Honor – a Balanced and Biblical View

Recently, the best athletes in the world competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. These people have spent years in training, working hard to make their body an efficient machine capable of feats far superior to the rest of us. Certainly, they deserve our respect and admiration. Biblically, we are supposed to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7).

What about those Bible scholars who spend years in school, sacrificing the temporary pleasures of this world so that they may study the text of Scripture? And what of those scientists, and medical doctors who spend years in school training their mind to discern truth, and then give glory to God for what they learn? Is that worthy of some respect and honor?

A man once told me that it isn’t. Let’s call him “John.” John said that those people “deserve no more respect than the people who scrub toilets” by which he meant those people who had not worked to achieve such things. Is this biblical? Certainly all people deserve some level of respect by virtue of being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27, 1 Peter 2:17). However, God does reward those who work extra hard to achieve goals in obedience to Him (e.g. Matthew 25:14-28). And the Bible specifically mentions certain positions that are worthy of honor (Leviticus 19:32, 1 Peter 2:17-18, Ephesians 6:2, 5:33, 1 Peter 3:7).

As one example, the Bible indicates that the leaders in the church are worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Notice that the text states, “especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” Obviously, the Bible contradicts John’s view. God honors those that spend time studying His Word so that they can teach others. I think of my hero of the faith, Dr. Greg Bahnsen. He knew the Bible very well and he lived what he taught. Doesn’t he deserve more honor than those of us who haven’t put in the same effort? In Romans 13:7, we read that we are to give honor and respect to whomever deserves it. Why was John so reluctant to obey the Bible?

We’ve all known people who try to make themselves feel better by putting others down. Perhaps John’s attitude is partially explained by this. He had virtually no formal education or any other qualifications to speak of. So it’s not too surprising that he would like to have the same honor as those who had worked far harder than he had, just as (some) people who are very poor may argue for a more socialistic economy where money is distributed equally regardless of labor. Paradoxically, John’s actions show that he believed that he deserved more respect than others. He made sure his company provided him with an office far nicer than others and he even had his own reserved parking spot. John was paid far more than the people who scrub the toilets. Obviously on some level John didn’t really believe his own words. His attitude was hypocritical, as well as arrogant and sinful. Although he professed a Christian outlook, his actions did not show it. He did not give honor to others, but he demanded it for himself. Why?

Let’s consider the opposite mistake. It is also possible to honor people more than we really should. We must remember that all people are sinners (Romans 3:23). We dare not elevate the opinions or beliefs of a respected individual above the Word of God. Yes, we should respect the scientists who were able to land the Curiosity rover on Mars. What a remarkable achievement! It is certainly worthy of our admiration! But this doesn’t mean that we respect the opinions of those same scientists when they begin speculating about what allegedly happened millions of years ago. They are no more qualified to talk about that than anyone else.

God deserves infinite honor. While we may esteem others better than ourselves, and rightly admire their accomplishments and respect their education, we dare not put their opinions on God’s level. Such a mistake has greatly contributed to the loss of biblical authority in our culture today. Many people have regarded the opinions of scientists and theologians above the clear teaching of the Bible. That too is sin.

Perhaps an overreaction to this trend is partly what drives people like John and others to be disrespectful to those people with high levels of education. I recall a prominent Christian leader saying something like, “Don’t trust the Christian leaders; trust the Bible!” Did he realize the self-refuting nature of his statement? If we are not to trust Christian leaders, then we should not trust his statement! I appreciate his effort, but perhaps he should have said, “Trust the Bible above any Christian leader. You should respect Christian leaders. But always test what they say in light of Scripture.” That would have been far more biblical (Acts 17:11).

There are entire Christian ministries that seem to specialize in disparaging academics. But this is unbiblical and not helpful to the Christian cause. “Don’t trust the scientists” says the Christian speaker using a microphone, and a computer with PowerPoint, and a laser pointer, and so on – all technologies made possible by scientists. It’s not surprising that the world sees the church as full of hypocrisy. It is disappointing and fundamentally inconsistent that some Christians disparage scientists all the while relying upon the discoveries, inventions, and hard work of those very scientists.

How can we avoid the sin of going to one extreme or the other? The key is discernment. We put God’s Word first as the absolute authority in our lives. It is our fundamental unquestionable standard by which we evaluate all truth claims. We then give respect and honor to those who have worked hard and achieved high levels of education, or other levels of success; we do this in obedience to God’s Word. We honor the church leader who has studied long in the Word, and the Olympic athlete who has won the gold medal. We honor the person and his or her accomplishments; but we always test what people say in light of the Scriptures. We should have some degree of trust in scientists, medical doctors, etc. – after all, science is biblical! But we should have far more trust in the Bible – the foundation that makes science possible. This kind of biblical discernment is what we teach and how we try to live here at the Institute for Creation Research.

About Dr. Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity. Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.” He now works as director of research at the Institute for Creation Research.
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39 Responses to Honor – a Balanced and Biblical View

  1. Wow, brother. I hate to sound like a cheerleader, but WELL DONE.

    Clear, concise, comprehensive and categorically biblical. I don’t know what the last part of what I said means, but I accidentally alliterated so it seemed appropriate to continue.
    :)

  2. Brian Ottinger says:

    Thank you Dr. Lisle for this writing.

    This is the first time I have read your blog, but definitely won’t be the last. I too believe that God honors obedience to those seeking His Will. I believe when we see someone running the good race we should not trying to knock them down, but rather encourage them. I also agree with you also how hypocritical us Christians can be in our sentiments against scientists and technology. God is the Supreme Creator or everything, and when we slander His creation we slander Him.

    Keep up the good work for the Kingdom!

