Teach the controversy

Two years after Intelligent Design advocates lost a key court battle, some biology classrooms and ID supporters are finding a balanced approach to evolution that-so far-is lawsuit-proof

By MARK BERGIN

Posted July 21, 2007, 12:00 a.m.

For 15 years Doug Cowan has taught the scientific evidence for and against Darwinism to biology students at Curtis High, a large public school several miles southwest of Tacoma, Wash. Over that time, the popular teacher and athletic coach has drawn periodic criticisms from community activists and local media. But he has faced no lawsuits and never worried over losing his job.Evolution

Students in Cowan’s classes praise his balanced presentation. And parents rarely, if ever, raise objections. “I haven’t heard a thing,” he told WORLD. “Kids think it’s really neat that I’m allowing them to weigh the evidence from both sides and make their own informed conclusions.”

Throughout the country, many other attempts to teach evolution critically have faced stiff opposition. Educators and school board members have lost legal battles and even their jobs. What makes Cowan so different?

“I don’t teach alternative theories, because that’s not part of the curriculum,” he explained. “There aren’t a whole lot of alternative theories other than design theory, but that’s not in our curriculum. So unless a kid asks specifically about it, I don’t deal with it.”

Instead, Cowan deals more thoroughly with Darwinism than most existing biology textbooks, using resources from outside the standard evolutionary syllabus: Darwin on Trial, Icons of Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Cowan says the ideas he draws from these extra texts engage his students, challenging their ability to analyze and discern truth from competing sides of a controversial issue.

This fall, the 34-year teaching veteran will restructure his evenhanded presentation around a new textbook from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins but succinctly lays out the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the most critical elements of Darwinism. “It’s made my work a lot easier,” Cowan said.

Explore Evolution encapsulates a “teach the controversy” paradigm that the Discovery Institute has advocated for the better part of the past decade. Over that time, the institute has advised school boards against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in their science standards. Some boards have heeded that counsel; others have not.

In 2005, a now famous board in Dover, Pa., attempted to mandate the inclusion of ID in ninth-grade biology classes. Backed by the ACLU, parents sued and won a landmark decision in which a federal judge ruled that ID was religion, not science. The shockwaves of that decision reverberated nationwide and have quieted other efforts to push ID into schools.

But the Dover lawsuit also highlighted the effectiveness of the Discovery Institute’s approach. State school boards in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Minnesota along with local boards in Wisconsin and Louisiana have adopted science standards that encourage critical analysis of Darwinian Theory. To date, not a single lawsuit has challenged such standards.

“This is an approach that if I were a Darwinist I would be particularly frightened of,” said John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “The policy that we’ve recommended turns out to be the precise common-ground approach we said it would be. It reduces the decibel level; you don’t get sued; you get good education; and the Darwinists don’t have a leg to stand on.”

In the wake of the Dover ruling, many committed Darwinists declared victory for an uncritical approach to teaching evolution. But, in fact, the ruling has worked to galvanize a previously disjointed movement. Whereas many teachers and school boards might previously have shunned the “teach the controversy” strategy in favor of the more bold step of introducing ID, those groups and individuals are now more willing to listen.

John Calvert, managing director of IDnet, praises Explore Evolution as “enormously important.” Since 2005, his organization has focused its efforts on bringing critical analysis of evolution into classrooms, not ID.

In past years, groups like IDnet might have rallied around another new textbook scheduled for publication this fall: The Design of Life, a rewrite of the ID-advancing classic Of Pandas and People. Like Explore Evolution, this 360-page text presents the scientific weaknesses of Darwinism, but it also goes further in outlining the case for ID. Authors William Dembski and Jonathan Wells lay out such noted design arguments as irreducible complexity and specified complexity.

The Design of Life publisher Jon Buell, president of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, has no illusions of his textbook cracking public-school curriculums in the wake of the Dover ruling. “Our book, we fully expect to be taught in university courses,” he said. “We will not market to public schools.”

Teach the controversy” Continued…

By MARK BERGIN

Issue: “When the base cracks,” July 21, 2007
Posted July 21, 2007, 12:00 a.m.

Prior to the Dover case, Of Pandas and People broke into public biology classrooms in 22 states over its two-decade run. Now, Explore Evolution offers the latest real hope for a text critical of Darwin to repeat such success. West told WORLD that one state school board has already expressed interest in using the new textbook, though discussions remain in the preliminary stages.

“We expect a lot of teachers to use it, including public-school teachers, to help them teach evolution better,” he said. “In fact, we already know some of those where the school may not be purchasing 30 copies, but the teacher is using it to build their lesson plan.”

Despite not mentioning ID, Explore Evolution has received sharp criticism from the Discovery Institute’s usual opponents. PZ Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, and author of the highly popular Darwinist blog Pharyngula, rails against the text as “a dirty, dishonest book in a slick package.”

