Christians Are Not Perfect

Over the years we have participated in many discussions with unbelievers in different formats. One of the most glaring issues that were a common theme throughout those discussions was the misconception unbelievers have about Christians.

This misconception whether purposeful or not hindered the discussion and made it harder to talk to unbelievers. While the word Christian means ‘Christ-like’ it is difficult for unbelievers to see that Christ-likeness is not achieved at salvation.

To illustrate the point we are about to make, different verses from Matthew 26 will be quoted. These verses, in one form or another, are mentioned in all 4 gospels but we will only use Matthew 26 here:

40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, [k]Are you still sleeping and resting?

51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus [m]reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and [n]cut off his ear.

56 But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” 73 A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk [z]gives you away.” 74 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

There is a common theme in those verses as well. That theme is not to make believers feel guilty about not being perfect and doing everything Jesus needs when he asks or instructs.

There is something that believers do need to focus on as it will help them in their sanctification and becoming stronger believers. Upon salvation, Christians are not made perfect.

You will notice that those disciples who were with Jesus for 3 years, saw all the miracles he did, learned at his feet and more still became afraid and made mistakes. One injured a man with his sword, another lied and the rest ran off afraid that they may be next to be arrested.

At salvation here is what Christians are not:

  • perfect
  • holy
  • mature
  • sinless
  • all knowing
  • all powerful
  • always telling the truth
  • and more

This is what confuses the unbeliever. They think that salvation automatically bestows perfection and other supernatural characteristics upon the new believer and they will be perfect people in all situations.

At salvation all believers become are saved from sin and put on a new path as a new Christian. That new path gives them access to the aid of Christ, his ear to unburden themselves, the Spirit of Truth, and a new way to look at and do things.

As you can see that after 3 years with Christ the disciples certainly were not perfect, holy, unafraid and able to tell the truth with confidence. They still needed help as well as realize their weaknesses. The disciples still had a long way to go to reach holiness, total honesty, and be mature believers.

The same goes for the new modern believer. Many times Christians are accused of not being believers because they made a few mistakes or were called out for lying or doing other things that did not seem in line with Christian teaching.

A lot of those accusations and accusers fail to realize that most believers are in different stages of their spiritual walk. They have not learned all the lessons they need to learn nor have conquered all their sins or be able to withstand temptation and so on.

If the disciples can fail at being solid believers in Christ, then so can we and othe rbelievers do the same thing. We have to be slow at accusing them of being non-Christians and look to see if they need further instruction, support, or help to correct their mistaken way of living, much like Apollos needed correction in the book of Acts.

Many times, the victim at the side of the road, a Christian who has fallen or erred, needs a Good Samaritan to stop and lend them a hand. They have been passed by the self-righteous, the holier than thou, and better religious people.

All it takes to get them healed is one person willing to take the time and pay the expense till the fallen are back on their feet again headed in the right direction.

If a believer is afraid today it may be that they have not been filled with the Spirit, allowed the spirit to reign in their lives, or have not reached perfect love for God which casts out all fear.

If a believer is accused of lying, it may be that they are telling what they think is the truth and need humble correction and teaching. They do not need more accusations as they get enough from the unchurched world.

If a believer is acting in a sinful manner, he or she may have fallen to temptation, made a simple mistake, error in judgment or became frustrated at something. They do not need more attacks, and abuse or have their actions held over their heads but understanding and forgiveness, then help to overcome those issues.

Being a Christian means one gets involved with his or her fellow believers in a Christian manner using Christ given methods not the secular world’s ideas. Those do not help the sinners of the world and they certainly won’t help believers reach the goal that God set– to be holy.

When we examine those mistakes we see Jesus’s response to those failings. First, he did not cast Peter, James & John out of his church or being a disciple. He knew that they had more to learn

Second, he did not rebuke them more than the offense required. He did not withdraw his friendship, his guidance, or his insight from them but was patient and waited for the time they realized how wrong they were and were ready to correct their errors.

