Sunday, October 21, 2007
It Is No Secret
The classic hymn, “It is no Secret” includes the following line:
“It is no secret, what God can do. What He’s done for me, He’ll do for you”
If Rhonda Byrne, best-selling author of The Secret, would have penned these words the classic hymn may be changed to something like as follows:
“It is no secret, what god can do. Just ask him or her, because god is YOU!”
After reading some excerpts from Byrne’s book, it almost makes me miss Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code! Almost…
The author, Rhonda Byrne, learned the “Law of Attraction,” in which The Secret is based on, from a book written in 1910 by Wallace Wattles entitled The Science of Getting Rich. Apparently, Byrne was at a crisis point in her personal and professional life and was given Wattles’ book. The book promises that by using the “Law of Attraction” that the reader can attract anything that he or she wants -money, love, success, health, weight loss, anything! So Byrne’s book is nothing more than an old (we’ll get to that later) false teaching repackaged and cleverly sold as The Secret.
How The Secret or “The Law of Attraction” Works
According to Byrne’s writings, every object and mind in the universe operates on its own frequency, and minds can attract matter. She writes: “Thoughts are magnetic and thoughts have a frequency. As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to its source. And the source is you.” She goes on, “You are the most powerful magnet in the Universe! You contain a magnetic power within you that is more powerful than anything in the world, and this unfathomable magnetic power is emitted through your thoughts.”
Albert Mohler, in his blog, writes the following: “If you learn to operate by the Law of Attraction, she (Byrne) promises, you can attract anything you want. Success, riches, material objects, weight loss, acclaim…all these are to be yours if only you believe. Food doesn’t make you fat- thinking food makes you fat makes you fat. You are not sick; you only think you are sick. Reverse the thought and you will be well. If you are not rich it’s because you are trapped in negative mental patterns.” (1)
In Byrne’s view, your thoughts, quite literally, create your reality.
The Secret: You are God
There are many TV preachers and self-help authors/speakers today who are very vague when they refer to God and His nature. However, Rhonda Byrne is very clear regarding her belief about who and what she believes “God“ to be:
“You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.” (2)
Yes, you read that correctly! Further, as if our culture needed anymore reason to be self-centered, consider this teaching from the book:
“The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know the Secret.” (3)
When I was a child, I enjoyed the cartoon He-man and the Masters of the Universe and upon reflection, He-man’s famous words do fit quite well with The Secret’s main premise: “I have the power!” Unfortunately, those who are mislead by the teachings in The Secret will eventually find that there is no more truth in this book than there is in Eternia, the make-believe land that He-man inhabited.
The Reasons this Teaching is Dangerous
1. One of the most exciting things I experienced when I became a Christian was the freedom that Christ brings when He shows you that you simply can’t live a life pleasing to God outside of Him and His sacrifice on the cross. You are to give Your life back to Him and trust fully in Him and what He did on the cross; trust Him to live through you.
However, The Secret teaches something different entirely. You are God. Your destiny is up to you. Brian Flynn, former New Ager, in his article, A New Secret or an Old Lie, exposes the fallacy of this type of thinking:
“When you are told that you are God and you are in charge, then you are responsible for everything that occurs in your life good and bad. Therefore, if you have any sickness, disease, relationship problems or financial problems it is your fault…The Universe didn’t fail me. I failed the Universe. It was this belief system that left me chronically depressed. I fear that many will buy The Secret, follow the steps and when their dreams don’t come true it will leave them further depressed and dissatisfied than before.” (4)
2. Byrne’s teaching is eclectic, meaning that she believes all religions are all equally valid regarding their authority and teach mostly the same things. This presents a belief that is quite contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Himself who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, but through me (John 14:6).” If all religions are equally valid and all are a path to heaven, then Jesus’ sacrifice was unnecessary!
In his review of The Secret, Donald S. Whitney explains the seriousness of adopting such a belief system:
“There’s no mention of sin in The Secret. The cause of all the problems in the world and in our individual life is merely bad thinking, specifically the failure to recognize and appropriately use the law of attraction. Therefore the solution to everything lies within us. And that, of course, eliminates the need for a Savior, a Substitute, or a Sacrifice. The cross and resurrection of Jesus become irrelevant.” (5)
Whitney also points out that there is no a single reference to death or the afterlife in the book. One of the contributors to The Secret writes, “no one will stand in judgment of [your life], now or ever.” (6)
The Christian Response
On the surface, it seems The Secret’s teachings would be hard for anyone who was a sincere thinker to take seriously, but the reality is many ARE taking this book seriously and placing their faith in it. This is clear evidence, as Pastor Dave Vance of Faith Christian Fellowship, has stated, that people are seeking and searching for the “something” that will fill the void in their life and heart. As followers of Christ we have the very thing they seek; Jesus Christ and His gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul explains exactly what the gospel is:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep (NKJV).”
