Friday, July 28, 2006

Heart: Part I

Who Has Your Heart?
The heart has four chambers and pumps blood throughout our physical bodies. Each day, the average heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. There’s another kind of heart—our spiritual hearts. They’re nothing pretty to look at. God said in Genesis, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” There’s an absolute statement in that verse: “Every inclination of his heart is evil.”

In the chapter of Practical Christianity titled “Heart Work,” Arthur W. Pink uses the verse from Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence.” I found the “Heart Work” section of Pink’s book helpful, especially in light of the idea that the heart is the wellspring of life.

The dictionary defines wellspring as, “a source, an abundant source.” One might say the heart is the source of life. In Practical Christianity, Pink writes, “If our heart be the residence of impiety, pride, avarice, malice, impure lusts, then the whole current of our lives will largely be tainted with these vices.” Although Pink’s comments on this topic are extensive, I find three points I think best summarize his discussion. The heart must be tended. The heart must be conformed to God. The heart must be protected.

The Heart Must be Tended
Like a garden, the heart requires continual work. Sin must be rooted out, encouragement watered on, and nourishment from God’s word applied. Imagine a garden planted on the edge of a forest, overgrown with brambles, weeds, and the entangling roots of the buttercup. The surrounding environment is not conducive to healthy growth. More than likely, the garden will become overwhelmed and taken over by weeds. A while ago I quit a weekly social visit to the newspaper office I worked for, because I found that the ensuing conversation had a negative impact on my soul. Although I feel secure in my knowledge of the truth, the very environment caused my thoughts to be angry, resentful, and sinful.

Examine your heart. What sin needs to be exposed and destroyed? Each day, meditation on God’s word and prayer are essential. Often I do truly hunger for God’s word, wanting something more than this world can offer, needing more than lies, platitudes, and relativity. I need truth. Like a deer pants for water, so my soul pants for God. In my own life, I find that when I’m careless or sloppy about communing with God, my spiritual well being suffers. I require constant help from God to feel loved, to feel cheerful, and to remember God’s truth.

In the Old Testament, one can see the Israelites constantly falling away. They required constant reminder of God, what He expected from them, and what He had done for them. As a child I found myself scornful of the Israelites frail moral character, but now I empathize with their plight. I believe one of the reasons the Israelites occupy a large portion of the Bible is to remind us of our tendency to be forgetful.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reliability of the Bible: Part III

The Bible: The Most Bibliographically Verified Source in History

continued from Reliability of the Bible: Part I, and Reliability of the Bible: Part II

Same Theme all the way through

The continuity of the Bible amazes me.

66 different books
40 different authors
3 different languages
Written over a 1500 year time span
Same message, same God, same Savior

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Secular Writings

Dr. Phil Fernandes took some time to point out several ancient secular writers who confirmed the message of the New Testament.

Thallus (52 A.D.) wrote about the darkness of the sky when Jesus died

Mark 15:33-34, “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ”

Tacitus (115 A.D.) wrote about Christ’s death and the 50 day gap before the explosion of Christianity

Acts 2:41, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” [on the day of Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension into heaven]

Josephus (37-97 A.D.) hired by the Romans to record Jewish history, says he used to visit Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat

Genesis 8:3-4, “The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”

Talmud (70-200 A.D.) talks about Jesus as illegitimate and a sorcerer.

Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…” [emphasis mine]

Common Experience of Christians

Since Jesus’ resurrection, millions of people have come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. Each person is an eyewitness to the miracles that God performs in their own lives the lives of others. Every true Christian has a personal relationship with Jesus.

At Worldview Academy, I felt incredibly encouraged by the presence of so many young Christians. At a Christian leadership camp, it’s reasonable to expect that almost everyone is a Christian. That knowledge—that all these people believe the same truth I believe and that we all love the same Savior—fills me with joy.


The Bible
The New Evidence by Josh McDowell
Thy Word is Truth by E.J. Young
The New Testament Documents by F.F. Bruce

Note: All Biblical references are from the New King James version.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Reliability of the Bible: Part II

The Bible: The Most Bibliographically Verified Source in History

continued from Reliability of the Bible: Part I


Jay Winslow pointed to three (among many) archaeological discoveries which confirmed what the Bible says: Hittites, Assyrians, and Jericho.


Joshua 1:4, “From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.”

