement of authentic Christianity but abandoned within centuries when corrupt priests and tyrants legalized Christianity, Overtime the focus turned to pardon with renewal being seen as somewhat less important than pardon and some even saw renewal as impossible . (like Augustine, the Reformers, etc)

    I think you get this when you mention discipleship. As Gary said, it is not”go and save”people. It is,go and make disciples.

    I like how JC Ryle put it. He said Justification and Sanctification are two different things but you cannot have one without the other. The pardon is worthless if it does not change us. If we think the pardon is all then that is easy believism. There is also renewal. And Jesus Christ promised the Counselor/Advocate to help us.

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  41. Quoting Ed: “Who did the Bereans consult? Just a question. I look forward to the day that you can say, “insight from my own mind, based on a book that God wrote, called the Word of God.”

    Yes, since the summer of 2003 I have been doing my best to look to Scripture, guided by the Spirit, and not to the theologians-as-Holy-Spirit-substitutes, as the foundation of my thinking and doing–and I have been getting in trouble, especially with preachers, ever since.

    Still, I do not expect I will ever get to the point that I am unable to profit from the Spirit-inspired insights of others, such as NT Wright, Dallas Willard (a Southern Baptist BTW), Leanne Payne and chapmaned24.

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  42. Lydia, another teacher (theologian?) from whom I am profiting greatly, says, “If we think the pardon is all then that is easy believism.”

    A believer, or supposed believer embraces easy believism when they live their Christian life as though having said the sinners’ prayer is the be all and end all of being a Christian. It is as though a mail order bride were to enter a contract to marry, maybe exchange some correspondence and even get married by proxy, but never take up life together with her husband. Such a marriage would not be real. It would be subject to annulment. Maybe those who rely on easy believism are only fooling themselves to think they are Christians.

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  43. “Still, I do not expect I will ever get to the point that I am unable to profit from the Spirit-inspired insights of others, such as NT Wright, Dallas Willard (a Southern Baptist BTW), Leanne Payne and chapmaned24.”

    One of the best advertisements for NT Wright was Piper. When he tried so hard to marginalize him as teaching wrong things I decided to check him out. :o) Piper did the same thing with Instone Brewer, another scholar.

    While I disagree with some of Wrights interpretations , he really is a scholar/pastor combo which is unusual. He captured my heart because he actually believes in and teaches “kingdom” now for believers and not only that he believes in Christian virtue. Very unusual these days. And something I had come to understand and searching for anyone, anywhere who also believed “On ‘earth’as it is in heaven” for us today.

    In my neck of the woods, the seminary boys tried to turn Willard into an Eastern Mystic so I had to check some of his stuff out. Imagine my surprise he was an older philosophy prof in a suit and very soft spoken. Now gone to be with Christ. The Reformed leaders did not like him and I am guessing because of free will.

    I like Gordon Fee, too. His book,”How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth”is excellent. I highly recommend it.

    The key, I think is to know Christ and then one is not easily led astray. I went for almost 5 years without any other input except me, the Holy Spirit, tons of prayer and scripture. I did that on purpose to get rid of some filters that needed to go.

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  44. “A believer, or supposed believer embraces easy believism when they live their Christian life as though having said the sinners’ prayer is the be all and end all of being a Christian. It is as though a mail order bride were to enter a contract to marry, maybe exchange some correspondence and even get married by proxy, but never take up life together with her husband. Such a marriage would not be real. It would be subject to annulment. Maybe those who rely on easy believism are only fooling themselves to think they are Christians.”

    Gary, In the mega seeker world, you were saved when you became a “member” of the church. I was around easy believism for years. They marketed to the “unchurched” to make them “churched”. That was salvation. Sinners prayer was not needed. Just join. When the “unchurched” became “churched” then they are saved. It was ridiculous and a constant revolving door.

    I don’t really have a problem with the sinners prayer. In some situations it can be a marker of sorts. (kind of hard to explain)

    I have a problem when that is ALL there is. A sinners prayer. So you believe and confess that? Now what? That is when the “hard” part comes in. I am one that believes sanctification (renewal) is synergistic. The Holy Spirit within us working with us to change us “From……to”.

