Calvin Smith – Fishing with Compromised Nets

sea

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)

Jesus’ promise to make His disciples ‘fishers of men’ is understood quite plainly. Christians are commanded to cast out the Gospel net and proclaim Jesus as the Saviour of the world so that God may draw people into His Kingdom.

Sharing the Gospel/Casting the nets

Ideally, sharing the Gospel of Jesus with someone involves communicating two primary components; sin and grace. The first is to explain Christ’s moral standard for all people so that people can compare themselves to it, revealing their sinful state and their need of salvation from God’s judgement (eternity in hell). The second is to show God’s grace in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us so that those who put their faith in Him can be saved (the ‘Good News’!). Christ paid the penalty that we deserve to pay, He is the way of salvation. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.

Repairing the nets/Apologetics

The aforementioned verse in Matthew describes two activities, casting for fish and repairing the nets. Obviously, uncast nets will not catch anything. But nets with holes in them are of little use as well. Small catches might still be possible, but large hauls will be harder to land no matter how much effort is put into casting. A net riddled with holes is compromised and allows many fish to wriggle out through the gaps. Similarly, a Gospel net that is severely compromised may function the same way.

Apologetics is giving a reasoned defence (1 Peter 3:15) of God’s word with the purpose of refuting arguments (2 Corinthians 10:5) that conflict with God’s word. The purpose of biblical apologetics is twofold. One is for believers, to build up their faith by using reason to show the entire Bible (the back story of the Gospel) can be intelligently defended. The second is for the non-believer, to remove objections (stumbling blocks) and to show that all other worldviews are deficient when examined logically. Apologetic arguments reinforce to the unbeliever that they will have no defence (Romans 1:20) when they face their Creator and to (hopefully) allow us to share the Gospel with them again.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Calvin Smith – Does the Bible Allow Pre-Fall Animal Death?

”"

Does Fluffy drag his back legs around the house now because he is crippled with arthritis and covered in fleas? Relax! Did Fifi get cancer and you had to put her down? Praise God! Did Rover get run over? Hallelujah! It’s all part of God’s ‘very good’ initial creation.

How many Christians could say “Amen!” to ridiculous statements like this? Surprisingly, seemingly more than you’d think …

Death before sin

Many Christians have been influenced by the powerful ‘no death before sin’ argument that biblical (or ‘Young Earth’) creationists have long argued. Verses like Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 make it abundantly clear that one man (Adam) brought sin and death into the Creation at the time of the Fall.

The argument is therefore that if the rocks containing fossils (dead things) that are found all over the world are really millions of years old (rather than the result of Noah’s Flood) then there was clearly death before Adam sinned and the Bible is wrong. It follows then that because God’s word is true, the billions of years interpretation of earth history is wrong, there was no death before the Fall.

Theistic evolutionists have largely avoided the problem by simply assigning Genesis to the mythological trash heap and not even trying to synchronize scripture with science, denying Adam and Eve were real people; and some even heretically saying Jesus was wrong about history.

Only human death?

More biblically minded individuals have attempted various ways to harmonize the Genesis account with deep time. Almost all of them try arguing that these Bible verses are simply talking about the death of humans, not animals before the Fall, and so the idea of animal death before Adam sinned is intellectually sound.

Granted, Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 are certainly speaking of human death. But there are several scriptural verses that counteract the idea that animals died pre-Fall. Number one is Genesis 1:29–30 where (pre-Fall) God commands His creatures (people and vertebrate animals) to eat plants. God Himself spoke this and He ends the verse with “And it was so.” That would mean there could be no carnivorous activity pre-Fall.

In further support, Isaiah 11: 6 –9; 65:17–25 speak of a future restoration of peace and harmony between creatures as it was in the beginning before the Fall. “The wolf will dwell with the lamb” and “the lion will eat straw like the ox”, etc. “They will not hurt or destroy” and “they shall do no evil or harm”. A simple summary of the meaning of Isaiah 11:6–9 is given by British theologian Nigel Cameron.

Essentially it has two thrusts of teaching—it implies that there is, in fact, something fundamentally awry in the animal kingdom; that the predation and animosity which characterise it are not as they should be. And, secondly, it asserts that it is man’s religious condition that is responsible for this state of things; the absence from the earth of the ‘knowledge of the Lord’. Human sin and evil in nature are interconnected in a relation of cause and effect.

Indeed, Isaiah was alluding to the conditions in Eden before the Fall. Irish biblical scholar Alec Motyer, former Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, explains:

There is an ‘Edenic’ element in Isaiah’s thinking … There is also a change in the very order of things itself: the herbivoral nature of all the creatures points to Eden restored (Gn. 1:29–30). … The enmity between the woman’s seed and the serpent is gone (Gn. 3:15ab). Infant and ‘weaned child’ have nothing to fear from cobra and viper.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Calvin Smith – Sleeping With the Enemy

CMI has long pointed to the connection between atheism and evolutionary teaching. By definition all thinking atheists must believe in evolution of some sort (and its co-joined concept of millions of years of earth history) to explain their existence without a creator. F. Sherwood Taylor (former Curator of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford) summarized his belief about his country’s general apostasy this way; ‘ … I myself have little doubt that in England it was [uniformitarian, long-ages] geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation.’1

And as street preacher/evangelist Mark Cahill stated; “I think the real issue is if people know that evolution is true, they then know that the Bible would not be true and that then leads to the conclusion of atheism.”2 From their universities’ inner halls to their wide open streets, evolution’s effect on the western nations has been the same. The obvious implication is that if the Bible cannot be accepted as plainly read then why trust it at all?

Of late, some Christians have added a new slant to this by claiming it is Bible believing creationists that are actually the cause of people rejecting the Christian faith. The twist is this. They say that when Christians affirm a plain reading of the Bible and teach it to young people they are setting them up for apostasy. Why? They declare that once youngsters get older and learn ‘real science’ (which is often stated as millions of years and evolution) then they reject all of Christianity, not just the Genesis account.

Typical of this type of attack is Karl Giberson’s article in the Huffington Post titled; “Creationists Drive Young People Out Of The Church”.3 In it he cites studies by Barna pointing out the alarming defection of young people from the church and points to a tension between Christianity and science as a major culprit.

In his online Christianity Today article “Young Earth Creationism Makes Life Difficult for Everyone” author Rob Moll bashes biblical creationists and then quotes Stephen Moshier (department chair of Wheaton Christian College) saying; “Many of us at Christian colleges really grieve at what a problem this young-earth creationism makes for the Christian witness.”4

And these views are making inroads. CMI Canada’s ministry dept recently received an email communication from a supporter attending one of the largest churches in Western Canada who confessed his Senior Pastor had declared from the pulpit that biblical creationists are “ … responsible for the spiritual demise of millions of discouraged Canadian church youth … ” and that the literal biblical creation account is outdated and that those who hold to it “ … show disgusting pride”. (An interesting note is that this supporter is a physician with extensive training in zoology, psychology, theology and ancient history with earned degrees in all of these areas.)

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0