mid-week apologetics booster (8-1-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1250) from Nuggets:

We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction. – Charles Spurgeon

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Ravi Zacharias on the Ben Shapiro Show THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/ravi-zacharias-on-the-ben-shapiro-show/
  2. Google says “Christian” unacceptable keyword, “Muslim” okay. people mock the idea of Christian persecution in America today, but here is one such example of persecution by exclusion from a media giant.: https://youtu.be/J0Ev02c0WnY
  3. John Bunyan – Biography and Life Facts: https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1601-1700/john-bunyan-11630083.html
  4. Is the Bible True? The Cumulative Case for the Reliability of the Gospels (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-the-bible-true-the-cumulative-case-for-the-reliability-of-the-gospels-free-bible-insert/
  5. Voted the Best Christian Book of All Time: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/reflections/read/reflections/2019/07/23/voted-the-best-christian-book-of-all-time
  6. Theories that explain everything | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2019/07/29/theories-that-explain-everything/
  7. The Prosperity Gospel and Biblical Promises: How should we understand them? Coffeehouse Questions: https://coffeehousequestions.com/2019/07/28/the-prosperity-gospel-and-biblical-promises-how-should-we-understand-them/
  8. A Long Way from Bake My Cake – Break Point: http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/07/breakpoint-a-long-way-from-bake-my-cake/
  9. The Bible Comes Alive in Israel | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/bible-comes-alive-israel
  10. Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says – Scientific American. This is a Jewish Physicist and I like some of the things he has to say. For example, about scientism and about the “Theory of Everything”: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atheism-is-inconsistent-with-the-scientific-method-prizewinning-physicist-says/#
  11. Celebrating new religious freedom law, Bolivian evangelicals push for more – Religion News Service: https://religionnews.com/2019/07/29/celebrating-new-religious-freedom-law-bolivian-evangelicals-push-for-more/
  12. Hitler’s God: 3 Reasons Hitler Wasn’t Christian iApologia: http://iapologia.com/hitlers-god-3-reasons-hitler-wasnt-christian/
  13. The Gospel – Paul Washer: https://youtu.be/cqbPaXhK4Zw
  14. Science Doesn’t Say Anything- Scientists Do – Frank Turek: https://crossexamined.org/science-doesnt-say-anything-scientists-do/
  15. Q&A session after “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” lecture with Dr. Frank Turek – 54 minutes : https://youtu.be/zSqb5Q8zjx4
  16. If God is just, then why give eternal punishment for temporal sin? Vince Vitale and Ravi Zacharias: https://youtu.be/zb5fEK99BIk
  17. How can so many people read the Bible, but still die unbelieving? Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray: https://youtu.be/4CIGJw-XRq8
  18. Why would God make me a lesbian? Is it wrong to love someone of the same sex? Q&A session with Dr. Frank Turek answering: https://youtu.be/VShB2Y6A5Kc
  19. Do you think homosexuality is wrong? Q&A session with Dr. Frank Turek: https://youtu.be/JBHodHT3pOk
  20. The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel: https://youtu.be/67uj2qvQi_k
  21. Developing a forensic faith (47 minute lecture) – J. Warner Wallace: https://youtu.be/T_lyyw-x2Kk
  22. Evidence for the Resurrection – Craig Hazen, 1 hour lecture: https://youtu.be/ocbtjLgUnQY
  23. Crazy College Courses and the Religion of Sex: https://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2017/12/20/crazy-college-courses-and-the-religion-of-sex-n2424553
  24. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist – Dr. Frank Turek: https://youtu.be/_sgxYiuTJNo
  25. Is the New Testament true? Dr. Frank Turek: https://youtu.be/iuV3Qv4whNY
  26. What if they don’t believe the Bible? Nabeel Qureshi: https://youtu.be/g7LXcYzF12Q
  27. Seven Days that Divide the World – John Lennox: https://youtu.be/0FmO2XKMe6g
  28. Does the Bible Utilize One Type of Apologetic Methodology? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/does-the-bible-utilize-one-type-of-apologetic-methodology/
  29. Famed Yale computer science professor quits believing Darwin’s theories | The College Fix: https://www.thecollegefix.com/famed-yale-computer-science-professor-quits-believing-darwins-theories/
  30. Church of the Apostles discovered near Sea of Galilee, archaeologists say | Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/science/church-of-the-apostles-discovered-archaeologists-say

I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly –my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well–the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Blessings to you all

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This Week’s Conversations

Wednesday July 24th

A Christian friend and I had lunch with our Hindu / Skeptic friend.  During the course of our conversation, here are some of the objections he brought up:

  1. He believes that all paths/religions are valid – there is not 1 true religion
  2. Evolution – thinks that all true scientists believe in evolution. If there are any anti-evolution writings, their origin can always be traced back to a spiritual source, and therefore can’t be trusted (biased).
  3. Many of his objections were of the category, “God doesn’t do what I expect (or how I would do it), and therefore He doesn’t exist.
  4. Inequity – bad people do well, good people suffer.
  5. All religion is man-made.
  6. Leaders rise up and have millions of followers and people end up deifying them. This has happened numerous times in history and Jesus is just another example of that
  7. There is no physical evidence of God or Christianity
  8. He is absolutely certain that there is no heaven or hell. This earth is where heaven or hell are.
  9. God can’t control his people – he can’t make them believe. Also, the ones who do believe, split into “denominations”.  He named Protestants, Catholics and Mormons.
  10. He challenged, “So what happens if everyone believes in Jesus?” Do all the problems go away?
  11. He wanted to know about believing in Jesus, “what difference does it make?” I told him about the wrath of God that each person has due to him for his sin and how believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins reconciles you to God, making peace between you and God, since Jesus took your punishment, but if you reject Jesus and what He did, you have to pay the penalty for your own sins.
  12. He doesn’t trust the Bible – anytime we would bring up what it says, he would dismiss it. Anytime we would bring up what Jesus said, he would say that no one knows what Jesus actually said – that’s just what His followers said that He said.
  13. He believes that the followers of Jesus (who saw Him risen from the dead) were hallucinating. He believes they talked themselves into believing.
  14. His standard of belief is very high – he won’t believe unless God personally talks to him. Even then, he might think he is hallucinating.
  15. He wants “proof” for God.
  16. He wonders why Jesus showed up in this little insignificant place like Israel 2000 years ago. Why didn’t He show up in a big place, like New York City where many millions of people would’ve seen Him?
  17. He wanted to know “what is God?” I said, “Creator”.  My friend said, “God is Spirit”.  He said, “So, you can’t see God, right?”  He went on saying that he can’t believe in anything he can’t see or detect in anyway.

Needless to say, we answered his questions the best we could – I thought we gave very reasonable answers, but he wasn’t convinced by them.  Interestingly enough, on the way out to the parking lot, we were talking about who’s right and who’s wrong and I made the comment, “Maybe I’m wrong (although I don’t think I am), please convince me!”  He said, “I can’t convince you, I’m lost!”  I thought that was a remarkable admission and told him so and hugged him goodbye.  I don’t think he knows the profoundness of his admission there – he is truly “lost” – in the biblical sense.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and I pray that Jesus seeks and finds him, and similarly, I hope our friend seeks Jesus with a sincere heart!

Yesterday (Friday July 27th), shortly before it was time to leave work for the day, I saw a Muslim colleague of mine who will be quitting work next week and moving back to his country of origin.  I wanted to talk to him and tell him I was really going to miss him and our conversations.  He had another friend with him who I hadn’t met before.  It turns out that guy works at our company on a different floor than me and in fact he is a Christian too!  Anyway, my Muslim friend asked me something about whether the Bible spoke about his country of origin, so I showed him my Nuggets web site and searched the full Bible and found out that what he was asking me appeared in the Bible twice (Gen. 2:14, Dan. 10:4).  I will let you (the reader) determine what he asked me to search for 🙂  Anyway, that opened a spiritual conversation that lasted about 45 minutes (caused me to get home late from work :()!  It was a great conversation in which we compared and contrasted Christianity and Islam, and talked about our respective worldviews.  I was able to share the Gospel with him as I explained the core message of Christianity, when he asked what the absolute necessary thing was to be a Christian (we had been talking about baptism, because another colleague of his is Mormon and had discussed baptism previously).  During that part of our conversation, I shared Romans 10:9 – “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  I emphasized that you have to believe in the Deity, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior in order to be a Christian.  Of course he said that Muslims don’t believe that Jesus was crucified, but that Judas was crucified in His place.  I searched my copy of the Qur’an on my Kindle for Sura 4:157 and showed him that.  During the conversation, he was sharing various verses out of the Qur’an showing that all paths lead to God.  He is a very moderate Muslim and made extreme effort to communicate that he respects all religions and that it is good people who go to heaven (from all religions).  Wow…  A lot could’ve been said there (and some was said in response at the time), but we would need many hours to fully unpack this topic and make sure he understands the biblical view and how it is different from Islam.  Anyway, it was a great conversation and I will miss him and do pray that he would be reconciled to the one true God, Yahweh!  I also hope and pray that I can continue to meet with and fellowship with the other new Christian friend I met during that conversation.

mid-week apologetics booster (2-28-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 750) from Nuggets:

Commitment is the defining characteristic of a person’s life. – James MacDonald

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Want to Share the Gospel? Start with This Question | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/video/want-share-gospel-start-question
  2. Harvard’s Rules and Precepts, adopted in 1646, stated, …Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3)…: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~gsascf/shield-and-veritas-history/
  3. Is Committing Intellectual Suicide a Requirement for Becoming a Christian?: https://roblundbergapologetics.com/2019/02/21/is-committing-intellectual-suicide-a-requirement-for-becoming-a-christian/
  4. Why the Resurrection of Jesus Matters THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/why-the-resurrection-of-jesus-matters-3/
  5. Medicine and Miracles – Anything we do to help our bodies recover from or function under the effects of the Curse is a medical intervention. If we wear glasses to help us cope with near-sightedness, take an aspirin for a headache, or put a band-aid on a cut, we are effectively using natural means instead of relying on a miracle. And that isn’t wrong!: https://creation.com/medicine-and-miracles
  6. 12 Senators Pushed a Religious Test for Public Office and Spread Anti-Religious Bigotry. They Include Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris: https://pjmedia.com/faith/remember-these-names-12-senators-pushing-anti-religious-bigotry/
  7. Why the Resurrection is the Best Argument for Christianity: https://crossexamined.org/why-the-resurrection-is-the-best-argument-for-christianity/
  8. Ambassador at Work – Faith, Vocation, and Apologetics | Mikel Del Rosario: http://apologeticsguy.com/2018/10/vocation/
  9. Can the Problem of Evil Be Answered by Christianity? Christian Defenders: http://www.christiandefenders.org/2019/02/12/can-the-problem-of-evil-be-answered-by-christianity/
  10. Report: 47% of Christian Millennials Believe Evangelism Is Wrong RELEVANT Magazine: https://relevantmagazine.com/god/report-47-of-christian-millennials-believe-evangelism-is-wrong/
  11. Gorge looks thousands of years old, but created in months – creation.com: https://creation.com/newly-formed-clarence-river-gorge-looks-old
  12. Handling an Objection: Jesus is Just One of Several Messianic Figures in the First Century THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/handling-an-objection-jesus-is-just-one-of-several-messianic-figures-in-the-first-century-2/
  13. Answering Smug Atheist Mocking Points | The Stream: https://stream.org/answering-smug-atheist-mocking-points/
  14. Mr. Spock’s Lessons in Logical Fallacies 2: The Wrath of Logic Cyber Penance: https://cyberpenance.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/mr-spocks-lessons-in-logical-fallacies-2-the-wrath-of-logic/
  15. Liberal Christian, there are answers to be had | Coyle Neal: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/schaeffersghost/2019/02/liberal-christian-there-are-answers-to-be-had/
  16. The Story of God with Morgan Freeman | Apologetics: https://arcapologetics.org/comparative-religion/the-story-of-god-with-morgan-freeman/
  17. Quick Challenge Answer: All Religions are the Same –: http://tentmakingchristianity.com/quick-challenge-answer-all-religions-are-the-same/
  18. The Gospel Is Offensive. Is That Okay? The Majesty’s Men: https://themajestysmen.com/the-gospel-is-offensive/
  19. I THOUGHT CHRISTIANS WERE STUPID BIGOTS: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/i-thought-christians-were-stupid-bigots
  20. The Beautiful Mind of Jesus – Growing Deeper Roots: https://growingdeeperroots.org/index.php/2018/07/15/the-beautiful-mind-of-jesus/
  21. Reincarnation and the Bible: Past Lives and Scripture – Theolocast: https://theolocast.org/blog/reincarnation-and-the-bible/
  22. The Reliability of the Bible – 4 Quick Thoughts | ReasonableTheology.org: https://reasonabletheology.org/reliability-bible-4-quick-thoughts/

I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 1 John 2:21

Blessings to you all

Teaching on John 10 – The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

This was teaching I developed over the past month and finally delivered yesterday during lunchtime at Mimi’s Cafe to a group of about 15 men.  We’ve been going through the book of John and it was my turn to teach on John 10.

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?” 22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.

24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. 40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41 Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42 Many believed in Him there. (NASB)

Disclaimer (before we get started) – This study group is “multi/non-denominational”. We are all brothers in Christ–we believe in one Lord and one Bible. However, we may have different views on various matters of doctrine and theology.  John 10 is one of those passages the “Reformed Calvinist View” relies on as a proof text.  I am not a Calvinist (for biblical reasons), nor am I Pelagian or Semipelagian, though I do consider myself to be Reformed, holding to the 5 “solas” of the reformation.  I don’t plan to go into detail about my views because we won’t have time for that, yet I want to let you know up front that it is possible you will disagree with parts of this teaching (esp. on John 10:3&26 – I will devote significant attention to 26 – 1½ pages).  That’s ok with me and I hope its ok with you.  In preparation for this, let us receive wisdom from God’s Word:

Proverbs 18:17 – The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.

The point is, maybe you haven’t spent a lot of time considering alternative points of view such things as unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace – on soteriology (or maybe you have…) I ask that you receive this teaching in the spirit in which I hope to deliver it – with humility, gentleness and respect.

Chapter 10 is chock full of great stuff!  Look at all the teaching & doctrine that flows from this chapter:

  1. 2 “I AM” statements by Jesus (v.7,9), (v.11,14), statements of His deity.
  2. Jesus is the only way of salvation for mankind – “I am the door” (v.9)
  3. False teachers/leaders — we must watch out for them (v.1,5,8,10,12-13)
  4. Jesus came to give us abundant life (v.10)
  5. The voluntary atonement of Christ for sins (v.11,15,18)
  6. Prediction of the Gentiles joining Jewish believers in one body, the church (v.16)
  7. Sheep / Shepherd metaphor permeates the chapter, reinforcing His deity (v.1-30)
  8. Jesus attended the “Feast of Dedication” a.k.a. Hanukkah (v.22)
  9. Unconditional election, irresistible grace and limited atonement (v.3,26-27,29)
  10. Jesus’ works are more than enough to prove that He is the Messiah (v.25,37-38)
  11. Eternal security of believers guaranteed by Jesus and the Father (v.28-29)
  12. The Jews attempt for the 3rd time in Gospel of John to stone Jesus (v.31-33)
  13. Jesus claims directly to be God (v.30-33)
  14. The inerrancy / accuracy of Scripture (v.35)
  15. John the Baptist was a true prophet and evangelist of Jesus (v.40-42)

We can’t cover each verse here today–MacArthur took 5 sermons (>=45 minutes each) to give an overview!

According to John MacArthur, this chapter records the final public declaration by the Lord Jesus of His Deity and the end of His public ministry. After this chapter, He goes away for 3 months of isolation across the Jordan with His disciples and others who believed in Him there.  After that He heads toward Jerusalem, after raising Lazarus in Bethany and then comes His passion week (during the Passover feast).  In fact in the next chapter, it explicitly states that His public ministry to the Jews was finished:

John 11:54 – Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

Chapter 10 starts with Jesus’ discourse on Himself as the “good shepherd”. It flows directly from chap. 9, as Jesus continues to talk to the very same people on the very same day. The problem of chap. 9 was that Israel was led by false (blind) shepherds who drew them astray from the true knowledge and kingdom of Messiah (9:39-41). In chap. 10, Jesus declares Himself to be the “good shepherd” who was appointed by His Father as Savior and King, in contrast to the false shepherds of Israel who were self-appointed, self-righteous & blind.

John 10:1 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.

Sheep were kept in a pen which had a door for entry and exit. Those who wanted to steal or harm the sheep would attempt entrance by another way.  The true shepherd enters at the door, being identified by the doorkeeper.  Ezekiel 34 most likely forms the background to Jesus’ teaching:

Ezekiel 34:1-21 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?”

Ezekiel 34:23-24a – Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them.

Literally, the whole chapter deals with sheep/shepherd metaphor. v.23-24 speaks of David in future tense, but he lived long before this.  So, apparently He’s talking about the Son of David (Messiah) who will gather His people, from Israel and from the nations, and lead them into the glory of the final kingdom.  Ezekiel 34 is a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus.  The Gospels themselves contain extensive sheep/shepherd imagery. For example:

Matthew 18:11-13 – [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.] What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.

John 10:3 – To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

The doorkeeper is John the Baptist who prepared Jesus’ way and identified Him as the Messiah:

John 1:29-34 – The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

The old covenant Jewish believers accepted John the Baptist’s testimony of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and these are the specific sheep in verse 3 that “hear His voice”.  There will be a longer discussion on v.26…

John 10:7-10 – 7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Here He is the door. The shepherd led the sheep out of the sheep pen, here He is the entrance to the pen leading to proper pasture. Near Eastern shepherds slept in the gateway to guard the sheep, Jesus here pictures Himself as the door. He serves as the sole means to approach the Father and partake of God’s salvation–Jesus’ explicitly states that He is the only way many times in the Gospel of John, for example:

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Only belief in the risen Christ, who paid for your sins, can save you from the just penalty for your sins and from being cast into hell. Only trust in Him as Savior and Lord can reconcile you to God. Jesus is the source for the knowledge of God and the one basis for spiritual security:

Heb. 7:25 – Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Q: When Jesus said He came to give us abundant life (v.10), why doesn’t this refer to health and wealth?

In John 10:11-18, Jesus is the “good shepherd” (4th of 7 “I am” statements of Jesus). Good (kalos) means beautiful, magnificent, winsome, attractive, lovely and excellent on all levels, vs. other word for good (agathos), which means moral goodness (pleasant, agreeable, upright and honorable).

 Q: Who are some well-known shepherds in the OT?  Is Jesus claiming Deity by this description?  Why?

John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

“lays down His life” refers to Jesus’ substitutionary death for sinners on the cross:

1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit

Romans 5:8-9 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

John 10:16 – I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

Refers to Gentiles who will respond to His voice & become a part of the church. Jesus’ death was not only for Jews, but also for non-Jews. He will make both into one new body, the church.

John 10:17-18 – For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

Jesus’ death was not the end. His resurrection was a demonstration of His Messiahship & Deity:

Romans 1:4 – who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 10:22-23 – At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.

The “Feast of the Dedication” (Hanukkah) celebrates the Jewish victory over Antiochus Epiphanes, who conquered Jerusalem & desecrated the temple. The Jews fought the Maccabean Revolt (166-142 B.C.), liberated the temple, and rededicated it. This celebration is also known as the “Festival of Lights” on account of the lamps and candles lit to commemorate the event in Jewish homes.

Q: Is Jesus celebrating Hanukkah here?  How does it compare with Jesus’ celebration of Passover?

John 10:24-25 – The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly. “Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”

Jesus didn’t expect people to have blind faith – to believe without reason.  We also see this elsewhere in John:

John 10:37-38 – If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.

John 5:36 – But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish – the very works that I do -testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

John 14:11 – Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

Jesus even stayed with His disciples following His resurrection to give them evidence:

Acts 1:3 – After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Jesus had already demonstrated His Deity by His many miracles and rising from the grave. But He stayed for more than a month longer to give His disciples many convincing proofs.”

Q: Why didn’t the risen Jesus appear to the Pharisees to prove that they were wrong about Him?

John 10:26-27 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

The Reformed Calvinist interpretation of this passage is that God has chosen a fixed number of individuals (His sheep) before the foundation of the world. It is only they who will hear His voice, believe and follow, after they have been made alive (or quickened) by His Spirit (effectual calling).  The rest, who are not His elect, He “passes over”.  Thus, Christ died only for His particular sheep – not the whole world.  His atonement for sins is said to be “limited atonement”.

