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QUESTION OF FAITH

Should the Bible be taken literally? Answered by the Rev. David Terhune, Pinellas Park Wesleyan Church, 4400 70th Ave. N, Pinellas Park.

"Yes, the Bible is to be taken literally. If it is not, then someone has to be the decider of which parts are to believed and which parts are not. Then it begins to become a selection process of what you want to believe and what you don't want to believe. The Bible has stood the test of time and the test of science and proved itself to be true. One example is the longevity of the Earth. Evolutionists would have us believe that the Earth is billions of years old, but according to the Bible, the Earth is about 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Prior to landing on the moon, scientists said that the moon dust would have accumulated to over 100 feet deep in the billions of years since the solar system came into existence. Yet, when the astronauts landed, they found the lunar dust to be only four inches deep, indicating that the moon is only 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Where do we get this 6,000- to 8,000-year timeline? From adding up the genealogies from the New Testament back to Adam and linking those generations together. Yes, look at the scientific facts, but also find the faith in your heart to believe what God says: that the Bible is his word. Look at both sides, fact and faith, and you will come to the same conclusion: The Bible must be taken literally as God's owner's manual for us to live by."

SKETCH: The Rev. David Terhune, 53, started out following in his father's footsteps and worked as a police officer. Deciding to go into the ministry, he enrolled at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. He has been a pastor for 25 years. Known to his congregation as "Pastor Dave," he has been at Pinellas Park Wesleyan for a year. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Susan. They have three children, Brad, 29, Nicole, 28, and Clayton, 27. One of his fondest memories dates to 1968, when he went through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base with a young man from Texas, George W. Bush, now President Bush.

TEST OF FAITH: Terhune tells the story of a last-minute request from the Grant County Sheriff's Department in Indiana, asking him to lead a Christmas service at the jail. On his way to the chapel, he remembered an event that had taken place 20 years earlier and could not get it out of his mind. So he told the inmates the tragic story of three children who drowned in a partially frozen pond across the road from their home. Terhune preached at their funeral, which was held a week before Christmas. As he recounted the story, he explained to the prisoners that just as the children had paid the price for being disobedient to their mother, who had warned them against going on the pond, they too were paying for their disobedience. That night 13 prisoners gave their lives to Christ. One wept and said he had been the youngest brother of the children who died. He also said that he was not supposed to be there that night, but had an accident and was arrested on a warrant for child support. However, he said, he had never been married and had no children. Terhune told him that he too was not supposed to have been there that night. "God had spanned the time of 20 years to put two men in the same jail service in order to make a difference for eternity," Terhune says.

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