The Tokyo Olympic Games are in progress, and the dress code for the women’s beach volleyball reminds us of a recent incident with the Norwegian beach handball team. The Norwegian team was playing in the Euro 2021 tournament in July when they protested the required bikini bottoms in sanctioned matches. The team was fined $1700 for refusing to wear the mandated dress for competition. Instead, they wore thigh-length elastic shorts. The women on the Norwegian team were not comfortable with the mandatory immodesty, which the Norwegian Handball Federation president called “embarrassing.”
The mandatory immodesty requirement has nothing to do with the performance of the team or with handball per se. The male players are allowed to wear tank tops and shorts four inches above the knee. The decisions by the young ladies were not religiously based. Instead, it indicates that the world will adopt a particular dress code and discipline anyone who does not conform to it, whatever their reasons might be.
I can remember when girls in my high school were required to wear skirts that covered the knees, and the bottom hem had to be a certain distance from the floor. The stated reason for showing less leg was to promote modesty. It had virtually nothing to do with education. Unfortunately, it appears the world has now swung in the opposite direction requiring mandatory immodesty in girls’ clothing.
Christian women face a difficult situation in this subject area. In 1 Timothy 2:9, Paul encourages women to “adorn themselves in modest apparel … not with …costly array.” Unfortunately, that is becoming a significant challenge in our godless culture today.
For the past two days, we have looked at one of the struggles everyone faces– trusting God in difficult times. Of course, the atheist will claim that a loving, caring, just God would not allow innocent people to suffer terrible disasters in their lives. However, most of us have had a “why me?” experience where a problem afflicts us that we feel is unfair and which we beg God to remove – and frequently, He doesn’t.
Life often presents situations that require trusting God in difficult times. I am not suggesting that I know all the answers, but I see three reasons why we sometimes fail to trust God. First, we looked at how faulty thinking and reasoning can erode our trust in God. Secondly, we saw that not having a reason to live and thus seeing no value in the problems we face contributes to our lack of trust in God. We want to look at a third reason today:
REASON # 3 – We fail to trust God because we think that everything must have an answer that we can understand. Someone said, “If I can understand the thinking of God, then God isn’t God.” My experience in dealing with people who are immersed in a problem indicates that they don’t want a theological or philosophical answer to their problem. What they want is to be free of the problem. After many years of dealing with this issue, I have learned that the best thing I can say is, “I don’t know the reason, but I care.”
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God..” In the book of Job, God never reveals to Job the answer to why his problems exist. It is evident that there is a war going on between good and evil in this world. I don’t understand all that is involved, but just looking around, we can see the struggle. I can give theological answers to questions about this war, but you don’t care about theology or philosophy if you are hurting. You want to have a solution to your pain.
After God speaks, Job concludes, “I have heard of you by the hearing of my ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Job came to realize that he is not smart enough or powerful enough to understand it all. Neither are we.
Trusting God in difficult times is our choice to make or not. However, learning to trust God fills our lives with purpose and direction. The promise of Acts 2:38 and John 14:26-27 is enough to make my life worth living, even with its pain and frustrations.
We all struggle with the question of why bad things happen to good people. Atheists claim that a loving, caring, just God would not allow innocent people to suffer huge disasters in their lives.
Most of us have had a “why me?” experience where a problem afflicts us that we feel is unfair. We beg God to remove the problem, and He frequently doesn’t. The Bible is not ignorant of this issue. The whole book of Job is dedicated to why a “perfect and upright man who feared God and eschewed evil” should suffer massive loss and pain.
As one who has faced a problem in trusting God, I am not suggesting that I have it completely solved. In my early days of cynicism and ignorance, I actually said that I had quit praying for God to solve a major issue. It seemed that every time I prayed that something bad wouldn’t happen, it happened. I think there are three fundamental reasons why we don’t trust God or lose faith in God when confronted with the reality of life’s problems.
REASON # 1 – The first reason is faulty reasoning and thinking. We don’t reason very far when we think that everything should be fair. Psalms 73:2-3 talks about believing that prosperity would equate to fairness. Several years ago, singer Peggy Lee sang a song titled “Is That All There Is?” In the song, she spoke about wanting something badly, and then when she got it thinking, “Is that all there is?” We have all bought something we really wanted and then when we got it, we found that we were not enamored with it.
Is it fair that Bill Gates has a lot of money and I don’t? What would I demand in exchange for my wonderful marriage, which apparently Bill Gates didn’t have? Is it fair that I have a disease that you don’t have? Human greed, selfishness, ignorance, and carelessness cause most of our illnesses. Would it be fair for me to ruthlessly contaminate the environment with the result that someone in the future would not have the resources I enjoy?
