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About

Welcome to GraceWithSalt.  We are a new apologetics ministry based in Northern Indiana.  Our mission stems from the verse found in Colossians 4:6 (NIV) – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” We have formed this ministry to combat modern secularist tendencies to pull people (often times including Christians) away from the accurate original Biblical message. We will discuss hot topics ranging from creation vs. evolution, homosexuality, abortion, modern politics, the supposed separation of church and state, often-cited inaccuracies in the Scriptures, end times, and much more.  We aim to make our posts informative, researched from both sides of the aisle, and considerate of opposing views (grace) but firm in our stance (salt).

My name is Tim Gilleand.  I live in Northern Indiana with my wife Marcy.  We have been married for 10 years and have three kids: Michael (7), Megan (3), and Eli (1).  I work as a call center agent while working on my masters in Professional Counseling through Liberty University Online.  I graduated from Bethel College in 2003 with a degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in education, psychology, and ministry.  My wife and I perform locally as Christian music group UNITY (www.ibelieveinunity.com) and just recently released our debut album ‘What You Choose to Follow’ (available on Amazon).  I lead worship and a teen Sunday school class each week at my church – Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church.

I was raised in many different denominations throughout my childhood.  I accepted Christ at a church camp when I was 7.  I was baptized at a Christian rock concert when I was 12.  Throughout my high school youth group I was often elected as a spiritual leader.  During college, my interest in modern praise & worship grew and I formed several praise bands.  I spent two years helping lead the camp I attended when I was younger.  I also have spent some time as a Christian concert promoter bringing artists into the area.  After getting married and having kids, I decided to settle down and get involved in a local church, and God has been continuing to teach me and guide me.

Through a recent family trip to the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, God has ignited a new passion in me for apologetics, and Biblical accuracy.  Through this site, I hope to ignite the church towards a shift from compromise with man’s word to absolute dependence on God’s word free of man’s erroneous interpretations.

From my wife and I’s UNITY song “Believe”:

I believe in a God above.  I believe in the name of love.
I believe in a trusting savior.  I believe in faith un-wavered.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.  I believe it cause I feel it.
I believe in the Holy family.  I believe in grace over me.
I believe in death and resurrection.  I believe in eternal elevation.
I believe it will be tough, but I believe God is enough.
I believe in you and me.  I believe in Unity.

I am unpopular and proud of it.  My worldview is in stark contrast to the accepted and popular positions even among my fellow Christians. 1st Corinthians 3: 18-19 says “Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you seemeth to be wise in the world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”

So I ask myself, what is man’s word trying to teach me today?  It is trying to teach me that the Bible is such an old book and has gone through so many revisions that it is an unreliable document to base my views on.  It is trying to teach me that man’s superior intellect and morality developed randomly over millions of years from a “simple” molecule on through to other animals and finally to man.  It is trying to teach me that the US has absolutely no spiritual foundation, it was never intended to be run as a Christian nation, and therefore we need to bar all public reminders of God in our lives.  It is trying to classify me as intolerant and hateful if I do not support a measure to give marriage rights to all people regardless of orientation.

If I accept these teaching of man, what would my worldview become?  If I don’t trust the Bible is true and reliable in some parts, then I can’t truly trust any part of it – this makes me question the deeds and teachings of Jesus.   If man came as the result of animals living and dying over millions of years then it makes the Biblical creation account incorrect, and the doctrine of sin (death) entering the world through man incorrect, and therefore discounts the need for a savior – if death was always a part of the design.  If the country truly believes it can survive fine without the need of a reliance on God, then why would I personally need a reliance on God?  If I am to keep my mouth shut about what the Bible says about homosexuality, then maybe I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut about all of it, since again – it is shown to be incorrect.

Now, what does God’s word say about these issues (briefly)?

Regarding the Bible as reliable – 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” and 2 Peter 1:21 says “For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Regarding creation – Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth”, Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing”.  In Luke 11, Jesus himself speaks of Cain murdering Abel happening at “the foundation of the world” – not billions of years later.

