A Fundamental Flaw with Radioactive Dating Methods

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When I tell someone that I understand that the earth is only a few thousand years old, an objection that I hear concerns the “irrefutable” data from radioactive dating. Based upon various sources dealing with radioactive dating methods, such as potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead, many have concluded that these provide irrefutable support for an old earth. Is this a valid conclusion? So that you can be better informed about this method and a fundamental flaw, you should read Tas Walker‘s helpful and concise article, “Radioactive dating fatal flaw.”

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New Ad on Obamacare

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Friends, our country is in a dire situation. As President Obama ratchets up his duplicitous rhetoric supporting a national health care bill, we must not lose sight that his plan will of necessity result in medical rationing and taxpayer funded abortions.

Watch this brief new advertisement from Family Research Council Action:

Family Research Council Action intends to air this “ad in five states where key senators reside: Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and Nebraska. The 30-second ad — released during a webcast that warned pro-life laws are under attack.” As you can see from the video, an elderly couple is featured “sitting at the table discussing a government letter the husband just opened. Visibly upset, he says, ‘They won’t pay for my surgery. What are we going to do?’ You may continue reading at New ad warns of abortion funding in health care plans.” When you finish reading this article, you promptly need to contact the President and Congress. For assistance in contacting our leaders, go to FRCAction.

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Did Christians Really Believe in a Flat-Earth?

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A common way to dismiss an opponent’s position is to create a straw man argument by misrepresenting their view. By attacking the straw man, an illusion is created that the opponent’s view is erroneous, yet the actual argument is ignored. One example of a straw man argument used to undermine the credibility of biblical creationism is the flat-earth myth (above picture from Wikimedia Commons). According to this myth, Christians once believed in a flat-earth for biblical reasons. Why is it a myth to teach that Christians once believed in a flat-earth? To find out more, read Dr. Jerry Bergman‘s “The flat-earth myth and creationism.”

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US House of Representatives Again Rejects Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

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Last Friday US House of Representatives again rejected a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. By a margin of 247 to 183, the house voted down the Pence Amendment. “‘It’s despicable that once again Congress has voted to fund this deadly organization,’ said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a statement. ‘The vast majority of Americans do not want taxpayers’ dollars going to abortion organizations.'” To read more, go to “House Rejects Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood.”

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Reflections on Christian Leaders’ Grand Canyon Trip 2009

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I just finished reading a post about the Christian Leaders’ Grand Canyon Trip 2009. Last year I was privileged to go on the “2008 Grand Canyon Christian Scholars Trip.” On July 11-18 of this year Canyon Ministries and Answers in Genesis again sponsored another Christian Leaders’ Trip. Dr. Jeff Straub from Central Baptist Seminary was privileged to be part of the 2009 trip. Check out his description of the trip: “A Journey down the Great Unknown « Theology Central.”

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Another Missing Link Distortion

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The new “missing link,” as touted by recent media promotion, is largely unconvincing even for evolutionary paleontologists. “There is little doubt that the hype surrounding the fossilized lemur ‘Ida’ is primarily bluff and bluster. But her media campaign may actually be a more significant story than the fossil itself.” Why is the media hype about Ida so out of proportion with the actual data? To find out more, read “New Fossil Hype Fits Old Pattern.”

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What I Am Reading on Ecclesiastes

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I am preparing to teach a ThM class this coming fall at DBTS, Hebrew Exegesis of Ecclesiastes. In preparation for this class, I recently acquired Craig Bartholomew‘s
Ecclesiastes (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). Bartholomew’s work is a welcome addition to the increasing number of commentaries on this book.

Because I lead a PhD seminar on Ecclesiastes at Central Baptist Seminary in the spring of 2009, I have interacted with other material Bartholomew has written on Ecclesiastes and appreciate his insightful scholarly interaction with the voluminous sources on Ecclesiastes. Consequently, I have been looking forward to Baker’s release of his commentary. My first impressions reflect that my wait has been worthwhile.

Bartholomew is highly qualified to write this commentary. His 1998 publication Reading Ecclesiastes: Old Testament Exegesis and Hermeneutical Theory, a revision of his 1996 dissertation at the University of Bristol, shows a depth and breadth of scholarship in tracing the history of Old Testament hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, specifically in Ecclesiastes. While the complexities associated with the history of Ecclesiastes studies are described and critiqued, he also argues that the “implied author” of Ecclesiastes is divided between the puzzling nature of the divine gift of joy, like those found in the carpe diem passages, and the frustrating situations one finds in a sin-cursed world, such as those found in the hebel passages. Bartholomew’s solution to these tensions in Ecclesiastes is found in one’s “Christian worldview.” As such, his interpretative approach to Ecclesiastes offering joy and faith as solutions to life’s tensions is a helpful contrast to the many commentaries that take a pessimistic interpretation of Ecclesiastes.

