mid-week apologetics booster (8-17-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Dear College Freshman: 5 Ways to Stay Strong in the Lord: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/dear-college-freshman-5-ways-to-stay-strong-in-the-lord
  2. You are gods. What did Jesus mean?: http://reasonsforjesus.com/you-are-gods-what-did-jesus-mean/
  3. Former transgender: I bought into the lies of Satan | LifeSite: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/she-tried-to-change-her-gender-but-spiritial-awakening-brought-her-back-to
  4. Is Google right to say that sex differences don’t exist? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2017/08/12/is-google-right-to-say-that-sex-differences-dont-exist/
  5. William Lane Craig: We must distinguish between a childlike faith and a childish faith: http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2017/08/william-lane-craig-we-must-distinguish-between-a-childlike-faith-and-a-childish-faith.html
  6. Comparison Grid of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christianity | CARM: https://carm.org/comparison-grid
  7. Epic Failure: My Biggest Evangelism Mistake: http://crossexamined.org/epic-failure-my-biggest-evangelism-mistake/
  8. Time to Think: 14 Christian Apologetics Quotes: http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2015/03/time-to-think-14-christian-apologetics-quotes.html
  9. Why Would a Good God Send People To Hell?: http://www.cltruth.com/2017/why-would-a-good-god-send-people-to-hell/
  10. Apologetics ABCs: First Understand, Then Answer | Bowman on Target: Rob Bowman’s Blog: https://robertbowman.net/2017/08/12/apologetics-abcs-first-understand-then-answer/
  11. Were New Testament Books Forged? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/were-new-testament-books-forged/
  12. Does God Whisper? Part 2 | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/publications/does-god-whisper-part-2#.WZGf4VGGOUk
  13. Was Jesus God?: http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/was_jesus_god.html
  14. DNA Evidence and Molecular Genetics Disprove the Book of Mormon: http://www.godandscience.org/cults/dna.html
  15. Denying Sola Scriptura: The Attempt to Neutralize the Bible – The American Vision: https://americanvision.org/1239/denying-sola-scriptura-attempt-neutralize-bible/
  16. What Does Mormonism Teach? | CARM: https://carm.org/teachings-of-mormonism
  17. Basic Hinduism | George’s Journal: https://georgesjournal.net/2017/08/14/basic-hinduism/
  18. Are Christians Less Intelligent Than Atheists?: http://crossexamined.org/are-christians-less-intelligent-than-atheists-heres-what-all-those-studies-really-say/
  19. It Is What It Is! and It’s Not What Its Not! Answer to headline stating Discovery of 13 Million-Year-Old Ape Skull Shows What Human Ancestors May Have Looked Like.| Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2017/08/15/it-what-it-and-its-not-what-its-not/
  20. Interview With A Former Skeptic: 3 Important Lessons: http://crossexamined.org/interview-with-a-former-skeptic-3-important-lessons/
  21. Jesus: The Begotten of the Father: http://www.equip.org/article/jesus-the-begotten-of-the-father/
  22. What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son?: https://www.gotquestions.org/only-begotten-son.html
  23. Superior to Angels | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/superior-angels/

This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself ? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’ ?” John 8:22

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (4-13-2017)

Good morning beloved of God,

I hope you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter Sunday, contemplating the marvelous sacrifice and vindicating resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Your Kids Need to Think Critically About the Resurrection, because Secular Media Does Not: http://christianmomthoughts.com/your-kids-need-to-think-critically-about-the-resurrection-because-secular-media-does-not/
  2. How to T.R.A.I.N. Christian Students (Rather than Teach Them) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-to-t-r-a-i-n-christian-students-rather-than-teach-them/
  3. Does the Bible Have Contradictions? Quick Response. – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/does-the-bible-have-contradictions-quick-response
  4. Why Some Arminians and Calvinists Need to Calm Down – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/why-some-arminians-and-calvinists-need-to-calm-down/
  5. Why Should I Believe that Jesus Rose from the Dead? – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/why-should-i-believe-that-jesus-rose-from-the-dead/
  6. How to Defeat Modern Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions | Shadow To Light: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/how-to-defeat-modern-day-atheism-with-three-easy-questions/
  7. Five atheists who lost faith in atheism | Christian News on Christian Today: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/five.atheists.who.lost.faith.in.atheism/61784.htm
  8. 7 Reasons You’ll Be Glad You Saw The Case for Christ – Thinking Christian: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2017/04/7-reasons-youll-glad-saw-case-christ/
  9. A Brief Overview of the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/a-brief-overview-of-the-jehovahs-witness-worldview/
  10. God’s Word vs. Roman Catholic Tradition | HOME: http://www.reformingamericaministries.com/single-post/2017/04/03/God%25E2%2580%2599s-Word-vs-Roman-Catholic-Tradition
  11. 5 Signs You Glorify Self: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-signs-you-glorify-self
  12. How To Avoid Being A Hack As A Christian Apologist: http://thereforegodexists.com/avoid-hack-christian-apologist/
  13. GREG KOUKL EXPLAINS THE RIGHT WAY TO HANDLE AN ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE ATHEIST: https://winteryknight.com/2015/09/18/greg-koukl-expains-the-right-way-to-handle-an-angry-aggressive-atheist-2/
  14. Apologetics and Your Kids: Part 2 – Authenticity & Worldview: http://sharperiron.org/article/apologetics-and-your-kids-part-2-authenticity-worldview
  15. How to Raise Your Kids So They Will Remain in the Faith | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-to-raise-your-kids-so-they-will-remain-in-the-faith/
  16. “Debunking Christianity” Writer Becomes Christian Because Of Evidence | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/debunking-christianity-writer-becomes-christian-evidence/
  17. Critical Tactic: Surfacing the Question Beneath the Question – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/critical-tactic-surfacing-the-question-beneath-the-question
  18. What the Fallen Governor of Alabama Can Teach Us – No amount of privilege or power can shield us from temptation: https://stream.org/fallen-governor-alabama-can-teach-us/

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ “ The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ “ The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13

Have a blessed week!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-16-2017)

Good morning friends,

I was reminded again last night of the importance of heeding the words of 1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3, Colossians 4:5-6 & 2 Timothy 24-26 – being ready to give an answer.  Our AWANA Truth & Training leader gave our 3rd to 6th grade clubbers a chance to ask questions about the Bible and their faith last night during counsel time.  What a great session it was.  Once we got them started, the questions were non-stop and we had to cut it off at the end due to running out of time.  Here were some of the questions asked by these young, precious ones:

  1. Who made God?  How could He just always be there?
  2. Why did God make hell?
  3. Why did God create the first people if He knew they were going to sin?
  4. Why did God put the tree in the garden if He knew they were going to eat from it?
  5. Why did God make Satan?
  6. Why doesn’t God (Jesus) come back to earth to prove to everyone that He exists?
  7. How do we know Angels and Devils exist?
  8. (the answer to the prior question prompted this one) How do we know the Bible is true?
  9. Why did God love Satan more than any other angel?
  10. Why did God make people if He knew they were going to be evil and bad like stealing things and killing?

It was a 20 minute session and, wow, were the clubbers engaged and loving it… Unfortunately, I don’t have the time (or the memory) to remember all the answers the leaders gave, but it was a great session – they asked tough questions – deep questions.  We even had one of the 4th grade clubbers answering one of the questions and she was right on target!

I pray to God that this session was meaningful for these clubbers.  It is so important that kids at this age know that they are welcome to ask questions and that it is OK to have questions and even some doubts.  And it is extremely important that we adults have done what Peter has stated (as a command for all believers) “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you”.  That means you can’t be “winging it” at the time you’re asked.  That command implies that you have (already) been preparing yourself through study prior to the child asking the question.  I truly believe that the parents are the number 1 apologists in our culture.  We need to be ready when the question is asked.  Being ready can consist of having answer ready “off the top of your head” or knowing about a resource that you can get to that explains the answer.

Because this is such an important command, I continue to bombard you with these articles and videos each week.  I pray that you find something useful here, coming just at the right time!

  1. When the emotions are gone, what’s left? Engaging the mind as well as the heart is vital: http://creation.com/emotion-gone
  2. Why would a loving God allow death and suffering? – This is a very good (and very long) article that gives comprehensive, Biblically based answers to this issue – excellent!  http://creation.com/why-death-suffering
  3. The Absence Of A Papacy In Early Responses To Christianity: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-absence-of-papacy-in-early.html
  4. Indulgences – CHRISTIAN HISTORY TODAY (March 15th) – “My guess is that if Pope Leo X knew what he would set off by allowing the sales of indulgences on March 15, 1517, he’d re-think that one. The building of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican had gone way over budget (it would be almost 80 years until it would be completed) and the Pope’s financial adviser suggested the idea of buying an indulgence would help get a repentant sinner out of purgatory sooner and it was a “win-win”. Then a regional indulgences salesman stopped by the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and ran into a priest named Martin Luther who decided he’d read about the sale of indulgences in the Bible and found no basis for it. The rest, as we like to say, was history.
  5. Questioning Jesus’ Existence: http://breakpoint.org/2017/03/questioning-jesus-existence/
  6. Staying Outside The Shack | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/staying-outside-the-shack/
  7. Parents, Hollywood wants to brainwash your kids. Don’t let them: http://www.theblaze.com/podcasts/matt-walsh-parents-hollywood-wants-to-brainwash-your-kids-dont-let-them/
  8. Does James 1:5 teach about praying for a testimony? http://www.mrm.org/james-15-testimony
  9. Celebrating gender confusion: http://creation.com/celebrating-gender-confusion
  10. Convergent evolution of crocodile and dolphin skull shapes | Uncommon Descent: http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/convergent-evolution-of-crocodile-and-dolphin-skull-shapes/
  11. A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely-Tuned Cosmos (with Dr. Luke Barnes) – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/a-fortunate-universe-life-in-a-finely-tuned-cosmos-with-dr-luke-barnes/
  12. Biblical Faith VS. Blind Faith | Crossexamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/biblical-faith-vs-blind-faith/
  13. Every American Needs Know Qur’an (Bill Federer) | Video | C-SPAN.org: https://www.c-span.org/video/?314071-10/every-american-needs-know-quran
  14. Watch “How to Listen to the Lord (Mark 4:21-34)” on YouTube (this is a John MacArthur sermon I watched on Sunday since I couldn’t go to church because I was sick): https://youtu.be/RFzGD7S-w3g
  15. DOES GOD REALLY HATE ESAU? http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/05/25/does-god-really-hate-esau/
  16. Why did the early church decide to indoctrinate a canon of New Testament books in the first place? https://www.josh.org/early-church-decide-indoctrinate-canon-new-testament-books-first-place/
  17. Will We Ever Colonize Mars? http://www.icr.org/article/9900
  18. Greg Koukl Stand to Reason podcast – at about 26:30 into the show, an atheist calls in (he calls himself the “Street Epistemologist”).  They are talking about the difference between mind and brain and whether there is a “non-physical realm”.  It is quite a long call (and very cordial, not adversarial at all): http://subspla.sh/0376859
  19. What You Can Learn From the Pilgrims (Bill Federer): http://subspla.sh/7277698
  20. Watch “Wretched: Nothing made everything.” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sK2yNkTuJkY
  21. 3 Horrific Consequences When a Nation Rejects God — Charisma News: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/63453-3-horrific-consequences-when-a-nation-rejects-god
  22. Q&A with Sam Allberry: Same-Sex Attraction, Synod Remarks, and Why The Gospel Is Truly Good News For All | RZIM: http://rzim.org/global-blog/qa-with-sam-allberry-same-sex-attraction-synod-remarks/
  23. Planned Parenthood abortion quotas: https://m.facebook.com/video_redirect/?src=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent.fphx1-2.fna.fbcdn.net%2Fv%2Ft42.1790-4%2F16616327_245823025863146_1673784158666620928_n.mp4%3Fefg%3DeyJ2ZW5jb2RlX3RhZyI6InN2ZV9zZCJ9%26oh%3D6e69f150dc01e34d1c5525689be4b732%26oe%3D58CABADF&source=misc&id=10154959592988728&refid=52&__tn__=F
  24. Here’s 5 things to say when discussing Planned Parenthood: http://www.liveactionnews.org/heres-5-things-to-say-when-discussing-planned-parenthood/
  25. Watch “Hollywood and God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Fohrk2jt0LA
  26. Watch “Mark Spence & Shaw the atheist” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dfsS3BB5C-I
  27. Book of Job: https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Job.html
  28. Cannabis boosts risk of stroke and heart attack, independent of tobacco, new study finds: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/09/cannabis-boosts-risk-stroke-heart-attack-independent-tobacco/

Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. ” Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear ; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see ; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. “Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. “Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God.”  2 Kings 19:14-19

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-3-2017)

Good morning friends,

I’ve been sick the last few days, that’s why I’m a day late today.  Here are your weekly links:

  1. Don’t Expect Your Kids to Care What the Bible Says Unless You’ve Given Them Reason to Believe It’s True: http://christianmomthoughts.com/dont-expect-your-kids-to-care-what-the-bible-says-unless-youve-given-them-reason-to-believe-its-true/
  2. The Need for Apologetics in the Local Church – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/the-need-for-apologetics-in-the-local-church/
  3. Christ Journey Church Apologetics Series – Pastor’s introduction, “This series is designed to help believers think and to help thinkers believe.” – interview with John Lennox, PhD: https://youtu.be/KFLIyX-J_-E
  4. Watch “The Gospel Message (HD)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/n1Ex2FpwqvI
  5. Watch “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus | Nabeel Qureshi Testimony” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/HVBiELaxzAs
  6. Watch “Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox | The God Delusion Debate” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/zF5bPI92-5o
  7. The Three D’s of Tolerance | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-three-ds-of-tolerance/
  8. The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/religion-cause-war
  9. Discovery of 7 Earth-Sized Planets | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/extrasolar-planets/7-earth-sized-planets-trappist-1/
  10. 3 Textual Variants Every Christian Should Know About – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/3-textual-variants-every-christian-should-know-about
  11. How Abortion Led an Atheist Feminist Professor, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, to Christianity. | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/how-abortion-led-an-atheist-feminist-professor-elizabeth-fox-genovese-to-christianity/
  12. 10 Signs You Might be Rejecting Biblical Authority Without Realizing It: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/10-signs-you-might-be-rejecting-biblical-authority-without-realizing-it
  13. Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/testimonies-ex-roman-catholic-priests
  14. Watch “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Session 2) – Norman Geisler, PhD” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/FNsdkBK4iO8
  15. You Don’t Need to Believe in God to Know What’s Right and Wrong, But… | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/you-dont-need-believe-god-know-whats-right-and-wrong#.WLYoP8tlDqA
  16. Tucker vs. Bill Nye the Science Guy on Climate Change ~9 min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN5L2q6hfWo

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Sam 12:15-23

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (2-16-2017)

Hi Friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How should Christians react to ‘The Golden Compass’ movie? https://www.gotquestions.org/golden-compass-movie.html
  2. Watch “Does Science Argue for or against God? – PragerUniversity” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/spdgQPJWLfE
  3. Watch Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert Debate the Existence of God: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/watch-ricky-gervais-and-stephen-colbert-debate-existence-god
  4. Who was Simon of Cyrene? https://www.gotquestions.org/Simon-of-Cyrene.html
  5. 7 Things We Know about Jesus and His Followers from Non-Biblical Sources: https://greatcloud.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/7-things-we-know-about-jesus-and-his-followers-from-non-biblical-sources/
  6. Detecting Design: http://www.daviddesonier.com/apologetics/2015/12/5/when-to-infer-design
  7. S. Lewis on Why He Wasn’t Roman Catholic: https://hcchristian.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/c-s-lewis-on-why-he-wasnt-roman-catholic/
  8. Tell Someone Talks – Greg Laurie on evangelism – message starts at 36:45 into the video: https://www.harvest.org/watch-and-listen/watch/tell-someone-talks-20170209
  9. Why doesn’t God reveal Himself clearly so we can all be saved? Is God incompetent? http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2017/02/why-doesnt-god-reveal-himself-clearly.html
  10. A Universe from Nothing? Dr. Krauss Explains Nothing: http://crossexamined.org/a-universe-from-nothing-dr-krauss-explains-nothing/
  11. Ancient Dinosaur Depictions | Genesis Park: http://www.genesispark.com/exhibits/evidence/historical/ancient/dinosaur/
  12. Introduction to Islam: https://shariaunveiled.wordpress.com/islam-101/introduction-to-islam-101/
  13. Is there any truth to The Da Vinci code? https://www.gotquestions.org/DaVinci-code-truth.html
  14. Why do people reject Jesus as their Savior? https://www.gotquestions.org/reject-Jesus.html
  15. Is it possible to be a gay Christian? https://www.gotquestions.org/gay-Christian.html
  16. Preacher locked up for hate crime after quoting the Bible to gay teenager (in the U.K.): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/preacher-locked-hate-crime-quoting-bible-gay-teenager/
  17. What is relativism? https://carm.org/what-relativism
  18. The Lord’s Day, Meet Darwin Day. and Shudder – Charles Darwin did what he could to hide his materialistic worldview, but we know what he was up to: https://spectator.org/the-lords-day-meet-darwin-day-and-shudder/
  19. South Dakota Academic Freedom Bill: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/02/reporting_on_so103492.html
  20. Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofjohncalvin/
  21. Abortion Related:
    1. Watch “Why Abortion Is Unjust Discrimination” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tL_R0y1Utnw
    2. Watch “HOW TO TROT OUT THE TODDLER” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6ktPmgBX_FU
    3. Watch “The Most Important Question About Abortion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AMwkQVpy98A
    4. Watch “Planned Parenthood’s 3% Abortion Myth” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KKIOBOFaVYs
    5. Watch “One of the best Pro-life speeches EVER! Gianna Jessen abortion survivor Full video” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/hOWMmx6eBjU
    6. 2nd Trimester Surgical Abortion: Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) – Former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, explains the most prevalent second trimester abortion procedure, a dilation and evacuation (D&E).  I don’t know how anyone can remain “pro-choice” after watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgw4X7Dw_3k
    7. SLED test intro: http://subspla.sh/cd6e7d6
    8. S – Size: http://subspla.sh/52200fa
    9. L – Level of development: http://subspla.sh/c03b7b5
    10. E – Environment: http://subspla.sh/469db33
    11. D – Degree of dependency: http://subspla.sh/fcd0a3f
    12. SLED Conclusion: http://subspla.sh/60e03e2

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  Psalms 127:3

Blessings to you all

JC Ryle – The Great Separation!

What a powerful piece this is…

The Great Separation!

J.C. Ryle, 1878

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!” Matthew 3:12

Wheat or chaff? You see my question — for whom do you think it is meant? Is it for corn merchants and farmers only, and for none else? If you think so, then you are much mistaken. It is meant for every man, woman, and child in the world. And among others, it is meant for you.

The question is drawn from the verse of Scripture which is now before your eyes. The words of that verse were spoken by John the Baptist. They are a prophecy about our Lord Jesus Christ, and a prophecy which has not yet been fulfilled. They are a prophecy which we shall all see fulfilled one day, and God alone knows how soon.

Reader, I invite you this day to consider the great truths which this verse contains. I invite you to listen to me, while I unfold them and set them before you in order. Who knows but this text may prove a word in season to your soul! Who knows but my question may help to make this day the happiest day in your life! Listen, before you begin once more your appointed path of duty. Listen, before you start once more on some round of business. Listen, before you plunge once more into some course of useless idleness and folly. Listen to one who loves your soul, and would sincerely help to save it, or draw it nearer to Christ. Who knows what a day may bring forth! Who can tell whether you will live to see tomorrow! Be still, and listen to me a few minutes, while I show you something out of the Word of God.

I. Let me show you in the first place, the two great classes into which the world may be divided.

There are only two classes of people in the world, in the sight of God — and both are mentioned in the text which begins this tract. There are those who are called the wheat — and there are those who are called the chaff.

Viewed with the eye of man, the earth contains many different sorts of inhabitants. Viewed with the eye of God, it only contains two. Man’s eye looks at the outward appearance — this is all he thinks of. The eye of God looks at the heart — this is the only part of which He takes any account. And tried by the state of their hearts, there are but two classes into which people can be divided — either they are wheat, or they are chaff.

Reader, who are the WHEAT in the world? Listen to me, and I will tell you.

The wheat means all men and women who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ — all who are led by the Holy Spirit — all who have felt themselves sinners, and fled for refuge to the salvation offered in the Gospel — all who love the Lord Jesus, and live to the Lord Jesus, and serve the Lord Jesus — all who have taken Christ for their only confidence, and the Bible for their only guide, and regard sin as their deadliest enemy, and look to Heaven as their only home. All such, of every church, name, nation, people, and tongue — of every rank, station, condition, and degree — all such are God’s wheat!

Show me men of this kind of people anywhere, and I know what they are. I know that they and I may not agree in all particulars — but I see in them the handiwork of the King of kings, and I ask no more. I know not whence they came, and where they found their religion — but I know where they are going, and that is enough for me. They are the children of my Father in Heaven. They are part of His wheat.

All such, though sinful, and vile, and unworthy in their own eyes — are the precious part of mankind. They are the sons and daughters of God the Father. They are the delight of God the Son. They are the habitation of God the Spirit. The Father beholds no iniquity in them — they are the members of His dear Son’s body — in Him He sees them — and is well pleased. The Lord Jesus discerns in them, the fruit of His own travail and work upon the cross — and is well satisfied. The Holy Spirit regards them as spiritual temples which He Himself has raised — and rejoices over them. In a word, they are the wheat of the earth — God’s wheat.

Reader, who are the CHAFF in the world? Listen to me once more, and I will tell you this also.

The chaff means all men and women who have no saving faith in Christ, and no sanctification of the Spirit — whoever they may be. Some of them perhaps are infidels — and some are formal Christians. Some are sneering Sadducees — and some self-righteous Pharisees. Some of them make a point of keeping up a kind of ‘Sunday religion’ — and others are utterly careless of everything except their own pleasure and the world. But all alike, who have the two great marks already mentioned — no faith and no sanctification — all such are chaff. From the atheists Paine and Voltaire — to the formal churchman who can think of nothing but outward ceremonies — to the unconverted admirer of sermons in the present day — all, all are standing in one rank before God all, all are chaff!

They bring no glory to God the Father. They honor not the Son, and so do not honor the Father who sent Him. They neglect that mighty salvation, which countless millions of angels admire. They disobey that Word which was graciously written for their learning. They listen not to the voice of Him who condescended to leave Heaven and die for their sins. They pay no tribute of service and affection to Him who gave them life, and breath, and all things. And therefore God takes no pleasure in them. He pities them — but He reckons them no better than chaff!

Yes — you may have rare intellectual gifts, and high mental attainments — you may sway kingdoms by your counsel, move millions by your pen, or keep crowds in breathless attention by your tongue — but if you have never submitted yourself to the yoke of Christ, and never honored His Gospel by heartfelt reception of it — then you are nothing but chaff in His sight. Natural gifts without saving grace, are like a row of ciphers without an unit before them; they look big — but they are of no value. The vilest insect that crawls in the filth — is a nobler being than you are! It fills its place in creation, and glorifies its Maker with all its power — and you do not. You do not honor God with heart, and will, and intellect, and members, which are all His. You invert His order and arrangement, and live as if time was of more importance than eternity, and body better than soul. You dare to neglect God’s greatest gift — His own incarnate Son. You are cold about that subject which fills all Heaven with hallelujahs. And so long as this is the case, you belong to the worthless part of mankind. You are the chaff of the earth.

Reader, let this thought be deeply engraved in your mind, whatever else you forget in this volume. Remember there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are wheat — and there are chaff.

There are many nations in Europe. Each differs from the rest. Each has its own language, its own laws, its own peculiar customs. But God’s eye divides Europe into two great parties — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many classes in England. There are nobles and commoners — farmers and shopkeepers — masters and servants — rich and poor. But God’s eye only takes account of two orders — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many and various minds in every congregation that meets for religious worship. There are some who attend for a mere form — and some who really desire to meet Christ; some who come there to please others — and some who come to please God; some who bring their hearts with them, and are not soon tired — and some who leave their hearts behind them, and reckon the whole service as weary work. But the eye of Jesus only sees two divisions in the congregation — the wheat and the chaff.

There were millions of visitors to the Great Exhibition of 1851. From Europe, Asia, Africa, and America — from North, and South, and East, and West — crowds came together to see what human skill and industry could do. Children of our first father Adam’s family, who had never seen each other before, for once met face to face under one roof. But the eye of the Lord only saw two companies thronging that large palace of glass — the wheat and the chaff.