In 1906, Hugo Winkler found the Hittite civilization. These people are spoken of in the Bible, but people had previously said that the Hittites didn’t exist.


Isaiah 19:23, “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.”

Similar to their disbelief of the Hittites, people also thought the Assyrians didn’t exist. Since then, the entire city of Nineveh (one of the major, ancient Assyrian cities), has been unearthed.


Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”

In the Bible, Jericho is famous for its miraculous destruction. The Israelites marched around the walls once a day for six days, then on the seventh day marched around it seven times. After the final march, the priests blew trumpets, the people shouted, and the walls fell down.

In a normal siege, the walls would fall inwards as the attackers surged in that direction. Garstang, the archeologist who excavated Jericho, said, “As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers could be able to clamber up and over the ruins into the city."

How can this be? God’s miraculous hand at work.


Isaiah 46:9-10, “I am God…Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done.”

In the Old Testament, over 2,000 predictive prophecies have been fulfilled. 333 of these prophecies concern Christ. Jay Winslow spoke about a man who decided to research the chances the one man could fulfill just eight of the 333 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.

I wasn’t able to write down all eight, but I do have six of The Eight Coincidental Prophecies:

Born at Bethlehem
Preceded by a messenger
He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey
Betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver
Money thrown into God’s house and given for potter’s field
Silent before accusers

What are the chances?

1 in 10 to the 17th power. That’s like covering the state of Texas two feet deep in silver dollars, marking one silver coin, and allowing someone in a helicopter to select one of those coins [example from Jay Winslow].

And that’s just eight prophecies. The chances of a man fulfilling 48 prophecies? 1 in 10 to the 157th power.

Jesus fulfilled all 333 prophecies about the coming Messiah.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reliability of the Bible: Part I

The Bible: The Most Bibliographically Verified Source in History
Lecture Compilation and Summary

During my week at Worldview Academy (WVA), my favorite lecture was “Reliability of Scripture,” given by Jay Winslow. Although I’ve been brought up my entire life to trust the Bible, sometimes I’ve wondered why I should believe the Bible.

How do I know that it’s true?

Several months ago, during the first day of my sociology class, our professor told us to come with an open mind, leaving our religion and biases at the door. I believe she did this because it some sense, she did not believe that faith and reason are compatible. WVA lecturer Jay Winslow, pointed out a common assumption of unbelievers, “If you believe in the Bible, you’re a little bit wacky.”

Jay Winslow’s lecture succinctly pointed out two important parts of determining the reliability of scripture: MAPS and the common experience of Christians. He demonstrated that Christians do not have faith without reason, they have reasonable faith.

Although I very much appreciated the format of Jay Winslow’s lecture, subsequent lectures by Dr. Phil Fernandes provided additional information, which I incorporated into this summary. I also referenced the Bible, several web sources, and my personal experience.


By MAPS, Jay Winslow didn’t actually mean a picture diagram of the world. MAPS stands for Manuscripts, Archaeology, Prophecy, and Same theme all the way through.


Jay Winslow provided an excellent quote from John Warwick Montgomery,

“To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament.”

Worldwide, students learn a huge quantity about ancient history, much of which doesn’t have huge amounts of manuscript copies to back it up. During the lecture, students had the opportunity to see a table in the slideshow presentation, which provided numbers of copies for various historical documents.

Author, Work, Number of Copies
Homer, Iliad, 643
Herodotus, History, 8
Thucydides, History, 8
Caesar, Gallic Wars, 10
Various, New Testament, 5366

The last listing in the table shows the New Testament with 5,366 copies. However, that number only encompasses Greek manuscripts. All together, the New Testament has 25,000 manuscripts.

Dr. Phil Fernandes pointed out that there is 99.5% agreement between the 25,000 New Testament copies. That means that 5 words in 1000 are called into question. By comparison, there is 95% agreement between Homer’s Iliad copies. That means that 50 in 1000 are called into question.

In short, the New Testament is 10 times more accurate than the Iliad.

For the sake of space and time, I can’t go into Old Testament accuracy here, but Dr. Phil Fernandes has provided a chapter from his doctoral dissertation on this subject at
To Be Continued...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Worldview Academy

Think Hard, Think Well.

That's the goal of Worldview Academites. I'll be attending WVA this week, so there will be yet another lull in posting. I would encourage you to check out their website. When I return, I'll be posting on the many things I expect to have learned at WVA.

Think Hard Think Well