Texas Education Officials Strike Blow to Academic Freedom

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After the Institute for Creation Research‘s move from Santee, California, to Dallas, Texas in 2007, the Site Team from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) evaluated the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) and gave their initial approval for this Graduate School to receive a Certificate of Authority so that they could grant degrees in Texas. This initial approval was affirmed in December 2007 by THECB Advisory Committee. Despite both approvals, the THECB Commissioner Raymond Paredes “rejected both reports as ‘flawed’ and instead convened a separate panel of scientists and science educators that advised him not to approve the ICRGS application. ICRGS scientists and faculty were not included in or allowed to respond to this panel.” On Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Commissioner Pardes recommended that ICRGS be denied Texas’ Certificate of Authority. On the following day, THECB unanimously voted to follow Pardes’ recommendation.

If you look at ICRGS’ purpose, philosophy and the academic qualifications of its professors, IMNSHO, it looks like THECB’s denial of ICRGS’ request to grant degrees in Texas is inconsistent with its earlier decision to approve ICRGS and a denial of their academic freedom. For more on this, read “Texas Education Officials Strike Blow to Academic Freedom” (to see ICRGS’s press release on April 25, click here).

MacArthur: Monkeying with the Meaning

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Is it possible that Genesis 1-3 is a series of literary devices that allow for an earth that is billions of years old as a result of evolutionary processes? There are two responses to this question. On the one hand, many evangelical Christians would answer this question affirmatively. Though critics have consistently not been concerned about interpreting the early chapter of Genesis as historical narrative, a number of modern evangelicals have reinterpreted the Genesis material as something of a semi-poetic account. On the other hand, there are other Christians who answer this question negatively. John MacArthur in his continuing series on naturalism answers this question negatively. In his own words: “I am convinced that Genesis 1-3 ought to be taken at face value—as the divinely revealed history of creation. Nothing about the Genesis text itself suggests that the biblical creation account is merely symbolic, poetic, allegorical, or mythical. The main thrust of the passage simply cannot be reconciled with the notion that ‘creation’ occurred via natural evolutionary processes over long periods of time. And I don’t believe a faithful handling of the biblical text, by any acceptable principles of hermeneutics, can possibly reconcile those chapters with the theory of evolution or any of the other allegedly scientific theories about the origin of the universe.” Dr. MacArthur’s answer is correctly aligned with the traditional interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. To see how MacArthur treats both the positive and negative answers to this question. Read his entire article: “Monkeying with the Meaning.”

MacArthur: Evolution and Ethics

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John MacArthur continues his articles exposing the destructive influence of Darwinism on society. Starting with Thomas Huxley, he shows how philosophies generated from Darwin’s ideas lay the foundation for moral relativism and, most significantly for today, the amoral approach to life that permeates the Western world: “The simple fact of the matter is that all the philosophical fruits of Darwinism have been negative, ignoble, and destructive to the very fabric of society. Not one of the major twentieth-century revolutions led by post-Darwinian philosophies ever improved or ennobled any society. Instead, the chief social and political legacy of Darwinian thought is a full spectrum of evil tyranny with Marx-inspired communism at one extreme and Nietzsche-inspired fascism at the other. And the moral catastrophe that has disfigured modern Western society is also directly traceable to Darwinism and the rejection of the early chapters of Genesis.” Read “Evolution and Ethics

“Naturalism’s Missionary Zeal”

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People living in the 21st century are more aware of a few of the intricacies associated with the universe than any previous generations. This awareness rather than promoting genuine worship of the living, Triune God of the Bible has produced idolaters. Consider what Paul said in Romans 1:18-25: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they obecame futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, vwho is blessed forever! Amen.”

God’s created universe communicates a general message about God’s eternal power and divine nature. This passage lucidly teaches that all people have this basic knowledge of God; and, this knowledge is enough to leave them without excuse before God’s eternal condemnation of them. Yet, until their final judgment, self-deceived fallen man continuously and aggressively promotes the worship of anything other than the true and living God. Notice further, Paul states that humanity has “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” In our day, this lie is most visible with modern naturalism. According to Dr. John MacArthur, “Modern naturalism is often promulgated with a missionary zeal that has powerful religious overtones. The popular fish symbol many Christians put on their cars now has a naturalist counterpart: a fish with feet and the word ‘Darwin’ embossed into its side. The Internet has become naturalism’s busiest mission field, where evangelists for the cause aggressively try to deliver benighted souls who still cling to their theistic presuppositions.” In this article, MacArthur uses Carl Sagan, astronomer and renowned televangelist for the religion of naturalism, to shown how naturalism leads to hopeless insignificance and despair. Christians need to be aware that the aggressive, religious zeal of men like Carl Sagan present a Worldview that is antithetical to Christian theism. Take time to read John MacArthur’s “Naturalism’s Missionary Zeal”

Worldview Anomalies, Recalcitrant Facts and the Image of God | The Scriptorium Daily: Middlebrow

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What is involved with our worldview? And, does our worldview provide an adequate explanation of reality? Or, are there facts of reality that are incoherent with our worldview? Does the postmodern worldview provide an adequate explanation for the fact that a person is in the image of God? J. P. Moreland‘s post answers these questions and argues that rival explanations to the Bible’s view of the image of God in man, such as naturalism and postmodernism, cannot adequately explain a person’s rationality and dignity. According to Moreland, “The Bible teaches that human beings are made in the image of God. This implies that there are things about our make up that are like God is. Among other things, this implies that the make up of human beings should provide a set of recalcitrant facts for other worldviews.” Do not neglect reading “Worldview Anomalies, Recalcitrant Facts and the Image of God.”

