Monday, December 24, 2012

New Hope's Christmas outreach in downtown Taipei

After the worship service on Sunday, about fourteen members of the church including the guitar fellowship practiced playing and singing carols and then they went out into the neighborhood near where our church meets. Wherever they went, they would sing and also hand out chocolate candies and Gospel tracts with our church's contact info on them.

Our three oldest daughters joined the carolers while Judy and I took the younger two children home and hosted Judy's cousins who had visited the church for the first time.

Practicing after the worship service before heading out to the neighborhood to carol.

The group was very bold. You might be surprised at where they went: into a hair salon, into apartment buildings and even into a local precinct police station! The policemen got out their cell phones and recorded the caroling. Most people received it very well.

Please pray that God will bring some from the neighborhood to visit our church.
Please also pray that God will work in the hearts of the church members to continue to be bold in their witness for Christ.

We'll try to post more info and pictures when we get them.

Joyous Christmas

The text is in Taiwanese. It reads in English: "Mulu hugged his dad and said, 'Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer and causing my dad to believe in the Lord and be baptized. I am so moved!' "
In Mandarin it reads: Mulu抱爸爸說:感謝主聽見我的禱告,讓我的爸爸信主受洗,我好感動。

Mulu is 5 or 6 years old (I'll have to check).

This drawing was done by Carol, a member of New Hope Church. Carol grew up in a traditional Hakka family. After several years of prayer, her husband, Acer, professed his faith and was baptized at the Christmas Sunday worship service at New Hope. I baptized his son Mulu and his mom Carol back in 2009 when she professed her faith. Yesterday, I was privileged to baptize Acer and their second child, Jofee, whom they adopted last fall.

When we get the audio uploaded, I'll post Acer's testimony here.


Our Christmas Sunday worship service was very packed. The Taiwanese language Bible study fellowship sang two verses of O Come All Ye Faithful (the second verse use language about Christ from the Nicene Creed.) The whole congregation joined in singing verses in English and Mandarin. (We'll have to track down a photo for this part.)

Then a little later, the guitar fellowship came up and played guitars to accompany the congregation in singing Joy to the World.

I gave a children's message on Isaiah 53:5-6, using a candy cane as an illustration.

After a young architect, Acer Lee, gave his testimony, we had three baptism including his own.

Finally the sermon was from Luke 1:26-38.

And we sang our closing hymn, Silent Night.

After the worship service, all the guests were given a Christmas gift. The gifts were calendars with photographs of Taiwan's mountains taken by a Christian photographer. On each photo was also printed a Bible verse.

The new visitors stayed to eat lunch with the church members.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pray for Christmas Sunday worship service and gospel outreach

Please pray for our Christmas worship service tomorrow at New Hope Church in Taipei.

A young architect will be sharing his testimony. Then I will have the privilege of baptizing him. We expect many non-believers to be coming. We will have several special parts of the service and I will be preaching a gospel message from Luke 1:26-38.

Afterwards, we will probably be hosting members of Judy's extended family who will be visiting the worship service, but many of the church members will be heading out with the church guitar fellowship to go caroling and hand out gospel tracts in a nearby neighborhood.

There are some regular attenders who are not believers including a young computer software engineer.

Please also pray as many of the church members are trying to outreach to their non-Christian family members.

Love in Christ, Joel (for the Lintons)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gospel Outreach in Another Island Nation

Though this video deals with housing projects, rural areas and townships in Taiwan need similar outreach.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Recent Worship service at New Hope Church, Taipei

Last Sunday I preached at New Hope on Luke 17:20-37 about the urgency of believing the Gospel and sharing the Gospel with others.

Below are short video clips of the service taken by the wife of one of the Taiwanese pastoral interns.

One of the hymns. We alternate singing one verse in English, one verse in Mandarin.

We eat lunch together and then after lunch there are two fellowship groups that meet. One is a guitar fellowship where they practice playing hymns. The other is a Taiwanese - Language Bible Study Fellowship where 1. we learn a Taiwanese hymn, 2. we read a section in Taiwanese from the Gospel of John, 3. we hear a testimony in Taiwanese from one of the members, and 4. We close in prayer. This fellowship is designed to give Christians practice in sharing the Gospel to older generation Taiwanese who do not necessarily speak Mandarin very well.