Notice in these verses, Paul reminds us what the gospel is and follows with evidence to remind us that our faith is grounded in the fact of the resurrection and in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us follow Paul’s example and share the gospel with those around us who are seeking the truth.
The Secret is a very old lie wrapped-up in a new package offered by the same old serpent. Let us revisit the Garden of Eden:
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die. Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:2-5, NKJV, Emphasis mine).”
I close with the words of Donald Whitney:
“The Secret to everything is God Himself. And God, the “Great Secret,” has been revealed in Jesus Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). God has freely told us in the Bible everything we need to know about discovering the unlimited “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” found in Christ. And He remains an unknown Secret only to those who will not look for Him there.” (7)
Some won’t look not matter what we do, but let’s make sure that they have the opportunity by pointing them to the cross.
Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross
1) http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=907, It’s All About You? The Truth about “The Secret,” by Albert Mohler.
2) Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, p. 164, Emphasis mine.
3) Ibid., p. 183, Emphasis mine.
4) http://onetruthministries.com/TheSecret.htm, A New Secret or an Old Lie? by Brian Flynn.
5) http://biblicalspirituality.org/secret.html, A Review of The Secret by Donald S. Whitney, Emphasis mine.
6) Ibid., p. 177, Emphasis mine.
7) ) http://biblicalspirituality.org/secret.html, A Review of The Secret by Donald S. Whitney.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and others refer to religion as “evil” and claim it has only lead to “hatred” and “violence.” While they are correct in asserting that religion has been the cause of evil, this no more disproves the truth of Christianity, or any other religion, than the acts of the Marxist governments of the former Soviet Union, especially under Lenin, and of Communist China, during the twentieth century that oppressed, persecuted, and killed hundreds of millions of people in the name of an explicitly atheistic materialistic philosophy of government. Of course, those governments do not represent all atheists. Nor do governments that kill in the name of Christ represent all Christians. (“Answers to Atheists United” by Robert M. Bowman at apologetics.com)
The problem, for the atheist, is when the above mentioned atheistic governments acted in a violent manner, it was consistent with the philosophy of atheism. Meaning, from an atheist's point of view, their is no absolute source of right and wrong i.e. God. If the moral law is simply subjective, then no can judge the actions of another to be wrong. If the moral law is produced by society, then one group could not condemn the actions of another. The moral law could not even be the product of world consensus. The world consensus of the twentieth century could not condemn the slavery of the nineteenth, first, or any other century since world consensus favored the practice of slavery during those times. (http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Writings/moral_argument.htm)
In truth, atheists have no objective moral standard in which to refer to religion as evil unless they borrow from one of the worldviews they are condemning-- Christianity!
When the atheist refers to “evil” he is also admitting there is good. Ravi Zacharias, in his book, “Can Man Live without God, (p.182)” exposes the fallacy of the atheist’s position here: “When you say there is evil, aren’t you admitting there is good? When you accept the existence of goodness, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver. That, however, is who you are trying to disprove and not prove. For if there is no moral lawgiver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, there is no good. If there is no good, there is no evil.” Their objection self-destructs based upon the failure of their worldview to account for good and evil.
Jesus Christ is the measuring stick in which we should accept or reject Christianity. It is flawed thinking to reject it based upon fallible man and his distortions of what God has made clear: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) That “name” is Jesus Christ.
More on the "New Atheists" is forthcoming!
Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross
Friday, October 12, 2007
Explorefcf.com Truth Bomb Apologetics Newsletter
Hello everybody! This is the first of hopefully many update letters regarding what is going on in the world of apologetics and information regarding the "Discover Truth" and "Define Truth" sections of our website. The updates will consist of website additions, articles, and book reviews/previews. I hope this aids you in being able to "give an answer for the hope that lies within you" (1 Peter 3:15).
What is Apologetics?
The word "apologetics" is derived from the Greek word "apologia," which means to make a defense. It has come to mean defense of the faith. Apologetics covers many areas: who Jesus is, the reliability of the Bible, refuting cults, biblical evidences in the history and archeology, answering objections, etc. In short, it deals with giving reasons for Christianity being the true religion. We are called by God to give an apologia, a defense: "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence," (1 Pet. 3:15).
