In 1897, The Sun newspaper was asked a doozy of a question. Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wanted to know: “is there a Santa Claus?”
The little girl had first asked her papa and he, like a skilled matador, neatly sidestepped the question, telling her to write a letter to the editor. “If you see it in The Sun,” he told her, “it’s so.”
You can imagine the tension that must have enveloped the newsroom when this letter arrived. On the one hand, the journalistic integrity of the paper was at stake; how could they do anything but tell the truth? And on the other... well, only a grinch would want to kill Santa Claus, so how could they possibly tell her the truth?
Our choices are limited: infallible, fool or fraud
by Jon Dykstra
According to a 2009 Pew Research poll, 1 in 5 American Protestants admit to a belief in reincarnation – 20 per cent believe that after they die not only will they'll go to heaven, they'll also be reborn on earth again and again in an endless cycle. And they're not the only confused ones. On the topic of infant vs. adult baptism, I’ve been confronted by Christians who figure there is some sort of middle ground. They argue that a Baptist who thinks that infant baptism is wrong, and a Presbyterian who thinks it is proper, can both be right.
This modern ability – to sincerely hold to two contradictory beliefs – makes it difficult to discuss anything. It seems that before we can argue that one belief is better than another, it’s necessary to explain that a choice has to be made, that the two ideas we are contrasting can’t both be right.
Lord, liar or lunatic
We work closely with Roman Catholics in the pro-life movement. We all want the very best for the unborn, so there is an ever-present temptation to minimize our differences. We're sincere, they're sincere, so isn't that enough?
While we can and should certainly work with them to save the unborn, we must be clear, for their sakes, about the gulf that divides us. We do our Catholic friends no favors in minimizing our differences. So how can we best show them how significant those differences are?
C.S. Lewis has the answer.
by Jon Dykstra
In Dean Register’s Minister’s Manual he tells a story about a pastor, Leith Anderson, who grew up as an avid fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. One year his father took him to a World Series game where his beloved Dodgers were playing their hated cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees. Anderson was sure his Dodgers were going to win, but he was bitterly disappointed when they never even got on base and lost the game 2-0.
Years later Anderson had an opportunity to share his World Series experience with another avid baseball fan. “It was such a disappointment,” he told the man, “the Dodgers never even got to base.”
“You mean you were actually there?” the man asked in amazement. “You were there when the Yankees’ Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series’ history? That must have been amazing!”
Because Anderson had been so wrapped up in the rivalry he missed out on appreciating the most dominating pressure-packed pitching performance ever displayed in the baseball finals. Sportsmanship at its core is about remembering that the guys on the other team are our opponents, not our enemies – they’re fellow human beings, made in God’s image. If we recognize that it isn’t going to cut into our intensity, but should cut down on our cross-checks. And while we’re always going to cheer on our hometown boys, if we eliminate the hate we’ll also be able to appreciate a brilliant performance by the other team’s guy.
by Kenneth Wieske
A woman walked into my study a few days ago. She was nearly naked, wearing only a bra and panties.
There is just one woman in the world who, while dressed like this, can be around me: my wife. But the woman who walked into my study a few days ago was not my wife. I was very embarrassed.
She, however, was not embarrassed at all. Let's call her: "Shameless." The reason Shameless was not embarrassed was because she had swallowed the lie of our modern society. This lie says the following: if the bra and panties are the same color and made of a fabric that can be used in water, then walking around in them is completely different than walking around in underwear because they are, after all, swimwear.
Shameless is a professing Christian, yet, because she has bought into this lie, she has no problem exposing her body to the whole world. I imagine she might be embarrassed to walk in the mall, or visit her grandparents, dressed only in her bra and panties. But for some reason, she does not see any problem in choosing a photo of herself dressed this way as her Facebook profile photo.
That's how she came into my office: by my computer screen.
Qualities dads should be looking for in anyone who wants to date our daughters
by Jon Dykstra
Here's a topic that's best to get to too early rather than too late - what sort of men should our daughters marry?
Dads are going to have a lot of input in this decision, one way or another. If we actively try to influence our daughters – by example, through conversation, and by requiring interested young men to talk to us first – we'll point them to a certain sort of man. And if we don't talk about what makes a man marriable, if we aren't a good example of a godly man and good husband, and if we have no role in our daughter's dating life, then we'll point them to another sort of man.
What kind of man do we want for our daughters? The answer is simple when we keep the description broad: a man who loves the Lord, and will be a good leader to his wife and children, who’s hardworking, and also active in his church.
But what does this type of man look like as a boy? If our daughters are dating, and getting married young, they'll unavoidably have a "work in progress." That's a description that fits all of us – sanctification is a lifelong process – but which is even more true for a boy/man in his late teens who hasn't yet shouldered the responsibilities of providing for himself, let alone a family. It's hard, at this point, to take the measure of the man he will become. How do we evaluate potential suitors when there isn't a lot of track record to look back on?
We need to find out how they react to light and to leadership.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19-21
Does a young man love the light?
This is a characteristic that is easy for us dads check up on. It's as simple as asking his parents if they know where he is on Friday and Saturday nights. Does he think it's no big deal to tell his parents where he will be? Or does he want to keep what he's up to a mystery? Does he have a problem with having his parents around when friends come over? Or has he introduced all his friends to them? When he goes out to other friends' houses does his group pick homes where parents are home? Or do they want their privacy?
Scientific Reasons to be against Evolution
by Jon Dykstra
There is a clear biblical reason to be against Evolution – the first few chapters don’t leave a lot of room for that theory. But when I went to university I was confronted with evolutionary theory on an almost daily basis. My profs all seemed to assume that Evolution was such an established fact, it was beyond any rational questioning. So did being a creationist involve turning a blind eye to reason and logic? I couldn’t believe that was true, so I started searching for scientific reasons to be against Evolution. And if I was going to direct them at my profs, I needed to find compelling ones that were also simple and short.
This is what I came up with.
On a basic level we all know what the Theory of Evolution says: once there was no life on this planet, but then simple cells formed in the primordial soup. After millions of years, and through the process of natural selection these simple cells eventually spawned more complex cells and even more complex organisms, until finally we arrived, Man. As Greg Koukl puts it, this is the “Molecule to Man Hypothesis.”
It’s a nice story, but if we are to take it seriously it seems that evolutionists would have to prove two things1:
These two ideas are so pivotal to evolutionary theory that if they can't both be shown to be true, it would seem reason to dismiss Evolution altogether.
Life from non-life
The idea that life came from non-life used to be known as Spontaneous Generation. Maggots, it was thought, were spontaneously formed in dead rotting meat, and many believed that mice and flies were formed the same way. After a bit of scientific investigation this was easily shown to be untrue.
But today the idea persists under a different name: Abiogenesis (literally life from not life). The idea that maggots could spontaneously be formed from non-living matter is a ludicrous thought these days. But what if the organisms formed were much simpler? What if it was only a single cell? And what if we gave it millions and millions of years to happen? Could it happen then?
Well, if you read the scientific literature you’ll hear again and again that yes, under those circumstances Abiogenesis could happen, and indeed did happen. But even though scientists are very sure it did happen, they will readily admit they don’t know how it happened.
Um, isn’t evolutionary theory supposed to explain the “how” part?
To be fair, they do have a variety of interesting ideas, but all of their proposals have serious problems.