  3. Pingback: Honor « Proclaim and Defend the Word

  4. Preston says:

    Interesting topic. Regarding the olympics, I consider the scripture “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is , and of that which is to come.” So even though Paul uses sports metaphors in a number of places, it seems that mastery of worldly things is not comparable to godliness.

    And while we honor those who serve the church, knowing that those who minister at the alter are partakers thereof, and the scripture says “do not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn”, we should also remember “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Balance is indeed important and those who are servants of all, perhaps the person scrubbing the toilets, has achieved Jesus’ ranking of chief.

    When I think on James’ admonishment “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors”, it reminds me that honoring someone must not become respecting of persons. So if an olympic athlete comes into your meeting and you say to them “sit here in a good place”, and a janitor comes into your meeting and you say to them “stand there” are you not then a judge of evil thoughts? Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

    Also Jesus said “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

    Too many times it seems people want to exalt themselves and think that exercising authority is to be great among the church. But those who humble themselves shall be exalted.

    Also, the scripture says “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest appparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. But (which becometh women professing godliness) with goood works.”

    We must not think that costly apparel and gold ornaments can compare with godliness and good works.

    Also, regarding hard work, that seems to be a biblical principle. However, not all hard work earns a title or recognition. Someone working hard and industriously in a factory or on a farm will not be given the title Doctor, but they very well may work as hard or harder than a graduate student at university. A wife and mother who models the Proverbs 31 behaviors will most likely not be honored by the world, but “the woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” “Strength and honour her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” I think of my mother, who worked hard in factories, working overtime when it was available, where the work was very demanding such as sanding boards or running wood through a bandsaw in a furniture factory, exhausting physical labor. Her hard work in those loud, dusty and hot factories paid for food, clothing, and shelter for our family. As I’m thinking about it, I don’t really honour five or six years of grad school to earn a PhD nearly as much as I honour her many years of exhausting physical labor for barely more than minimum wage while providing for her family.

    I may not know who has earned honour and who has not, so the scripture about esteeming others better than yourself will have to be one that I keep foremost in my thoughts. I hope and pray that I do not forget to be humble toward all.

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Which confirms again the concept of balancing, because all the instruction must be taken together from the whole of scripture so that we both honor those to whom honor is due, and do not become respecters of persons or adopt worldly ways.

    Thank you Dr. Lisle and Dr. Morris and Brian Thomas and the others at ICR for your diligent service ministering to the body of Christ. Daily your work encourages and informs. We pray that the Lord will bless you with hope and faithfulness and obedience.

  5. Charlie says:

    Thank you, Dr. Lisle.
    I have been tossed about a little in my life hearing things like what “John” said about respecting/honoring all individuals to the same degree, yet not seeing much of that belief played out in the lives of those who said it. I have struggled to discern whether what they said was right, even if their actions didn’t live up to it, or whether that outlook is not even biblical to begin with. Considering the Scriptures you pointed to,
    things seem ever so much clearer. Still, I think I have been so ingrained with this way of thinking that it may take me a while to realize the right-that is, Biblical-balance. I have long feared to that I might go to the opposite extreme in honoring someone too much. Brings to mind Christ’s teaching His disciples that whoever desired to be the greatest among them would be their servant. Does that mean that it’s wrong to desire it? or that if you desire it, you should realize that with it comes being a servant of all?
    I have so much to learn.
    Thank you.
    Charlie

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Charlie,

      I suggest that the balance is achieved by putting God’s Word first. God deserves ultimate honor as God. No sinner deserves that level of honor. But people do deserve some degree of respect for being made in God’s image. And God does expect us to give extra honor to those who have earned it. Contrary to “John’s” view, the Bible teaches that some people deserve more honor than others (e.g. 1 Timothy 5:17).

      I think your second interpretation of the passage (Mark 9:35, 10:42-45, Mathew 20:25-28) is correct. It’s not wrong to desire honor, particularly within the kingdom of God. Indeed, Christ uses that goal to motivate us to obey His commandments and to teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:19). So clearly, He is not against that. But in order to accomplish that goal we must show humility and be eager to serve others. Christ Himself lived this as a perfect example. He was the ultimate servant (to the point of death) and is now ultimately exalted.

      Consider Luke 14:10-11. This passage clearly indicates that Jesus is not against seeking honor. He is simply teaching us how to achieve that goal: by being humble! It’s also interesting to note that this passage is speaking about honor in this present world: “then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you” (Luke 14:10b). Obviously Christ is not against that goal, or He wouldn’t have given us advice on how to accomplish it.

      God bless.

      • Charlie says:

        Thank you Dr. Lisle!
        It’s so good to think on the Word of God. Your explanation and comparing Scripture with Scripture helps me understand it so much more clearly. :-)

  6. Patrick Gernert says:

    All,

    I know we are discussing a different topic on this blog right now but I am looking for help with answering the below questions from a family member I am discussing homosexual marriage with. Does anyone have some input regarding what is written below? If you would like me not to start discussions like this Dr. Lisle I will respect your wishes but I would like help if possible, my email is patrickgernert@yahoo.com and the discussion can be found on facebook at:

    http://www.facebook.com/anja.helmon/posts/10151075660467432?notif_t=feed_comment_reply

    click the link if you want to see the whole thread and please tell me if the link doesn’t work.

    What makes this particular topic (marriage for homosexuals) different from other topics of sin in the bible? Why do you not think we should legally enforce other things you believe the bible calls sins, but we should legally deny homosexual couples the right to marry?

    If a vote was on the ballot to no longer allow divorce, which way would you vote?

