What Christianity Is Not

What Christianity Is Not and What It Is

It is interesting to read atheist websites and realize the basis for their atheism. In many cases, atheists say the reasons they don’t believe in God are the same reasons I had when I was an atheist. If those reasons were valid, I would still be an atheist today. Let’s consider what Christianity is not:

JUDAIZED CHRISTIANITY: Many of us do not care for ritual or ceremony. We also have little or no use for those who claim their position in life makes them of greater importance than others. The biblical concept of Christianity also rejects those things. In Acts 15:5, some wanted to force religious rituals on the gentile Christians. Verse 10 tells us the leaders rejected that idea. In Matthew 15:1-9, Christ soundly rejected human caste systems and traditions. In 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, we read that God takes us wherever we are in life. Galatians 3:26-28 makes it clear that in authentic Christianity, everyone is equal no matter what their race, sex, or ethnicity.

LEGALIZED CHRISTIANITY: As an atheist, I saw Christianity as a long list of “don’ts.” Everything I wanted to do was a “no no,” and if you engaged in it, you had massive piles of guilt heaped upon you. It took me a long time to understand that you don’t earn salvation in the Christian system. It is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). In 1 Corinthians 13, we find that there are three things a Christian should have – “faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love.” Legalism is what Christianity is not.

LAWLESS CHRISTIANITY: Closely related to legalized Christianity is “lawless Christianity,” in which a person or a group of persons spell out what is okay and what is not okay. There is no written authority in lawless Christianity. Instead, the rules are laid down and interpreted by a religious leader. The “clergy/laity” system is not logical or biblical. Humans are not only selfish and ignorant, but they are prone to power struggles. In many cases, lawless Christianity has turned the Christian system into an entertainment business. I can get better entertainment in the secular world than any human or group of humans can produce in a church building.

Don’t reject God because of what Christianity is not. Read James 1:27, Matthew 25:31-40 ,and Acts 2:38-47. There you will see that Christianity changes people, makes the world a better place to live, and fulfills one of the most important needs we all have. That is the need for a reliable and functional spiritual experience, because we are created in the spiritual image of God.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Deliberate Denial of Evidence

Deliberate Denial of Evidence

One characteristic of many people today is the deliberate denial of evidence. In a recent discussion with a big-name pro-abortion politician, I asked when he believed a fetus became a human – conception, birth, or somewhere in between. He responded that he had not considered the question. I asked if he would be willing to consider scientific evidence that could answer the question. Again, he responded that he would not.

Some of my female friends who are loud proponents of “a woman’s right to choose” have given me a similar response. How can you make a decision about abortion if you don’t know when a fetus is a human?

This deliberate denial of evidence is not new. People in Jesus’ day watched Him perform miracles, but still rejected and even killed Him. I have presented many atheists with credible evidence that the God of the Bible is real. In a recent discussion with a young college student, she proudly declared she was an atheist. When I presented a series of facts to show there is a God, she jumped up and screamed at me, “I just don’t want to believe!” There was a deafening silence, and I saw tears streaming down her face. She was desperate to justify her disbelief.

Jesus was aware of the human tendency toward deliberate denial of evidence that we don’t want to accept. Mark 9:17-24 tells the story of a man who brought to Jesus, his son who had a convulsive spirit. The man said that Jesus’ disciples could not drive out the spirit, and Jesus indicated the reason was a lack of faith. The father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus responded by repeating the man’s words, “If you can?” Then he told the father that he needed to have faith, to which the father replied, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

Humans want to maintain control over what they believe, even if it requires a deliberate denial of evidence. Like the father who brought his son to Jesus, a person must be open to the evidence and willing to accept it, rather than denying the evidence and even refusing to hear or see it.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Lies and Deception Outweigh the Truth

Lies and Deception Outweigh the Truth

In our world today, it seems that lies and deception outweigh the truth. How many wars have been fought as a result of a lie? The political picture of America has degenerated to the point where you can’t believe what any politician says. Deception is common in the business and economic realm. When I was a child, people settled business transactions with a handshake, and you could be over 90% sure it would happen. Who among us today has not lost money because someone lied to us?

