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48 Churches Have Been Burned in Canada - What is Going on? | BreakPoint This Week
John and Maria discuss a new reality that over other the past 2 months at least 48 churches have been burned by arsonists in Canada. While some charge the fires are backlash from First Nations members, who have discovered that many in their culture were mistreated by the Catholic church, some are saying the facts don't add up. John and Maria question if there is a growing distrust and violence against the church in Canada.
John and Maria also revisit a BreakPoint from James Ackerman, who told his story of finding a sense of redemption after going to an abortion clinic to talk to mothers. They also discuss Simulation Hypothesis, a growing idea in the scientific community that assigns spiritual language to unexplainable realities in Science.
Confused Souls Find Rest in God’s Image
The most common refrain in Genesis about God’s creation of the world is that it was good. Down through the centuries, many people both inside and outside the Church have tried to say that the material world is less valuable or important than intangible inner truths. This has been one of the main talking points for the new sexual orthodoxy: telling hurting souls that their bodies are somehow wrong.
Kathy Koch has worked for years to undermine this demeaning perception. In her talk at our recent Wilberforce Weekend, she reminded us about the wonderful intentionality in the way God “knitted” us together as male and female. For today’s BreakPoint, here’s a portion of Kathy’s talk.
I’m Kathy Koch of Celebrate Kids here in Fort Worth, and I want to talk with you about how God made us good. I think God is good and God is a good Creator. And if children, teens, or adults don’t know that, then it doesn’t matter to them that they’re created in His image. In Psalm 139, verses 13 and 14 declare that we have been formed by God in our inward parts. It says in Psalm 139:13 that Father God knitted us together in our mother’s womb. Knitting is a precise skill; the knitter knows before starting what he is making, or he’d better not start. Otherwise he’d have a mittens-scarf-hat-afghan sweater thing with no purpose at all.
The size of the stitch and the needle, the color of the yarn, and the design of the creation is known before the knitter begins.
Do we praise God? Because we’re fearfully made?
Do we stand in awe of ourselves now?
We’re not God.
Fear in the Old Testament is fear of God. That we would have this awesome respect for the creation of who we are. The verse that revolutionized my understanding of God’s creative intent is the end of Psalm 139:14 where David writes on behalf of God: My soul knows very well that I am a wonderful work of the creative intent of God. A fearfully and wonderfully creation made in His image.
I have tremendous empathy for young people who live in confusion in a chaotic, messy culture. I believe that if I was young today being called “sir,” I might wonder if I was supposed to be a boy. I have empathy for these kinds of teenagers and young adults. We are privileged at Celebrate Kids to talk with those who do not believe they were created good. They do not believe in a good Creator. They don’t understand the image of God and it is not their fault. Generations of young people are trying to change what they should not try to change.
And they’re unwilling to work on the things they could work on because frankly, the adults around them are weak. God is good. Therefore he made me good because I’m in His image and He is fully good! So there’s gotta be something here and I choose to not see it as wrong. I don’t see it as a mistake. It is a challenge.
I’m surrounded by great people and I’m loved well by God, and by people who love me deeply; without that I would question so much. So I’m not a too-tall-Kathy-with-a-low-voice-who-can’t-spell-all-that-well mess of a person. I am who I am, created in the image of God, and He is good.
What’s your story? And what story are we helping young people who we love live?
Kathy Koch is founder and president of Celebrate Kids, reminding the Church and the world of the goodness of our Creator and the enduring beauty of His creation. In her words, we see a path forward to loving—truly loving—our neighbors who struggle with gender dysphoria.
As she argued, the new sexual orthodoxy encourages hurting young people to change what shouldn’t be changed and discourages them from working on the things that they can work on. While giving lip service to the claim that people are perfect just as they are, our culture’s fascination with expressive sexual identities leads proponents to argue that the only way we can be t
Is There a Way To Respect My Family While Leaving the Church? BreakPoint Q&A
John and Shane field a listener question who has left the faith and didn't consider how that would impact his parents. He writes into John to inquire about a middle ground, seeking to follow his thoughts and convictions in religion while also honoring his parents.
After answering that question, a listener writes in asking how to honor her convictions while building a relationship with a new person attending her church. John gives reasoning to help the listener make strong steps in friendship and walk forward in conviction while also building relationship.
Shane then asks a question from a listener whose school community is challenging the notion that critical theory is present in their school. The listener asks how they should lead their community knowing that ideologies and doctrines are present in the school system.