Regarding separation of church and state – Romans 13:1 says “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”  Many of our government principles arose from Biblical teachings such as the separation of powers found in Isaiah 33:22 – “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king.”

Regarding homosexuality – outside of the popularly used Leviticus claims that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, the New Testament (a new covenant set up through Jesus) still refers to it as a sin in Romans 1: 26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 and Jesus himself refers to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I believe the Bible verses I’ve quoted are crystal clear on these issues, and if I am going to choose to be a Christian based on the teaching of the Bible, then I have to hold to my positions.  I understand there are many different interpretations, but clearly those positions call into question the reliability of the scriptures, and without reliable scriptures our faith is like that house built on the sand – easily washed away.  I only quoted a couple scriptures on each topic above.  To hold to the popular opinions on all these issues – you literally have to re-write a majority of the Bible.  I choose to believe in a faith that does not change with popular opinion.  This puts me at odds with all of secular society and surprisingly enough – most of my fellow Christians.  But it actually makes sense, doesn’t it?  If you’re going to believe something – then believe it.

I do what I do to hopefully persuade my fellow Christians to embrace the scriptures and not stand with those who dispute them.  I do what I do as a light in the darkness of a secular society.  I do what I do to highlight the amazing grace offered through Jesus while at the same time injecting enough salt into the conversation to keep it interesting.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.”

The beliefs I defend (a 6-day creation, Noah, sin, and a Bible free of errors) are controversial topics even within the Christian church.  I have been labeled as someone unnecessarily stirring up unneeded contentions.  I have been told that my “ministry” will only work to cause more division in the church and less unity.  I’ve already explained why I do what I do, but let me respond to my critics.

Edmund Burke is famously quoted as saying “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  The battle between good and evil has been waging since the beginning of time, and it has been shown that rarely is it numbers in the Armies that create a victory, but a realization of the truth of the matter (negotiations).

My fundamental beliefs are not popular because their implications require changing an entire belief system.  I understand this.  But when good men do nothing, they get nothing good done.  The example of Christ is outspoken.  His views were in stark contrast to the popular accepted view of God.  I am in good company.

Remember in Revelation 3:1 that the church at Sardis seemed to be alive, but it was dead.  This is what I fear in our modern society.  James 4:17 tells us that “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  What most Christians do not realize is that we are truly in a spiritual war with the very real forces of evil.  If we are not waging a battle, we are sitting on the sidelines.  Those people on the sidelines celebrate the victories (which they played no part in), and decry when bad things happen (but do nothing to fight them).

I choose to make a stand and not be inconsistent in my beliefs.  A secular notion such as evolution requires me to re-interpret what the Bible clearly says.  If I were to do this I would cast doubt on the reliability of the scriptures.  If doubt is thrown in the mix, it allows for the re-interpretation of anything, such as we see today with homosexuality.  If I am not consistent in my beliefs, I have no chance of reaching anyone with the good news of Jesus Christ, because I have no reason to believe in him if the scriptures are not reliable.

Let me be clear that I do not worship the Bible.  I worship the God that is revealed through the Bible.  Without the Bible I would only know abstract notions of a creator, but nothing about His character, His interactions with us, and His plan for our lives and future.

The positive side of my position is that the Bible is an error-free reliable foundation for anything and everything we will face in our lives.  The big questions in life are ‘where did we come from’, ‘why are we here’, and ‘where are we going’.  The Bible has very clear, beautiful and complete answers for each of these big questions.

God is the software designer (information does not create itself).  He created a perfect code (the world).  He released it to beta testers (Adam/Eve).  They infected the code (sin).   They mass produced the infected code (reproduction).  The software designer is not happy with the new version and decides to do a mass recall (flood) and only leave the purest copy of the code he could find (Noah) on the market.  Eventually the users end up infecting the code again.  The software designer decides that an upgrade is due (Jesus).  Those that don’t accept the upgrade decide it is the original designer’s fault that the software is infected and lose all trust in Him.  The designer decides to scrap the whole project (Revelation) and re-release the upgraded copies in a controlled environment (Heaven), and burn the rest!  Take the upgrade.