Although this doctrine seems to be supported by many Scriptures (Eph. 1:3-8,11, 2:1-9; Rom. 8:7,9:10-24, John 6:37-40,44,65, 8:47, 10:26; Acts 2:39,13:47-48,16:14; 2 Th. 2:13-14; Col. 2:13; 1 Cor. 2:14, etc.), we must also remember that the same Bible tells us the following facts:

  1. God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
  2. He desires all people to repent (2 Peter 3:9)
  3. He’s pleased when the wicked turn from their ways and live (Ezekiel 18:23)
  4. Not all repent/turn from their ways (Jn. 3:19-20; Mt. 7:13-14, 13:18-23; Rom. 1:18-25)

So, if this doctrine of particular individual election be true, then God elects only some to be saved and to repent even though, according to Calvinism, He has elected whoever He wants.

Note: I’m not saying this is unfair (Rom 9:14-21), nor that we can come to Christ without the Father and Holy Spirit drawing (6:44) or enabling (6:65) us.  Rather, it seems contradictory and not supported by “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).   We know that not all people repent and are saved.  Therefore, since God wants all saved and not all are, there seems to be some element of human choice that God has given us in salvation – this drawing of the lost to God appears to be “resistible”, not “irresistible”.

Salvation is pictured as a gift in the Bible:

Rom. 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A gift must be received – what good is a Christmas present if it is left under the tree?

John 1:12 – But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God

We receive the gift of salvation by faith, and Paul makes it very clear that faith is not a work:

Romans 4:2-5 – 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness

v.5 of this passage clearly says the one who exercises faith in God is not performing a work.  Is the believer just smarter than others because he “figured it out”? No, not any more than a recipient of a gift is smarter or more worthy because he “figured out” that he must open the gift to benefit from what’s inside.

Additionally, John teaches us that Jesus died for the sins, not only of His sheep, but of everyone:

1 John 2:1-2 – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense –Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement have significant practical implications for how we approach lost people in evangelism.  We are communicating the idea that God has genuine love for those whom He has chosen not to save, and that He sincerely offers them salvation. This presents one of the greatest dilemmas for the Calvinist view.  However, God’s love for sinners and His desire for the salvation of all people is communicated by Jesus in one of the most famous verses in Scripture:

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life

God’s love for sinners motivated Him to send His Son. Whoever believes in Him will be saved.  He offers salvation to all—acceptance or rejection of that offer resides with each individual.

So, if “My sheepdoes not refer to a predetermined set of elect persons, then what does Jesus mean by it? One possible meaning is that “My sheep” refers primarily to the faithful sons of Abraham under the old covenant as it was revealed in OT, who were already prepared by their faith and repentance to embrace the promised Messiah at the time of His appearance. These included those under the ministry of John the Baptist, who was appointed to “prepare the way for the Lord”. In a secondary sense, it includes God-fearing Gentiles (e.g., Cornelius, Acts 10) who were led by God’s grace to repentance and whom He drew to faith in His Son.

Q: Dare I ask for any comments here 🙂 ?  Please tell me where I’m wrong…

John 10:28-29 – and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Jesus’ sheep are secure because He is the Good Shepherd–He has them safe. Neither thieves nor robbers (v. 1, 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them.  No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian. Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep’s security, for no one is able to steal them from God:

Rom. 8:38–39 – For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Q: What about people who walk away from the faith?  Do you know anyone who’s walked away?

John 10:30-33 – “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

The Jews are trying to stone Jesus, because His claim He was One with the Father affirmed His claim to deity and caused the Jews to seek His execution. There was no doubt in the minds of those Jews that Jesus was claiming to be God.

The Mosaic Law did permit stoning for blasphemy:

Leviticus 24:16 – Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

However, in 1st century Palestine, the Romans reserved for themselves the right of capital punishment:

John 18:31 – So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death”

Nonetheless, out-of-control Jews at other times engaged in mob actions in lieu of legal proceedings:

Acts 7:57–60 – But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

John 10:34-36 – Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

Jesus quotes from Ps 82:6 where God calls some unjust judges “gods” and pronounces calamity against them. Jesus’ argument is an argument “from the lesser to the greater”. If mere men could, in some sense, be referred to as “gods,” why would anyone object to the Son of God Himself being called by that title?  Then He adds this parenthetical statement: “Scripture cannot be broken”.  This is Jesus Christ the Lord Himself affirming the accuracy & authority of the OT.

If you found yourself disagreeing with some parts of this teaching today, I would encourage you to read the excellent book “Deconstructing Calvinism” (currently $3.99 Kindle, $18.99 paperback).

You may also want to read 2 articles to get a balanced view on the topic of God’s desire that all be saved:

Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God’s Desire for All to Be Saved (John Piper):

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/are-there-two-wills-in-god

Are There Two Wills in God? A Response to John Piper:

http://evangelicalarminians.org/john-piper-are-there-two-wills-in-god-a-response/

Robert Hamilton, “The Order of Faith and Election in John’s Gospel: You Do Not Believe Because You Are Not My Sheep”:

http://evangelicalarminians.org/files/Hamilton.%20The%20Order%20of%20Faith%20and%20Election%20in%20John’s%20Gospel..pdf

I also made significant use of the MacArthur Study Bible comments and his 5 sermons on John 10:

  1. I Am the Door (John 10:1–10)
  2. I Am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–21)
  3. I and the Father Are One, Part 1 (John 10:22–24)
  4. I and the Father Are One, Part 2 (John 10:25–42)
  5. I and the Father Are One, Part 3 (John 10:22–42)

I also listened to Dr. R.C. Sproul’s series on Reformed Theology.

I also read Hermeneutics of 2 Peter 3:9—”Us all” or “you all”? http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=12652

mid-week apologetics booster (10-18-2018)

Good morning friends,

Recently, I have been working on a new and updated version of my Bible nuggets program. You can try it here. The newly modified version contains the following features:

  1. Read and search the full Bible in 8 different translations
  2. Browse selected “Nuggets” from the Bible
  3. Links to biblestudytools.com Interlinear Bible for any chapter or passage you’re reading (this will allow you to explore the Greek and Hebrew text)
  4. Setup and practice Bible memory verses
  5. Browse the Bible by Topic
  6. Browse, search and memorize non-Bible quotes and facts
  7. Works great on mobile devices
  8. Content can be copied to clipboard for pasting into social media postings, emails or text messages
  9. There are many more features in this program that I’m continually updating, contact me if you have any questions about the features or how to use it

Note: if you would like to request a new feature or notify me about a bug, you can add a new issue on my GitHub page for this project!

Here is one random quote (of over 700) from this new program:

We may define a republic to be a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. – James Madison, Federalist 39, 1788

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Remember, if you login (no password required), you can create and store your own database of quotes, facts and Bible memory verses. Be sure to take advantage of this extremely helpful resource, which will help you grow in your Christian walk!

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Nazi child euthanasia and Hans Asperger – creation.com: https://creation.com/asperger
  2. Video: What is the difference between Mormonism and Christianity? – Summit Ministries: https://www.summit.org/resources/difference-mormonism-christianity/
  3. Is the Problem of Evil Really a Problem for Christianity? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/is-the-problem-of-evil-really-a-problem-for-christianity/
  4. Christian Apologetics: Who Needs It? | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/apologetics/christian-apologetics-who-needs-it/
  5. John Frames 9-Point Checklist for Evaluating Theological Writings: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/john-frames-9-point-checklist-evaluating-theological-writings/
  6. THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON AND JESUS: https://mannsword.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-new-testament-canon-and-jesus_26.html
  7. Christian Youths Leaving the Church: What Are We to Do?: http://www.cltruth.com/2017/christian-youths-leaving-church/
  8. Why does God allow natural disasters, i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis?: https://www.gotquestions.org/natural-disasters.html
  9. John Lennox and Paul Davies discuss aliens and the origin of life | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2018/10/10/john-lennox-and-paul-davies-discuss-aliens-and-the-origin-of-life-2/
  10. Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of God the Father: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/historic-heresies-related-to-the-nature-of-god-the-father-free-bible-insert/
  11. How to Be Smarter than Google: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/04/how-to-be-smarter-than-google.html
  12. Defending the Bible with Internal Evidence – Aaron Shamp Medium: https://medium.com/@aaronmshamp/defending-the-bible-with-internal-evidence-5f3453890298
  13. J. Warner Wallace, Cold-Case Detective: Evidence Led Him to Faith | The Stream: https://stream.org/j-warner-wallace-cold-case-detective-evidence-led-faith/
  14. Harvard Study Reveals Religious Upbringing Better for Kids Health, Well-Being | The Stream: https://stream.org/new-study-reveals-religious-upbringing-better-kids-health-well/
  15. The Christian Apologetics Mandate: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/reflections/read/reflections/2018/10/02/the-christian-apologetics-mandate
  16. How Are Fossils Formed? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/how-are-fossils-formed/
  17. The Difference Between Believing the Gospels and Trusting the Gospel | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/the-difference-between-believing-the-gospels-and-trusting-the-gospel/
  18. Four Big Bangs That Kill Atheism – iApologia: http://iapologia.com/the-four-big-bangs-that-kills-atheism/

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

Blessings to you all

Lunch conversation with Hindu Colleague

I recently met with a colleague who visiting our office on a business trip from another country in Europe.  It was lunch time and he was sitting at his desk.  I was on my way out to lunch, when I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit that I ought to see if he had plans and ask him to lunch.  So, I turned around and went back to our area and asked him if he had plans.  He had no plans for lunch that day, so I invited him to go to lunch with me.

I have had a history of working with him and it was very nice to get together for a meal.  We went to a Mexican restaurant, which he enjoyed, as he was able to get a vegetarian meal.  He is originally from India and we were talking about all the places he’s lived in India.  Then I asked about Punjab, commenting that I’d heard they have their own religion there.  So, we started talking about religion in general.  My colleague said that many different religions are practiced in India (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, etc.) and that India is very open about religion.  I asked him what he meant by “open”. He said that members of each religion will visit and talk with and be friends with people of other religions and even visit their respective places of worship and spend time together during festivals.  He even said he’s visited Christian churches in India before.  However he said that is not the case for Islam – as Hindus, they don’t go into mosques.

He went on to tell me more about Hinduism, his beliefs and some of the stories in their scriptures.  During our conversation, he described how the best schools in India were Christian schools – he specifically mentioned Catholic and Protestant.  I commented on his mentioning Catholic and Protestant and asked about his understanding of the difference between the 2?  He said that he understood that Catholic was the one true church until the protestant church split away.  I asked him if he’d heard of the Protestant Reformation.  He said no.  I asked if he’d heard of Martin Luther.  He said, “Yes, Martin Luther King, right?”  I said no, that Martin Luther King was the civil rights leader in America in the 1960’s.  I’m talking about Martin Luther.  He said, “Wasn’t he a philosopher?”  So, I went on to explain what happened during the Protestant Reformation.  He asked when all this happened, and I told him about the day (October 30th 1517) when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses (or complaints) against the Catholic Church on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  I explained that Martin Luther was actually a Catholic Monk and he didn’t want to create a new church, rather he wanted to reform the church because he saw that they were straying away from the Bible – I also explained the situation that was occurring with selling indulgences.  I explained that the Protestant Reformation spread throughout Europe and the UK during that time period.  This was the time when the recent invention of printing press allowed the “common man” to have his own copy of the Bible for a cheaper cost, which helped the spread of this reformation.  We even talked about how the countries of Europe to this day are considered either Catholic (e.g. France, Poland, Italy and Spain) or Protestant (Germany, Netherlands, England, etc.).

During this part of the conversation, he even mentioned the level of Atheism in the UK, where he said that atheists represent about 20% of the population. I told him in the US it is somewhere between 5 and 10%.  We talked about how it is hard to believe that someone could believe that the Universe and everything in it came into existence from nothing with no cause, and that life in all of its complexity, including the DNA molecule, could come into existence without an intelligent designer. He agreed then he started to tell me about how in Hinduism there are three different gods Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer. I think they were Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva. Then he started to tell me in general about Hinduism and some of the scriptures. After I was asking him many questions he told me about avatars and how Krishna was an avatar. As we went on talking, I asked him about the concepts of Karma and Reincarnation.  He said that everyone must be reborn so that whatever body you’re living in now you will die and eventually be reborn into a different body. I was asking him a lot of questions during this whole time we were talking about Hinduism and learning quite a bit. For example he said the final state of a person according to Hinduism is Moksha. But the new thing that I learned was that Moksha according to him is a state of non-existence that’s the final state of a person (I had previously thought that Moksha was kind of like Nirvana).  He also revealed that there is a heaven and hell in Hinduism. There is one god that keeps track of all the things you do in this life. And there’s another god which, by his description of it, almost sounded like the grim reaper who will take a person to either heaven or hell.  According to him, after you have served your sentence then you’ll get reborn into another body.

Then I asked him if he knew what the concept of “grace” means in Christianity. He said he had definitely heard of that phrase – the grace of God, but what he described sounded more like the blessings of God. So I talked to him about the meaning of grace. I told him that grace is defined as “unmerited favor from God”, meaning, you didn’t do anything to earn it.  With grace, you are getting good things that you don’t deserve. Kind of a parallel concept, I told him about is mercy. Mercy is where you don’t get the bad things (i.e. punishment) that you do deserve. Those two concepts, I explained, are related like two sides of the coin.  He seemed to understand.  I explained that all people have sinned and are accountable to God for those sins and the punishment due for them.  I asked him if he had any idea how to obtain or access the grace and mercy of God?  He thought for a while – I let there be an awkward silence.  Finally, he said no.  I explained to him, this is where Jesus comes in.  God came to earth in the person of Jesus and lived a perfect (sinless) life.  He followed the 10 commandments to a tee.  I asked if he knew what the 10 commandments were.  He had heard of them, but couldn’t name any.  I explained that these are laws and rules for living that God gave to the Israelites long ago, and gave him a few examples.  So, Jesus lived a perfect life and did not deserve to die, but you know that he was killed by crucifixion on a cross, right?  He said yes.  I explained that Jesus was paying for punishment we deserved for our sins.  So, if we believe that we have sinned and deserved the punishment that Jesus experienced and that He died in our place, then we can go to heaven forever to be with God.  This is the Good News – this is the Gospel.  But if we don’t believe in Him and His sacrificial death for us, then we have to go to hell to pay for our sins ourselves.  In Christianity, this life is the time we have to choose Jesus.  After we die, there are no second chances – this is it!  The purpose of life is to know Christ and once you know Him, to make Him known to others.  He indicated he understood.

We covered a lot of ground in this conversation and I pray that God would take my imperfect witness and help my Indian colleague understand it and consider his relationship with God and his destination in eternity!

AWANA Theme for the night “Deal or No Deal?”

Tonight at AWANA, I will be giving the opening teaching with all 3 clubs (Cubbies, Sparks and Truth & Training) in the main room.  Here is the content of what I’ve prepared for this 10 minute teaching opportunity I have:

The theme of the night tonight is “Deal or No Deal?”  “Deal or No Deal?” is an actual game show that was on TV from 2005-2009 and will be coming back in December of this year.  Here is how the game works:

On the hit game show “Deal or No Deal,” each night, the game of odds and chance unfolds when a contestant is confronted with 26 sealed briefcases full of varying amounts of cash – ranging from a measly penny to $1 million. Without knowing the amount in each briefcase, the contestant picks one – his to keep, if he chooses – until it’s unsealing at game’s end.

The risk element kicks in when the player must then instinctively eliminate the remaining 25 cases – which are opened and the amount of cash inside revealed. The pressure mounts as in each round, after a pre-determined number of cases are opened, the participant is tempted by a mysterious entity known only as “the Banker” to accept an offer of cash in exchange for what might be contained in the contestant’s chosen briefcase – prompting (Howie) Mandel to ask the all-important question – Deal or No Deal?  The contestant has to respond with “DEAL!” to accept the deal offered by Mandel.

A DEAL is defined as “an agreement entered into by two or more parties”.

God is offering all of us humans a “deal”.  And we need a “deal”, because the Bible tells us some troubling things about our situation.

In Romans 3:23, God has told us that all human beings (except Jesus) have sinned.

So, with that being true, none of us can be in Heaven with Him.  The Bible says “nothing impure will ever enter it (Heaven)” – Revelation 21:27a.

If that were the only information we had, that would be very bad news, wouldn’t it?

But that isn’t the only information we have, is it?  Can someone tell me how God promises to fix our problem?

Romans 3:25 (NLT) explains it:

For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us.

The 1st part of that verse tells us what God did to solve our problem (God sent Jesus to take the punishment we deserved), and the 2nd part tells us how we can “accept God’s deal”: We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.

That’s good news!  If we believe in Jesus, as the verse says, we can go to Heaven and be with Jesus forever!

mid-week apologetics booster (8-2-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Do faith in God and science contradict?: https://www.gotquestions.org/science-God.html
  2. Giving the Bad News First – and Accurately | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/giving-the-bad-news-first—and-accurately#.W1sPNDOp40N
  3. What I Wish I Knew Sixteen Years Ago About Sharing The Good News With Mormons – Straight Talk with Claudia K: http://straighttalkwithclaudiak.com/what-i-wish-i-knew-sixteen-years-ago-about-sharing-the-good-news-with-mormons/
  4. Are Your Christian Students Ready for College? | | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/are-your-christian-students-ready-for-college/
  5. Apologetics and the Object of Our Faith Help Me Believe: https://helpmebelieveblog.com/2018/07/23/apologetics-and-the-object-of-our-faith/
  6. The Nature of Apologetics: http://ses.edu/the-nature-of-apologetics
  7. 5 Reasons Why the Church Should Care About Apologetics – ChristianWeek: http://www.christianweek.org/5-reasons-church-care-apologetics/
  8. Minimal Facts Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ | Worldview of Jesus: https://worldviewofjesus.com/2013/02/03/minimal-facts-argument-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ/
  9. Why the Debate over Christian Origins Matter THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/11107/
  10. Canadian landscape a testimony to the Flood – creation.com: https://creation.com/cypress-hills-planation-surface
  11. Put a Stone in His Shoe | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/put-a-stone-in-his-shoe
  12. The Challenge of Moral Relativism: Three Problems with Relativism: http://www.mandm.org.nz/2018/06/the-challenge-of-moral-relativism-three-problems-with-relativism.html
  13. Transgender’s Faith – Walt Heyer (J1706) | Daystar On Demand – Christian Videos: http://www.daystar.com/ondemand/video/?video=5535343586001
  14. Sexual Identity #6 – Kegan Wesley (J1527) | Daystar On Demand – Christian Videos: http://www.daystar.com/ondemand/video/?video=4654213440001
  15. Everything is theological – Adam4d.com: http://adam4d.com/theologic/
  16. What Do You Say To Someone Who Listens To A False Teacher?: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-do-you-say-to-someone-who-listens-to-a-false-teacher/
  17. What Drives a Cult Leader like David Koresh? | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2018/03/what-drives-cult-leader-like-david.html
  18. How Bacteria Help Our Bodies Survive: http://www.icr.org/article/10785/
  19. God’s Specific Plan For Your Life (A Parable) | Christian Post: http://ipost.christianpost.com/post/gods-specific-plan-for-your-life-a-parable
  20. Guidance and God’s Plan | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P10/guidance-and-gods-plan
  21. Twelve Reasons Why Atheism Cannot Explain Reality Seeing God’s Breath: https://godsbreath.net/2016/05/12/reasons-why-atheism-is-irrational/
  22. The Most Common Objection to Gods Existence on a College Campus THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/the-most-common-objection-to-gods-existence-on-a-college-campus-3/
  23. Apologists are Fighting the Wrong Battle – Capturing Christianity: http://capturingchristianity.com/apologists-are-fighting-the-wrong-battle/