If all a person would have to do was go to Church to become free of their problems, what would be the result? We would have churches full of people with a temporary, short-term faith that wouldn’t benefit anyone. When we question why bad things happen to good people, ask yourself, “Was it fair for Jesus to die on the cross?” In the heat of a crisis, it is easy to lash out at God. However, if we could look at life unemotionally, unselfishly, and logically, we would see that our anger at God is misplaced.
Faulty reasoning and thinking is the first reason for not trusting God. Tomorrow we will look at reason # 2.
Human sexuality has been a concern of people throughout time, and the Bible deals with the subject extensively. When I was in college, I worked under the direction of Mrs. Wardell Pomeroy. Her husband was a co-worker with Alfred Kinsey, founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University. At that time, I was an atheist, as was Kinsey, so I considered him a hero. One of Mrs. Pomeroy’s sons became a Christian minister, and that precipitated numerous discussions.
Kinsey had no place for God in his research. His view was that since humans are just mammals, we should be able to enjoy sex with any other mammal of our choosing. The Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky said it well: “If there is no God, all things are permissible.” As belief in God has decreased in western culture, Kinsey’s view of human sexuality has become widely accepted.
The New Testament teaches that the healthiest, most meaningful, most satisfying, and most pleasurable sexual experience is with a single marriage partner. Furthermore, the marriage should be a covenant of love, loyalty, care, and faithfulness. In Matthew 19:5, Jesus said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” The Greek word translated “cleave” in the King James Version is “proskollao,” which means to “glue to” or “adhere to.” It is absolute and total unity, not just a physical union. God created human sexuality as a cleaving apparatus.
So what does the evidence show as working in human sexuality? Does the atheist view expressed by Kinsey and Pomeroy work? Every study on this subject has demonstrated that sexual activity outside of the biblical concept of marriage does not work. Here are some examples:
The National Survey of Counseling Directors – A study of 6500 sexually active adolescent girls found that they are three times more likely to be depressed. As a result, they are nearly three times as likely to attempt suicide as peers who are not sexually active.
The National Health and Social Life Council – Their most recent survey found that sexually active singles have the most sexual problems and get the least pleasure from sex. It also showed that couples in long-term marriages were the most satisfied demographic group.
The prominent scholar J.D. Unwin studied 86 civilizations and found that all 86 demonstrated that sexual fidelity was the most important predictor of a society’s ascendancy and strength. Unwin was not a believer and expressed amazement at his own findings.
Atheists are forced to conclude that sex is an evolutionary product and that human sexuality functions the same as that of any other mammal. The biblical view is that sex in humans is not just to produce offspring. Additionally, Human sexuality is a designed tool to assist and promote human relationships and provide stability in civilization. A great deal of the unrest and conflict in America today is rooted in society’s acceptance of the atheist view of sexuality.
Yesterday we looked at the denominational tradition of dispensationalism and its promotion of the idea that Earth’s age is only 6000 years or so. The promotors of this denominational teaching have spent millions of dollars producing the Creation Museum in the Dallas area, the Creation Theme Park and Ark Encounter with Ken Ham in Kentucky. They have also produced massive numbers of books, videos, and public presentations promoting their doctrine. It is a high-dollar operation and has influenced many Christians.
The tradition of dispensationalism presented in these museums and programs has so many scientific and logical problems, it would take a book to deal with them all. Here are a few:
Their understanding of the origins of rocks is very weak. For example, the Grand Canyon has massive amounts of limestone. Their contention that the flood of Noah produced the limestone is dead wrong. A flood never produces a chemically precipitated rock like limestone. Sandstone, conglomerate, and shale are flood deposits, and they exist in small amounts in the canyon.
Their understanding of radioactive dating is very bad. Nuclear dating methods correlate well with other dating methods. Carbon 14 is not used for very old things because its half-life is too short, so scientists use many other radioactive materials for older datings. The average high school physics student knows these methods and understands this point.
Their understanding of geologic processes is very weak. For example, how long did it take for continental glaciers to carve massive numbers of lakes and huge moraines that make up much of Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, and the Great Lakes? How long does it take to produce anthracite coal – not the lignite that can form rapidly?
They create problems by trying to squeeze events into a 6000-year Earth history to fit the tradition of dispensationalism. For example, Methuselah lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27) and is the grandfather of Noah. If Noah lived 950 years (Genesis 9:29) and was 600 years old when he went into the Ark (Genesis 7:11), was Methuselah killed by the flood? Over and over, the Bible tells us that God is outside of time. (See 2 Peter 3:8, Psalms 90:4. Psalms 102:27, Acts 1:7.) Despite that, dispensationalists want to lock God into a human time frame. They say that God made the universe and Earth look old even though they are not. Now you have God deliberately misleading humans, which James 1:13 says God would never do.
