More Scientists Endorse Darwin’s Doubt: Meet Biologist Mark C. Biedebach

from site by David Klinghoffer

Darwin's Doubt title.jpg

Dr. Biedebach is Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach. He writes:

Stephen C. Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is a truly remarkable book. Tightly woven in its 413 pages of text are four interrelated arguments. With 753 references, he presents evidence of the serious weaknesses in materialistic theories of biological evolution, and positive evidence for the theory of intelligent design. What are those weaknesses?

First, according to Meyer, no neo-Darwinian (or other alternative materialistic) mechanism has any conceivable way to search the vast number of possible combinations of coded symbols that could generate the complex types of functional genes and proteins found in living organisms. Second, tightly integrated networks of genes, proteins and other complex molecules are required within (and even extending from) cells, which must arrive at the right place at the right time in an embryologically developing organism. For such processes to arise, a materialistic theory of evolution would require vastly more time than has passed on earth since life began.

Third, early-acting mutations that could possibly generate large-scale changes in an organism are invariably deleterious. Fourth, according to Meyer, neo-Darwinian evolution provides no imaginable way to generate (by random mutation) the quantity of epigenetic information that would be required to generate a new body plan.

The focus of Meyer’s Part One (Chapters 1-7) is on the many thousands of fossils found in the geologically very short “Cambrian explosion” (530 to 525 million years ago). During this brief period, 16 new animal phyla and 30 new animal classes first appeared in the fossil record. (Only three animal phyla had previously existed in the Precambrian period.)

If one is to believe that each new phylum that suddenly appeared during the Cambrian explosion arrived by the process of neo-Darwinian evolution, then at least some transitional fossils (of the multitude that should have existed from the three Precambrian phyla) ought to have been found by now. According to Meyer, none have been found. Neo-Darwinian evolution works gradually over millions of years. It is a trial-and-error process of mutation and selection through which an organism must obtain and maintain a functional advantage through a series of incremental steps.

Meyer asserts that those who believe neo-Darwinian (or any other conceivable materialistic) processes provide a satisfactory explanation for the existence of life on earth must invariably resort to a metaphysical assertion known as methodological naturalism. This is the view that it is possible to explain all features and events that occur in the natural world by reference to exclusively natural causes. (This has sometimes been called “exclusionary methodological naturalism,” because a purposive intelligence, mind, or conscious agency is excluded as a cause.)

But Meyer argues that to restrict methodological naturalism in such a way renders one blind to the possibility that intelligent design is the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of the new information necessary for new cellular network circuitry or a new body plan (whenever previous transitional fossils do not exist).

Meyer’s attack is really against “macroevolution” (large scale population change). Michael Behe (in The Edge of Evolution) points out that there is abundant evidence for “microevolution” (smaller population change), but there is a boundary at which the evidence for microevolution stops and evidence for macroevolution either doesn’t exist, or any clues that do exist are beset with problems so serious that explanatory attempts boil down to “just-so-stories.” This leaves macroevolution sitting atop a boundary (or wall) with an outlook no better that that of Humpty Dumpty.

– See more at:

Dan Barker’s Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a religious cult


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The Test (Pass or Fail)

by BJ Richardson at The River Walk

For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. (James 2:10)

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Relate: In college, unless I was the curve wrecker, I hated them. You know who I’m talking about. Lets say you have twenty students in the class and everybody is about average… except for that one girl who has no life. All she does is study every day from the moment she gets home until the moment she leaves in the morning. Everybody else gets a 70 or worse on a test. She gets a 98. The girl is wrecking the curve.

On the flip side are the curve helpers. I love these guys. Once upon a time they showed up for a class. Somehow, they score worse on multiple choice tests than they would if they filled in the answers randomly. When it comes to true or false questions, they flip a coin. Their coin isn’t very lucky. I love these guys. Did I say that already? There is nothing like scoring a 58% on a test and then finding out that is an B-. There must have been a lot of curve fodder in the room.

When it comes to our spiritual life, some people look at those like Mother Theresa and Billy Graham as curve wreckers and Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson as curve helpers. When it comes time to the judgment, I don’t want to be the one right in line after Mother Theresa. I don’t care how god I try to be, she’s gonna make my outlook pretty rough. On the flip side, if Bin Laden’s right in front of me, I think I’ll dance a jig right on the spot.