    It boils down to this for me: the government is currently providing a service that they call marriage. Regardless of how you, I, or anyone else defines marriage, as soon as the government provides that service to heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples, the government is discriminating against homosexuals. I am against discrimination, and so as long as the government continues to provide this service, I will insist in every way possible (protests, votes, posts, etc.) that they provide it for all consenting adults.

    Another person on the thread said this: How in the world does allowing ME to marry my life partner and enjoy the same rights and benefits you and your spouse share affect YOU in any way, shape or form? Really??? Will my marring Jason in NJ, passing my estate to him tax free, visiting him in the hospital without question, filing a joint tax return, etc etc, affect you in any way? What difference does it make to you? Enough about what the Bible says about marriage and what the definition is or should be… I want to know how my marrying Jason will change your life… Because it certainly will change mine!

    As you can see there is a lot of emotion in these people regarding this topic but how can I respond lovingly and respectfully while still showing my opposition to their view? Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you!

    - Patrick Gernert

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Patrick,

      Some preliminary thoughts. In regard to “What makes this particular topic (marriage for homosexuals) different from other topics of sin in the bible? Why do you not think we should legally enforce other things you believe the bible calls sins, but we should legally deny homosexual couples the right to marry?”

      First, homosexuals do have the right to marry. That is, a homosexual man can legally and ethically marry a homosexual woman. They have exactly the same rights as heterosexuals. What they really want is for us to pretend that something which is not a marriage is a marriage. Marriage has been defined by God as one man and one woman united by God for life. This is seen in the Old Testament (Genesis 1:24) and is affirmed by Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 19:4-5). Those who pretend that anything else is a marriage are rebelling against God, and denying reality. Apart from God’s decree, there is no basis for marriage. Why not argue that I should be allowed to “marry” all the furniture in my home? How would that “hurt others?” Perhaps it wouldn’t. But it’s not a marriage.

      Second, it isn’t different from other sins, except perhaps in degree. All sin is rebellion against the law of God (1 John 3:4). The Bible uses the term “abomination” for homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:22), indicating a particularly detestable, wicked action. It is sin, and warrants eternal separation from God. Only by repenting and trusting in Christ’s atonement on the cross can anyone avoid the ultimate penalty (hell) for this or any other sin.

      Third, in regard to “legally enforcing [penalties against]… sin,” it is crucial to note that not all sins are civil crimes. The Bible charges the civil magistrate with the responsibility for punishing only certain sins. Others are left for God alone to judge on the final day. For example, the government does not have the right to punish the sin of coveting. God alone has the right to tell us which kinds of sins may be punished by the government. Any other system would be arbitrary and thus irrational. Homosexual actions are included in the list of sins which the government should consider crimes and which should therefore be punished (Leviticus 20:13).

      In regard to “…the government is currently providing a service that they call marriage.” Marriage is not defined by the government. It is defined by God. If the government passes a law and calls a homosexual union a “marriage” that won’t make it an actual marriage any more than if they passed a law saying that “2+2=5.” Truth is determined by the mind of God, not the decrees of men.

      In regard to “the government provides that service to heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples” as I had previously mentioned, a homosexual man can indeed marry a homosexual woman. There is no discrimination at all.

      But this is the claim I really wanted to address: “How in the world does allowing ME to marry my life partner and enjoy the same rights and benefits you and your spouse share affect YOU in any way, shape or form?” The implications of this rhetorical question are twofold. First, it implies that homosexual actions or attempts to distort marriage are not harming others. Second, it implies that morality is determined by what does or does not harm others. Both of these suppositions are wrong.

      First, homosexual actions do indeed harm others. Consider the city of Sodom which was known for its pervasive sin of homosexual activity. God judged that city and destroyed it. Those who want to turn America into another Sodom are risking bringing down the wrath of God on all of us. God is a righteous God. He is just, and therefore He will not tolerate wickedness indefinitely. There is no doubt that if the people of this nation continue to rebel against God, that God will bring His wrath upon this nation. I can’t imagine any greater harm in this world than to be utterly destroyed by the wrath of God.

      Second, the notion that something is okay as long as it is “doing no harm to others” is totally wrong. It is pragmatically unworkable and would lead to absurd results. I recently moved to Texas for a new job. This action “hurt” my friends emotionally, because they miss me. Does that mean it was wrong for me to move? Should the government have prevented me from moving so that it wouldn’t harm my friends? Clearly that would be absurd. What is right is determined solely by the will of God as revealed in His Word. Any other standard is subjective, and thus arbitrary.

      With regard to the statement, “Basically, you DO want to see as much of the bible that can be enforced in our government’s laws.” The answer is YES – at least those aspects that the Bible teaches that the government should enforce. Anything other than God’s standard as revealed in the Scriptures would be unjust. Society will be the most blessed by God if we obey Him, both as individuals, and in our law-code. The Bible clearly teaches this (Deuteronomy 7:11-15). With regard to, “In other words, you do not really believe in freedom of religion…” The answer is, No I don’t – at least not unlimited freedom of religion:

      For example, if someone’s religious belief is that he should be allowed to kill everyone, then the government has the right to stop him and punish him if he attempts to carry it out. God does allow freedom of religion within certain limits. But unlimited religious pluralism is logically impossible. By the way, the only reason we have any freedom at all is because the Bible is true. If we are just chemical accidents as evolutionists teach, then there would be no logical basis for any freedom-rights at all.

      I hope this helps.

      • Patrick Gernert says:

        Dr. Lisle thank you so much for your response it helps me out greatly! I will use this information for answering the questions that the people in the thread have asked and also for my own understanding on the biblical stance on this subject. I appreciate how clear you explain things and I feel I am better prepared to have an answer for those who ask why I am against the government having homosexual marriage. I reached out to many respected Christian family members on facebook and also here on this blog and I am honored to have received such truthful and biblical understanding and responses from everyone. It gave me great joy to know there are strong Christian leaders that I could turn to with questions of this nature. I sincerely thank you.

