Friday, January 29, 2016

Touching Base, Part 294

31 Jan 16
Series - House On Fire! Part 1
What is your Modus Operandi?

This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

What do you do when your heart health is not keeping pace with the demands of life? Every morning your feet hit the ground running, routines have become taskmasters, schedules are full, to-do lists are long… and you always feel a little behind. Even as you deal with that fast pace, you know that your heart health is not good.

Ever just pushed through knowing there are deeper issues within your heart which need to be dealt with? Ever felt like an athlete… like you’re just playing through the injury?

I would call this the “inside/outside-story” tension. On the outside we may look great, we may even want people to believe everything is great, but the inside story tells a completely different message.

Ever had this happen in your relationship with Christ? And instead of fixing it, for some this becomes their modus operandi (often used in the abbreviated form MO), a Latin phrase, loosely translated as "mode of operation", the method of operating or functioning, when the outside story looks very different than your inside story.

As we begin our new Series, House on Fire, we come to the first of the seven churches of Revelation, the Ephesian Church. If you are discussing this as a group, read all of Revelation chapter 1 and make observations about who is writing, from where, who is the audience, what symbolic language do we understand? How is Jesus portrayed in chapter 1?

The problem for the Ephesian church was that their inside story did not match their outside story and God called them on it through John’s vision.

What does this church need to do to deal with this problem? V.5a unloads the action required:

“Remember” - I call this an “inventory” word. They need to get perspective by thinking back, because in their case thinking back will help them see from where they have fallen.

What is their outside story? (v.2, 30) What might people see, and note that God sees it clearly.
What is their inside story? (v.4)

How many churches have an outside story that doesn’t match their inside story? Busy churches don’t mean healthy churches.

How do you fix the problem? That answer would be based on what the inventory reveals. For the Ephesians it was clear.

“Repent” - I call this the “turn around” word. Don’t name it and claim it but name it, and get rid of it. This word very literally means to change one’s way of life. They have an unhealthy MO! An inside/outside” problem.

Verse 4 tells us exactly what they need to repent of - they have abandoned their first love. This word “abandon” helps them see the heights from which they have fallen.

This rebuke contrasts with what Paul wrote the Ephesians 35 years earlier, that he never stopped giving thanks for them because of their faith in Christ and their love (agapÄ“) for the saints (Eph. 1:15–16).

Remember - this large city was thoroughly stirred by Paul’s message (Acts 19:11–41), with the result that the silversmiths created a riot because their business of making shrines of Artemis was threatened – Ephesus had become a house on fire! Ephesus was key in the establishment of the Gentile church. They have indeed fallen from a great height.

Here are some questions to discuss.
- What would it be like to be in a church where this is the MO?
- How would you know this was the condition of the church? Think of specific attitudes and behaviors.
- How hard would it be to break out of this pattern? (for the individual, and corporately)
- What is the danger of this being a church’s MO? See v.5b.

Note another contrast in this text - we have seen the contrast of the outside/inside story. Note v.1 - where is Jesus, how is he portrayed? Yet read again v.4, where are the hearts of the people in relation to Christ?

Here is how I might sum it up (what might you add?):

Jesus is present, but not central; He is referenced, but not exalted; He is legendary, but hearts are not loyal; He is part of their vocabulary, but not part of their vision; He is mentioned in their prayers, but not submitted to in their walk; He is part of their history, but not part of their present day; His truth they hotly defend, but their hearts are cold, they pretend.

Note one more thing John wants them to do.

“Do the works you did at first” - I call this getting back to the basics.

This instruction might seem odd, seeing that they are already portrayed as a busy church (v.2, 3). However, what works might John be referring to that has to do with rekindling a cool heart? What work is essential to a House on Fire?

What did the early church believe about the work of the church?
Here is a clue: note what Paul said when he wrote them years earlier. Read Ephesians 3:14-21. What is Paul doing? What work is Paul committed to on behalf of the Ephesians? If you said “prayer” you win (sorry no free trip to Moose Jaw).