Bartholomew provides a thorough introduction to Ecclesiastes (pp. 17–99). His introduction provides a helpful and detailed discussion of germane introductory issues:

title (pp. 17-18)

canonicity (pp. 18-20)

history of interpretation (pp. 21-43)—a must read

authorship and date (pp. 43-54)—is Ecclesiastes a “royal fiction” with a post-exilic date?

social setting (pp. 54-59)

text (59–61)

genre and literary style (pp. 61-82)—informative discussion

structure (pp. 82-84)

reading Ecclesiastes within the context of Proverbs and Job and its connection to Torah (pp. 84-93)

message (pp. 93-96)

Ecclesiastes and the New Testament (pp. 96-99)

The remainder of this volume is divided into the actual commentary (pp. 101-373), followed by a postscript (pp. 375-89), bibliography (pp. 391-420), and indices referencing subjects, authors, scripture and other ancient writings (pp. 421-48). The commentary itself is divided into three sections.

Frame Narrative: Prologue (1:1-11), pp. 101-117

Qohelet’s Exploration of the Meaning of Life (1:12-12:7), pp. 119-357

Frame Narrative: Epilogue (12:8-14), pp. 359-373

As you can tell, Qohelet’s Exploration of the Meaning of Life (pp. 119-357) consumes the bulk of his discussion. This is divided into 21 units. With each of the 21 units, as well as the prologue and epilogue, Bartholomew provides his own translation, followed by a section on interpretation and theological implications.

As Bartholomew takes us through the various mazes of life, he shows how joy and faith undergirds the believer’s journey through one’s frustratingly enigmatic life. Thus, his work has many highlights. I cannot resist mentioning one example. The theme of Ecclesiastes is introduced in Ecclesiastes 1:2 with its fivefold use of hebel: “Hebel of hebels, says the Preacher, hebel of hebels. All is hebel.” The fact that v. 2 is essentially repeated in 12:8 (“Hebel of hebels , says the Preacher; all is hebel”) confirms that 1:2 is the subject of Ecclesiastes. Besides the eight uses of hebel in 1:2 and 12:8, it is used thirty other times in the book at key junctures. Certainly, an important issue in Ecclesiastes is the interpretation of hebel. Many options have been suggested on the translation of this term ranging from a word with negative connotations, such as “vanity” (KJV) or “meaningless” (NIV), to a word allowing for more positive uses, such as Bartholomew’s option “enigmatic.” While this word is discussed in a number of different sources (see pp. 93-94, 104-6; and pp. 88-95 of my “Message of Ecclesiastes“), his translation of it as “enigmatic” opens the possibility that one may find God-centered satisfaction in the many twists of life. His rendering of hebel is just one of the many commendable features of this volume. Craig Bartholomew has provided us with an exegetically detailed interaction with the Hebrew text and a theologically informative commmentary. I can highly recommend this commentary to biblical scholars, pastors, and serious Bible students.

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Which Law Will Prevail in Dearborn, MI: US Constitution or Sharia Law?

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You may remember from my post yesterday that it appears that Sharia Law is being enforced in Dearborn, MI. I was glad to see last night that “the leader of an Arab Christian evangelical group filed suit against the city of Dearborn, Mich., claiming the city violated his First Amendment right to distribute literature on public property.” Though it looks like this appears to be a different group than the Acts 17 Apologetics ministry group that I had documented in yesterday’s post, it is nevertheless good to see at least another Christian group appealing the constitutional rights of the city of Dearborn to relegate their group’s activity to distribute literature only at one location within the festival. As far as Dearborn, MI is concerned, I am not certain about which law will control the city: the US Constitution or Sharia law. To continue this unfolding story, read “Arab Christian Group Claims First Amendment Rights Denied On Public Property.”

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Is Sharia Law Being Enforced in Dearborn, MI?

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Is Sharia Law Being Enforced in Dearborn, MI? It certainly looks like it is at the 2009 Arab Festival in Dearborn. Check out what happened to some members of the Acts 17 Apologetics ministry: If you are an American, you should be distressed over what goes in this video. However, isn’t it great for Muslims to have friends in the White House? So much for following the United States Constitution!

Follow-up to Gail, Gail, Quite Contrary

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One of the reasons for my post “Gail, Gail, Quite Contrary” was to make readily available some information about KJVOnlyism with specific reference to Gail Riplinger. I mentioned that recently I have been asked about her on a few occasions. While I cited another source from the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (there is more information in our journal about this modern-day heresy). For more information about the dangers and heresies of Gail Riplinger, you need to read Fred Butler’s “Leaving King James Onlyism (with Special Thanks to Gail Riplinger)” This is a very engaging post with key sources cited in links. If you know of anyone who is caught up in the pernicious heresy, you need to refer them to this article.

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