Third, Jesus did not side with the accusers and heaped more accusations or abuse upon those that made mistakes. He corrected one of their mistakes with an act of love and more teaching that made the point he needed to make.

Fourth, he did not leave his disciples alone, while they fled and made mistakes, he came back later with more to help them overcome their fears. It took seeing the physical resurrection for that to take place at that time, but we have that same event to look at to see that Christ has not left us either when we make mistakes.

Fifth, Jesus still gave them the Holy Spirit, helped them reach perfect love, and used them in mighty ways. This means that believers should not wallow in their mistakes crying woe is me, etc. Instead, they should be up, learning from their mistakes, and correcting them, so they too can be used by God while there is still time.

Sticking with Jesus means sometimes being divided from your loved ones. The example of Matthew Vine and his experience with his family shows us what parents cannot do when their children turn to error and leave the truth.

Instead of standing with Jesus and the truth, his father joined his son in his error. Parental love does not over-rule a person’s love for God. If it does then those parents do not have the love that casts out fear. They love their child more than they do God & Jesus.

It is a hard thing to do but your children, your parents, and your relatives or friends are not offering salvation, eternal life, or other gifts that God does. The one strong in Christ must stand with Jesus then offer understanding, correction, and the truth to their loved ones.

That shows their love for their children, parents, and so on. Joining them in error is not showing love but the weakness a believer may have and never conquered.

The key to all of this is that believers are not granted perfection at salvation and that mistakes, errors in judgment, and other failings will take place. The believer must know how to handle those issues correctly when they happen and build a stronger faith in Jesus.

They need to study correctly so that they get the truth, they get wisdom, & understanding so that they can become strong warriors for Christ able to withstand temptation, false accusations, and abuse, etc.

Their fellow Christians need to help them in this by accurately discerning what is wrong and asking God for help to administer the right words. That means putting aside personal preferences, opinions, and other personal nuances that make things worse for the one needing help.

One cannot help if they make the wounded believer worse off than he or she was before the mistake took place. Modern believers have a long ways to go to reach perfection, the truth, holiness, and so on.

The road is rough and not easy so be ready to be strong and dedicated for quitting means you lose. The good thing about the Christian faith is that God’s grace lets those that quit, try again if they have not left their faith.

In conclusion, not being granted perfection, etc., at salvation is not an excuse to purposefully error and participate in those aspects of life that are not of God’s kingdom or in line with his or Jesus’ teaching.

The Separation of Church & Science 2

Bill Newsome, a neurobiologist from Stanford University (Stanford, CA, USA), agrees that many things cannot be measured through scientific experimentation. Nevertheless, he believes the US Constitution sets an important precedent. “I do not want religious authorities of any kind dictating science,” he said. “I think America got it right with having separation of church and state.”

The words in bold are the key issue here. While the qualifying term is the word ‘authorities’ meaning he doesn’t want religious leaders saying what is or isn’t science, this attitude is just an extension of the declaration that scientists do not want God in science.

This is the height of arrogance and a rebellious nature many scientists have. They think as fallible humans they have the right to say what is or isn’t correct accoring to their ideology and they want to trump any objective moral or other standard.

Christians need to use this attitude as a wake-up call because it tells them that the Christian moral standards and thought are not welcome in science.

In 2009, the British research group CommunicateResearch (London, UK) and the British Broadcasting Company (London, UK) conducted a poll of the UK population’s stance on evolution. In response to the question of whether ‘young-Earth creationism’—or the idea that God created the world sometime in the past 10,000 years—is true, 11% of the 2,060 respondents said it’s “definitely true” and a further 21% said it was “probably true”. The Gallup Organization (Washington, DC, USA) and USA Today (McLean, VA, USA) conducted a similar poll in the USA in 2007. Out of the 1,007 adults questioned, 39% said creationism—defined by the poll as “the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years”—is “definitely true” and 27% said it is “probably true”.

