Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA

Beginnings

by admin ~ May 23rd, 2015

When Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, the technology that could look at the cell had not been invented.  As far as that generation was concerned, it was just a mass or a blob.  Then came the electron microscope and men could look at the cell and saw the irreducible complexity.  It didn’t stop there.  They went further and figured out DNA, that it was a code, a system of information and design.  This, of course, blew apart everything that naturalists speculated to back up their presupposition.  In addition to that, men already knew that there was no evidence of transitional forms in the fossil record, only the evidence of kinds.  The incrementalism of Darwin, slow transformation over billions of years from simple to complex—men knew that had never happened.  There was no basis for it.  What I’m saying is that the worldview taught in the public schools, the entire university system, and the media is all a lie.  They know it is.  Everyone knows that all of this never occurred by chance.   Someone put a room full of monkeys into a room full of computers and saw what even this level of intelligence could produce by chance.  They didn’t come up with Shakespeare.  They didn’t even get words.  That could only occur by design.  This world, solar system, galaxy, all the galaxies came from design and matches exactly what is taught in the Bible.  God created the heavens and the earth.

Is It Scriptural?

by admin ~ May 14th, 2015

The bottom line of any position that we take is, “Does scripture teach it?”  If it does, then we believe and obey it.  If whatever it is that we believe contradicts the Bible, it is invalid.  We shouldn’t believe it – we have no basis for doing so.  Religions have these issues to deal with, that is, what they believe and practice isn’t taught in God’s Word.  The Bible does not teach, for instance, to sprinkle infants.  That’s not in the Bible anywhere and there is nothing like it in scripture.  You have to put it into the Bible in order to get it out.  Someone may think that God’s Word teaches something, but it doesn’t.  We should believe and practice what the Bible says, no more or no less, but what the Bible does teach will cohere to everything else that it teaches.  It won’t contradict itself.  If it is in fact what scripture teaches, you will see how it coheres with everything else in the Bible.  Men are not saved by works and by faith.  Those two contradict each other, so they could not both be true.  One is false, and the Bible doesn’t teach anything false.  The right position will agree with all other texts of scripture that say something about the same subject of a particular passage.  A prerequisite for faith in and obedience to a teaching of scripture is the presupposition that you can read the Bible with the normal meaning of words or the basic laws of language.

Believing and Certainty

by admin ~ May 1st, 2015

I didn’t know it, but “certainty” is a philosophical concept that has entries in encyclopedias.  More than ever, men are thinking about certainty, because they are less certain.  We lived in a world with far more certainty in an earlier age.   Was this good or bad?  Some would have you believe a greater merit to doubt than certainty, except that doubt isn’t exalted by God in the Bible.  It’s bad there.  In the end, being uncertain insults God’s revelation.  You are saying He hasn’t been clear enough or plain enough, short on ability to communicate.  God couldn’t get His message across and so you’re uncertain.  Either that, or we really don’t know.  That really is a blank sky and when we die, we turn to worm food, at least until the sun burns out, all life on earth is eliminated, and the universe goes silent.  Nobody is there to hear it, even if it did make a noise.  I believe that God wants complete certainty, 100% assurance from us.  He wants to believe fully.  Not because of God, we don’t operate at that level of certainty, and so living in a continuous state of full assurance isn’t required as a definition of belief.  Believing is something a little less than certainty, is what I’m saying.  However, you are certain to the degree that it results in the full submission of your will to God.  You turn from your will and way to His, because you’re certain enough that He is true, and you believe.

Pascal’s Wager?

by admin ~ April 25th, 2015

I’m just going to cut and paste Wikipedia on Pascal’s Wager for consideration: “Pascal’s Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62).  It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or not. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming an infinite gain or loss associated with belief or unbelief in said God (as represented by an eternity in heaven or hell), a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God.  If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.).”  This wager serves as an argument, but is it a wager?  I think some people in churches, probably most, do treat their Christianity like it is a wager, but more of a losing one than a winning one.  They treat the world like it’s winning the wager, if you consider where their true investment lies.  I’m asking you to evaluate yourself on this.  Our church requires little, and I say, “requires.”  God expects more if you really believe this, you love Him, and you are convinced this is true.  We base these kind of things on probability.  How probable is it that Christianity is true?  If you weigh it as 100%, at least you would say it is, by how you judge these things, what would your life look like?

No Accident

by admin ~ April 18th, 2015

I was talking to a man about a week ago, and in presenting him the evidence for the faith, I called the alternative “an accident.”  He didn’t like the word, “accident.”  He liked chance better, but accident didn’t sound like something he was believing or thinking.  What I was saying is that he believed that we got here by accident, because that is the alternative to design.  People don’t like to hear that, because it just sounds wrong, but it is what they believe, and that’s your intellectual choice.  Do you believe that what you see with your own eyes is an accident or does it look like design to you?  Of course, it’s design, and this is general revelation.  Everyone knows it.  It has to be design, because there are hundreds of details that have to be right for us to even survive.  There is no way they all occur by accident.  Who would credit an accident for all this?  A rebellious person, who wants his life to be his own, to go his own way—that’s who—and it’s the height of unthankfulness, since God did it and continues to do it.  These people are surviving only because of Him, drawing more breaths to use in blasphemy against Him.  The amount of evidence that God provides is enough to screen out the rebellious from being with God for eternity.  If you want to be on your own, the idea, then go ahead and be on your own, but it’s not going to look pretty.