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:5-6

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (7-26-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How To Raise A Child In A Christian Home: 10 Important Tips: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-raise-a-child-in-a-christian-home-10-important-tips/
  2. Introducing The College Student’s Back to School Guide to Intelligent Design | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2009/09/introducing_the_college_studen/
  3. Three Spiritual Journeys of Millennials – Barna Group: https://www.barna.com/research/three-spiritual-journeys-of-millennials/
  4. Is bias a bad thing? – creation.com: https://creation.com/bias-bad-thing
  5. The Hardest Question to Answer | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/hardest-question-answer#.W1Es-NJKiUm
  6. All Episcopal Churches Must Now Bless Same-Sex Marriage: https://churchleaders.com/news/329117-all-episcopal-churches-must-now-bless-same-sex-marriage.html
  7. No Blind Faith Here Here’s the thing: https://heresthething.blog/2018/02/16/no-blind-faith-here/
  8. The Unexpected Apologist-Think Divinely: https://thinkdivinely.com/the-unexpected-apologist/
  9. A Christian Defense against Atheism Christian Apologist: https://christian-apologist.com/2017/04/13/a-christian-defense-against-atheism/
  10. The testimony of a Secular Atheist finding Christ | Six Day Science: https://sixdayscience.com/2015/05/11/my-testimony/
  11. Why Unforgiving People Are So Unforgiving | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/why-unforgiving-people-are-so-unforgiving/
  12. The Manx comet and naturalistic assumptions – creation.com: https://creation.com/manx-comet
  13. SETI reacts to the new study that says not to wait up for extraterrestrials | Uncommon Descent: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/seti-reacts-to-the-new-study-that-says-not-to-wait-up-for-extraterrestrials/
  14. Why We’re Probably Alone in the Universe, Despite the Latest Planet Discovery: https://www.christianpost.com/voice/why-were-probably-alone-in-the-universe-despite-the-latest-planet-discovery.html
  15. It’s Time to Take the Bible Seriously – Capturing Christianity: http://capturingchristianity.com/time-take-the-bible-seriously/
  16. How Christianity Led to the Rise of Modern Science – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/christianity-led-rise-modern-science/
  17. Why A Classical Historian Changed His Mind About Christianity | Think Theology: https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/why_a_classical_historian_changed_his_mind_about_christianity
  18. My Wife Has Tattoos: Marriage and New Birth: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/my-wife-has-tattoos-marriage-and-new-birth/
  19. CEASE & DESIST: Town Orders Family to Stop Hosting Bible Studies on Farm | Todd Starnes: https://www.toddstarnes.com/faith/cease-desist-town-orders-family-to-stop-hosting-bible-studies-on-farm/
  20. Interview: How Should Christians Think about Social Justice? – Josh.org: https://www.josh.org/christian-social-justice/
  21. 4 bad arguments for defending creationism (and what we should use instead) – Focus Press: https://www.focuspress.org/2017/09/19/4-bad-arguments-defending-creationism-use-instead/
  22. Micro-Refutations – Scripture calls Christians to refute (i.e., prove false) false views (e.g., 2 Corinthians 10:4-5) | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/micro-refutations/
  23. The Telephone Game Myth: Has the New Testament Been Changed Over Time? | god from the machine: https://godfromthemachine.blog/2017/02/09/the-telephone-game-myth-has-the-new-testament-been-changed-over-time/
  24. Flying Foxes – Bats are amazing animals that display the unlimited creativity of our God. – Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/mammals/flying-foxes/
  25. Sam Allberry’s Advice for Conversations about Sexual Identity | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/sam-allberrys-advice-conversations-about-sexual-identity#.W1TpxTOp40M
  26. 11 False Assumptions about Christianity: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/11-false-assumptions-about-christianity
  27. Hugh Ross’s five best arguments from nature for the existence of God | Uncommon Descent: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/hugh-rosss-five-best-arguments-from-nature-for-the-existence-of-god/
  28. Adam and Eve: Real People or Representative Hominins? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2018/07/22/adam-and-eve-real-people-or-representative-hominins/
  29. Never Read a Bible Verse | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/never-read-a-bible-verse-2#.W1crzDOp40N
  30. The Neo-Darwinian Synthesis: A Fable Told by Ernst Mayr | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/the-neo-darwinian-synthesis-a-fable-told-by-ernst-mayr/
  31. Good Reasons to Believe Peter Is the Source of Mark’s Gospel | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/good-reasons-to-believe-peter-is-the-source-of-marks-gospel/
  32. Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity – The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/
  33. What Do Non-Christians Really Think of Us? – ThomRainer.com: https://thomrainer.com/2013/06/what-do-non-christians-really-think-of-us/
  34. What Are the Top Ten Problems with Darwinian Evolution? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/what-are-the-top-ten-problems-with-darwinian-evolution/
  35. Does the Gospel of Mark Claim that Jesus is God?: http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2013/06/does-the-gospel-of-mark-claim-that-jesus-is-god/
  36. Doug Axe on making odds on getting to a protein by chance in Amino Acid sequence space | Uncommon Descent: https://uncommondescent.com/irreducible-complexity/video-doug-axe-on-making-odds-on-getting-to-a-protein-by-chance-in-amino-acid-sequence-space/
  37. How do we decide which books belong in the Bible since the Bible does not say which books belong in the Bible?: https://www.gotquestions.org/canonicity-scriptural.html
  38. What Memories Are Made Of | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/human-body/brain/what-memories-are-made-of/
  39. C14, DNA, collagen in dinosaurs indicates geological timescales are false | Uncommon Descent: https://uncommondescent.com/news/cocktail-c14-dna-collagen-in-dinosaurs-indicates-geological-timescales-are-false/
  40. Homeland Security for the Church – The Need to Defend the Faith: http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2013/07/08/homeland-security-for-the-church-the-need-to-defend-the-faith/
  41. Am I Going to Hell? | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/articles/am-i-going-to-hell
  42. Six Eternal Truths to Remember Each Day – Eternal Perspective Ministries: https://www.epm.org/blog/2013/Jul/14/eternal-truths
  43. How Should I Respond to Religious Pluralism? | Penny of a Thought: https://pennyofathought.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/how-should-i-respond-to-religious-pluralism/
  44. Three short Pro-life responses to Three popular Pro-choice slogans: http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2013/07/six-short-pro-life-responses-to-six.html?utm_content=bufferce045&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer
  45. Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize – Canon Fodder: https://www.michaeljkruger.com/the-complete-series-ten-basic-facts-about-the-nt-canon-that-every-christian-should-memorize/
  46. PCUSA Rejects Hymn In Christ Alone | Caffeinated Thoughts: http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/07/pcusa-rejects-hymn-in-christ-alone/
  47. If God knew that Satan would rebel, why did He create him?: https://www.gotquestions.org/if-God-knew.html
  48. Jesus: the Antidote | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/articles/jesus-the-antidote

I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. Psalms 119:60

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (6-14-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 10 Predictive Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/10-predictive-prophecies-fulfilled-in-jesus
  2. Debunking 4 Myths About Religious Freedom: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/debunking-4-myths-about-religious-freedom/
  3. How Should a Christian View Israel? Part One THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/how-should-a-christian-view-israel-part-one/
  4. James Warner Wallace on Is Your Transformational Religious Experience Evidence Enough? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/06/10/james-warner-wallace-on-is-your-transformational-religious-experience-evidence-enough/
  5. The Difference Between Speaking the Gospel and Sharing the Gospel | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-difference-between-speaking-the-gospel-and-sharing-the-gospel/
  6. Why Suicide Rates May Rise as Christianity Wanes – J. Warner Wallace: https://townhall.com/columnists/jwarnerwallace/2018/06/12/why-suicide-rates-may-rise-as-christianity-wanes-n2489946
  7. Five Best Scientific Evidences for the God of the Bible: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/06/04/five-best-scientific-evidences-for-the-god-of-the-bible?
  8. If You Want to Share Your Faith Effectively, Do This First – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/want-share-faith-effectively-first/
  9. The origin of life cannot be explained as the result of natural processes.: http://godevidence.com/2017/09/origin-of-life/
  10. Seven Tips for Pastors on Facebook – Rainer on Leadership #439: https://thomrainer.com/2018/06/seven-tips-pastors-facebook/
  11. Engineered Adaptability: Adaptability via Nature or Design? What Evolutionists Say: http://www.icr.org/article/engineered-adaptability-adaptability

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 5/27/2018

Tactics Book – Chapters 5-6

Today in my Apologetics Class, we covered chapters 5 and 6 from the excellent book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions.  Again this week, we both listened to the Tactics audio book (from Audible) and I displayed the Kindle book on the screen using read.amazon.com.  Below is the note-taking form I handed out to the class so they could follow along and fill in the blanks:

Tactics Book Part 2: Chapters 5-6 (5/27/2018)

Chapter 5 (1:59:55 – 2:32) Using Columbo to Lead the Way

  1. We ask leading questions, which take the other person in the direction we want to go
  2. With each leading question, you accomplish 2 things. Every time you ask a question and get a favorable response, the person is telling you:
    1. He u________________ the point you’re making
    2. He a___________ with the point you’re making, at least provisionally
  3. We want to win someone to our point of view – not force our opinions, but rather p__________
  4. Your leading questions will be used to:
    1. I___________ – to indirectly explain your own ideas
    2. P___________ – to indirectly advance your own ideas
    3. S_____ up the t___________ – Set up the “terms of the conversation” to put you in a more beneficial position for your next move.
    4. R____________ – Defeat what you think is a bad argument or a flawed point of view
  5. “The Q_____________” – you will eventually be asked this question (in some form): “You’re saying that people who don’t believe just like you are going to Hell?
  6. You have to know w______ Jesus is the only way before it is helpful to tell people that he is the only way.
  7. The Jewish attorney who didn’t understand why he needed Jesus. Greg asked 2 questions:
    1. Do you think people who commit m________ c__________ ought to be punished?
    2. Have you ever committed any moral crimes?
    3. That puts us in a tight spot, doesn’t it? Do you know what I call that? Bad news!
    4. This is where Jesus come in. We both know we’re guilty, that’s the problem.  So God offers a solution: a p___________, free of charge.  But c______________ is on His terms, not ours.  Jesus is God’s means of pardon.  He personally paid the penalty in our place.  He took the rap for our crimes.  No one else did that.  Only Jesus.  Now we have a choice to make.  Either we take the pardon and go f__________, or we turn it down and p__________ for our crimes ourselves.
  8. “Tell them something they know” – these are the most powerful and persuasive questions.
  9. Shannon, an American college student living in Europe, although she’d been raised in a Christian home and had a strong relationship with the Lord, was perplexed by the idea that others were l___________ apart from trust in C_____________. Greg used questions to remind her of what she already knew and to “connect the dots” for her.
  10. If religion, or sincerity, or ‘doing our best’ cannot save you and me, then how can any of those things save someone else? Either Jesus rescues us by taking the p______________ for our sin on Himself, or we are not saved and we have to pay for our own crimes.  It’s no more complicated than that.
  11. The “P__________-A______________ T_____________ Trick” – when someone asks for your personal views about a controversial issue, preface your remarks with a question that sets the stage – in your favor – for your response. Say, “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking.  I don’t mind answering, but before I do, I want to know if it’s safe to offer my views.  So let me ask you a question: Do you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person on issues like this?  Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view?  Do you respect diverse points of view, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from your own?”  Now when you give your point of view, it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty too.
  12. Everyone thinks his own beliefs are c_____________. If people didn’t think their beliefs were true, they wouldn’t believe them.  They’d believe something else and think that was true.
  13. If you’re labeled intolerant…”Why is it when I think I’m right, I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right, you’re just right? What am I missing?”
  14. Example of a student / professor conversation in “Icons of Evolution”:
    1. Teacher: Okay, let’s start today’s lesson with a quick review. Yesterday I talked about homology [how different organisms show remarkable similarity in the structure of some of their body parts]. H__________________ features, such as the vertebrate limbs shown in your textbook, provide us with some of our best evidence that living things have evolved from common ancestors.
    2. Student (raising hand): I know you went over this yesterday, but I’m still confused. How do we know whether features are homologous?
    3. Teacher: Well, if you look at vertebrate limbs, you can see that even though they’re adapted to perform different functions, their bone patterns are structurally similar.
    4. Student: But you told us yesterday that even though an o_______________ eye is structurally similar to a human eye, the two are not homologous.
    5. Teacher: That’s correct. Octopus and human eyes are not homologous because their common ancestor did not have such an eye.
    6. Student: So regardless of similarity, features are not homologous unless they are inherited from a common a_________________?
    7. Teacher: Yes, now you’re catching on.
    8. Student (looking puzzled): Well, actually, I’m still confused. You say homologous features provide some of our best evidence for common ancestry. But before we can tell whether features are homologous, we have to know whether they came from a common ancestor.
    9. Teacher: That’s right.
    10. Student (scratching head): I must be missing something. It sounds as though you’re saying that we know features are derived from a common ancestor because they’re derived from a common ancestor. Isn’t that c______________ r_______________?
  15. When professor says “science has proven that miracles don’t happen”, you could ask “Professor, would you please explain to me exactly how the methods of science have disproved the possibility of s_______________ e_______________?”
  16. Pay close attention to the answer to the question, “How did you come to that conclusion?” then, ask yourself if the person’s conclusion is j_______________ by the evidence he gives.
  17. You can use the leading questions to:
    1. C_____________ a point
    2. C_____________ new information
    3. Expose a w________________
  18. Remember, as an ambassador for Christ, you don’t have to hit a h________ r_______ in every conversation. You don’t even have to get on base…sometimes just getting up to bat will do.
  19. Point out weaknesses in a view, but don’t be pushy, condescending, or smug (offensive).
  20. Soften or cushion your approach by using “H_________ you c_________________” to preface your question.

Chapter 6: Perfecting Columbo (2:32:01-3:02:02)

  1. In any encounter, there are 2 different times when the pressure is off (and these are perfect times to focus on improving your technique):
    1. Before the conversation begins
    2. After it’s over
  2. There are 3 specific things you can do to ready yourself to respond:
    1. You can a_____________ beforehand what might come up
    2. You can r_____________ afterward what took place
    3. You can p____________ the r_______________ you think of during these reflective moments so you will be prepared for the next opportunity.
  3. After each encounter you have, immediately reflect on how you could’ve done better.
  4. 3 Skills of an Ambassador:
    1. K__________________ – an accurately informed mind
    2. W_________________ – an artful method
    3. C__________________ – an attractive manner
  5. When you’re alone in the car, you can listen to talk radio (or a debate) and then pause it or turn down the volume and try to respond to the challenger yourself. This places you in an actual dialogue in a way that is completely safe.
  6. Even people who don’t usually like taking tests don’t mind them at all when they know the answers to the questions.
  7. There are 2 things that will help generate the c_________________ you’ll need to face a challenging situation:
    1. P_______________ – being prepared will give you confidence
    2. A______________ – eventually, you must actually engage. Interacting with others face-to-face is the most effective way to improve your abilities as an ambassador.
  8. Objection: “I just don’t believe any unwanted children should be allowed to come into the world”. Answer: Not wanting to bring unwanted children into the world may be a legitimate reason for birth control, but it has nothing to do with abortion. When a woman is pregnant, the child is a__________ “in the w___________”, so to speak.  The human being already exists; he or she is just hidden from view inside the mother’s womb. This woman’s response assumed that before making the journey down the birth canal, the baby simply does not exist.
  9. Objection: “People t________ the B__________ all the time to make it say whatever they want”. Answer: People do twist Bible verses all the time.  It is one of my own chief complaints.  The student’s point wasn’t really that some people twist the Bible.  His complaint was that I was twisting the Bible.  Yet he hadn’t demonstrated this.
  10. Once you see how unprepared people are to answer for their own views, you’ll be tempted to use your tactics like a c___________. Don’t give in to that urge.  As a general rule, go out of your way to establish common ground.  Whenever possible, affirm points of agreement.
  11. When someone uses the Columbo Tactic against you:
    1. You have no obligation to cooperate with anyone trying to set you up with leading questions. Simply refuse to answer them, but do so in a cordial way.
    2. “My sense is that you want to explain your point by using questions … I’d rather you just state your view directly”
  12. When a question is not a question: What gives you the right to say someone else’s religion is wrong? This is not really a question – there’s no curiosity at all.  It is a statement disguised as a question.  Response: your question is confusing… Do you really want to talk about rights?  Do you really want to know what my credentials are or what authority I have to speak on these things?
  13. The most important thing to remember about these questions is that behind them lurk strong opinions that are open to challenge if they can be flushed into the open.
  14. 2 Approaches of Columbo:
    1. B__________________ approach (like Lieutenant Columbo) – meant to p_____________, win the person.
    2. C__________________, aggressive (like a lawyer) – meant to r__________________, target is the audience.
  15. Sheepish in Seattle:
    1. Statement: Some religion beliefs seem foolish. Objection: That’s oppressive, not letting people believe what they want to believe!
    2. Response: Do you think I’m wrong then? … If you don’t think I’m wrong, then why are you correcting me?  And if you do think I’m wrong, then why were you oppressing me?
    3. Objection: All religions are basically the same. Response: Really?  In what way? Then, consider this: Either Jesus is Messiah or He isn’t, right? If He isn’t Messiah, then the Christians are wrong and the Jews are right.  If He is Messiah, then the Jews are wrong and the Christians are right. …  Under no circumstances can they both be basically the same, can they?
    4. Objection: No one can ever know the truth about religion. Response: Why would you believe a thing like that?
    5. Objection: The Bible has been changed and translated so many times over the centuries you can’t trust it. Response: Even if the Bible vanished from the face of the Earth, knowledge of God could still be possible, at least in principle…How do you know the Bible’s been changed?  Have you actually studied the transmission of the ancient docs?

Discussion Questions

  1. There are 2 “modes” of Columbo, (1) to persuade and (2) to refute. What is the benefit of each approach?  What situations might you use each one?
  2. What is the “Passive-Aggressive Tolerance Trick”? How does this help us in this modern, tolerant and politically correct environment?
  3. What are 3 uses of asking leading questions?
  4. How can you defend yourself when Columbo is used against you?

 

Apologetics Class 5/13/2018

What’s Down with Hell – James MacDonald

On Sunday in our Apologetics class, I plan to depart a bit from the Apologetics theme and show a sermon on the topic of Hell.  I believe that this is an important topic and that we don’t talk enough about this in the church.  This is one of my favorite preachers of the Word of God, James MacDonald

 

Here is the note-taking form (with discussion questions) that goes with the video:

What’s Down with Hell (James MacDonald) – 5/13/2018

  1. The story of the R________ M_______ and L_____________ – Luke 16:19-31
  2. What is Hell? That question cannot be answered as normal questions can be answered – there’s no reference point (except the word of God).
  3. Charles Hodge – Princeton Theological Seminary – said regarding hell, “It is a doctrine which revolts the heart. It is a doctrine which the heart struggles against and to which the heart submits only under the stress of authority.  The church believes the doctrine of hell because it must believe it or renounce faith in the Bible and give up all the hopes founded upon its promises”.
  4. Definition: Hell is a place of e________ t___________ for the impenitent (unrepentant people).
  5. This is not a church full of righteous people, this is a church full of forgiven people, who have the righteousness of Christ, and by His grace are being changed.
  6. Have you repented?
  7. It is not a word we should use flippantly – hell is not a laughing matter…
  8. Hell is so awful, that if you conceived even a fraction of it, you would not wish it on your worst enemy.
  9. Purpose: Hell is a place for G______ w____________ to be poured out on the impenitent.
  10. Wrath is God’s righteous response to sin.
  11. God has made Himself known in the universe in 3 ways (Titus 2:11):
    1. In C___________ (Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:18-20)
    2. In C___________ (Rom. 2:14-15)
    3. In the G____________ of Jesus Christ
  12. Not “want to know and don’t hear”, but “don’t w__________ to know”.
  13. Terms describing the place:
    1. Sheol – describing the state of d______________
    2. Gehena – used 12 times in the New Testament. It is like a dump – put their garbage there and burned it (diseased animals, etc).
    3. Hades – Luke 16:23 – used 10 times in the New Testament. It is the t_______________ abode of the u______________ (impenitent) d__________, until the final judgement.  No one is technically in “hell” yet.
    4. Hell – Matthew 5:22, 29-30. Used 14 times in the New Testament. Summary term describing the final place of eternal torment for the impenitent.
    5. Second Death – a spiritual death (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). If you’re born o__________, you die t______, if you’re born t_____, you die o________.  What dies at the second death?
      1. O____________ dies (Hebrews 9:27)
      2. G____________ dies – God’s not reaching out to people in hell and trying to reform them.
      3. V____________ dies (Matt. 11:28-30; John 7:17)
    6. The Lake of Fire – Revelation 20:10,14-15. Hell will be fire from “shore to shore”.  “The safest road to hell is the gradual one…” – C.S. Lewis.  There is life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going it is not s________ to d______.
  14. Jesus talked more about h________, by far, than He talked about h_____________.
  15. Terms describing the punishment:
    1. F___________ – 27 times in the scripture. Is the fire in hell a literal fire?  “I see no reason to regard the fire as more literal than the worm” – Charles Hodge.  So many times flames are referenced – it’s the most common picture of hell.
    2. W__________ and g____________ of teeth (Matthew 8:11 and following) – describes the wicked and their vitriolic, violent hatred toward the righteous. If we picture people in hell as being repentant or regretful, that’s what the Scripture teaches.  The people in hell are not wishing they were in heaven, they’re shaking their fists at it.
    3. O_________ D___________ – intended to convey horror beyond imagination. Hell was originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt 25:41).  No one is together in hell – everyone is completely isolated and alone in hell.  Daniel 12:2 describes it as “the shame of everlasting contempt”.
    4. D____________ – 18 times. (e.g. Matt. 7:13-14, 2 Thess. 1:9)  Every person born into this world has the Imago Dei (the image of God) – Genesis 1:26-27.  This separates us from the animals (mind, emotion and will).  In hell, the soul is abandoned by God to its own destruction.  Some wrongly teach “Anni______________sm” (the belief that hell is a place where you’re punished for a period of time, then you cease to exist).  Destruction does not mean “cease to exist” – a better word is “ruined”.  Example of fruit thrown off building.
  16. Modern objections to hell. Man has an amazing capacity to distort Scripture in the things that he wishes were not true:
    1. E_____________ – too long, therefore God is not just. How can a finite life of sin deserve infinite punishment?  Answer: The misnomer there is that people stop sinning in hell, which is not true.  Sin actually accelerates in hell.  People are not just punished in hell for the sins they’ve committed.  They’re also punished for the sinful nature that was not eradicated by the Gospel.  Example of a rabid dog – Pitbull.  This dog needs to be “put down”, hasn’t done anything wrong, but it will – its nature is corrupted.
    2. T_____________ – it’s too severe, therefore God is not merciful. Answer: God’s statement about the severity of sin is that 2,000 years ago, He sent His own Son and poured out His wrath upon Christ.  On Him, almighty judgment fell that would’ve sunk the world to Hell.
  17. Implications of hell:
    1. I must be s_________ of my salvation. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Admit that you’re a sinner, deserving of hell and expressing faith in the payment of Christ for your sin and for your forgiveness.
    2. I must be t____________ for my salvation.
    3. I must be at peace with i__________________.
    4. I must be b_________ in my w______________. This is not a day for subtlety, or silence.  We need to be loving, we need to be sensitive, but we need to be clear.  I need to have “the conversation”.  On this subject, I cannot be silent, but not obnoxious.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you struggled with hell?
  2. Do you have any unanswered questions about hell?
  3. I would recommend a small book that has been very helpful to me: “23 Questions About Hell