Eric sharing his testimony. Eric is a graduate of Christ's College in KuanDu.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Praising Christ through the Centuries

An Advent Poem -- Attributed to 9th Century A.D. poet Cynewulf (from The Christ, Part 1 - Section 10, Lines 348-377) translated from Anglo-Saxon by Burton Raffel

Oh Holy Lord of Heaven, You
and Your Father lived in that noble place,
Ruled together, before time began.
None of your angels existed, then,
None of the mighty Hosts of Heaven
Who guard and keep Your Kingdom, Your glorious
Home and Your Father's, when You worked Your wonders
You and He, making world
And stars and all this great creation.
In You, and in Your Father, rests
The joy of the Holy Ghost. Now
Your creatures join in a humble prayer,
Lord and Savior and God, beg You
To hear Your servants' voices. Our souls
Are tormented by our own wild longings.
Here in our miserable exile devils
And damned souls twist their savage
Chains around us. Our only safety
Is in You, eternal Lord: help
These sorrowful prisoners of sin, let
Your Coming comfort our misery, despite,
Oh Christ, our bitter lusts and our crimes
Against You. Pardon us, remember our misfortunes,
Our stumbling steps, our feeble hearts,
Remember our helplessness. Come, King
Of men, come now, bring us Your love
And Your mercy; deliver our souls, grant us
Salvation, God, so that in all we do,
Now and forever, our days on earth
Will work Your holy will among men.


Original Anglo Saxon:

Ēalā þū hālga heofona Dryhten,
þū mid Fæder þinne gefyrn wǣre
efenwesende in þām æþelan hām.
Næs ǣnig þā giet engel geworden,
nē þæs miclan mægenþrymmes nān
ðe in roderum ūp rice biwitigað,
þēodnes þrȳðgesteald ond his þegnunga,
þā þū ǣrest wǣre mid þone ēcan Frēan
sylf settende þās sidan gesceaft,
brāde brytengrundas. Bǣm inc is gemǣne
Hēahgǣst hlēofæst. Wē þē, Hǣlend Crist,
þurh ēaðmēdu ealle biddað
þæt þū gehȳre hæfta stefne
þīnra niedþiowa, nergende God,-
hū wē sind geswencte þurh ūre sylfra gewill.
Habbað wræcmæcgas wērgan gǣstas,
het[e]l[a]n helsceaþa[n], hearde genyrwad,
gebunden bealorāpum. Is sēo bōt gelong
eall æt þē ānum, ēce Dryhten.
Hrēowcearigum help, þæt þin hidercyme
āfrēfre fēasceafte, þēah wē fǣhþo wið þec
þurh firena lust gefremed hæbben.
Āra nū onbehtum, ond ūsse yrmþa geþenc,-
hū wē tea1trigað tȳdran mōde,
hwearfiað hēanlīce. Cym nū, hæleþa Cyning;
ne lata tõ lange. Ūs is lissa þearf,-
þæt þū ūs āhredde, ond ūs hǣlogiefe
sōðfæst sylle, þæt wē siþþan forð
þā sēllan þing symle mōten
geþēon on þēode, þīnne willan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Please keep praying for parents of members of New Hope. Many of them are not yet Christians. We visited one mom last Sunday in a countryside area near Taipei to share the Gospel with her. We hope to do more of these visits. Almost all of our conversations over an hour were in the Taiwanese language.

One other thing you might enjoy watching:

The following is a video made by OMF. You can get a little bit of a feel for how a foreigner adjusts to living in Taiwan. You get little glimpses of what Taiwan is like.

LEARN - Taiwan from OMF Taiwan on Vimeo.

Would you like to come visit on a short-term mission trip? Or become a long-term missionary to Taiwan?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pictures from Taiwan

Arriving in Taoyuan International Airport:

New Hope Church members fellowship at our apartment.

Mid Autumn Festival: Workers at a small video rental store are grilling outside the shop.

New Hope Church members learn guitar together after lunch on Sunday's.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jeremy Lin's talk

Many of you know that Jeremy Lin, the NBA basketball player of the "Linsanity" fame, is Taiwanese. You may not know that he is a Christian. Here is a video of him speaking about his perspective on his life, success and his faith: Please pray that God will use this testimony to awaken sinners to their need for Jesus Christ.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Blessings and Challenges of the Small Church

- Rev. Joel H. Linton, August 31, 2012

Taiwan has many small churches: many have a building but only perhaps thirty members to support the pastor and maintain the building. Rural churches and churches in economically depressed areas of the United States may have similar problems. My thoughts about what are the blessings and challenges for small churches are as follows.

Limited If Any Growth Through Transfers:

For Taiwan, there are very few Christians compared to the overall population, perhaps 2-3 percent. Therefore a church may possibly grow by transfers or even "sheep-stealing" but such growth will in the long run be a detriment to the growth of Christ's church in Taiwan. It is better to have many smaller churches 100-200 people than to have one mega-church. Without being specific, I'll just cite studies of Korean mega-churches and the effect on the region that support the case.