When Jesus told Pilate that He came to bear witness to the truth, Pilate responded by saying, “What is Truth?” (John 18:37-38). In the secular world, “truth” cannot even be defined, much less believed. Romans 1:25 tells us there will be those who exchange “the truth of God for a lie.” In 2 Corinthians 11:14, we find a warning that “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

So what can we believe? In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul writes that there will be those who have a connection to the Church who will “speak lies in hypocrisy.” Then he identifies who those might be, and we see some of them today. In the prayer of Jesus for his disciples, He said, “Sanctify (set apart) them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” We CAN trust God’s Word. Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 tell us that God cannot lie.

The reason for this website is to encourage everyone to go to the Bible and read and think for themselves. We deal with evidence. If someone offers an opinion they can’t back up in the Bible, don’t believe it. Can fake “evidence trick us?” Yes, but the nature of science is that counterfeit evidence is eventually exposed for what it is. The word “science” means knowledge. False science is an opinion stated as knowledge but not supported by factual evidence (1 Timothy 6:20).

When it seems that lies and deception outweigh the truth, trust God by looking at His Word. Don’t let someone tell you what His Word says or what His creation proves. Instead, “Seek and you will find” – “for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” (Matthew 7:7 and Romans 1:20).

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Seven Wonders of the World and the Greatest

Seven Wonders of the World according to a young girl

What would you select as the seven wonders of the world? Writer Damien Thomas has a website called “Your Positive Oasis,” where he posts motivational articles and quotes. Several years ago, he published an article about the seven wonders of the world chosen by children. Since then, it has been repeated on social media.

The story tells of a teacher who asked her students to name the current seven wonders of the world. Compiling their lists into the most popular wonders they selected: 

1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids

2. Taj Mahal

3. Grand Canyon

4. Panama Canal

5. Empire State Building

6. St. Peter’s Basilica

7. China’s Great Wall

According to the story, one girl had not completed her list because there were so many she could not select only seven. When the teacher asked what she had written, her list was:

1. To See

2. To Hear

3. To Touch

4. To Taste

5. To Feel

6. To Laugh

7. To Love

The point of the story was that the most precious seven wonders of the world are not the ones we must travel to see or things that we can make or buy. The most incredible wonders of the world are those we often overlook and take for granted. They are the ones for which we should be thanking God every day that we live. 

I would add another that I think is the greatest wonder of all. It is that God loves us and gave His Son to redeem us to Himself so that we might enjoy the wonders of His presence forever. 

“Now the dwelling of God is with His people, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

— Roland Earnst © 2022

You can read this story on Damien Thomas’s website, “Your Positive Oasis.”

Evolution Is Not Creation

Evolution Is Not Creation

An error shared by some creationists and some evolutionists is confusing evolution with creation. One problem is that the terms “creation” and “evolution” do not mean the same thing to different people. Regardless of how we use the terms, evolution is not creation. Evolution and creation are two completely different subjects that are only very remotely related.

We see the concept of creation in the very first verse of Genesis 1. “Reshith Elohim bara shamayim erets” is the Hebrew of this verse. Each of these words has great significance:

Reshith tells us that there was a beginning to time, space, and matter-energy. Our studies in quantum physics continue to support that statement.

Elohim is a plural word for God and conveys the power and nature of the agent that produced the beginning.

Barais a word used only in reference to God and implies a process beyond human capacity to reproduce.

Shamayim refers to “heaved up things,” meaning the expanding universe.

Erets refers to our functional planet. It is used 648 times in the Old Testament.

A person might deny God as the causal agent of time, space, and matter-energy. Nevertheless, the creation’s characteristics strongly suggest intelligence and wisdom. However, this entire subject has very little to do with evolution. “Evolution” means “unfolding change.” The evolutionist starts with the assumption that not only time, space, and matter-energy existed, but that they existed in a form that allowed change to take place.

Many evolutionary scientists bring into their thinking the question of God’s role in shaping what He had already created. The other option is naturalistic evolution which attributes all we see in the natural world to chance. But, regardless of how you define the terms, realize that evolution is not creation.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

For some interesting points on this topic from the perspective of a scientist who is a Christian, we suggest “How might God have Guided Evolution? Scientific and Theological Viewpoints” by Dr. Peter Bussey. It was published in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. Dr. Bussey is Emeritus Reader in Physics with the University of Glasgow in Scotland and works with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator.