Reader, I know well the world dislikes this way of dividing professing Christians. The world tries hard to fancy there are three sorts of people, and not two. To be very godly and very strict does not suit the world — they cannot, will not be holy. To have no religion at all does not suit the world — as that would not be respectable. “Thank God,” they will say, “we are not so bad as that!” But to have religion enough to be respectable — and yet not go into extremes, to be sufficiently good — and yet not be peculiar — to have a quiet, easy-going, moderate kind of Christianity, and go comfortably to Heaven after all — this is the world’s favorite idea! There is a third class, a safe middle class — the world imagines; and in this middle class — the majority of men persuade themselves they will be found.

Reader, I denounce this notion of a middle class as an immense and soul-ruining delusion! I warn you strongly not to be carried away by it. It is as vain an invention as the Pope’s purgatory. It is a refuge of lies, a castle in the air, a Russian ice-palace, a vast unreality, an empty dream! This middle class is a class of Christians no where spoken of in the Bible!

There were two classes in the day of Noah’s flood; those who were inside the ark — and those who were outside. There were two classes in the parable of the Gospel net; those who are called the good fish — and those who are called the bad. There were two classes in the parable of the ten virgins; those who are described as wise — and those who are described as foolish. There were two classes in the account of the judgment day; the sheep — and the goats. There were two sides of the throne; the right hand — and the left. There were two abodes when the last sentence has been passed; Heaven — and Hell.

And just so, there are only two classes in the world:
those who are in the state of nature — and those who are in the state of grace;
those who are in the narrow way — and those who are in the broad;
those who have faith — and those who have no faith;
those who have been converted — and those who have not been converted;
those who are with Christ — and those who are against Him;
those who gather with Him — and those who scatter abroad;
those who are wheat — and those who are chaff.
Into these two classes, the whole world may be divided. Beside these two classes, there is none.

Reader, dear reader, see now what cause there is for self-inquiry! Are you among the wheat — or among the chaff? Neutrality is impossible. Either you are in one class — or in the other. Which is it, of the two?

You attend church perhaps. You go to the Lord’s table. You like good people. You can distinguish between good preaching and bad. You think Popery false, and oppose it firmly. You think Protestantism true, and support it cordially. You subscribe to religious societies. You attend religious meetings. You sometimes read religious books. It is well — it is all very well. It is good — it is all very good. It is more than can be said of many. But still, this is not a straightforward answer to my question: Are you wheat — or are you chaff?

Have you been born again? Are you a new creature? Have you put off the old man, and put on the new? Have you ever felt your sins, and repented of them? Are you looking only to Christ for pardon and eternal life? Do you love Christ? Do you serve Christ? Do you loathe heart-sins, and fight against them? Do you long for perfect holiness, and follow hard after it? Have you come out from the world? Do you delight in the Bible? Do you wrestle in prayer? Do you love Christ’s people? Do you try to do good to the world? Are you vile in your own eyes, and willing to take the lowest place? Are you a Christian in business, and on week days, and by your own fireside? Oh, think, think, think on these things — and then perhaps you will be better able to tell the state of your soul!

Reader, I beseech you not to turn away from my question, however unpleasant it may be. Answer it, though it may prick your conscience, and cut you to the heart. Answer it, though it may prove you in the wrong, and expose your fearful danger. Rest not, rest not, until you know how it is between you and God! Better a thousand times find out that you are in an evil case, and repent in time — than live on in uncertainty, and be lost eternally!

Reader, remember my question. Begin to meditate on it this very day. Are you wheat — or chaff?

To read the rest, go to http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm

mid-week apologetics booster (1-5-2017)

Good morning beloved of God,

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  (1 John 3:1a)  The Bible tells us in many places that we are truly in a family – the family of God (e.g. Eph 2:19).  In the same way that you would defend your earthly father and family when attacked or maligned, so also, you should be prepared to defend your heavenly father and family (the substance of your faith).  Here are some links that will aid you in that endeavor:

  1. 5 Attitude Changes That Will Transform Your Christian Parenting in the New Year: http://crossexamined.org/5-attitude-changes-will-transform-christian-parenting-new-year/
  2. 3 Big Reasons To Believe God Exists – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/3-big-reasons-believe-god-exists/
  3. 3 SIMPLE WAYS TO DEBUNK RELATIVISM, SKEPTICISM, AND MATERIALISM: http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/3-simple-ways-to-debunk-relativism-skepticism-and-materialism/4747/
  4. Why These 66 Books? We believe in the 39 books of the Old Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed the Old Testament. And we believe in the 27 books of the New Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ authorized His apostles to write the New Testament. https://www.tms.edu/preachersandpreaching/why-these-66-books/
  5. 5 Pieces of News That Show Global Warming Still Isn’t Happening The Way Leftists Say | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/11977/5-pieces-news-show-global-warming-still-isnt-aaron-bandler
  6. Mark Zuckerberg says he’s no longer an atheist, believes ‘religion is very important’ – The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/12/30/mark-zuckerberg-says-hes-no-longer-an-atheist-believes-religion-is-very-important/
  7. Democrats’ Religion Problem – The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/democrats-have-a-religion-problem/510761/
  8. Ligonier series from RC Sproul on various differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism:
    1. “Scripture and Tradition, Part 1” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/scripture-and-tradition-part-1-dec-2016/
    2. “Scripture and Tradition, Part 2” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/scripture-and-tradition-part-2-dec-2016/
    3. “Papal Infallibility, Part 1” from Ligonier Ministries: http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/papal-infallibility-part-1-dec-2016/
  9. Are We Really Catholic Bashing? http://www.reachingcatholics.org/catholic_bashing.html
  10. Thinking Clearly, Listening Well | Andy Bannister: http://www.andybannister.net/thinking-clearly-listening-well/
  11. A Dialogue on the Relationship of Apologetics and Philosophy to Evangelism – drcone.com: http://www.drcone.com/2014/10/23/a-dialogue-on-the-relationship-between-apologetics-philosophy-and-evangelism/
  12. “Debunking Christianity” Writer Becomes Christian Because Of Evidence – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/debunking-christianity-writer-becomes-christian-evidence/
  13. Jesus vs Muhammad: 33 Striking Differences – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/jesus-vs-muhammad-33-striking-differences/
  14. Did God make pathogenic viruses? – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/did-god-make-pathogenic-viruses
  15. Plants Add More Greenhouse Gas: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/plants-add-more-greenhouse-gas-0
  16. Being a Public Intellectual for Christ – Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.: https://douglasgroothuis.com/2016/09/12/being-a-public-intellectual-for-christ/
  17. Epic Failure: My Biggest Evangelism Mistake: http://crossexamined.org/epic-failure-my-biggest-evangelism-mistake/
  18. Prove God Exists | Whattaya Do? http://www.newyorkapologetics.com/prove-god-exists-whattaya-do/
  19. He Is Risen: Historical Evidence That Jesus Rose From The Dead: http://reasonsforjesus.com/risen-historical-evidence-jesus-rose-dead/
  20. A Christian Defense against Atheism: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/a-christian-defense-against-atheism/
  21. The Danger of Belief “In” Without Belief “That”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/the-danger-of-belief-in-without-belief-that/

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  1 Peter 1:14

Blessings to you all,

Steve

mid-week apologetics booster (10-20-2016)

Good morning friends,

I’m back after my vacation and feeling refreshed and relaxed!  Here are some links for you to look at:

  1. French gvmt announces plan to criminalize websites opposing abortion: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/french-gvmt-intends-to-obstruct-websites-offering-negative-information-abou
  2. Christians and Donald Trump: Our Meeting with Him: http://crossexamined.org/christians-donald-trump-meeting/
  3. Comparison Grid of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christianity: https://carm.org/comparison-grid
  4. It takes guts for celebrities to be open about their faith. We should support them: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/It-takes-guts-for-celebrities-to-be-open-about-their-faith.-We-should-support-them?j
  5. A Sure Word: Textual criticism made amazingly easy: http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2016/10/textual-criticism-made-amazingly-easy.html
  6. Challenge: Christianity Is Absurd | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/challenge-christianity-is-absurd#.WAbtjBllDqB
  7. Clues That Corroborate the Traditional Authorship of the Gospels – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/2016/09/09/clues-that-corroborate-the-traditional-authorship-of-the-gospels/
  8. Looking for Life on Enceladus: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/looking-life-enceladus
  9. How Did Judas Die? https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-did-judas-die/
  10. Atheists Say Darwinism Means Life is Meaningless, But Their Behavior Shows They Know Better: https://stream.org/atheists-say-darwinism-means-life-meaningless/
  11. Old Testament Believers: How Were They Saved? http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/old-testament-believers-in-god-before-jesus-were-they-saved

The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:5-8

 

mid-week apologetics booster (8-25-2016)

Good morning followers of Christ!

I ran into an extraordinarily large amount of articles and videos I’m providing you this week.  Hopefully you’ll find something in here to equip you to gently instruct those who oppose you (2 Timothy 2:23-26):

  1. How to Respond When Someone Says, “No One Comes to Faith Through Arguments.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cS2xGUj5KQ
  2. When it Comes to Abortion, No One Talks about the One Question that Matters. It’s the One Question the President Never Asks: http://www.str.org/Media/Default/Publications/December%201997%20-1.pdf
  3. 4 Myths About Teaching Apologetics in Youth Ministry: http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/160290-benjer_mcveigh_4_myths_about_teaching_apologetics_in_youth_ministry.html
  4. A ‘no brainer’ test for measuring the faith of our young ones – Are your children (and grandchildren) asking the right questions? http://creation.com/no-brainer-test
  5. Three Surprising Facts about Atheists | Paul Gould: http://www.paul-gould.com/2016/08/17/three-surprising-facts-about-atheists/
  6. We are saved by faith alone, not by faith and works | Salvation and works: https://carm.org/are-we-saved-faith-alone-or-do-we-need-works-too
  7. How Come the Bible Doesn’t Condemn Slavery? Reasons To Believe: http://www.reasons.org/articles/how-come-the-bible-doesnt-condemn-slavery
  8. Atheist Vs. Christian Summer Camps: Which More Effectively Taught Their Worldview This Summer? http://christianmomthoughts.com/atheist-vs-christian-summer-camps-which-more-effectively-taught-their-worldview-this-summer/
  9. Why 99 out of 10 Millennials Leave The Church? http://crossexamined.org/why-99-out-of-10-millennials-leave-the-church/
  10. State School? Christian College? Navigating the Many Choices: http://www.equip.org/article/state-school-christian-college-navigating-many-choices/
  11. Is it arrogant to claim you have ‘the truth’? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adxa8Iw8T48
  12. What are the differences between Catholics and Protestants? http://www.gotquestions.org/difference-Catholic-Protestant.html
  13. 6 Ways You May Be Raising Your Kids with an Oversimplified Faith: http://christianmomthoughts.com/6-ways-you-may-be-raising-your-kids-with-an-oversimplified-faith/
  14. THEO101: The Destiny of the Unsaved: https://clearlens.org/2016/08/18/theo101-the-destiny-of-the-unsaved/
  15. What Can’t Science Account For? http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/08/what-cant-science-account-for.html
  16. Witnessing To Jehovah’s Witnesses [Part1] – Most Christians are ill-equipped to handle themselves in discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The simple reason is they know their stuff and most Christians don’t. Most Christians know what they believe, but don’t know why they believe it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ6Pf5ZDSCk
  17. Asking Questions and Calling Bluffs: https://apolotheo.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/asking-questions-and-calling-bluffs/
  18. Why Russell’s Teapot Fails: https://clearlens.org/2015/06/03/why-russells-teapot-fails/
  19. Why Every Christian Needs to Be A Sheepdog: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/why-every-christian-needs-to-be-a-sheepdog/
  20. Funsized Fallacies: Tu Quoque: https://clearlens.org/2015/05/01/funsized-fallacies-tu-quoque/
  21. “Ray Comfort on the Banana, in context [HQ]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BXLqDGL1FSg
  22. “The Greatest Gamble” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4uIZkYqkKqM
  23. azvoterguide.com: http://www.azvoterguide.com/
  24. Do all good people go to heaven? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clJdwHyhJzY
  25. Is atheism a religion? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tzxQSFq1iE
  26. There’s Probably No God – a response to Richard Dawkins: http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/theres-probably-no-god-a-response-to-richard-dawkins/
  27. Two More Ways Learning to Defend Your Faith Benefits You: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/09/two-more-ways-learning-to-defend-your.html
  28. More Ways Learning to Defend Your Faith Benefits You! http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/09/four-ways-learning-to-defend-your-faith.html
  29. Why Would God Have Permitted Any Form of Servitude or Slavery? http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/why-would-god-have-permitted-any-form-of-servitude-or-slavery/
  30. Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain the Origin of Animal Development: http://www.equip.org/article/natural-selection-cannot-explain-origin-animal-development/
  31. A Wallet, A Dollar, the Existence of God 1-Theism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vi-FsaEb3Q
  32. Jesus vs. Horus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FR08QtvapM
  33. Questioning Modeled by Jesus | Confident Christianity: http://confidentchristianity.com/?p=1432
  34. Your eyeball has 137,000,000 connections in one square inch.. Evolutionism teaches that it happened by chance… That’s ridiculous: https://www.facebook.com/HowToWinASoul/videos/1808089622744119/
  35. When did the boat sink? https://www.facebook.com/HowToWinASoul/videos/1720959891457093/
  36. Evolutionists say “How can you believe that all the dogs in the world came from two dogs on Noah’s ark?” yet they believe that all the dogs in the world came from a rock: https://www.facebook.com/HowToWinASoul/videos/1808090186077396/
  37. Talk It Up! Major New Study on Homosexuality: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2016/08/talk-major-new-study-homosexuality/