Taken from: http://www.carm.org/dictionary/dic_a-b.htm#_1_9
I am extremely excited to inform you that Lee Strobel has a new book out entitled, "The Case for the Real Jesus." Here is a description from Strobel's website (leestrobel.com):
"Has modern scholarship debunked the traditional Christ? Has the church suppressed the truth about Jesus to advance its own agenda? What if the real Jesus is far different from the atoning Savior worshipped through the centuries?
In The Case for the Real Jesus, former award-winning legal editor Lee Strobel explores such hot-button questions as:
• Did the church suppress ancient non-biblical documents that paint a more accurate picture of Jesus than the four Gospels? • Did the church distort the truth about Jesus by tampering with early New Testament texts? • Do new insights and explanations finally disprove the resurrection? • Have fresh arguments disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah? • Did Christianity steal its core ideas from earlier mythology?Evaluate the arguments and evidence being advanced by prominent atheists, liberal theologians, Muslim scholars, and others. Sift through expert testimony. Then reach your own verdict in "The Case for the Real Jesus."
Article of the Month
"Why I Believe The New Testament Is Historically Reliable" by Gary Habermas
Dr. Gary Habermas, expert on the resurrection, explains why the New Testament we have today is historically accurate and trustworthy.
Click here: http://www.apologetics.com/default.jsp?bodycontent=/articles/historical_apologetics/habermas-nt.html
Website of the Month
http://www.carm.org/- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
This month's site is one I encourage you to check out for a few reasons: 1) The website defines apologetics and why they are necessary 2) It is easy to use when you are researching answers to questions you or someone else may have.
Matthew Slick (author) covers varies topics including why the Bible can be trusted, how we know Jesus rose from the dead, and why Christianity is the only way to God. He also provides apologetic dialogues, answers to Bible difficulties, and research links.
Explorefcf.com Apologetics Update
We have added a "links page" to inform the believer to present truth or discover truth regarding the Christian faith. The sections include Atheism, Authority of the Bible, the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Evidence for Creation/Intelligent Design, General Apologetics, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism, New Age Movement, the Resurrection, Roman Catholicism, Scientology, Seventh Day Adventist, and Top Christian Scholars.
Most recently, we have added sections for evangelism, Bible study tools, theology, and topics for youth. When you visit the site, scroll over “Explore Faith” and then “Define Truth” and click on the “Answers” section. There you will find the links!
1) Erin and Todd Vogtman- Please pray for the continued health of their unborn baby and the preaching opportunities that God is sending Todd’s way .
2) The "B" -family- God's direction for their life and job difficulties.
3) The Youth of FCF- That God will raise them up to be a mighty force for Him in this Tri-State Area.
4) Richard Dawkins- Oxford evolutionist and author of “The God Delusion,” Professor Dawkins continues his attacks on all those of faith, but most specifically, the Christian faith. Please pray that God will open his heart and his eyes to the truth that can only be found in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.
5) Anthony Flew- Once an atheist, Anthony Flew (80 plus years old) embraced deism (the belief that God exists, but is no longer involved in the world) after examining the new evidence from Intelligent Design. He has come along way, but has not accepted Christ as His Savior. Pray that he will!
Chad A. Gross
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The following is a letter I once wrote to an atheist who claimed that, "Religion was evil" and that the idea of God is "superstition." The letter is as follows:
I believe in honest inquiry and the God given freedom we have to think. However, when one openly embraces ignorance and presents their conclusions as truth, no excuse can be given other than a willful rejection of the obvious.
In (name omitted) latest rant against God, he demonstrates, once again, his unwillingness to consider truth claims they may challenge his dearly held faith in atheism. To suggest that belief in a “supreme being” is the cause of all the worlds’ ills is plain silly and as someone once wrote in this column, “hard to be taken seriously.”
Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked to account for the great tragedies that occurred under the brutal communist regime he and fellow citizens suffered under.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offered the following explanation:
“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”
Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." (Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (New York: Harper & Row, 1973, p. 7.)
My question for (name omitted) is as follows: “As an atheist, why does evil bother you? Are we not just a cosmic accident, a goo-man, without purpose and meaning? Therefore evil, death, and destruction are just a produce of “survival of the fittest,” correct? So what exactly are you complaining about?
My purpose in posting this is not to say that all atheists are evil or that all those who believe in God are good. That would be an incredibility ridiculous statement. However, it should be obvious that the main problem for the above atheists mentioned (and for all!), is that when viewing the world through the lens of their worldview, they cannot account for evil, explain why they are able to recognize evil, or even explain why evil bothers them so much. They simply cannot have an answer that is sufficient outside of a objective moral standard that transcends all men, i.e. God.