React: Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. Making the grade into heaven is pass fail. Even worse, the test is incredibly hard. Life is made up of an infinite number of choices. There are hundreds, no thousands of moral questions presented to us each day. We are faced with opportunity after opportunity, choice after choice, decision after decision with how we will live our life. A skipped question counts as a wrong answer so we aren’t just graded on what we did. We are also graded on what we should have done. It gets even worse. According to James, according to God writing through James, the only passing grade is 100%. If we fail on even one question, we have failed them all.

The fact is, passing this test, the most crucial test in all eternity is the next thing to impossible. There is a curve wrecker, it can be done, but only once in all of history. Only one person has ever answered every question right. The rest of us seem to mess up over and over again. I might say, “Oh look I got 52% right and my neighbor Joe only got 49% so I must be doing pretty good.” It’s fun to compare ourselves with the Stalins in the world who are shooting in the low 30′s, not as much with the saints who are hitting in the mid to high 60′s. It doesn’t matter. Even if I were to answer only one of the 33 million questions wrong, I’ve failed. Perfection can be achieved, but I didn’t do it. No amount of correct answers from here on out will change that fact.

But here’s the good news. Right before it was time to turn in our tests, the curve wrecker came to me with an offer. He said we could switch names. He would take my failure, the wrong answers that I’ve earned, and the judgment I deserve and in return He would give me His perfect score. All I have to do is write His name on my life and in return surrender my name (life) to Him. Considering what is riding on this test, I’d be a fool not to take Him up on the offer. What about you? He’s making you the same proposal.


God, I thank You for Your Name. I am a failure. I have messed up time and time again. Holiness is required and I am covered in sin. Perfection is required and I have fallen short time and time again. I’m so sorry for this. I am so sorry and willfully chose to do evil over and over again. Forgive me. I give You my name. I give You my failures and mistakes. In their place I accept Your grace. I accept Your perfection. When people look at me, let them see Your Name shining through.

Quicksand of Despair – Rescue from God – Inspirational Bible Verses

I have one in my small group that needs these verses put together by   — A Study of Christian Grace  • ( 35 )

The word mire is not used much in today’s vocabulary. It is however found in the Bible numerous times. It is often used in conjunction with clay to describe a situation in which we get stuck or are bogged down.

If you look in the Dictionary “mire” when describing life, means a situation of difficulty, distress, or despair from which it is hard to extricate oneself. It also means a mess, difficulty, plight, predicament, tight spot, trouble, quandary, or to find yourself in a pickle.

Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on solid ground and gave me a firm place to stand.

To me mire is like quicksand. Sinking in quicksand has been a part of movie genre from Tarzan to the Never Ending Story. We have all seen it when the victim falls into a pit of quicksand, and the more they struggle the more they sink. Once they fall into the pit they are doomed unless they are rescued and someone pulls them out.

David is telling us in the Psalm that God will lift us out of the quicksand of our despair. When life’s troubles come upon us, many times we struggle and fight, sinking deeper and deeper into the quicksand of despair until we are helpless and hopeless. Many times we find ourselves buried so deep that we are barely able to keep our heads above the sand in the midst of all our problems.

We need not wait until we are neck-deep to call on God. When we find ourselves stuck in the pit of misery and despair we are to call upon God for our rescue. It is when we struggle and fight on our own that we find ourselves in danger of succumbing to the troubles that overtake us. We must learn to cry out to our God. He will hear our cries, and He will turn our failings into regeneration, our grief into joy, and our helplessness into hope.

We read in 1 Samuel 17 that the battle belongs to the Lord. So quit struggling and cry out to God. Let your heart shout with joy in a God who will always rescue you from life’s quicksand and set your feet on solid ground. He will make all your failures regenerative. If you are down and broken, He is the God of risings again. He will take all your life’s sorrow and pain, absorb them in His blood and shower you with His compassion. He will freshen your world with spiritual dew, and renew your tattered, broken heart with His spirit. God will restore you and give you a life anew.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, and I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Let God’s right hand rescue you from life’s quicksand!