For Churches in the U.S.: it seems that because of the economy in many areas, especially rural areas, many people are transferring away. Therefore the church will not tend to grow in numbers by transfers. So a reformed presbyterian church cannot simply focus on providing a home for Christians who are already reformed. Further, the size of the small church presents a simple yet difficult barrier to many who might visit but prefer a bigger church.

Blessings of a Small Size

That the church is small is good for a number of reasons. Here are five listed below:

1* Everyone has to help and cannot sit passively and anonymously like at a big church. That is healthy.

2* Also, it means that you may be more humble and less trusting in your own strength or your own understanding and more trusting in God and leaning on Him for results. That is a good place to be in.

3* It also means -- that you need to seek growth through conversion and discipleship rather than transfers. Being small helps focus the energy in the right place.

4* Being small also challenges you to grow in your own life rather than coasting on what you have already attained.

5* Being small means that there is more need for you to give sacrificially of your time and money. That also is a good thing.

Growth through Conversion and Discipleship:

A church might take the strategy of being the best Biblical teaching around. So Christians who became believers in other churches might possibly feel a need at some point for more meat from the pulpit and so begin to come to that church. However they also bring a lot of their ideas and notions with them that may be create conflict in their new church and ultimately lead to their leaving it and taking a few of the existing members along with them. Care must be taken to disciples these folks that were converted at another church.

Ideally church growth will happen through the church members focusing on evangelism and discipleship: sharing the gospel, making disciples and then helping them mature, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded them.

Growing through conversion and discipleship is illustrated in Acts. Every Christian at the church can make it a regular part of their lifestyle to share with others the amount that they know, even if it is only how they became Christians. Adult men and women need to step up. But also, parents can train their children to share the gospel.

Conversion and discipleship of others will most likely come through investing in relationship with non-Christians that are ongoing. Are you doing that weekly?

Discipleship: Like in Titus 2 more mature Christian women should find younger women to mentor. The implicit parallel is there more mature Christian men should find less mature men to mentor. There is a corollary: No matter what level of maturity you are, find someone to sharpen you even as you find others whom you can devote your time to sharpening.

Finally -- Hospitality seems so key these days. Are you inviting neighbors over for dinner, or people you know at work or parents of other children in your kids' school? Are you prepared to invite a newcomer over to your house after the church worship service on Sundays? Just think if each visitor had two or three families inviting them over, it would make an impression, especially if these families did actually follow up their invite and the newcomer ended up being hosted in several homes. Also in my experience a lot of evangelism and discipleship happens when others come to hang out at the house and you ask pertinent questions about the sermon or other part of the worship service that Sunday. When they leave, ask them if they have any prayer requests and pray with them out loud for God's blessing on their lives.

Please pray for us and the Taiwanese churches where we serve as we seek to practice what we preach in Taiwan.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aliens and Strangers

Recently, I have been reading parts of the Sermon on the Mount with my children. We had a discussion on how to store up treasures in Heaven. One blessing of growing up in a missionary family is that you have to learn to not hold on tightly to the things of this world. In early August, the girls had to say goodbye to their dog, their favorite toys and places to play, and also to their relatives and church friends and places of familiarity and security.

The picture above was taken at one of our last Sunday worship services at Redeemer Presbyterian in Florence, Alabama

Moving back and forth from the field reminds us that we are like Abraham: "And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13b-16)

The following is Andrew Webb's commentary on how sadly even Christians will store up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. It is a great reminder for us:

"I'm sure you've probably heard how they trap Monkeys in Indonesia. I always thought the story was made-up for the purpose of teaching until I actually saw it being done on a National Geographic special some years ago. A monkey trap is made by taking a hollow coconut and making a hole in each end, one large and one small. The small hole is used to attach the coconut to a tree or a stake by a rope and the other larger hole is kept open. Some sweet fruit is then put inside the coconut. Now the hole large enough that an open hand can be put in, but a fist cannot be drawn out. So the monkey comes along, smells the fruit and sees it and reaches into the coconut to get it. His hand closes around the fruit and becomes a fist. And so he's trapped.

The monkey will literally become frantic, especially when the hunters close in on him, but only very rarely will the monkey do what seems so obvious and let go of the fruit in order to draw his hand out. Greed and poor abstract thinking skills keep him trapped and spell his ultimate doom. I always thought it was particularly sad that he doesn't even get to enjoy the fruit that was used to trap him.