History Says Jesus Rose from the Dead

by admin ~ April 10th, 2015

Some like to frame the resurrection of Jesus as though it is a theological belief and not a historical event, but even based on the most conservative historical investigation, we must say that the tomb previously housing a doubtlessly dead Jesus was empty, and that people who before knew Him well saw and met someone they were convinced was this same Jesus, bodily alive.  First, the empty tomb and, second, the convincing appearances of Jesus are the two conclusions the historian must draw.  Sure, someone might be cautious—Thomas waited a week before believing what he had been told.  Were it not for the astounding, and worldview challenging claim that is thereby made, based on the evidence alone everyone would long since have concluded that this was the correct historical result.  Christianity exists, buttressed mainly on the resurrection of Jesus.  If some other account would explain its rise, the alternative would be chosen, but other explanations are far less convincing as historical than the one the early Christians themselves offer: that Jesus really did rise from the dead on Easter morning, leaving an empty tomb behind him.  Several reasons exist why people may not want, and often refuse, to believe this, but in weighing the possible accounts, to date, none of them have anything like the explanatory power of the simple, but utterly challenging, Christian one.

One Person at a Time

by admin ~ April 4th, 2015

I was thinking this week about Philip and his evangelism of the Ethiopean eunuch in Acts 8.  I recognize that the eunuch was an important figure in a number of ways: he was a Gentile, he was African, he was a seeker who responded to the revelation he had and God made sure he got more, and the gospel was moving out from Jerusalem according to the Great Commission.  All of those are important, but I was considering two things else, and especially the second, but, first, it was one person.  He was alone and God cared about Him.  God cares about individual people, whether one of them is saved or not. God knows about all of us, like Jesus emphasized in His parables of the lost coin, lost sheep, and lost son in Luke 15.  The second thought was the one that stuck with me, and it is closely related to the first.   The Bible is impressed, so it is big to God, with evangelism of, preaching the gospel to, one person.  You don’t have to get all caught up in the numbers, but in preaching the gospel to one person.  A lot of attention is given to one person hearing the gospel.  It’s just a matter of continuing to get it to that next person.  You can’t get it to the whole world, but as one person, you can get it to one man or woman, and then more the better.  If we’re preaching, going out there and doing that, then people are getting it, and we’re emulating what God does in Acts 8 and in the rest of scripture.

What It All Comes Down To

by admin ~ March 27th, 2015

What does everything come down to?  Everything.  Everything.  Everything comes down to whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not.  God places almost all importance on believing in Jesus Christ.  From our perspective, you could say it is everything.  If we were to think through all the possibilities of what could be that important, perhaps other things might come to mind.   People today might think it is getting water to needy, drought-ridden countries, not littering or polluting, saving the planet, preserving animals or the fragile ecosystem, or sharing the wealth.  Some would say it is to give a man his human or civil rights, tolerating whatever lifestyle he chooses, and getting along with one another.  God says it is believing in Jesus Christ, because everything doesn’t revolve around man and what he thinks.  Whatever makes sense to him is not necessarily right and not probably right.  It is usually wrong.  It’s also not a good thing to say or think, “I’ll go ahead and risk it, and go with what I think or feel is important.”  It is the greatest and most costly risk by a long ways.  When you look at life from God’s perspective, which is a biblical one, it does make sense that believing in Jesus Christ it is.  And God explains it, so we can get it.  On a root level, we already get it, but we’re rebellious.  We won’t get anything out of rebellion except the worst possible end.

Eternal Punishment: It’s Real

by admin ~ March 21st, 2015

I don’t have a lot of dreams any more, and when I do, I assure you that I don’t think I’m receiving divine revelation. I believe dreams relate mainly to what we’re thinking about during the day, so there isn’t new material.  God has stopped giving revelation, according to His own Words.  I don’t take anything new from this dream, except that it gave me thoughts about God’s judgment.  I was shown eternal torment, the lake of fire, someone entering into it, the entrance being shut forever, and the knowledge that it was over.  Then I woke up. I know that once someone goes to hell, he’s there forever, but it is hard to imagine it.  I don’t think it is real to most of us most of the time.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in it.  The dream didn’t tell me anything new, but it brought to mind the reality of the finality of eternal punishment from God.  We have to, in a sense, project ourselves forward to that point, when we consider it by faith.  We experience lost opportunity in this lifetime, but nothing like that.  A person at that moment will be in the greatest pain of his existence.  I believe at that beginning of eternity for him, he will think it won’t last.  He will try to escape.  He will know that isn’t possible.  And then the thought will settle in that he’s there forever, like those drowning and the door to the ark was closed.  His experience there will never end.

Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

by admin ~ March 14th, 2015

The psalmist writes in Psalm 139:14, the well-known words, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Our person created by God – body, soul, and spirit – inspires awe from us.   As you tick off the various systems of your body alone, you acknowledge the wonder.  That doesn’t mean you comprehend your brain, your circulatory, nervous, digestive, muscular, excretory, and reproductive systems.  And that’s before you start with the spiritual aspect of you.  God made you and He has a plan for you.  You’ve come a long ways if you understand that you were formed by God, and if you can accept that, then you can go further and believe that you’ve been ruined by sin.  That’s why this world and you are breaking down.  That explains the problems we see all around us.  But it doesn’t stop there.  God has a means of redemption.  As much as this is a complex universe with all of its moving parts, God in His sovereignty works it all together like clockwork.  We learn about it from His Word.  God is not the Author of sin, but He still will be glorified by redeeming men from sin’s bondage through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son.  As amazing as is His creation, we should expect further amazement in the story as it progresses.  We should not expect it to become less amazing.  God is still at work and He wants us to spread these truths to others.