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalm 51:1-17

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (8-4-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How Hummingbirds Avoid Collisions: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/07/how_hummingbird103016.html
  2. So , how come there is a stegosaur like creature carved on a building which is 800 years old? http://gen1rev22.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/so-how-come-there-is-stegosaur-like.html
  3. Macy’s Fires Catholic Employee for Disagreement With Transgender Bathroom Policy | The Stream: https://stream.org/macys-fires-catholic-employee-disagreement-transgender-bathroom-policy/
  4. The Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles: the Didaché – Best of the Web – Aleteia.org – Worldwide Catholic Network Sharing Faith Resources for those seeking Truth – Aleteia.org: http://aleteia.org/2016/07/12/the-doctrine-of-the-twelve-apostles-the-didache/
  5. How God Worked Through Reigning Miss Teen USA | The Christian Diarist: https://christiandiarist.com/2016/07/30/how-god-worked-through-reigning-miss-teen-usa/
  6. 3 Key Things Skeptics Will Say to Shame Your Kids for Being Christians: http://christianmomthoughts.com/3-key-things-skeptics-will-say-to-shame-your-kids-for-being-christians/
  7. (Not apologetics related – just interesting) Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here – One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/israel-proves-the-desalination-era-is-here/
  8. Is the Apparent Fine-Tuning of the Universe Simply An Observational Phenomenon? Warner Wallace: http://crossexamined.org/is-the-apparent-fine-tuning-of-the-universe-simply-an-observational-phenomenon/
  9. How to Understand the Distinction Between Islam and Muslims – Mentoring Letter August 2016: http://www.str.org/articles/how-to-understand-the-distinction-between-islam-and-muslims-mentoring-letter-august-2016#.V6JKXstlDqA
  10. A Practical Plan to Equip the Next Generation: http://www.str.org/Media/Default/Publications/SG%20May%202016%20Equipping%20Kids-1.pdf
  11. Watch “447. Who Created God?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1yY9a2SwNx4
  12. The Real Issue Apologetics Ministry: Why Did the Bible Include Certain Books and Not Others? http://roblundberg.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-did-bible-include-certain-books-and.html
  13. Reasons To Believe : Why Argue about Evolution? http://www.reasons.org/articles/why-argue-about-evolution
  14. Part 3 Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness with the Alpha and Omega argument – Biblical Worldview Academy: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/challenging-a-jehovahs-witness-part-3/

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.  1 John 3:13

Blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (5-26-2016)

Good morning family of God,

Hope you’re doing well.  Here are a bunch of links I’ve collected this week.  Hope you can find something useful here:

  1. Are Apologetics and Faith Opposed to One Another? https://clearlens.org/2016/05/18/are-apologetics-and-faith-opposed-to-one-another/
  2. reTHINK Student Apologetics Conference 2016 Costa Mesa, CA – September 23-24, Dallas, TX – October 21-22: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03VcKxiOQpg
  3. 5 Misconceptions about the Bible: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/5-misconceptions-about-the-bible
  4. Cain’s Wife-Who Was She? https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/
  5. 23 REASONS WHY SCHOLARS KNOW JESUS IS NOT A COPY OF PAGAN RELIGIONS: https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/23-reasons-why-scholars-know-jesus-is-not-a-copy-of-pagan-religions/
  6. 55% OF DOCTORS HAVE SEEN MEDICAL MIRACLES & 74% BELIEVE IN MIRACLES: https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/55-of-doctors-have-seen-medical-miracles-74-believe-in-miracles/
  7. Is Jesus unique? Ravi Zacharias on how to answer the ‘are all religions the same’ question: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ravi.zacharias.is.jesus.unique.answering.the.question.in.a.multi.faith.world/39189.htm
  8. AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL B. WALLACE ON THE NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2012/03/21/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/
  9. IS THE TEXT OF THE BIBLE WE HAVE TODAY DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINALS? https://winteryknight.com/2016/05/20/is-the-text-of-the-bible-we-have-today-different-from-the-originals-3/
  10. United Methodist Church Quits Pro-Abortion Coalition After Years of Promoting Abortion: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/05/20/united-methodist-church-quits-pro-abortion-coalition-after-years-of-promoting-abortion/
  11. A Call for Plodding Bloggers: http://www.challies.com/articles/a-call-for-plodding-bloggers
  12. POPE FRANCIS’ JIHAD ON CHRISTIANITY – Disturbing pronouncements on the faith from the Vicar of Christ: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262921/pope-francis-jihad-christianity-raymond-ibrahim
  13. Do Morally Good People Go To Heaven? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b22oVUHg558
  14. Where did God come from? https://www.facebook.com/pastor.sunday.adelaja/videos/vb.40913763844/10153754784698845/?type=3
  15. 34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/05/24/34-of-pro-choice-women-who-see-this-viral-video-turn-against-abortion/
  16. Made in His Image: Life-Giving Blood: http://www.icr.org/article/4823
  17. The lost squadron – Deeply buried missing planes challenge ‘slow and gradual’ preconceptions: http://creation.com/the-lost-squadron
  18. Gender Ideology Harms Children-The American College of Pediatricians is urging educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality: http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children
  19. Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare: http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/another-climate-alarmist-admits-real-motive-behind-warming-scare/
  20. The 180 Movie: http://www.180movie.com/
  21. Three Good Reasons to Celebrate Your Christian Worldview: http://crossexamined.org/three-good-reasons-celebrate-christian-worldview/

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2: 1-13

My Trip to Australia

I was required to travel from Phoenix, Arizona to Sydney, Australia for work this April.  I was working on a large project and they needed support on site for the go live.  Although, in some ways, I looked forward to the trip, there was a steep personal cost.  Not only was I to be away from my lovely wife for 2 weeks (I couldn’t convince her to come with me), but I was going to be away from my local church for 2 weeks.  This meant would I miss 2 weeks of:

  1. Sunday Worship with my brothers and sisters at my local church
  2. Teaching the Sunday morning apologetics class
  3. Tuesday men’s Bible study at Mimi’s Café with about 20 other guys
  4. Wednesday night AWANA, where I’m one of the leaders. I have six 4th grade clubbers who I dearly miss:
    1. Cole
    2. Grady
    3. John
    4. Elianna
    5. Kourtney
    6. Chariot
  5. Thursday night men’s Bible study with 6 brothers from my local church. When I’m not there, no music is played, so I know they’ll be missing that, but I certainly have missed them and their fellowship.  We really go deep with each other and hold each other accountable.
  6. Daily walks at work with the one Christian Brother I have at work. On those walks, we normally talk apologetics and do role playing with large lists of objections to the Christian faith – I really miss him and those daily walks on work days.
  7. Feeding the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul (2nd Saturday of the month) – I will miss Rosanne (the volunteer leader) as well as all the other volunteers. I will also miss the opportunity to serve those less fortunate in the name of Christ, while being confronted with the fact of homelessness and hunger.

But, I really had no option to say no to this work trip.  Many would think I was crazy for even wanting to say no – its Australia!  While this was not going to be a pleasure trip, I hoped that at least I would have some time off during the trip for sight-seeing.  The flight to Australia was 15 hours and 20 minutes long (from Los Angeles to Sydney).  I was dreading that long flight.  I’d requested an aisle seat and when I boarded the plane and got to my seat, I saw that there was a couple sitting in the same row – 3 seats and they occupied 2 and me in the other one.  They were a very pleasant couple.  I did find out they were Christian.  After small talk was over, I started reading the book “Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith” by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler.  The husband of the couple noticed the book and made mention of it, so I asked him if he was a Christian and he said yes, so we talked about our mutually shared faith, which was great.  As the flight went on, I realized that this was going to be very uncomfortable for 15 hours, because the seating was very cramped.  This flight attendant I think noticed my situation and mentioned to me, “Hey, there’s an open seat in row 30 where you’d be the only person in the row – you’re free to take it if you’d like”.  Well, I’ve got to tell you, that was God taking care of me through her!  I quickly took her up on the offer.  The husband of the couple had already fallen asleep and I said a quiet good bye to the wife as I moved my belongings back to row 30.  Wow, it was great – I could stretch out my feet, I had room to store my stuff.  This row only had 2 seats in it, but the row ahead had 3 seats, so I had plenty of leg room.  Plus, since the row was kind of “indented”, I wouldn’t get my elbow bumped by people or carts going by.  It really made this long flight tolerable.  This was also the type of airplane that had plugs in the back of the seat in front of you which meant that I could plug in my phone and play audio or video on it without fear of running out of battery.  So, I did a lot of reading and listening to various sermons and podcasts.  It was a great time of feeding as I made use of the time rather than wasting it away.  I did have sleep too – I think I got about 5 hours – in and out. As we got close to Sydney, I started to look out the window to see if I could see land.  I was finally able to see the first glimpses of Australia from the plane:

Australia From Plan

I knew it wouldn’t be long and we’d be landing.  I was full of hope, joy and thankfulness that I’d survived through that long flight.  I told that flight attendant several times during the flight how grateful I was to her for giving me the opportunity to sit here, how it really made my flight experience a pleasure.

Once landing in Sydney, I was able to quickly get my luggage (praise God) and it was very painless getting through customs.  Getting out to the curb it was a little difficult to find where the taxis were, but I finally found them and there was a big line, which I waited in and finally after the guy assigning people to taxis had an argument with a taxi driver who I was to go with :), I was able to get into the taxi and make the 45 minute trip to North Ryde where my hotel was.  I was staying at the Courtyard Marriott in North Ryde, which was in walking distance to my work as well as a church that I’d found online – North Ryde Christian Church.  I arrived at my hotel at about 9AM Saturday morning (I’d left Phoenix 7PM Thursday evening).  Whew!  What I really needed was a room and a nice hot shower.  My plan was to go down to the Sydney Harbor area and stay moving all day long, just sightseeing.  Was I in for a rude awakening…  As I was waiting for my room to be prepared in the hotel lobby, I checked my work email ( first mistake 🙂 ) and saw that they actually wanted me to attend a 9:30AM meeting at the office.  Well, I emailed back and told them I just landed and needed to get to my room, take a shower and then I would be able to come.  So, after showering and unpacking, I used my pre-printed walking directions to the office and walked over there.  It turned out that I worked a full day – I think I left the office at 7PM that day!  Well, so much for sightseeing.  But it was the go live weekend and there were rather urgent tasks we as a project team had to do.  However, it was a surprise to me that there were still that many things left to do that close to go live.  In any case, I made it clear that I would be going to church tomorrow, so no one even asked me to go into work on Sunday, although several of them would be working on Sunday.  On Saturday, I went out to lunch at a Malaysian restaurant with several of the guys from China who’d traveled to Sydney for the go live as well.  During the lunch, I mentioned that I’d be going to church tomorrow.  One commented that China is communist and “we don’t believe in God” – he kind of chuckled.  Another guy said “I’ve never been to church”, so I invited him to come with me, but he declined the offer – I made it clear to everyone that they could come with me tomorrow, but no one took me up on the offer.

