Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Long-Awaited Update, and What Is Next For TTOR

Hello everyone!  So much has happened in this ministry since my last post in February, and it's time that we reflect on what has happened, as well as update you on where this ministry is headed going forward.

Over the past 11 months, the Truth: The Objective Reality ministry has gone from being a blog with a YouTube Channel as a supplement, to becoming primarily a video ministry that up until recently has been primarily using YouTube to create and share apologetics videos.  At the moment, the YouTube channel has 177 uploads; as a result of self-promoting each and every one of those uploads like crazy, the YouTube channel currently has 315 subscribers and 27,264 views.  To put things in perspective, back in December of 2016, we had only 36 subscribers, and a small fraction of the channel views we have now.  It's been a great season of growth.

During this period of time, I myself have done five different podcasts with multiple apologists, I've given a presentation on the historical Jesus at the January 2017 meeting for the Institute for Creation Science, and I've become so well-known among young earth creationists on Facebook that some of them think I should do formal debates against evolutionists.

Not all is well though; It has come to my attention in recent months that YouTube has started to censor small channels and larger channels alike.  Back in August, we found out that YouTube has a new policy that allows them to put videos containing "controversial religious content" into a special limbo so that almost nobody can see it even if the video doesn't actually violate any YouTube rules.  You can watch my video on the topic here:

On top of YouTube's new policies about censoring controversial religious content, I personally found out that YouTube has been going hard after the small channels of my friends in the Doom SnapMap community.  FNSGaming, who had a few hundred subscribers on their YouTube channel, woke up one day to find that their channel had been given three community guideline violation strikes and had their channel shut down overnight without any warning or explanation given.  Rockhardgamer 45, who has over 500 subscribers on his YouTube channel, had his channel slapped with two community guidelines violation strikes overnight without any warning or explanation provided, and his channel is on the verge of being shut down.  Z Mann Zilla, who has over 260 subscribers, has lots of his videos getting de-monetized and re-monetized all the time without any explanations provided, just like on my TTOR channel.  If you want to see what some of them have to say on YouTube censorship, here are some of their videos:

The point in discussing what YouTube is doing to my Doom SnapMap friends is that since the TTOR channel is a small channel like theirs, and since YouTube is already messing around with the monetization of my videos, the reality is that one day, I could wake up and find out that YouTube has deleted the TTOR channel without any warnings or explanations provided.  All those countless hours spent filming and producing 177 uploads will have been for naught because they all got taken away in an instant.  Clearly YouTube is not a safe platform to be on.

Since YouTube is not a safe platform to be on anymore, I needed to find a good alternative video site to upload TTOR content to.  I tried GodTube for a while, but I didn't like how outdated GodTube's video player was, and I didn't like the fact that I would have to spend hours trying to make my content low-def enough to run properly on GodTube's website, so I left GodTube.  Then I heard from my Doom SnapMap friends that they were going to migrate over to a new video site called Vidme.  I followed them over to Vidme.

When I decided to look at Vidme to see what videos and channels they had for apologetics and creationism, I was almost horrified to see that there is almost no apologetics or creationist presence on Vidme whatsoever.  None of the apologetics ministries that I follow on YouTube, with the exception of Acts17Apologetics, have channels and uploads on Vidme.  Instead, I found that when I looked up apologetics and creationism topics on Vidme, the only thing I found was the videos and channels of internet atheists and skeptics from YouTube making fun of and attacking apologetics and creationism.   When I saw that, God and I agreed that TTOR needed to have a presence on Vidme, and so I created a channel for TTOR on Vidme.

Since YouTube censorship will only get worse, and since Vidme is a growing alternative to YouTube, the plan for the Truth: The Objective Reality ministry is to eventually transition completely from YouTube to Vidme.  We will eventually stop posting videos to YouTube (if they don't shut us down first), and Vidme will become the primary site where TTOR videos are uploaded to and shared with others.  However, there's a catch.

As a new channel on Vidme, our channel has a weekly upload limit of 3 GB per week, and we can't upload a video that is longer than 30 minutes.  In order to do away with those limitations, we need to become a verified member on Vidme.  In order to be eligible to become a verified member, the TTOR channel needs to have at least 50 followers.  Please help us today by creating a profile/channel on Vidme, and then follow us on Vidme by clicking on the follow button.

We have the potential to start the apologetics and Christian presence on Vidme that exists on YouTube, but it's going to take each and every one of you to help make that happen.  As Vidme continues to grow, if we can show other Christian ministries and churches that there is an audience for them over on Vidme, they'll start flocking over to Vidme, and we can put out enough content to counter what the unbelievers and skeptics who are already on Vidme are putting out.

Our Vidme channel link:  https://vid.me/_TTOR_

Friday, February 3, 2017

Did Paul Assume The Authority of Scripture In Acts 17?