It is interesting that when you see this work of prayer in the New Testament the emphasis is on corporate prayer. In Acts, and in the rest of the New Testament, the majority of God’s recorded workings came when his people prayed together.

There are some tough issues to tackle in life, some big mountains to climb, and none are bigger than the human heart. A heart is not rejuvenated, restored, healed, and lit on fire by just taking inventory and changing one’s mind - but by the power of God. Jesus walks in amongst the church, able and ready fan the flame.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! What does our church need to hear? God wants us to love Him from the inside out and He walks in amongst us, wanting to fan that flame.

How many of you pray for people whose hearts are not right with God? Maybe their situation is exactly like Ephesus or different, but what is true is that it’s an unhealthy heart. Take some time to pray for God to light the hearts at Bethel with greater passion. Take time to pray for your loved ones and friends who you know have cold hearts or cooling hearts towards God.

Also check out and be sure to come to Unleashed, starting on February 14th at 4 pm.

Mark Kotchapaw

Friday, January 22, 2016

Touching Base, Part 293

Part 3 -
Should Christians Embrace Evolution?

NOTE: This is one of TWO Touching Base postings this week. Don't forget to also read TB 292, Bethel Update, by Mark Kotchapaw.

The Church must always be willing to deal with important issues, and this is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This week, our lesson had a simple Big Idea: MACROEVOLUTION SHOULD NOT BE EMBRACED BY CHRISTIANS.

When we ignore evolution in our churches, youth group meetings, and Sunday school classes (or, Christian school classrooms), we do a huge disservice to our ourselves and our students. Many of our science students will go on to university where they will hear the arguments for evolution. Hearing the arguments for the first time from an evolutionist without any defense against it will almost certainly end in disaster.

The theistic evolutionist’s rationale isn’t that hard to understand. They are committed to two basic convictions that they attempt to bring together. First, they are committed to maintaining that God is the Creator in some sense. That is the theistic side. Second, they believe that the neo-Darwinian paradigm is true. That is, they believe that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

Q. In your groups, take a minute to discuss some of the possible motivations for trying to bring evolution and Christianity together?

Before you can even begin to answer the question, “Should Christians embrace evolution?", you must first answer the question, “What do you mean by evolution?"


On some definitions of evolution, I am an evolutionist. On other definitions, I am not an evolutionist. Evolution can have at least six different meanings:

1. Evolution can mean change over time.
2. It can mean change in gene frequency in a population.
3. It can refer to the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations.
4. It can mean limited common descent.
5. It can also refer to universal common descent. This is the idea that all of life is related.
6. The Blind Watchmaker Thesis: All organisms have descended from a common ancestor solely through an unguided natural process. This is the textbook definition of evolution.

Q. Why is it important to define what we mean by our terms?

The blind watchmaker theory (also refer to as the Neo-Darwinian synthesis) logically cannot be squared with a Creator of life in any meaningful way.

Either evolution is guided, or it’s unguided. If God guides it, then it's not evolution. If God (an intelligent Being) is guiding and designing the outcome of evolution, then you no longer have Darwinian evolution. You have a form of intelligent design. However, if God doesn't guide it, then it's not theistic. If evolution is unguided, then God has no part in guiding it!

Q. In your groups, take a minute try to articulate why Neo-Darwinian evolution is logically incompatible with a Creator of life? How might the theistic evolutionist try to avoid this dilemma?

Furthermore, if Neo-Darwinian evolution is true, then God is unnecessary in the Creation of life. Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies, says,

“To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”


Is the evidence for macroevolution overwhelming? I do a whole talk on looking at the evidence for evolution offered in the high school textbooks. I break down the evidence for evolution into three broad areas. These include Exaggerated Extrapolations, Egregious Errors, and Equivocal Evidence.

Let’s look at one of the egregious errors that evolutionists use as evidence for macroevolution:

A. Negative evidence against macroevolution

In the late 1800’s, German biologist Ernst Haeckel drew a series of embryos from different animals (e.g. a human, a chicken, a salamander, a fish, etc.). These embryos showed remarkable similarity in their earliest stage. Darwin understood this to be confirming of his theory. The early similarity of the embryos shows that they came from a common ancestor. The problem is that Haeckel faked his drawings. The early embryos don’t actually look similar. The Journal Science wrote a short piece on Haeckel’s embryos. In it, they said, “It looks like it’s turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology.”