mid-week apologetics booster (5-10-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 4 Things That Must Happen Before More Christian Parents Will Care About Questions of Faith and Science: http://christianmomthoughts.com/4-things-that-must-happen-before-more-christian-parents-will-care-about-questions-of-faith-and-science/
  2. Don’t Blow It at the Finish Line | Living Waters: https://www.livingwaters.com/dont-blow-it-at-the-finish-line/
  3. Can We Trade Sexual Morality for Church Growth?: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/can-we-trade-sexual-morality-for-church-growth1/
  4. If Satan was a Professor – Frank highlights the morally vacuous courses at major universities. A new wave of identity politics is infecting higher education, playing directly into the hands of leftist administrators, professors, and students seeking to reach a new low in their victim olympics. The result is a disregard for personal responsibility or individual freedom. Don’t miss this podcast YOU NEED to know this.: https://subsplash.com/crossexamined/lb/mi/+zjct6kw
  5. Risky Business College Shuts Down Professor over Speech on Science, Free Expression | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2018/05/risky-business-college-shuts-down-professor-over-speech-on-science-free-expression/
  6. What is Hate Speech and How Should We Respond? – Hope’s Reason: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/2018/05/03/what-is-hate-speech-and-how-should-we-respond/
  7. Anti-intellectualism In The Church – Cross Examined Podcast: https://subsplash.com/crossexamined/lb/mi/+bbd6dea
  8. I’m At Home With Evidentialism Because the Evidence Brought Me Home | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/im-at-home-with-evidentialism-because-the-evidence-brought-me-home/
  9. Jesus Is A Myth, Just Like President Kennedy | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/jesus-is-a-myth-just-like-president-kennedy/
  10. Why Jesus? Part 1 | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/SolidGroundMay2018WhyJesus1
  11. No Real Jesus Without the Trinity: http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2018/04/17/no-real-jesus-without-the-trinity/
  12. Hell and the Gospel | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/articles/hell-and-the-gospel#.WuxlOIgvyUl
  13. Why Doesn’t God Reform People Rather Than Punish Them in Hell? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/why-doesnt-god-reform-people-rather-than-punish-them-in-hell/
  14. The F-E-A-T that Demonstrates the FACT of Resurrection – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/articles/the-f-e-a-t-that-demonstrates-the-fact-of-resurrection/
  15. Is God Good? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfd_1UAjeIA
  16. How Can You Trust Christianity Is True If You Haven’t Examined All the Alternatives? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-can-you-trust-christianity-is-true-if-you-havent-examined-all-the-alternatives/
  17. With Mark Levin and David Berlinski Talk Evolution, Science, Progressivism | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2018/04/with-mark-levin-on-fox-news-david-berlinski-talks-evolution-science-progressivism/
  18. The Work of Textual Criticism – Josh.org: https://www.josh.org/work-of-textual-criticism/
  19. A New Defense of the Historical Reliability of the Bible: https://www.christianpost.com/voice/defense-historical-reliability-of-the-bible.html
  20. An Investigation: What Makes the Bible Unique? – Josh.org: https://www.josh.org/investigation-bible-unique/
  21. Does Mark, the Earliest Gospel, Have a Divine Jesus? (Responding to Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesus) | god from the machine: https://godfromthemachine.blog/2018/05/03/does-mark-the-earliest-gospel-have-a-divine-jesus-responding-to-mustafa-akyols-the-islamic-jesus/
  22. Dr. Gary Habermas Confirms: Recent Tests on a Gospel of Mark Fragment Possibly Provides The Oldest New Testament Manuscript Evidence Available: http://www.assistnews.net/index.php/component/k2/item/3744-dr-gary-habermas-confirms-recent-tests-on-a-gospel-of-mark-fragment-possibly-provides-the-oldest-new-testament-manuscript-evidence-available
  23. Iowa Governor Signs Bill to Ban All Abortions After an Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2018/05/04/iowa-governor-signs-bill-to-ban-all-abortions-after-an-unborn-babys-heartbeat-begins/
  24. What is the biggest challenge in talking to skeptics and people from other faiths about the Bible? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/what-is-the-biggest-challenge-in-talking-to-skeptics-and-people-from-other-faiths-about-the-bible/amp/
  25. Do You Love Wisdom? 5 Sources For Proper Thinking, Philosophy And Logic iApologia: http://iapologia.com/do-you-love-wisdom-5-sources-for-proper-thinking-philosophy-and-logic/
  26. C.S. Lewis and the Language of Apologetics – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/c-s-lewis-and-the-language-of-apologetics
  27. Ten Reasons We Fail to Share Our Faith (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/ten-reasons-we-fail-to-share-our-faith-free-bible-insert/
  28. The Good News for Christians From An Otherwise Bleak Pew Study – J. Warner Wallace: https://townhall.com/columnists/jwarnerwallace/2018/04/29/the-good-news-for-christians-from-an-otherwise-bleak-pew-study-n2475639
  29. WALSH: How To Kill A Church In Just A Few Easy Steps | Daily Wire: https://www.dailywire.com/news/30251/walsh-how-kill-church-just-few-easy-steps-matt-walsh
  30. Plate Tectonics After Fifty Years: http://www.icr.org/article/plate-tectonics-after-fifty-years/
  31. Fantastic Voyage: How Could Noah Care for the Animals? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/fantastic-voyage-how-could-noah-care-animals/
  32. Startling evidence for Noah’s Flood – creation.com: https://creation.com/startling-evidence-for-noahs-flood
  33. Is Christianity Just Wishful Thinking?: http://depthsofpentecost.com/2/post/2018/05/is-christianity-just-wishful-thinking.html
  34. David Attenborough: Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life: https://creation.com/attenborough-darwin-tree
  35. Existence of God: 31 Reasons To Believe In The God of the Bible: http://theolocast.org/blog/existence-of-god-31-reasons-to-believe-in-the-god-of-the-bible/

“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase. Proverbs 20:14

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 5/6/2018

Mining for God

Lord willing, tomorrow, in our Apologetics class, we will be watching and discussing the excellent film, “Mining for God”.  This can be purchased here:

http://www.miningforgod.com/

It is an hour long film and features many of the prominent names in apologetics today.  Here is the note-taking form (with discussion questions) that I will hand out to the students:

Mining for God – May 6th 2018

William Lane Craig, Nabeel Qureshi, Craig Hazen, Gary Habermas, Michael Licona, Lee Strobel, Alan Shlemon, Paul Copan, J. Warner Wallace, Mary Jo Sharp, John Stonestreet, Tim Keller, Donald Williams and others.

  1. Christianity as it’s presented in the m___________ is ridiculous.
  2. Sometimes we use the same v________________ but not the same d___________________
  3. The world’s view of Christ, Christianity and Christians all come from people that aren’t s_______
  4. What is Christianity?  Some answers given:
    1. G______________ people will go to heaven.
    2. Just a system to have p_____________ over people
    3. All religions are basically the s___________, we ought to just pick one that works for us.
  5. Western culture used to be Christian, and is therefore i_______________________
  6. Many people in America are cultural Christians or n__________ Christians, who are unchurched.  Not knowledgeable about the basics of the faith. You might call them “Christians in name only”.
  7. N__________________, a theory denying that an event or an object has a spiritual significance specifically, the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena.
  8. Naturalism deeply permeates Western culture.
  9. We are not animals, & we’re not God, we’re made in the i_____ of G___ and we act like animals.
  10. Is man, made in the image of God, qualitatively different from the other animals in creation?
  11. Either life is m_____________ or its not – if it’s not, the only way to say it’s not (that has real credibility) is the b____________ story.
  12. I refer to my body as a possession – what’s possessing it?  Me (my soul).
  13. This idea (that you can’t know anything except through science), can’t be known through science.  I have to arrive there philosophically.
  14. Modern science is permeated by assumptions which cannot themselves be scientifically p_____
  15. The C______________ A_________________:
    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore the universe has a cause.
  16. The universe cannot cause itself, so, its cause must be beyond the space-time universe.  Its cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncaused and p__________________
  17. We are in a universe that displays certain d______ f________, both in the galaxy and in biology.
  18. Nature can create patterns (e.g. ripples in sand), but if you’re walking down the beach and you see “John loves Mary” with a heart around it and an arrow through it, you would never say “the waves did that!”  Whenever we see information we know there’s i_________ behind it.  If that’s true, what about the vast storehouse of information in every one of the cells of your body?
  19. 2014 Gallup poll on human origins, 73% of Americans still believe in God (in some sense).
  20. R_________________: the doctrine that knowledge, truth and morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context and are not absolute.
  21. Many people in modern culture take a sort of c______________ approach to religion (a little bit of this, a little bit of that).  The presupposition of this approach is that there is no objective truth in religion, but that it is just a “matter of taste”.
  22. Our culture doesn’t make distinction between o______ truth claims and s________ truth claims.
  23. Can be wrong about God’s existence, but my o_____ can’t change it. He either exists or doesn’t.
  24. They (religions) can’t all be right – either God is p__________ or i____________, either God has a Son or does not.  These are contradictory ideas and cannot both be true at the same time.
  25. Christianity is u_______________ and stands apart from the great world religious traditions.
  26. How do the different world religions handle the problem of pain, sin and a messed up world?
  27. Islam: if I’m more of a g__________ person than a b_______ person, I’ll end up in heaven.
  28. God could deal with this by eliminating all evil at midnight tonight, but if He did so, which one of us would be left at 1AM?
  29. The message of Christianity is “we all fall short” (Rom. 3:23), we could never lift ourselves up by our b_____________, we could never earn our way.  That’s the bad news, but the good news is that Jesus came to lay down His life as a ransom for us and our sins.  Jesus did for us what no other religious leader did (or claimed to do) – He made the p______________ in full.
  30. In order to accept the good news, you first have to accept the bad news.
  31. Christ offers us something that we wish we didn’t need, which is f__________ of sin.  Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin, we’re not going to accept the d_______
  32. The Bible is the story of: C_____________, F________, R______________, R_______________
  33. What distinguishes Christianity: a test, by which we can know it is true – the r_______________
  34. Many historical events rest on 2 independent sources.  Bart Ehrman lists _____ ancient sources for the crucifixion of Jesus. This is the historical principal of “multiple a________________”.
  35. The M______________ F___________ Approach looks only at the facts that are:
    1. Supported by multiple ancient sources
    2. Agreed upon by the vast majority of scholars today
  36. Majority of scholars today think the tomb was empty, but h_____________ theory is a full tomb theory, not empty tomb theory. If disciples saw hallucination, should’ve been body in the tomb.
  37. If you look at the evidence, without precluding s____________________, the best explanation, by far, is the resurrection.
  38. This isn’t some “random dude”, in some miscellaneous place, that we’re saying rose from the dead. It’s someone who’s coming had been prepared for by providence and predicted by p___________________ for 2,000 years.
  39. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, that changes everything. There’s more to life than believing that we are just an a_______________________
  40. The only place where anything makes sense in this world is that place where the shadow of the c___________ falls on an e______ t______.  Stand there, and all questions become answerable.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Which came first (biblically)?  The chicken or the egg?
  2. Explain a feature of the Universe or of biology that demonstrates intentional design.
  3. What is the Cosmological Argument for God’s existence?  Are the first 2 premises sound?
  4. In what ways are humans different from the animals?
  5. What is the cafeteria approach to religion?  Why is this problematic? What presuppositions are evident in that approach to religion?
  6. In what ways does Christianity stand apart from other world religions?
  7. What is the bad news?  What is the good news?  Does the good news make sense w/o the bad?
  8. Why does the resurrection prove that God exists and that Christianity is true?

Apologetics Class 4/29/2018

Craig Hazen – Evidence for the Resurrection

Tomorrow in our apologetics class (Lord willing) I will be having the students watch the excellent lecture by Dr. Craig Hazen on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, which includes a discussion of 12 facts agreed upon by scholars, both liberal and conservative.  He then evaluates those 12 known facts against 13 theories about what happened to determine each theory’s explanatory power (which of the 12 facts it doesn’t account for).  The only 2 theories that account for all 12 known facts are:

  1. Jesus was an alien
  2. Jesus was bodily resurrected

Great video, great analysis!  Here’s the video:

 

Here is the note taking form, along with the chart showing the 13 theories which attempt to explain the 12 known facts:

Notes for “Evidence for the Resurrection” by Craig Hazen

(Professor of Comparative Religion and Christian Apologetics at Biola University)

  1. Outline for talk at U.C.L.A. Jesus was:
    1. A___________ at point A
    2. D___________ at point B
    3. Alive a_______ at point C
  2. Student said, “You’re making it sound like its true true! You’re making it sound like I can k__________ i___ to be true.”
  3. Pudd’nhead Wilson (Mark Twain book): “Faith is believin’ what ya know a______ so
  4. This idea that Christianity is t___________ sets it apart in dramatic fashion from the other great world religious traditions.
  5. University of Miami talk – “if I’m going to address the topic of science and religion, it would probably be very helpful if I perform a miracle” – he proceeded to raise his arm and challenged his audience to explain what just happened. Someone shouted, “You did it!” (I am not my b________)
  6. There’s something more to life than the stuff of the p______________ world.
  7. We’ve got “the goods” on this – you are well within your e____________ rights to say “I know the resurrection happened”.
  8. One of the strangest passages in all of religious literature: 1 C____________ 15:12-17
  9. He (Jesus) doesn’t just live in my heart, He lives in His body, which came back from the grave on the 3rd day, exactly as the S____________ declare!
  10. Scholars confirm, Jesus was indeed a real historical figure and He died by Roman crucifixion in 1st century J___________.
  11. Same scholars (except for the conservatives), regarding the resurrection, based on the same body of evidence, said, “Well, who can possibly know what h_____________ so long ago?”
  12. This is not about evidence – this is about people’s w________ v_______ – these people were not open to the idea of a miracle.

12 Minimal Facts about the Resurrection of Jesus That Most Scholars Agree On

  1. Jesus died by cr_______________
  2. He was b_____________
  3. Jesus’ death caused the disciples to d____________ and lose hope, believing that his life was ended
  4. The tomb was discovered to be e____________ just a few days later
  5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal a___________________ of the risen Jesus
  6. The disciples were tr_______________ from doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection
  7. This message (the resurrection) was the center of pr_____________ in the early church
  8. This message was especially proclaimed in J_____________, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before
  9. As a result of this preaching the church was b____________ and grew
  10. S_______________ became the primary day of worship
  11. J____________, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also believed he saw the resurrected Jesus
  12. A few years later, P________ was also converted by an experience which he, likewise, believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus

Discussion Questions

  1. Would an unbiased observer conclude that the best explanation for the facts about Jesus is that He was raised from the dead? Why or why not? (there are no unbiased observers – most people have an anti-supernatural bias) – John 12:37 says “Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him”
  2. If there was so much evidence for the resurrection, then why didn’t the Jewish leaders believe? (John 12:42-23 – they loved praise from men more than praise from God) – also, the Bible says that “it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him (Pilate)” (Matt 27:18; Mark 15:10)
  3. Why is it considered a piece of evidence that the disciples believed they saw Jesus risen from the dead? (Liars make poor martyrs. No one dies for a known lie.  The disciples were in a position to know whether their beliefs were true or false).

Here is the chart

Apologetics Class 4/1/2018

Yesterday in my apologetics class, for Easter Sunday, we watched 2 videos.  First was a short animated video from Impact 360 institute “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?”:

Then we watched Tim Barnett of Stand To Reason, speaking on the topic of “Did Jesus Really Rise?”:

 

Here is the note-taking form I handed out for these videos along with discussion questions and the end:

Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead? (Easter Sunday 4/1/2018)

Short Animated video about evidence for the resurrection

  1. What’s the difference between Jesus rising from the dead and all those other fairy tales?
  2. My belief in the resurrection of Jesus is r_________, it’s based on h__________ f_______.
  3. Here are the facts:
    1. Jesus d_______ by crucifixion: Did Jesus really exist? Yes, even skeptical atheist Scholars agree that Jesus existed.
    2. His disciples were c___________ that he rose from the dead and a___________________ to them.
    3. P__________ became a Christian.
    4. J___________ became a Christian.
    5. The tomb was e_____________.
  4. These facts demand an explanation, otherwise you have a big hole in human history.
  5. Skeptical explanations:
    1. They all l__________. It was the most monumental prank ever perpetrated.
  1. That’s the conspiracy theory. The problem is it doesn’t explain the facts. How could they overpower the Roman guards, rollaway a 2-ton stone, and why would they lie? People don’t willingly die for known lie.
    1. The disciples thought they saw Jesus.
  1. The h_______________ theory also lacks explanatory power. 500 Witnesses saw Jesus at the same time, and the disciples touched him. Hallucinations don’t occur in groups. This Theory does not explain the empty tomb.
    1. Did people did people stay dead. Rising from the dead would be a supernatural event. Science has proven that M____________ don’t happen.
  1. Science has not disproven miracles. Science deals exclusively with natural phenomena. A miracle, by definition, is not a n_____________ phenomenon. It’s s_________natural, which is outside the boundary of science.

 

Tim Barnett Speaks About Evidence for the Resurrection

  1. What if the bones of Jesus were discovered tomorrow (with absolute proof)? Would you walk away from the faith?
  2. Faith in a dead Jesus is absolutely w_______________. That’s not Tim Barnett’s opinion, it is what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15!
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:12-20: if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile in you’re still in your sins. There’s no h__________!
  4. If Christ has not been raised:
    1. Preaching is in vain.
    2. Faith is useless.
    3. We are liars.
    4. We are still in sin.
    5. Former believers have perished.
    6. We should be pitied by the world.
  5. The resurrection is the linchpin of Christianity. It is the most c__________ d_______________.
  6. We have a way of testing Christianity.
  7. If Christ has not been raised, Christianity is false, he is either:
    1. L___________.
    2. L___________.
    3. L___________.
    4. L___________.
  8. Other religions use internal experience as their test.
    1. M__________s point to a burning in the bosom.
    2. M__________s point to the literary excellence of the Qur’an.
  9. The Christian test is external evidence.
  10. If you want to start on a truth quest, start with Christianity.
  11. Evidence, establish the facts.
  12. Explanation, Explain the facts.
  13. Three lines three lines of evidence.
    1. The c__________ produced a dead body.
    2. The t__________ contained no body.
    3. People s____________ and t_____________ somebody.
  14. Gary Habermas read ~3500 scholarly papers (liberal and conservative) and compiled the facts that they all agreed on – these are called the “Minimal Facts” (12 of them)

The Cross Produced a Dead Body

  1. People could not survive a Roman crucifixion.
  2. The flogging itself could kill someone.
  3. The convicted person would eventually die through asphyxiation.
  4. Crucifixion was so horrible, that the word ex______________ came from it, which means (in Latin) out of the cross.
  5. This is attested by both biblical and non-biblical sources (e.g. J_____________, T__________, Pliny the Younger)
  6. Jesus’s crucifixion is one of the most certain facts of history.
  7. If you want to prove a resurrection, the person has to be d___________

The Tomb Contained No Body

  1. The J_______________ Factor: Jesus was crucified and buried in Jerusalem, and the disciples proclaimed is resurrection In Jerusalem. How can Christianity get started, if the body is still in the tomb?
  2. The enemies implicitly confirm that the body is gone. Their explanation was that the disciples s______________ the body.
  3. If student claims “my dog ate my homework”, this implicitly confirms that their backpack does not contain their homework. In the same way if people claim that the disciples stole the body, this implicitly confirms and e______________ t_______________.
  4. In the 1st century Jewish culture, a w_____________’s testimony was not highly regarded (e.g. Talmud, Josephus). But the women, were the first ones to report the empty tomb. If you’re making up a story, you don’t have women as your chief witnesses! This is the principle of embarrassment.
  5. In 1968, construction workers stumbled upon a crucified individual who was buried in an ossuary, which confirmed that this was a common practice. Also the person’s legs were b_______________, confirming that part of the story as well.

