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April 3, 2017
It was another busy week, but fun, in its own way. I did a wedding for an Ethiopian couple. The bride has attended RiverGrace for most of the time she has been in Hong Kong. As woth the wedding I did a couple years ago for another Ethiopian couple, it was a fun celebration for the 50-60 friends of theirs who attended.
Those who are seeking asylum here have little chance to celebrate events like that with which they are culturally familiar. Everyone who attended said they enjoyed it, even the locals who attended. There were traditional African dishes to feast on, and the couple and guests did a few traditional dances. (I’ll post a separate video on Facebook, but it will slow down the Fodder Webpage too much, so I’ll not post it on there. If you have Facebook, you can see it here… https://www.facebook.com/dave.aufrance. If I’m not your FB friend feel free to add me.)
About 15 or 20 people came the day before to prepare the food and decorate the hall for the wedding. It was a lot of work, but worth it, just to see them all enjoying themselves. I did not try any of the dances! I should have, as I suppose it would have been a source of amusement. I’m not very coordinated when it comes to dance moves.
I appreciate your prayers for the RiverGrace transition. I won’t say too much about it here yet because it is not official. But pending the agreement by the mother church and Hong Kong Evangelical Church, we will be moving the church to a new location, possibly sometime in September. And at the same time we’ll be going through the process of becoming indpendent. I’ll tell you more as we go through the process.
Thanks for your prayers for Cindy, as well, as on Saturday she conducted the training seminar for around 60 people from the ECC Island Church. one of the largest, if not the largest international church in Hong Kong.
Tomorrow is the Ching Ming holiday, which is the spring grave-cleaning day. We’ll be having a BBQ and hike/walk here at our house. Over 40 people are signed up already, so it will be a full house for sure! There will be several guests as well.
That’s about it for the news this week. Make it a great week. Blessings, Dave
Faith: Believing the Truth Substantiated by Evidence - by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Apologetics Press Scientists Seminar in Jacksonville, AL with three other scientists (Drs. Branyon May, Mike Houts, and Joe Deweese) and a Hebrew scholar (Dr. Justin Rogers). During the seminar, we had a live Q&A period where all of the speakers lined up on the stage to field questions from the audience. Several atheists from the local university were present, many of whom stayed after the sessions to ask questions.
During the Q&A period, one of the atheists asked a question that I have often received when discussing science with naturalists: “How can faith (belief without evidence) be used to arrive at truth?” These atheists had been told by other theists that belief in God is not about evidence. It is a blind trust, regardless of the evidence—“fideism.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “fideism” as “reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.”1 By faith, they mean a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”2 To many in Christendom, biblical faith is such an idea.
Imagine an empty container representing the truth on a subject. A person “pours” evidence into the container, trying to fill it to the brim and arrive at the complete truth on a matter. When it comes to religious faith, however, according to many in Christendom, the container cannot be completely filled. The space that is left at the top of the container, between the evidence and the brim, must be filled in with blind “faith.” So, according to them, belief in God, for instance, rests ultimately, not on the evidence, but irrational faith.
In truth, the Bible does not so define faith. The Greek word for faith used in the New Testament (pistis) is not a mystical word only applicable when discussing religious faith. It is the Grecian word equivalent to the English words “belief” or “trust.”3 When we “believe,” “trust,” or “have faith in” someone, that faith is based on evidence. If a parent, for example, has proven himself to be trustworthy, we believe him. If we do not know a person and have no evidence to substantiate his integrity, to believe in him would be a blind (evidence-less) faith, which would be irrational and unwise. Scripture incessantly makes the point that we should come to a knowledge of the truth based on the evidence that has been provided to us. According to Romans 1:20, so much evidence has been provided to come to the truth of God, that not to come to the right conclusion is “without excuse.” We can know the truth—not merely accept it “on faith”—and it will set us free (John 8:32). We should test or “prove all things” before believing them, only holding to that which is good or right (1 Thessalonians 5:21). As did the “fair-minded” Bereans of Acts 17, God wants us to search for evidence that substantiates a claim before blindly believing it (verse 11). Since many false teachers are in the world, He tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” before believing them (1 John 4:1). Unlike blind faith (i.e., fideism)—which pits itself against reason4—Paul believed in establishing truth using reason (Acts 26:25). In fact, Jesus told His audience to not believe Him if He did not substantiate His claims with evidence (John 10:37).