    Very few out there are teaching “new creatures in Christ” anymore. It is thought to be impossible.

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  45. lydiasellerofpurple,

    I never thought I would need to say this to you, but you are getting way too technical for me in this explanation.  I am usually the analytical one, but wow. 

    No, I do not agree with the premise of the argument against cheap grace.  I read Bonhoeffer’s explanation, and I highly disagree with it.

    I mean, really…One question was asked in the NT…What must I “DO” to be saved.  What was the answer?  Bonhoeffer’s quotes?  No.

    What Bonhoeffer is doing is making a gift cost something by the receiver.

    Do we really have to tap dance to get a Christmas or Birthday gift? 

    So, what does it mean to believe?  The law is our school master to bring us to Christ.  Now that we are under Christ, we are no longer under a school master.

    We are FREED from sin.  We are DEAD.  Stop concentrating on something that we are dead to.  Those who concentrate on NOT sinning, wind up sinning.  Struggling with sin is different than sinning on purpose.

    Besides,WHO is teaching that you don’t have to repent PRIOR to becoming a Christian?  WHO?  I don’t know anyone…not even televangelists.

    Ed

     

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  46. Well, Gary W, I’ve had my share of preachers disagreeing with me, as well.  But that don’t bother me none.  But really, I see way too many people quote author’s of books, and it boggles my mind.  In my early years of studying controversies, I read an Ellen G White book, the founder of the Seventh Day Adventists.  I have a few friends that are 7th Day Adventists.  They proclaim that her books are soooooooo inspirational.  Wow…really?  She was a whack job, a proven liar, a false prophet, etc.  I saw for my self quite a few Gospel mistakes of hers in one of her books.  But the 7th Day Adventists acknowledge her shortcomings, yet, still single her out as a person that was and is, “soooooooo insparational”. 

    That is just one example as to why I look to this instead:  “What do YOU think from your study?”  I don’t care what Ellen G White thought.  Well, I do care, only for the purpose of warning people to stay away from her books.

    Ed

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  47. Again, Gary W,

    I see nothing wrong with the much disliked “sinners prayer”.  There has been, and it is a lawful act, for a proxy marriage in the military.  Then the husband gets killed in war.  Nothing was done to consummate the marriage.  So, I am not one who likes bad analogies about a mail order bride, etc.

    Ed

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  48. Lydia observes, “I don’t really have a problem with the sinners prayer. In some situations it can be a marker of sorts. (kind of hard to explain)”

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t say the sinners’ prayer, but how would it be if, instead of inviting people to say the sinners’ prayer, evangelists and other preachers invited people to be baptized? Maybe less seed sown in the rocks, only to sprout and die?

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  49. Ah, but Ed. In your revision of my analogy, the failure of consummation was not volitional. Your version of the analogy, though valid enough, only applies to a situation where the new believer, having said the sinners’ prayer, dies (physically) shortly thereafter.

    And, again, I suggest that we ought not to have allowed the sinners’ prayer to take the place of water baptism. While I am inspired by the 1st Century practice, I do not base my position on some sort of a legalistic dedication to the practice of water baptism. It’s just that I perceive wisdom in the New Covenant practice. I believe those who would be willing to be baptized immediately upon salvation are more likely to come to evidence the fruit of their new birth–and that they would also be less likely to fall away.

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  50. Ed, I am not so sure we are that far apart.

    “We are FREED from sin. We are DEAD. Stop concentrating on something that we are dead to. Those who concentrate on NOT sinning, wind up sinning. Struggling with sin is different than sinning on purpose. ”

    I don’t see it like that at all. It is about being a new creature in Christ. Repenting is about seeking to be more like Christ. Not making dates with Satan to go “deep with our sin” as some Reformers have taught. Our focus is Christ. But, I will say that we need to “practice” virtue. 1 John refers to it as “walking in the light”.

    We are not saved to sin all we want.There is a change or what is the point? Hebrews 10 is instructive here as is all of `1 John.