"Silly monkey!" I mean, you laugh at the silliness of a creature that can be destroyed simply through it's unrelenting greed. And yet, the devil has successfully been using the same sort of trap on professing Christians for years. They are doing well, and then something sweet and desirable is offered up to them, their eyes get big, their hearts are filled with lust and they reach out to grab it and… they're trapped. All they would need to do to be free is let it go, to repent of their decision, but they can't, they'll become frantic with worry and make ship-wreck of their faith first. Paul knew the sadness of watching this awful process "Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica" he writes in his last prison epistle.

Now you know if they do indeed leave the faith and never return it indicates that they were never truly converted "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19) If what they truly treasure are the fleeting things of this world: possessions, honors, pleasures, it shows that their heart never truly was Christ's for as Leon Morris put it:

"The Heart and the Treasure go together. Anyone's heart, the concentration of his energies and interests, is always with his treasure, i.e. the things he values most"

But that knowledge is cold comfort indeed for the aching heart of the Pastor who sees it happen to one entrusted to his spiritual care. I would much rather endure a personal loss than watch a person come near to the kingdom and then walk away like the rich young ruler because they love the fleeting treasures of the world more than Jesus.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Labor of a Pastor in Contending for the Faith -- Watching Out for Shepherds and Sheep Slipping into False Teaching

Missionaries on the field often come back to their churches in American and find that new problems have arisen. God calls the elders to keep a careful watch over themselves and the flock. It is an ongoing responsibility.

I've recently had to deal with an issue related to the age of the earth and evolution that is creeping back into my denomination. The debate over how to understand and interpret the first eleven chapters of Genesis, particularly regarding Creation and the Flood, shows that it is so easy for the reigning cultural thinking outside the church to influence the way people in the church think about the truth that God revealed in His Word. If they are not careful, they will place supposedly proven human knowledge above (and driving the interpretation of) the revealed Word of God which was written down by men as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit and attested to by miracles to prove that it was from God.

Following is part of my labors as a teaching elder in Christ's church to contend for the faith. There are many within the church who have begun to lose their confidence in the most simple and clear interpretation of Genesis 1 and have begun to modify it solely because of the weight they give and the belief they have in the veracity of the outside claims of scientists.

I wrote this letter to other teaching and ruling elders:


Dear Brothers and Fathers,

As I understand it, Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth (contributors to are presenting a seminar at the P.C.A. 2012 General Assembly about their beliefs in the scientific evidence for an old Earth and being forced not to take a simple literal understanding of Genesis 1. I understand that for some reason no one was invited by the PCAAC/Stated Clerk's Office to present in a separate seminar a balancing critique of their presentation which would support of a young earth, a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and a global flood.

I have read some of their arguments online at Since my biology graduate school days, I have been busy with church planting and not been immersed in scientific academia in the past twelve years, but I've tried to begin to get up to speed on the claims made and the scientific journal papers cited and I think I can make some points in response.

It will take me a while to track down the details of some of the papers cited including the lake layers and assumptions because even in many of the papers, the values are "corrected" and radiocarbon dates that do not fall within the expectation are thrown out as errors. I really have to track down the original data to adequately analyze it. What is presented in many of the papers are assertions of theories or hypotheses as proven fact. It is hard to get fully up to speed in a short time and that is why I think many Christian pastors are cowed by the rapid fire citation of supposedly proven indisputable fact.

Following are some of the points in response to the post by Davidson and Wolgemuth at Sorry I could not be any more concise.


An Initial Critique of Presentations made by Davidson and Wolgemuth

- Rev. Joel H. Linton
B.A. Environmental Science - Columbia University in New York City, B.S. Applied Mathematics - Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, M.S. Biology, New York University.

FIRST: With respect to their Galileo reference, Davidson and Wolgemuth cite Eccl. 1:5, Ps. 19:6 that "clearly present a static earth as a physical center of God's creation" and that now we have allowed science to alter our thinking on these verses.

It is ironic that, in contrast to the other verses cited, Genesis 1 uses the most scientifically precise definition of days rather than the more poetic anthropocentric language of the sun rising and setting. Yet they fail to give weight to that exegetical cue. The writers rather cite a few theologians who discount the most common and natural exegesis of the passage: that the day is an alternating period of darkness and light comparable to our present 24 hours. It could have been 25 hours or 23 hours at first; since the fall into sin caused an introduction of entropy into the world by Adam?s disobedience. (Genesis 2, 3; Romans 8:20).