A Reader’s Hebrew Bible

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Last week I finished preparing my textbook list for Rapid Hebrew Reading. This is a class that I will teach in the Fall Semester of 2008 (to read about this, scroll down to course number 149 on this page). The reading in this class covers forty-five chapters from the Hebrew Old Testament dealing with pericopes in historical narrative, legal material, prophecy and poetry. Because of the demands of this type of class, I was glad to add a unique Hebrew Bible that I am confident will assist in covering our objectives in this class. The new tool is Zondervan‘s A Reader’s Hebrew Bible edited by A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith. In my estimation, this is a great source for stimulating reading the Hebrew Old Testament.

For those who are students of the Greek New Testament, you may be familiar with Zondervan’s A Reader’s Greek New Testament by Richard J. Goodrich and Albert L. Lukaszewski. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible follows this pattern. Zondervan’s release describes a number of the positive features of A Reader’s Hebrew Bible: “Ideal for Hebrew students and pastors, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible saves time and effort in studying the Hebrew Old Testament. By eliminating the need to look up definitions, the footnotes allow the user to read the Hebrew and Aramaic text more quickly, focusing on parsing and grammatical issues. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible offers the following features: • Complete text of the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible using the Leningrad Codex (minus critical apparatus) • Shaded Hebrew names that occur less than 100 times • Footnoted definitions of all Hebrew words occurring 100 times or less (twenty-five or less for Aramaic words) • Context-specific glosses • Stem-specific glossed definitions for verb forms (Qal, Piel, Hiphil, and so forth) • Ketib/Qere readings both noted in the text and differentiated appropriately • Marker ribbon.”

If you are concerned about keeping up with reading your Hebrew Old Testament, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible will be a great aid. And, if you are interested in getting a 43% discount, click here. When I think of the significance of this unique Hebrew Old Testament, I am reminded of a saying of my grandmother, “this is better than sliced bread.” Thanks to Philip Brown and Bryan Smith for providing something that is more eternally valuable than “sliced bread.”

ESV Study Bible To Be Released October 2008

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Earlier this week, Tuesday, April 15, the ESV Bible Blog announced that the ESV Study Bible would be released in October 2008. If you go to the ESV Study Bible’s home page, the menu is set up so that you will be able to easily examine this study Bible’s features, formats, contributors, and endorsements.

The Features page provides an overview of its content and features. Some interesting features include more than 25,000 notes that focus on interpreting the biblical text and 80,000 cross references to easily locate key terms, passages and biblical motifs. Also, while on this page, you can see sample portions of John 1 & John 18 and an illustration of Solomon’s Temple. The Formats page provides details about the printing and binding. When on this page, you can pre-order, with a 35% discount, the ESV Study Bible in eight first-edition formats. On the Contributors page, it is noted, “the ESV Study Bible was created by a team of 93 outstanding evangelical Bible scholars and teachers. They were chosen, first, because of their deep commitment to the truth, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Word; and, second, because of their expertise in teaching and understanding the Bible.” The final menu item is its Endorsements. Here you can see what a few evangelical leaders have to say about the ESV Study Bible. Dr. Albert Mohler’s response to this study Bible is worth noting: “Outstanding! The ESV Study Bible is a treasure—a beautiful volume, filled with a wealth of resources. It will be just as useful for the seminarian and long-time pastor as it will be accessible to the brand-new Christian” (for a range of blog responses, go to ESV Study Bible Blog Responses).

One final outstanding feature of the ESV Study Bible is that it “is the first study Bible ever to be published simultaneously in print form and online—and the online edition will be available free to all who purchase a copy of the print edition. The ESV Online Study Bible will provide additional unique features, including the ability to create personal online notes; to search and follow interactive links between notes, maps, articles, charts, timelines, illustrations, and cross-references; to listen to audio recordings of the ESV; and to access numerous additional resources not available in the print edition—all available for free.”

Judging from what I have been able to review, the ESV Study Bible will make a great contribution to the range of study Bibles (for my assessment of the ESV Literary Study and how I use translations, click here). After finishing my investigation of the ESV Study Bible, I returned to the Formats page to order my copy with a 35% discount. I look forward to receiving my copy of the ESV Study Bible in October and recommend that you go to ESV Study Bible and order your copy today so that you can also receive it when it is released.

“Hamas Endorses Obama”

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If you have any doubts about whom terrorist organizations would like to see as our next president, Hamas on this past Sunday evening has given a public endorsement of Barack Obama as our next president. In an interview on WABC radio, Aaron Klein and John Batchelor conducted an interview with “Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Prime Minister of Hamas, on WABC radio. The interview produced a scoop which, for some reason, has not been widely publicized.” For more on this, read Power Line: Hamas Endorses Obama.