    And I also think many have wrong definitions about what is sin. To give ONE example, some think turning the other cheek to a wolf in the Body who is devouring people is not what Christ was teaching. You hear this all the time in certain circles. I say that is wrong, we stand up to wolves because they claim to be Christians and are hurting people. They may also be false teachers putting heavy burdens on people to follow them. Jesus stood up to the religious leader wolves of His day. Those wolves are still around folks wearing a plastic fish.

    “Besides,WHO is teaching that you don’t have to repent PRIOR to becoming a Christian? WHO? I don’t know anyone…not even televangelists. ”

    Well, I don’t think we are magically changed in one instant because we say we believe. That is the beginning. We accept the Justification. The Cross. The resurrection is where we tend to miss it. (the book of John has a wonderful correlation to Genesis “creation” and new creation with Christ. On the first day….and so forth. He is communicating the new creation in Christ)

    That is why I have a problem with how we have typically understood repentance. Saying “sorry” is not what it is about. It is an inner change that expresses itself outwardly as we “abide” in Christ. Vine and branches stuff.

    Honestly I don’t think we are that far apart just saying it differently. The focus is not on past sin or rooting out sin making dates with satan. Our focus is on Christ, it has to be with the indwelling Holy Spirit!. Becoming new creatures in Christ. And yes, we struggle. We are also told that without Holiness we will not see God.

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  51. “I’m not saying people shouldn’t say the sinners’ prayer, but how would it be if, instead of inviting people to say the sinners’ prayer, evangelists and other preachers invited people to be baptized? Maybe less seed sown in the rocks, only to sprout and die?”

    Where I came from, being baptized was the next step. :o)

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  52. “Ah, but Ed. In your revision of my analogy, the failure of consummation was not volitional. Your version of the analogy, though valid enough, only applies to a situation where the new believer, having said the sinners’ prayer, dies (physically) shortly thereafter.”

    Like the thief on the cross who proclaimed belief but could “live out” his salvation. He did not have the opportunity to “walk in the light” for long.

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  53. “So, what does it mean to believe? The law is our school master to bring us to Christ. Now that we are under Christ, we are no longer under a school master.”

    Ed, not to get us totally off track but I am genuinely interested in what you have to say about this as it relates to 1st Century Gentiles who had no understanding or experience with the Law of Moses?

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  54. Gary W,

    You had said: “but how would it be if, instead of inviting people to say the sinners’ prayer, evangelists and other preachers invited people to be baptized?”

    My response: Because this is where you have a bunch of different man made definitions and meanings behind the word baptized.  It’s a confusing statement.  Change denominations, and it means something different. 

    John, The Baptist discussed water…but that Jesus would baptize with fire.

    Acts 19:

    19 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

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  55. But this is the same thing that happened at the Scopes trial. “I’m a Christian, and because I’m a Christian I will close my eyes to any evidence that doesn’t support what I’ve already decided about the origins of life.” Frankly, I don’t want the gospel tied to this. I don’t want people to think that young-earth creationism is part of the gospel, or that if you trust in Christ you also have to change your thinking on this.

    What Ham has done is presented Christianity as something that people who disagree with young-earth creationism will want nothing to do with.

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  56. @krwordgazer:

    But this is the same thing that happened at the Scopes trial. “I’m a Christian, and because I’m a Christian I will close my eyes to any evidence that doesn’t support what I’ve already decided about the origins of life.”

    Did St Paul describe faith as “the substance of things hoped for” or as “the denial of all observable evidence”?

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  57. @chapmaned24:

    In my early years of studying controversies, I read an Ellen G White book, the founder of the Seventh Day Adventists. I have a few friends that are 7th Day Adventists. They proclaim that her books are soooooooo inspirational. Wow…really? She was a whack job, a proven liar, a false prophet, etc. I saw for my self quite a few Gospel mistakes of hers in one of her books. But the 7th Day Adventists acknowledge her shortcomings, yet, still single her out as a person that was and is, “soooooooo insparational”.

    Wasn’t Ellen G White (specifically one of her visions) the origin of the “Flood Geology” that current YECers (like Ham) take as the Fifth Gospel and invoke to explain ALL the geological complexity of Earth? (Granted, it is a step above handwaving invocation of miracle after miracle after miracle, but not by much.)