Much more is written by scholars elsewhere regarding the sound exegesis of taking Genesis 1 as describing 7 literal days.

SECOND: The writers are operating under the assumption of basic uniformitarianism -- that is -- the observed phenomena today and physical laws of the universe have always been the same.

However, the Bible presents a different picture. In the Bible, we see three fundamental changes of the system of the universe so that our current observations cannot be assumed to apply to former states. First, the nature of the universe in Day 1-3; Second, the nature of the universe from Day 4 until the Fall into sin by Adam; and Third, the nature of the universe post Fall which would correspond to our present world.

To assume currently observable phenomena should be able to be fully extrapolated to the past does not correspond to what God has revealed in the Bible.

Further, a simple investigation of the early chapters of Genesis would lead to a conclusion that even in the Post-Fall earth there was a fundamental change in geology and climate pre-flood and post-flood. That fundamental change of nature is indicative also by the exponential decrease in age of post flood folks as well as the change of diet allowing the eating of meat. References to the expanse of water above the sky and the fountain of the deep would seem to indicate a major shift in climate and geology of earth, if not a more direct change in the earth's nature by God (rather than a natural process.) (Genesis 7:11, 8:22)

The uniformitarian presupposition fails to account for the epochal changes of universe, geology and climate when it (1) insists on current rates and processes have always likewise been in effect in the past, and (2) fails to consider other possible causes for what is observed in the geological data of the present.

THIRD: I notice Davidson and Wolgemuth's exegetical confusion regarding light before the sun -- they cite "internal textual problems" with Genesis 1 if we were to take it literally. They claim it would be to say, "light and dark are separated twice."

A simple look at the way God made the universe will show that there is creation by separation and hierarchy and populating the regions created. If Genesis 1 is to provide us with any evidence, then God certainly did not make the universe with a big bang.

Genesis 1 is most naturally interpreted as a simple and historical chronological description of the beautifully poetic way that God created the world. It is also a chronological description to the brilliantly polemical way that God headed off future temptations of the future sinners to worship and serve created things like the sun, moon and stars rather than the Creator who is forever praised.

The writers cannot seem to get past the idea of a day existing before the sun was created.

· Two things in answer: First, any physicist knows that light exists independently from any particular source that emits light. That is why you can have solar panels that absorb individual photons to created electricity. Think of a rubber ball floating in a swimming pool and spinning as it floats. If you were a dot on that ball, you would go through an alternating period of air and water as the ball spins. On the first day, in separating light from darkness, what makes sense from Genesis 1 is that God made the simplest form of day and night ? a planet rotating on an axis on a plane of space that separated a field of light (photons) from a separated field absent those photons, darkness. As long as the earth was rotating at a normal speed, you have evening and morning the first day. Later on God made things more complex by creating official sources of that light. This is consistent with the poetically beautiful way he created everything ? forming distinctions, separation and hierarchy and then populating these regions with more complexity. In short, God created the universe more like a painter rather than using some complicated slow process of naturalistic materialism.

· Second, when Genesis 1 says that God created stars, implicit is that they can be seen by man who would soon be created since the Creation was to display God?s glory to man, male and female, created in God?s image . Ergo, implicit in the word star is that it includes the place in space as well as the light path between it and the eye of man on earth.

Despite the arguments of Davidson and Wolgemuth and Biologos, there is as of yet no reason to embrace a more complicated and convoluted explanation of Genesis 1.

FOURTH: Regarding the Flood:

The writers claim to present conclusive evidence that there was not a global flood. Yet they fail to in fairness show how some of the scientific as well as the exegetical data would call to question their own conclusions.

First of all, exegetically, one must make extreme contortions not to understand the implied comparison of the creation of dry land and animals and man that live on dry land in Genesis 1:9 and 1:24 AND correspondingly God's choice to destroy everything that lives on dry land, everything with which God populated the dry land He had made. To claim a regional flood is to stretch to the breaking point the way it was presented in Genesis.

Further, the writers fail to mention any scientific evidence that would counteract their claim of conclusive proof that there could not be a global flood. However, a simple examination of the vast coal field deposits all around the world whether the United States or Australia, great depth of the deposits, and how many of the fossilized tree trunks stretch of vertically through layers that are supposed to represent the passage of time of millions of years according to scientists and their data schemes, indicate as the most reasonable explanation a global flood. (There are many sources, one example would be the monograph, "Genesis and the Origin of Coal and Oil" by Trevor J. Major.)