For the past year I have been running this blog, as well as debating atheists and liberal Christians on the popular website reddit.com.  When I started this venture, it was due to a response I had after visiting the Creation Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The museum took me on a walk directly through the history in the Bible.  It showed me that by taking the events of the Bible as literal history we have a way to connect the Old Testament to the New, and a full way to offer answers for our beliefs.

I decided that I could no longer sit by and let the world stomp on my beliefs.  But I am just one person, what can I do?  How do I even approach this?  Will people see me as bigoted, out-of-touch, uneducated?  Should I care if they do?  Then I heard this verse, and it changed everything:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

I decided to call my ministry ‘Grace With Salt’.  As Christians, I believe we are to be gentle, not demanding; but yet bold and uncompromising.  Too much salt on our food is overwhelming, and we will just spit it out.  We see this exampled in churches like Westboro Baptist that picket the funerals of soldiers and gay pride parades.  Too little salt and it’s uninteresting and we spit it out as well.  We see this exampled in churches who are people pleasers.  These kinds of churches want to keep up with the Joneses, and often compromise Biblical authority in doing so.   Both of these churches go to opposite sides of the extreme.  I am looking to represent my message with the right balance of Grace With Salt; a passionate message mixed with just the right amount of challenge to make it stimulating.

From my experience talking with Christians and Atheists alike, we pretty much agree on the extreme that churches like Westboro Baptist take.  They are doing it wrong!  That’s fairly obvious.  What most are not willing to admit is that the other extreme is just as dangerous.  The other extreme includes churches that never speak out against anything for fear of being reprimanded.  That does not seem to follow the example of Jesus.  He was constantly speaking out against things.  In fact, he was put to death for it!

There are proper ways and venues to speak up.  Just because you do not like Westboro Baptist’s tactics does not mean the proper response is to say that homosexuality is acceptable.  That’s going to the other extreme.  There is a right way to stand on the authority of the word of God, and NOT be bigoted about it.  There is a way to disagree with a part of a person’s lifestyle without hating them.  In fact, we all do that every day.  Think about it.  I bet you disagree with certain parts of almost everyone’s lifestyles.

Grace With Salt is saying I accept you as a brother in Christ, as part of the family.  I do not agree with your lifestyle, but I know we are all free in Christ.  We are not in bondage to sin anymore.  I pray you will find the truth, and am willing to help you find that.

You see 1 Peter 3:15 says “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect”.

Standing up for the word of God does not mean shoving it down someone’s throat, “beating the hell out of them”.  But it also definitely does not mean giving in to worldly pressures to abandon our standards in favor of the popular opinion.  It means welcoming everyone (all are sinners) with open arms, forming a relationship, and gently correcting them.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)

I write this post as Grace With Salt is approaching our 1 year anniversary.  We are also about to hit another milestone: 10,000 views in one year!  We have had views from over 70 countries.  Our most popular post is “The Bible – More reliable than science” with 537 views.  Other popular posts are on the evidences for Noah’s flood, and the Top 20 Creation/Evolution FAQ.

To mark this one-year anniversary we are making a major policy change.  We are opening up comments on new posts.  We originally decided to not allow comments because we did not like the layout, comments almost appeared to be a part of the article.  We have since been able to create a better layout for comments to be added.  We have never shied away from discussing our topics with those of other viewpoints, but we have regulated those discussions to Reddit, keeping a link on each page to those discussions.  We now feel it best to keep with our original motto to present both sides of an argument fairly, as well as seasoned practice in defending the faith and our position, to open up comments.  I hope those who wish to post alternate viewpoints will do so gracefully and with respect.   Degrading comments that just aim to mock will be deleted.