Q. What are some of the other evidences for evolution that are offered to substantiate the theory?

B. Positive Evidence for intelligent design

One of the hallmarks of intelligent design is specified complexity. It’s the combination of high improbability with the independently-given pattern. The over-3-billion-letters-long DNA molecule is a textbook example of specified information. We know from our uniform and repeated experience that complex specified information (like what we find in computer programs, books, fridge magnets, and the DNA) always comes from an intelligent mind.

Q. Why is it that we recognize intelligence behind the license plate TIM1983 and when fridge magnets spell out “Take out the Trash,” but some fail to see intelligence in a message over 3 billion letters long?


Theistic evolutionists almost uniformly deny the existence of Adam and do not see this as a problem. Theistic evolutionist Denis Lamoureux says, “My central conclusion in this book is clear: Adam never existed, and this fact has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.”

I adamantly disagree! Here are two biblical problems:

1. The consistent testimony of Scripture is that the human race goes back to a historical Adam. The authors of the Bible consistently present genealogies that begin with Adam.
a. Genesis 5 provides a lineage of Adam to Noah and his three sons.
b. Genesis 11 picks up this linage from Noah’s son Shem and continues until Abraham.
c. First Chronicles extends these genealogies even further. Nine chapters are devoted to showing the connection between Adam and twelve tribes of Israel.
d. Luke also contains a genealogy that goes back to Adam. Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, traces the ancestry from Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus, back to “Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38).

2. Paul believed Adam was a real person. Paul refers to Adam as a historical person on numerous occasions.
a. During his sermon on Mars Hill to the Athenians Paul says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth . . .” (Acts 17:26).
b. In his first letter to Timothy Paul writes, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim. 2:13-14).
c. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21-22).
Theistic evolutionists are left to believe that the Holy-Spirit-inspired apostle Paul got it wrong.

3. Jesus assumes Adam (and Eve) were real people when He addressed the issue of divorce (Matt. 19:4-6). But if Adam was not a real person, then either Jesus didn’t know that (and propagated this error), or he knowingly deceived the Pharisees to make His point. Both of these options are untenable for the believer.

4. Finally, the historicity of Adam is inextricably linked to the redeemer. This means that without a historical Adam, there is no historical Fall. And if no Fall, then no original sin that is passed to all men (we are no longer made sinners as Paul put it). And if there is no original sin, then no need for a redeemer.

Q. Can you think of any other Christian doctrines that are affected by adopting Neo-Darwinian evolution?

Tim Barnett, Stand to Reason


Stand to Reason Ministries

Richards, Jay W., ed. God And Evolution: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Explore Darwin’s Challenge to Faith. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2010.

Meyer, Stephen. Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. New York: HarperOne, 2009.

Meyer, Stephen. Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

Touching Base, Part 292

NOTE: This is one of TWO Touching Base postings this week. Don't forget to also read TB 293, Should Christians Embrace Evolution, by Tim Barnett, Sunday's guest speaker.

A Bethel Update
24 January 2016

You can never over communicate! In this culture of constant information, often what you want people to hear gets drowned out by the loudest, most persistent message. So here are some important “sound bites” for you that hopefully won’t get lost in the parade of sound bites in your life.

1. Bethel was once again very generous with a number our city, nation and world initiatives in the last few months of the year:

• We were able to deliver 28 hampers to families in the city of Kingston. This is part of our ongoing working relationship with the Salvation Army.

• We have given $49,356 to upgrade our Bethel Houses. These homes provide transitional housing for up to ten men who are working through addictions. These men are graduates of the Harbour Light program with the Salvation Army.