The People Saw & Touched Somebody

 

  1. Oral c____________ dates back to within months of the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. It describes six appearances of Jesus.
  2. During the life of Jesus, his half-brother James did not believe his message. But after the resurrection, James became a key figure in the Jerusalem c___________ and a believer in Jesus.
  3. Paul did not believe in Jesus until Jesus appeared to him. He was actually an e_____________ of Christianity.

 

What Are the Explanations Given by Skeptics for these Facts?

  1. Jesus wasn’t really dead (the s_____________ theory).  Here are the responses to this:
    1. You’d have to believe that this half dead Jesus revived in the coolness of the tomb, rolled the 2-ton stone out of the way, beat off all the guards and appeared to his disciples. They would respond “you’re in desperate need of medical attention!” If the Roman guards did not do their job making sure that you stayed in the tomb, they were the next ones to be put on the cross.
  2. The disciples stole the b_______________.  Here are the responses to this:
    1. We have good evidence that the tomb really was empty.
    2. The disciples were willing to die for this belief.
    3. Liars make poor martyrs.
    4. Paul and James would not have been convinced by a lie, since they were not predisposed to believe in Jesus.
  3. H________________ Theory.  Here are the responses to this:
    1. Paul and James wouldn’t have hallucinated seeing Christ.
    2. There’s no such thing as a mass hallucination. _______ (number) people saw the same thing. They ate with this hallucination, they touched this hallucination.
  4. The best explanation is that Jesus actually r_________ from the dead.
  5. Some people say that s_____________ has demonstrated that miracles are not possible. But they would be inaccurate.
  6. Science looks at the natural world, but what we are studying is not natural, it is supernatural-something beyond nature!
  7. Only two possible responses:
    1. For u_________________, believe the works. John 10:38. Jesus doesn’t tell us to take a blind leap of faith. It is active trust based on evidence.
    2. For b_________________, this information should compel us to fall on our faces in reverent worship. John 11:25-26. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. But how do I know that he died for my sins (that’s logical/spiritual)? The resurrection is proof of purchase!

 

Discussion Questions

  1. According to Tim Barnett, what is the most commonly held objection to the resurrection? Why does that objection fail?
  2. If someone asked you to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, what would you say?
  3. Why is Jesus called “the Lamb of God”?
  4. What is the “Jerusalem Factor”? Why does that matter?
  5. What is the most crucial doctrine of Christianity, according to Tim Barnett?
  6. What is C.S. Lewis’s “trilemma”?
  7. Name a non-Christian source from the 1st century that corroborates Jesus’s death on the cross.

 

mid-week apologetics booster (3-1-2018)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2htOWOF4gqs
  2. Do You Love Your Reputation More than Christ? | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/do-you-love-your-reputation-more-christ#.Wo7JnOCp40M
  3. 50 Alleged Bible Contradictions Refuted | The Domain for Truth: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/50-alleged-bible-contradiction-refuted/
  4. Thoughts on urgency and apologetics Thinking Matters: http://thinkingmatters.org.nz/2017/11/thoughts-on-urgency-and-apologetics/
  5. William Tyndale: Reformer, Translator, Martyr | ReasonableTheology.org: https://reasonabletheology.org/william-tyndale-reformer-translator-martyr/
  6. Undesigned Scriptural Coincidences: The Ring Of Truth: https://crossexamined.org/undesigned-scriptural-coincidences-the-ring-of-truth/
  7. Is God Selfish and Vindictive? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/god-is-good/is-god-selfish-and-vindictive/
  8. Developing An Apologetic That Works | Faith & Self Defense: https://faithandselfdefense.com/2017/11/21/developing-an-apologetic-that-works/
  9. 10 Reasons to Accept the Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Fact: https://crossexamined.org/10-reasons-accept-resurrection-jesus-historical-fact/
  10. Just the Facts: The Minimalist Approach for Talking about the Resurrection Relevant Belief: https://relevantbelief.com/2017/04/13/just-the-facts-the-minimalist-approach-for-talking-about-the-resurrection/
  11. Saved by Faith or Works? by Living Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwR7zT9NtZM
  12. Which side of the abortion rights debate is backed by scientific evidence? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2018/02/27/which-side-of-the-abortion-rights-debate-is-backed-by-scientific-evidence/
  13. Sharing Your Faith: Embarrassing, Inappropriate and Unprofessional – Amy Orr-Ewing – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQllrDz1qU
  14. Is There Absolute Truth? by Living Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lvSGCaicEg
  15. Is There Meaning to Life? – Dr. Craig Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKGnXgH_CzE
  16. Apologetics: Getting to the Gospel as Soon as Possible Here’s the thing: https://heresthething.blog/2018/02/09/apologetics-getting-to-the-gospel-as-soon-as-possible/
  17. Greg Koukl – What is faith? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRuxYaiTg4g
  18. Did Humans Evolve From Apes; Examining the Anatomy – DyerThoughts: http://www.dyerthoughts.com/home/did-humans-evolve-from-apes-examining-the-anatomy
  19. Why did God Create People He Foreknew Would Go to hell? – GiveAnAnswer.org: https://www.giveananswer.org/why-did-god-create-people-he-foreknew-would-go-to-hell/
  20. What Is Christianity?: https://thereforegodexists.com/what-is-christianity/
  21. Contentment is its Own Apologetic – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/contentment-is-its-own-apologetic/
  22. A Life-Changing Trip for Students: https://mailchi.mp/8cc65cf8733b/a-life-changing-trip-for-students
  23. 10 Ways to Get Your Kids More Interested in Their Faith: http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-ways-to-get-your-kids-more-interested-in-their-faith/
  24. 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry: https://churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/160290-benjer_mcveigh_4_myths_about_teaching_apologetics_in_youth_ministry.html

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:13-17

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (11-9-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Understanding The Trinity – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/god/understanding-the-trinity
  2. Think Divinely Examining Islam: is it a reasonable faith to trust?: http://thinkdivinely.com/examining-islam-is-it-a-reasonable-faith-to-trust/
  3. From “Hardcore Atheist” To Christian Apologist, Dr. Robert Muncaster: http://reasonsforjesus.com/from-hardcore-atheist-to-christian-apologist/
  4. How to Debunk the Myth of Overpopulation in Three Easy Steps | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/10/02/how-to-debunk-the-myth-of-overpopulation-in-three-easy-steps/
  5. Belly Flopping | Reasonable Faith – Someone wrote in to Dr. William Lane Craig and said, “I had a discussion over God’s existence tonight and totally botched it!! I feel I did a dis-service to the reasonableness of the Christian worldview”: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/belly-flopping
  6. I am a mass murderer, former abortionist tells Congress | Lifesitenews: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-am-a-mass-murderer-former-abortionist-tells-congress
  7. Sharing the Gospel in Our Secular Age | Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance: https://oklahomaapologetics.com/general/sharing-the-gospel-in-our-secular-age/
  8. How Can Jesus Be God If He Was Born? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/how-can-jesus-be-god-if-he-was-born/
  9. Is It Time for a New Jesus Movement Among Jewish Millennials? | The Stream: https://stream.org/jesus-movement-jewish-millennials/
  10. Does the Unbeliever Have to Approach the Bible as Divinely Inspired? (William Lane Craig) – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsNKvszIvnI&feature=youtu.be
  11. New Archeological Evidence Fills the Gap in the Biblical Case for Human Origins: http://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/tnrtb/2013/02/04/new-archeological-evidence-fills-the-gap-in-the-biblical-case-for-human-origins
  12. What Caitlyn Jenner Reveals About American Religion – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/what-caitlyn-jenner-reveals-about-american-religion/
  13. 6 Misconceptions About the New Testament – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/6-misconceptions-about-the-new-testament/
  14. 10 Lies Muslims Tell You About Islam | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/10-lies-muslims-tell-you-about-islam/
  15. The Problem of Evil – Never Judge God by Isolated Events | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/article/never-judge-god-isolated-events#.WgPO0sqp7qB

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 11/5/2017

Today in the Apologetics Class, we continued our mini-series on the reformation by watching Martin Luther the Man (part 4-5):

 

Here is the note-taking form I passed out at the beginning of the class:

Martin Luther (Part 2)

Excommunicated and on trial (19 minutes 44 seconds)

  1. Luther was a university professor and he was posting basically a proposal for a d__________.
  2. For several years after the posting of the 95 Theses, Luther was, publicly, very r___________________ toward the P________.
  3. When Luther started challenging Tetzel, Tetzel didn’t take it lying down. He accused Luther of heresy.
  4. Tetzel accused Luther of being a “Hus-ite” it was Jan Hus who challenged the Pope and was b_____________ at the s_____________ at the Council of Constance in 1450.
  5. The 95 theses reached the Pope in Rome he said, Luther is just a drunken German. He’ll think differently when he gets sober.
  6. In Heidelberg, in 1518 Luther was put on the biggest stage for the order of the Augustinian monks by his superior (Staupitz).
  7. In the Heidelberg disputation, Luther is espousing a theology of the c_________ that rejects w_______________ righteousness.
  8. The Heidelberg disputation of 1518 was in many ways even more significant than the 95 Theses of 1517.
  9. Pope Leo X appointed Prieres a Dominican monk to respond to Luther. The Dominicans in the Augustinians had a bit of a rivalry
  10. Pope Leo X demanded that Frederick the Wise, responsible for the University of Wittenberg, to deliver up Luther, that “child of the devil”.
  11. Luther wrote that he’d be happy to recant if they just tell me where I’m w______________.
  12. Luther had a debate, which in those days were very long, in this example, 18 days!
  13. Luther was coaxed into admitting that some of the doctrines of Hus, a heretic who had been burned at the stake by the Catholic Church 100 years earlier, should not have been condemned. Then the crowd started to shout, “Death to Luther, the S__________ H________!”
  14. After the debate, Johann Eck traveled to Rome to get a P___________ B________ declaring Luther a heretic. He was the first to start calling Lutherans Lutherans as a term of d____________-that they were following Luther, and not following the authority of the Pope.
  15. The Leipzig debate opened up the issue of authority.
  16. Luther sees the need for reform in the church, but he sees that this is not going to come from the hierarchy of the church.  Luther calls on the Christian nobility, asking the princes to intervene for the sake of the church-“if the Pope won’t do it, you princes do it.”
  17. In the year 1520, Luther wrote several treatises.
  18. A Papal Bull was called a bull because the Pope’s seal was attached to the document. In Latin, the seal was called Bulla.
  19. Luther was given a 60-day notice that he would be e____________________ from the church if he did not return to papal o_______________________.
  20. Luther publicly b_____________ the papal bull, along with the canon law of the Catholic Church.
  21. Luther believed that he too was going to be burned at the stake just like Jan Hus.
  22. The Diet, or assembly, of Worms was convened in 1521.
  23. Prior to the Diet of Worms, the Pope had Luther excommunicated for burning the papal bull.
  24. When Luther was summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms, Frederick the Wise, his elector was concerned about Luther’s safety traveling to and from the Diet of Worms, so he secured s__________ t____________ for Luther to and from the Diet of Worms.
  25. Luther was greeted as a h___________ by the Germans when he arrived at the Diet of Worms.
  26. Johann Eck, the prosecutor, pointed to a table of books and asked Luther are these yours? When Luther answered yes, the prosecutor asked him, “Will you know r__________ all that you have written?”  Luther asked to be able to think about it overnight.  The next day Luther said, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of S____________, or by clear reason, for I do not trust in the Pope or councils alone for it is known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my c____________ is captive to the w________ of G_______. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither s_______ nor r_________ to go against conscience. Here I s____________, I can do no other. May God help me!”

 

In hiding, and the emergence of the Lutheran Church (20 minutes 28 seconds)

  1. The Edict of Worms by Emperor Charles V says “for this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic.”
  2. The edict meant that Luther could be killed by a___________, anytime, anywhere, without any fear of r________________. But Luther had been kidnapped by people working for his prince, in order to protect him. They took Luther to the castle of Frederick the Wise – the Wartburg. Even Frederick the Wise didn’t know where he was.
  3. In 11 or 12 weeks, while in the castle, Luther translated the entire N_______ T_______________ from Greek into German.  In Luther’s day the only official Bible was the Latin Vulgate. To possess a Bible in any other language than Latin, Greek or Hebrew was punishable by d_____________.
  4. In 1517, 7 parents were burned at the stake for teaching their children The L__________’s P_____________ in English.
  5. Luther had found a way to escape his own fear and terror of God, in the word of God, and he wanted people to know that p______________ that he had found.
  6. Luther introduced the concept that people should be able to understand God’s word in their own l_____________ and not depend on hearing it i___________________ by the church.
  7. This work of translation was one of Luther’s greatest accomplishments. We would have heard of him even if he had done nothing in terms of the Reformation.
  8. Luther’s Reformation was always a conservative Reformation, k__________ as much as possible from the medieval Church. Only that which contradicts scripture should be surrendered.
  9. Luther didn’t I want a religious reform movement turned into a political or social revolution. Luther was trying to steer a middle course between all the contrasting extremes that were upsetting the whole program.
  10. In 1526 Luther was rebuilding the church.
  11. In late medieval worship service the congregation were regarded as s__________. They listened to the Liturgy of the mass, probably sung by a choir. But Luther wanted them to be a_________.
  12. In Luther’s liturgy, lay people would be receiving both of the elements in communion (b____________ and w____________) which was not the custom in the medieval Church.
  13. Luther was the author of the hymn, the great battle hymn of the Reformation, “A Mighty F________________ Is Our God”.
  14. Luther wrote the large and the small catechism. The large catechism was for pastors. The small catechism was written so that the head of the household could t___________ the truths of the scriptures to his c___________________.
  15. In 1529, the Roman Emperor Charles V, sent a letter to all the Lutheran princes Asking them to come back to the mother church “or else”.
  16. The Lutheran princes responded from Speyer in 1529, “we protest…” This is where the word P________________ comes from.
  17. There was a meeting of key Protestant leaders, Luther, Zwingli, and others at Marburg in 1529. In that meeting they agreed on everything except the L____ S_____. Zwingli trying to spiritualize it, Luther was immovable on point that the Lord’s Body and blood were present in communion.
  18. Charles V called for a diet at Augsburg in 1530 for the Lutheran prince’s to gather and defend their religious convictions.
  19. Luther was still under the Bull of the Pope and the ban of Charles V, and he had to stay 150 miles away from Augsburg. Luther did not attend but Melanchthon did on his behalf. Out of this came the Augsburg C_________________.
  20. To this day, the Augsburg Confession is the confession of the Lutheran church.
  21. Cornerstones of Lutheran Churches to this day, often have the letters U.A.C. engraved on them. This indicates that they adhere to the U_________________ Augsburg Confession.
  22. The Smalcaldic Confession became one of the key documents of the Lutheran theology.
  23. The Book of Concord is the final document which includes the Smalcaldic confession and forms the basis of Lutheranism.
  24. There was a Roman Catholic pharmacist present at Luther’s death who testified what happened there.  Luther had a massive heart attack in Eisleben (the town where he had been born) & his friend Justus Jonas asks him, while in the throes of agony, “Are you willing to stand on the confession of Christ which you have made?” He replied yes & kept quoting John 3:16 to himself.
  25. Martin Luther is important because he rediscovered the g_____________, the good news that God in Christ his reconciling the world to Himself. That rediscovery had tremendous consequences for both church and culture.

Discussion Questions

  1. What were some of the negative aspects of Luther’s views (not discussed in the video)?
  2. What was Luther’s purpose in posting the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church?
  3. Who was Jan Hus what happened to him?
  4. Why did Leo X excommunicate Luther from the Roman Catholic Church?
  5. What great hymn did Martin Luther write?
  6. When and where did Martin Luther translate the New Testament from Greek to German?
  7. Did Martin Luther want to start a new church?
  8. Who first called Lutherans Lutherans?
  9. Where did the word “Protestant” come from?
  10. How did Luther respond at the Diet of Worms when Johann Eck asked him to recant?
  11. What was the punishment during Luther’s day for possessing a Bible in any other language than Latin?
  12. Were there other reformers besides Luther?  Who are some?

 

Apologetics Class 10/29/2017

Today, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we started a 2 week mini series on Martin Luther.  We watched parts 1-3 of Martin Luther the Man:

 

 

Here is the note-taking form I handed out before the video:

Martin Luther

Part 1 His Early Life (13 minutes 17 seconds)

  1. The late medieval church was very powerful
  2. No social security in those days, your social security policy was your s________
  3. Luther’s dad wanted him to be a l___________
  4. Luther’s concept of God was influenced by the fact that his father was so strict and he wasn’t sure he l____________ his father at that point (after getting disciplined)
  5. Church’s slogan at that time – do what is i___ y________ and God will not refuse you grace.
  6. If you fail, confession – priest will give you something to do to satisfy the penalty (penance)
  7. If you don’t do enough penance to cover all the sin, the answer was time in p___________
  8. You’re the one earning the f____________, you’re the one paying the price
  9. When studying at university, he found a copy of the B_______________ in the library
  10. It was understood that laymen needed Church’s help to understand/interpret the Bible
  11. Several incidents in Luther’s life caused him to develop a fear of d_______________.
  12. July 2nd 1505, Luther caught in thunderstorm – he cries out “Saint Anne, help me and I will become a m________!”
  13. Shortly after that, Luther entered a very strict m______________ of the Observant Augustinians
  14. Decision to enter monastery motivated in part by what was going to happen after death
  15. Obsessed by g_________ and the f_________ of damnation, Luther was trying in vain to find assurance of his s_______________.

Part 2 – His Monk Life (15 minutes 56 seconds)

  1. He led a very strict, d_________________ life including self-flagellation
  2. He was very concerned about his salvation and didn’t find the s_________ he thought he would
  3. The more he tried to do things right and by the book, the more he realized he was falling s_____
  4. You had to name all sins – both sins you committed and righteous acts you failed to do – under the medieval system of confession and p____________
  5. Not every monk was a priest – he was a man has taken a vow of p_____________ and ch_______________, a priest was one who was trained to handle the sacraments
  6. Luther was ordained in 1507
  7. His greatest fear as a priest was: how could he possibly tr______________ the bread and the wine into the body and blood of Christ?
  8. He was a good monk – especially at m___________________, self-torture – trying to prove to God that you really, truly are sorry for your sins. He whipped himself, walked over stone floors on his knees, laid out in the snow without covering himself.
  9. Study of the scriptures made things worse, because he’s finding the r________________ of God
  10. He felt that God was a t_______________, demanding what could not be given
  11. In 1509, he earned his Bachelor of the Bible degree
  12. In the fall of 1510, he made a trip to R____________ to defend a dispute that arose within the Augustinian Hermits of Germany
  13. He was disappointed when he really saw what Rome was like.
  14. Luther came to his reformation breakthrough as a p________________, not as a single event.
  15. The L___________ V____________ was the official Bible of the Church – it was translated by St. Jerome in 380 AD
  16. Erasmus organized a newer new testament from the older Greek documents and Luther found that St. Jerome had m___________ the word ‘metanoia’ as ‘do penance’ instead of ‘repentance’
  17. Everything changed for Luther when he found out that it’s not about me c____________ up to God, but about God c_______________ to me.