There is still hope as people still believe and Christians should not give up the truth and follow science. We can still make inroads for Christ and the truth of the Bible.  There are two questions every believer should ask unbelievers who state they take science over the Bible:

#1. Why take the word of your fellow human being who was not at creation and stands thousands, millions or billions of years away from the evnt over God who was there and told us what he did?

Most of the so-called scientific evidence is declared evidence by those who do not believe God or have the Spirit of Truth guiding them to the truth. It is not really evidence.

#2. Where in the Bible do both God and Jesus give permission to take science’s word over theirs concerning our origins?

We have asked that 2nd question for years now and have never been given an answer. Faith means to believe God and take him at his word, physical evidence is not required to do that.

Historically, science and religion are first cousins,” said Alexander, who helped set up the first prenatal diagnostic clinic in the Arab world in 1981. “Science came out of a theological worldview. In the early years, with the worldviews of the Abrahamic faiths, the ideas of science were shaped by theological concerns such as laws. […] God revealed moral laws and by the efforts of scientists, scientific laws were discovered.”

This is not true and while there are scientific laws they do not trump God’s laws or commands. Those are just stating what may be the operating law of the universe and do not possess any real authority.

To tell you the truth while historically there have been believers in the field of science, we do not know where the different fields of science originated. All ancient societies had scientists and prior to the flood Tubal-cain was the father of all forgers in metal (See Gen.4:22 for exact words).

Scientific knowledge existed prior to the flood. If it didn’t those mysterious sites no one knows anything about would not have been built.

The Catholic Church has also largely made its peace with science. “We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities,” wrote Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI. “The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God […] does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary—rather than mutually exclusive—realities”

This should be a fair warning to not listen to Roman Cathoic people or their priests and leaders. That pope denies God and his word while embracing a lie fallible humans concocted with the help of evil.

Just so you know, every originator of the theory of evolution, Darwin was not the first, were not believers in God. God would not tell the truth to the unbeliever who rejected him while keeping it from those who made the choice to follow and serve him.

This does not mean that unbelievers cannot discover metals, etc. and make inventions or find out how things work. It simply means that our origins is not in the hands of the unbeliever nor can they discern the truth while rejecting God and his word.

Yes, I’m interested in this area of the interface between science and faith and yes, as somebody who was once an atheist and became a believer, I do think it’s important for us to have these conversations about the compatibility and even the harmony of the scientific and the spiritual worldviews. But as the NIH director, my decisions are completely based upon scientific reasoning and scientific arguments,” Collins said.

Science is incompatible with Christianity as long as it rejects the truth, rejects Jesus as savior, and follows its own deceived path. Right now secular science is walking the wrong paths, looking in the wrong places in search of the wrong answers.

But then do you really expect blind people to know what is going on around them when they cannot see nor discern the truth from the error? Then why call yourself a Christian when your answers follow only the decieved and blind path and not the true one that provides truth?

Christian scientists and Christians in general cannot separate their faith from their work or they are just ignoring the truth and promoting the error. They are also lying to their fellow believers which Paul said not to do (Col. 3:9).

Collins headed the Human Genome Project in 1993 and, in November 2007, he founded the BioLogos Foundation (Washington, DC, USA) to create a safe haven for Christians disgruntled with the friction between science and faith. According to the premise of the organization, science and Christianity can coexist peacefully. The group promotes theistic evolution, or the belief that the existence of evolution does not rule out the existence of God.

If people are troubled by the friction between science and Christianity, the solution is not to import the lies of science into the faith. Instead, the Christian should be injecting the truth into science, teach the limitations and boundaries restricting those fields, and how those restrictions influence science.

The only way for science and Christianity to coexist peacefully is for all scientists to repent of their sin and follow Jesus. Then they get rid of the errors and lies of science and seek out the truth.

Until then, the two will always be at odds because they come from two different worlds.