Thank you all for making this a landmark year in my personal life, as well as in the life of countless thousands who have perused this site as well as monitored my discussions on Reddit.  Many people think my position fails constantly in those discussion due to my extremely low ‘comment karma’, but it has come to my attention that debates are won or lost by the audience watching, not those debating.  In other words, for each post I make – I get hundreds of views on my blog, but just 2-3 people debating me on it.  This seems to suggest that more people than not are hearing the message, and not feeling the need to contest it.  I realize this does not mean agreeance, but the relatively low number of people challenging me in comparison to the high numbers hearing the word is reassuring.

Pray for us as we continue on standing bold on the authority of the word of God against growing compromise in the world and in the church.

I am a conservative.  I am a republican.  I am a Christian based on an informed-faith versus a blind faith.  I believe the Bible is 100% true and non-contradictory from cover to cover, and best read as literal history.  I do not believe we descended from a common ancestor, and I believe that position is 100% scientifically accurate.  I believe the world and universe are thousands of years old, not billions.  I believe the act of homosexuality is sinful, but that it is no reason to not respect or love anyone.  I believe we all sin. I do not believe in “good” or “bad” people, I believe in “saved” and “unsaved” people.  I believe God loves all!  I believe in a worldwide flood approximately 4500 years ago that is to credit for the majority of the fossil record and geologic events we observe today.  I do not believe our focus should be on this life, but the grander eternal life.  I believe both Heaven and Hell are very real places; angels and demons are very real entities around us every day.   I believe abortion (at any age) is murder.  I believe the state of the church today greatly confuses Jesus, although there is a lot of good going on – organized religion is mostly a laughing stock.  I believe that we are moving rapidly toward the end times (if not already there). I believe this country was founded on Christian principles that permeate the writings of the founding fathers.  I believe the separation of church and state was developed to protect the free and public expression of religion verses the modern interpretation that is the opposite.  I believe dinosaurs co-existed with man, were more than likely on the ark, are described in the Bible and legends around the world as dragons, were hunted down and exterminated by man.  I believe in maintaining a household as free of worldly influence as possible.  I believe a person who is truly living for Christ will sacrifice their normal pleasures and replace those with service to God and others; that person will not ask “how far is too far” or “can I do this and still be a Christian”.  I believe the Christian lifestyle is a journey, not a destination.  I believe that loving one another is our number one priority, but that does not mean we do not have the authority to call others out when they are in the wrong.  I believe calling one another out according to the scriptures may be the most truthful form of love there is.   I am hated.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”  –  Jesus  (John 15:18)

I was born into a single parent home.  My mother raised me with a strong foundation in Christianity.  We visited many different kinds of churches and by a very young age I have been told I greeted people with “Praise the Lord”.  At the age of seven I went to a Christian camp where I specifically asked God to forgive me of my sins and that I wanted to live for him.  I anticipated going to this camp each year as I could really feel God’s presence and a renewed passion for him.

I was baptized at the age of 12 at a David & the Giants Christian concert.  Shortly after, while attending a Pentecostal church, I received the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues.  It was a very fluid experience for me.  I wondered if I was just blabbering, but my mom asked me one clarifying question: “could you do it yesterday”?  No, this was something different.  My spirit told me this was the language of Heaven and that I was communing with God directly without the barrier of earthly-created English.

I was very spiritual throughout my high school years leading my youth group and looking forward to intelligent discussions of faith and Bible study.  I remember struggling for many years during this time of this concept of serving God at all times without ceasing.  I felt like I was turning my back on God whenever I went after my own desires or interests.  It was also during this time that I met my future wife.  Her Mormon faith challenged me and led me to my first serious religious research project, and very poor times of debate.

After high school, I went to undergraduate school at Bethel College, a private school of the Missionary denomination.  While there I not only received in-depth instruction on Old Testament, New Testament, and Biblical authority, but also a love and desire to do praise and worship music.  Music had always played a major role in my life, but this was a bigger way for me to express not only my love for God, but also use my talents at the same time.