        -Patrick

  7. Preston says:

    If someone’s attitude is “enough of what God says about marriage, I want…” then they don’t recognize God’s authority. You will probably be wasting your time trying to persuade people who don’t recognize God’s authority to do God’s will. IF you want to continue spending time on them, I suggest focusing on the fact that God does have all authority in this life and in the one to come.

    Don’t be misled by anyone’s sophistry and pseudo morality, if their argument is to persuade people to condone, permit, countenance, and legalize behavior that is an unnatural abomination, the answer is no. As Christ’s, we should want to do His will, and we must do His will. Christ Jesus told the adultress “go and sin no more.”

    God’s destruction of Sodom was in part an example for those who should afterward live ungodly, and a wise man will see the example God gave and understand it and learn from it.

    • Patrick Gernert says:

      I agree that we should always look to the authority of God, here is what they have written recently. It looks like they are trying to define my beliefs:

      “Basically, you DO want to see as much of the bible that can be enforced in our government’s laws. In other words, you do not really believe in freedom of religion when it comes to government because you believe one specific interpretation of one religion should be law whenever feasible. Correct?

      Also, one more question because I’m surprised that you believe that voting for a less tolerant law is pushing one view on others. Under that logic, it means that we are currently pushing non-Kosher laws onto Jews and Muslims. In other words, we are pushing our morals that it is ok to eat bacon (for example) onto those whose faith does not allow them to eat bacon, even though they do not have to eat bacon. Do you believe this? And if so, do you think it is just as forceful for us to force Jews and Muslims to live under a law that allows what they would consider unholy food, as it would be if we lived in a country that forced everyone to abide by Kosher laws?

      What would you respond to that with?

      • Preston says:

        Hi Patrick,

        Frankly, I would not spend time arguing with the people who wrote the comments you posted. These people very apparently have a political and social agenda that we as Christians diametrically oppose. If they were looking for truth, then it would make great sense to present them with the scriptures in a clear presentation to lead them to eternal life. But since they are not looking for truth, but to justify themselves in their own eyes, it is not an effective use of time and effort.

        However, you should be clear in your own mind about a few related issues. First, the scripture says that those who are under the Spirit are not under the law, but the law is for people who are not under the Spirit, and this is followed with a list of sins that people who are not in the Spirit continue in. Secondly, and also very importantly, law is always enforcing someone’s idea of morality, and with that being the case, we should try to shape it to good ends using good means as much as possible. Remember, law is the enforcement of someone’s morality, and current law certainly does not represent Christian morality.

        Currently in the U.S., atheists have shaped law at every level of government, with the most egregious being forced from the federal level down. So Christians’ money is taken in the form of taxes and their children are compelled to attend government indoctrination centers where they are forced to learn that there is no God and that the Bible is a horrid fairy tale that promotes sexist, racist, and homophobic myths. Every Christian value is attacked or undermined by the very government that the constitution restricts from doing so. President Bill Clinton by executive order began the enforced acceptance of sodomite behavior, and more recently supreme court decisions have pushed the militant sodomite agenda even further, placing Christians in danger for even expressing disapproval of sodomite behavior.

        Recently we’ve seen the Barack Hussein Obama administration begin to force religious organizations to dispense abortifacients to employees and to provide contraceptives to employees despite the fact that is against the organization’s religious beliefs.

        In many if not all states, sodomites are allowed to adopt children, exposing those children to the horrors of sodomite behavior, or the concomitant behavior of pedophilia and beastiality.

        Atheists control all the major media, the “public” schools, and colleges and universities. Any attempt to even question evolution is met with fervent, well funded, and successful litigation, intimidation, and/or legislation.

        So when these atheists get you to defend why you want to push your views on them, they have already in large part accomplished their goal. They have gotten you to adopt their world view and placed you on the defensive, while at the same time controlling almost the entire cultural and legal system.

        The scripture says that the law serves to punish evil doers, though in the U.S. it does not function as it should. Our laws should not promote sodomite behavior, or condone it, or recognize it as anything except a crime. When we have compassion, let’s remember the victims instead of the perpetrators. Think of the people these sodomites have lured into behavior that is reprehensible, and then emotionally manipulated them into defending their behavior. This is very similar to the way the abortion industry works, in that every woman who kills her unborn baby is easily tempted to a lifetime of activism to justify her actions instead of repenting.

        So can you not find people in your community that might just listen openly to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Even on the internet, there surely must be blogs or pages where a well placed word or two could affect the readers for good. Arguing with vehement atheists who have rejected the word of God doesn’t seem to be the best use of your efforts. Remember the apostle Paul went first to the Jews, but when they opposed themselves and blasphemed and rejected the word, Paul went to those who would hear it gladly. You can plant and another can water, but it is God who gives the increase.

        The Lord may certainly call you to particular activity and ministry, but as the scripture says, test the spirits to see whether they are of God. Do not try to do things in your own power, because without Jesus we can do nothing. Study the Bible daily so that you will know whom it is that you have believed. There is no mediator between man and God but the man Jesus Christ, and knowledge of him and his will come directly from the Bible . So as the apostle Paul did, make sure even as you engage in ministry that you yourself are not lost.

      • Preston says:

        Another thing, I wrote very briefly to you that trying to persuade someone who doesn’t accept God’s authority to do God’s will would be futile. This bears emphasis. And the corollary to that is you can’t justify yourself doing God’s will to someone who doesn’t accept God’s authority. Because there is no justification for doing the will of God apart from God’s own authority.