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This ends the series and the look at the ideas mentioned in the paper The separation of church and science by Melissa Suran. There was a little bit more but those ideas are better covered in our books found at our sister site http://www.theoarch.wordpress.com

Science is too limited and unknowing as well as too subjective to be an authority on our origins and other aspects of life. If you want to be a Christian scientist, then God’s word, his rules, his commands, and instructions come first over scientific counterparts.

 

The Separation of Church & Science

We are going to start a new series this week. The title here is the title of the article that can be found at EMBO Rep. 2010 Aug; 11(8): 586–589, doi: 10.1038/embor.2010.106 or https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920436/ 

The article was written by Melissa Suran but in no way are we addressing the author or critiquing her work. We are going to be looking at specific ideas through various quotes that we feel need some comments to make them more understandable.

#1. Science and religion have long thought themselves mutually exclusive, despite science finding its roots in a theological view of the world. Since 1633, when Galileo Galilei faced the Roman Inquisition to answer for his discovery that the Earth revolves around the sun, there has been an often uneasy relationship between church and science. 

This is a bit misleading for if anyone really studies history science has had its foundation in many different schools of thought. It may have started in Noah’s and Shem’s time with religious support and thinking but we cannot be sure of that.

Even if it did, it did not take unbelievers long to take over the different research fields and make science their own. The Babylonians, The Chinese, the Greeks, the Koreans, and other ancient secular societies have all made their mark on science with astronomy showing how the Babylonians made the same adjustments as modern astronomers need to make.

What that tells you is that science has not really changed since ancient times and those wishing to separate ancient science from modern science have not done their homework and wish to feel superior to ancient scientists.

We will admit that throughout history there have been believers participating in the different sciences, we just do not hear a lot about them. Suffice it to say that the flat earth concept came from ancient secular scientists not believing ones or the church.

#2. Religion has found itself ceding more and more ground to science as scientists have succeeded in explaining more about the Universe and the things within it. 

There is no reason for Christians or other religious organizations or people to cede anything. While science can explain certain aspects of the universe, those aspects include the shape of planets, their orbits, and even the speed of light, it cannot explain our origins or how the universe came to be.

One reason is that there is no mystery to our origin or the origin of the universe. God has already told us how everything came to be and God’s creation just needs to take a simple step of faith and believe God over secular humans.

It is not God who is doing the lying here.

#3. According to Ayala, who has written many books including Darwin and Intelligent Design (), science and religion are two different windows through which we see the world (). “Suppose I give you an exact physical description of a painting,” he said. “The physical description does not answer questions [about the aesthetics or meaning]. It has to be answered a different way 

Maybe to the scientist thgis is true but to the true Christian this is not even close to being true. Science and religion are not two different windows looking at the same scenario.

The former is describing a world that it wants to see not a world that is. The latter sees the world as it is and wants it to be that way. The scientific physical description of the world is rooted in unbelief not fact.

It tries to fill a void that was left when the scientist stopped believing in God or accepting Genesis one as true. Evolutionists are building a world they want because that means they are the top of the totem pole and they do not have to bow to God’s commands or standards.

Unless the asthetic/meaning is given by God any description trying to fill in the blanks there are merely subjective rarely based on objective truth or fact. What that scientist is saying is that truth plays no role in describing the world we live in.

It is what science says it is and no one can argue with that point of view. His comment infers that science is not making anymistakes in their physical description and if they are, the error prone field of science will correct itself.

Yet, science has no objective way of correcting itself, and even if they do make corrections there isno way for scientists to say that they got it right.

#4. One such scientist is British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, with whom Ayala has been friends for nearly three decades. “While [Dawkins] argues that science cannot demonstrate the existence of God, and I agree […], he should agree that science cannot prove that God does not exist,” Ayala explained. “Science has nothing to do with the supernatural.”

Again this is not true. Science can see that miracles take place and all it has to do is acknowledge that there is something greater than it and that it is God. it is not a giant leap to make but it is hard for scientists who have limited themselves to natural evidence.

