Archive for May, 2011

A Young Earth and God’s Alleged Deception

Before I took the turn in my life into Christian ministry as a pastor and seminary educator, I was an aerospace engineer.  I worked on the space shuttle briefly as an intern as a senior in college (back before they built it).  I did most of my work on missile defense systems and especially the F-16 jet fighter.  I have a largely intellectual approach to my faith and have never relinquished my love for scientific method and the field of the sciences in particular.  Early on in my Christian life I became convinced of the young earth approach to harmonizing the Bible and so-called scientific discoveries and teachings.  I have always believed that I can do that with a clear conscience and without surrendering my mind and rational thought.

While I was a seminary student at Liberty Baptist Seminary in the late 1970s, I had a conversation with Dr. Lane Lester, who had come to teach at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) about the problem of God’s deception.  If God made the universe with apparent age (stretched out the light rays, etc.), then the things that we discover through our telescopes right now bring a dilemma to our attention.  The mechanics of the universe (speed of light, etc.) point to what we are seeing as having happened billions of years ago.  The young earth position says that what we are seeing did not exist billions of years ago since the earth is only 6000 to 10,000 years old.  Thus, God actually is deceiving us by the way that he designed things and perhaps the deception is ongoing.  Dr. Lester raised this question to me.  I am not sure that I had ever thought about it seriously before that time.  My initial thought was that God did not have to reveal all of his “mechanics” to us naturally.  He has communicated to us in other ways of special revelation.  If we accept the other ways God is communcating to us, we should not have a problem of God creating the universe with apparent age.

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Tornadoes, Fear, Social Action, and Apologetics

I am originally from Alabama, in particular, from Huntsville in the northern part of the state although as a small child I also lived in Eufaula in the southern part of the state.   I watched with horror as the reports came in about the tornadoes that ravaged the state and other states in late April (and in Missouri and other parts just a couple of days ago).  I saw the video of the large tornado going through Tuscaloosa.  After several days of trying to get ahold of my friends in Hunstville (I have no family there any more), I finally talked to some of them the week after.  One of my pastor friends, Rick Johnson, told me that nine tornadoes came through Huntsville that day and he saw two of them himself from his house.  Another close friend, Dr. Sam Wolfe, who helped lead me to Christ in 1974, told me that a subdivision not far from him had been totally demolished.  The picture on the left below is a picture of one of the tornadoes that went through Huntsville.  On the right is a picture of the tornado in Tuscaloosa for which most of the nation saw the video.

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King James I

I recently completed reading a fun book —  Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible by David Teems (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010).  It comes at a time (400-yr anniversary) when many are appropriately examining the time period and substance of the English translation of the King James Version of the Bible.  From a biblical point of view, one would have to say that the assessment of the spirituality of King James is quite lacking and any judgment of his “born again” status left in confusion.  The book does not really go into these features in much detail.  I do not know much about Teems and his background although I browsed the web for information.  But the book is a delightful read and puts the spotlight on early 17th century England in a way that you will remember.

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Finney

After reading the monumental work on George Washington, Sacred Fire, I have turned my attention to the other of the greatest presidents by public reckoning — Abraham Lincoln.  In the study I am reading A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.  I will probably make a few posts along the way.  My initial impressions of the work are positive.  The documentation and detail seems to be adequate and the writing easy to follow.  It comes with high marks from several reputable sources.

Here I want to mention what is an anomaly or oddity that I have found in White’s work.  On pages 296-97, White summarizes: 

“In Ohio, a contentious issue was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  The controversy was raised to a fever pitch in the fall of 1858 when a federal marshal arrested John Price, a slave who had lived in Oberlin for some time.  Residents of Oberlin stormed the hotel in nearby Wellington where Price was being held, freed him, and took him back to Oberlin, where the president of Oberlin College hid him in his home before friends spirited him away to Canada.”  (emphasis added)

What is perplexing is the absence of the name of the president of Oberlin College — none other than Charles Finney, who served as Oberlin’s president from 1851-1866.  Throughout the book, White mentions many pastors and preachers, some obscure, who figure into the narrative he is presenting of Lincoln and his times.  However, here he fails to mention one of the most famous revivalists of his day, who was also an ardent abolitionist.  I wonder why the lack of mention of Finney.

Music Postings

One of my hobbies over the years has been guitar playing & songwriting.  I have finally put a little history down on how that has worked in my life.  You can check it out under the music tool bar option on my blog site.  I have also listed the songs of my published CD “No More Tears” with a short description of each song and for a few of them the actual recording.  I have further links to add to the section on the songs giving a detailed theological commentary on the words of the songs but those are not yet ready to post.

Scripture, Truth, Culture and “Love Wins”

Last January I gave a lectureship (3 messages) at Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia on hermeneutics mostly in light of postmodern culture.  The overall theme of the lectureship was “Scripture, Truth, and Culture.”  The first message entitled “Jesus and Truth” was an exposition of Matthew 22 showing that our Savior does not talk, act, or live like a postmodernist.  The second message entitled “Paul and Truth” was an exposition of Acts 17 (Paul at Mars Hill) showing that the great apostle does not talk, act, or live like a postmodernist.  My third message was “Dispensationalism and Truth” where I discussed the dispensational philosophy of history.

I was asked to cover some of the same material in an unnamed lectureship at my own school, Baptist Bible College & Seminary recently April 12-14, 2011.  The first two messages are the same as the first two at Appalachian Bible College.  For the third message, I was asked to do a book critique of Rob Bell’s recent book Love Wins.  The audio of the messages, manuscripts of the first two messages, and PowerPoints used for all three messages can be found at