In a cursory review of the 159-page volume, Myers charges that it fails to represent the case for Darwinism accurately and presents complex subjects superficially: “The biology part is shallow, useless, and often wrong, and the critiques are basically just warmed over creationist arguments.”

Similarly, writers on the influential evolution blog The Panda’s Thumb have dismissed Explore Evolution as a “creationist textbook” that seeks to hide its true enterprise of “religious apologetics.”

Most of the book’s five authors are not unfamiliar with such charges. Stephen Meyer, Scott Minnich, and Paul Nelson are fellows of the Discovery Institute and well-known advocates for ID. Ralph Seelke, a professor of microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, is an outspoken critic of Darwinism. The fifth contributor, Jonathan Moneymaker, provided technical writing assistance.

Without a Darwinist representative, that panel has drawn predictable questions as to the textbook’s objectivity. How can skeptics of Darwinism be trusted to represent faithfully the strongest evidence for a theory they oppose?

But Explore Evolution does not purport to provide comprehensive outlines of Darwinian arguments, leaving that up to most every other biology textbook on the market. The preface to this new text explains that its summary accounts of the case for Darwinism are meant to recap briefly what students have already learned elsewhere. The focus of the book is to present new information as to why the theory of evolution remains scientifically controversial.

Though supportive, IDnet director Calvert does not share the Discovery Institute’s optimism that this new textbook and the approach it embodies will significantly dent the uncritical Darwinist dogma currently taught in most public schools. In February, he emerged from a long political battle in Kansas where attempts to mandate the critical analysis of evolution fell short.

Opponents of the new Kansas science standards argued that any criticism of Darwinism amounts to thinly veiled ID, which according to the Dover ruling amounts to thinly veiled religion. The state school board agreed, effectively determining that any scientific challenge to Darwinian evolution violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

That blow to the “teach the controversy” approach has left Calvert skeptical: “I don’t think the Discovery Institute’s textbook is going to have any traction until we get the Dover court decision reversed. Until we get a legal decision on our side, things will keep getting worse.”

Doug Cowan disagrees: “The schools want to have critically thinking kids. And you can’t be a critical thinker if you hear only one side of the story.”

 

Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God.

A long overdue enlightenment has come to me from a book written by Dave Hunt. It is entitled “What love is this?” The book takes the teachings of the much beloved John Calvin and its miss representation of the love of God among a whole plethora of absolute unchristian theology.

Calvin has been acclaimed as a godly example who based his theology and actions upon Scripture alone. But much that he did was unbiblical in the extreme, though consistent with his theology. Is not that fact sufficient reason to examine Calvinism carefully from Scripture? Dave Hunt’s book just does that.

French theologian John Calvin attempted over a period of eight years to orchestrate the marriage of Church and State in Geneva, Switzerland. With fiendish determination he set his plan to transform the city into a model of God’s kingdom on earth, Calvin established numerous detailed “reforms” as well as devising a system to police citizens through regular home inspections—questioning the residents on all aspects of their beliefs and practice.

Quotes from historian Will Durant point out some of these un-Christ like “reforms,” for example, “The allowable color and quantity of clothing, and the number of dishes permissible at a meal… Jewelry and lace were frowned upon. A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an immoral height (whatever that was) …To speak disrespectfully of Calvin or the clergy was a crime. A first violation of these ordinances was punished with a reprimand, further violation with fines, persistent violation with imprisonment or banishment. Fornication was to be punished with exile or drowning, adultery, blasphemy or idolatry (Oh my, (American idol) with death…a child was beheaded for striking its parents.”

I will skip over for now the burning at the stake of Miguel Servetus: The Arch Heretic. You may find this despicable event on a name search on Google. Again, referring to the “reforms” of Calvin beheading was the penalty for civil crimes burning at the stake was for theological heresy.john-calvin

Gee, why haven’t we seen any burning at the stake of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, Wiccans or Witches?

Does any of what has been noted here speak of a Christ like character? Did Jesus teach revenge against one’s enemies or the use of violence in the cause of Christ—much less the death sentence for heresy that was enforced in Calvin’s Geneva. Still today the multitude of Calvinists supporters have swept under the rug Calvin’s un-Christ like conduct.

Is not Christ alone the standard for His disciples? And is He not always the same, unchanged by time or culture (Hebrews 13:8). Can the popes be condemned (and rightly so) for the evil they have done and are doing under the banner of the Cross, while skinny Calvin is excused for doing much the same, though on a smaller scale?

Dave Hunt points out two Scriptures among many that condemn Calvin: But wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17). He that saith he abideth in him (Christ) ought himself also so to walk, even as he (Christ) walked (1 john 2:6).

It is a mystery to me how so many of today’s Christian leaders can continue to praise a man whose behavior was often so far removed from the life of Jesus and the examples of Scripture quoted.

