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Evolving Away from Evolution

Evolving Away from Evolution

One of my favorite books is Thomas Kuhn’s landmark work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Kuhn’s observation is that, historically, scientific understanding of ourselves and our universe has not been a linear progression of increased and clarified knowledge. Instead, it has been a cycle of firmly-held paradigms being replaced by new and divergent paradigms. This phenomenon is what Kuhn calls a paradigm shift. As Kuhn says, this is not about seeing different things, but about seeing things differently.

The process, as described through numerous examples and cases, goes something like this:

  1. We have firmly-held ideas, assumptions and theories about ourselves and the universe that form our worldview. Our worldview dictates what we study and how we study it.
  2. Theories and tests, at times, run into discrepancies. These discrepancies are usually labeled “anomalies” and discarded (after all, they don’t line up with the worldview which must be true).
  3. As anomalies continue to occur, at some point someone raises their hand and says, “Maybe instead of throwing out the anomalies, we should consider them.”
  4. As the anomalies are considered, a new idea emerges, centered on the previously conflicting evidence. This new idea then becomes cemented as a new assumption, theory and worldview.
  5. Hit repeat

Kuhn’s theory allows us to ask the question, “What might we be missing?”

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as the origin of the species has been cemented as societal truth for nearly a century. To suggest an idea that is not aligned with evolutionary theory would result in expulsion from the academy and scoffing from one’s peers.

As Ross Geller once chided Phoebe, “Evolution is scientific FACT!”

Evolution as fact has formed not only the worldview of the scientific community at large but common culture as well. Simply walk over to your neighbor’s house and say, “I doubt evolution,” You might be looked at as if you had just questioned the existence of oxygen or said bears can talk.

While the acceptance of Darwin’s theory has formed a worldview that dictates how many in our world understand ourselves and the universe, some are beginning to question why there is tape on Atlas’s Darwinian orb.

One significant event Darwin could not explain was the Cambrian explosion. The Cambrian explosion is the name given to the sudden appearance of many species of animals in the fossil record. While these animals do not have any preceding ancestors apparent in earlier layers of rock, Darwin was confident they eventually would be found.

They haven’t.

Science has also advanced our knowledge exponentially since Darwin’s time regarding what is really in all that goop inside our bodies. Within the last 50 years, biologists have been overwhelmed by the amount of information stored in single cells and DNA strands that point to the intricacy of what it takes to make an animal.

The cracks in Darwin’s impenetrable shell have been increasing.

While there have been rumblings of doubting Darwin for years in the scientific community, a significant fissure was exposed recently as David Gelernter – a highly respected and world-renowned computer scientist at Yale – raised his hand and said perhaps we should consider the anomalies. 

In an essay titled, “Giving Up Darwin,” published in the Claremont Review of Books, Gelernter explained that he is moving on from Darwinism. His article opens with the observation, “Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview…But what if Darwin was wrong?”

Dr. Gelernter is not a Christian. He may not even be a theist. He claims the dismissal of Darwin is not a victory for religion per se, but a clear acknowledgment that the roads of science are leading to Intelligent Design. He meticulously outlines case by case of scientific discovery that not only make Darwin’s theory untenable, but undergird, highlight, spotlight, place neon signs on, and scream to all who will listen that all of this—we and our universe—is not a mistake.

Those who hold to a biblical worldview have held to this truth in spite of the societal winds buffeting our faces. The Bible clearly says God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. While various views branch from that tree, the certainty of a Designer outside of ourselves has been unshakeable.

While Gelernter’s essay may mark a significant turn in the case against Darwin, our culture will not necessarily conclude that the God of the Bible is the Intelligent Designer indicated by unfolding science. In many ways, Darwinism has held its position so long because there has not been another viable explanation that doesn’t require a Deity to whom we are accountable. 

Likely, our culture will progress toward Intelligent Design as a theory while still refusing to acknowledge the God of the Bible. After all, once one does that, a lot of paradigms have to shift.

Should our society move away from Darwinian evolution, it does not cement the Bible’s case for skeptics, but it may open doors for conversation. It increasingly becomes incumbent on us as Christians to share the Scriptures and what they say about who we are, who God is and what all of that means.

Our friends, peers and others may become more open to the idea that they are not a mistake. The desire to understand our purpose and things beyond ourselves may increase. In other words, new doors are opening around us for Gospel conversation.

Our world’s views on evolution may be evolving, but the Gospel is not. Christian, be prepared.

From Gay to Gospel: The Story Inside the Story

From Gay to Gospel: The Story Inside the Story

Never doubt the value of the little things in God’s economy. Your small act of daily obedience may be the turning point in someone’s life.