Unfortunately for them, the world is not totally natural and miracles are real physical pieces of evidence that the supernatural exists. When done right, they are verifiable as well.

Jesus told the blind man to present hmself to the pharisees, etc., and they verified that he was that blind man they had known for years. The real evidence for God’s existence doesn’t come the secular scientific way and it won’t always be repeatable but it will be verifiable.

#5. Massimo Pigliucci is a native Italian who has been working in the USA for the past two decades. Now a professor of philosophy at Lehman College of the City University of New York, he spent much of his career as an evolutionary biologist and has had direct experience with the cultures of both the USA and Europe. In 2002, he wrote a book titled Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science, which traces the roots of why the clash between science and religion in the Western world is worse in the USA than in Europe ().

All he is really saying here is that Europe has strayed further from God than America has and believe the evolutionary myths over God’s word. Then it is not a distrust of intellectuals that has made this situation appear.

It is a distrust of those who do not tell the truth about our history and use a double standard among other negative characteristics to say that God lied.

[Religion is] providing people with an illusion that makes it easier to cope with mortality and the lack of social integration.”

It is not the Bible that is creating an illusion here. Those who do not accept the truth, evolutionary scientists, are the ones creating the illusion as they make claims they cannot verify.

They may point to fossils as their physical evidence and verification but those evolutionary scientists cannot connect any fossil to their theory. Nor can they know or verify that the arrangements of descent they have claimed with those fossils were actually done in that order.

The illusion is all on the part of the evolutionist not those who believe God.

Teaching: An Epilogue

There are some final words that need to be spoken before we end this series. Part of what needs to be said addresses the need of Ken Ham and others to keep believers at square 1 in the faith.

As we were told, He and people like him say we cannot divorce the information from the Gospel which is why believers always get a salvation message even though they have taken that step 40 years earlier.

In teaching and in preaching, the gospel is the key building block. Without that step taken, no one can receive the Spirit of Truth nor be led to the Truth. Without the truth, the believer has no real food to grow on and they remain weak and ineffective, useless for God’s purpose.

Hebrews 6:1 tells us

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

We put in bold the key words of that verse. keeping people at square one does not lead anyone to maturity. We do not forget the gospel but we do not have to keep mentioning after every service, Bible study, or chapter in a book.

We build on that step, providing the right information so that other believers can grow strong in the Lord and stand up to evil, recognize his attacks and avoid the traps set for believers to fall into.

40 years ago, we were given a little sheet of paper with some very helpful words to it. It dealt with how to handle mistakes and we can only paraphrase it today. it said, “when you make a mistake, do not wallow in it, cry a lot, or even whine about it. Just correct the mistake and move forward.’

Needless to say, there was no salvation message included in those words of wisdom. it would be pointless and would only be telling the person that they need to become born again to correct their mistake and that is not what the Bible teaches.

If you want further evidence, you will both Jesus and his apostles preach repentance messages when they were appropriate but when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount and other lessons, he did not include that call to be saved.

A salvation message needs to be taught when it fits the lesson not every time someone talks about Hitler, sports, or other aspects of life when helping Christians learn. Teachers move believers toward maturity and if they didn’t, who would take their place and continue the right way to teach?

Teachers do not last forever and those with the truth and maturity need to pass those lessons on so that there are future teachers ready to step in and fill the vacancies as they happen.

Strong Christians are not born again as strong believers. They are taught and shown the way to be mature, constructive believers and top warriors for Christ.

Remember Jesus said feed my sheep, not keep them at square one.

A little personal experience

This series on teaching was not done out of theory, or academic research nor are we do as we say not as we do type people. Everything taught in this series is the information we learned over 14 years of teaching.

Some lessons were not easy to learn while others were. When we went to Korea almost 20 years ago now we were not that great at teaching. We needed help and one day in the mountains behind our home, we prayed a simple prayer, ‘Lord help us to be good teachers’.