Paul's speech to the Athenians in Acts 17 is one of the most well-known passages in the New Testament, and for some, in the entire Bible.  Acts 17 is so popular that apologist David Wood named his ministry Acts 17 Apologetics.  However, some people twist Paul's speech in Acts 17 to fit their talking points and agendas.  For example, in his article Why Andy Stanley Is Right About The Foundation of Christianity And How To Defend It, the heretical apologist Frank Turek said the following:

"It is true that Jesus did quote Scripture with folks who already accepted the authority of the Old Testament. But when He spoke to unbelievers (the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, Pilate, and the thief on the cross), Jesus wasn’t firing Bible verses at them while assuming the authority of Scripture. Likewise, Paul didn’t assume the authority of Scripture or quote from it when speaking to the Athenians (Acts 17), but attempted to find common ground with them, even quoting their own poets and recognizing their 'unknown God' beliefs, in order to connect them with the true God and the truth of the Resurrection."

Notice what Frank Turek said about Paul's speech in Acts 17; he's claiming that not only did Paul not directly quote from scripture in his speech, but he didn't even assume the authority of scripture in his speech.

I don't deny that Paul quoting their poets and acknowledging their "unknown god" idol was Paul's attempt to find common ground with them; he was probably trying to show them that he wasn't some ignorant fool off the street who didn't know anything about their beliefs.  But to say that Paul didn't assume the authority of scripture in his speech is sheer lunacy, and I'm going to show you today why it's sheer lunacy.

Paul's Speech In Acts 17

Here is Paul's entire speech in Acts 17:

Acts 17:22-31:   "Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: 'People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  "For in him we live and move and have our being."  As some of your own poets have said, "We are his offspring."

Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.  In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.'"

Now that we've got Paul's entire speech here, let's take a closer look at what he's saying in verses 24-31.

Breaking Down Paul's Speech

In verse 24, Paul is making references to Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and 1 Kings:

Isaiah 42:5:  "This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it..."

Isaiah 66:1-2:  "This is what the Lord says: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.  Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be?  Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?' declares the Lord."

Deuteronomy 10:14:  "To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it."

1 Kings 8:27:  "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"

In verse 25, Paul makes a reference to the Psalms:

Psalm 50:9-12:  "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it."

In verse 26, Paul refers to Deuteronomy and Job:

Deuteronomy 32:7-9:  "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.  Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.  When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.  For the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance."

Job 12:23:  "He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them."

In verse 27, Paul refers to Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Jeremiah:

Deuteronomy 4:7:  "What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?"

Isaiah 55:6:  "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near."

Jeremiah 23:23-24:  "'Am I only a God nearby,' declares the Lord, 'and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?' declares the Lord'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' declares the Lord."

In verse 28, Paul refers to Deuteronomy, Job, and Daniel:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20:  "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Job 12:10:  "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

Daniel 5:22-24:  "But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.  Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.  Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription."

In verse 29, Paul refers to Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:18-20:  "With whom, then, will you compare God?  To what image will you liken him?  As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.  A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple."

In verse 31, Paul makes multiple references to the Psalms:

Psalm 9:7-8:  "The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.  He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity."

Psalm 96:13:  "Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness."

Psalm 98:9:  "let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity."


As we can see, just about everything Paul said in his speech in Acts 17 makes multiple references to scores of passages and verses in the Old Testament.  That's odd.  I seem to remember Frank Turek saying that Paul did not assume the authority of scripture. 

While it is certainly true that Paul wasn't giving direct quotes from the Old Testament in his speech, that fact that just about everything he says makes multiple references to scores of passages and verses in the Old Testament shows that Paul absolutely WAS assuming the authority of the scriptures when he was talking to the Athenians in Acts 17; he simply paraphrased the scriptures into words that the Athenians could understand. 

Is Frank Turek even aware of all the Old Testament references that Paul makes in his Acts 17 speech?  If he is aware, then how on Earth does Turek justify saying that Paul did not assume the authority of scripture?  How does making multiple references to scores of Old Testament passages not qualify as assuming the authority of the scriptures?

If you've been following the blog for a while, you know that I've written two blog posts about Frank Turek (Does Denying Young Earth Creationism Make Someone A Heretic? and Frank Turek Slides Further Into Apostasy) as well as a video blog about his arguments against Young Earth Creationism; Frank Turek was even the primary subject of my December 4, 2016 podcast on Old Earth Creationism with Jay Hall.  In that podcast, I pointed out that there were a lot of things wrong with Frank Turek's article that I quoted at the beginning of this post.  Frank Turek's claim that Paul did not assume the authority of scripture in his speech in Acts 17 was one of those things. 

If the heresies that Frank Turek has committed in video and writing wasn't enough of a reason to stop following and endorsing him, I hope his false claim about Acts 17 gives you an additional reason.

If you would like to see me respond to Marie Wood's interpretation of Paul's speech in Acts 17, be sure to check out the following video:

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