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  58. So, Gary W, you are one who believes that water baptism doth now save you, huh?

    I’m sorry, Gary, I do not believe in physical water saves anyone from anything.

    It is a physical show of faith, is what I believe.  Pysical water has no magical power.

    Eternal water saves.  The washing of the water of the word.  That saves.

    If Baptism is as you say, then the thief on the cross is not with Jesus.

    Oh, and we cannot say that his case is different due to Acts chapter 2 not happening yet. 

    This is why I say that there are way too many different concepts of what Baptism really is. 

    A sinners prayer is sufficient, because baptism is a spiritual thing, not a physical thing.  Your show of faith is the water baptism.  We are baptized in the death of Jesus.  We are baptized with FIRE.  That’s spiritual, not physical.  Baptism shows a death to the old, life to the new.

    Babies getting baptized is another hot topic.  All that does is get the baby wet.  It didn’t do anything magical.

    Ed

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  59. lydiasellerofpurple,

    When you said “virtue”, I get it, as long as this virtue is this:

    Christian conduct is different than concentrating on not sinning.

    We are only under two laws under the law of faith.  Love God and Love people.

    If we love God, and people, what sin is produced?  None whatsoever.  The fruit is OBVIOUS, to the sight.  You will know them by their fruit.  A good tree, a bad tree. 

    But to put rules and regulations on our salvation is nuts.  To tell someone that they are not saved because they say the right prayer, or they didn’t get baptized in physical water, when they were indeed baptized…without physical water, and much other stuff is ludicrous. 

    Bonhoeffer said that cheap grace is like communion without confession.  Really?  When was confession a part of communion to begin with?  Communion is a remembrance, not a confession.  He has many other analogies that curdle my stomach. 

    Rules, schmules.  Get rid of them. 

    A Prison guard asked Paul what he must do to be saved, and this was the answer:

    Acts 19:

    30 …what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    The only thing necessary to become a Christian is to BELIEVE.  But some don’t believe that.  They want to add rules, and rituals.

    Repent is part of that belief, because it’s part of the Gospels.  What does repent mean?  Change your way of thinking.  Catholics think it’s penance…to DO something, when Jesus already did do something.  Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran.  His thought process was much like a Catholic, because all the Lutherans wanted was for the Catholics to reform.  They did not want to defect Catholicism.  But they did, because Rome was unwilling to reform.  Luther didn’t fully understand Grace, yet he understood grace better than the Catholics did.  The Catholics criticize Luther for saying, “Sin boldly”.  He did say that.  So, what we have is that a Lutheran still has Catholicism in his bloood, with all of the do’s and don’t’s rules and regulations an how to be saved.

    All ya have to do is believe, but people don’t believe that.  It’s just that simple.

    What did Abraham have to do to be righteous with God?  Jump thru hoops?  Romans Chapter 4 states that he was RIGHTEOUS PRIOR TO circumcision, because he believed God.  There was no rules.  Abraham did not have the law.  The law did not hold Abraham captive.  There was no barrier.  All he did was believe God.  How is it that no one believes that?

    Ed

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  60. Yes, I believe in death bed repentance.  The parable is the worker that came at the last hour and got paid just the same as those who worked all day. 

    Ed

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  61. lydiasellerofpurple,

    you had said: “Ed, not to get us totally off track but I am genuinely interested in what you have to say about this as it relates to 1st Century Gentiles who had no understanding or experience with the Law of Moses?”

    My response: My supervisor in the Navy would always respond with, “What does the book say?”  So, that is where I take you.  What does the book say?

    Acts shows how Paul did it with Gentiles. 

    I start out with Acts 17.  Read that chapter.  That is a good start.  It gets people interested so that they want to hear more.  And they did hear more. 

    As Paul went up the chain of command in his bonds, he preached God to Gentiles.  So, it isn’t what I think, in this issue.  I resort to the book.  What does the book say?