Little Things


“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:15

A four-hundred-year-old tree crashed to the forest floor. Over the centuries it had been struck by lightning fourteen times, braved great windstorms, and even defied an earthquake. In the end, however, it was killed by little beetles. Boring under the bark, they chewed away its mighty fibers until the giant of the forest lay broken on the ground. Bill Tucker with Pat Maxwell, “Living a Power-Filled Life.”

Little things can either make us or break us. A little lie, a little theft, a little laziness, a little neglect, a little drink a little too often, a little sarcasm, a little denial here and a little there … bit by bit we can add them all together and eventually hurt or destroy our relationships, our physical and/or mental health, and our walk with God.

On the other hand, a little smile, a little deed of kindness, a little encouraging word, a little thoughtful gift, a little phone call, a little bit of love given a lot of times every day can add up to a whole lot of sunshine that we can spread wherever we are and go—and in so doing encourage others, enhance our relationships, improve our physical and mental health, and please the heart of God.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to watch the many little things in my life. Help me to clean out all the ‘little’ sins and self-destructive habits that hurt myself and others, and help me to keep on practicing little acts of love and kindness until they become an everyday habit that will show your love to others and gladden your heart. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

if I were to embrace Darwinism

Lee Strobel

Looking at the doctrine of Darwinism, which undergirded my atheism for so many years, it didn’t take me long to conclude that it was simply too far-fetched to be credible. I realized that if I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe that:
1. Nothing produces everything
2. Non-life produces life
3. Randomness produces fine-tuning
4. Chaos produces information
5. Unconsciousness produces consciousness
6. Non-reason produces reason….The central pillars of evolutionary theory quickly rotted away when exposed to scrutiny.
~ The Case for a Creator, p. 277

Making God laugh

Seen on MustardSeed Budget blog


What Does a Gospel-Centered Church Look and Feel Like?

by Erik Raymond at Ordinary Pastor 

When the gospel takes root in a person and a church there are obvious and less obvious consequences. We know the obvious. People will be characterized by prayer, humility, joy, sacrifice, generosity, and mission. But what about the less obvious benchmarks of a gospel-centered church? This is what I am after here. I have been reading, watching, listening and learning from others as well as dusting our own congregation for clues as to better discern the look and feel of a gospel-centered church. I am doing this because I believe that being gospel-centered is inextricably linked to being faithful. In other words, being gospel-centered is not one option among many, it is the only option that we are given. It really is that important.

What follows is not a complete list but it is a start. In other words, these things will be present in a gospel-centered church. If the church is not gospel-centered then they will not. I can say this confidently because they are necessary implications of the gospel.

1. A Gospel-Centered Church has a tone and character of grace.
In particular I am referencing how a church deals with sin. Let’s consider that in a church someone comes to another believer and says, “Hey, I am struggling with the sin of ____.”

In a church that is antinomian the answer will be something like, “It’s OK. You are doing the best you can. Nobody is perfect.”

In a church that is law based they will say, “What is your problem? Stop it! Are you even a Christian? By the way, This is step – 1 of Mt. 18.”

In both cases they reveal what they think about salvation. In both cases they show their hand as salvation by works by not encouraging people to look outside of themselves for the solution in Christ. Whether law-heavy or licentious churches sin won’t get talked about. On the one had because it is not taken seriously in the other because of fear of being attacked.

In a gospel-centered church people have realized that they must take sin seriously and that they have already been outed. They will not wink at sin but neither will they book their brothers and sisters a flight back to Sinai.

They will say something like, “Thanks for coming to me about this. I’m glad to hear you are burdened by your sin. I can relate. Let’s look at what the Bible says about how to deal with this sin in light of the gospel.” The gospel-centered brother would be served well to pray with him and then follow-up to see how he is doing applying the gospel.

Can you see the difference? In one cases it’s like a frat guy confessing his guilt over being drunk to another frat buddy. The solution: have another drink, you’ll feel better. In the next case it is like confessing your drunkenness to a cop. The solution: you’re under arrest. In the gospel-centered situation, it is like confessing your guilt to a peer who is in rehab with you. He understands the problems within and can walk you to the solution without.

Being gospel-centered is far more than a tag in your churches logo or a phrase we fling around like a nerf football at the church picnic. It is a description of the tone and feel of the church. If the gospel has come to town then people will not wink at sin, nor pretend they have no sin, but they will deal with sin in light of the gospel.