By now you may have read this article from The Gospel Coalition regarding Becket Cook.

Ten years ago, having earned a glowing high-profile reputation as a set designer in the fashion industry, Cook was among the Hollywood elite. His work took him around the globe, placed him in prestigious magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and earned him an invitation to parties hosted by Hollywood royalty.

However, Cook, a gay man engaged in an active homosexual lifestyle, became disenchanted with the peak of fame, fortune, sexuality and fashion. Unsatisfied, he began to wonder if there was more to life.

The article recounts Cook’s experience of being introduced to the church through a small group of believers who were reading their Bibles at a coffee shop.

Having assumed God was “off the table” for him as a gay man, Becket was alarmed to find hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as presented unashamedly from the Word of God. He threw himself into sermons, Bible-centered instruction and personal discipleship in the local church.

The article explores in detail how the LGBTQ movement has created a driving narrative in Western culture and how stories like Becket’s fit within that unfolding narrative. There is much to gain from the article, and Cook’s story is told compellingly with great truth, compassion and candidness.

The article makes a splash in many ways because it’s about Hollywood, LA, fashion, homosexuality, fame and a “Road to Damascus” experience for a man amidst a cultural firestorm.

But there’s a quiet story inside this story.

What God used in such an extraordinary account is something we might consider to be extraordinarily ordinary.

While God was doing a great work in the heart of fashion icon Becket Cook, God had also established regular rhythms for a small group of young believers. When they took their Bibles to the LA coffee shop that day, they likely expected nothing more than good coffee, quiet atmosphere and another regular day of reading the Scriptures.

Likely none of the young adults engaged in their Bible reading that day thought they were doing something of momentous cultural and spiritual significance. Some, like myself, may have felt somewhat shy at opening up God’s Word in such a public setting – not wanting to appear pretentious or “preachy.”

But in the hands of a Sovereign God, small things matter.

Had those young adults known they were going to engage in a conversation about biblical sexual ethics, they might have felt ill-equipped. Had they known Cook was a famous Hollywood set designer and active member of the gay community, they may have been tempted to sit in a different area discreetly – or even capitulate to the cultural tides when asked about homosexuality instead of standing firm on biblical convictions.

But they didn’t. They read their Bibles, were available for questions and invited someone to church.

Do you ever consider how regular, monotonous obedience might be used in the hands of a Sovereign God?

While the article, “From Gay to Gospel” is a great story of God’s work in the life of a cultural elite, it is also quietly a story about unremarkable faithfulness to God being used by God for His glory.

This amazing story of redemption, fame and sex is just as much a story about small obedience.

Never doubt the value of the little things in God’s economy. Your small act of daily obedience may be the turning point in someone’s life. It may be the beginning of a great conversation about the Gospel in the LGBTQ community. Or it may be another day of reading the Scripture over a tall latte that seems insignificant and habitual.

Either way, read your Bible. Be available. Invite someone to church. You never know what God might do.

Why You Shouldn’t Pray For Wisdom

Why You Shouldn’t Pray For Wisdom

The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom.

Prov. 4:7 emphatically declares, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.”

In what is known as the Old Testament Wisdom Literature, numerous passages contain the axiom, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10, Pr. 9:10).

In the New Testament, James urges his readers to seek godly wisdom as he states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

If anything is clear from these passages (and many others), it’s that in the economy of God, wisdom carries an extremely high premium.

In 2 Chronicles, when prodded by God to ask for anything, Solomon asks not for wealth, honor, long life or new apple products, but only for one thing: wisdom. God gave it to him in abundance. It was said of Solomon that he was the wisest man who ever lived. Why? Because in the fear of the LORD, he sought wisdom from God.

The loud and clear message from Scripture is this: pray for wisdom.

Yet somewhere in the shadows of this voluminous illumination, a nagging question lurks. If Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, sought wisdom from God and was overflowingly accommodated, why did the sum total of his wisdom lead him to the continual refrain, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2)? Meaninglessness. Futility. This is the pot at the end of the rainbow of wisdom?

Being the wisest man who ever lived didn’t make Solomon the holiest. While his wisdom may have provided clarity and discernment in recognizing the right path, it didn’t enable him to take it. Solomon was a man who indulged in materialism, sexuality, drunkenness and workaholism. His wisdom allowed him to see these things as empty—but it didn’t keep him from returning to their wells.