To his credit, C.S. Lewis admitted his hypocrisy when he concluded that for him to object to God’s existence based on the reality of evil and suffering would be futile because if an objective moral Lawgiver did not exist then how could he know what was good and evil? Was it not simply his opinion?
The inability of atheism to account for the moral law within is a problem the atheist must sufficiently attempt to address.
Chad A. Gross
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
In the Beginning, who created God?
Science tells us that the universe had a beginning and the evidence points to an eternal, everlasting Beginner; attributes that describe the God of the Bible.
Another term for the “non-material” would be “spirit.” The question now becomes—what does the available evidence reveal? Is it the case that “matter” has existed forever, or does the evidence argue that the eternal “something” is non-matter, i.e., spirit?
Subsequently, he declares emphatically that “modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe?” (30). There is not a particle of evidence that the universe has existed forever. The very fact that scientists attempt to assign an “age” to the universe is revealing within itself.
Courage and Godspeed,
2) Norman Geisler and Roman Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 93.
3) http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/print/who_made_god, p. 1-2.
Evidence for God’s Existence
It has been wisely said that the answer to the question, “Is there a God?” defines a life. What people perceive as real, true, right, valuable, and meaningful is dramatically influenced by their view of whether God is real or not. (1)
However, is there any reason to believe that God exists or is this belief simply a blind leap of faith?
The very first verse of the Bible states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) and more than ever, scientific evidence is confirming that fact. As the Bible states, “His invisible attributes are clearly seen!” (Rom. 1:20a)
Consider the following facts:
1) The universe had a beginning- Scientific evidence reveals that there was a point in the past when all matter, time, and space came into being. This is commonly referred to as the “Big Bang.” It’s important to note that before the Big Bang nothing existed; no matter, no time, and no energy.
In astronomer Robert Jastrow’s (an agnostic) book, God and the Astronomers, he explains how the evidence from science that supports the Big Bang, not only provides evidence for a Biblical worldview, but also supports the existence of the supernatural!
Jastrow writes, “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” (2) As the Bible states, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3)
He goes on, “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of very star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…“That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” (3)
Natural forces could not have produced the universe because the Big Bang shows us that all matter, time, and space came into existence at one single point. Logically, a cause cannot come after its effect so natural forces cannot account for the Big Bang. Another way to think about it is simply, “Natural forces could not have caused the Big Bang because nature forces didn’t exist!” Therefore, we must conclude that something outside of nature caused the Big Bang and that’s exactly what supernatural means! (4)
2) The design found in DNA, the building blocks of life- When one considers the findings of modern science the hand of a Creator can be clearly seen. Consider the evidence in the very foundation of life, DNA. DNA provides the assembly instructions for every part of every organism through the sequential arrangement of chemicals along the spine of a DNA molecule, which scientists have given letters A, C, T, and G. Could this be a product of chance? Dr. Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge educated physicist, points out, “The strands of these four chemicals reveal the presence of information, which indicates an intelligence. Intelligence is the only explanation for information-from software to cereal boxes.” He goes on to say, “the cell does contain information. It’s not just chemistry. It’s true code.” (5)
3) The fine-tuning of the universe- The idea behind the “fine-tuning” of the universe is that there exists numerous conditions in our universe that have to be just-right or “constant” for human-life to exist. This evidence supports the idea that the universe in which we inhabit was set-up so that human life could be sustained and thrive.
For life to be present today, an incredibly restrictive (specific) set of demands must have been present in the early universe. Here are a few examples:
c) If the thickness of the earth’s crust was greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life unsustainable .
d) Surface temperature differences would be too great if the axial tilt of the earth were altered slightly.
e) If there were more seismic activity, much life would be lost. If there was less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift. Even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it! (6)
Even Stephen Hawking, well-known scientist and evolutionist concedes “the universe and the laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any one of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn’t combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn’t from the heavier elements, or the universe would collapse before life could develop…” (7)
As science continues to reveal a created or designed universe, the Christian may say, with more confidence than ever, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” ( Psalm 19:1)
2) Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p.14.
3) “A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow,” Christianity Today“, August 6, 1982, emphasis added.
4) Norman Geisler and Roman Turek, I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 85.
5) “Design Detectives,” New Man Magazine, Jan/Feb 2007, p.28.
6) Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics , p. 26-27, emphasis added.
7) Austin-American Statesman, Oct. 19th, 1997, emphasis added.