• Over 200 students, 50 staff and 15 seniors received gifts and words and acts of encouragement that our Constance Lake team provided when they went up to this community during the week of Dec 5-12th. This is part of our national focus with the first nations people, led by Fred and Amy Grendel

• A total of $1,500 in Honduran pottery was sold at Bethel and at one of our local schools. This money will go towards some of the projects our team will be working on as they go to Honduras the week of March 12-19th. Here are the names of the people on this team. From Bethel, Ken, Sue, and Theo V., Nicole W., Carolyn DeG., Emily B., Brendan L., Ryan McI., Shari and Abby R. In addition there are 8 others joining this team who are not from Bethel - Carl T., Stephen R., Diana R., William R., Adam R., Elizabeth P., Tim P., and Namoi P.

2. Our city, nation and world continue to be our focus as we seek to own our piece and give generously and build relationships strategically. So as we move into the New Year, here are some things for you to be aware of and praying for:

• Elders - The Elders’ Board is engaging in a collaborative, cross-generational process of fleshing out a 3-5 year vision. Many of you will remember that we have our Vision Pathway, and participated in a spiritual life survey in November 2013. With this 3-5 year visioning exercise we are drilling down deeper and attempting to get more specific with some of the issues with which we are trying to get traction. We are not shifting our focus or redefining our vision but sharpening it, clarifying it and prayerfully tweaking it as we move ahead. We are highly committed to becoming a more fully disciple-making community. This is the focus and passion of the board. While bucks, bodies and buildings are important, the most important issue to your board is that people come to Christ, grow in Christ and serve in the name of Christ. We anticipate this process of vision casting to take about 3-4 months.

• Prayer - “Unleashed: Experiencing the Power of God through Prayer Together” will be starting February 14th. This is our yearly prayer focus that is a call to the church to gather and pray each Sunday afternoon in the Upper Room from 4-5pm. We ask that you make this a priority. I believe that in the eyes of God, this will be the most important thing we do corporately all year. There is much in our world that only will change by the power of God. Let’s admit it, we are in over our heads... we need to pray!

• Overflow - Some of you will be glad to know that we are getting new platform lights and looking at the possibility of a camera so that we can provide not only sound but video to the people in our overflow room (library). There are several Sundays throughout the year where we need a few more seats for the first service. The elders and deacons are also looking into long-term solutions.

• Staff - Several of the staff have just walked through or are walking through a thorough evaluation process. This happens once a year for most staff, along with a second, less formal, process halfway through the year. Out of these evaluations we work with each other to form action plans that help develop leadership and address the issues of needed growth identified in the evaluation.

• Finances - We are grateful for the generosity of our people as we move forward with our vision. You will note the deficit in our general fund, which has been drained a little by giving to the Bethel House project. Please pray for provision as we enter the last quarter of the year.

3. We have a number of key organizations that we work with. These organizations help extend the reach of the local church, and in the next few weeks you will be hearing from several of them:

• The Kingston Pregnancy Care Center, whose banquet is February 22nd.

• Nightlight, who will be holding their Coldest Night of the Year on February 20th at Bethel.

• Camp IAWAH, who will be doing a ministry feature on Sunday, February 28th.

• As was mentioned above, eleven of our folks are heading out to Honduras in March.

• IJM (International Justice Mission), who were here on January 17th, is an organization with who we are seeking to formalize a more defined relationship.

So in this New Year, we are seeking to continue to strengthen our relationships with all the key organizations that extend our reach and are in line with our vision.

4. House on Fire (starting Sunday, January 31st) - This series is based on the 7 churches of Revelation, and will address the heart of the local church, and the need to be together and minister together in a way that honours Jesus. Instead of a church that burns down because of indifference, doctrinal heresy, egos and irrelevance, we desire to be a church that is on fire with passion for Christ, a church that responds fully to God’s heart and touches the spaces and places God has called us to be.

We continue to value the great input you provide as we move forward. Please continue to speak up, to be prayerfully engaged and to protect the health of Bethel by walking out a godly lifestyle.

Mark Kotchapaw, Senior Pastor

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Touching Base, Part 291

10 Jan 16
Part 1 -
When Someone Attacks My Faith!

The Church must always be willing to deal with important issues, and this is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This week, our lesson had a simple Big Idea: WHEN PEOPLE ATTACK MY FAITH… BE AN AMBASSADOR!