Part 3 – Purgatory & Indulgences (12 minutes 42 seconds)

  1. Purgatory not defined until the Council of Lyon in 1274, but talked about since Augustine (around 4th century AD)
  2. When you went to confession, the priest absolved you, but that absolution only covered the g_____________ of your sins, it did not cover the p__________________ for your sins. You still had to work off the punishment – either in this life, or in Purgatory.
  3. The Pope at Luther’s time was Leo the 10th – needed money to build St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. Pope Leo the 10th instituted the sale of “i___________________”
  5. There was a special kind of indulgence called a Plenary Indulgence – time in Purgatory altogether taken care of.
  6. The “Treasury of Merit” was under the power of the Pope
  7. The indulgences would allow you to escape additional months, years in purgatory if you paid for the indulgence.
  8. To the common people they probably thought this was paying for the f________________ of s__________, but it was not.
  9. John Tetzel, a Dominican monk, was the chief salesman of indulgences in the territory next to Luther’s
  10. How do you get indulgences sold? You make promises, for example if your grandma Schmidt is suffering in purgatory she’ll be freed from her suffering
  11. The infamous phrase in the sales pitch was, “As soon as the c_____________ in the coffer rings, the s_____________ from Purgatory springs.
  12. Frederick the wise would not let Tetzel sell his indulgences in his territory. Frederick the wise had a collection of relics, which it was said that if you viewed all of the relics (and offer certain prayers) you could earn forgiveness, and you could get 2 million years off of your time in Purgatory!
  13. Some were even showing their indulgences to Luther asking for a s_______________ o________________. People were coming to him and saying I don’t need to go to confession and absolution because I have a “Plenary Indulgence”.
  14. Luther knew that people were being told that they had to pay for God’s m_________________.
  15. Luther drew up a set of theses on the p_______________ and efficacy of indulgences, ninety-five theses. He posted this list on the door of the church in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517
  16. People got a hold of those theses and translated them from Latin to German and they were being published widely on Gutenberg’s new printing press.
  17. Here are some of the theses:
    1. Luther’s theses started with these words: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said repent, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of r_______________________. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction as administered by the clergy.”
    2. Thesis 27: “They preach only h_______________ d_________________ who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.”
    3. Thesis 82: If the Pope could redeem souls from purgatory for the sake of money with which to build a church, why did he not free all the needy souls, for the sake of C_________________ l____________?
  18. When Luther posted the theses in 1517, he was still a good C__________________.
  19. Luther was aware there was something really r______________ in the church, and the pope had to do something about it. But Luther found that the pope was actually complicit in all of this.

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What incident in Luther’s life caused him to want to join a monastery?
  2. Why did Luther enter a monastery and become a monk?
  3. Did Martin Luther have assurance of salvation when he was a monk?
  4. What miracle is every priest expected to perform during the Lord’s Supper?
  5. What is the Latin Vulgate? Who was it translated by?
  6. What mistake was made in the translation of the New Testament in Mark 1:15 by St. Jerome?
  7. What is the doctrine of purgatory?
  8. When was the doctrine of purgatory defined?
  9. When you went to confession, in the Catholic Church, what occurred and what were the results?
  10. What is a Plenary Indulgence? What benefit did this Indulgence have for the believer?
  11. Who is John Tetzel? What was he famous for?
  12. When did Luther make his 95 Theses? Where did he post it?
  13. Did Luther want to leave the Catholic Church at the time when he posted his 95 Theses?

 

Apologetics Class 10/1/2017

Today I wrapped up our Mormonism class by reviewing the information we covered in the last 6 weeks.  We watched a short video by Bill McKeever on the golden plates:

Here are the slides I used for our recap:

  1. Slide 1 – Mormonism Recap, What did we learn during the last 7 weeks?
    1. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this class series on Mormonism… Here’s where we’ve been for the last 7 weeks

  1. Slide 2 – Where We’ve Been the Last 7 Weeks:
    1. We started off with the overview video “Good News for LDS”
    2. 2009 podcast from J. Warner Wallace, the cold case homicide detective, gave unique, evidential perspective on Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon.
    3. Then watched the hour long film on the Lost book of Abraham
    4. We also watched the Way of the Master episode on Mormonism
    5. We continued with a Mormon role-play with Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason
    6. And finally, today, we looked at Bill McKeever’s argument concerning the weight of the golden plates

  1. Slide 3 – Topics and Areas We Covered during these weeks:
    1. History of the LDS beginnings
    2. “Translation” process of the Book of Mormon from Golden Plates
    3. The Character traits and motives of Joseph Smith, the founder
    4. The story of the Book of Abraham
    5. Overview of Mormon doctrines, theology and practices
    6. Strategies and approaches in reaching Mormon people
    7. Responding to Mormon claims with grace and truth

  1. Slide 4 – Good News for LDS:
    1. We started this whole series with a 12 chapter video overview of Mormonism
    2. If you want to find out more about the video and the participants, visit http://www.goodnewsforlds.com
    3. It appears to have been made around 2006/2007…

  1. Slide 5 – Good News for LDS Topics:
    1. Who is Jesus?
      1. Mormons say Jesus was the first spirit born to our heavenly Father
      2. According to Mormonism, Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer (Satan)
  • Christian view of Jesus – He was God in the flesh, eternal, the uncreated Creator of all things (including angels). (Man à God vs. God à Man)
  1. Who is God?
    1. According to Joseph Smith, the Father has a body of flesh and bones. (D&C 130:22) – read this
    2. According to the Bible, God (the Father) is Spirit. (John 4:24)
  • God is everlasting (Psalms 90:2)
  1. According to the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, God was once a man.
  2. According to LDS teaching, there are many gods.
  3. According to 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, there is no God but one.
  • Book of Abraham 2:24 has God telling Abraham to lie, which contradicts Ex. 20:16
  1. How Do We Obtain Eternal Life?
    1. Christian view – belief in Christ as Savior and Lord guarantees eternal life (free gift).
    2. Mormon view – 2 Nephi 25:23b read this
  • Mormon view – (D&C 76) 3 Kingdoms: Telestial, Terrestrial, Celestial. You have to keep all the commandments, be baptized, etc…
  1. Christian view – all authority is in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18)
  2. Mormon view – Joseph Smith holds the keys to heaven.
  3. Christian view – we can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13)
  • Mormon view – they can’t be sure if they will make it into the celestial kingdom
  1. Archaeological Evidence:
    1. No book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography (Professor Dee Green – BYU)
    2. Biblical archaeology can be studied – we know where biblical places are (e.g. Jerusalem)
  2. Joseph Smith – Prophecies and Revelations
    1. Inhabitants of the Moon – look like Quakers
    2. City of New Jerusalem – to be built in Independence, Missouri
  • David Patten Mission, but he died at the battle of cricket river in the fall of that year (this was a false prophecy)
  1. See Deut. 13:1-3, a warning against false prophets
  2. Biblical requirement for a prophet – 100% accuracy (Deut. 18:21-22)
  3. Joseph prophesied the coming of the Lord, but Jesus said that’s impossible (Matt. 24:36)
  1. The Character of Joseph Smith
    1. He is portrayed by the LDS church as a virtuous family man who is persecuted for his beliefs, but prevails, due to his tremendous faith and his miraculous works.
    2. At the age of 14, Joseph claimed to have a vision of God the Father and Jesus.
  • At age 21, Joseph was arrested in Bainbridge, NY for deception of Josiah Stole (a misdemeanor for his “glass looking”)
  1. Joseph Smith committed multiple adulteries. 27 women were “sealed” to him. He revealed the doctrine of “plural marriage” in 1843 after being caught in an adulterous affair with Fanny Alger.  He married underage girls & women who were already married.
  2. Warren Jeffs is in prison for the same behavior that Joseph practiced.
  3. The Bible condemns multiple wives. (Deut. 17:17, Mark 10:7-9, 1 Tim. 3:2,12; Titus 1:6)
  1. The First Vision
    1. Joseph Smith recorded several different accounts of his first vision. Some of these accounts have Jesus only, some have an angel, some have multiple angels, but the official version of the LDS church has God the Father and Jesus appearing to him.
    2. Since the official vision was before Smith’s official ordination to the priesthood, this would conflict with D&C84:21-22, which says without the authority of the priesthood, no man can see the Father and live.
  • There are 9 varying accounts of the first vision. The first vision is considered the foundation and the cornerstone of the Mormon religion.
  1. Joseph was a 14 year old boy when he supposedly first had this visitation.
  2. He was known around the country as a fabricator of stories. Even his father-in-law thought so.
  3. In 1855 Brigham Young preached a sermon in which he denied that the Lord came to Joseph in the first vision, but was rather visited by an angel.
  1. The Occult
    1. Joseph, his father and brother were actively involved in the occult while living in NY
    2. Joseph found his seer stone while money digging. This seer stone was claimed to have been used by Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon from the golden plates.
  • On March 15th 1842, Joseph Smith joined the Freemasons (believe Jesus is not divine)
  1. Joseph’s Mason membership affected the development of the temple ceremonies
  2. Nauvoo, Illinois temple architecture utilized masonic symbols
  3. The Jupiter Talisman – one of Joseph’s intimate possessions. Guaranteed the possessor the gain of riches, favor, power, love and peace and ability to influence female love.  This talisman was found is Joseph’s pocket the day he died in Carthage.
  1. The Translator
    1. The golden plates were not used during the translation of The Book of Mormon. Rather, it was translated by Joseph looking into a “peep stone” (seer stone) inside a hat.
    2. Oliver Cowdery was primary scribe for Joseph & 1 of “the 3 witnesses” listed in BoM
  • Joseph Smith boasted that the BoM was the most accurate book in existence.
  1. If this book was translated by the power of God, why thousands of corrections?
  2. The witnesses said that they never physically saw or handled the golden plates.
  3. Paul warns of another gospel in Galatians 1:8 (even from an angel [e.g. Moroni]…)
  • Kinderhook Plates – a trap set for Joseph, a hoax to expose him as a false prophet.
  1. Lamanites and DNA
    1. Lamanites are described by Joseph Smith as ancestors of the ancient Israelites
    2. DNA testing of > 5000 Native Americans from 150 different tribes has been completed
  • Not 1 person contained DNA that was of Hebrew descent, but rather of Asian descent.
  1. In order to be a Mormon, one must trust in the “stories” of Joseph Smith
  2. The Book of Abraham has been proven to be completely false. No Egyptologists agree with Joseph’s interpretation of the ancient scroll. Rather, it is a common funeral text.
  1. Conclusion – Jesus Christ vs. Joseph Smith
    1. Joseph claimed that there were many ancient cities in the Americas (38) – not one has ever been found.
    2. DNA evidence disproves his story about Native American origins
  • He was a liar, a false prophet, a womanizer/adulterer, a fraud.
  1. Examine objectively the life of Joseph Smith and the teachings of the Book of Mormon over against the Jesus of the New Testament and the reliability of the Bible
  2. The Mormons are good people and they’re worth the fight. We love them.
  3. There are no excuses at the final judgement
  • All you have to do is believe in Christ.
  • You must choose to follow Joseph or to follow Jesus – you can’t do both. CHOOSE!

  1. Slide 6 – J. Warner Wallace, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon:
    1. He is a cold case homicide detective and has a very unique perspective in looking at the Mormon issue

  1. Slide 7 – J. Warner Wallace Topics
    1. Evidence Related to Motive:
      1. Sexual Lust
      2. Financial Greed
  • The Pursuit of Power
  1. Evidence Related to the Timing of the Writing
    1. The Second Great Awakening Swept Through New York
    2. The Great Preachers of the Awakening Left Little Guidance
  • The Culture Was Fascinated With the Origin of Native Americans
  1. Ethan Smith – “View of the Hebrews”, published 5 years before BoM
  2. The People of Palmyra Were Interested in Treasure-Digging
  1. Evidence Related to the Author of the Book
    1. Joseph was a Local Treasure-Digger
    2. Joseph Used a “Seer Stone”
  • Joseph Was Charged with Fraud
  1. Evidence Related to the Translation Process
    1. Joseph Translated Just As He Searched for Treasure
    2. Joseph Was Unable to Duplicate the Lost 116 Pages
  • No One Ever Observed the Plates with Their Natural Eyes (3 witnesses)

  1. Slide 8 – the importance of the 3 & 8 Witnesses

While the Mormon Church often portrays these critical three witnesses as trustworthy and reliable, history seems to indicate something different. Oliver Cowdery was eventually excommunicated from the Church after exposing Smith’s first polygamous relationship to Fanny Alger. Smith described Cowdery as a thief, liar, perjurer, counterfeiter, adulterer and leader of “scoundrels of the deepest degree”. Cowdery later became a Methodist and denied the Book of Mormon altogether and publicly confessed his “sorrow and Shame” for having any connection with Mormonism.

Martin Harris was a member of 5 different religious groups before becoming a Mormon, and he was part of eight different groups after leaving Mormonism. He was also excommunicated from the Mormon Church and later reported that he did not see the plates as Smith described, but only saw the plates three days after Cowdery and Whitmer and then only in a spiritual sense:

“I never saw the gold plates, only in a visionary or entranced state. …In about three days I went into the woods to pray that I might see the plates. While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates.” (Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast, n.d., microfilm copy, p. 70-71).

David Whitmer was also excommunicated from the Church and later declared he was himself a prophet of the New Church of Christ. Joseph called him a “dumb beast to ride” and an “ass to bray out coursings instead of blessings”. Whitmer later admitted he saw the plates “by the eye of faith” rather than with his physical eyes and he waffled between three varying accounts of how he saw the plates.

Eventually, Smith decided this group of three “witnesses” was insufficient; he involved eight additional men and recruited them as potential eyewitnesses, forming a group of eleven total witnesses to the golden plates. Smith limited his choices to men who were close friends and relatives. He first involved four brothers of David Whitmer. Smith next recruited his own father, two of his brothers and Hiram Page (who was married to David Whitmer’s sister, Catherine). Even though Smith limited his choices to close friends and relatives, these men also had trouble staying true to the faith founded on the golden plates they claimed to see. Two of these eight men apostatized and left the Church altogether. Another was excommunicated. Of the eleven men who claimed to see the golden plates, only five remained faithful to Mormonism. Three of these five men were blood relatives of Joseph Smith. Martin Harris later reported these additional eight witnesses also observed the plates in a vision and never saw the plates with their “natural eyes”.

  1. Slide 10 – Book of Abraham Points
    1. How he came to possess the scrolls
      1. The book of Abraham is considered inspired Scripture (word of God) by the LDS church.
      2. Joseph Smith translated this from an ancient Egyptian scroll of hieroglyphics (bought in Kirtland, OH 1835) but at that time in America, no one could read Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • Joseph Smith purchased the scrolls (and mummies) for $2,400, which he raised from investors.
  1. How he “translated” the scrolls
    1. Joseph started by creating an alphabet and grammar of the Egyptian language. We have his notes for this process.
    2. Joseph created a bank in Kirtland, OH, which failed, after which he fled from there at night.
  • Joseph and the Mormons moved to Commerce, IL and renamed it to Nauvoo, where he became mayor of the city, had a large militia & even announced his candidacy for president of the US
  1. In Nauvoo, IL in 1842, Joseph published his translation of the book of Abraham.
  2. The book of Abraham includes a creation story “they, that is the Gods, organized and formed…”. See the book of Abraham chapters 4 & 5 – Mormonism is polytheistic.
  3. In June 27th, 1844, Joseph was assassinated while in jail in Carthage, IL
  1. Scrolls were lost:
    1. 1846 – 1856: the papyri are lost to the church
    2. In 1846, under the leadership of Brigham Young, the Mormons moved to Salt Lake City, UT
  • It was assumed that the papyri was destroyed in the great Chicago fire of 1871
  1. 3 drawings in book of Abraham misidentified by Joseph, according to Egyptologists.
  2. These drawings are actually, from the “book of the dead” (Egyptian funeral text)
  1. Scrolls found and actually translated
    1. 1966 – A dramatic discovery – the papyri was found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
    2. 1967 – the lost papyri presented to the LDS church along with attesting letter from Emma Smith
  • Abraham not mentioned once in the papyri. Joseph’s translation was found to be incorrect.
  1. The LDS church claims that a large portion of the scroll is missing, but this is not correct.
  2. Some argue that Joseph may’ve received the translation by direct revelation from God…
  3. According to Joseph Smith’s diary, this is not correct – he was translating it directly.
  • According to Egyptologists, there is no historical validity to the translations in that book.
  • Are the Mormon truth claims credible? Are they the kinds of things that we ought to bet our lives on?
  1. Since Joseph’s translation of the book of Abraham, which can be tested, has been found to lack credibility, then how can we accept his translation of the book of Mormon, which cannot be tested?

  1. Slide 12 – Way of the Master Topics
    1. The Mormon Holy Books and Sources of Authority
      1. The Book of Mormon (“the most correct of any book on earth” according to Joseph Smith)
      2. Doctrine and Covenants – a book mostly about theology
  • The Pearl of Great Price
  1. The King James Bible (in so far as it is translated correctly)
  2. The ultimate authority in the Mormon Church comes from living Mormon apostles and prophets, especially the president, who is considered to be “the voice of God on earth”.
  1. Mormon Teachings about God:
    1. God has not been God from all eternity
    2. Jesus is a god
  • Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament
  1. They limit Jesus to being the Creator only of this planet
  2. There are an infinite number of gods who created an infinite number of other worlds
  3. God has a body of flesh and bones like us
  • We can become like God if we adhere to his commandments
  • God is married and has many wives and they had many spirit babies, resulting in you and I getting here.
  1. It is possible to become a god, reigning over your own planet.
  1. The Mormon Jesus
    1. Law of progression – men and God are of the same species. We are at different point in our progression
    2. God, the Father of this planet is called Elohim
  • The Mormon God cannot create anything Ex-Nihilo (out of nothing) – he “organized” this earth
  1. The first “begotten” of his spirit children was Jehovah (or Jesus) – we all are the spirt brothers of Jesus.
  2. Another one of the offspring of Elohim was Lucifer – according to Mormonism, Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer.
  3. Jesus was not the eternal Creator of all things, who became a man (as the Bible says) – they have it reversed, they believe that man became a god instead
  1. The Mormon Afterlife
    1. Almost a universal salvation – only those who’ve actually had revelation of the truthfulness of Mormonism and reject it have sinned bad enough to merit eternal hell.
    2. There is a temporary hell in Mormonism (the spirit prison) that non-Mormons would go to.
  • They would not believe Hitler went to hell
  1. 4 levels of afterlife:
    1. Eternal (outer) darkness – devil, demons, a few apostate Mormons
    2. Terrestrial (for non-Mormons, Hitler, murderers, rapists, child molesters, liars, thieves)
    3. Telestial
    4. Celestial (highest – this is where God is)
  2. The Mormon Salvation
    1. 2 Nephi 25:23b – “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do
    2. Moroni 10:32 – if you “love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you” (vs. 2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • Spencer Kimball (former president of the LDS Church) – one of the most fallacious doctrines (of the devil) is that man is saved alone by the grace of God.
  1. Witnessing Tips
    1. You must define your terms, because Mormons use all the same terms as Christians, but they have different meanings for those terms
    2. Ask the Mormon first to explain who their God is, who their Jesus is and how salvation is gained
  • Pose this to a Mormon – “If the Mormon religion is right and I’m wrong, then I go to the 3rd level of heaven. But if the Bible is right and the LDS church is wrong, then you are following a false Jesus and you’ll end up in hell forever.”
  1. Baptism for the Dead
    1. Mormons get baptized for dead people. They use 1 Corinthians 15:29 to justify that.
    2. If anyone dies without believing in Mormonism, they can still make it to heaven if someone is baptized on their behalf. They can accept Mormonism in the spirit world.
  2. The main point in reaching the Mormon is using the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).

