Monday, June 5, 2017

HOW CAN WE KNOW 3

Last week I dealt with the first of four questions of How Do We Know. I had to begin with the question, “What do you know?” My second question may be preliminary to the first. It is about thinking. And while our thinking should proceed from what we know, our thoughts and attitudes often determine our convictions.
Question #2
“What do think, and why do you think it?”
Our attitudes and opinions need to be examined. Often what we know or believe we know is preceded by attitudes. It may offend some of you for me to say most of our politics are made up of opinions. This is true however traditional or radical you think your ideas are. Some years ago I gave a man a gospel booklet in effort to explain the gospel to him. As he looked at it he blerted out, “You know, the Jews killed all the prophets.” It is also true that all the Old Testament prophets were Jewish. I am not exactly sure what either of these things have to do with the gospel. But I suspect he wanted to start any religious conversation by defending his hate for the Jews.
I went to a state college. And although I did not think or pray about it at the time, I am convinced that I went to the school where God wanted me to study. Most of my professors and many of my friends made no profession of faith at all. It was invigorating for me to feel like I was going against the stream of thought around me. But for many years after graduation, I would begin to think about something I had come to believe and discover it was not right in any way and totally incompatible with my Christian faith.
All of us are tempted to cling to whatever facts seem to bolster whatever we think in the first place. That is why it is so important to regularly examine our thinking. Simply asking the question, “Why do I think that?” is often enough to alter the course of our thinking in ways that protect us from pitfalls. I suggest that you start asking yourself this question and see if you do not detect thinking that is faulty in your own opinion.
http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/
http://daveswatch.com/


Saturday, May 27, 2017

HOW CAN WE KNOW 2

Question #1
“What do you know, and How do know it?”
When someone asks me if I know anything, I am tempted to answer in jest, “I don’t even suspect anything?” The fact is many people today think you cannot know anything in relation to spiritual matters. That is nonsense. How could you know that it is impossible to know anything? The primary argument against spiritual knowledge began with men like David Hume who believed anything that cannot be proved in a scientific laboratory is mere sophistry. Following in Hume’s trail the philosophic school of Logical Positivism put forth the assertion, “No statement is meaningful that cannot be proved true or false.” The problem with that was, like Hume’s proposition, that it failed its own test. That statement cannot be proved true or false.
Such thinking evolved into the notion that you do not know anything that is possible to doubt. That too defeats itself. Humans have an infinite capacity to doubt. I can doubt that all other people exist. I can even doubt my own existence. But these are not reasonable doubts. They do not correspond to any of the information gleaned by our five senses, social interaction, or reasoning. It is possible to know certain things with some measure of accuracy. And it is important to discern the foundations of your knowledge.
There are at least four sources of human knowledge. We have some instinctive knowledge. You may not have the amazing instinct of a migrating bird. But you are born with some knowledge. At least you were born knowing how to frown, blink, and cry aloud. And you instinctively knew what frowning or crying meant. You have sensual knowledge that you gain from your five senses. Possibly my earliest memory comes from crawling into a red ant bed at the end of our dirt driveway. I learned quickly to avoid ant beds. You also have instructional or informational knowledge. What you are taught may be the easiest of these sources to question. How do I know something I am taught is true? But a person who can not learn from those who teach him, will not survive to adulthood. We have spiritual knowledge, knowledge that is planted in us by the Spirit of God. The majority of this may come after a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit upon conversion to Christ. But I suspect the fact that most people on earth and in all history have believed in God or in supernatural reality is evidence of spiritual knowledge. I also think the fact that all persons are aware of right and wrong and generally agree on what is right or wrong is spiritual knowledge. And you have reasoned knowledge. Interestingly enough, this knowledge can only come from something else that you already know.
Ask yourself what you do know, especially about spiritual things, and decide how you came to know each of these things. Does something seem to be self-evident? Was it confirmed by personal experience? Did some knowledge come from revelation or scripture that you have come to trust? Did you reason it from other truths in which you have been convinced? If you cannot come to some foundational truths that other knowledge can be based upon, you will not know anything. This is true in all areas of learning.
http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 22, 2017

HOW CAN WE KNOW?