So, Sunday morning I got up and ate breakfast at the hotel.  I knew from the web search that church started at 9:30 am and it was a 23 minute walk, so I targeted that I wanted to leave the hotel at 9:00.  But, interestingly enough, I’d forgot to pack white socks for the trip, so I figured I would take the time I had to go to a local Target store and buy some socks – that as quite an adventure in and of itself, but bottom line, I ended up buying 6 pairs of white socks – enough to get me through the trip.  I also needed to stop at an ATM and withdraw some cash so that I would have money to give at church.  I figured out what I normally give at home and translated that via the exchange rate and took out the necessary amount of money at the ATM – it worked out well.  I arrived at the church at 9:25 – perfect timing!  I took several pictures along the way.  The first one here is actually a cool looking tree that was out in front of the church.  You can see the church sign on the right side of the photo:

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Here are a couple of cool trees I saw on the way to church walking there:

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The worship service was great.  Everyone was real friendly.  Since it was a very small church, I stood out like a sore thumb 🙂  I think I just about talked to everyone in attendance either before or after the service.  This is definitely a Spirit filled, Jesus loving church.  The speaker spoke on the topic of “What’s Jesus Like?”.  It was a great topic.  He’s documented to contents of this talk here: https://georgesjournal.net/2016/04/04/whats-jesus-like/.  The church does not employ any pastors, so each week, there is a different speaker – I believe normally an elder or possibly a missionary report.  There is a lot I could report about the church and its differences to ours in Phoenix and I really found it to be a great experience, I would definitely return there.  One couple in particular I met there invited me back to their house for lunch and gave me lots of wonderful advice on what was a best plan for sightseeing the rest of the day.  With their help, I decided to take a ferry to Manly, which would allow me to see a bit of the downtown area (Circular Quay) and the harbor, the bridge, the opera house as well as the great little town of manly including the beach!  I could not believe that this couple actually provided me with an OPAL card (with money on it), which is needed to take the trains and ferry.  But, more than that, they even dropped me off down at Circular Quay and told me exactly where to go to catch the ferry!  Unbelievable!  Well, it was a wonderful day.  Here is a picture I took while waiting for the ferry arrive from the wharf:

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As you can see, the opera house is on the right and the harbor bridge is on the left.  The ferry is the smaller ship coming into the harbor in the middle of the picture.  It was an absolutely beautiful day – about 70° – 75° F, which is perfect!  As we left the harbor, I was able to get great pictures of the opera house as we cruised by it:

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So, the ferry made its way over to Manly, which is out at the edge of the harbor.  I don’t think it is technically an island, but it certainly has the feel of an island.  The ferry landed at a wharf and after getting my bearings straight according to the map my new friends printed for me, I decided to head for the beach.  It is a very small town and you can very quickly walk from the place where the ferry lands, through the little town and over to the beach.  The little town is somewhat reminiscent of Coronado Island in San Diego (minus the infamous Hotel del Coronado of course) in that it is small enough to walk across, and one side, there is a harbor and the other side a beach, with a lot of quaint little shops in between and a very safe feeling place.  So, I spent several hours there – out by the beach, took off my shoes and walked in the sand and the water, up and down the beach for quite a while.

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After getting hungry, I got off the sand and put my shoes and socks back on to go across the street to eat.  I found a little open air Mexican place called Mex & Co, where I had some fajitas:

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Around that time, one of the poor guys that was still at work that day contacted me on WeChat (I’d installed that while back in America, being advised that it was a good way to text with the Chinese guys). And luckily Manly has city Wi-Fi, so, I didn’t have to use any of my data to answer.  I was able to answer a question that got him out of a jam – he was happy for that.  After eating and answering his question, I took the walking path to the right of the beach to walk along the rocky part of the coast line:

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After quite a long while walking along there, the sun was starting to get lower, so I thought it was a good idea to start getting back.  I didn’t want to get back too late…  So, I made my way back to the center of town, stopping to have a banana split on the way 🙂  After that, I made my way over to the ferry waiting place and boarded the ferry to get back to Sydney.  This time I went to the open air in the front of the ship.  As we were heading back to Sydney harbor, there were stunning pictures of the sunset behind the harbor bridge:

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Excellent day – now it was dark and I was in an unfamiliar city knowing that I was at Circular Quay and needed to get back to MacQuarie Park, thanks to a note from my friends.  In hindsight, I should’ve downloaded an app for trains.  A few people and workers were able to help guide me to the correct trains / platforms.  After 3 train / platform changes, I finally made it back to my stop and took the 2 block walk back to my hotel – I think I as back in the room by 8PM.  Great day.  I would need it because the rest of the week was to be very rough indeed.

Monday morning I walked to the office.  One thing I noticed is that there are a lot of cool birds in Sydney and surprisingly, 2 of the most common birds are Cockatoos and Lorikeets.  The Lorikeets were much too small and fast to get a picture of unfortunately, but I was able to get several pictures of the cockatoos:

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There were also a few other assorted birds that seemed quite different than Arizona birds to me, for example, Ibis:

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And these other birds that I saw almost every day on the way to work:

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The first 2 days of the week were rough.  On both of those days, I worked until at least 10PM.  Subsequent evenings, I was able to get out by 8PM and 7PM, which seemed like I got off easy 🙂  Fortunately, the US team was able to pick up the slack during our daytime, so we would just hand off to them.  Then, as the week wound down to a close, I started to feel myself getting sick.  Because of that, unfortunately, tourism was not a viable option on the weekend.  I had to just hang around the hotel and try to get better.  Since I had my friend’s OPAL card (and you shouldn’t throw those out, because they’re refillable) I felt that I needed to get the card back to them.  So, I did go to church again although I was sick.  Again, the people were happy to see me back and I was happy to see them.  If there was anyone I hadn’t spoken to in the whole church, I probably spoke to them this time when I went.  There was a family, who last weekend had invited me out to lunch, and since I wasn’t able to go, I took them up on their offer this time (even though I wasn’t really hungry).  We went to a shopping mall where I was able to purchase medicine at a pharmacy, which would hopefully help manage my symptoms.  After a meal at a Chinese restaurant (for which they insisted on paying), they dropped me back off at the hotel.  Both weekends my interaction with the church was a great opportunity for fellowship and getting to know brothers and sisters in Christ half way around the world 🙂  After that, I pretty much just rested the rest of the day and tried to prepare myself for Monday of work.  Unfortunately, my health just kept going downhill.  It got to a point Monday afternoon, that I left early and worked the rest of the day from the hotel room. Tuesday, I worked all day from the hotel room.  Tuesday evening, the coughing was so bad in the middle of the night that I determined in the morning I was going to find a doctor and make sure I didn’t have pneumonia.  So, when I got up, I started to research doctors.  I found one a few blocks away, within walking distance and went – cost was $50 AUD, but the doctor confirmed that I didn’t have pneumonia, which was good – rather, I was diagnosed with Acute Bronchitis and given a “script” for antibiotics and told that I was “unfit for work” for 2 days.  So, I just stayed in the hotel for Wednesday and Thursday, eating room service food (not too great by the way).  Finally, I emerged “alive” from the tomb of my room 🙂 Friday morning with plans to go to work.  I went into work and everyone was really concerned about me – apparently the word spread far and wide because even friends from back in the states were contacting me and asking if I was ok.  I still had a cough, but it’d definitely gotten better.

It was great getting to know the people in the office who are using the software I helped to write.  I’ve had roll-outs of this tool suite in North America, Europe and now Australia and this was the place where I got to interact closest with the end users of my software.  There was one user in particular, who happened to also be staying at my same hotel.  She was from out of the country as well (not the US).  I saw her while eating breakfast one day and she was wearing a cross.  I asked her about the cross, whether she was Christian – she said she was catholic (and she lives in a majority Muslim country).  We talked a little about church stuff when I first saw that cross and asked her about it.  But on the Friday morning (my last business day in Australia), I saw her again at breakfast and again, as we ate breakfast, we started to talk about faith.  I asked her where she thought she was going to go when she died.  She said she didn’t know.  I asked her why…  She said, well, I think I’m a good person, and I’m really trying hard.  I asked her why she said she was unsure, because I reminded her of Jesus’ words – “Whoever hears My words and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned – he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24).  She said the reason she was unsure if she’d go to heaven is because she may have to go to purgatory.  I reminded her, that one of the last things Jesus said while He was on the cross was “It is finished!”  That meant that all the sins of those who would believe in Him are paid for – no further payment is needed.  She said, well that is what the catholic church teaches.  I gently said, yes, but that teaching is not found in the Bible.  I think you ought to base your thoughts about what will happen when you die based on God’s word, not on man’s word.  I then showed her a passage on my phone and had her read it – it was Ephesians 2:4-9, which says:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.”.

She acted like that was all new information to her.  I asked her if she knew what the biblical word grace meant.  She didn’t.  So I went on to explain that it is unmerited favor from God.  You can’t earn your salvation by doing good or being a good person – you could never be good enough anyway.  She then asked me doesn’t God want us to be good – doesn’t He want us to obey.  I said yes, but this does not contribute to your salvation – salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone – look at Ephesians 2:9 – it says “not of works, so that no one can boast”.  She seemed like a light bulb went off and she actually started crying.  I then prayed for her that she would understand the message of grace that salvation is a free gift from God that cannot be earned, but must be received by faith.  Again, she cried, she felt like I was an angel, a messenger that God sent to tell her what I told her.  I encouraged her that if she trusts in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, that He paid for her sins on the cross and rose from the dead, God would indeed save her and bring her to heaven one day.  She thanked me for that.  Later in the day, I also sent a followup email to her and included this passage, Luke 18:9-14:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

That conversation just made my day and my whole trip worth it!  So, Friday, I left the office at 4PM because I had to go back and pack and make arrangements for a trip to the airport as well.

I hoped to visit this national park that was in close walking distance to the hotel, so I did go and visit that before my driver arrived at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning.  Here are some pictures:

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And finally, the last trip to the 7-11 for the breakfast of champions!

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Then, finally, another grueling long flight back to home.  I’m so glad to be back.  Even though I got sick and I only got in one day of sightseeing and missed my wife and family and church, I still think the trip was worth it – if nothing else, for:

  • Meeting the group at North Ryde Christian Church and getting to know them
  • Meeting all the users of the software I created
  • Talking about the free gift of salvation with someone who didn’t really understand it
  • I also was able to memorize several verses while in Australia:
    • Psalms 116:15
    • Proverbs 14:2
    • Proverbs 15:28a
    • Deuteronomy 8:17-18a
    • 1 Peter 4:1-5
  • And all the cool birds I saw…

Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to go back to Australia on a pleasure trip – it seems like a real nice place with great people.  I felt really safe the whole time I was there.  In fact, I cannot remember seeing even one policeman the whole time I was there.  So, overall, I’m happy I went – it was an experience that I will not forget – I and I’m quite sure I’ll see several of the people I met in Australia in heaven one day.  Meanwhile I’m encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul to Titus:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldy passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:11-13

mid-week apologetics booster (1-21-2016)

Good fellow citizens and members of God’s household!

I hope this morning finds you securely in His grip (John 10:28-29).  Here are some link so assist you in living out the instructions of Paul to Timothy:

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

  1. The Self-Refuting Nature of Naturalism: http://freethinkingministries.com/the-self-refuting-nature-of-naturalism/
  2. Dead Silence: Must The Bible Say Abortion Is Wrong Before We Can Know It’s Wrong? https://www.equip.org/article/dead-silence-must-the-bible-say-abortion-is-wrong-before-we-can-know-its-wrong/
  3. Can Scientists Trust Their Brains If Atheism is True? | Saints and Sceptics: http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/can-scientists-trust-their-brains-if-atheism-is-true/
  4. The Gospel for Roman Catholics | Part One on Roman Catholicism and Justification | Part Two Presents the True Gospel: https://carm.org/gospel-roman-catholics
  5. Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Gay Marriage Hurts Everyone | Frank Turek, PhD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3YmHAIgVfg
  6. Tim Gamble: Freedom of Worship vs. Freedom of Religion: http://www.timgamble.com/2015/06/freedom-of-worship-vs-freedom-of.html?m=1
  7. The Uses and Conditional Necessity of Apologetics (WLC) – Philosophy, Theology, History, Science, Big Questions: http://www.apologeticsinthechurch.com/apologetics-who-needs-it/the-uses-and-conditional-necessity-of-apologetics-wlc
  8. How Does God Foreknow Free Choices? | Reasonable Faith: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/how-does-god-foreknow-free-choices
  9. Christianity Promotes Rational (and Evidential) Exploration: http://crossexamined.org/christianity-promotes-rational-and-evidential-exploration/
  10. Frank Turek to Atheist- Why God Sends People to Hell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kHGg9-gI40
  11. Scriptural Inerrancy and the Apologetic Task | Reasonable Faith: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/scriptural-inerrancy-and-the-apologetic-task
  12. Four Problems in Atheist/Theist Discussions: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/four-problems-in-atheisttheist-discussions-2/
  13. Funsized Fallacies: Appeals to Ignorance – A Clear Lens: http://clearlens.org/2015/05/16/funsized-fallacies-appeals-to-ignorance/
  14. Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: Christianity is a Thinking-Man’s Faith: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/11/christianity-is-thinking-mans-faith.html
  15. Why faith makes sense: Developing a Christian mind – Alister McGrath: https://youtu.be/mIEKVDjlfJA
  16. The Campaign to Embarrass Christians into Accepting Darwinism – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/campaign-embarrass-christians-accepting-darwinism/
  17. The Immune System: An Army Inside You – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/01/the_immune_syst102351.html
  18. The God Delusion – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/the-god-delusion/
  19. How Can We Stand on Scripture in an Evolution-Pushing Culture? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/theistic-evolution/god-and-evolution/how-can-we-stand-on-scripture-in-an-evolution-pushing-culture/

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matt. 19:29)

Blessings to you all!