        There are many superficial arguments that you should avoid because they’re wrong and they misleading. When people reject God’s authority, there is no justification in their eyes for what you do. There is absolutely no point in attempting to justify yourself apart from God’s authority. You should never adopt the premises of atheists and attempt to argue from whatever those premises are to convince them to do what you know to be right.

        Atheists will adopt premises that lead only to the conclusion they want, because that is the only reason they adopt, temporarily, any premises or suppositions at all. If you use their premises and get close to persuading them, they will change the premises or redefine them. But more importantly, it is misleading for you to do that.

        If you adopt the atheists premises in the mistaken idea that you can reason them to a correct conclusion, you will be misleading them. The ONLY reason we who are Christ’s do the things we do is because it is the will of God that we do so. We died, and yet we live and Christ lives within us. We died to the flesh and live in the Spirit. We MUST pick up the cross, meant for our own crucifixion daily – every single day- and follow Christ. We MORTIFY – that is kill – the deeds of the flesh. Here is the thing Patrick, spiritual things are spiritually discerned and they are foolishness to the world. I exhort you to not mislead people into thinking we have cultural, civil, or traditional reasons for the things we do rather than the real reason, which is that we want to do, will do, love to do the will of the perfect and awesome Creator. All things are his and for his pleasure they are and were created. This truth must not be subjugated to any earthly goals or ends to do with culture and law.

        They will tempt you to rationalize with them about the health or psychology or civil benefits of their proposed legitimizing of sin. God’s will is clear from the scriptures, and it is God they must argue with, not Patrick Gernert. Don’t let anyone think for a moment that the things we do come from within ourselves or from some abstract desire for an arbitrary and negotiable “good”. Keep the focus where it belongs – God.

        Remember also, “friendship with the world is enmity with God”. You certainly should show God’s love, holiness, power, righteousness, and goodness to all those who are outside the church. God came into the world to reconcile the world to himself. But we have no concourse with the world. God’s love of the lost does not allow us to change his requirement for that reconciliation, which is that they repent. In order to repent they must know that they sin. Do not let your love for the lost lead you to attempt to negotiate away the absolutes of God which we have no authority to amend. Remember, we must not befriend the world or we become enemies of God.

        I encourage you to remember that if you are following Christ Jesus, you will be doing his will as discerned from the scriptures and the Holy Spirit – you have no need to justify yourself to atheists. Give them the reason for the hope that is within you. Tell them the gospel. But don’t let yourself or anyone else think that you have any other judge or master apart from Christ. Spending too much time with atheists who openly reject God will vex your spirit as just Lot was vexed by the wickedness in Sodom.

        • Patrick Gernert says:

          Thank you so much Preston, you’ve opened my eyes a lot on what I had been doing in this discussion on facebook. I have watched Dr. Lisle’s discussion on logical fallacies and also how Atheists try to get us to meet on neutral ground but they got me to do that without me even realizing it. I started debating on the grounds of the medical and social harms instead of the truth that the authority for defining marriage is from God and not from us. Did man define marriage in the beginning? No, God did and that is how it should stay. I agree that at this point it does seem like they have a social and political agenda and are not really looking for my opinion but more to rationalize their own. I appreciate your response and thank you for an enlightening message.

  8. Thomas says:

    Thank you very much for posting this article, Dr. Lisle. I never thought of this subject of honor in this light, so it was very thought provoking to me. May God bless you and receive great glory from the work He allows you to do. Blessings!

  9. Joshua says:

    Dr. Lisle, what is your opinion on these statements?

    “The leadership of the Creationist branch of what should be the Bible’s Special Forces not only ignores the fact that Copernicanism paved the way for Darwinism (…), it recklessly twists the non-moving Earth Scriptures to make them conform to Copernicanism in precisely the same way that they accuse “theistic evolutionists” of twisting Scriptures to support evolutionism (…). By recanting and taking a stand for Bible Geocentrism this same leadership could make a wave throughout Christendom that could not be stopped. Copernicanism is going down with or without them when Babylon Falls. Creationists fear they will look bad as scientists if they go against Copernicanism. Their real fear should be how bad they will look as Christians if they don’t do it!!”

    “At least two Creationist organizations are publicizing the erroneous idea that the first five verses of Genesis I describe a rotating earth. One spokesman in Kentucky, USA, who has a spot on Christian radio, broadcasts this idea as if it were a fact. Another–a Russian creationist–seems to agree. Further, the pioneer and premier Creationist organization–ICR in California–continues to support the Copernican model, all the while denying that it does so. The leadership there is apparently determined to ignore the fact that geocentrism is a Creation issue of overriding importance to the whole matter of settling the Origins Issue with a Bible victory.

    “When everything good about the work of these and other Creationist organizations and individuals has been said–and there is a world of good to be said!–these facts remain: 1) Copernicanism is as unScriptural as Evolutionism; 2) Copernicanism is as unScientific as Evolutionism; 3) Copernicanism is as vulnerable as Evolutionism; 4) Copernicanism paved the way for the success of Darwinism; 5) Other pernicious anti-Bible isms (Marxism, Freudianism, Einsteinism, Saganism, et al) absolutely depend on the sacrosanct position Copernicanism holds amongst scientists, both secular and religious, but especially the religious ones!”

    Sixty-Seven Scriptural References Which Tell Us That It Is The Sun And Not The Earth That Moves:

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Joshua,

      You asked for my opinion on quotes regarding geocentrism. Basically, they do not hold water. They represent a lack of insight into how to handle the Word of God properly, and they are full of logical fallacies as well.