We say this because 2 Corinthians 5:20 informs us that we already are anyway – it began when we started following Jesus, and will only end with our last breath. Everyone is included!

So of course, the only question to be answered is… are we GOOD ones or BAD ones?

Q. In your groups, take a minute to give some examples of good ambassadors you’ve seen, as well as not-so-good ones in the Christian world.

To help define what an ambassador is, we went back into Canadian history: the Honourable Lester B. Pearson (1897-1972), is a great example of someone who was a wonderful ambassador for our country, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his work in developing Peacekeeping.

On the other hand, I think we can all agree that if we were to appoint, say, Homer Simpson as the new Canadian Ambassador to Israel, it wouldn't be long before we were at war with everyone!


Pearson’s skilfull ambassadorship was based on three components:

A. Knowledge (an accurately-informed mind)

A good ambassador has to be thoroughly acquainted with who and what she represents, and have a good understanding of the country in which she finds herself: its history, culture, and their opinions about her king.

So for us, as Christian Ambassadors, this means understanding:
- The truth about Christianity and Christ
- The truth about the post-Christian era in which we live
- The truth about false philosophies of the age (see Colossians 2:8)

Q. Where do you need greater knowledge?

B. Wisdom (an artful method)

This means using our knowledge skillfully, tactically, fairly, and diplomatically, to help build up, not tear down (see Col. 4:6), while always being willing to explain and clarify.

Q. Where have you been tactless? Do you find that it happens more in some areas than others?

C. Character (a warm, attractive and inviting manner)

This means simply being known as a nice person! Nice is not a pushover or a doormat, by the way, and especially, NO BULLYING! Always remember Peter’s admonition to defend ourselves with “gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15) See also 2 Tim 2:24-25. Be a builder of relationships!

We have to be the kind of ambassadors that people wish would stick around longer. When Jesus left town, NOBODY ever said “boy am I glad to see the back of him!” (except those who wanted Him dead, but that’s another sermon series!)

Q. Has emotion ever sabotaged your being attractive? When?


We then cashed out the idea of ambassadorship by using an example that happened to us here at the church in 2015, when we were asked to respond to a letter (the letter, and Carmen’s response are included at the end of the TB). So how did we go about it?

A. Pick your battles!
Any soldier will tell you that you cannot win a battle on multiple fronts, so instead of debating everything Mr Skyvington said, I picked three quotes and dealt with them specifically, using wisdom to decide which specifically I was going to deal with.

But firstly, in order to deal with them at all, I had to have knowledge, I had to know why what he was suggesting was incorrect. The only way to do this is to be an ongoing learner - some resources are suggested for you at the end of the TB.

B. Speak to everyone!
I wasn't only writing to Mr. Skyvington, who might never read my reply, but also to the other people who read the Letters page. Nor was I trying to win a fight; I was simply making sure that I left information in my own letter that would put a stone in their shoe, hence my suggestion of certain books they could check out for more information.

C. Bring it back to Christ
Finally, I brought it back to Christ… the fact is that most atheism is a heart issue, not a facts issue. And yet most people will say they think Jesus Christ was a fine man and a great teacher… so let’s let them deal with who He was, because He certainly thought that the Old Testament was the Word of God, among other things!


Lastly, let’s deal with the question Carmen often gets asked… “BUT WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWERS WHEN I START TALKING TO SOMEONE?”

Well… so what? Do you think our Canadian Ambassadors know EVERYTHING? Of course not! There are times when all they can answer is “I have no idea. Let me do some research and get back to you.” This is a great example of wisdom.

And THEN, show them your Character and GET BACK TO THEM to continue the conversation.

Contrary to popular belief, our faith is a real-world faith, based on solid evidence. By building our store of Knowledge, Wisdom and Character, we’ll have nothing to fear from those who would attack it. In the words of Greg Koukl, President of Stand to Reason Ministries, let’s get out there and give ‘em Heaven this week!