Our plea is to take what the Bible says without allowing human doctrines or denominational teachings to tell us what to believe. God could have done the creation instantly, but He chose to use vast amounts of time. By doing that, He enabled humans to find the resources we need by understanding how they were formed.
Don’t follow denominational traditions of dispensationalism! Just read and believe what the Bible says, realizing that it does not tell how old planet Earth is. If you are interested in learning more about dispensationalism, drop us a request, and we will mail you a copy of an article we published in the November/December 2008 issue of our journal titled “Destructive Dispensationalism.” Or you can read it online at THIS LINK. You can also read our previous posts on this subject HERE, HERE, and HERE.
One issue that seems never to go away is the age of the Earth. I frequently get letters from people saying, “If I didn’t have to believe the Earth is 6000 years old, I would be a Christian.”
The root of this problem is those who believe in the denominational doctrine of dispensationalism spend massive amounts of money attempting to justify their ideology. The list of promotors of this denominational tradition is vast. It started with John Nelson Darby, Cyrus Scofield, and D.L. Moody. These men published study Bibles and promoted the idea of seven discrete dispensations. The final dispensation is supposed to involve Israel becoming the world’s capital with Jesus Christ the King reigning from Jerusalem.
The televangelists of our day have modified some of that but have promoted much of it, including the young age of the Earth. The list of promoters of some version of dispensationalism is huge: Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Eric Sauer, John Hagee, Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Paul Crouch, Pat Robertson, and Jimmy Swaggart, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, dispensationalism is a major misunderstanding of the Bible and the nature of God and Jesus. Jesus will not be coming to wage a physical military war with the Chinese, Russians, or anyone else. “My kingdom is not of this world” does not involve any nation – including Israel. Joshua 23:14 tells us that God had fulfilled all the promises He made to Abraham. Colossians 2:8-14 makes it clear that Jesus took out all of the ancient teachings and laws connected with Israel as He established His Church – a spiritual kingdom. Ephesians 2:1-22 and Galatians 3:26-29 emphasize the oneness of the spiritual kingdom, with no nationalities or warfare of any kind.
The attempt to promote Israel’s physical domination of all Earth’s people started early in Church history. In Acts 15, the first century Christians dealt with attempts to promote Jewish tradition in the Church, and they rejected it. Jesus had difficulty getting His followers to understand that His kingdom was “not of this world (John 18:36), and we have the same battle today.
The bottom line is that the Bible does not tell us the age of the Earth. Yet, tragically, preaching schools and some Christian colleges continue to parrot the teachings of dispensationalism while denying that they are. The graduates of these schools and colleges go out and drive people away from God by promoting this denominational tradition that is wrong historically, scientifically, and logically. Tomorrow we want to look at some scientific and logical problems with this denominational teaching.
We frequently get letters or calls from atheists and skeptics complaining about the amount of money churches spend on buildings. Those conversations never last very long because I agree with the atheist challenges on this issue. The critical question is, “Why do churches have buildings?”
In the Old Testament, there was great emphasis on a building as a place for God to dwell. However, knowledgeable people even then realized that God could not be confined to the “Temple.” In 1 Kings 8:27, Solomon said this about the Temple he built, “The whole sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you. Certainly this Temple that I built cannot contain you either.” In Jeremiah 7:1-11, the prophet deals with what people were doing and what God wants. His reference to the Temple at the end of his discussion is, “the Temple is nothing more to you than a hideout for robbers.”
John 4 describes a discussion between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. She was concerned about where people ought to worship. In verse 20, she points out that the Samaritans were worshiping on Mt. Gerizim, and the Jews were worshiping Mt. Moriah. She wanted to know which was the right place. Jesus responds that neither place is the answer for true worship because “a time is coming and has come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Biblical worship is not just something that happens in a building on Sunday morning. Throughout the New Testament, we see worship described in other terms. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Colossians3:17; Acts 9:31.)
So why do churches have buildings where they meet and worship God? Buildings are vehicles to help Christians address the needs of others and to stimulate and motivate each other to be about their lives and work as Christians. In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the worship service was used to collect resources to meet the needs of others. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-30, Paul writes about communion. It is not just between the believer and God but between the members of the family of God as well. Paul says that without the mutual acts of communion, “many of you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
Meeting together for worship allows us to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Colossians 3:16 also tells us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Finally, Hebrews 10:23-25 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Paul then goes on to emphasize the importance of meeting together by saying, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some of you are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…”
“God does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands as if He needed anything … for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-28). Worship is 24/7, not just on Sunday mornings. Why do churches have buildings? Buildings help Christians meet in worship and encourage each other to go out and spread God’s love to the world. Using massive amounts of money to provide a building where Christians can be entertained is painfully ignorant of the true nature of God and what God wants His children to do.
In this day of racial issues, it is essential to understand that there should never be a conflict over race in authentic Christianity. That is because the New Testament concept of priesthood is very different from what many people understand.