The blind “faith” idea is unbiblical. The biblical portrait of faith would be more like evidence being “poured” into our truth container. The “evidence” rises to the top of the container and begins pouring over the top. Where “faith” comes in is when we look at the truth, verified by evidence, and choose whether or not to believe it. Most do not and will not (Matthew 7:13-14). It is their own choice, but it is not because God has not provided enough evidence to come to the truth. Rather, they have rejected the evidence which is readily available, due to their own personal motives.
As is always the case when I receive the question that the young men asked at the seminar, they are shocked when I respond that I do not agree that faith is “belief without evidence”—that our faith is in fact demanded by the evidence. On this occasion the atheists were shocked five times over, since all of the speakers on the panel nodded in agreement with those words.
1 “Fideism” (2015), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fideism, emp. added.
2 “Faith” (2017), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith.
3 William Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised, pp. 662-664.
An anthropologist went to study a far-flung tropical island. He found a guide with a canoe to take him upriver to the remote site where he would make his observations. About noon on the second day of travel up the river they began to hear drums. The anthropologist asked his guide, "What are those drums?"
The guide turned to him and said, "Drums okay, but VERY BAD when they stop."
As they traveled the drums grew louder and louder. The anthropologist was nervous, but the guide merely repeated, "Drums okay. Drums not bad. When drums stop, then very bad!"
Then the drums suddenly stopped. Terrified, the anthropologist yelled to the guide: "The drums stopped! What now?"
The guide crouched down, covered his head with his hands and said, "Guitar solo."
@Doc's Daily Chuckles - go here firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe
A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. The writers were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers. Here are some of the submissions:
1. As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks. (This was the winning entry; Fred Dales at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA)
2. What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping)
3. Email is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business. (Accounting Mgr., Electric Boat Company)
4. Quote from the boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what 'I' say." (Mktg. executive, Citrix Corporation)
5. We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees. (AT&T Long Lines Division)
6. We recently received a memo from senior management saying, "This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above." (Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division)
7. One day my boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!" (New Business Mgr., Hallmark Cards)
8. This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it. (Advertising/Mktg. Mgr., UPS)
@Sent by Sandy Nelson
Sid and Al were sitting in a Chinese restaurant. "Sid," asked Al, "Are there any Jews in China?"
"I don't know," Sid replied. "Why don't we ask the waiter?”
When the waiter came by, Al asked him, "Are there any Chinese Jews?”
"I don't know sir, let me ask," the waiter replied, and he went into the kitchen. He returned in a few minutes and said, "No, sir. No Chinese Jews.”
"Are you sure?" Al asked.
"I will check again, sir." the waiter replied and went back to the kitchen.
While he was still gone, Sid said, "I cannot believe there are no Jews in China. Our people are scattered everywhere.”
When the waiter returned he said, "Sir, no Chinese Jews.”
"Are you really sure?" Al asked again. "I cannot believe there are no Chinese Jews.”
"Sir, I ask everyone," the waiter replied exasperated. "We have Orange Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews and Grape Jews, but no Chinese Jews!”
@Sent by John Orum
One night a wife found her husband standing over their baby's crib. Silently she watched him. As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.
Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband. "A penny for your thoughts," she said.
"It's amazing!" he replied. "I just can't see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."
You may have heard of an incident that came out of the transportation strike in New York City a few years ago. Certain heavily traveled streets, one of them Madison Avenue, were made oneway. A man who was not completely in possession of all his faculties got onto Madison Avenue going the wrong way.
An officer stopped him and inquired, "Where are you going?"
"I don't know," the man replied. "But I must be late, because everybody's coming back."
By George E. Vandeman, Signs of the Times, February 1972
@Sent by Richard Wimer
Cindy, teaching a seminary at Evangelical Community Island Church.
Photos of a wedding I conducted for a couple from Ethiopia
A couple photos from our village.
Ma On Shan
Tai Wan Village
Fei Ngo Shan