This leads us to a brief observation regarding wisdom. The Bible clearly wants God’s people to have wisdom—not only to have it but to exercise it. This tells us that, while we may seek and gain great attributes of the faith, if we aren’t going to employ them for the glory of God and the sake of the Gospel, they will ultimately be of no use. Praying for specific means without the intention of using those means for God’s glory turns those means into an end. Any end other than God’s glory is an idol. 

In light of this, I offer two reasons why you shouldn’t pray for wisdom:

Don’t pray for wisdom if…

1) …You’re not willing to use it for yourself.

I admit, when seeking to sharpen my mental prowess or accumulate knowledge, my initial and most compelling thought is often how someone else could use the information. I have great ideas about how other people should employ discipline and submit to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures. It is relatively easy for me to come to a biblical passage for wisdom in order to tell someone else how to live. However, if the first seat in front of my soapbox is not reserved for myself, my desire for wisdom is vanity.

Gaining wisdom, discernment and knowledge are all noble and right pursuits. But like Solomon, we can have all the understanding in the world, yet little application of it in our own lives. We must begin with the uncomfortable pursuit of not only allowing the Spirit to illuminate the dark places inside of us through wisdom but also to enter those areas with tools of refinement.

2) …You’re not willing to use it for others.

Another compelling reason to desire wisdom, insight and knowledge is that we like to see the world for what it is. I love how the Bible flags the mines and marks the arrows of the narrow road of righteousness in a dark and sinful world. Often, however, it is easy for me to be a consumer of those markers and not a participant in their purpose.

As previously stated, gaining wisdom, discernment and knowledge are all helpful on one’s journey, but one’s journey is not solitary. There are those behind and beside us that not only need to see the flags and arrows that mark the way before us but also need us to raise flags and post pointers ourselves.

We can gain wisdom by learning every apologetic argument, memorizing every word of Scripture, and being deeply moved by the compassion of Jesus. However, unless we are willing to engage talking points in an adversarial climate, share words of Scripture with others, and employ the compassion of Jesus in our own lives, our wisdom is meaningless.

We must not only be consumers of wisdom but recognize that God gives His understanding to be used among His people for His glory.

The Bible says we should pray for wisdom and that the fear of God is where we start. This is because we are not our own but belong to God. He bought and equips us to use us. If we desire His wisdom but don’t want Him to use it, we betray the fact that we really have no fear of the LORD.

May we not be gluttons of information or insight. Instead, may we be vessels of nourishment carrying the wisdom of God to the darkened world within and around us.

Worldview Vs. Reality

Worldview Vs. Reality

I don’t like 3D movies. I appreciate the effort and sometimes enjoy the experience, but as for me and my house, just give us the regular movie as God intended it.

First of all, I don’t like having to pay for glasses I don’t get to keep. Second, the glasses never fit my head correctly. I’m continually having to adjust them. Really, the only satisfying part of going to a 3D movie is after the Nissan commercials and movie previews when that empowering line appears: Please Put On Your 3D Glasses Now.

At that point, I’ll admit, the immersion into the third dimension is exciting. However, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Once everyone has finally donned their 3D headwear and collectively been transported to a new visual realm, something fascinating takes place. Within the first two minutes of the movie, what does every person in the theater do? Every person lifts their glasses to see what the 3D movie looks like on the screen without them.

In a way, this experience of screen and lenses is a microcosm of what each of us experiences in life. A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Why is it important? Because our view of God affects how we live. If we believe God is good but not all-knowing, we may not take sin or holiness seriously. We may think of God as a kindly grandpa in the sky who needs our help and doesn’t notice our occasional dalliances with sin.

On the other hand, if we think God is all-knowing but not good, we will take every step in fear. Each time we sin or make a decision, we will fear the all-seeing eye of God that we believe sits ready to smite us with a lightning bolt at every misstep. Our view of God matters.

C.S. Lewis, in response to this idea, countered that “How we think of (God) is of no importance except in so far as it is related to how He thinks of us.” Lewis observes that it makes no difference what we think of God because, regardless of what we think of Him, we don’t change a single attribute of His. We may believe God is a purple flying spaghetti monster, but in no way does that make God purple or a flying spaghetti monster. God is who He is despite our view of Him.

So which is right? The answer is both. What Tozer and Lewis are describing are two sides of the same experiential coin. Tozer is describing something called Worldview. Our worldview is the lens through which we take in the world and encounter its experiences. It is the filter through which we understand the world.

What Lewis is describing is Reality. There is an objective world, an objective God and objective people we encounter in life that exist entirely outside of our experience or understanding of them. Reality is the way things actually are. 

