* US Airways Plane Lands in Water: Christians often confuse superstition with spiritual maturity. God does not crash cars and planes in order to show how loving He is by saving some of the passengers. God is not a Bible version of the pagan Zeus who hit people with lightning bolts, for if that were true, the evidence is that lightning rods have ruined that kind of divine aim. And if a sailor came down with scurvy as punishment for his wayward life, then the vitamin C in a lime now prevents divine retribution. God did not crash Flight 1549 because the woman in 23A needed to learn to trust. And if the rare successful water landing were a miracle, then the well-deserved praise of pilot Sully Sullenberger is misguided. When God physically intervened, like by parting of the Red Sea, restoring sight to the blind, and raising of Lazarus four days after death, even unbelievers acknowledged the miracles. Today, alleged miracles are claimed by true believers only. Drunk drivers often survive while killing innocent young victims, and research would show that Christian passengers have no greater survival rate than atheists in plane crashes. If a plane came straight down from the height of Flight 1549 and was demolished, and the passengers survived, that would be a miracle. [Sad Update: Seven months later, a plane did fall straight into the Hudson: no survivors.] God can do miracles, but the "miracles" flippantly claimed by so many discredit the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
* Miracles and Flat Tires: From Bob Enyart's article, Miracle Dynamics: Notice that Christians who pray for God to miraculously fix their cars only pray for repairs they cannot see with their eyes. If a car does not start, some believers will ask God to fix it rather than asking Him for wisdom in the situation. However, believers never ever pray for a repair of something visibly wrong with the car. For example, Christians never pray and ask God to supernaturally fix a flat tire. Why? If a knob is broken off or a windshield is busted out, Christians do not ask God to fix those things. Why? Because they know, deep within, even if they have a hard time admitting it, that God will not fix those things no matter how much faith they have. However, a mechanical problem that they cannot see presents a blind faith opportunity to deceive themselves. The uncertainty that goes with hidden problems leaves enough chance that the car just might start on the next attempt (as cars so often do). So, Christians claim a miracle when the car starts on the next try.
* Enyart's Debate with D. James Kennedy's Professor: Bob Enyart had a ten-round moderated debate with Dr. Samuel Lamerson, a professor of the New Testament from D. James Kennedy's Knox Theological Seminary. From round three:
My dear friend, Brian Rohrbough, whose son Danny was murdered at Columbine High School by Harris and Klebold, wants to send this message in response to Sam's worry that if God was not in total control, he might lead us to marry someone who will murder our children:
Dr. Lamerson, I received a letter from Barbara Martin of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She wrote, "Our family faced this grim reality too when our grandchildren were murdered by their mother, Susan Smith... Many people blame God, but the Bible blames the devil (Hebrews 2:12)."
Mrs. Martin is correct when we realize that the devil represents all those in rebellion against God (John 8:44), but millions of Calvinists believe that God ordained every rape and murder, and the criminals do exactly what God predestined them to do, without any ability to do otherwise. Dr. Lamerson, you wrote that if God was not in complete control, then perhaps "the spouse that he leads me to marry may be the wrong one who will murder my children." But your Calvinist God supposedly did that already to David Smith. Sam, you believe that every mother who murders her child does so by God's decree. Aren't you betraying your own Calvinist belief to suggest that somehow your children should be specially protected?
After Columbine, many Christians publicly said God must have had a good reason, to have Danny and the others murdered. Jesus Himself rejected this "blame God attitude." Consider the importance of a report this week of an archaeological find of the discovery of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. Perhaps you remember the tower near there. It fell over and killed eighteen people. And Jesus responded to the Greek superstition of that day, like Calvinism today, when people foolishly look for the will of God in murders, rapes, and tragedies of negligence, by saying:
"Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! ..." -Jesus, Luke 13:4-5
And for those who were looking for an interpretation of the deaths of the Galileans who were murdered by Pilate, Jesus found their superstition useless too:
"Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no!" -Jesus, Luke 13:2-3
Here Jesus rejected the most obvious of the absurd "interpretations," that bad things happened to people because God was directly punishing them. Since Luke recorded Christ's rebuke, Calvinists today have to get around it. So they're more "creative." You assume that if God is not punishing the victims, then He's obviously achieving some other worthwhile goal -perhaps punishing their loved ones. Or maybe He just decided that this would be the best way for the victims to go, even for the ones He preordained to eternal torment. If today Jesus were at that Pool of Siloam and someone asked Him about Calvinism, I believe that He would respond by saying the answer has not changed with the passage of time.
When we consider that God has used a Flood, and kings to bring judgment against whole populations, that was by His direct decree. God has the authority to do that. However, God didn't give authority to individuals to murder others, and would never authorize the murder of two children by their mother - who hoped to save an adulterous affair. When you attribute my son's murder to the plan and glory of God, you have sacrificed the righteousness of God for humanism.
Sincerely, -Brian Rohrbough
Thank you Brian. (And here's a link to the archaeological finding of the Pool of Siloam.)
So Dr. Lamerson, one of your fears of the Open View [that is, of the future being open and not eternally settled] is that by accident great cruelty might happen; but that is exactly what you say that God does every day, intentionally. We believe the reason that so many Christians so frequently contradict themselves is because their theology, which long ago sacrificed goodness for immutability, claims that both wickedness and goodness flow from the mind of God. That ultimate contradiction leads to a lifelong chain of contradictions, especially between what many Christians believe, and how they live their lives. (By the way, you can order a printed copy of Bob's debate, Is the Future Settled or Open? or read it online!)
* BEL Indiana Seminars: Bob Enyart is coming to Indiana, Goshen in the evening of Jan. 29th and Indianapolis on Saturday January 31st, to present a brand new BEL Seminar titled Hermeneutics: Tools for Studying the Bible. Learn how to use tools of interpretation as you study the Bible. And as importantly, Bob will discuss the principles involved for prioritizing these hermeneutics and how to decide which tool to use in which instance. You'll love it! Click for more info and to register please call 1-800-8Enyart!
Today's Resource: Watch Bob Enyart's fascinating Open Theism seminar on DVD! Is the future settled or open? Is God free? Is God creative? Is God able to write a new song? Of course God is, free, creative, and able to write a new song. But how do these simple truths relate to the philosophical claim that the future is settled? This Open Theism seminar on DVD will educate and delight you or your money back! Just click on the title, or browse the Video Department in the KGOV store, or call us to order at 1-800-8Enyart (836-9278), or send a check for $42.50 (or with this difficult financial crisis we're all living through, send whatever your comfortable spending on this 3-DVD set) to: Bob Enyart Live, PO Box 583, Arvada CO 80001. Also available: Bob's Predestination and Free Will seminar on CD, Bob Debates Calvinism DVD, and Bob's 10-round debate with a D. James Kennedy seminary professor titled Is the Future Settled or Open? also fully available online!