      First, the logical problems:

      Motion, in the sense of velocity, is defined as a change in position divided by a change in time. For motion to be meaningful there must be some system of coordinates (x,y,z,t) which describe the location of an object in three dimensions at a given time (t). Motion occurs when the x, y, or z values change when t does. But in any coordinate system, we must define an origin; the location at which x,y, and z are zero, otherwise there would be no reference to evaluate the x,y, and z values of anything else. We could set the origin to a location on earth, a location in space, a person, a car, and so on. Motion will occur when the position of a second object changes in time with respect to the origin.

      Therefore, motion (of logical necessity) must always involve at least two objects. One of these is the object whose motion is to be evaluated, and the other is the reference point for the coordinate system. Without a reference point, to talk about motion of the object is meaningless. For example, when I am driving down the road, I am stationary relative to the car, but moving relative to the road. My x,y,z coordinates do not change in time with respect to the coordinate system of the vehicle: I always remain in exactly the same place – in the driver’s seat. But the coordinates do change with respect to the road, and so there is motion in that system.

      If you’ve ever flown on an aircraft, there are two velocities that are commonly used: the airspeed and the groundspeed. These are usually not the same. The airspeed is the motion relative to the coordinate system of the air. The groundspeed is relative to the earth. Both are useful. The “speed” of an airplane is not meaningful unless you specify whether it is the airspeed or the groundspeed.

      To say that something is moving, there must ALWAYS be a reference frame, otherwise the statement is utterly meaningless. Sometimes the reference frame is implied and not explicitly stated. Imagine a mother saying to her kids in the back seat of the car, “I want you to hold perfectly still for the rest of the trip. Stop moving.” Obviously, the reference frame is the car. The kids cannot be stationary relative to the road since the car is moving relative to the road. Most often in our everyday life, we use the Earth as our reference frame. When we say, “the car is travelling at 65 mph”, the assumed reference frame is the Earth.

      Therefore, consider the statements, “the Earth moves” or “the Earth does not move.” These statements can only be meaningful if we ask, “relative to what?” Unless a reference frame is specified, the statements are meaningless. And it is exactly at this point that the geocentrist’s logic fails. Geocentrism supporters NEVER specify the reference frame! The position they advocate (“the earth does not move”) is without meaning. It’s no different than saying, “Upwards the paper green soft.”

      Giving the geocentrist the benefit of the doubt, we might grant that he does have a reference frame in mind, but has simply left it unstated. Fair enough. But what reference frame do we assume? Normally, we take the earth as our reference frame. So, if the geocentrist is arguing that the Earth does not move relative to itself, then I actually agree; but it’s a trivial tautology. Everything is stationary relative to itself! Mars is stationary in its reference frame, the sun is stationary in its reference frame, I am stationary in my reference frame. Why do geocentrists single out the earth (the “geo” in geocentric)? They should be “pancentrists” if they mean that things are stationary in their own reference frame. But if they take anything else as their point of reference, then the earth definitely does move. It moves relative to the sun, relative to Mars, and relative to individual people for that matter.

      The geocentrist must fall into one of three irrational positions. (A) There is no reference frame – in which case geocentrism is meaningless. (B) The reference frame is the Earth – in which case they are committing the fallacy of special pleading in arbitrarily singling out Earth since nothing moves relative to itself. (C) The reference frame is something else – in which case the position is demonstrably false, since the Earth does change its position in time relative to other objects.

      But what is even worse than these logical problems is the lack of care geocentrists take with the Scriptures. They play fast-and-loose with the text, and import modern definitions into the ancient language. When the Bible states in a poetic way that the earth will not be “moved” or “removed” are we really to believe that the words are to be taken in the sense of Newtonian physics? That’s eisegesis of the worst sort. Poetic passages like Psalm 93:1 are just that: poetic passages. They use figures of speech and should not be taken as historic narrative. The same verse says that God has clothed Himself with strength and it would be impossible to take this literally since God is a spirit.

      The Hebrew word translated “moved” in the above verse is “mowt” and has a number of meanings depending on context. It does not necessarily imply motion in a modern physics sense. It can mean to slip, totter, fall down, shake, to be removed, to be out of course. In context, the passage is talking about the stability of the earth – not its orbital properties! The earth will not slip or be out of course for its orbit.

      King David said, “I shall not be moved” in Psalm 16:8. The word translated “moved” is “mowt” – the same word used in Psalm 93:1. Does this mean that David was physically stationary his entire life? Should we start promoting the “Davidcentric” model of the solar system? Obviously David meant that he would not deviate from the course that God has set before him. Likewise, neither will the Earth deviate from its path.

      I’m tempted to go through and point-by-point refute the fallacies in the quotes you gave me. But this reply is getting long! And I think I’ve answered your question.

      Thanks for posting.

  10. Kenny says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    I posted one more ASC test under your “Arbitrariness and Inconsistency” blog.

  11. Andrew says:

    I certainly admired the athletes and performances at the Olympics but i still felt sorry for them, that most were probably not saved and how much better it would for them to go seek an eternal heavenly crown rather than a worldly one that will rust. I get the impression however that the secular world wants us to more than honour them, rather to idolise them instead. What i also found interesting about the Olympics was the fact Atheists, Evolutionists, Agnostics, Christians and those of other religions could all perform the same pagan ceremonial rituals, ie the torch relay and to honour the cauldron flame under a secular banner. As far as i know the flame represents Zeus or Prometheus. Perhaps Atheists and Evolutionists are not as secular as they like to think they are.

  12. Nick L. says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    This is not relevant to the article you posted, nor is it anything that has not been said before in some manner by folks on the Creationist side, but I thought I’d take a moment and post a few thoughts about evolution and its relationship to the existence of pain, evil, and suffering in our present world.