I took a couple years off school to accept a position to go work for the Christian camp I had grown up in.  This was a dream job, but a very difficult one too.  Spiritual warfare became very real for me there.  I saw the reality of dark forces at work, we all did.  Prayers were answered very specifically while there, and it was very faith-building.  While there, I realized the same process I use to gauge whether a child has accepted Christ was not the same I was using to judge my Mormon girlfriend.  I now had no more reason to hold off and we were married.

After the time at camp and the wedding, I spent several years away from church.  I felt the church was too compromised and watered down for me; I wanted more out of it.  After much encouragement and patience from my wife I was encouraged to try it again.  God revealed to me that I was looking for the wrong thing.  I shouldn’t be looking for what I can get out of it, but what I can give: my talents.  Shortly thereafter I began leading worship and teaching a teen Sunday school class weekly at a Wesleyan church.  Denomination affiliation was never a big deal for me.  I was only interested in Bible-believing teaching and a genuine attitude/hospitality.  I’ve been there ever since.  God also used my wife to encourage me to break several bad habits such as holding back on tithing.  I have now seen the wonders of submitting financially to God!

God has blessed us with three beautiful miracle children whom my wife has the amazing ability and patience to homeschool.  Four years ago my wife and I started a music ministry called UNITY.  We’ve always written music and worked separately, but decided to join our efforts.  God has used this decision to not only bless others but also strengthen our marriage at a weak point.  Two years ago we decided to take a family trip to the Creation Museum, something I had heard quite a bit about.  The experience changed our lives.

I had always had a hard time reconciling the confusing themes of the Old Testament to the gospel message.  The museum took us on a walk through Biblical history starting in Genesis.  I’d always avoided origin issues just for the muddiness and confusion they offered.  The museum not only cleared up all that confusion, but also showed how a correct Biblical understanding was necessary for the gospel message to even make sense!  This changed everything for me.  I had been craving real Biblically-based truths.  I had questions I didn’t even realize I had, and there were answers I didn’t even realize had always been there!  I immediately became a believer and couldn’t keep these truths to myself.  Since then I have started an apologetics blog (gracewithsalt.com) to help spread the truth of these answers, have spoken in churches and concerts, as well as daily debating others online.

Around the same time God called me back to school through a junk e-mail.  I had been wanting more out of my life, and I got an email asking “Do you want more for your life”.  I now attend Liberty University Online getting my masters in professional counseling.  I have a life plan to graduate, get my license, eventually go for a doctorate, and possibly even a seminary degree to enter the pastorate.

God has now answered that questioning I experienced in high school about serving him without ceasing.  It’s a process that I am still working towards, and sometimes difficult.  I now know that true joy only comes through the things of God.  He can strip everything else away and I may be sad for a moment, but still have that eternal joy.  I am an eternal being here temporarily, and because of that I must learn to and continue filtering EVERYTHING through my Christian worldview to decide if it is worth my time and resources.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is real, that he created this world perfectly and entrusted it to us.  After that we rebelled against God which brought things on this planet God never wanted for us: disease, corruption, suffering, and death.  It had to occur in that order (perfection to corruption) for the necessity of a savior.  Many ask “why doesn’t God just come down and fix it all”?  I believe he did 2000 years ago through my savior and best friend who I know and interact with on a personal level just as I do any other of my friends: Jesus Christ!

Cosmic_Scenes_10899

 

 

I recently received a surprising email from a person I used to debate on Reddit a while back.  The email wasn’t necessarily surprising due to the length of time it had been, but also the content.  We had a couple exchanges.  I decided to share it with you and let you decide what is happening in the heart of this unbeliever that would draw him back to me after a bit of time.  Of course I will conceal his identity out of respect.

angry-computer-guy

 

___________________________

 

HE WROTE:

 

I have to admit, I think of you occasionally. Science magazines, blogs and forums make up a large portion of my recreational reading. Whenever I see new studies or discoveries that further deteriorate the laughable YEC position I wonder if you’re still at it. I try to imagine what hoops you might be jumping through. Well, I took a moment to look you up, and lo and behold, you’re still at it. I can’t do anything other than smirk and shake my head. I keep thinking that someday the cognitive dissonance will be too much and you’ll realize that you can’t explain away all of the contradictions. I guess for now, the mental gymnastics you do haven’t hit home. Oh well, it only strengthens the research….people really are incapable of changing their mind. 