  1. Slide 14 – Mormon Role Play Points
    1. How would you define a Christian?
      1. Elder Kunkle: You probably believe something like this – Mormons are not Christians
      2. Elder Kunkle: How would you define a Christian, what is a Christian?
  • Someone answered “Someone who has been saved by Jesus and professes Him as their Lord and Savior”
  1. Mormon definition of Jesus:
    1. “Mormons have a different definition of Jesus” – but Elder Kunkle affirmed that Jesus was:
      1. Born of the Virgin Mary
      2. Is the Son of God
      3. Lived a sinless, perfect life
      4. Died on the cross to atone for our sins
      5. Rose from the dead – bodily
    2. Deity of Christ & the Trinity:
      1. “Jesus claimed to be God” – Elder Kunkle challenged, “Where did Jesus claim to be God?”
      2. Elder Kunkle: the oneness that Jesus is talking about is oneness in unity.
  • Elder Kunkle: I affirm, “One Lord and One Savior”
  1. Audience member says that his Bible does not say that God was once a man, like Mormonism believes. Elder Kunkle replies, “You don’t believe Jesus was a man?”  Person replies, “I’m not saying Jesus, I’m saying God”
  2. Elder Kunkle: we believe in the Father, we believe in the Son, we believe in the Holy Spirit…I believe in the God of the Bible…. But one of the differences we have is the Trinity… the claim of the Trinity is that you have 3 beings in 1 being, but that is a patent contradiction.
  3. One audience member brought up Jesus is considered to be Lucifer’s brother in Mormonism
  • Elder Kunkle: Colossians 1 – Jesus is the first born of all creation. So, He is the first born Son of God.
  • Elder Kunkle: If Jesus is God, in Matthew 26 Jesus is praying to God, but if Jesus is God, then He is just praying to Himself.
  1. Elder Kunkle: There’s nowhere you can point to in Scripture to show the Trinity – where is the Trinity in the Bible?
  2. One audience member brought up John 10:30 – I and the Father are one. Elder Kunkle replied that in this church, you probably all consider yourself to be “one”, but not the same being.
  3. Elder Kunkle: where in the Bible does it say that to be a Christian, you have to affirm that Jesus is Yahweh?
  • Elder Kunkle quotes John 14, where Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I”
  1. Book of Mormon / additional revelation:
    1. One audience member says he has been “taught his doctrine” – he was indoctrinated differently
    2. One audience member said you put your faith in a man who brought an additional book
  • Elder Kunkle: that’s all the Book of Mormon is – it’s God speaking through a man
  1. Elder Kunkle: Just like God built on the Old Testament and gave us the New Testament, God builds on the New Testament and gives us another testament to Jesus Christ (BoM)
  2. One audience member quotes Revelation 22:19 “If any man shall take away from the words…”
  3. Elder Kunkle replies with Deut. 4:2, which has the same warning.
  • One audience member quotes John 8:58 – says Jesus claimed to be Elohim.
  • Elder Kunkle made a case for works salvation (James 2, Philippians 2, Acts 2, Eph. 2 etc.)
  1. Christians inarticulate / apologetics not optional, but required – asked everyone to do a self-assessment
    1. What we wanted to do tonight was provide you a little test.
    2. Most evangelical Christians do not know what they believe or why they believe it
  • Most Christians are completely inarticulate about what they believe and why they believe it.
  1. We wanted you to take this test here, now, with me before you go out the door and have this test with “the real thing”.
  2. We need to be effective ambassadors for Jesus Christ and being an effective ambassador means that you have to know some things – you have to have knowledge of the truth.
  3. How many of you would be able to make the case that Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God and that the Father is God and that those 3 persons are together the one God, who offers salvation solely through faith in Christ by grace alone? Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10.
  • How well would you be able to reason from the Scripture? How prepared would you be?
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 – how many can say that we are workmen who do not need to be ashamed because we can accurately handle the God’s Word?
  1. Many of you had courage to defend, but many of you did not accurately handle God’s Word
  2. I would much rather have you fail in here, than with your Mormon neighbor.
  3. We Christians spend most of our time talking with other Christians
  • Many of us are fearful to open our mouths about Jesus b/c we don’t have answers to objections
  • Apologetics is not some optional thing we do as believers, apologetics is not a club for nerds. Apologetics should be an essential part of our discipleship under Jesus Christ.
  • It’s not enough to simply be right. Not only need knowledge, but wisdom and character too…
  1. How were you as representatives of Jesus Christ? He came in grace & truth (Jn 1:14) – need both
  • Sometimes you’ve got to be made uncomfortable before you realize that you need to grow.
  • John 10:30 – you have to go further in reading that passage in order to make the case from that

Here is the note-taking form I handed out:

Notes for the LDS Recap Session

  1. Bill McKeever – Problems with the Golden Plates
  2. Good News for LDS
  3. Warner Wallace on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
  4. The Book of Abraham
  5. The Way of the Master Mormonism Episode
  6. Mormon Role-Play, Brett Kunkle (Elder Kunkle)

Discussion Questions

  1. How has your view of Mormonism changed during this study?
  2. How has your view of the Mormon people changed during this study?
  3. What new information did you learn about Mormonism that will be useful to you?
  4. In your view, what is the most compelling evidence demonstrating that Mormonism is false?
  5. Do you now feel more or less likely to reach out to Mormons in your circle of influence?
  6. When talking to Mormons, do you think it is more effective to:
    1. Address their non-orthodox theology & doctrines
      OR
    2. Talk about Joseph Smith’s character, the translation process of the Book of Mormon and the lack of archeological support
      OR
    3. Just share the Gospel
  7. How would you explain to a Mormon why you don’t think Joseph Smith is a prophet of God?
  8. What reason(s) do you have for not accepting the Book of Mormon as Scripture?
  9. Why do we believe Mormon people are not evil enemies to be opposed?
  10. What were the 3 ungodly motivations that drove Joseph to perpetrate his lies?
  11. How do the biblical and Mormon views of the following differ?
    1. Jesus
    2. God the Father differ?
    3. Eternal life (as well as how one obtains it) differ?
  12. Is there any archeological evidence that the Book of Mormon is true? Is there any archeological evidence that the Bible is true?
  13. Has Joseph Smith met the biblical test for a prophet of God? Where is that biblical test found?
  14. How is the Joseph Smith portrayed by the LDS church different than the Joseph Smith of history?
  15. How would you answer the following charges?
    1. Men of God in the Old Testament had multiple wives, so this must be a practice approved by God
    2. Several biblical authors were also sinners (e.g. David, Solomon, Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul etc.) like Joseph, so we can still believe Joseph’s writings
  16. How old was Joseph when he supposedly received his first vision?
  17. Were the accounts of Joseph’s vision always consistently told by him?
  18. What is a “peep stone” or “seer stone”? What did Joseph use it for?
  19. Was Joseph ever in trouble with the law? Was he ever arrested?  How is this different from the apostles Peter, John and Paul being imprisoned in the book of Acts?
  20. How did Joseph supposedly translate the “Book of Mormon” into English?
  21. What are the “Kinderhook Plates” and what do they tell us about the nature of Joseph Smith?
  22. How does DNA evidence contradict Joseph Smith’s story of Native American origins?
  23. What is the Book of Abraham? What is the story of that book’s origin? What does it tell us about the reliability of Joseph Smith as a translator of ancient languages?
  24. What evidence could you provide to show Joseph Smith is a womanizer and an adulterer?
  25. What circumstances led Joseph Smith to claim that polygamy was a “God-ordained” practice?

Apologetics Class 9/17/2017

Today we continued the Mormonism series by watching Way of the Master – Mormonism Episode:

Here is the note-taking form:

Way of the Master – Mormonism

The Mormon Holy Books and Sources of Authority

  1. The Book of M________ (“the most correct of any book on earth” according to Joseph Smith)
  2. Doctrine and Covenants – a book mostly about th____________
  3. The Pearl of G_________ P_____________
  4. The K_________ J___________ B__________ (in so far as it is translated correctly)
  5. The ultimate authority in the Mormon Church comes from living Mormon apostles and prophets, especially the p_____________, who is considered to be “the voice of God on earth”.
  6. Mormon Teachings about God:
    1. God has not been God from all e__________
    2. Jesus is a god
    3. Jesus is the J______________ of the Old Testament
    4. They limit Jesus to being the C_____________ only of this planet
    5. There are an infinite number of gods who created an infinite number of other worlds
    6. God has a body of f___________ and b___________ like us
    7. We can become like G_________ if we adhere to his commandments
    8. God is married and has many wives and they had many s_______ b___________, resulting in you and I getting here.
    9. It is possible to become a god, reigning over your own p_____________.

The Mormon Jesus

  1. Law of p______________ – men and God are of the same species. We are at different point in our progression
  2. God, the Father of this planet is called E_____________
  3. The Mormon God cannot create anything Ex-Nihilo (out of n______) – he “organized” this earth
  4. The first “begotten” of his spirit children was Jehovah (or Jesus) – we all are the spirt b___________ of Jesus.
  5. Another one of the offspring of Elohim was Lucifer – according to Mormonism, J____________ is the spirit brother of Lucifer.
  6. Jesus was not the eternal Creator of all things, who became a man (as the Bible says)

The Mormon Afterlife

  1. Almost a universal s_______________ – only those who’ve actually had revelation of the truthfulness of Mormonism and reject it have sinned bad enough to merit eternal hell.
  2. There is a temporary h_____ in Mormonism (the spirit prison) that non-Mormons would go to.
  3. They would not believe Hitler went to hell
  4. 4 levels of afterlife:
    1. Eternal (outer) darkness – devil, demons, a few apostate Mormons
    2. Terrestrial (for non-Mormons, Hitler, murderers, rapists, child molesters, liars, thieves)
    3. Telestial
    4. Celestial (highest – this is where God is)

The Mormon Salvation

  1. 2 Nephi 25:23b – “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, a_________ all we can do
  2. Moroni 10:32 – if you “love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you” (vs. 2 Corinthians 12:9)
  3. Spencer Kimball (former president of the LDS Church) – one of the most fallacious doctrines (of the devil) is that man is saved alone by the g___________ of God.

Witnessing Tips

  1. You must d__________ your t__________, because Mormons use all the same terms as Christians, but they have different meanings for those terms
  2. Ask Mormon first to explain who their G___ is, who their J_____ is and how s________ is gained
  3. Pose this to a Mormon – “If the Mormon religion is right and I’m wrong, then I go to the 3rd level of h_________. But if the Bible is right and the L____ church is wrong, then you are following a f________ Jesus and you’ll end up in h_______ forever.”

Baptism for the Dead

  1. Mormons get baptized for dead people. They use 1 Corinthians __:___ to justify that.
  2. If anyone dies without believing in Mormonism, they can still make it to heaven if someone is baptized on their b________. They can accept Mormonism in the s__________ w_________.

 

The main point in reaching the Mormon is using the power of the G________ (Romans 1:16).  Trust in God and p_______ for the Mormon.

mid-week apologetics booster (8-24-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How Do We Help Kids Who Have Left the Faith?: http://crossexamined.org/how-do-we-help-kids-who-have-left-the-faith/
  2. Ancient Man – How Could Noah Have Built a Massive Ark? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/thinking-outside-the-box/ancient-man/
  3. 5 Common Answers to Kids’ Questions about God That Can Do More Harm than Good: http://christianmomthoughts.com/5-common-answers-to-kids-questions-about-god-that-can-do-more-harm-than-good/
  4. 6 Big Reasons Why Islam Is False | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/6-big-reasons-why-islam-is-false/
  5. Evidence For Resurrection Leads Distinguished Philosopher & Atheist John Montgomery To Faith | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/evidence-for-resurrection-leads-distinguished-philosopher-atheist-john-montgomery-to-faith/
  6. How to Recite the Gospel in 60 Seconds – New York Apologetics: http://www.newyorkapologetics.com/how-to-recite-the-gospel-in-60-seconds/
  7. Debating Atheists: Introduction (part 1/5) | CrossExamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/debating-atheists-introduction-part-15/
  8. Can Jesus Really Be God If the Father Is Greater Than the Son? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjb19qq5heg
  9. The Witnesses of the Resurrection Compared to the Witnesses of the Golden Plates | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/the-witnesses-of-the-resurrection-compared-to-the-witnesses-of-the-golden-plates/
  10. William Lane Craig on Universal, Divine, Causal Determinism: http://evangelicalarminians.org/william-lane-craig-on-universal-divine-causal-determinism/
  11. Are the Galapagos finch beaks evidence of Darwinian evolution? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2017/08/19/are-the-galapagos-finch-beaks-evidence-of-darwinian-evolution-2/
  12. Ravi Zacharias – Jesus Among Other Gods (scroll down to see video – it is about 1/2 hour) – Sermon Videos: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0B109CNU
  13. What are the doctrines of Islam? | carm: https://carm.org/what-are-doctrines-islam
  14. Jesus vs. Osiris: Debunking The Alleged Parallels | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/jesus-vs-osiris-debunking-the-alleged-parallels/
  15. Testing Hinduism | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2017/08/19/testing-hinduism/
  16. Do All Religions Offer a Piece of the Truth? – YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=AXSMr_CYAZk
  17. A list of false teachings in the Roman Catholic Church | carm: https://carm.org/list-of-roman-catholic-false-teachings
  18. Did Jesus Commend Faith That Is Blind? | CrossExamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/jesus-commend-faith-blind/
  19. The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation About God | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-best-question-to-ask-when-starting-a-conversation-about-god/
  20. The earliest complete Koran manuscript in existence in museums today are hundreds of years after Muhammad died: http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-myths-koran-manuscripts.htm
  21. Did Humans Domesticate Ourselves? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2017/08/22/did-humans-domesticate-ourselves/
  22. Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? What Does the Science Say? – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/did-adam-and-eve-really-exist-what-does-the-science-say
  23. To Be Sure….God Loves Us: APOLOGETICS CONVERSION STORIES: Resources: http://2besure.blogspot.com/2016/01/conversion-stories-people-who-came-to.html
  24. Why Make the Case for Christianity, If God Is in Control? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/why-make-the-case-for-christianity-if-god-is-in-control/
  25. Unbelievable? Four Simple Principles to Determine Ancient Historical Reliability | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/unbelievable-four-simple-principles-to-determine-ancient-historical-reliability/
  26. Don’t Impose Your Beliefs on Others?: http://www.cltruth.com/2017/dont-impose-beliefs-others/

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalms 112:4

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 8/13/2017

Today in the Apologetics Class, we watched Hell’s Best Kept Secret – Ray Comfort / Kirk Cameron:

Here is the note-taking form:

Hell’s Best Kept Secret (Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron)

  1. The “fall-away rate” – 80-90% of “decisions” fall away from their faith. In other words, there are 80-90 “backsliders” for every 100 decisions for Christ.
  2. The Church has strayed away from the b_______________ way of presenting the Gospel.
  3. Mark 10:17-22 – Jesus’ approach with the rich young ruler. He was using a principle that prepares the heart for g______________.  It shows people why they need the Savior.
  4. Psalm 19:7 – “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…”
  5. Civil law example – someone paid $25,000 fine on your behalf… (doesn’t make sense)
  6. Telling a person precisely what they’ve done w_______ first, makes the good news make sense.
  7. Romans 3:19 – One function of God’s law: “…that every mouth may be st____________…”
  8. More about the law – Romans 3:20, 1 John 3:4, Romans 7:7, Galatians 3:24
  9. The law doesn’t help us, it just leaves us h_______________. The law doesn’t justify us, it just leaves us g______________ before a just and holy God.
  10. We are not saved by the law, we are saved by God’s grace, through faith.
  11. Modern evangelism tries to attract people to Jesus with the promise of “life e______________”.
  12. Modern Parable about 2 passengers on an airplane that are told to put on a parachute for different reasons – one to improve his flight, the other to prepare for a 25,000 foot jump.
  13. Modern Gospel says, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and He will give you “Love, Joy, Peace, Fulfillment and Lasting Happiness” (i.e. Jesus will “improve your flight”)
  14. The sinner responds and puts on the Savior in an ex___________ fashion and gets just what Jesus promised – trials, tribulation, persecution (other passengers mock him). He’s offended, disillusioned and bitter – he was promised Love, Joy, Peace, Fulfillment and Lasting Happiness
  15. Instead of telling sinners that Jesus “improves the flight”, we should be warning them that they’re going to have to j_____________ out of the plane. (Hebrews 9:27)
  16. When a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking God’s law, he will flee to the Savior solely to escape the w______________ to come.
  17. It’s not an issue of happiness, but of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a person is or isn’t in their current lifestyle, without the righteousness of Christ, they’ll p____________ on the Day of Judgment. (Proverbs 11:4)
  18. If a person comes to God looking for peace and joy in their life, but they’re not broken in their heart, repentant over the fact that they’ve s______ against Almighty God, they won’t find peace with God! They won’t know the joy of the Lord – they’ll remain e________ of God in their mind.
  19. If we continue to give people a wrong reason to come to Christ, they’ll respond with the wrong motive – lacking r_________________.
  20. If you and I have put on the Lord Jesus Christ for the biblical motive to flee from the wrath that’s to come, when tribulation strikes (“flight” gets bumpy) we won’t get a_____________ with God or lose our joy or peace – why should we? We didn’t come to Jesus for a happy life-style, we came because we’d sinned against God and needed a Savior to save us from the wrath to come.
  21. If anything, tribulation drives a true Christian c______________ to the Savior.
  22. One of the functions of God’s law: it c_______________.
  23. Wooden table analogy, looks dust-free until the sunlight shines on it. Did the light create the dust?  No, the light merely ex_______________ the dust.  In the same way, when the light of God’s law shines upon a sinner’s heart, all that happens is that he sees himself in t___________.
  24. People can hardly name any of 10 c______________, but can name a lot of b________ brands.
  25. If someone does not know God’s law, they will not see their sin as being exceedingly sinful.
  26. Modern evangelism takes the good seed of the Gospel and casts it on the hard, unregenerate h_____________ of humanity.
  27. Biblical evangelism, without exception, is always “Law to the p______, Grace to the h________”
  28. With the law, He (Jesus) breaks the hard heart and with the Gospel, He heals the broken heart.
  29. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6b).
  30. What doctor would give a c_____ to a patient when the patient is not 1st convinced of his disease
  31. The disease is s__________, and the cure is the G________________.
  32. John 4 – the women at the well (they call it “the W____ of the M___________”). Jesus does this:
    1. Starts out with the n________________ conversation
    2. Then swings the conversation to the s_______________ realm
    3. Then, brings c_____________ of sin using the commandments
    4. Finally, reveals Himself as M_________________.
  33. Show a person they’re not a “g__________ p____________” by looking at the commandments (lying, stealing, adultery, etc.) and showing them they’ve not kept them perfectly.
  34. God is forgiving – try that in a court of law. Someone charged of murder says to judge, “because you’re a good man, and therefore, you’ll let me go…”  That wouldn’t be a good j_____________.
  35. If God is good, then by nature, He will make sure that j______________ is served and that people are punished for what they’ve done. If God gave you justice, you wouldn’t be headed for heaven but for h_________.
  36. We broke the law and Jesus paid our f____________ – it’s as simple as that.

Discussion Questions

  1. According to this video, what is a “biblical motive” for salvation?
  2. Modern evangelism attracts people by promising what unbiblical motive?
  3. What does the phrase “Law to the Proud, Grace to the Humble” mean? How would this work in an evangelistic encounter?
  4. Explain the parable told in this video about the 2 passengers on the plane and the parachute. What does it mean?
  5. Explain the analogy about a dusty table and the morning light. What truth is that trying to communicate?
  6. According to this video, what is the “Way of the Master” and what Scripture is it based on?
  7. What opportunities do you have for evangelism at your work, school, neighborhood, family or circle of friends and acquaintances?
  8. According to this video, what is “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”?

mid-week apologetics booster (7-20-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Seven Costs to Being an Evangelistic Leader in Your Church: http://thomrainer.com/2017/07/seven-costs-evangelistic-leader-church/
  2. Christian Worldview and The View: http://www.breakpoint.org/2017/07/breakpoint-christian-worldview-and-the-view/
  3. Please Don’t Tell Your Kids to Believe in God Just in Case He Exists: http://crossexamined.org/please-dont-tell-your-kids-to-believe-in-god-just-in-case-he-exists/
  4. How a 29-Year-Old G. K. Chesterton Flipped 4 Arguments Against Christianity Upside-Down | TGC: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2016/01/21/how-a-29-year-old-g-k-chesterton-flipped-4-arguments-against-christianity-upside-down/
  5. Is There One Point of Evidence That Proves the Existence of God? (Video) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/is-there-one-point-of-evidence-that-proves-the-existence-of-god-video/
  6. 5 Ways to Love God with Your Mind Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/5-ways-to-love-god-with-your-mind/
  7. Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? Tim Barnett: http://subsplash.com/standtoreason/v/mzeycxu
  8. Prohibition – Can You Make People Be Good? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYfPxqrl988&feature=youtu.be
  9. What About Those That Have Not Heard, Part 1 – Listen to JP Jones from Truth That Changes Lives: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/truth-that-changes-lives/listen/what-about-those-that-have-not-heard-part-1-515491.html
  10. What Are the Differences Between Judaism and Christianity? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/what-are-differences-between-judaism-and-christianity/
  11. Surtsey Still Surprises – Formed by a volcanic eruption in 1963, the Island of Surtsey, near Iceland, has intrigued scientists because it looks like landscapes most think are much older.: http://creation.com/creation-videos?fileID=olcVAb_oNWg
  12. Surtsey, the young island that looks old – creation.com: http://creation.com/surtsey-the-young-island-that-looks-old
  13. World Famous Atheist Illusionist, Andre Kole, Tried to Debunk Jesus & Converted Instead | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/world-famous-atheist-illusionist-andre-kole-tried-to-debunk-jesus-converted-instead/
  14. Biblical Inerrancy: What It Means To Say Scripture Is : http://reasonsforjesus.com/biblical-inerrancy-what-it-means-to-say-scripture-is-inerrant/
  15. Christian Leaders, Please Speak the Truth About Homosexuality Plainly and With Love | The Stream: https://stream.org/christian-leaders-please-speak-truth-homosexuality-plainly-love/
  16. The Real Issue Podcast Why Christian Students Fall Away from Their Faith and What We Can Do to Help Them – The Real Issue Podcast | podcast garden: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/the-real-issue-podcast-why-christian-students-fall-away-from-their-faith-and-what-we-can-do-to-help-them_109569
  17. The Freethinking Argument | The Apologers: https://apologers.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/the-freethinking-argument/
  18. Tree fruit and the relevance of Genesis creation – creation.com: http://creation.com/tree-fruit-and-the-relevance-of-genesis-creation
  19. The Agonizing Ordeal of Eugene Peterson – You Might Be Next – AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/07/17/eugene-peterson/

