Summary of “Genesis in Space and Time” Francis Schaeffer

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In “Genesis in Space and Time” Schaeffer focuses on the first eleven chapters of Genesis and in step with its title, he argues for the monumental events as actual historic happenings that make sense of life and man’s past as we know it today, unlike any other account of origins we possess.

Schaeffer argues for the historic space-time ex-nihilo creation, God creating man in His own image, an actual historical moral Fall of man, the subsequent abnormality that exists between the Creator and the creature, and Gods promise of rectifying said abnormality are set forth.

A God-less worldview can only observe the effects of said abnormality (i.e., sin), but is incapable of knowing why these things occurred.  Moreover, moderns don’t know how these abnormalities are to be remedied.  Our problem is a moral rebellion against God. Christ alone is the solution.

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Reflections From Acts 8: “PERSECUTION—THE MEANS FOR SPREADING THE GOSPEL”

persecutionSometimes for us to be moved, God must act.  Before Jesus ascended he commanded the disciples to wait for power from on high, his purpose was so they would start witnessing in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and so forth.  This is finally occurring in chapter eight.  How many years have transpired is not clear.  Perhaps it wasn’t years nevertheless it’s through the furnace of suffering that the Gospel went forth.

Ironically, Saul who would become Paul the apostle is the key figure used by God to bring swift persecution on the church.  He ravaged the church and dragged off men and women to prison (v.3).  The irony is that he would eventually become the apostle to the Gentiles.  So both as an enemy and then as a bond servant of Christ, God used him to get the word out.

Like Stephan, Philip too was filled with the Spirit and wisdom, he preached Christ to Samaria and performed signs and wonders which included casting out demons (vv.4-8).  He preached on the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.  Note that God’s rule and reign and God’s chosen Messiah filled the content being preached.

Moreover, Philip is seen preaching to the individual Ethiopian Eunuch and explaining to him the meaning of the Isiah passage he was reading.  Philip from this text preached Christ and assuredly he went to others (vv.25-35).  Eventually the Eunuch was baptized in water and Philip was snatched away by the Spirit of the Lord in order to continue preaching in Azotus and the surrounding cities the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As in Acts 6 & 7 and now in chapter 8, the key figure is the deacon, Philip, doing what God called him to do: preach the gospel and perform acts of power.  The office of deacon in many Christian churches seems to have fallen on hard times.  Hardly are the qualities of preaching and acts of power seen in those who wait on tables and yet this is exactly what Acts reveals.

Could it be that looking for these qualities is of no interest to us today?  For as long as the chairs are set up, the Sunday school room prepared and the coffee and donuts in place (these things are important—maybe not donuts) with these we seem content.  Could it be that we as a church are making a massive mistake by not asking God to fill the diaconal office with those filled with the Spirit and wisdom?, perhaps, perhaps?

To perform diaconal duties (serving tables) is not equal to having diaconal qualities (1 Tim.3), but the example of those chosen by the people seemed to be an election of men known to already have a dynamic walk with God.  So maybe, if we installed leadership of Philip’s ilk we’d do the cause of Christ more service?  Setting up chairs and performing menial tasks are very important and they are to be performed all to the glory of God.  But when we neglect the biblical pattern for leadership within the church everyone loses—including the lost.

(SDG)

Reflections From Acts 1: Setting The Record Straight

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This chapter sets the record straight about who Jesus was, what he did, and what he expected his disciples to do.

First, Luke’s account has stamped all over it the: space-time-history of the events recorded herein.  He wants Theophilus to recall his gospel account of Jesus’ works and teachings.  Noteworthy is Luke’s focus on the final three to four years of Jesus’ life rather than on the earlier ones (vv.1-2).  Luke doesn’t bother to satisfy our contemporary curiosities.  Instead he gives us what we need to know to attain eternal life.

Second, through the Holy Spirit Jesus chose and ordered the disciples/apostles to be his witnesses, not God’s prophetic end time forecasters (vv.7-8).  The reason is because he who was dead was now alive forevermore (the core message in Acts), he “presented Himself alive after his suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (v.3).  Note the centrality of the resurrection account and the duration of forty days.

Biblically, when forty years or forty days are disclosed in scripture God either: reveals His law (E.g., to Moses), disciplines His people (E.g., Israel’s wilderness wanderings), or prepares His people for ministry (E.g., Jesus tempted in the wilderness).  Now with the resurrected Jesus walking, talking and eating with the disciples, God demonstrates his faithfulness to perform His promise.

So, what do all these events have in common?  They demonstrate that: God illumines our darkness (thus we need his law), God desires our holiness (thus we need his discipline), God will rescue His own (thus we needed Jesus, the second Adam, to ready himself), and God accomplishes this rescue by conquering death itself.  The resurrection of Jesus is God’s exclamation mark in history that He is there and He is not silent.  And for those who doubt, the text reveals that just as Jesus was taken up from their midst, he will return some day in like manner (vv.9-11).