Additionally, the global prevalence of flood stories in vastly disparate cultures would also seem to indicate a common descent of all mankind from Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives. Scientifically and genetically, there was evidence indeed of a bottleneck, where the entire population of humanity was drastically decreased. (Of course the scientists will say it happened much earlier in geological time, but nonetheless the data as currently understood match the Bible's teaching about Noah and the world of his time.) The scientific evidence of a "mitochondrial Eve" could also be brought up here.

If the biologos folks claim that genetic defects and variation must necessarily mean groups of hominids alongside Adam and Eve in hundreds of thousands of years, they fail to see the implications of genetic changes of the Fall, or the rapid increase of genetic mutation post-flood.

The writers cite salt beds as evidence that the flood could not have been global. The citation of only one known method of formation of salt deposits does not prove there are not other ways of formation. It also fails to consider the possible geological and climatic differences pre-flood and post-flood that I refer to above. What were the fountains of the deep like? How did the climate work pre-flood if there was a layer of water above the expanse of the sky more massive than our present experience of clouds? The authors again make huge unproven assumptions about the pre-flood world in insisting only one method of salt-bed formation. We know of another one from a simple elementary school kitchen science experiment: heat turns water into steam and leaves behind a salt residue. There are other sources of heat besides the sun. What happens if there were vast reservoirs of water under the earth's crust at whatever levels that at some point were heated quickly leaving behind salt deposits? This hypothesis is as good as the ones the writers came up with. What if the process of unleashing the flood caused these things? We cannot adequately investigate these pre-flood phenomena if they did indeed exist. Science must end by humbly saying, "We do not know for sure and cannot speak conclusively about these vast salt deposits."

What is asserted as fact by the writers regarding the salt deposit origins in the Gulf of Mexico is simply theory or hypothesis.

Furthermore, how can they account for salt 1000's of feet thickness in their own theory of salt formation?

Let me add one more Scriptural evidence of a possible supernatural intervention during the Flood that may not be an existing climatological, geological phenomenon today: Genesis 8:1-3. God caused a wind to pass over the earth to dry up the flood waters. This may have been outside the normal climatic parameters and could have had unexpected effects not evident in our experience today.

Some might claim that the mountains are too high today for the waters to have covered the earth. The mountains may not have been as high back then. Any geologist knows how mountains can grow higher.

The fact that the Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat means that the flood possibly was very high indeed and again, unlikely to be simply a local phenomenon as the writers claim.

FIFTH -- Regarding the Human Genome:

We have no way of knowing precisely and scientists have no way of investigating what level of genetic change happened before and after Adam sinned.

We know that death and decay were introduced into Adam and all the Creation over which Adam was the representative head. We can only surmise that there were instantaneous, multiple and multifaceted genetic changes in Adam, in the fundamental nature of Adam. If I scientist could somehow transport back in time, take a blood sample of Adam just after he was kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and the map his genome, the scientist with their evolutionary presuppositions would conclude that the presence and number of genetic mutations and defects proves that he had descended from a line of hominids with a minimum of time -- let's throw out a number -- one hundred thousand years. Even if Adam insisted to this scientist that he had been created directly by God and that he had just been cast out of the Garden of Eden because of his sin, the scientist would argue, "No, your genome make up conclusively proves that you must have descended from hominids over many generations."

That Adam lived 930 years lets us know that probably that his genetic makeup was much healthier than ours even after the Fall. We can also reasonably conclude that the geological and ecological environment was also much better than it was now.

(As an aside, it would be good to ask folks like Davidson and Wolgemuth if they believe that Adam lived as long as God said he did in Genesis 5.)

That Adam's direct line of descendants from Adam to Noah all seem to live in the 800-900 year range, it seems that the environment and the genetic defect and mutation influence on life expectancy was pretty stable. But then we come to Genesis 6:3, "he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." This could simply refer to the time remaining before the Flood. Or it could refer to God's direct further supernatural intervention in man's genome to cause another fundamental change to result in a shortened life-span that would settle around 120 years. Indeed, we do see in future generations after Noah an exponential decrease in life expectancy that approaches this age. Even in our world today, with all the further accumulation of genetic defects, age 120 seems to be an upper limit to human life expectancy give or take a few years. The fact that we are still this way does seem to indicate that there was a second fundamental shift in human genome beginning with Noah.

I think this is probably a greater factor than simply an issue of genetic bottleneck and climate change with the Flood.

SIXTH -- Regarding the Geological Column: The author's claim there is no other possible way to interpret the geological column with its fossils rather than the way they do so.