    Ed

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  62. HUG,

    I had vaguely remembered a little bit in regards to that.  I just Googled that topic just now, and noticed that she called those geologists “infidel geologists”.  Yes, she was much like Ham in this case.  When I was studying her, I was more interested in why the 7th Day Adventists adhere to going to church on Saturday, instead of Sunday. 

    They say, “Shall we continue “IN” sin so that grace may abound”, but FAIL at reading the rest, which states, “How shall we if we are dead TO sin live any longer therein”. 

    They skip part of it, then blame Rome for changing the Calendar.  Weird.

    Ed

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  63. No Ed, I don’t believe water baptism saves. I do, however, expect that a greater percentage of those who receive water baptism are saved, and persist, than the percentage of those who merely say the sinners prayer.

    Maybe we all agree that church membership does not save, as Lydia tells us is preached by some.

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  64. Well, Gary W, I think it is wrong to keep score, or to maintain statistics as to the percentages of those who “said the prayer” that you are against, vs. those who just got wet as I am against. 

    Ed

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  65. This is a great article and really proves what I’ve been saying all along about Ham. He tries to back peddle and say that you can be a Believer without believing in YEC, but look at his actions:

    As a Christian — an apologist, no less — Ham’s answer should have been a single word, offered definitively and without hesitation. Answering, “Yes,” would not have meant Ham was abandoning his belief in a young earth; it simply would have meant that his Christian faith is not based in that belief.

    http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/02/10/gospel-according-young-earth-creationist-ken-ham?utm_content=buffer9b54b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Ham has been backed into corners on this issue and essentially forced to admit that you can still be a Believer without believing in YEC – – – – but – – logically, it’s going to be difficult to believe the rest of the Bible, so the implication is that he questions those Christians who can be Christians without holding to YEC.

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  66. I just saw Julie Anne tweet a link to this article: http://tinyurl.com/oedxjcq
    I suspected as much. That debate was all about the $$$ to begin with. Notice how that article isn’t touting how the go$pel was shared. It was never about the go$pel. If you research the bonds being offered to fund the ark project, they are the riskiest type of bonds, and AIG is under NO obligation to pay back the debt.

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  67. Thanks, BTDT, for adding that link here. I tell you what, I never even thought to wonder about the bond issue. I’m ignorant on that. Someone should give credits on this blog for how much stuff is taught/learned here. I’ll get the most credits for learning 🙂

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  68. I had not previously seen the debate, but it was on C-Span last weekend, and I did watch that.  I have to say, Ham did a terrible job, quite literally.  Nye had Ham on the run.

    Nye had asked Ham how Kangaroos got from the Ark to Australia without any fossil proof of their migration.  Great question.  Ham did not have an answer, and side stepped it.  It would have been nice if he had just said, “I don’t know.”

    On the other hand, the moderator asked Nye how we have consciousness, and Nye did not know…but he proclaimed that he did not know. 

    If I was moderator, I would have challenged each person to answer their “I don’t know’s” for the next time they meet for a debate.

    Ed

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  69. JA, thank you for tweeting those article links. This whole go$pel sharing of the debate is such a farce. AIG is just another money changer in the temple. http://tinyurl.com/lje9xdx

    “Northern Kentucky officials, including Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner, said the project would bring hundreds of jobs and attract hotels and restaurants to a largely rural community about 50 miles south of Cincinnati.

    “We’re happy to be the home of the ark,” Skinner said.”

    I bet he is.

    “Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has defended his support for the project saying that if the park were to fail, the state would not be out any money.”

    But, somebody will.

    “Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that the ark project was drawing comparisons to tourist attractions from Alabama to Nebraska that have defaulted on such bonds . . .”

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  70. Corroborating BTDT’s links posted yesterday, we learn that “a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73 million.” http://tinyurl.com/owby6hh

    This is a MUNICIPAL bond offering? Wonder how that gets through the wall of separation of church and state? I wonder if interest payments on the bond issue are being touted as tax free? If so, I wonder how they are getting past the prohibition against tax free municipal bonds being issued for non-public purposes? At least there used to be such a prohibition; I should disclose I haven’t had occasion to check into the issue for several years.

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