The God Committee and Playing God
A heart is available, the clock is ticking, and doctors are forced to choose between three viable candidates for a transplant: A woman who could live for several more years with a new heart but doesn't want it; a beloved middle-aged father who's chronically overweight; and a young rich kid who might have just overdosed on cocaine but whose dad is dangling a $25 million donation to the hospital if his son gets the heart. All of this is in the plot of the new movie, “The God Committee.”
The team of doctors and nurses deciding who will live or die are given the nickname The God Committee. But this is a corrupt understanding of God, isn't it? God doesn't work from an algorithm. He doesn't give good gifts like new hearts to those people who will be missed the most, and withhold them from people with bad attitudes or harmful habits, or who are kind of annoying. Nor does he play dice with the universe (no reference to Albert Einstein).
A Christian worldview of life and human value is not based on quantifiables such as how many people love a particular person, or how many years someone might go on to live. Every life is endowed by God with His image and likeness. Every life is equally valuable. Human value is not based on any extrinsic categories. It is intrinsic to each and every person, and God doesn't make what He doesn't mean to make. God created people to bear His image and likeness before the rest of the created order.
In “The God Committee,” doctors accuse each other of “playing God” and it is meant as an insult. But the Book of Genesis describes how within vitally important created and moral boundaries, God actually intended His people to play Him before the Creation. When Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful, to multiply, and to fill the earth and subdue it, they were told to do what God had just been doing. Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, God filled and formed an earth described in the second verse as being empty and void. Now, His image bearers are to carry on that work, ruling over the created order by filling it and subduing it. In fact, even after the Fall, that task continues, though now it is complicated by pain and by thorns.
The key distinction here is whether we play God as if God actually exists, or whether we play God as if we are God. Whenever we think it's our authority that determines what's right and what's wrong, we're playing God in the wrong way. This was the Enemy’s very first temptation for Adam and Eve. This was the temptation of the builders of Babel. This temptation continues today, especially as our technological abilities advance so far beyond our ethics.
The irony of “The God Committee” is that doctors don't become gods by deciding who deserves someone else's heart. In fact, does anyone ever deserve another person's heart? Are patients who die before receiving a transplant somehow morally wronged before organ transplants were possible? Mere decades ago? Were the sick then somehow less deserving? No. God made His image bearers with a magnificent capacity to first imagine, and then make these kinds of technologies possible. But as God clearly states as He observed the Babel project, humans ought not do everything that comes into their minds. A culture like ours, drunk on the arrogance of our own technological innovations but without any sort of consensus about the true and the good, simply cannot deal with the moral dilemmas that we ourselves are creating.
Our culture makes this mistake often when it comes to scientific discovery. First, we ask whether we can do something. Later we ask whether we should, and then we answer that second question with the first. That if we can do something that’s all the reason we need to know that we should do it. That is playing God outside of the limits that He gave us. The confidence that we hold in our abilities is sim
An Abortion Clinic, a Calling, and Glimpse of Redemption
Recently I talked to my friend James Ackerman who's the CEO of prison fellowship ministries. And he told me a story about when he was younger and how God used him in a special way. What follows is an edited transcript of a conversation I had with James Ackerman:
When I was 18 years old, I got my girlfriend pregnant. She had an abortion. I was not in favor of it, but I didn't try to stop it either. Four years later, I gave my life to Jesus at an altar call at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City. Most of my new Christian friends were Upper East Side types who went to Bible studies at DeMoss House. A couple of my friends would regularly chain themselves to the entrance of abortion clinics, spending the rest of their weekends in jail. I was not up for joining them, but the Lord did call me to do something.
I learned there was an abortion clinic in an office building on Lower Park Avenue, five blocks from my apartment. It opened at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings. The Lord put on my heart the need to minister in front of the abortion clinic, not in protest but with a Bible in hand to share the love of Jesus. To let women know they had other options and to offer to pray with them, and to point them to the local crisis pregnancy center. I prayed, “Lord, if this is really from You, You have to wake me up at 5 a.m. every Saturday morning. I'm not going to set my alarm clock. It has to come from You.”
On Saturday morning at 5 a.m. I was wide awake. So, with a Bible in hand I make my way to Park Avenue South to the abortion clinic. It had a large plaza in front and as women made their way to the building, I would walk backwards from the sidewalk to the entrance saying, “Jesus loves you. There is a better way. Can we talk?” That's it. And every Saturday morning for a year at least one woman turned around. Some were just afraid, saying things like, “I can't afford to have another child.” A few even told me they had prayed that God would put somebody in their path that morning, and I was the answer to that prayer.