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth –to every nation, tribe, language and people. Revelation 14:6

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (5-25-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Teaching Series on Why the Resurrection of Jesus Matters | THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM – This page has 6 embedded youtube videos: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/teaching-series-on-why-the-resurrection-of-jesus-matters/
  2. Apologetic Engagement-Fish or Cut Bait – Southern by His Grace: http://southernbyhisgrace.com/apologetic-engagement/
  3. Are Objective Moral Truths Merely a Matter of Cultural Agreement? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/are-objective-moral-truths-merely-a-matter-of-cultural-agreement/
  4. Defending the Age of Accountability | SOTERIOLOGY 101: https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/defending-the-age-of-accountability/
  5. What Happens to Our Pets When They Die?: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-happens-to-pets-when-they-die
  6. ACLU and Planned Parenthood Fighting for Teens to Get Secret Abortions Without Their Parents Knowing | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/05/18/aclu-and-planned-parenthood-fighting-for-teens-to-get-secret-abortions-without-their-parents-knowing/
  7. Atheist Astrophysicist Explains Her Journey To Jesus | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/atheist-astrophysicist-explains-her-journey-to-jesus/
  8. Modalism | carm: https://carm.org/modalism
  9. Creation Clips – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/creation-videos?fileID=YddmGJofbL0
  10. Leading Millennials? Core Issues You Need to Know | ChurchLeaders.com: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/303966-leading-millennials-core-issues-need-know.html
  11. Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/six-enemies-of-apologetic-engagement
  12. Are Christians Intolerant Haters? The Charges are Not New – Michael J. Kruger: http://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/michael-j-kruger/are-christians-intolerant-haters-the-charges-are-not-new.html
  13. Four Iowa Planned Parenthood Locations Closing After State Cuts Funding to Abortion Facilities | Christian News Network: http://christiannews.net/2017/05/22/four-iowa-planned-parenthood-locations-closing-after-state-cuts-funding-to-abortion-facilities/
  14. Case-Making 101: How does the Bible compare to other ancient documents? Truth, Faith and Reason: http://truthfaithandreason.com/case-making-101-how-does-the-bible-compare-to-other-ancient-documents/
  15. Who Has the Burden of Proof When Discussing God? | Strange Notions: http://strangenotions.com/who-has-the-burden-of-proof-when-discussing-god/
  16. Truthbomb Apologetics: Video: True for You, but Not For Me? by Brett Kunkle: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/05/video-true-for-you-but-not-for-me-by.html
  17. Pro-Abortion Students at Catholic Notre Dame Walk Out of Pro-Life VP Mike Pences Commence Speech | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/05/22/pro-abortion-students-at-catholic-notre-dame-walk-out-of-pro-life-vp-mike-pences-commence-speech/
  18. Is Right and Wrong Simply a Matter of Human Flourishing? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/is-right-and-wrong-simply-a-matter-of-human-flourishing/
  19. Four Things We Wont Need in Heaven (But Ought to Pursue Here on Earth) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/four-things-we-wont-need-in-heaven-but-ought-to-pursue-here-on-earth/
  20. How to Become a True Student and a Better Apologist: http://crossexamined.org/how-to-become-a-true-student-and-a-better-apologist/
  21. Nature & Scripture: Argument for the Early Dating of Christian Theology and Christian Writings: http://natureandscripture.blogspot.com/2017/05/argument-for-early-dating-of-christian.html
  22. The Trinity is Not A Problem, Its A Solution | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-trinity-is-not-a-problem-its-a-solution/
  23. Why I Wish Christians Would Argue MORE (No, Seriously) ChurchLeaders.com: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/301281-wish-christians-argue-no-seriously-trevin-wax.html
  24. The Empty Tomb | The John 10:10 Project: http://thejohn1010project.com/the-empty-tomb.html
  25. Matthew 7:1-6 Why the Confusion About Judging? | Dr. Mike Spaulding: http://www.drmikespaulding.com/?p=1993
  26. Apologetics Mission Trips – Brett Kunkle | Stand To Reason – Opening monologue is pretty powerful: http://subsplash.com/standtoreason/v/5nfgovh
  27. Pastor James MacDonald – Are You Saved? – Very convicting sermon, which I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVRUTknpA7Q
  28. What is the Best Evidence for Intelligent Design? Interview with Brian Johnson. – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/what-is-the-best-evidence-for-intelligent-design-interview-with-brian-johnson

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest– I would flee far away and stay in the desert; “Selah” Psalms 55:4-7

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 5/21/2017

We had a good message in the Apologetics class today. This was not the traditional Apologetics material per se, but none the less, I still think it was relevant to Apologetics. Here is the video on YouTube (47 min):

Are you saved? (click on image below to open youtube video in a new tab)

Below, I’ve pasted in the notes (with fill-in blanks) and attached the notes with answers.

We have one more week before we break for the summer

Blessings to you all!


Are You Saved? James MacDonald – John 8:30-36

  1. 100 years from today, this will be the only thing that matters to you – your s______________.
  2. The Bible teaches that you are lost in sin – you have a t____________ condition known as sin.
  3. You’re not saved because you say so any more than you’re in Cincinnati because you know how to get t____________.
  4. To the question, “Are you saved?” rather than telling you how they k_______ they’re saved, they tell you how to g_______ saved.

6 Points in the message from John 8:30-36:

  1. Many people b____________ in Jesus (John 8:30)
    1. Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) – 4 types of soils / people / heart condition.
    2. All true Christians bear f_________.
    3. Parable of the wheat and weeds (Matthew 13) – early on, it’s not obvious which is “the weeds” and which is “the wheat”.  T________ will tell.
    4. Matthew 7:21 and following – it’s what you do that proves the g_________ of your faith
    5. If your faith hasn’t c_____________ you, it hasn’t s___________ you.
  2. Genuine disciples a________ in Jesus’ words (John 8:31)
    1. Salvation happens at a p__________ in time, but it is p___________ over
    2. You can say it, but over time we’re gonna know whether it’s really t_________ by what we see in your life.
    3. How do you know you’re saved? “I have a growing l________ for God’s word”
    4. How am I different because of following Christ? (spiritual self-inventory)
    5. I’m not what I c________ be, I’m not what I s_______ be, but I’m not what I w_____…
  3. Abiding leads to f__________ (John 8:32)
    1. Freedom from the p____________ of sin (penalty of sin is already taken care of)
  4. False disciples don’t recognize their b__________ (John 8:33-34)
    1. You refer to your spiritual heritage as p____________ that you’re okay.
    2. False disciples are not especially c_____________ by their sin

Bondage Checkup

  1. Do you have a s__________ sin? (that’s increasing its intensity in your life)
  2. Do you have a capacity to “hold on” to an o_______________?
  3. Do you have a “reflex reaction” to r_____________ about sin? True Christians know how awful sin is and they want it out of their lives.
  4. Do you find overt discussions about s______________ intensities disquieting or even aggravating?  It’s because you’re not like that and you think that people like that must be making it up because for you to be like that you’d have to make it up.
  5. Do you battle a c____________ spirit toward people who appear devoted to Christ?

Points (cont’d)

  1. False disciples don’t r____________ in Christ (John 8:35) – a message like this could be subtitled “Operation Crowd Reduction”.  It’s not about a quantity of disciples, it’s about a quality of discipleship.
    1. Your assurance of salvation is not based on your conversion story, it’s based on your l__________, looking at it (how you’re living).
    2. Maybe people who’ve walked away from God have just b___________ and He’ll bring them back if they’re really His children.
  2. “Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).  So, here’s the question: Are you s____________ or u_________________?

Discussion Questions

  1. In what way was James MacDonald’s message relevant to apologetics?
  2. Is a James MacDonald telling us that a Christian must work for their salvation?
  3. Did you find this message personally convicting?
  4. Do you have anyone in your circle of friends or acquaintances that claims to be a Christian, but is not living that way? (do not reveal names)  How could you approach them?
  5. James MacDonald said hear the end of the message, “I deserve hell and I’m headed for it”. How can anyone believe that he or she deserves hell?  How would you communicate that message to a non-Christian in conversation?
  6. What does it mean to “examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith”? (1 Cor. 13:5a)
  7. What did James MacDonald mean in this message when he referred to having “fire insurance”?
  8. How can believers in Christ have assurance of their salvation?
  9. Is James MacDonald saying that a Christian can lose his or her faith?
  10. If someone grew up in the church and in a Christian family, at what point are they truly saved?
  11. How can we strike a balance between grace and truth in communicating with ‘weeds’ that may be among us in the church?

Here is a link to the answers.

mid-week apologetics booster (5-11-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 74% Of Doctors Believe In Miracles, 55% Have Seen Them | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/74-of-doctors-believe-in-miracles-55-have-seen-them/
  2. How Can Students Stand Strong for Their Faith in College? – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry: http://crossexamined.org/how-can-students-stand-strong-for-their-faith-in-college/
  3. MTV Star Catelynn Lowell: Why is It Illegal to Destroy an Eagle Egg But Not Abort a Baby? http://www.lifenews.com/2014/05/05/mtv-star-catelynn-lowell-why-is-it-illegal-to-destroy-an-eagle-egg-but-not-abort-a-baby/
  4. Public School Shuts Down Bible Club — Todd Starnes: https://www.toddstarnes.com/column/public-school-shuts-down-bible-club
  5. Is The Bible Full Of Contradictions? 6 Quick Responses | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/is-the-bible-full-of-contradictions-6-quick-responses/
  6. “No Uterus, No Opinion” – Can Men Have a Say on Abortion? http://www.lifenews.com/2012/06/05/no-uterus-no-opinion-can-men-have-a-say-on-abortion/
  7. Responses that Stimulate Conversation: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2014/08/responses-that-stimulate-conversation.html
  8. The Three R’s of Salvation: http://blogs.christianpost.com/confident-christian/the-three-rs-of-salvation-23599/
  9. Jesus Vs Muhammad: Their Views About Women | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/jesus-vs-muhammad-their-views-about-women/
  10. Climate Change / Global Warming:
    1. Scientists Found a Totally Unexpected Source of Climate Cooling: http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/08/scientists-found-a-totally-unexpected-source-of-climate-cooling/
    2. Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/#5f37283d4c7c
    3. Why You Don’t Believe In Facts, And How To Fix It – you may find this very challenging, but I include it to be ‘fair and balanced’.  Apparently, the author has not read the study referred to above: https://lisacharlotterost.github.io/2017/05/07/why-do-we-not-believe-in-facts/
  11. Why Your Children Do NOT Need Apologetics: Correcting Misconceptions – Mama Bear Apologetics: http://mamabearapologetics.com/children-do-need-apologetics/
  12. Postmodernism and the Paradox of Tolerance – The Veritas Forum: http://www.veritas.org/postmodernism-paradox-tolerance/
  13. Three Things You’ll Have to Say to the World to Live a Surrendered, Godly Life | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/three-things-youll-have-to-say-to-the-world-to-live-a-surrendered-godly-life/
  14. The Folly of Answering Distracting Atheistic Arguments: http://www.equip.org/article/folly-answering-distracting-atheistic-arguments/
  15. About Those Crusades: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2015/02/about-those-crusades.html
  16. How To Be Someone People Love To Talk To (not a Christian article, but good none-the-less): http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/02/love-to-talk/

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs – Romans 11:26-28

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (4-6-2017)

Hello Friends,

Last night I had the awesome opportunity to speak into the lives of 3rd to 6th grade AWANA clubbers by teaching them the word of God, which I’ve been doing once a month this year.  The Bible says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17b). Earlier in the same passage, Paul says “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14).  Also, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

I was overjoyed to be that “foolish preacher” last night.  The topic was Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”.  I’d planned the message for 5th and 6th graders, but we decided on the spot to bring the whole club into the same room and deliver the message to all of them.  The Gospel was preached.  If you would like to see the contents of the message (slides, speaking notes and a self-examination questionnaire), you can take a look at that on my blog.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 12 Reasons Millennials are OVER Church. I’ve included this link, not for apologetics value, but for the perspective of a millennial on why millennials are largely absent from the church.  In my opinion, I think he gets some things right and some things wrong.  If I get time, I would like to write a blog giving my comments on these 12 Reasons.  Make sure and read the comments at the bottom of the article too: http://www.recklesslyalive.com/12-reasons-millennials-are-over-church/
  2. Faith and Lifestyle of Born Again Christians Evaluated in Extensive National Survey | American Culture and Faith Institute.  One interesting stat from this article was “only 30% of born again adults have a biblical worldview”: https://www.culturefaith.com/faith-and-lifestyle-of-born-again-christians-evaluated-in-extensive-national-survey/
  3. Biblical Creation Confirmed [Podcast] | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/biblical-creation-confirmed-podcast
  4. Watch “Creation in the 21st Century Creation and Mathematics” on YouTube – this is really interesting.  It talks about how our current human population only makes sense in light of a young earth view: https://youtu.be/1oFAooUFbdY
  5. Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe? (Christian Mom Thoughts) – http://christianmomthoughts.com/is-how-we-live-more-important-than-what-we-believe-bad-secular-wisdom-series-1/
  6. How does God relate to time? http://creation.com/god-and-time
  7. Quest for Truth: Lee Strobel on The Case for Christ Movie | CBN.com – this movie opens this week: http://www1.cbn.com/movies/quest-truth-lee-strobel-case-christ-movie
  8. Dinosaurs ate birds – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/dinos-ate-birds
  9. The way it really is: little-known facts about radiometric dating – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/the-way-it-really-is-little-known-facts-about-radiometric-dating
  10. Fallacy of Composition | SES: http://ses.edu/fallacy-of-composition
  11. Christian Student Reprimanded for Disagreeing with Muslim Professor about the Resurrection – Christian News Headlines: http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/christian-student-is-reprimanded-for-disagreeing-with-muslim-professor-about-the-resurrection.html
  12. College drops charges against Christian student who challenged Muslim prof’s claims about Jesus – The College Fix: https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/31930/
  13. Did Jesus Ever Do Apologetics? – Hope’s Reason: https://www.stephenjbedard.com/2016/10/21/jesus-ever-apologetics/
  14. Two Things to Remember When Discussing Creation with Other Christians | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/articles/two-things-to-remember-when-discussion-creation-with-other-christians#.WOA9as-p7qD
  15. A Look at Jewish Messianism: A Crucified Messiah: What An Embarrassment! – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/a-look-at-jewish-messianism-a-crucified-messiah-what-an-embarrassment-3/
  16. Microevolution versus Macroevolution: Two Mistakes | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution/
  17. The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem – AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/01/20/the-scandal-of-biblical-illiteracy-its-our-problem-4/
  18. Christian parents, your kids aren’t equipped to be public school missionaries – Matt Walsh: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/matt-walsh-christian-parents-your-kids-arent-equipped-to-be-public-school-missionaries/
  19. A Very Brief Review of Arguments for the Existence of the Soul: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/a-very-brief-review-of-arguments-for-the-existence-of-the-soul-bible-insert/
  20. The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation About God: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-best-question-to-ask-when-starting-a-conversation-about-god/
  21. Top 5 Reasons Most College Students Give Up their Christian Faith – Summit Ministries (at the end, this was an advertisement, but I thought it was a good article): https://www.summit.org/resources/articles/top-5-reasons-college-students-give-christian-faith/
  22. Study: Only 4 Percent of Millennials Hold a “Biblical Worldview” | The Stream: https://stream.org/study-4-percent-millennials-hold-biblical-worldview/

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  Matthew 20:29-34

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Teaching on Romans 1:16 (4/5/2017)

Today, Lord willing, I will be teaching the AWANA 5th and 6th grade clubbers on one of their memory verses, Romans 1:16.  Below are the slides and the speaking notes (above each slide), as well as a self examination survey (Are You Ashamed of the Gospel):


Can anyone quote this verse from memory?

Someone please read it.  This is a rich verse!  There’s so much in it. Just look at all these important words in this verse!  We’re going to go through this phrase by phrase to make sure you understand it.

What does it mean to be ashamed? (wait for answers)  Ashamed means that you’re embarrassed about something or someone and you don’t want to be associated with them.

Our verse tells us that Paul is not ashamed of “The Gospel” this word appears 91 times in the New Testament, so it’s a pretty important word.  What does the word Gospel mean? (wait for answers)

The word Gospel literally means “Good News”.  Let’s read this definition together: “the Gospel is the Good News that Jesus died and rose again and offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life if we will repent and trust Him as Savior and Lord.”  That is what Paul is not ashamed of.

The Gospel is only made possible because of what happened on Good Friday and Easter.  It is only made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

If there was only Christmas (Jesus coming into the world), there would be no Gospel – no good news.  If He only came into the world, but didn’t die for our sins and rise again, we would not even know about Jesus today – and our salvation would be impossible!

This verse says the Gospel is “the power of God”. The word translated “power,” is the Greek word dunamis. That is the word from which we get “dynamite.”

What is the Gospel powerful for?  The next phrase talks about “salvation”.  For the salvation of everyone who believes.

Salvation, means to rescue, to de­liver, to set free.  Talk about picture of guy drowning…

Like the guy drowning in the water, we also need to be saved from something:

1.From the Penalty of Sin – Hell / the Wrath of God – Romans 5:9 says we are “saved from God’s wrath” through Jesus’ blood shed for us.

2.From the Power of Sin – We are no longer slaves to sin – Romans 6:14 says “for sin shall not be your master”

3.From the Presence of Sin (one day) – when we get to Heaven – Revelation 21:27 says “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful

(may want to ask if they know what sin is – talk about sins of commission [doing or thinking wrong things] and sins of omission [not doing what you know you ought to do – James 4:17])

Then it says “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”. Most of the first believers in Christ were Jews.  But the Gospel was intended for everyone. Jesus said that He was sent to the Jews (Matthew 15:24). Paul initially tried to share the Gospel with the Jews, but they opposed him, so he went on to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6). You and I are (most likely) Gentiles.

Now that we’ve gone through the verse one phrase at a time, do you have any questions? (wait for questions)

Now, before we continue, I want to make sure you know that none of what we’re talking about here applies to you if you’re not saved.  So, I have to stop here and ask you point blank – are you saved?  Only you know the answer to that question.  I would suspect that for many of you the answer is a definite yes.  The Bible says “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Now back to our verse Romans 1:16 – I’d like to focus in on the part of the verse where it says “I am not ashamed of the gospel”.  This is very important for us as Christians.  God specifically says in His word that He does not want us to be ashamed.

In fact Jesus specifically warned us not to be ashamed of Him and His words. In Luke 9:26, He says “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  Matthew 10:32-33

The Apostle Paul also tells us in other places not to be ashamed, for example in 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul says “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

The Apostle Peter tells us, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name

Then of course, there’s the AWANA verse: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

So, the Bible is really clear – God does not want us to be ashamed of the Gospel – He wants us to be proud of it and to share it whenever the opportunity comes.

Now we’re going to take a little self-assessment survey.  You don’t have to turn this in and I won’t ask you your answers. It’s to get you to think about whether you’re ashamed of the Gospel.

(here is the survey that I handed out to the clubbers to have them work on it – if they have enough time, in class)

Self-examination Test: Are You Ashamed of the Gospel?

Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Question Your Answer
Do your friends and those at school know you’re a Christian?
Have you ever talked with someone about your faith?
Have you ever invited someone to church or AWANA?
In a group, if others were making fun of Christianity, would you speak up?
Are you worried about offending people?
Are you worried about pleasing people or pleasing God?
Do you care more about what people think of you than what God thinks of you?
Are you afraid that you won’t be able to answer people’s objections or questions about your faith?
Have you ever had to go against the crowd when they were all doing something wrong?  If so, when they asked you why did you mention your faith?

Finally, this is my last night of the AWANA year for teaching the 5th and 6th graders.  It has been such a pleasure teaching all of you, that I want to give you some small gifts as a token of my appreciation.

(end of presentation)


I pray that this teaching would draw any non-Christians in the group to repent and place their faith in Christ, and that it would embolden any Christians in the group to not be ashamed and to share their faith with those in their circle of influence.  Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and one of the things He has commanded us (that we have to teach to the disciples we’re making), is the command to go and make disciples.  So, I’m trying to teach the believers to go and make more believers – it’s a self-replicating process – that’s how God designed it!