Third, the community of believers consisted of the apostles, the women, Mary Jesus’ mother, Jesus’ brothers and about 120 others.  What they didn’t know was how their message would spread and eventually effect human history. BTW, to profess to be a Christian and not be part of a community, a church body is contradictory to the book of Acts.

Fourth, Peter stood among these and spoke concerning the need to replace Judas and points to his tragic end as that which had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold through King David long ago.

Fifth, Peter articulated Judas’ wicked deeds as one who was either: innocent, forgiven, self-righteous or one who was truthfully setting the record straight concerning these events.  Not long before this, it’s Peter who betrays Jesus by denying him three times.  But something happened to Peter; Jesus prayed for him and was thus kept from eternal ruin.  Peter was neither innocent nor self-righteous, he was forgiven and a bearer of the truth.

What does Peter teach us today?  We learn that death is swallowed up in victory because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  That’s why Peter was forgiven and now as Jesus foretold, Peter is strengthening his brothers (vv.16-20).  We also learn that even the worst sin, if repented of, can be used by God for our good and those of the community, the church. Therefore, if we fall into egregious sin, the Savior can use it to strengthen not just us, but also those we influence.

Sixth, Judas’ place had to be occupied by an eyewitness of Jesus’ life and deeds (vv.21-22) and the drawing of lots was the means used to replace Judas.  This fell to Mathias who filled the vacancy.

As I think about this glorious gospel of God’s grace in Christ my prayer is that I will live a life worthy of the calling, that I would lay aside the sin that so easily entangles me, and that I would run this race with perseverance by fixing my eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

(SDG)

The Marriage Decision of the Supreme Court

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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding marriage, there will be mixed emotions and thoughts—based on your worldview.  I’m glad we live in a country where we can talk, debate, and even agree to disagree—hopefully agreeably, and not with incivility (I.e. name calling, etc.).

I know many in the gay community are elated with the court’s decision but there are those within the community that are not[1].  I know many think this issue can only be viewed through scripture and tradition, but reason[2] and experience can also be good tutors.[3]  I also know that historically Christians have been swayed by the culture, rather than impacting it.  Many are the reasons, but two in particular are huge. There’s the unfortunate ignorance of the historic Christian faith and abandoning the life of the mind as a way to love God.   These two reasons produce souls without conviction who often reject Christianity’s truth claims (whether conscious or not).

Provided are two links that can help remedy the malady.  The first one is by Philosopher Douglas Groothuis’.  In his article, he challenges Christians in favor of same sex marriage to logically argue their case.  Among the values of this exercise is to replace the “parroting” of what’s in vogue with the presentation of a reasoned position.  Link http://douglasgroothuis.com/2015/06/27/a-challenge-to-christians-who-support-same-sex-marriage/

Secondly, Stand to Reason has helpful links to help our understanding of the issue(s) which also provide strategies for civil discussion regarding the marriage decision.  Link http://www.str.org/blog/more-resources-for-understanding-and-discussing-the-marriage-decision#.VZAf_flViko

ATTQ encourages the reader to consider these sites, and welcomes dialogue in the comment section concerning your thoughts, worries or even doubts about this issue.

[1] (Accessed 6/28/2015):  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22758434 “The gay people against gay marriage” by Tom Geoghegan, BBC News, Washington http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/  “I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” by Doug Mainwaring

[2] By reason I mean “unaided reason” which comes under the rubric of general revelation—knowledge all people possess concerning God and moralsIt’s this ability to reason that makes it possible for humans created in God’s image to make proper, true distinctions—judgments of reality.

[3] (Accessed 6/28/2015) http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/ “I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” by Doug Mainwaring.  Scripture teaches that God has spoken through two books: The book of nature (Ps.19:1-6; Rom.1:18-21) known as general revelation and the book of redemption called particular revelation (Ps.19:7-14)The former gives the general knowledge of God, the latter the requisite redemptive/salvific knowledge of God.  Too often Christians neglect the latter book to make their case and actually miss out on a good opportunity for dialogue and persuasion contra Paul (Acts 17).  This issue calls for both “books” to be considered at least by professing Christians.

TRUE TRUTH and Why It Matters—“A Word on Beliefs” Part 2

truthUTruth is central to the Christian religion as noted in Part 1 of this series.  And yet before we consider any question(s) regarding truth, it seems appropriate to consider what a belief is.  We all have beliefs, they govern our lives and ironically we rarely take the time to consider what we mean by the term belief.  So let’s reflect on this a bit.

Truth and beliefs are not the same.  I may believe something to be actually true, but in fact it’s false.  Again, I may think something is false—but it is true.  So at times we (read more)

Our Darwin, Design & Origin Seminar Notes are Now Online!

attq Darwin Series header colorIn response to the social climate of our day and the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor, Answers to Tough Questions is making these notes available to the body of Christ.  These are the notes we utilize in our one day seminar called Darwin, Design & Origins. This one day seminar  Continue reading “Our Darwin, Design & Origin Seminar Notes are Now Online!”