In closing, the book covers the tyrannical kingdom of John Calvin and his experiment in “Christian” Dominionism.

A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips.

“Pilgrim Poem” ~ Author Unknown                                                  

Many years ago the Pilgrims came.

They sailed on a ship – the Mayflower was its name.

They sailed across the Atlantic blue,

So they could worship the way they wanted to.

Many people died along the way,

And the first winter was hard they say.

The Native Americans were already here.

They helped the Pilgrims plant corn and hunt deer.

They all got together to share food and pray,

And that’s why we celebrate Thanksgiving Day!

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“Thank you for the World so sweet” ~ Author Unknown

Thank You God for the world so sweet,

Thank You God for the food we eat,

Thank You God for the birds that sing,

Thank You God for everything!
Amen

Blessings to all this holiday season.

Do you answer to the Heebie-Jeebies?

heebiejeebies

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV.

Sound mind, sophronismos, Strong’s # 4995: combination of sos, “safe,”and phren “the mind”; thus, safe-thinking. The word means good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline.

The spirit of fear may find a place by reason of one’s natural temperament, but it is not merely a human mentality; it is not from God; and it can immobilize and torment its victims, making them feel powerless and alone (1 John 4:18).

Indecision or wrong decisions are then made that could give place to bondage and great human suffering. In the face of fear, we are to remember our calling from God (2 Tim. 1 :6). We have within us:

  1. The power of God, through the Holy Spirit, enabling us to no longer be victims (our text);
  2. The perfect love of God, poured into our lives through Jesus Christ and His abiding presence (Rom. 5:5);
  3. The mind of Christ by which we can apply the ways of God in making “sound” choices (2 Tim.1:7).

Applying this truth determines whether we overcome fear or are overcome by it (1 John 5:4).

 

Sanctification is a process.

The heresy of instantaneous sanctification

RSpanos

Not all things become new!

“And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:15-17)

I would like to bring up a very touchy subject, but one that concerns me deeply. I know that it is not easy to change a doctrinal point of view knowing that I myself once had to do so and it was a difficult experience.

The truth is it would be very foolish to make a doctrine centered on verse 17 of this passage in relation to curses by saying that all things have already passed away and that all of our past has been taken care of because we accepted the plan of salvation.

It is not wise to create a doctrine upon a verse which has been isolated from its context. In this situation, Paul exhorts that Christ died for all, and for this we must not relate to other people based on their appearance or previous reputation. He emphasized the importance of breaking down barriers and avoiding any prejudice against new Christians. In other words, he told his readers not to evaluate people through the flesh or through a natural prism, but through the perspective of their new birth.

The context surrounding this verse is Paul’s explanation that Christ died for all, and that is why believers should not treat new believers differently because of their appearance or past reputation. Paul emphasized the need to break down barriers and avoid acting on bias against new believers, not looking at them according to the flesh but according to their new birth as new creatures.

An example of this would be if a punk rocker with long shaggy hair, tattoos, piercings, and accompanying attire were to receive salvation and start attending your church. How would you treat him? Would you treat him with open arms and hospitality just like any other believer?

Deliverance is a step in the process of regeneration of the soul that makes sanctification and fruitfulness a possibility. This doesn’t occur automatically with the new birth. The new birth doesn’t automatically cancel or exempt us from curses, diseases, sicknesses, temptations, debts, etc.

The danger therefore, is to use this verse as if the new birth does everything for you. To tell someone who just got saved that everything in their life is now in order, would be to deceive them. This would cause them to gloss over situations that are much more serious. This ends up becoming a pretext for the irresponsibility of many and leads to apathy and lack of spiritual growth. This type of teaching turns many churches into spiritual prisons. No matter how much people try to maintain their spirituality, many still continue to battle serious sins, conflicts of conscience, spiritual and emotional disturbances, depression, crisis in relationships, and so many other symptoms that point to concentrated demonic influence.

If we teach that salvation causes everything in life to line up as it should making everything all right, many Christians will lose hope and become spiritually frustrated after perceiving that their behavior has not changed as promised. This is why so many remain unfruitful and even backslidden within the church, and many even abandon the faith. already perfected

We must receive each benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice personally as well as specifically, corresponding to and through the appropriate principles. Suppose that before getting saved you had a large financial debt.

Would the fact that you received the new birth cancel the debt? Of course not! But one could argue “Isn’t it true that God’s Word says that old things have passed away and all things have become new?” In the same way we need to deal with the worthless inheritance curses passed down to us from our parents and with respective consequences of our own sins.

Nothing is automatic in the spiritual kingdom. Every action of God is always endorsed by human attitude. Jesus died so that we can all receive salvation, healing, deliverance and sanctification. Are all saved? No, not yet! Only those who repent are saved. Have all who have been saved been healed? No. Only those who have had or have received faith for this are healed. Have all been delivered? Have all been sanctified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire? If this were so, the whole world would be evangelized by now.