I'll give one example of an alternate way to explain what is currently seen in geological strata: God created an extreme diversity of ecosystems all around the world. Therefore, you would not necessarily see certain fossils grouped with certain fossils because they were not in the same region with the Flood deposited and fossilized them. Further, in any given region, fluid dynamics and size of animal, population of the animal species, etc. would all contribute to how they were deposited and what groups of animals were deposited together.

To answer a further question some might have, what about the animals on the Ark? First, God definitely miraculously caused them to come to Noah. Second after the Flood we can only assume that God caused them to head back to the ecosystem and region from whence they came. It is very evident from looking at the continental shelves and other data that at some point in the past (in my mind right after the flood), sea levels were much lower so that animals could migrate on land back to their places of origin. As the sea-levels began to rise again, they were cut off. Their populations also were initially very small so that it is unlikely that the extinction process would happen immediately, but eventually they would begin to spread out and compete for the same ecological niches and you get a mixing of competitive species and extinctions.

Further, what is reported as geological strata data is actually tainted by the presuppositions of the geologists and paleontologists. If they find a fossil in the wrong place at the wrong time (geologically and stratigraphically speaking) they just assume it could not have originally been their. The evidence is not so simple as the diagram that Davidson and Wolgemuth present. Further, when the radio-isotope dates come out wrong from the assumed strata, the scientist assumes an error in the radio-isotope measurement, or contamination rather than considering that possibly his whole construct and scheme of geological time is in error. There is all kinds of circular logic going into the dating schema that would take a lot of time and investigation to sort out.

Even further, the writers fail to mention seemingly definitive evidence contrary to their schema like the fact that soft tissue was found in dinosaur bones supposedly fossilized millions of years ago (Dr. Mary Schweitzer, March 25, 2005, Science). Because of their presuppositions, scientists would never consider it to be evidence that these dinosaurs did not die so long ago (perhaps in a Flood 5000 years ago?). One group of scientists scrambled to get a paper out to provide an alternate theory that somehow it was a bacterial slime that had crept into the bones, but as of the last paper I read by Dr. Schweitzer in 2010, and the details of what was discovered, it seems to definitely be soft bone marrow and blood tissue of the dinosaur.

Scientists discount reports in history of dinosaurs, pictures, written reports, etc. because of the presupposition and the geological time schema they have in a sense pledge their lives and sacred honors to.

SEVENTH: On the surface, the sedimentation layers of lakes and ice deposition layers of glaciers might seem the most compelling evidence of the lack of a global flood and an old earth, yet one must remember the evidence mentioned above as well as many other things not mentioned here that are indicative of a young earth. If the scientists even considered that evidence, they might actually reinterpret what they are seeing the the core samples. With regard to sedimentation layers in lakes and ice deposition layers on glaciers, the scientists are operating under many assumptions. And though they claim that they can back thing up by comparing certain specific foreign contaminant depositions caused by e.g. volcanic eruptions, this is not necessarily as they say it happened.

If as it is claimed there are really 60,000 layers of sediment in Lake Suigetsu which stopped being produced in the 1600s when a canal was dug to the ocean, if the assumption that the current process has always gone on, in geologically active part of the globe on the ring of fire, how could the lake remain undisturbed for 60,000 years?

Alternating pollen, clay layers does not necessarily imply seasons but could have been deposited in the spring, various floods interrupting the normal deposition of pollen by covering the one layer and then being covered by the pollen still continuing to be released by the plants and drifting onto the lake surface. Further, fluid dynamics might account for some of the layering. I'm not giving definitive answers because I still need to research the data and the way the experiments were done and the underlying assumptions in how the data was presented and interpreted. But I am simply giving a possible other explanation for what has been presented by these writers.

The same could be said about the radiocarbon graphs. What is peculiar to me is that the graph is almost too much of a straight line, that is the correspondence between depth and C14 is almost too regular to be real and not an artifact of the measurement or confounding variables like (pressure?) or possible CO2 C14 migration?

Again, I have to delve more in depth when I have time to give a more definite critique. (Please follow the link "Time Required For Sedimentation Contradicts the Evolutionary Hypothesis)

Just realize that scientists dealing with origins and the past have presuppositions, assumptions and agendas where if one part were wrong, the entire house of cards would fall down. With these writers, I see a pattern of naturalistic uniformitarian bias and a tendency to trust scientific pronouncements and a tendency to discount or reinterpret the weight of exegesis.

We can say one thing for sure: Naturalistic Evolution and Big Bang Cosmology are the grand mythologies of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. And they are operating as such. And while scientists might be willing to dismiss Genesis as a framework, polemical poetry, or mythology devised to teach spiritual truths, they fail to see that naturalistic evolution and big bang cosmology serves that function for them and operates in the way they are assuming the Bible does.