I’ll deal with the rest of my list in the days ahead:
2. A Gospel-Centered Church understands the place of Christian liberties.
3. A Gospel-Centered Church wants to deal with racial issues.
4. A Gospel-Centered Church prioritizes discipleship.
5. A Gospel-Centered Church prioritizes church-planting.
6. A Gospel-Centered Church works hard to build gospel allies.

Working together in ministry – No solo acts

by  at Attempts at Honesty

  • In Exodus 18, we have recorded the advice that Jethro gave to Moses.

Moses was the sole judge for all the people of Israel and as such spent all of his day hearing the cases that came before him. Jethro’s advice was to set up judges under Moses who could hear the minor cases and make decisions. Thus a management structure was born.

One man cannot minister to all the people in his congregation, no matter how small the congregation may be. The pastor needs to have elders and deacons to whom he can entrust the ministry tasks. Even in the smallest congregations, the pastor cannot do all the ministry or make all the decisions. He must work together with the congregation for effective ministry to take place.

For such a structure as Jethro recommended to Moses, the viability of the structure depends on the degree of empowerment that the judges are given. If a particular judge’s rulings had to be repeatedly overrulled, that judge would have to be removed from his office since he would no longer have the credibility to do his job effectively.

In the same way, the pastor must empower his elders and staff to do the work of ministry and make decisions on their own. If every decision has to be made by the pastor, very little real ministry will take place. It does not matter if there are 100 people, 1,000 people or 10,000 people in the church, Others beside the pastor must be empowered to minister as they are led by God.

With empowerment will come mistakes. Ministry is sometimes a messy business and hindsight is always 20/20. When mistakes happen it is important that the leadership team is open about the mistake and learns from it.

What then is the Pastor’s role in the ministry? He should play a major role in setting the priorities and being the most visible voice for announcing those priorities. However, the pastor should remind himself that he is the first among equals and is himself subject to weaknesses and blind spots. The pastor should not want to make all the decisions.

Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:11–13 what the goal of ministry should be:

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (NASB)

The goal is the equipping of the congregation for the work of ministry (ESV). It is the entire church body that is to be God’s instrument for changing the surrounding culture.

If the entire church body is ministering together in the community, not only will the pastor influence the congregation, the congregation will influence the pastor. When this happens the congregation will “stimulate one another to love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24)

Assembling Together 1 – Joining the Church

An older post by  on Mar 9, 2013 at The Assembling of the Church –  comments

Replay: Assembling Together by Watchman Nee

Five years ago, I wrote a series of posts on Watchman Nee’s book Assembling Together. Overall, I found the book to be very informative, easy to read, and encouraging. I had already come to some of the same conclusions that Nee had come to, although we disagree in a few places as well. Below, I include the contents of the first post of the series “Assembling Together 1 – Joining the Church” along with links to the other posts. (By the way, the links will send you to my old blog at Blogger, but you will then be redirected back to the post on this site.) If you haven’t read this book yet, I would highly recommend it.


Assembling Together 1 – Joining the Church

The first chapter of Watchman Nee’s book Assembling Together (chapter 14 of the Basic Lessons series) is called “Joining the Church”. This is a great chapter with which to begin to understand Nee’s ecclesiology.

The phrase “joining the church” is quite interesting. To Nee, this means something completely different to how I’ve seen this phrase used in contemporary churches in the United States. I think even Nee understands how this phrase is normally used. He says, “We do not like the phrase ‘joining the church,’ but use it temporarily to make the issue clear.” [1] So, what does Nee mean by “joining the church”? He first explains how believers immediately become part of God’s family upon salvation. He then specifies exactly what he means by “joining the church”:

A Christian therefore must join the church. Now this term, “joining the church,” is not a scriptural one. It is borrowed from the world. What we really mean is that no one can be a private Christian. He must be joined to all the children of God. For this reason, he needs to join the church. He cannot claim to be a believer all by himself. He is a Christian only by being subordinate to the others. [9]

Never once in the Bible do we find the phrase “join the church.” It cannot be found in Acts nor is it seen in the epistles. Why? Because no one can join the church… Rather, we are already in the church and therefore are joined to one another. [13]

When, by the mercy of God, a man is convicted of his sin and through the precious blood is redeemed and forgiven and receives new life, he is not only regenerated through resurrection life but is also put into the church by the power of God. It is God who has put him in; thus he already is in the church. [13]