Salvation is, in fact, a definite instantaneous experience. When we make a covenant with God through the sacrifice of Jesus, our spirit is re-created and we receive the new birth. The soul, however, demands a daily conquest that involves humility, restitution, brokenness, self-denial, discipline, revelation, discernment, intercession, obedience, perseverance, etc. This is the path God takes us down towards higher spiritual consequences.

The bible likens the conquest of the soul to that of the conquest of Canaan. Canaan symbolizes the promises of abundant life in Christ. For this, many enemy chains and fortresses need to be overcome. The land needs deliverance. Joshua as a type of the Holy Spirit needs to tread on every area of our soul. Everything that we submit to the Holy Spirit is under the power of the Redeemer Jesus Christ. Everything that we fail to submit to the Holy Spirit continues to be vulnerable to evil influences.

https://spiritualdeliverance.wordpress.com/category/sanctification/

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

New Birth vs. Conversion

By RSpanos

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

Most Christians believe that the new birth and conversion mean the same thing. Confusion regarding the difference in these terms can generate mistaken theological paradigms.

The Bible says it is necessary to be born again (John 3:3). It is logical that new birth includes the initial aspect of conversion. What is new birth? It is the new birth of the human spirit. The Holy Spirit re-creates the spirit and begins to live in it. It is a regeneration of the spiritual life. We call it salvation. The spirit is born again instantaneously. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and make a decision to follow him. This faith comes supernaturally from repentance through the message of the gospel. It is easy to be born again. buterfly

But there is another word: conversion. Conversion has a completely different meaning. Conversion is the continual process of regeneration of the soul. This takes time and it has its costs.

Therefore, being born again is an instantaneous regeneration of the spirit, and conversion is a continual process of deliverance and regeneration of the soul. Salvation is free, but to become a disciple costs everything.

You can be saved and not be converted. Why is this? The answer is because conversion takes place in the soul and salvation takes place in the spirit. You can be saved, have the Holy Spirit within you, live in God’s presence, be a new creature in Christ and still not be converted in your soul; your thinking, feelings and will.

What is your soul? You are a triune being: a body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Your spirit is you; the real you that God created. Your soul is basically your mind, your will and your emotions. Your body is your house. Jesus can save your spirit in an instant, but your soul requires much more time to be converted.what-is-conversion_472_314_80

Nothing is more dangerous than one who has been saved but not converted. You know that you are born again but you still think with your old mind, your old habits still dominate you, and many of your old opinions, sins, desires and ways of life continue to be struggles for you.

All negative convictions still remain. Evil thoughts still frequent your mind. Corruption, bitterness, and hate continue to remain in you. You still fight with some uncontrollable desires. But you are saved. You may not know how long the Holy Spirit will contend with your fleshly attitudes, but you must know that you have been born again and thus you are God’s child and your spirit is eternally saved.

Now it is up to you to cooperate with God so that your soul (mind, will and emotion) may be converted and this involves the lifelong process that we call “sanctification”

 

Is God Singular or Plural?

Genesis 1:26,27

“And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”the trinityfivebyfive

Is God singular (Deut. 6:4; 32:39; Isa.45:5; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6) or plural (Gen. 3:22; 18:1-3; Ps.97:7; Isa.48:16; John 10:34-38)? The Hebrew word for God is `elohim Strong’s #430, a plural noun.

In Genesis 1:1 it is used in grammatical agreement with a singular verb, bara strong’s#1254, “created.” When the plural pronouns in “Let us make man in our image after our likeness: are used, does it mean an august plural of excellence or majesty? Is God speaking to the angels or to the earth or nature? Or is this a germinal hint of (first mention) a distinction in the divine personality?

No one can be certain. Until Jesus came, the internal unity of the Godhead was not understood. God is essentially Spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, man, who is similar to God, possesses an immortal spirit. We resemble God in certain respects without being equal with Him (Isa. 40:25).

God the Father has a soul (Matt.12:18), God has a body (John 1:14) in Jesus, and God is Spirit in the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). Man’s likeness to God is what truly distinguishes mankind from the rest of creation. Man is a person with the power to think, feel, and decide.

He has the capacity for moral choices and spiritual growth or decline. In the beginning, man loved God and hated unrighteousness. The fall reversed this. Man was still a person with the capacity for good, but his spirit was altered by sin so much that he now generally runs away from God and loves evil more than righteousness (John 3:19,20).

Man is no longer in the perfect state of innocence as at the time of creation. Therefore, he does not have the same spiritual, God like attributes and qualities of that original state. Jesus, the last Adam (Rom.5:18, 19), came to undue Satan’s works (1 John 3:8), to restore a spiritual likeness to God.

The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.

 

 

 

 

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