    Today is the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The attacks left many wondering where God was. Where was this all-good Being Christians speak of, and wasn’t He paying attention when the towers came crashing down? Such questions sprung out of the deep sense of shock and pain we felt as a nation. But rather than such pain calling God’s existence into question, it actually provides confirmation of His existence. The fact that we were internally revolted by what transpired on 9/11 is evidence that we know such things should not be. We have an internal standard of ‘right,’ and that standard was violated. The actions we witnessed were not just or normal, and we knew it.

    Where, though, did such a sense of justice and injustice come from? In the evolutionary worldview, death itself is nothing but a tool of natural selection. It’s an event of progress and should thus be heralded as necessary and even beneficial. The fact that we do not embrace the death of fellow humans as a good thing is proof that we are all internally programmed to recognize the very moral laws and codes that neo-Darwinian evolution claims do not exist.

    Death is not merely the tool of mindless nature. Death is an enemy and an invader that came into the world through the sin of one man (Romans 5:12). Through His bodily resurrection from the grave, Jesus Christ conquered death, ensuring that there will be a future day when death shall be no more (Revelation 21:4). These teachings are entirely contradictory to naturalistic evolution, but they are entirely consistent with our mental makeup as human beings.

  13. Orcaman4 says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    Like Nick’s comment, this is not relevant to the post, but I wanted to ask if the rapture is pre-trib or post-trib.

    • Charlie says:

      Good question, Orcaman4…but loaded. ;-) Could start a huge discussion, I hope you realize.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      I’m not going to get into eschatology on this blog. Sorry. I may someday – in the distant future – write on this topic.

      • Josef says:

        I can understand why AiG avoids the eschatology issue, since they are a non-denominational ministry and it opens a big can of worms.

        However, for any ministry that claims to uphold biblical authority, then I don’t think the topic can really be avoided, regardless of whether or not it offends some denominations.

        The reason why is because lately I’ve been seeing a lot of skeptics claiming Jesus was in error because of what he said in Matt 24:34, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (and the parallel passages in Luke 21 and Mark 13).

        Because skeptics are using Jesus’ claim in the Olivet discourse to discredit the Bible, anyone who defends biblical inerrancy MUST get into the eschatology issue because of this, like it or not. And this is a very serious charge by skeptics to not only claim the Bible has an error, but to claim that the error comes from Jesus Himself.

        AiG, CMI, ICR, et al should realize this is an important topic and defend it just as much as they would defend against any other attack on the Bible.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Josef,

          I really appreciated your insightful comments here. I agree that eschatology is important and necessary to defend the Christian faith. And your example from Matthew 24 was excellent – probably the same example I would pick to make this very point. I’ve often thought along the same lines as your comments here. Let me share some of my current thinking, and explain a bit about our approach here at ICR.

          ICR is a parachurch ministry. It’s not a church, nor an individual Christian. However, all the individuals that work here are Christians and are part of a local church. A parachurch is not a church, and it should not attempt to replace the church; the church was established by God. A parachurch is designed to come alongside a church, to help with certain specific tasks. Parachurch ministries are not intended to do (and should not do) everything that the church does. That might include taking a stand on every denominational issue.

          In a way, the necessity of creation ministries such as ICR is an indictment on the church’s unwillingness to stand on biblical authority and to study and be prepared to defend the Christian faith. Here, I am referring to the church as a whole, so no one get upset please. I recognize that there are obvious exceptions – local church bodies that do take biblical authority seriously. But for the most part, we have dropped the ball. ICR exists as a discipleship ministry, helping the church to get back to biblical authority and equipping the saints to defend the Christian Faith, particularly in the foundational book of Genesis.

          Since a parachurch is not a church, it will naturally have a different list of responsibilities, freedoms, and limitations than a church would. Some of these will overlap of course. ICR preaches the Gospel; the church preaches the Gospel. But my point is that there will be differences as well. A local church body can and should take a stand on denominational issues. But the leadership of a parachurch ministry must decide what the specific goals of that ministry are, and then make strategic decisions about what issues are essential to its purpose, and what issues will be left to individual Christians to search the Scriptures and defend outside the context of that ministry.

          The specific goals of ICR are to defend biblical authority in the area of origins. Genesis is the most attacked portion of Scripture today, and yet it is foundation to all Christian doctrines. I believe that ICR’s goal of defending Genesis is an important one. This is not to say that other parachurch ministries are not important as well. And they are free to prayerfully choose the essential issues that the Lord has placed on their heart to defend.

          Two further points to consider: In fact, ICR does take a stand on some matters of eschatology. There are certain aspects of eschatology that are essential to Christian theology. We defend these because anyone who denies them is really not a Christian. These include: the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, judgment resulting in eternal life with God for believers and eternal death for unbelievers, the consummation of all things, including a new heavens and earth in which there is no more curse and no more death.

          Other specifics we do not defend since they go beyond the specific scope of our ministry. However, we as individual Christians should indeed study these specific issues, and be ready to defend them when asked. So it is not a matter of which issues we defend and which we don’t. As individual Christians, we defend the Bible in all matters. It is simply a question of what path we use. When I defend the Bible in nuances of eschatology or other denominational issues, I do it outside the context of ICR.

          God bless.