In the Mosaic period, priests came from the tribe of Levi. They served as teachers, judges, medical experts, and mediators. To be a priest, you had to be a member of the Levitical tribe and of the family of Aaron ( Numbers 17-18, Deuteronomy 10:8 and 18:1-8, Leviticus 8 and 9.) This was a flawed system because not all Levites were good people.
Jesus Christ abolished that system. Hebrews 7:18-19 says, “For the law that went before is annulled because it was weak and ineffective, for the law perfected nothing, but there has come in its place a better hope enabling us to come close to God.” In Matthew 27:51, we read that at Christ’s crucifixion, the curtain separating common people from the “Holy of Holies” was torn open, making access to God available to all humans.
Galatians 3:26-28 clearly states, “You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Thus, the Bible calls Christians a “royal priesthood” or a “kingdom of priests.” (See 1 Peter 2:4-9, Revelation 1:5-6, and 5:9-10.) That is the New Testament concept of priesthood.
People have tried to continue the Mosaic concept of priests into the Christian era, but that is not what the New Testament teaches. In biblical Christianity, there is no room for placing any person above anyone else. That means there is no room for prejudice. All are equal, and all lives matter. People who justify racial discrimination do so based on human traditions and dogma, not on biblical teaching.
When I was a teenager, it was common to take your date to a movie. Of course, you knew that there would be a happy moral ending to the film, and it would not contain anything offensive or violent. How the entertainment industry has changed!
As children, we devoted much of our free time to such things as “Capture the Flag.” It was a neighborhood game where each side had a flag, and the other side tried to grab it. It was outside and mainly involved running. If you got “tagged” while trying to get the other side’s flag, you were a captive until one of your teammates could free you. There were rules that everyone obeyed, and no one got hurt. A twisted ankle would halt the game, and both sides would focus on the injured person.
Today children walk around with their faces in their smartphones, watching people getting ripped to shreds by dragons. There are “fake” wars where superheroes kill many people, and violence occupies most of the presentation. Adults watch movies with a great deal of killing, violence, adultery, nudity, and pain. “It is not real” is the answer given to those who question all of this. But, the bigger question is what message the entertainment industry is giving to those who immerse themselves in things the Bible refers to as sin.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-23, we see the inspired writer talking to Christians about life. “Now we exhort you brethren to admonish the disorderly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak and be patient with all. Take care that none of you ever pays back wrong for wrong but always follow the kindest course one toward another and toward all. … Bring everything to the test and cling to that which is good. Reject everything that has a look of evil about it, and may the God of peace consecrate you through and through. I pray to God that your whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless at the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is time for Christians to stop supporting an entertainment system that makes killing, suffering, violence, and abuse “entertainment.” I know this is an uphill battle because the entertainment industry is so embedded in our culture. However, one has to hearken back to the words Jesus Christ spoke to those who aspire to be his disciples: “It is you who are the light of the world … Let your light so shine before men that they may see the beauty of your life and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
Cecil May Jr. wrote an article in “Preacher Talk” published by Faulkner University, where he is Dean Emeritus. It deals with what marriage is and what is happening to it in our culture. We thought it was “right on target.” He graciously permitted us to share it with you here:
SECULAR HUMANISM AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION
Biblical religionists have lost a major battle to those who oppose any mention of Jesus as Lord, any reference to the Bible, any letting the Bible define conduct as sin, or to the practice of prayer anywhere except in religious services inside church buildings. A Christianity confined to church buildings is like salt that never gets out of the saltbox.
The opinion-makers in the USA-including the mainstream media-has sold the idea that opposing homosexual relations, which the Bible clearly labels sin, is a civil rights issue, equivalent to racial discrimination. The redefinition of marriage from God’s “one man for one woman for life” into two women or two men for each other came in the same package. So did no-fault divorce, unmarried couples living together, and “open marriages,” where other sexual partners are both expected and accepted.
Here is what the Bible says about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
Here is what the Bible says about sexual relations outside of marriage: “…but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Marriage is widely discounted as “just a piece of paper.” But it is much more than that. Aside from being a significant legal document, it signifies commitment. More than that, the lack of marriage loudly proclaims the absence of commitment. No commitment of either husband or wife to the other, “for better or worse” or “for as long as we both shall live.” No commitment of a father or mother to whatever children may be born to that non-committed union.
An aged married woman had a severe case of dementia. Her husband finally had to put her in a nursing home. He came to see her every day. He helped feed her, dress her and fix her hair. She often had to ask, “Who was that man?” Someone asked him, “Why do you come every day since she doesn’t even know who you are.?” He replied, “1 know who she is, and I know who I am. She is my wife.”
That is what marriage is, more than “just a piece of paper,” committed love!