The last Saturday I went, a man became furious as I spoke to his girlfriend. After he got her inside, he came back out, walked to his car, and pulled out a baseball bat. After three or four blows to the head, I was on the ground. The security officers came running out to help me, asking if I wanted them to call the police. “No, it's fine,” I said. “I'll be alright.” Do you know what? Not once in that year did those security officers ever even talk to me. Not once had they told me to get off the property and stop what I was doing.
That very night at a friend's birthday party I was in no mood to attend, bruised and beaten, I met my wife of 31 years, Martha. The next Saturday I woke up at 8 a.m., looking forward to taking Martha out on our first date.
Just before Wilberforce Weekend in Fort Worth this spring, I had lunch with a friend of mine who reminded me of that time. He said, “God was redeeming you.” I had never thought of it that way. And then I realized something: there are at least 52 men and women alive today, all of them 32 years old because Jesus alarm-clocked me at 5 a.m. Every Saturday morning for a year He said, “Go there.”
That season in New York City reminds me of another time the Lord called me into His service. He called me in 2016 to take up leadership at Prison Fellowship. My job has been to lead the organization from the era of being founder-led and primarily known by its founder, to being mission-led and known first for the work we do. It's been a very important transition for Prison Fellowship. And it's been an honor for me to lead it during this time. It's even been an honor to lead Prison Fellowship through a pandemic.
I was the CEO of four companies before I came to Prison Fellowship, and nothing has given me greater joy and taken me through greater spiritual gr
The Simulation Hypothesis: A Materialist Spirituality?
Movies such as “The Truman Show,” “The Matrix,” “Inception,” are all based on the premise of humans who were, unwittingly, living in a computer simulation. More recently, quite a few influential and brilliant minds are proposing this so-called “simulation hypothesis” as more than fiction. In some cases, the bizarre theory is morphing into something that looks suspiciously like a materialist spirituality.
Back in 2016, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and Space-X, speculated to a tech gathering in California that the development of computer simulations that were “indistinguishable from reality” was inevitable. In fact, Musk believes that it’s more likely that we live in a simulation than in the real world. And he’s not alone. Recently in The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman described the increasing popularity of the simulation hypothesis among thinkers as diverse as “philosophers, futurists, sci-fi writers and technologists.”
The notion that we are all self-aware software trapped inside computer-generated virtual reality first gained academic credibility in a 2003 paper published by Oxford philosopher and futurist Nick Bostrom. In it, he argued that if we were to extrapolate the progress of current virtual reality and brain mapping technology into the future, the most likely result would be simulations indistinguishable from real life and programs indistinguishable from people. And, if that were true, then it would be unlikely that we would be the first generation in history with the ability to produce such simulations.
That line of thinking led Elon Musk to conclude that the chances that our world is “base reality” and that we are not living in a simulated reality, are “one in billions.”
And it gets even weirder. Rothman suggests that the original programmers of our simulated reality could “find it interesting to watch us fight the battles they have already lost or won.” Others have suggested that perhaps thousands or even millions of simulations are running at the same time. Philosopher Eric Steinhart speculates in his book Your Digital Afterlives that simulations are nested within other simulations. Within this “great chain of being,” some people could be “promoted” to a higher reality when they die, attaining a kind of immortality or “resurrection.” On a darker note, if the “computational cost” on our creators’ processors ever becomes too great, perhaps they’ll simply pull the plug on all of us.
If this all begins to sound a bit metaphysical, Rothman agrees. One of the appeals of simulation theory, he thinks, is that it “gives atheists a way to talk about spirituality,” or something like it. It offers “a source of awe.” It even brings up similar questions for our simulators that one might ask of God: “Why did they create us? Why did they allow evil in their simulation?” “Why are we here?” And perhaps even, “Do they love us?”
Of course, science fiction speculation does little to answer the actual big questions of human existence, and it certainly cannot justify a particular moral code. If none of this is real, including me, why should I care? Why not live, as in HBO’s hit show “Westworld” in which people pay to visit a kind of simulated reality, entirely for my own gratification no matter whom it hurts?
Simulation theory also makes the massive assumption that consciousness can arise from and be transferred through matter. And yet, it never explains the origin of consciousness in the first place. Where did the programmers, the real beings made of flesh and blood who inhabited what Musk calls “base reality,” get their sentience, moral code, and meaning? As a theory of human existence, it only pushes the ultimate questions of existence back a step or two, beyond our reach. The simulation hypothesis is, as Stephen Meyer wr
Would you be willing to tackle who are the people who are vilifying “purity culture,” and what exactly are they attacking? I always appreciate your insight!
Solid content but…
The content is always very insightful and dead-on from a worldview perspective. The chemistry is not good. It’s awkward and they seem unevenly matched.
Timely honest and real
Thank You for truth