  14. Andrew says:

    Dr Lisle, i fully agree with your arguments against “John’s” position, i do wonder however if deep down he understood a Bible principle but has misused it through not fully understanding it, prejudice and his fallen nature.
    Forgive me for not supplying specific quotes but rather generalities as i am new christian and have only read the Bible once and the NT twice. God seems to have chosen the poor in spirit, the humble and the meek for special revelation. Blessed are your ears that hear these things when Kings and Rulers cannot hear. Jesus was born of “low ranking” family in society, Most of the Disciples were not educated like the Scribes or Pharisees. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. Jesus honouring the poor woman who gave all rather than the rich who gave more but had plenty left. You probably get the picture. God (correct me if i’m wrong) has honoured only the believing toilet attendent more than say an atheist academic by saving him, given him eyes to see while sending strong delusion to the atheist academic. I know this takes us away from the point of your post and the question of balanced honour amongst ourselves but i just wondered if this is where “Johns” position may have come from although he can’t state it correctly due to his misunderstanding of it.

  15. Josef says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I’m so excited to have found your blog ! I was a little saddened when I found out you left AiG for ICR because I thought you’d essentially disappear (ICR isn’t as popular as AiG). So I’m really happy about this blog where I can still learn from your insights and research.

  16. Christopher Cutler says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I recently just watched a debate in which there were two Christians (who you know), three atheists, and a moderator. The moderator claimed to be an expert on languages, and said that we cannot trust what we have in our English translations of the Bible (to the point where he “wouldn’t even call it Scripture”). Then he went on to inquire about “indexical and deictic elements”; he kept bringing it up. I was just wondering if you are familiar with those terms and/or have any idea what he is talking about. I could send you the link if you would like (if you have not already seen the debate).

    • Christopher Cutler says:

      Dr. Lisle, @ 121:00-123:00. Here is the link I was telling you about. I have yet to find anyone who can explain to me what he’s talking about here.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By3ijuxkxDg

      I’m just wondering how you would respond to this presuppositionally when presuppositional apologetics relies on knowing what God’s word says. It seems according to him, we can’t know what God’s word says. So how would you respond?

  17. Chris C says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    Still curious about this one. I have yet to find any one who can help me with this. No rush, just whenever you get a chance. Thanks!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Chris,

      The proposition “we can’t know what God’s Word says” is self-refuting. In order for that proposition to be meaningful at all, the person making the statement must presuppose that we can understand his words. He has assumed that we can know what he said. If we fallible humans are able to communicate in such a way that others will understand, how much more would an all-powerful and all-knowing God be able to communicate in such a way that we will understand. It would be absurd to argue that we finite creatures have greater linguistic ability than the infinite God who gave us such abilities in the first place. Therefore, the only way to argue that we can’t know what God’s Word says would be to take the position that we can’t know what anyone says. And if we cannot know what anyone says, then we cannot know what the person says when he says “we can’t know what God’s Word says.” It is a self-defeating position.

      The critic’s claim that he “wouldn’t even call it Scripture” is unjustified, because Scripture refers to Scripture as Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16).

      “Deictic” and “indexical” both basically mean words that depend upon context. Specifically, It refers to the fact that “I like it” is a different proposition when Mike says it as to when Bob says it (because “I” refers to whichever of them is speaking). And it would be impossible to know what they meant by “it” without some previous context. A previous sentence would make it clear: “The weather is really nice today,” said Mike. “I like it.”

      So the critic on this site is saying that the Bible cannot be understood because its words depend on context. What he fails to realize is that the Bible provides the context for these words. The Bible gives us sufficient context to understand its propositions. The Bible itself tells us that it is understandable (2 Corinthians 1:13).

      • Chris C says:

        //The critic’s claim that he “wouldn’t even call it Scripture” is unjustified, because Scripture refers to Scripture as Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16).//

        That’s what I was thinking, but that’s what it says in our english translations (the very thing he is saying that we cannot trust); that’s why I wasn’t sure how to respond. So let me get this straight, you’re saying that his argument about “deictic” and “indexical” is basically just that we can’t know the writers’ intentions, because of lack of context? What does that have to do with english translations vs original language translations? Is he saying the “intentions” were translated incorrectly? Does that even make sense?

  18. Anon says:

    im saddned by what i have read here, if the human race hasnt proggresed enough that it doesnt require unwathering belief in a book of books written BY MEN over 2 thousand years old then i have no faith in humanity.

    • Josef says:

      Actually it is because the Bible is true that the human race has progressed as far as it has.

      Btw, one of the great advances that modern science has brought to us is word processors with spelling and grammar check. You should really check them out!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Anon, I find it difficult to believe that you are truly saddened by what you have read here. Especially given the inaccuracy of your premise that the human race requires “unwathering(sic) belief in a book of books written BY MEN…”. The human race certainly requires nothing of the sort, if you have evidence to the contrary please share.

      Bible believing Christians believe what is written in the Bible because it is the inspired word of God as recorded by many Godly men. True, our history is full of sadness and heartbreak. It is a history of corruption, death, and disobedience. How great it is to have knowledge of and confidence in a loving and merciful God who promises to end all suffering and redeem His creation.

      Since you mention it, what is worthy and where do you place your faith?

      Your belief is your choice. Ultimately, the question you should ponder is “What does the God of the universe require?”

  19. Brian Forbes says:

    That’s an interesting name, Mr. Gold.

    This actually put me in a good mood. Thanks, Dr. Lisle for letting this one in. What people won’t do for money…

  20. Dr. Lisle says:

    Some spam gets through the filter. I just missed this one.

  21. Zach says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    This is my question:
    What if the Christian worldview is false and laws of logic can only be justified irrationally? (Were would this lead as well?)

    and a different one:
    ( Hypothetically), Are laws of logic always contingent upon what they are made? Here is an example: Would laws of logic be contingent upon chance if they were made by it?

    ( My reason for this question is too refute objections to the Christian worldview by pointing out that if logic was created by ,(blank), they would be contingent upon it)

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