It was Solomon’s prayer, although not as eloquent, and not Jabez’s prayer. There is a difference between the two. We prayed Solomon’s prayer not because we wanted to be great but because we knew we were not skilled at teaching (even though we took teaching classes in middle school and college) and needed help from God.

From that moment on, everything changed. We were given a direction that was different from the one most native English teachers took, plus we were given insight as to what to teach, what to avoid, and other key elements of insight that we needed in order to answer that prayer.

We were not perfect, as we said some lessons were hard to take and others helped prepare us when those mistakes happened a second time. The difference was were open to what God wanted us to learn and did not hesitate to go in the direction he opened p.

We take no credit for our success in Korea as we take no credit for anything good we say at this and our sister website. The glory goes to  God as he taught and we learned. while we received different opportunities and rewards, one year in our first hagwon, teacher’s day which lasts for just one day lasted for 4 for us.

That was not the end of the different returns we got over the years. The key was we followed God’s instruction and his words. We saw how important teaching was to God and we strived to present the best material to our students every day.

We also kept James 3:1 in mind knowing that God held teachers to a higher standard and sought to live up to that standard. Again, we are human and made our share of mistakes but we also found that we could talk with our co-teachers and sort problems out.

Many times we taught along over the years as our co-teachers saw that we could teach and that the students were learning real material that helped them learn the language and prepare them for future English use. We were also given a lot of respect from our co-teachers and other Korean teachers who taught different courses that we had no part in.

Our athletic ability, even at the age of late 40s and early 50s helped as well. But what helped the most was the love God gave us for our students. Without that, we may not have achieved what we did in that country.

Mistakes will happen even when God is answering prayer and that little information handed to us 40 years ago helped us overcome those mistakes and improve as teachers.

We use the word we and similar pronouns because we hate talking about ourselves, as we are not trying to brag but to show an example of what we talked about. There were other key elements that God helped bring into our teaching lives. For example

#1. when we negotiated pay and we agreed to a salary, that was the last word we said about money. We looked at the wage and if it was something we could live on we agreed to it and then set about doing our job. We never raised money issues until the next contract time.

#2. we studied not just English material and searched for the best material possible, we also studied other subjects so we would be educated and know what we were talking about

#3. we did not quibble about our housing either. we took what was offered and didn’t say a bad word about it. Once we got to public school housing improved anyways so we didn’t have to say one word about housing.

#4. we spent time with the students when we could, not during school hours but after school, on weekends when we all had time to get together. We also went to sports day when we could and supported out students showing them that we cared. Among other things

#5. we created ‘just because’ day. This was usually held once a month and we would bring in different food and snacks from other countries so the students could broaden their cultural views. Our favorite time was when we brought in root beer as that is not a Korean soft drink flavor. To them that soft drink tasted like medicine to them.

There were other things that we did but we did not give our co-teachers a lot of hassle, trouble or problems. We handled as many as we could on our own so that they would not be bothered.

In other words, we had a different attitude than other native English teachers. In the middle, close to the end it paid off as we received the highest honor we felt was possible. The following pictures will show that honor and while there were other non-Koreans who came to Korea who had their names placed on monuments, we were at that time the only native English teacher to have their name placed on a monument.

We know because we checked; whether someone in the last 5 years has received the honor or not we do not know, but out of the approx. 400,000 +/- foreigners who came to teach from the late 80s to 2015 we were the only one to have our name inscribed on a monument and we received that honor 3 times.

When God answers prayer he can do it in a large way or a quiet way and we were fortunate to receive the honors that we did.  Here are those photos:

 

   

   

When you ask God for something and obey, the door opens up and all you have to do is walk through and continue until the prayer is answered. Our simple prayer back at the beginning of our teaching career took almost 14 years to be answered and the road was not always smooth.

But we can look back and see that God heard and he answered. We have transferred those lessons to biblical teaching so that we can provide solid information for our readers to grow in the faith and reach maturity in Christ.