3 Reasons the Bible is Divine Rather than Simply Human in Origin

In today’s world, the Bible is under continual attack, whether it be from the skeptical, secular humanist and academic worldviews or from other religions such as Islam, Mormonism or New Age.  Oddly enough, sometimes the Divine Authorship of the Bible is even questioned inside the church.  Since one of our central claims as Christians is that the Bible is the Word of God, we need to be prepared to defend that assertion.  It is not good enough to just say that the Bible is God’s Word because it says so, unquestioningly assuming it is true because that is written in the text of the Bible.  We have to be able to demonstrate this view as being the most reasonable inference from the evidence.
So, here I will give you 3 reasons that you can trust that the Bible is Divine rather than simply human in origin.

1. Indestructibility of the Bible

From Got Questions website:

“Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.”

The Christian Courier (Jackson, Wayne. “The Holy Scriptures–Indestructible.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: January 10, 2016. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/31-holy-scriptures-indestructible-the) records the following attempts to eradicate the Bible or portions of it:

Antiochus Epiphanes 175-164 B.C.

After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek empire was divided into four segments (cf. Daniel 8:8), and the Jewish people fell under the control of a remarkably evil ruler whose name was Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, known popularly as “the madman,” launched a bloody persecution against the Hebrew people. One aspect of his vendetta was an attempt to destroy copies of the Jewish Scriptures. An ancient document records this episode:

And [the officials of Antiochus] rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, and set them on fire. And wheresoever was found with any a book of the covenant, and if any consented to the law, the king’s sentence delivered him to death (The Apocrypha, 1 Maccabees 1:56-57).

The historian Josephus comments upon this event:

And if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed, and those [Jews] with whom they were found miserably perished also (Antiquities of the Jews 12.5.4).

The heathen plan backfired, however, for it was this very persecution that generated more intense examination of the divine writings. Out of this circumstance the genuine books of the Old Testament canon were formally separated from contemporary spurious documents that feigned inspiration (McClintock and Strong 1968, 76).

Diocletian, Roman Emperor from A.D. 284-305

Following the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, Christianity was introduced into the Roman world. It spread like wildfire in the stifling environment of ancient paganism. Not many decades passed before Rome came to view the Christian system, with its New Testament Scriptures, as a threat to the security of the empire. And so history repeated itself. A determined effort to eradicate the Bible from antique society was initiated by the Roman ruler, Valerius Diocletian.

Diocletian occupied the imperial throne from A.D. 284-305. In A.D. 303, he inaugurated a series of merciless persecutions upon those who professed the religion of Christ. Hurst notes:

[A]ll assemblies of Christians were forbidden and churches were ordered to be torn down. Four different edicts were issued, each excelling the preceding in intensity. One edict ordered the burning of every copy of the Bible—the first instance in [Christian] history when the Scriptures were made an object of attack (1897, 175).

Julian the Apostate (Roman Emperor from A.D. 361-363)

The year he assumed Roman rule, at the age of thirty, he openly declared his hostility to the Bible (hence he became known as Julian the Apostate). Three centuries of bloodshed (prior to Julian) had not enhanced the cause of heathenism. Persecution had merely accelerated the spread of the Christian cause. Julian thus determined that he, with logical argument, would destroy the influence of the Scriptures… Now, in a period of greater tranquility, Julian would renew the assault. Shortly before his death, he wrote a bitter attack against Christianity, the only remains of which are to be found in a refutation produced by Cyril of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 432). The “Apostate” merely regurgitated the arguments of Celsus and Porphyry in a modified form, expanded somewhat by his larger acquaintance with the Bible (Schaff 1981, 75). While this literary effort was doubtlessly effective with some, a skeptical historian, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), penned this curious remark: “[T]he Pagans . . .derived, from the popular work of their Imperial missionary [Julian], an inexhaustible supply of fallacious objections”.

Papal Opposition

The Bible has had to survive not only the persecution of its enemies, but has had to weather the opposition of its so-called “friends” as well. Though some historical revisionists attempt to exonerate the Roman Catholic system of efforts to suppress the Holy Scriptures, the plain facts are undeniable. On numerous occasions in centuries past, church authorities had committed the Bible to flames under the guise that the translation was vulgar. The Fourth Rule of the Council of Trent stated that the indiscriminate circulation of the Scriptures in the common vernacular would generate “more harm than good.” Therefore, those reading or possessing the Bible “without . . . permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed [copies of the Scriptures] over to the ordinary” (Schroeder 1950, 274).

Persistent effort was made by the Romanizers to suppress the English Bible. In 1543 an act was passed forbidding absolutely the use of Tyndale’s version, and any reading of the Scriptures in assemblies without royal license (Newman 1902, 262).

Thousands of copies were burned. “Of the estimated 18,000 copies printed between 1525-1528, only two fragments are known to remain” (Thiessen 1949, 84).

Francois Marie Arouer (Voltaire)

In France, Rationalism found a champion in Francois Marie Arouer—popularly known by his pen-name, Voltaire—a deist who produced several volumes brimming with hatred for the Bible. No one in Europe did as much to destroy faith in the Word of God as Voltaire. France rejected the Scriptures, tied a copy of the Bible to the tail of a donkey, and dragged it through the streets to the city dump, where it was ceremoniously burned. But, as Coffman notes, “since that time, the government of France has fallen thirty-five times” (1968, 343-344). Voltaire predicted that within a hundred years of his death (1778) Christianity would be swept from existence and pass into history (Collett n.d., 63), yet two centuries have come and gone, and today, rare is the person who owns a copy of Voltaire’s writings, while almost every home is adorned with a Bible.

Thomas Paine

In America, the battle against the Bible was led by men like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll. Paine (1737-1809) came out of a Quaker background and gained considerable prominence as a result of his writings (e.g., Common Sense) advocating America’s independence from Britain. Eventually he went to France. There he yielded to the influence of French deism, and so composed his infamous tome, The Age of Reason, which was a passionate attack against the Bible. His qualification for such a task may be illustrated by the following admission. In discussing a passage in the book of Job, Paine says: “I recollect not enough of the passages in Job to insert them correctly . . . for I keep no Bible” (n.d., 33). Again: “[When] I began the former part of The Age of Reason, I had, besides, neither Bible nor Testament to refer to, though I was writing against both” (Ibid., 71). So much for scholarship. Paine died a bitter and lonely old man, having lost most of his friends due to his political views and his hostility towards Christianity (Cross 1958, 1005). His trifling little volume is mostly ignored today. In this writer’s city (Stockton, California), of more than a quarter-of-a-million people, the public library’s only copy of The Age of Reason has been checked out sixteen times in the past ten years!

2. Continuity of the Message of the Bible

Despite the geographic, cultural, lingual and historical separation of its human authors, amazingly, the Bible has a unity and continuity of its message throughout.  This is evidence of the Bible’s Divine origin.

From Got Questions web site:

“One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.”

From Answers in Genesis:

“Among all the books ever written, the Bible is absolutely unique. Actually, it is not just a book—it’s 66 books. And one of its most remarkable qualities is the complete unity of the overall message despite having so many different authors writing over many centuries on hundreds of controversial subjects. Natural explanations fail to account for the supernatural character and origin of Scripture… Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cupbearer, and a priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. In the process they laid bare their personal emotions, expressing anger, frustration, joy, and love.  Yet despite this marvelous array of topics and goals, the Bible displays a flawless internal consistency. It never contradicts itself or its common theme.”

3. Fulfilled of Prophecy in the Bible

From Answers In Genesis:

“Biblical prophecy is different from all other predictions. With incredible detail, forthright clarity, and impeccable accuracy, the Bible has consistently unveiled the future for centuries. Critics of the Bible, for instance, have squirmed over the prophetic insights of Daniel, the sixth-century BC Jewish prophet in Babylon. With eye-opening precision, Daniel interpreted two sets of dreams, one by a pagan ruler (chapter 2) and the other by the prophet himself (chapter 7), thereby forecasting the entire course of Middle East history over the next five centuries. Daniel describes the exact ebb and flow of four empires from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece to Rome. He even foresaw the meteoric rise to power of the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great, as well as the final division of his Greek empire by four of his surviving generals (Daniel 7:6, 8:5–8, 11:2–4).  Desperate to counter the implications of this prophetic phenomenon, nineteenth-century skeptics concocted dating schemes that placed the time of Daniel’s writing after the events. Careful research by modern textual scholars, however, has validated the early origin of this prophecy, establishing Daniel as the authentic author.1 Daniel’s prophecy is a genuine ‘Wow,’ which clearly gives evidence of the Bible’s divine nature.”

From the God and Science website:

 