A Larger Dinosaur Has Been Found

A Larger Dinosaur

We are amazed by the enormous size of animals in the distant past. From a giant millipede to the Titanoboa and the Titanosaur, the size of ancient animals excites fossil hunters. Since 2017, Patagotitan has held the record for the largest dinosaur at 120 feet (36.5 m) long and weighing over 57 tons. However, paleontologists in Argentina recently found pieces of a larger dinosaur.

The size of this animal has several implications. First, we need to be reminded that, unlike mammals, reptiles never stop growing, so there is virtually no limit to their size. A more significant issue is having environments warm enough for such animals to live and enough plant material to sustain them, plus a high oxygen level.

The environment that allowed a larger dinosaur to survive would not have been hospitable to mammals. Reptiles can not only survive very hot conditions, but they require heat to sustain their bulk. A hot Earth with very wet conditions would also promote rapid plant growth. Accordingly, the plant fossils from the time of those animals indicate huge size and rapid growth.

The Bible makes clear that everything humans would need to live on Earth was produced before humans were created. Therefore, we have maintained that God was not a magician miraculously zapping things into existence. God could do the creation any way He wished, but He wisely chose to make the resources humans would need in such a way that we could find them.

God acted as an engineer, producing the coal, gas, oil, iron, salt, and other resources we would need by processes we can study and understand. The volume of fossil fuels stored up for our use is a staggering number. Present-day processes on Earth could never produce them, but the enormous animals and plants of the past created enough resources to take us into the nuclear/solar age.

The Bible tells us that God created planet Earth, not how or how long He took to do it.
Genesis 1:1 is not dated or timed. However, as we look at the record of the past, we see God’s wisdom and power and the magnitude of the creative process that allows us to exist.

Rather than trying to fit a larger dinosaur into Noah’s Ark, we need to take Genesis for what it says and not add denominational traditions. We must not use the economy of language in Genesis to justify our human religious theories.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: “Have Scientists Found the Biggest Dinosaur?” Discover magazine, January/February 2022, page 53.

Edward O Wilson Was an Authority on Ants

Edward O. Wilson Was an Authority on Ants

You may recognize the name Edward O. Wilson whom evolutionists associate with sociobiology. However, the Harvard biologist who passed away in December at the age of 92 was actually more famous for his detailed study of ants. There are currently over 15,000 known species of ants, with probably thousands more, and Edward O Wilson was an authority on ants.

Wilson’s studies included ants that can walk under water to find dead insects or glide from one tree to another or join together to make a raft to carry their queen and eggs to safety away from a flooded nest. Wilson pointed out the complex social organization of an ant colony. He wrote that “Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species.”

Wilson summarized his work by saying, “Our sense of wonder grows exponentially: the greater the knowledge, the deeper the mystery and the more we seek knowledge to create new mystery.” Proverbs 6:6 gives a similar message: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” We have considered the ways of ants many times on this website and in our printed journal. You can find links to some of those articles below.

Edward O Wilson was an authority on ants, and although we disagree with his agnosticism and materialistic Darwinism, we applaud him for giving us information about the world of ants. His work reinforces the message of Romans 1:20 that “we can know there is a God through the things He has made.”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Columnist Rich Lowry in the Herald Bulletin for December 23, 2021.

Here are links to some of our previous articles on ants:

Ants and survival rafts.

Ants with prism cooling.

Armor for leafcutter ants.

Ants and tool use.

Ants as farmers.

Ant leaf-cutting tool.

Ant doorways.

Ants in the Sahara Desert.

Ants working together.

Billie Eilish and Pornography

Billie Eilish and Pornography
Billie Eilish

Every time we mention the damaging effects of pornography, we get a few nasty emails suggesting that we are just control freaks who want to deny a harmless activity. The Bible makes it clear that God would have us “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). A recent news report about Billie Eilish and pornography shows it is not harmless.

Young people today have easy access to porn because it is readily available online. Billie Eilish, a Grammy-winning singer, stated that the porn she began watching online at age eleven “really warped her mind” about healthy sex and relationships. Porn composes a third of all internet downloads in the United States and is a pandemic among young people.

In The Daily Telegraph, Judith Woods wrote that online porn is “suffused with hatred for women.” She goes on to say that the sex depicted on porn sites is “terrifying, dominant, and violent… There is choking and spitting and angry misogyny… Women are degraded, used” and “discarded.”