As a man, I’m disappointed in you. As a father, saddened by you. But most importantly, as a human, I’m embarrassed by you.

Whenever I encounter someone so young, I’m always surprised when they admit how little they know. The entire world’s libraries are available 24/7. You could get a Harvard equivalent education for the price of a library card if you wanted to. And instead you’ve stuffed your thumb up your ass and called it apple pie. What a waste. What a farce.

Ignorance isn’t just what you don’t learn, it’s also what you won’t learn.

Here’s to hoping you read more than one book in your life.

 

___________________________

 

I RESPONDED:

 

I think I remember you.  From Reddit, right?  I’m not on there too much anymore due to my job now – but I do miss it.  I would love to have further discussion with you, but it seems you were merely on a mission to ridicule me.  I don’t seem to understand the point in that.  I am basically a stranger somewhere out in the world that has no effect on you personally – yet you felt the need to seek me out and mock me.  Who does that?

I have seen no new facts that contradict my YEC beliefs.  Sure, I’ve read several interpretations of the facts that do not agree – but those aren’t enough for me to drop it.  I recently discovered this from LiveScience (http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html) – ““In the scientific method, there is a clear distinction between facts, which can be observed and/or measured, and theories, which are scientists’ explanations and interpretations of the facts.”  I think you mistake interpretations for facts.  Creationists and evolutionists both have interpretations – but neither cancel out the other.  You can’t prove anything through interpretation.  If you feel there is a FACT I’ve missed, feel free to share.

In conclusion I would like to point out that in your email you neither once mentioned one piece of evidence for evolution.  I find that baffling.  If it so obvious, why do most people that contact me not enlighten me?  You are practicing the age-old fallacy of ad hominem – attacking the person, rather than the subject.  You know nothing about me yet add that I’ve not read more than one book in my life.  I have a masters degree in psychology – do you have any idea how many books it takes to get to that point of education?  And yes, evolution was throughout much of the material… but just because it’s written in a book doesn’t make it fact over interpretation.  I am thankful that I have a mind that can comprehend the difference and I pray that you will come to see that in time.

Let me leave you with a follow-up article by a PhD astrophysicist (who just happens to be a creationist) on why this debate falls apart:  http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/08/03/arbitrariness-and-inconsistency-the-opposites-of-rationality/  Good luck friend!

___________________________

 

HE RESPONDED:

 

Nope. No ridicule. Just strong words. And why you? Because you’re promoting your mythology and it hurts society. 

A 15 second search shows news articles from around the world that destroy your delusion.

From geology to biology to simple physics each blow more crushing than the next. You know how your fellow Christians pick and choose the parts of the bible they like and discard the rest? It’s frustrating because you can see the cognitive dissonance. You’re doing the same thing with science. You pick and choose, ignoring what you don’t like. You say one thing and do another. We have a word for in English for someone who does this. Hypocrite.

Read the second half of this quote again.

Ignorance isn’t just won’t you don’t learn, it’s also what you won’t learn.

Please don’t have children. 

 

___________________________

 

I RESPONDED:

 

I think a big difference between myself and other armchair scientists is that most people will read those news articles and automatically like trained robots believe every word since it came from an authority above themselves.  I accept an authority above that authority though.  Therefore I have a standard by which to compare the claims in each of those articles. 

In fact I’ve started a comparison chart for people like yourself to see how creationists view modern scientific articles (https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/creation-science-chart/).  It is a work in progress.  I will be updating it more in the future.

I have four children who love me and love life, see purpose in their future, and love science because of creation… but thanks for the concern.

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