Hope this will contribute to the discussion.

In Christ,

Joel H. Linton


Regarding another point: Adam was created an adult. Therefore he had an appearance of age. I imagine he also had a belly button so he would not look different from his children. But a scientist examining Adam would insist that he was born. In the same way, fully mature trees would have had growth rings. So an instant after they were created, if a scientist were looking at it, he (or she) would say, ah, this tree has been in existence for e.g. 50 years. Look, I can see the growth rings! These apparent age phenomena are inherent necessities for mature adult living things.

However, I do not see the necessity for non-living things in earth created quite the same way. Do lakes by necessity need to have sediment layers? Further, I think there is definitive weight against the notion that some people argue that God simply put fossils in the ground on the day He created dry land. I think lake sediment and fossils would have been things that happened after the creation of lakes and, for fossils, after the Fall.

Now it is possible that God put great reservoirs of salt into the ground on the day He created dry land because that was a mineral mankind would need.

Simply put, the authors refused to even allow for this possibility in their thinking. By their actions, they show their bias and presupposition towards current scientific thinking.

Exegesis of the revelation of Scripture should be the primary source of information that affects how we interpret currently observed data and NOT the other way around.

Related news:

  • Tim Keller hosts a biologos conference
  • What the 27th General Assembly of the P.C.A. has already said about creation and evolution
  • ARP Synod Rejects Evolutionary Views of Adam's Origin
  • Friday, April 6, 2012

    What can sending churches do for missionaries?

    I just read a good post by a missionary in Honduras on what is the best thing that local supporting churches can do to be a blessing to the missionary.


    What I Want for All Missionaries

    I have often been asked, "How can our church, small group, or family better serve missionaries?" I get lots of churches that ask similar questions. They start with great intentions but have poor follow-through.

    Missionaries, obviously, are human; we miss home, we sin, feel neglected, raise our kids poorly, have bad prayer lives, and so on. Just like we did when we weren't missionaries. The hard-to-swallow truth is that we are out of sight and out of mind. Our friends, family, and brothers in Christ don't see us every day, their lives move on without us, and we become forgotten by those who used to care for us and love us.

    Most missionaries knew this would happen when we left for the mission field. People don't sign up to be missionaries for the fame, glory, and additional friends. It is no surprise, but I am shocked at how much it hurts me. I am surprised how much it hurts to be forgotten.

    If I could ask for one thing of a church or small group or a family it would be for them to show some interest in my family and me. Send a small care package of stuff we miss twice a year. Give me a call once every other month. Send my kid an electronic iTunes certificate on her birthday and Christmas so I can be reminded someone other than me cares a little about her. Ask me about my marriage and my spiritual life, because both are probably suffering. Send me an occasional e-mail and tell me you prayed for my family today.

    That being said, my family and I would continue to do missions work even if we never heard from another person in the United States. And I know the same goes for all eight missionaries on my mission team. But we want to be loved, and we want to know people are thinking and praying for us. If my team members were reminded that others care and pray for them, they would have strength to endure the hard days.

    As leader of a mission team and a former elder in my home church, I would love to see each missionary on my team have at least one church that loves them and shows interest in them. In my four years on the field, half a dozen churches have told me that their church has a new plan to better care for their missionaries. They explain, "I have been assigned to care for your family." And few have followed through. I pray that each missionary serving on the field has one church, or small group, or pastor that shows interest in them, their lives, their faith, and their struggles.

    When William Carey volunteered to be a missionary, he implored those who sent him, "Remember that you must hold the rope." Missionaries must go, and senders of missionaries must remember to hold the rope.

    Mike Pettengill is a full-time missionary serving in La Ceiba, Honduras. He and his family left the United States in August 2007. Mike is a team leader of an eight-person mission team. To learn more about the Pettengill’s work in Honduras visit Pettengill Missionaries.


    Friday, March 30, 2012

    A Lost Generation

    Please pray that Christians in Taiwan will better impact children in their formative years. Children will pick some role model to follow. Unfortunately, many role models on the internet are not good; there is a dehumanizing trend that distorts the way God created us.

    "A recent poll in Taiwan of 13,000 students revealed nearly half started surfing the internet before the age of seven, and some start as young as three.

    It found a correlation between the frequency of online social networking and the level of concern with appearance and self-image."

    (Src: U.K. Daily Mail)

    One fad driven by the internet is that children put on hours of makeup to make themselves look like barbie dolls.

    Children are lost and need an identity as an adopted child of God.