When one’s worldview and reality are in line, there is harmony. One can see and understand the world in the way it is meant to be seen and understood. Round is round, square is square, good is good, and bad is bad. Just as one views objective images displayed on a screen in a theater (reality) that is made to be seen through custom lenses (worldview) that complement and adjust for the objective images, when one’s worldview and reality are in alignment, things work. Life makes sense.

However, if one’s worldview is different from what exists in reality, confusion sets in. Things aren’t right. It is like trying to watch a 3D movie with 2D glasses.

The truth is, every one of us has a worldview. We have developed our worldview mainly through personal experience as well as what has been modeled, explained or recommended to us by those we admire or those we do not admire. While our society clings to its worldviews, the mantra of our postmodern age is that reality does not exist. There are no meta-narratives or truths one must align one’s worldview with. There is no movie on the wall. Only the lenses matter.

The Bible, however, presents a very different picture. The Bible tells us there is a God who is all-powerful and sovereign. This God is good and full of mercy but also holy and wrathful in judgment toward sin. The Bible presents us with a God and Gospel not of our own making, but as they both exist in reality.

We may not like this God. We may disagree with what He has created, purposed, designed and called good. Like the serpent in Genesis 3, we may ask, “Did God really say?” and be tempted to respond by adjusting God’s reality to our worldview with the words, “Surely you won’t…” But it doesn’t change what is true.

Our modern era is a clash of worldviews. Social media has enabled each person with a voice to proclaim their view of objective reality, and often it is done with the forceful claim that our view is itself reality. But God has not given us the capacity to define reality. He has, however, given us the tools with which to view reality correctly. When we come under the Word and its authority, we understand God for who He is and our sinful, broken world for what it is. God even gives believers the Holy Spirit to correct, adjust and clean our lenses daily, so they are more in alignment with reality.

When we come to God and the Bible, we must come with an open-handed worldview. We must submit ourselves, our opinions and our desires to what God says is right, true and good. We have to wear God’s lenses to understand His story. Wherein those things seem out of alignment, we must seek to change our worldview, not the Scriptures. We must clean our lenses, not try to repaint the screen.

When we believe the world doesn’t make sense, or become confused by the myriad of voices in the air, let us remember that God has not left us alone in the dark. God gives us the right worldview in the Scriptures through which to see reality.

When God defines our view of His reality, we worship Him. Let us praise God for the illumination of His Gospel lenses through the Scripture and commit ourselves to not seeking to take peeks through our natural eyes or embrace distortions of the reality before us. As the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians,

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength” (Eph. 1:17-19).

‘American Gospel’: The Movie You and Your Church Must See

‘American Gospel’: The Movie You and Your Church Must See

The Christian movie industry has often been maligned, and in many cases justifiably so. There are, however, those seeking to up the industry game and provide Christ-based films via major market media with enhanced watch-ability and content.

When you think of Christian movies, you may think of Kirk Cameron, crying fathers or the ill-advised Nicholas Cage version of Left Behind. Transition Studios is out to change that paradigm with the documentary, American Gospel: Christ Alone.

American Gospel seeks to accomplish numerous goals and does so quite successfully. First and foremost, the movie presents the Gospel of Jesus as central to the identity of the church. The film is exceptionally creative and straightforward in outlining what the Gospel is and why it is sufficient.

Having established this truth, the film moves forward to expose many Westernized ideas that what God desires for us is the Gospel plus something else – as if the Gospel itself is insufficient.

Stemming from this dangerous heresy are many strands of what has come to be known as the “Prosperity Gospel.” The film explores the journeys of various individuals who have bought into the “Gospel plus” mentality and fallen to the siren song of the Prosperity Gospel itself.

Featured among these stories are those who have struggled with the idea of a good God in the face of a broken world. For example, a seemingly healthy atheist couple encounters an incurable disease. A man who comes to faith almost dies because he believes God should heal him. A man with a broken body seeks physical healing and instead finds restoration for his soul.

Personal experience is placed alongside doctrinal fidelity and Scriptural verification of what the Gospel of the Bible truly is.

The most compelling highlight of the film is the story of Costi Hinn, nephew of renowned faith-healer and Prosperity Gospel proponent Benny Hinn. Costi tells of his active service to his uncle’s ministry and the difficulties he began to experience, as he compared what he saw in his daily involvement with Biblical truth.

American Gospel does an excellent job of warning about false teachers while still upholding the truth of the Gospel as beautiful and supreme. It is not a hit-piece on Prosperity Gospel preachers per se, but does help identify many vital players, phrases and ideas that easily infiltrate Christian bookstores, studies, pulpits, and churches.

The film is available on iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, YouTube, and Google Play. More information is available at