Mark Kotchapaw and Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell


Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. 2015: Harper San Francisco, 227p.

Stand to Reason Ministries – Equipping Christian Ambassadors with Knowledge, Wisdom, and Character (sound familiar?!  Many thanks to Greg Koukl and his team for today’s material – you’ll find it in a resource on that website called “Ambassadors for Christ – The Essential Skills”. Greg also hosts a weekly free podcast where people call in and discuss various issues and topics)

Turek, Frank. Stealing from God (Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case). 2014: NavPress, 304p.

Wallace, J. Warner. Cold Case Christianity (A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels). 2013: David C. Cook Publishing, 224p.

---------------------. God's Crime Scene (A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe). 2015: David C. Cook Publishing, 288p.


It’s time humans started to think for themselves instead of relying on the dictates of religious stories that are little more than fairy tales
By Stephen Skyvington, Special to Postmedia Network
Friday, June 12, 2015 9:28:07 EDT PM

I often wonder what animals must think of us. Sitting on the couch with my three dogs, watching the latest atrocities being played out on TV, I can’t help but wonder if they’re not thinking — much like me — that the wrong ones are caged up.

Lions and tigers and bears may be the ones we’ve put behind bars, but honestly, after the burning death of Muath al-Kasaesbeh, the Jordanian pilot who was captured after his plane was shot down by members of Islamic State, you’ll have a hard time convincing me who the real animals are.

This brutal act of terrorism, following on the heels of the beheading of two Japanese prisoners, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto — as well as the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in January — has convinced me that the time has come to do something about the root cause of all this evil.

I’m talking about doing away with religion.

Banning it, outlawing it, abolishing it. Whatever term you wish to use, it really doesn’t matter to me, just get rid of it. The world is on shaky enough grounds as it is. The environment is at risk, our economy is faltering, and our social fabric is torn. Now is not the time for either a holy crusade or a jihad.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we ban spirituality, or showing compassion and empathy for our fellow beings, or even basic human kindness. Those things are all good and we should strive to make them a part of our day-to-day lives.

What I’m talking about is this seemingly fanatical devotion to the Word.

As a spin doctor — and an atheist — I have to tell you only a fool believes everything he or she reads. People in my line of work — public relations — get paid good money to “tell the story that tells the story.” We never let the facts get in the way of a good tale. Most important, we understand that something doesn’t have to be true. It just has to be believable. At least, that’s the case when you’re trying to sway public opinion.

Take the Bible, for instance. Bob Dylan once said the Bible is both the most underrated and overrated book, and I think he’s right. It’s also been called “the greatest story ever told,” and I agree with that assessment, too.

The Bible is a story. It’s not the word of God or Jesus or Moses or Yahweh. It was written by people just like me. Spin doctors, if you will. It’s a fairy tale that has about as much to do with reality as the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.

Same thing with the Qu’ran, and other books purporting to explain how it was we came to be here on this planet.

Now, I’m not trying to blind anyone with science, or mock anyone who truly believes. I get that it can be a mean old world out there and we all need a little solace from time to time in order to make it through the night. As Bruce Cockburn facetiously sings in Justice, “Everybody loves to see justice done on somebody else.”

I am not recommending we burn these books because they’re dangerous. It’s not ideas that are dangerous. It’s the people who take those ideas and bend them to fit their own evil intents that are the dangerous ones.

What I am suggesting, however, is that maybe the time has come to be honest with ourselves. We are living on a beautiful planet full of marvels, a veritable garden of earthly delights. But guess what? Adam and Eve? We’re not in danger of falling because we’re being tempted by the devil, who has chosen to appear in the form of a serpent. No, our downfall will happen because we are too bloody stupid to think for ourselves.

German philospher [sic] Friedrich Nietzsche, who in 1892 said, “God is dead,” was wrong. God is not dead. There is no God and never was. Until we, as a society, come to terms with this and stop conjuring up invisible men in the clouds who are supposed to watch over and protect us, we’re never going to evolve.