Then why do we persuade you to join the church? We are only borrowing this term for the sake of convenience. You who have believed in the Lord are already in the church, but your brothers and sisters in the church may not know you. [14]

At this point, Nee remains close to Scripture. He is correct that “joining the church” is not a scriptural phrase, and is never commanded or exhorted in Scripture. Instead, we become part of the church when we are “born again” into the family of God. It is true that we may still need to seek out brothers and sisters with which to fellowship, but that is not the same as “joining the church”. Of course, the best place for a new believer to begin to find fellowship with other brothers and sisters is with the person or people who made the gospel available to him or her.

Next, Nee answers the question: which church should I join? Most believers today would probably disagree with his answer. First, Nee explains the rise of different churches and denominations based on time, area, human personalities, or a particular emphasis on one aspect of truth. He then says that all believers in a city form a city-church, and that is the church that a new believer should become part of. In fact, he argues that the only valid biblical definition for “church” (singular) is the city-wide church:

The Bible permits the church to be divided solely on the ground of locality… The smallest church takes a locality as its unity; so does the biggest church. Anything smaller than a locality may not be considered a church, nor can it be so recognized if it is bigger than a locality. [11]

This statement is problematic. Nee examines several passages to demonstrate that the singular “church” is used to represent all the believers in a given city. I do not have a problem with this analysis, except I think he left out a few key passages of Scripture. It is not true that the singular “church” is always used to represent all the believers in a city and that the singular “church” is only used to represent all the believers in a city. Here are a couple of passages that use the singular word for “church”, but may not represent all the believers in a city or the believers of only one city:

But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. (Acts 8:3 ESV)

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. (Romans 16:3-5 ESV)

I should also mention that in Acts 9:31, some manuscripts have the singular “church” (while others have the plural “churches”) for the believers in the regions of “Judea, Galilee, and Samaria”. There are also other passages that mention the “church” in someone’s house which may or may not be the entire church of a city.

So, I do agree with Nee that Scripture describes all the believers in a certain city as a “church” (singular). However, it appears that there may be smaller groups within that city-church that are nevertheless called “church” (singular). Similarly, in Acts 8:3, it appears that Saul is persecuting believers over a larger area than a city, but Luke still considers Paul to be persecuting the “church” (singular). The usage of the word “church” is more complicated that Nee makes it out to be.

There is one other point (and a major point, I think) with which I disagree with Nee. He claims that individuals are not the dwelling place of God; only the church is God’s habitation:

In the past God dwelt in a magnificent house, the temple of Solomon. Now He dwells in the church, for today the church is God’s habitation. We, the many, are joined together to be God’s habitation. As individuals, though, we are not so. It takes many of God’s children to be the house of God in the Spirit. [5]

Unfortunately, I do not think that Nee considered enough scriptural evidence. It is true that most of the references to the Spirit dwelling within beleivers occurs in the plural. But, of course, most of Scripture was written to communities of believers to be read to the entire community. It is also true that the Spirit dwells with the community; however, just as Solomon’s temple could not contain God, the community alone does not contain God’s Spirit. There are plenty of references to individual believers being filled with the Spirit of God (i.e. Acts 6:39-10).

Besides these two points of disagreement, this is an excellent chapter. Nee encourages all believers to find other believers with which to fellowship. He especially exhorts new believers that they should not try to live in isolation.

I usually find the last paragraph of one of Nee’s chapters to be very helpful. Sometimes, even when I do not agree with Nee’s arguments, I agree completely with his conclusion in the last paragraph. I agree with much of this first chapter, and I also agree with his last paragraph:

You who are already in Christ should learn to seek the fellowship of the children of God. With this fellowship of the body you may serve God well. If you as young believers can see this light, you will move a step forward in your spiritual path. Thank God for his mercy. [15]

The next chapter in this book is called “Laying On of Hands.”

Review of Watchman Nee’s Assembling Together Series:

1: Chapter 1 – Joining the Church
2: Chapter 2 – Laying on of Hands
3: Chapter 3 – Assembling Together
4: Chapter 4 – Various Meetings
5: Chapters 5 & 6 – The Lord’s Day and Hymn Singing
6: Chapters 7 & 8 – Praise and The Breaking of Bread

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