85 Fulfilled Prophecies of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah
# Prophetic Scripture Subject Fulfilled
1 Genesis 3:15 seed of a woman Galatians 4:4
2 Genesis 12:3, Genesis 22:18 descendant of Abraham Matthew 1:1, Acts 3:25
3 Genesis 17:19, Genesis 21:12 descendant of Isaac Luke 3:34, Luke 3:23-24
4 Genesis 28:14, Numbers 24:17 descendant of Jacob Matthew 1:2, Luke 3:23-24
5 Genesis 49:10 from the tribe of Judah Luke 3:23-24, Luke 3:33
6 Isaiah 9:6, 11:1-5, Jeremiah 23:5-6 descendant of David Matthew 1:1, Luke 3:23-24
7 Isaiah 11:1 descendant of Jesse Luke 3:23-24
8 Ezekiel 37:24 will shepherd His people Matthew 2:6
9 Isaiah 9:7 heir to the throne of David Luke 1:32-33
10 Micah 5:2 His pre-existence Colossians 1:17
11 Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:1 eternal existence John 8:58, 11, 14, Ephesians 1:3-14, Colossians 1:15-19
12 Psalm 45:6-7, Psalm 102:25-27 anointed and eternal Hebrews 1:8-12
13 Psalm 110:1 called Lord Matthew 22:43-45
14 Isaiah 33:22 judge John 5:30
15 Psalm 2:6 king Matthew 27:37
16 Micah 5:2 born in Bethlehem Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-5, 7
17 Daniel 9:25 time for His birth Matthew 2:1, 16, 19, Luke 2:1-2
18 Isaiah 7:14 to be born of a virgin Matthew 1:18, 24, 25, Luke 1:26-27, 30-31
19 Psalm 72:9 worshipped by shepherds Luke 2:8-15
20 Psalm 72:10 honored by great kings Matthew 2:1-11
21 Jeremiah 31:15 slaughter of children Matthew 2:16-18
22 Hosea 11:1 flight to Egypt Matthew 2:14-15
23 Isaiah 40:3-5 the way prepared Matthew 3:1,2, Luke 3:3-6
24 Malachi 3:1 preceded by a forerunner Luke 7:24, 27
25 Malachi 4:5-6 preceded by Elijah Matthew 11:13-14
26 Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4 declared the Son of God Matthew 3:17, Luke 1:32
27 Isaiah 9:5-6, Jeremiah 23:5-6 God’s name applied to Him Romans 10:9, Philippians 2:9-11
28 Isaiah 11:2, 61:1, Psalm 45:8 anointment of Holy Spirit Matthew 3:16, 17, John 3:34, Acts 10:38
29 Isaiah 9:1-2 Galilean ministry Matthew 4:13-16
30 Psalm 78:2-4 speaks in parables Matthew 13:34-35
31 Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11 temple becomes a house of merchandise instead of prayer Matthew 21:13
32 Psalm 69:9 zeal of Jews for the temple instead of God John 2:17
33 Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 a prophet Matthew 21:11, Acts 3:20, 22
34 Isaiah 29:18, Isaiah 35:5-6 blind, deaf, and lame are healed by the Messiah Luke 7:22, Matthew 9:35, 11:3-5
35 Isaiah 40:11, 42:2-3, Isaiah 53:7 Messiah will be meek and mild Matthew 12:18-20, Matthew 11:29, Hebrews 4:15
36 Isaiah 53:9 Be sinless and without guile 1 Peter 2:22
37 Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 49:1 will minister to Gentiles Matthew 12:18-21Luke 2:32
38 Isaiah 61:1-2 to bind up the brokenhearted Luke 4:18-19
39 Isaiah 53:12, Isaiah 59:16 to intercede for the people Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25
40 Isaiah 53:3, 8:14, 28:16, 63:3, Psalms 69:6, 118:22 rejected by His own people, the Jews John 1:11, 7:5,48, Luke 23:18, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:6-8
41 Psalm 118:22 Be rejected by the Jewish leadership Matthew 21:42, John 7:48
42 Psalm 2:1-2 plotted against by Jews and Gentiles alike Acts 4:27
43 Psalm 110:4 priest after the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 5:5-6
44 Zechariah 9:9 enter Jerusalem on donkey Mark 11:7, 9, 11, Luke 19:35-37
45 Haggai 2:7-9, Malachi 3:1 entered the temple with authority Matthew 21:12, Luke 2:27-38
46 Psalm 8:2 adored by infants Matthew 21:15-16
47 Isaiah 53:1 not believed John 12:37-38
48 Zechariah 13:7 sheep of the Shepherd scattered Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:50
49 Psalm 41:9, 55:13-15 betrayed by a close friend Matthew 10:4, Luke 22:47-48
50 Zechariah 11:12 betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:14-15
51 Zechariah 11:13 betrayal money used to buy Potter’s field Matthew 27:6-7
52 Psalm 35:11 accused by false witnesses Mark 14:57-58
53 Isaiah 53:7 silent to accusations Matthew 27:12, Mark 15:4-5
54 Isaiah 50:6 spat on Matthew 26:67, 27:30
55 Isaiah 50:6 beaten Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30
56 Micah 4:14 struck on cheek Matthew 27:30
57 Isaiah 49:7, Psalm 35:19, Psalm 69:4 hated without reason John 7:48, 15:24-25
58 Isaiah 53:5 wounded and bruised Matthew 27:26
59 Isaiah 53:5 vicarious sacrifice John 1:29, , 3:16, Romans 5:6, 8
60 Daniel 9:24-26 cut off, but not for Himself Matthew 2:1, Luke 3:1, 23
61 Isaiah 53:12 crucified with malefactors Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28
62 Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16 pierced through hands and feet Luke 23:33, John 20:25-27
63 Psalm 22:7-8 sneered and mocked Matthew 27:31, Luke 23:35
64 Psalm 109:24, 25 fell under the cross Luke 23:26
65 Psalm 69:9 was reproached Romans 15:3
66 Psalm 38:11 friends stood afar off Luke 23:49
67 Psalm 109:25 people shook their heads Matthew 27:39
68 Psalm 22:17 stared upon Luke 23:35
69 Psalm 22:16, 69:21 given vinegar for His thirst Matthew 27:34, John 19:28-29
70 Psalm 109:4, Isaiah 53:12 prayer for His enemies Luke 23:34
71 Psalm 22:17-18 soldiers gambled for His clothing Matthew 27:35-36, John 19:23, 24
72 Psalm 22:1 forsaken by God Matthew 27:46
73 Psalm 31:5 committed Himself to God Luke 23:46
74 Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20 no bones broken John 19:32, 33, 36
75 Psalm 22:14 heart broken John 19:34
76 Zechariah 12:10 His side pierced John 19:34
77 Amos 8:9 darkness over the land Matthew 27:45
78 Isaiah 53:9 buried with the rich Matthew 27:57-60
79 Psalm 3:5, 16:10, 49:15 to be resurrected Mark 16:6-7, Acts 2:31
80 Isaiah 44:3, Joel 2:28 sent the Holy Spirit John 20:22, Acts 2:16-17
81 Isaiah 55:3-4, Jeremiah 31:31 establishes a new covenant Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-10
82 Psalm 68:18, Psalm 110:1 His ascension to God’s right hand Mark 16:19, Acts 1:9, 1 Corinthians 15:4, Ephesians 4:8, Hebrews 1:3
83 Psalm 29:11, Micah 4:3 peace proclaimed by disciples Luke 2:14, John 14:27, Acts 10:36
84 Isaiah 60:3 “Light” to Gentiles Acts 13:47,48
85 Isaiah 11:10, 42:1, 49:1-12 the Gentiles will seek the Messiah Romans 11:25, 15:10

Although some of these prophecies are vague and could have been deliberately fulfilled, many are very specific:

  1. Place of birth (Micah 5:2).
  2. Date of birth (Daniel 9:25).
  3. Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14).
  4. Manner of death (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 22:16 prophesied before the invention of crucifixion).
  5. Piercing in side (Zechariah 12:10).
  6. Burial (Isaiah 53:9).

There are additional reasons why one could infer divine involvement in the creation and preservation of the Bible, but this sampling of 3 reason ought to give us enough data to believe that to be true beyond a reasonable doubt!

 

mid-week apologetics booster (1-7-2016)

Hi All,

I hope you are enjoying this new year and the unusual rain we’re having here in the desert!  Here are some links for you to peruse, read and watch:

  1. An Apology for Apologetics: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/apology-apologetics/
  2. Incredible Proof for Why You Should Have Faith in the Bible: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/December/Incredible-Proof-for-Why-You-Should-Have-Faith-in-Christianity/
  3. Is Apologetics Biblical? – Apologetics Canada: http://www.apologeticscanada.com/2014/11/24/apologetics-biblical/
  4. Be Ready to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About the Bible | Desiring God: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/be-ready-to-answer-your-kids-questions-about-the-bible
  5. 14 Ways I Teach Apologetics to My 5-Year-Olds: http://christianmomthoughts.com/14-ways-i-teach-apologetics-to-my-5-year-olds/
  6. How Early Should You Start Teaching Your Kids Apologetics? — Michael C Sherrard: http://www.michaelcsherrard.com/blog/2016/1/4/leb287pm8g5flfkb1idejc15gn8ig7
  7. Five Reasons You Can Trust Your Bible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvOsR1-YHTQ
  8. Let’s Challenge Each Other Here, So We Won’t Be Surprised Out There | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/lets-challenge-each-other-here-so-we-wont-be-surprised-out-there/
  9. There are those who wholly question the enterprise of Christian apologetics.  They assert that God will call those whom he chooses, and apologetics is just a distraction to the work of the Holy Spirit and the revelation of God… [This] idea is prima facie nonsense.  When a missionary travels to another country to proclaim the gospel, she learns the language of the people so as to communicate in terms that they understand.  Apologetics is simply the language the secular world uses to talk about God.  To say we shouldn’t practice a rational defense of the Christian faith is like saying the missionary need not study language, because the Holy Spirit can do whatever it wants… Compassion requires translation.  We must be about the work of addressing hard questions with meaningful answers.  And the cause of Christian apologetics will always be essential. —James Miller (from, Why Bother Defending an Omnipotent Being?)
  10. Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: How to Share Your Faith Without Using Scarecrows: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/04/how-to-share-your-faith-without-using.html?m=1
  11. Religious IQ | Atheism | J. P. Moreland, PhD (35 min video) – Is atheism a matter of reason and religion merely a matter of blind faith?  Are there any good reasons to believe God exists?  Is atheism more rational or is theism more rational?  These are just some of the questions addressed by philosopher J.P. Moreland in this talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XeuUnHuyWY
  12. Jesus: the Antidote: http://www.str.org/articles/jesus-the-antidote
  13. Six Eternal Truths to Remember Each Day: http://www.epm.org/blog/2013/Jul/14/eternal-truths
  14. Challenge Response: The Disciples Didn’t Believe Jesus Is Divine: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2015/12/challenge-response-the-disciples-didnt-believe-jesus-is-divine.html
  15. Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Dilemma – Where did the information come from? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CTKKrtSc8k
  16. Five Questions About Evolution that Charles Darwin Can’t Answer: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1579-five-questions-about-evolution-that-charles-darwin-cant-answer
  17. Apologetics for the Average Christian: Asking Good Questions | in partibus infidelium (in the land of infidels): https://apolotheo.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/apologetics-for-the-average-christian-asking-good-questions/
  18. ‘Youth Pride Day’ in Boston 2014 – Most people have no idea how depraved the state-supported “Youth Pride Day” activities are. Kids as young as middle school age mingling with adult homosexual activists and cross-dressers, being given condoms and more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9NWoAtZca8
  19. Advice for Future Apologists – In this video, seven experienced Christian apologists (Douglas Groothuis, Gary Habermas, Craig Hazen, Mike Licona, Nabeel Qureshi, Mary Jo Sharp, and Frank Turek) give advice to future apologists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI1PfG1urEA
  20. Jesus in Non-Christian Sources (Craig Blomberg) – While all Historical Jesus scholars go to the New Testament to learn about Jesus, ancient non-Christian sources report a number of facts as well. Interestingly, the facts we learn about Jesus in non-Christian sources support the Christian view of Jesus. In this video, Dr. Craig Blomberg shares the details we learn about Jesus from non-Christian sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-OtP1-NhEw
  21. Examining Jesus by the Historical Method (Part 2): http://crossexamined.org/examining-jesus-by-the-historical-method-part-2/
  22. Frank Turek – (8 min 43 second video) EPISODE 9: ELABORATE TESTIMONY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tedPG39FZPo
  23. Three Simple Strategies to Help You Become A Better Christian Case Maker | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/three-simple-strategies-to-help-you-become-a-better-christian-case-maker/
  24. 7 Slogans Christians Need To Stop Using: http://thereforegodexists.com/7-slogans-christians-need-to-stop-using/
  25. Roman Catholic Church’s Authority To Interpret Scripture Violates Scripture Catholics Are Obligated to Never Contradict the RCC: https://carm.org/catholic-authority-to-interpret-violates-scripture
  26. Cain’s Wife-Who Was She? https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/
  27. J WARNER WALLACE: IT’S TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO RETURN TO ITS ROOTS – Most Christians have still not been exposed to Christian Case Making (apologetics) and aren’t even aware of the evidence supporting their beliefs. They’re accidental Christians. It appears most of the Church is undiscipled, at least in terms of their ability to defend what they believe. It’s time for the Church to return to its roots…to return to a form of Christian discipleship celebrating the life of the mind as the foundation for all other aspects of the Christian life. Ideas have consequences and no Christian behavior or response is possible without a rational foundation in the Scripture. When we are properly discipled, we understand the reasonable foundation for our beliefs and are ready to engage the world as Paul did in the first century. It’s time to start using the word “disciple” as a verb. —J Warner Wallace (from, The Danger of Treating the Word “Disciple” as a Noun Instead of a Verb)
  28. Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger: I Regret My Abortion, Not Having Kids: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/30/millionaire-matchmaker-patti-stanger-i-regret-my-abortion-not-having-kids/
  29. Genesis and Climate Change: http://www.icr.org/article/9088
  30. Faith Actually: Stop Feeling Guilty: http://faithactually.blogspot.com/2014/06/stop-feeling-guilty.html
  31. ‘Living Gears’ Might Have Evolutionists Hopping Mad | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/7711/295
  32. How Not to Argue: The Problem with Slippery Slopes: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-not-to-argue-the-problem-with-slippery-slopes
  33. Faith of the Candidates: Interview With Marco Rubio (Part 1) | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/december/faith-of-candidates-interview-with-marco-rubio-part-1.html?paging=off
  34. What You Can Teach Your Adult Children About Sin | Christian Life After Kids: http://www.christianlifeafterkids.com/2016/01/06/what-you-can-teach-your-adult-children-about-sin/

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.  Matthew 11:18-19

Blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (12-3-2015)

Good morning everyone!

Pick an article or video below to become informed on a topic that interests you!