Fortunately, there is hope. More and more atheists are identifying themselves. And not just intellectuals and celebrities such as biologist Richard Dawkins, author Christopher Hitchens or comedian Ricky Gervais. Ordinary people, like you and me.

But the road is long, with many a winding turn, as someone once said. For those of us who understand you don’t need to believe in fairies and magic dust in order to see what a wonderful world it is, it’ll likely take several lifetimes to convince everyone else the truth is right here in front of us, if only we have the courage to look.


Stephen Skyvington is the president of PoliTrain Inc. He can be heard every Saturday at 1 p.m. on CFRB Newstalk Radio 1010. Follow him on Twitter @SSkyvington.

Posted on August 13, 2015 by seegod1

In June, the Kingston Whig Standard received and published a piece by Stephen Skyvington (you can see it here), to which the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada asked us (I work for Bethel Church Kingston) to publish a reply. We did, but probably a little too late to appear in the Whig so they didn’t publish it. However, I can always publish it right here in my own blog, for those who may be interested. Here it is.

“In his piece on June 15th (“Embracing Atheism), Stephen Skyvington says that “the time has come to do something about the root cause of all this evil.”

While I certainly agree with him that evil is present among us, unfortunately, he, as an atheist, cannot make that argument. By denying the existence of God, atheism must also deny the notion of objective morality (that is, the notion that there exist universal rights and wrongs, rooted beyond our own internal subjective opinions). For Mr. Skyvington, as an atheist, we regret to say that there can be no such thing as objective morality, and therefore, no such thing as evil, only his opinion. With respect, and to quote the title of a recent book by Frank Turek, by saying religion is “evil”, he’s “Stealing from God”, an interesting position to hold when one thinks there is no God in the first place. Objective moral laws can only exist because of an objective moral lawgiver.

Mr. Skyvington also suggests that “only a fool believes everything he or she reads.”

Again, I can only agree with him, and certainly far too many people are guilty of simple “blind faith”, i.e. not really knowing what they believe or why they believe it. However my own walk as a follower of Christ (as someone who originally trained as a lawyer) began with a careful investigation of the evidence for the historical nature of Christianity, both using outside historical sources (documentary and archaeological) and the “internal” historical documents which now form the book we call the Bible. Since he states that the Bible is only a “story”, I certainly hope his conclusion is based on that same kind of investigation. If not, may I recommend “Cold Case Christianity (A Homicide Detective investigates the Claims of the Gospels)” by J. Warner Wallace, the product of Mr. Wallace’s own investigation as a specialist in Cold Case investigations and the conclusions he reached?

Furthermore if Mr. Skyvington is going to bring up the Bible, then he must deal with one of the central characters of that book – the man Jesus Christ, who most (reasonable) scholars will acknowledge certainly existed. The challenge here is that this particular man made some absolutely remarkable claims about himself: to be blunt, he called himself God.
Now most people today love to hedge their bets by playing the “great moral teacher” card with Jesus. Unfortunately, to quote C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity”, we really should have none of that “patronizing nonsense”: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” This is the Law of Non-Contradiction: Jesus cannot be a Great Moral Teacher and be lying about who he is at the same time, and in the same way.

Finally, Mr. Skyvington suggests that people are “too bloody stupid to think for ourselves”, all while suggesting that we are also to be the ones to fix the problem.

Now that is a contradiction. But for the Christian, no such contradiction exists: we know we are the problem, and we know that there is only one solution, Jesus Christ, who can fix it. And while we agree that there are those who do evil things in the name of religion, at least where Christianity is concerned, the only way to willingly do evil is to ignore the plain teachings of our founder, Jesus Christ.

I think one of the marks of a good thinker is being willing to begin with an open mind – maybe there is a God, and maybe there isn’t. But if what you begin with is a “materialistic” worldview (i.e. the universe is all there is – that’s another objective claim by the way), then there will be only one possible conclusion – there is no God.

Respectfully, I think this is what Mr. Skyvington has done and would suggest that he take a step back and begin his investigations anew. Like I was many years ago, he may be shocked at what he finds.
Carmen Gauvin-O’Donnell”