After the children in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe get into Narnia they discover that Lucy's friend, Mr. Tumnus, has been arrested for “fraternizing with humans” and other high crimes against the white witch. They don't know where to turn to find secret friends. Luckily a Robin finds them and leads them along.
After they have followed it for some distance, hopping from tree to tree, Edmond pulls Peter aside and points out that they don't know anything about this bird, and they don't even know which is the right side.
Peter is taken aback at first. But then he answers, "But Robins are good birds in every story I've ever read."
"Yes," Edmond answers. "But how do we know?"
Edmond has already shown himself to be a self-centered stinker. And although the other children don't know it yet, he has become an out and out traitor. But Edmond actually did a good thing by forcing Peter to think about why he believed what he did.
We live in a skeptical world. But its challenges help us tighten grip on how we know truths that are so important for believers.
For the next few weeks I want to encourage you to ask yourself some questions that will help you get a grip on the foundations of your own thinking.
1. What do you know?
and
How do you know it?
2. What do you think?
and
Why do you think it?
3. What do you want?
and
Why do you want it?
4. What do you believe?
and
Why do you believe it?
Let me encourage you to begin thinking about these questions. I will deal with one of these pairs of questions each week. And I would like you to share these questions with anyone who will think or talk with you about them.
I am not primarily posing these questions as a defense against those who might challenge you. But I believe anchoring your own convictions will prove to be a powerful apologetic. I pray for God to make our knowledge steadfast in His love, in His grace, in His revelation, in Himself.
http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/
http://daveswatch.com/

Monday, May 15, 2017

FAKE NEWS

Some of you are familiar with Michael Cernovich. Somebody is familiar with him. During just one month last year Michael had 83 million twitter views. It was Michael who reported that Hillary Clinton had Parkinson’s Disease during the recent presidential race. When confronted on 60 Minutes, Michael said he still believed this and other things he wrote even though sources he listed denied they had ever spoken to him.
The 60 Minutes reporter emphasized that the problem of fake news primarily on social media was just as rampant from liberal sources as from conservative. Of course, the worst thing about the prominence of such fake news is that many people will believe the reports simply because they support a certain point of view. The prevalence of such public deception will divide America even more.
What can Believers do about this?  First, we must take Paul's warning seriously for ourselves.
"Test everything. Hold firmly to the good. Flee from all appearance of evil."
We can pray for super-political, supernatural discernment for ourselves.
There may well be times when we need to point out lies and such dubious sources of information even when they seem to agree with our politics.
Most of all we need to pray for our nation and our world in days of such evil and deception.
http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures."
Have you ever had a doctor tell you, you are going to die? I have. And I cannot fully explain the sensation. But whether there are enough evidences of the imminence of your death to alert your doctor or not, you are going to die.
Death is indeed a dark prospect. I suspect most of you have walked away from the graveside of a loved one, and sensed its empty sadness clinging to you.
That is one of the reasons the death and even the burial of Jesus is part of the gospel. He went through that ordeal with us and for us. And against all nature, and as far as we knew, all possibility, He rose from the dead, giving great credence to the promise of our resurrection. We will indeed shout, "Death, where is your sting!" Because of the gospel death will not have final victory over us.

http://daveswatch.com/

Sunday, April 30, 2017

THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of them are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, and to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
The gospel is not something that wise men thought about and conceived through eons of time. It is the good news of Jesus. And the witness of the gospel is essential. Hundreds of people saw Him alive, followers, enemies, family, and strangers. To this day people say Jesus has forgiven me. He has embraced me with the gospel of His love and grace. He is alive! I have experienced Him in my life too.

http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/
http://daveswatch.com/

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures."
Have you ever had a doctor tell you, you are going to die? I have. And I cannot fully explain the sensation. But whether there are enough evidences of the imminence of your death to alert your doctor or not, you are going to die.
Death is indeed a dark prospect. I suspect most of you have walked away from the graveside of a loved one, and sensed its empty sadness clinging to you.
That is one of the reasons the death and even the burial of Jesus is part of the gospel. He went through that ordeal with us and for us. And against all nature, and as far as we knew, all possibility, He rose from the dead, giving great credence to the promise of our resurrection. We will indeed shout, "Death, where is your sting!" Because of the gospel death will not have final victory over us.