  1. Reasons To Believe : Quantum Mechanics and the Nature of Reality: http://www.reasons.org/articles/quantum-mechanics-and-the-nature-of-reality
  2. Didn’t the Old Testament punish blasphemy with death? How is that different from radical Islam? http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-blasphemy.html
  3. Apologetics in the Real World | Hope’s Reason: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/apologetics-in-the-real-world/
  4. True for you, not true for me? https://youtu.be/Zsp-OyC9nAc
  5. John Lennox DNA and the origin of the self-replicating cell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWN0V7yoirI
  6. Professor explains how his study of the historical Jesus made him leave atheism | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/28/professor-explains-how-his-study-of-the-historical-jesus-made-him-leave-atheism-3/
  7. Refuting Evolution—Chapter 4 – Bird Evolution: http://creation.mobi/refuting-evolution-chapter-4-bird-evolution
  8. Case-Making 101: Is There Evidence In the Universe For The Existence of God? Part 3 Evidence from Biochemistry: http://truthfaithandreason.com/case-making-101-is-there-evidence-in-the-universe-for-the-existence-of-god-part-3-evidence-from-biochemistry/
  9. Microevolution versus Macroevolution: Two Mistakes – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution097801.html
  10. ARE ORGANS IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX, THEREBY DEFYING DARWINIAN GRADUALISM? http://mannsword.blogspot.com/2015/11/are-organs-irreducibly-complex-thereby.html
  11. Smoking high-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibres in brain | Science | The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/27/smoking-high-strength-cannabis-skunk-may-damage-nerves-brain
  12. Book Review: Talking to Catholics about the Gospel, by Chris Castaldo: http://9marks.org/review/book-review-talking-to-catholics-about-the-gospel-by-christ-cataldo/
  13. Is Roman Catholicism and Christianity the Same Thing? Roman Catholicism Denies Justification by Faith Alone in Christ Alone: https://carm.org/is-catholicism-christian
  14. Molinism:
    1. Watch “Greg Koukl – Molinism” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KGU3t31xTY0
    2. Watch “Dr William Lane Craig Explains God’s Middle Knowledge (Molinism)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ZuuLdzZSlmw
  15. Watch “How Should We Think about Faith and What Is the Role of Evidence?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cv1q9z2a0Ms
  16. Watch “Is There An Intellect Directing Nature Towards An End?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eTlXCWTQBzo
  17. Greed drives the advocacy of organizations on climate change | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/27/greed-drives-the-advocacy-of-organizations-on-climate-change/
  18. Southern Greenland—warm and ice free! http://creation.mobi/a/6955
  19. Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis Series:
    1. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 1: “Your Children” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1Obu8i0EWaM
    2. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 2: “Suppressing the Truth” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LG2LHSsU-VU
    3. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 3: “Manuscript Evidence” [Pleading the First with Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/N73GoOB765w
    4. Watch “DARWIN IS DEAD, Part 4: “Fall of the Mind” [Pleading the first w/Adam Metropolis]” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fEhwHtyf9pQ
  20. Statistics on violence, rape, terror, sharia, and Isis: https://carm.org/islamic-muslim-statistics-on-violence-rape-terror-sharia-isis-welfare
  21. Statistics regarding increase of sexually transmitted diseases in 2014: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/cdc-83-syphilis-cases-2014-among-gay-men-where-sex-sex-partner-was

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62.

Blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (11-26-2015)

Good morning,

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here are some links.  Maybe you’ll have some time to look at a few of these over the long weekend.  Especially pay attention to the first one:

  1. What You Can Learn From the Pilgrims – great 48 minute audio podcast from Frank Turek where he interviews Bill Federer about the history of the pilgrims (it would be great to listen to with the family at Thanksgiving): http://subspla.sh/7277698
  2. They Did Not Honor Him or Give Thanks — Why Thanksgiving is Inescapably Theological | AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/11/23/they-did-not-honor-him-or-give-thanks-why-thanksgiving-is-inescapably-theological/
  3. Celebrating Thanksgiving in America: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=17984
  4. Religious Roots: Not All Turkey and Touchdowns – The Imaginative Conservative. From the Mayflower Compact: Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2012/11/religious-rootsnot-all-turkey-and-touchdowns.html
  5. A (Not Too) Serious Christmas Quiz: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/12/a-not-too-serious-christmas-quiz.html
  6. Why Do Christians Follow Some Biblical Commands and Not Others? Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason explains how some commands in the Bible were for a specific group of people at a specific time in history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90_ZvhdXFWo
  7. Is Mormonism a cult? https://carm.org/is-mormonism-cult
  8. Do Christians really put their friends off Jesus? http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Do-Christians-really-put-their-friends-off-Jesus
  9. Honoring the 41st Anniversary of the Discovery of “Lucy,” Google Offers a Misleading Doodle – Evolution News & Views: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/11/honoring_the_41101151.html
  10. Why We Need to Know Facts About the Bible: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-we-need-to-know-facts-about-the-bible
  11. What Is the Point of Prayer? | Reasonable Faith: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/what-is-the-point-of-prayer
  12. 121 Quotes on Why We Need Apologetics: http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2014/12/121-quotes-on-why-we-need-apologetics.html
  13. Is Jesus Really God? By Mark Mittelberg — Think Eternity: http://www.thinke.org/blog/jesus-god
  14. 911 Call to Parents of Christian Kids in College: Get the EpiPen Ready: http://ratiochristi.org/boosters/blog/post/911-call-to-parents-of-christian-kids-in-college-get-the-epipen-ready/3806#.VlYuFb3n_qC
  15. What are the historical arguments for the empty tomb story? (includes video debate): http://winteryknight.com/2015/07/24/what-are-the-historical-arguments-for-the-empty-tomb-story-2/
  16. Grounded in the Gospel | Zeitgeist: http://groundedinthegospel.com/blog/zeitgeist
  17. Dare to be a Daniel? https://www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=35120
  18. Earth-like planet hyped by science-fiction-crazed atheists likely uninhabitable | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/20/earth-like-planet-hyped-by-science-fiction-crazed-atheists-likely-uninhabitable/
  19. The Reliability of the New Testament | Stephen J. Bedard: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/reliability-new-testament/
  20. What Distinguishes a Text as Scripture? Authority Matters: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/05/what-distinguishes-text-as-scripture.html
  21. Are Moral Truths An Illusion? http://crossexamined.org/are-moral-truths-an-illusion/
  22. Nancy Pearcey’s mission to reinvigorate the evangelical mind – On Faith & Culture: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2015/06/10/nancy-pearcey-apologetics-influential/
  23. Inclusivism: http://www.str.org/articles/when-catholicism-hinders-the-gospel
  24. An Intro to Dismantling Alleged Discrepancies | A Clear Lens: http://clearlens.org/2015/11/18/an-intro-to-dismantling-alleged-discrepencies/
  25. Refugee Cost to bring them here vs. taking care of them where they’re at: https://www.afa.net/the-stand/immigration/2015/11/what-are-we-to-do-about-refugees/
  26. Two Things Terrorist Attacks Do NOT Tell Us About Religion: http://christianmomthoughts.com/two-things-terrorist-attacks-do-not-tell-us-about-religion/
  27. 10 Things Every Christian Should Know About Islam: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/10-things-every-christian-should-know-about-islam
  28. The Rise of Islam: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/rise-islam/
  29. Nabeel Qureshi (ex-Muslim, turned Christian apologist) – My response to the Paris Attacks: we need love and truth. Love for Muslims, but the truth about Islam: https://www.facebook.com/NabeelQureshi.RZIM/videos/1056491281038365/
  30. Generic view of religion undermines ability to respond to theological significance of Paris attacks: http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/11/19/the-briefing-11-19-15/
  31. What percentage of Muslims approve of radical Islam and terrorism? | WINTERY KNIGHT: http://winteryknight.com/2015/11/18/what-percentage-of-muslims-approve-of-radical-islam-and-terrorism/
  32. What Islam is Not (Video): https://shariaunveiled.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/what-islam-is-not-video-2/
  33. Do You Think Homosexuality Is Wrong? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBHodHT3pOk
  34. God Is Unchanging; Believe It – David Limbaugh: http://m.townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2015/11/20/god-is-unchanging-believe-it-n2083010
  35. Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/20/saudi-court-sentences-poet-to-death-for-renouncing-islam

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  (John 20:30-31)

Apologetics Class 11-22-2015

Currently, we are reading the book Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel by James Boccardo.  It is a great book about evangelism that also includes some information about Apologetics.

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Hi All,

Thanks for attending the class today.  We had a full(er) house today 🙂  I was glad to see and talk to y’all!  We continued reading chapter 8 today. We also watched and discussed the following witnessing clip from Living Waters:

How you were raised determines your faith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpgnYX2Xp-4

In our chapter 8 reading we covered pages 152-157.  Here are the questions we covered after the reading:

  1. (pg. 152) Why worry about people who say, “Don’t worry about me, I’m good with the Lord”?  Well, they might ___   ___________.
  2. (pg. 152) How does Matthew 7:21-23 speak about the issue?  Jesus is talking about people who ________  ________  ________  Him.
  3. (pg. 153) What is a question that you can ask a self-proclaimed “Christian” that will tell you a lot in less than 10 seconds?
  4. (pg. 154) If the person says yes to the above question, but sounds shaky, what follow-up question can you ask them?
  5. (pg. 152-154) Should we just assume that every person attending church is saved? One of my favorite lines is “Tell me about ________  ____________  _________.”
  6. (pg. 156) Do you have to be knowledgeable about other religions before you can talk with someone of another religion?

Since we were talking about other religions, I was going to show you this following video, but didn’t have time:

Living Waters University: a Catholic, a Muslim, & a Hindu girl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBZtTwOk1iQ

Also during our discussions a point came up related to Roman Catholic theology – the idea of inclusivism.  Here are a few articles that speak about the issue:

When Catholicism Hinders the Gospel: http://www.str.org/articles/when-catholicism-hinders-the-gospel#.VlJOhr9HSMI The following is a quote from the article:

“I first started doing public advocacy of Christianity on a secular program called “Religion on the Line” on the ABC affiliate here in Los Angeles (two hours on religious topics with a rabbi, a priest, a minister, and a host).  I was stunned when the first time a Protestant called in to share Christ with the rabbi he was opposed not by the rabbi, but rather by the Roman Catholic priest (“Rabbi, I’ll handle this one.”) 

The Jews have their own covenant, the priest argued.  They have their own way to God which does not require belief in Jesus.  That is also true for every other faith.  God can be found through virtually any religions.  The blood of Christ—which is necessary to forgive sins (this is the only sense in which Christ is the only way)—is not just for Christians, but is applied to anyone who sincerely and obediently pursues his own religion.  He is forgiven through Jesus, though he never believes in Jesus.  Put simply, the good Buddhist is saved by the blood of Christ.  This is called inclusivism.

I almost fell off my chair the first time I heard this.  Yet, every single Roman Catholic priest on that program since then—a show I’d done more than twenty times—held the same thing, even a bishop. ”

And Salvation: Truth, Not Just Sincerity: http://www.str.org/articles/salvation-truth-not-just-sincerity#.VlJPB79HSMI Here is quote from the article:

This difference of opinion is a historically new development in Roman Catholicism that stunned me when I first encountered it in the early days of being on Religion on the Line in the late eighties, a radio panel Dennis Prager hosted for many years. The priests on the panel uniformly held the conviction, informed by Vatican II, that Jews don’t have to believe in Jesus in order to receive the benefits of Jesus’ salvation. This is a view called “inclusivism.” It’s not the same as pluralism, but in my view, it seems to have the same impact: “Yes, Jesus is necessary for salvation, but you don’t have to believe in Jesus to benefit from Jesus.”

Finally, here is an article from catholic.org entitled “Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!”.  It is very hard to figure out what he’s really saying, but it certainly doesn’t sound like an orthodox, biblical view on soteriology (study of the doctrine of salvation):  http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=51077

Next week, we should finish chapter 8, which covers evolution.

Have a great week and a great Thanksgiving celebration!

Roman Catholic Church still giving out indulgences???

I’m currently on a business trip in Europe which is lasting 2 weeks, so during this past weekend I took a side trip to Rome.  I’d always wanted to go there and it truly was an amazing place to see.  So much history…  Particularly related to the Church of Jesus Christ.  The history of the Christian faith includes the history of the catholic church because for much of the history of the church, that was all there was.

Of course, while I was in Rome, I visited the Vatican and St. Peter’s basilica.  But I also visited the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.  It was an amazing place, though not all original ancient construction.  As I was touring around inside, I noticed this sheet posted:

IMG_20140202_135358_081

I was absolutely stunned!  I had no idea that the Roman Catholic church was actually still offering indulgences.  To be fair, they are not selling them, which was one of Martin Luther’s complaints against the Church which helped to launch the reformation.

As I was continuing to tour, up near one of the altars was this more lengthy explanation:

indulgences_cropped

In this explanation, it says that “The indulgence may be applied to oneself, or to someone that has died”!

So, after about 500 years since the split that occurred during the reformation, one of the practices that was so troubling to Luther is still being practiced.

I don’t see any basis in Scripture for this practice and it seems to contradict the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).