Anyone who thinks this activity is not damaging to young minds is simply ignorant about how young people learn. Furthermore, the whole purpose of sex is lost in a culture that denigrates marriage and uses sex as a weapon or a recreational activity.

Sex in marriage creates a sacred, unique, and pure relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, Christians must teach children what sex is about at an early age before the world exposes them to pornography. In the case of Billie Eilish and pornography, that was age eleven.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: The Week, December 31, 2021/January 7, 2022 page 19.

The Biblical Message of Newness

The Biblical Message of Newness

As we start a new year, let’s consider the biblical message of newness. Human religions call people to focus on maintaining the traditions and practices of the past. Some Christian denominations have done the same, but the Bible calls for newness.

Kainos,” the Greek word for “new,” is used extensively in the New Testament. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says this about “kainos”:

…denotes new, of that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, recent, but new in form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old … new covenant, new commandment … new character … new name … new life of the quickened spirit of the believer … impossible to dissociate this from the operation of the Holy Spirit by whose power the service is rendered.”

The biblical message of newness carries throughout the New Testament. In Luke 5:36, Jesus says, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have a torn garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” Likewise, you can’t take old lifestyles and patch them into being a Christian. Colossians 3:10 tells us to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.” Hebrews 10:19-20 talks about a “new and living way” opened to us by the blood of Christ. Galatians 6:15 calls Christians “a new creation.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 talks about “being made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” In 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, we read, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come. All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
The biblical message of newness continues to the end of the New Testament.
Revelation 21:1-4 describes a new heaven and new earth where God says, “I am making everything new.”

We don’t change by our own power, and New Year’s Resolutions don’t work because they depend on us. However, becoming a Christian and opening yourself to God does work. God isn’t going to force people to accept Jesus Christ, but for those who do, He offers newness. If you haven’t opened yourself to being made “kainos,” isn’t it time to do so?

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Is There Any Hope for America?

Is There Any Hope for America?

It is difficult to be optimistic about the future of America. The danger to this country is not coming from a superior military, and aliens from some other planet do not threaten us. A shortage of natural resources or the threat of natural disasters cannot destroy us. The danger to America is from within. The amazing thing is that it is fed by the ignorance of our people, including our leaders. Is there any hope for America?

In the Old Testament, we read of the rise and fall of the nation of Israel. Hebrew has different words that we translate as “nation.” One is “goi,” used to describe the corporate body. God promised to make Israel a great nation (goi) in Genesis 12:2 and 17:4. That promise was repeated throughout the history of Israel.

The other Hebrew words are “leom” and “ummah,” both translated “nation” in most English versions. It refers to the people, not the political system under which they lived. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “nations” is “ethnos,” from which we get our word “ethnic.” Jesus used it in Matthew 24:1-13. His disciples pointed to the temple’s greatness, and He told them of its destruction. He said that nation would rise against nation, natural disasters would happen, and people would hate His followers.

So is there any hope for America? Nothing will ever destroy the Christian nation or “ethnos,” but America is not a Christian nation. It is a corporate nation that is badly divided, has rejected God and the ethics that Jesus taught. The iniquity that Jesus described in Matthew 24:12 is before us all. We not only have a dysfunctional government, but the opponents of God have succeeded in eliminating God from discussions at the national and state level.

In our military, any discussion of Christianity is now forbidden. Marriage has been denigrated to the point that an all-time low percentage of our population engages in it. On the other hand, our culture now embraces any kind of “marriage” one wishes. Our government not only allows recreational drug use but, in some places, encourages it by providing places where people can “safely” use them. Abortion, euthanasia, prostitution, and pornography are freely allowed in many states.

So is there any hope for America, or will we go the same route as ancient Israel and Rome and all other cultures that have died due to their alienation from God? My response is that America CAN survive, but it will not come from the government or our religious or entertainment leaders. It will come from the ordinary folks who “have not bowed down to Baal and those whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18). If America survives, it will be because we refuse to embrace the teachings of political or religious leaders who don’t know or obey God.

As we start the new year of 2022, let us learn from history rather than repeating it. Join hands with us “little people” and do what God calls us to do and not be swayed by leaders who lie to promote their personal agendas.

— John N. Clayton © 2022